T Nation

Hussein + Bin Laden

I’ve been monitoring a growing number of sources that are hinting very strongly at the very relationship that the Administration has contended.

I’ll post more as we go.

Here is from July 8th: Brit Hume…

BRIT HUME, HOST: Those comments reflect the conventional wisdom that there was really no connection between Saddam Hussein’s government and Usama bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists. But a year ago, Stephen Hayes of our sister publication, the Weekly Standard, published a book documenting connections between Saddam Hussein’s regime and Islamic terrorism, including Al Qaeda.

Now he reports in the new edition of the Weekly Standard there is more evidence on the subject. And he joins me here now.

Steve, welcome. Nice to have you.

STEPHEN F. HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Good to be with you.

HUME: Sum up, if it’s possible to do so, sort of the nature of the connections you found between the Islamic terrorism, Al Qaeda, and the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein, that you knew before.

HAYES: There are a whole host of connections from before that we knew before the war. There were allegations that have since been confirmed that Saddam was supporting Al Qaeda in Ansar al-Islam, an Al Qaeda affiliate, in northern Iraq, financially with weapons. There were, of course, the reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in Iraq operating freely before the war.

HUME: That’s been confirmed?

HAYES: That’s been confirmed.

HUME: That he was there before the war?

HAYES: Absolutely. It was in the Butler Report, which was the British report looking back at prewar intelligence. It was in the Senate Intelligence Committee Report in this time last year, looking back at prewar intelligence. And we also have numerous interviews with people who were in Baghdad with Zarqawi before the war who are saying, “Yes, we were there with him.”

HUME: All right. That gives a sense of it. Now, what has since come to light since your book was published, new information that’s come out? What’s the nature of it?

HAYES: I think that the most interesting stuff that we’ve seen – and we’ve only really scratched the surface on this – comes from internal Iraqi intelligence documents that have been uncovered since the end of the war. So it’s no longer a matter of, “Well, do we have to take this person’s word for it? These are allegations, but they’ve not yet been proven.”

We now know from the Iraqis, for instance, that there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, that Saddam at least agreed on some limited cooperation broadcasting anti-Saudi propaganda. It was a request that he got from bin Laden in the mid-'90s. He agreed to do that.

We know that there have been payments, additional payments, from Saddam to bin Laden’s No. 2 in 1998.

HUME: That was then Ayman al-Zawahiri?

HAYES: Exactly. Exactly.

HUME: What were the nature of the payments? What were they for?

HAYES: $300,000. There’s a period in February of 1998 in which this relationship really seemed to blossom. It was a time when there was lots of pressure put on by the U.S. for Saddam to comply with inspectors. He wasn’t doing it. President Clinton went to the Pentagon, gave a big speech, basically preparing the nation for war. And at that time, we know that there was this payment to Zawahiri for $300,000.

HUME: Do we know what it was for?

HAYES: We don’t know what it was for. There was also, in these documents that we’ve uncovered since the end of the war, a series of meetings in March of 1998 between a senior Al Qaeda terrorist, someone that the documents label “a trusted confidant of bin Laden.”

HUME: No name attached?

HAYES: No name attached.

HUME: And he met with whom?

HAYES: He met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Baghdad, the Iraqi intelligence service. Really, these are accounting documents that were found in the bombed-out headquarters of Iraqi intelligence service. And what they say is, “Hey, we’re going to pick up the tab for this guy. Let the Saudi station chief of Iraqi intelligence know that we’re going to pay for this. Let the Sudanese station chief know that we’re going to pay for this.”

And the meetings…

HUME: Do we know the purpose of this relationship at that time?

HAYES: We don’t. I mean, you know, we can speculate, but we don’t really know exactly what was going on at that time, except that there was a lot of pressure coming from the United States and the United Nations. We know that Usama bin Laden, on February 23rd, issued a fatwa that was very focused on Iraq.

He called for the killing of Americans and the targeting of American interests wherever they could be found at a time when the Iraqis were really under pressure, as I say, from the international community. And then following that, there was a series of meetings that we know from Iraqi intelligence documents.

And there was also a mention of March 1998 meetings in the 9/11 Commission report. So it’s possible that, you know, you have a handful of meetings in really a month-and-a-half span.

We don’t yet know what came of these meetings, but there are some suggestive clues. There was a document that came out of the Pentagon which describes an Al Qaeda detainee, held down in Guantanamo Bay right now, who allegedly conspired with Iraqi intelligence to blow up the U.S. embassies in Pakistan in 1998.

