The Senate Intelligence Committee’s recent report is being held up by some as proof that the Bush Administration “duped” the American public into supporting the liberation of Iraq. The Senate committee’s report flat-out stated there was no relationship with al-Qaeda. However, this claim ignored multiple reports, some of which are based on internal documents from the Iraqi Intelligence Service. These internal documents are important because they partially open the window to what Saddam’s regime intended to do. The intentions were far from innocent.
The first of these memos to be reported on was discovered in April, 2003 in the rubble of Mukhabarat headquarters by a pair of journalists. The memo indicated that the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi Intelligence Service) wanted to bring over a representative of Osama bin Laden to discuss “the future of our relationship with him”. The memo in question went through five translations before the article was published. One of the reporters who discovered the memo, Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star, admitted that he had been skeptical of the claims of a relationship between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda.
A year and a half later, other memos were leaked to Cybercast News Service. These show Iraq had terrorist connections (English translation here), to an Egyptian terrorist group known as Egyptian Islamic Jihad. This group was one headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is Osama bin Laden’s second in command. The documents also mentioned Omar Abdel Rahman (original scan here), the spiritual leader of the terrorists who carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. That memo highlighted his group as “the most violent in Egypt”. These memos also showed that Saddam’s regime was attempting to acquire mustard gas and anthrax, and seeking a means to attack American forces in Somalia in 2000. The Senate Intelligence Committee also failed to note that Saddam Hussein had been making payments of $25,000 to the families of Palestinian murder-suicide bombers.
The Senate Intelligence Committee even managed to ignore the 9/11 Commission’s report, in which Richard Clarke’s e-mail opposing a U-2 mission over Afghanistan was quoted. The e-mail states that the U-2 overflight would warn bin Laden of a potential attack and “old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad” (Chapter 4, 9-11 Commission Report).
Finally, there is an evidence summary for an al-Qaeda detainee held at Guantanamo Bay. The summary, reprinted in a report by Stephen F. Hayes in the Weekly Standard, indicated that the detainee traveled to Pakistan with an Iraqi intelligence agent in 1998 for the purposes of carrying out a chemical mortar attack against the American and British embassies in Pakistan.
These were just some of the items that contradict the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report.
The Senate report, by ignoring these facts, has proven that it should not be taken at face value. The truth remains in many documents from Saddam’s regime, some of which have been released, while others are still classified.
Threatswatch.org and RegimeofTerror.com are working on this in much more detail. Keep an eye out.