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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Iraq - Al Qaeda: The connection 
Via Powerline, MSNBC posts some internal Pentagon memos detailing Pentagon objections to the way the Intelligence Community (e.g., the CIA) was downplaying mounting intelligence of an Iraqi - Al Qaeda connection going back years.

Here's what leaps out at me:

1.) The Pentagon was already frustrated with CIA intransigenc even before the war.

2.) The Pentagon knew of a visit from Zawahiri to Iraq and a meeting with the Iraqi Vice President in 1998, and knew of it before the war. Previously, the reporting that I had seen attributed this information to memos captured by coalition forces after the war. If we knew it before the war, then intelligence was deeper than the Administration was publicly letting on at the time - perhaps in order to protect a source. After the fall of Saddam, the Administration could release that information, attributing it to documents (which may well actually exist) confirming the meeting without compromising the source.

3.) The Pentagon was actually seeing at least some evidence of an Iraqi connection to 9/11. This is the first time I've seen this come from the Administration directly. The Administration was mum about it before - careful not to claim a direct 9/11 connection. The Administration was therefore slightly underplaying its hand..

4.) The Pentagon was claiming "fragmentary" evidence of an Iraqi role in the bombing of the USS Cole.

5.) The Pentagon is asserting that Mohammed Atta visited the Iraqi Intelligence Service office in Prague at least twice, and notes that no intelligence contradicts the findings. Two separate visits to Prague by Atta were independently corroborated.

6.) 1999: Iraq offers safe haven to Osama Bin Ladin. Note that this is well after the Clinton Administration's Indictment of Bin Ladin in 1998.

7.) The Pentagon is claiming that Iraq was providing safe haven to Al Qaeda operatives being driven out of Afghanistan, and was serving as a way station for them en route to Saudi Arabia. Once in Saudi Arabia, of course, they would once again be global threats.

8.) The Pentagon also criticizes what strikes me as the patently absurd notion that Islamic secularists and extremists would never cooperate. Consider: Hitler and Stalin were able to cooperate on the invasion of Poland. The West and Stalin were able to cooperate in the defeat of Hitler. And the mujahedeen were able to cooperate with the Great Satan in order to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan. But according to the idiot wing of the Democratic party, the very same Islamists that cooperated with the Great Satan in defeating the Soviets were congenitally incapable of striking a deal with a Muslim Saddam.

Even better, the Pentagon does all this without having to refer to Ansar Al Islam, Salman Pak, Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, or assistant WTC bomber Yasin.

The Zawahiri meeting with the Iraqi vice president in 1999 alone confirms the connection of Al Qaeda with Iraq at the highest levels of government. Remember, too, that if the meeting occured in 1999, this was after the bombing of the two African embassies. So there was no doubt as to what Al Qaeda was up to. When Saddam allowed Al Qaeda's number 2 man to visit, and even rolled out the Red Carpet for him, he was most definitely aiding and abbetting Al Qaeda. He could have nabbed him and turned him over to the United States.

I will bet dollars to donuts the purpose of the meeting was to negotiate a cease fire with Al Qaeda in exchange for Iraqi technological advisement in developing WMD.

Splash, out

Jason

Comments:
The meeting with Atta (listed on page 4 of the MSNBC page) is total bunk... Atta was in Florida taking money out of ATMs at the time... and getting his picture taken. No way he was in Poland meeting with Saddam's guys.


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