HUME: Now, this man was – he’s at Guantanamo. And he’s someone who had been an Iraqi soldier?

HAYES: Exactly.

HUME: Correct? And then he was recruited by the Taliban.

HAYES: In 1994, in Baghdad.

HUME: In Baghdad. And went to Afghanistan…

HAYES: Right.

HUME: … and fought there?

HAYES: Fought there.

HUME: Now, do we have reason to believe that when he did all this that he had been encouraged to do so by the Iraqi authorities? Or do we…

HAYES: We don’t. We don’t yet know really what the disposition of his travels were. We do know that he’d taken money from Al Qaeda, that he swore – took a pledge of biat to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.

HUME: Took a what?

HAYES: A pledge of loyalty, essentially, to Mullah Omar.

HUME: And so what we know about him, he was an Iraqi, right?

HAYES: He was an Iraqi. But then the interesting part of this summary of evidence comes that he is alleged by the U.S. government formally to have participated in a plot to blow up the U.S. embassy and the British embassy in Pakistan in August of 1998.

HUME: So whether he was at any time during all of that operating as an agent of Iraq, we don’t know, but it’s at least possible, because that’s where he originally came from?

HAYES: That’s where he originally came from. But then the important component is that he was plotting this with a member of Iraqi intelligence.

HUME: Oh, he was?

HAYES: He was plotting this with Iraqi intelligence, according to this summary of evidence.

HUME: All right. Now, you’ve talked about Iraqi intelligence repeatedly as being the locust of the contacts. How did Iraqi intelligence and perhaps Saddam, as well, regard Usama bin Laden? What did they think of him? How did they see him?

HAYES: I would characterize it as sort of an on again, off again relationship. I mean, I don’t think these guys were buddies by any stretch of the imagination, but they viewed each other as something that could be exploited.

Saddam certainly called on Islamic radicals in his past. I mean, during the first Gulf War, he called on Islamic radicals to attack U.S. interests throughout the world. And he’s done so since. He even held annual conferences in Baghdad bringing these terrorists.

HUME: Now, you mentioned all these things, and there are obviously just – there’s more, and you’re going to be reporting on this. The administration, however, has fallen silent on this.

Last question. We only have a few seconds left. Why do you suppose the administration has fallen so silent on these contacts?

HAYES: I don’t think, frankly, that they want to fight with the CIA, many of whom were skeptical of this before. And, to be honest, if these links are indeed proven, they will have egg on their face.

HUME: Got you. Steve, pleasure to have you. Thanks very much.

As the media does a rather poor job of updating information (especially after being wrong), I think it’s important to do this from time to time.

JeffR

Dialog from Fox News Channel.

Gee, I never looked at it that way.

I sure am convinced now.

Ignorance kills.

[quote]Marmadogg wrote:
Dialog from Fox News Channel.

Gee, I never looked at it that way.

I sure am convinced now.

Ignorance kills.[/quote]

I guess you’d rather get your info from CNN? If you’re going to acknowledge media bias, be consistent about it.

Wow, that was a stretch.

Jerffy, you did it again, call the White House, I’m sure they overlooked this vital material!

FOX news, huh?

I love the way Brit prods the answers we want to hear from Mr. Hayes…

Come on! JeffR, I thought you had better integrity than that?

The Weekly Standard? Isn’t this a rag? BTW, STEPHEN F. HAYES has been chasing this story for a real long time:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/378fmxyz.asp

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/248eaurh.asp

http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=11946

http://mediamatters.org/archives/search.html?topic=Stephen%20F.%20Hayes
etc,

Mr. Hayes is just another pundit for the right.

I’m NOT questioning any of the information just who the info is coming from.

[quote]Panther1015 wrote:
Marmadogg wrote:
Dialog from Fox News Channel.

Gee, I never looked at it that way.

I sure am convinced now.

Ignorance kills.

I guess you’d rather get your info from CNN? If you’re going to acknowledge media bias, be consistent about it.
[/quote]

CNN?

I blame CNN for the state of the MSM today. The reason we do not get any real news on network television (cable news is a joke so I will not go there) is because of CNN.

I do not get my news from television. The news is not reported on television.

I scan google, yahoo, reuters, etc. to find the news headlines of the day.

For a laugh I peek at Drudge too.

Nice try.

Cheers!

