June 18, 2004


Commission confirms links (Stephen J. Hadley, 6/17/04, USA Today)

A 9/11 commission staff report is being cited to argue that the administration was wrong about there being suspicious ties and contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda. In fact, just the opposite is true. The staff report documents such links.

The staff report concludes that:

•Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden "explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan."

•"A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994."

•"Contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan."

Chairman Thomas Kean has confirmed: "There were contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, a number of them, some of them a little shadowy. They were definitely there."

Following news stories, Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton said he did not understand the media flap over this issue and that the commission does not disagree with the administration's assertion that there were connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government.

FOX, if no one else, played the press conference clip with Chairmen Kean and Hamilton expressing perplexity at how badly the press had covered the story of Iraq's undisputed connections to al Qaeda.

N.B. Here's the quote: SEPTEMBER 11th COMMISSION VICE-CHAIR LEE H. HAMILTON (D-IN): "I must say I have trouble understanding the flap over this [Al Qaeda ties to Iraq]. The Vice-President is saying, I think, that there were connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government. We don't disagree with that, so it seems to me the sharp differences that the press has drawn -- the media has drawn are not that apparent to me." (Lee H. Hamilton As Quoted On Fox News' "Special Report," 6/17/04)


Wrong again (Richard Miniter, June 18, 2004, Townhall)

Those who try to whitewash Saddam's record don't dispute this evidence; they just ignore it. So let's review the evidence, all of it on the public record for months or years...


[T]here are plenty of "Stalin-Roosevelt" partnerships between international terrorists and Muslim dictators. Saddam and bin Laden had common enemies, common purposes and interlocking needs. They shared a powerful hate for America and the Saudi royal family. They both saw the Gulf War as a turning point. Saddam suffered a crushing defeat which he had repeatedly vowed to avenge. Bin Laden regards the U.S. as guilty of war crimes against Iraqis and believes that non-Muslims shouldn't have military bases on the holy sands of Arabia. Al Qaeda's avowed goal for the past ten years has been the removal of American forces from Saudi Arabia, where they stood in harm's way solely to contain Saddam.

The most compelling reason for bin Laden to work with Saddam is money. Al Qaeda operatives have testified in federal courts that the terror network was always desperate for cash. Senior employees fought bitterly about the $100 difference in pay between Egyptian and Saudis (the Egyptians made more). One al Qaeda member, who was connected to the 1998 embassy bombings, told a U.S. federal court how bitter he was that bin Laden could not pay for his pregnant wife to see a doctor.

Bin Laden's personal wealth alone simply is not enough to support a profligate global organization. Besides, bin Laden's fortune is probably not as large as some imagine. Informed estimates put bin Laden's pre-Sept. 11, 2001 wealth at perhaps $30 million. $30 million is the budget of a small school district, not a global terror conglomerate. Meanwhile, Forbes estimated Saddam's personal fortune at $2 billion.

So a common enemy, a shared goal and powerful need for cash seem to have forged an alliance between Saddam and bin Laden.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2004 12:02 AM

"When I say there were no connections, I mean there were some, just none of the sort that no one ever claimed."

Monty Python logic goes mainstream.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at June 18, 2004 8:02 AM

Wasn't this the part of the world that originated the proverb "Enemy of my enemy is my friend"?

Posted by: Ken at June 18, 2004 12:33 PM

I believe the United States Government accepted Monty Python logic as their only form of logic some time back in the 70's.

And I think many more countrys can be 'linked' to Iraq by that logic. "Oh, someone from your country was visited by a high ranking Iraqi official? Then you must have been behind 9/11 too!!!"

Posted by: Mike at June 18, 2004 1:14 PM


Close enough for government work.

Posted by: oj at June 18, 2004 1:22 PM

NPR played that clip.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 18, 2004 2:18 PM

Ed Epstein examines the supposed debunking of the 'Prague meeting':


Posted by: Carter at June 18, 2004 5:23 PM