June 18, 2004


Putin: Russia Warned U.S. of Possible Iraq Attack (Kim Murphy, June 18, 2004, LA Times)

In a move whose timing is widely seen in Russian political circles as an attempt to support Bush's reelection, Putin said Russian agents received information after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that Iraqi agents were plotting strikes against other U.S. targets, both at home and abroad.

"After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services several times received information that the official services of the Saddam regime were preparing terrorist acts on the United States, and beyond its borders against the U.S. military and other interests," Putin told reporters during a visit to the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

"This information was passed on to our American colleagues," he said.

But Putin said Russia had no reason to believe that Iraq had engineered any attacks.

The Russian president's confirmation comes a day after an unnamed Russian intelligence officer made a similar revelation to the Interfax news agency. That officer was critical of the report this week from the U.S. commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, which found there was "no credible evidence" that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated in attacks against the United States. It said reports of contacts between the two did not appear to have resulted in a "collaborative relationship."

Then why'd they oppose the war?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2004 4:06 PM

Do you think they would have exercised their veto if France had gone along with us? I don't. For internal political reasons, Putin needs to look like he is sticking it to the U.S. every now and then.

But, he knows which side of the U.S. political spectrum has buttered his bread. GWB has essentially given him a pass on Chechyna. Would Kerry? Why take a chance?

Last week at the G-8, Putin said that the Dems had no "moral right" to criticize Bush over Iraq since Clinton had gone into Yugoslavia without UN approval. Clearly, he is not one of Kerry's foreign supporters.

Posted by: Dan at June 18, 2004 4:35 PM

Putin is one of the sharpest foreign leaders. All the threats in the coming 30 years - an aggresive China and expansionist Islamic terrorism - threaten Russia more than it does us. He's collecting chips for the day he'll call them in.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at June 18, 2004 7:07 PM

Why'd they oppose the war?

Three words: Oil for graft...sorry, I meant "food."

My bad.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at June 18, 2004 7:53 PM

Remember the joke about the two guys being chased by the bear? And one stops to put on tennis shoes. Maybe that's why.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 18, 2004 8:35 PM

It was all about oil money to pay off odious debts. This is a hedge bet. He's nobody's fool. Chirac's drawers are blowing in the wind. Schroeder doesn't have any.

Posted by: Genecis at June 18, 2004 10:29 PM

Remember Condi's response when asked how we should deal with those who opposed us in the Security Council: ignore Germany, punish France, forgive Russia. (I did this from memory, but I'm sure about "forgive Russia.") This may be part of the reason why.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 19, 2004 7:59 AM