Ok, guys.

We’ve had the requiste FOX news bashing.

You’ve ignored the information and impugned the source.

Can we move on to the topic at hand?

The problem with media bias, is that it’s like pulling teeth to get your favorite sources (cnn,npr,abc,cbs) to write stories that bear out the Administration’s contention.

HOWEVER, they have no trouble forging documents and heckling the Press Secretary when something suits their agenda.

For my liberal pals, please give me a set of sources that you find “acceptable.”

Give me some options. Better yet, let’s talk about this information.

JeffR

This has all been debunked by the DoD.

Hayes bases his claims on the leak of a classified Defense Department intelligence memo written by Douglas Feith.

The memo outlined numerous data points in support of the possible theory that Saddam Hussein had a working relationship with Al Qaeda. Hayes wrote:

[i]Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by The Weekly Standard.[/i]

The DoD subsequently issued a press release downplaying the memo’s significance and undermining the conclusion reached by Hayes: “The classified annex was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaida, and it drew no conclusions.”

These falsehoods amount to RNC talking points. The DoD has already shot Feith memo to pieces.

http://www.justfuckinggoogleit.com/

[quote]JeffR wrote:
You’ve ignored the information and impugned the source.
[/quote]
Jeff,

As someone in the information gatering field (police or invesigator or whatever I’m not not sure) I think you would understand the need to check your sources before you can start to pay attention to the information contained therein–the sources must be credible. These sources are not. The National Standard in a right wing RAG.

Well, Jeff, you’ve got lifticus “I failed history class” minimus and marma “al shades” dink arguing with you, so you must be on to something.

ZARQAWI, ANYONE?

So if Al-Qaeda and Iraq have no ties, then why are Al-Qaeda terrorists flooding in to “protect” the country? If Iraq wasn’t critical to their existence, I can’t imagine why else they would fight?

I’m by no means a history buff, but I suspect that, in general, terrorists do not take up a cause out of the goodness of their hearts…

Nick

[quote]ntroych wrote:
So if Al-Qaeda and Iraq have no ties, then why are Al-Qaeda terrorists flooding in to “protect” the country? If Iraq wasn’t critical to their existence, I can’t imagine why else they would fight?

I’m by no means a history buff, but I suspect that, in general, terrorists do not take up a cause out of the goodness of their hearts…

Nick [/quote]

Because they can now easily attack the US and its interests in Iraq.

Terrorists would likely “partner” with anyone that will help them achieve their objective – it likely has little to do with whether or not they supported the former ruling party in Iraq.

marma-

I read the link you referred to. The DOD was actually saying that it hadn’t “confirmed” the report.

Further,

“The items listed in the classified annex were either raw reports or products of the CIA, the National Security Agency or, in one case, the Defense Intelligence Agency. The provision of the classified annex to the Intelligence Committee was cleared by other agencies and done with the permission of the intelligence community. The selection of the documents was made by DoD to respond to the committee?s question. The classified annex was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and it drew no conclusions.”

It “drew no conclusions.” “Raw data.” Hayes is drawing the conclusions. It was in effect the raw data without the analysis.

That MOST certainly is NOT justification for making your statement regarding “Republican talking points.”

Further, look at the date of this DoD press release. Now look at the date of the article above.

Do we live in a static world? You do know of course that new data comes to light.

I’m asking for analysis.

Don’t eat headlines without digesting them.

JeffR

ChrisKing wrote:

"Because they can now easily attack the US and its interests in Iraq.

Terrorists would likely “partner” with anyone that will help them achieve their objective – it likely has little to do with whether or not they supported the former ruling party in Iraq."

You do know (of course) about zarqawi being sheltered by saddam? Correct?

You do know that the King of Jordan asked for extradition of zarqawi and was refused by saddam.

Look it up people. Think.

JeffR

Ok,

Another interesting article.

June 29, 2005, 9:12 a.m.

It?s All About 9/11
The president links Iraq and al Qaeda ? and the usual suspects moan.

President George W. Bush forcefully explained last night ? some of us would say finally forcefully explained last night after too long a lull ? why our military operations in Iraq are crucial to success in the war on terror.

It was good to hear the commander-in-chief remind people that this is still the war against terror. Specifically, against Islamo-fascists who slaughtered 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001. Who spent the eight years before those atrocities murdering and promising to murder Americans ? as their leader put it in 1998, all Americans, including civilians, anywhere in the world where they could be found.

