June 16, 2004

Panel Says No Signs of Iraq, Qaeda Link

Deborah Charles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Investigators have found no evidence Iraq aided al Qaeda attempts to attack the United States, a commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackings said on Wednesday, undermining Bush administration arguments for war. . . .

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney this week reiterated pre-war arguments that an Iraqi connection to al Qaeda, which is blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks, represented an unacceptable threat to the United States.

However, the commission said in a staff report, "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

"There is no convincing evidence that any government financially supported al Qaeda before 9/11 -- other than limited support provided by the Taliban after bin Laden first arrived in Afghanistan," it added. . . .

The report stood in contrast to comments this week by Vice President Dick Cheney, who said that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam had "long-established ties" to al Qaeda.

Bush, asked on Tuesday about Cheney's comments, cited the presence in Iraq of Islamist militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as "the best evidence of (a) connection to al Qaeda affiliates and al Qaeda." . . .


Enver Masud, "What Really Happened on September 11 Remains a Mystery," The Wisdom Fund, April 27, 2002

Shaun Waterman, "White House 'delayed 9-11 report'," United Press International, July 25, 2003

Eric Margolis, "Liars or Fools?, "The Wisdom Fund, February 2, 2004

Ray McGovern "Deceived into War,", June 12, 2004

Editorial: "9/11 Report: The need to name names,", June 12, 2004

Dan Eggen, "Al Qaeda Originally Envisioned Plot With 10 Jets: 9/11 Panel Finds No Collaboration Between Iraq, Al Qaeda," Washington Post, June 16, 2004

[President George W. Bush . . . justified the invasion of Iraq by manipulation of uncertain intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, and by a cynical campaign to persuade the public that Saddam Hussein was linked to Al Qaeda and the attacks of September 11. The evidence did not support this argument. --"The Official Statement," Diplomats & Military Commanders for Change, June 16, 2004]

[Of all the ways Mr. Bush persuaded Americans to back the invasion of Iraq last year, the most plainly dishonest was his effort to link his war of choice with the battle against terrorists worldwide. . . .

There are two unpleasant alternatives: either Mr. Bush knew he was not telling the truth, or he has a capacity for politically motivated self-deception that is terrifying in the post-9/11 world.--Editorial: "The Plain Truth," New York Times, June 17, 2004]

David L. Greene, "Al-Qaida rebuffed by Iraq in 1990s: Hussein rejected alliance years before 9/11 attacks," Baltimore Sun, June 17, 2004

Eric Schmitt and Eric Lichtblau, "THE TIMETABLE: To the Minute, Panel Paints a Grim Portrait of Day's Terror," New York Times, June 18, 2004

Jason Burke and Paul Harris, "9 /11: At last, the full story has been told," The Observer, June 20, 2004

[The document states that Iraq agreed to rebroadcast anti-Saudi propaganda, and that a request from Mr. bin Laden to begin joint operations against foreign forces in Saudi Arabia went unanswered. There is no further indication of collaboration.--Tom Shanker, "Iraqis, Seeking Foes of Saudis, Contacted bin Laden, File Says," New York Times, June 25, 2004


Dan Eggen and Mike Allen, "9/ 11 Report to Cite 10 Missed Opportunities," Washington Post, July 21, 2004

[Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, . . .

One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group. Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime.--Murray Waas, "Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel," National Journal, November 22, 2005]

R. Jeffrey Smith, "Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted Pentagon Report Says Contacts Were Limited," Washington Post, April 6, 2007

WEBSITE: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

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