It is not the war for democratization. It is not the war for stability. Democratization and stability are not unimportant. They are among a host of developments that could help defeat the enemy.

But they are not the primary goal of this war, which is to destroy the network of Islamic militants who declared war against the United States when they bombed the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993, and finally jarred us into an appropriate response when they demolished that complex, struck the Pentagon, and killed 3000 of us on September 11, 2001.

That is why we are in Iraq.

On September 12, 2001, no one in America cared about whether there would be enough Sunni participation in a fledgling Iraqi democracy if Saddam were ever toppled. No one in lower Manhattan cared whether the electricity would work in Baghdad, or whether Muqtada al-Sadr?s Shiite militia could be coaxed into a political process. They cared about smashing terrorists and the states that supported them for the purpose of promoting American national security.

Saddam Hussein?s regime was a crucial part of that response because it was a safety net for al Qaeda. A place where terror attacks against the United States and the West were planned. A place where Saddam?s intelligence service aided and abetted al Qaeda terrorists planning operations. A place where terrorists could hide safely between attacks. A place where terrorists could lick their wounds. A place where committed terrorists could receive vital training in weapons construction and paramilitary tactics. In short, a platform of precisely the type without which an international terror network cannot succeed.

The president should know he hit the sweet spot during his Fort Bragg speech because all the right people are angry. The New York Times, with predictable disingenuousness, is railing this morning that the 9/11 references in the speech are out of bounds because Iraq had ?nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks.? Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and the tedious David Gergen, among others, are in Gergen?s words ?offended? about use of the 9/11 ?trump card.?

If the president is guilty of anything, it’s not that he’s dwelling on 9/11 enough. It’s that the administration has not done a good enough job of probing and underscoring the nexus between the Saddam regime and al Qaeda. It is absolutely appropriate, it is vital, for him to stress that connection. This is still the war on terror, and Iraq, where the terrorists are still arrayed against us, remains a big part of that equation.

And not just because every jihadist with an AK-47 and a prayer rug has made his way there since we invaded. No, it?s because Saddam made Iraq their cozy place to land long before that. They are fighting effectively there because they?ve been invited to dig in for years.

The president needs to be talking about Saddam and terror because that?s what will get their attention in Damascus and Teheran. It?s not about the great experiment in democratization ? as helpful as it would be to establish a healthy political culture in that part of the world. It?s about making our enemies know we are coming for them if they abet and harbor and promote and plan with the people who are trying to kill us.

On that score, nobody should worry about anything the Times or David Gergen or Senator Reid has to say about all this until they have some straight answers on questions like these. What does the ?nothing whatsoever? crowd have to say about:

Ahmed Hikmat Shakir ? the Iraqi Intelligence operative who facilitated a 9/11 hijacker into Malaysia and was in attendance at the Kuala Lampur meeting with two of the hijackers, and other conspirators, at what is roundly acknowledged to be the initial 9/11 planning session in January 2000? Who was arrested after the 9/11 attacks in possession of contact information for several known terrorists? Who managed to make his way out of Jordanian custody over our objections after the 9/11 attacks because of special pleading by Saddam?s regime?

Saddam’s intelligence agency’s efforts to recruit jihadists to bomb Radio Free Europe in Prague in the late 1990’s?

Mohammed Atta’s unexplained visits to Prague in 2000, and his alleged visit there in April 2001 which ? notwithstanding the 9/11 Commission’s dismissal of it (based on interviewing exactly zero relevant witnesses) ? the Czechs have not retracted?

The Clinton Justice Department’s allegation in a 1998 indictment (two months before the embassy bombings) against bin Laden, to wit: In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

Seized Iraq Intelligence Service records indicating that Saddam’s henchmen regarded bin Laden as an asset as early as 1992?

Saddam’s hosting of al Qaeda No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri beginning in the early 1990?s, and reports of a large payment of money to Zawahiri in 1998?

Saddam?s ten years of harboring of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin?

Iraqi Intelligence Service operatives being dispatched to meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998 (the year of bin Laden?s fatwa demanding the killing of all Americans, as well as the embassy bombings)?

Saddam?s official press lionizing bin Laden as ?an Arab and Islamic hero? following the 1998 embassy bombing attacks?

The continued insistence of high-ranking Clinton administration officials to the 9/11 Commission that the 1998 retaliatory strikes (after the embassy bombings) against a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory were justified because the factory was a chemical weapons hub tied to Iraq and bin Laden?

Top Clinton administration counterterrorism official Richard Clarke?s assertions, based on intelligence reports in 1999, that Saddam had offered bin Laden asylum after the embassy bombings, and Clarke?s memo to then-National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, advising him not to fly U-2 missions against bin Laden in Afghanistan because he might be tipped off by Pakistani Intelligence, and ?[a]rmed with that knowledge, old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad?? (See 9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 134 & n.135.)

Terror master Abu Musab Zarqawi’s choice to boogie to Baghdad of all places when he needed surgery after fighting American forces in Afghanistan in 2001?

Saddam’s Intelligence Service running a training camp at Salman Pak, were terrorists were instructed in tactics for assassination, kidnapping and hijacking?

Former CIA Director George Tenet?s October 7, 2002 letter to Congress, which asserted:

Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.

We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade.

Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.

Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.

We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.

Iraq’s increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad’s links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

There’s more. Stephen Hayes?s book, The Connection, remains required reading. But these are just the questions; the answers ? if someone will just investigate the questions rather than pretending there?s ?nothing whatsoever? there ? will provide more still.

So Gergen, Reid, the Times, and the rest are ?offended? at the president’s reminding us of 9/11? The rest of us should be offended, too. Offended at the ?nothing whatsoever? crowd?s inexplicable lack of curiosity about these ties, and about the answers to these questions.

Just tell us one thing: Do you have any good answer to what Ahmed Hikmat Shakir was doing with the 9/11 hijackers in Kuala Lampur? Can you explain it?

If not, why aren’t you moving heaven and earth to find out the answer?

? Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Now, let’s shit-can the next five posts proclaiming that all the information is too biased.

Let’s come up with some original thoughts. Let’s go point by point.

IF EVERY LINK IS FALSE, let’s work to prove it.

If they are true, then let’s prove that as well.

Surprise me, please.

JeffR

[quote]Marmadogg wrote:
Panther1015 wrote:
Marmadogg wrote:
Dialog from Fox News Channel.

Gee, I never looked at it that way.

I sure am convinced now.

Ignorance kills.

I guess you’d rather get your info from CNN? If you’re going to acknowledge media bias, be consistent about it.

CNN?

I blame CNN for the state of the MSM today. The reason we do not get any real news on network television (cable news is a joke so I will not go there) is because of CNN.

I do not get my news from television. The news is not reported on television.

I scan google, yahoo, reuters, etc. to find the news headlines of the day.

For a laugh I peek at Drudge too.

Nice try.

Cheers!

[/quote]

Good for you. I can respect opinions that don’t agree w/ mine when they don’t come purely from mass media like 99% of the opinions we probably read on this board.

[quote]ChrisKing wrote:
ntroych wrote:
So if Al-Qaeda and Iraq have no ties, then why are Al-Qaeda terrorists flooding in to “protect” the country? If Iraq wasn’t critical to their existence, I can’t imagine why else they would fight?

I’m by no means a history buff, but I suspect that, in general, terrorists do not take up a cause out of the goodness of their hearts…

Nick

Because they can now easily attack the US and its interests in Iraq.

Terrorists would likely “partner” with anyone that will help them achieve their objective – it likely has little to do with whether or not they supported the former ruling party in Iraq.

[/quote]

So do you think that if another country had spearheaded the war in Iraq, we wouldn’t see the same rise of Al-Qaeda attacks there? After all, you’re saying that their interest is in attacking the US, and they have no interest in defending Iraq.

Nick

Fox News and Brit Hume? Oh that proves it, then. Remember, they are fair and balanced.

There’s no need for this thread anyway, Jeff. Saddam and Bin Laden are the same person. Dubya told me so. That’s why we went after Iraq, when Al Qaeda attacked.

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
Fox News and Brit Hume? Oh that proves it, then. Remember, they are fair and balanced.

There’s no need for this thread anyway, Jeff. Saddam and Bin Laden are the same person. Dubya told me so. That’s why we went after Iraq, when Al Qaeda attacked.[/quote]

“Fair and balanced” is clearly a misnomer. What FOX News means by the statement is they bring a conservative slant on cable news, which is largely biased towards the left. So in effect, the network balances cable news. But I, as a moderate conservative, wouldn’t call Fox News “fair and balanced” in its own right. What mass media outlet truly IS “fair and balanced”? I can’t think of any…