Friday, April 6, 2007

You knew this already...

...unless you have been in total isolation for the last five years; but now it’s official, because the Washington Post says so.

There was no connection between the regime of Saddam Hussein and the terrorist network al Qaeda. The report by Inspector General Thomas Gimble was released the same day that vice-president Dick Cheney appeared on the Rush Limbaugh’s right-wing talk radio show reiterating the repeatedly-debunked false claim of a connection yet again. He still insists that Saddam Hussein and Zarqawi were bedfellows, despite all evidence to the contrary.

"This is al-Qaeda operating in Iraq," Cheney told Limbaugh's listeners about Zarqawi, who he said had "led the charge for Iraq." Cheney cited the alleged history to illustrate his argument that withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq would "play right into the hands of al-Qaeda."

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), who requested the report's declassification, said in a written statement that the complete text demonstrates more fully why the inspector general concluded that a key Pentagon office -- run by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith -- had inappropriately written intelligence assessments before the March 2003 invasion alleging connections between al-Qaeda and Iraq that the U.S. intelligence consensus disputed. (emphasis added)

In September of 2002, Feith’s office in the Pentagon produced a piece of fiction that asserted the relationship between al Qaeda and the Hussein regime was both “mature” and “symbiotic” distinguished by common interests and cooperation in multiple areas, including financing, logistics and training.

The briefing, a copy of which was declassified and released yesterday by Levin, goes so far as to state that "Fragmentary reporting points to possible Iraqi involvement not only in 9/11 but also in previous al Qaida attacks." That idea was dismissed in 2004 by a presidential commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, noting that "no credible evidence" existed to support it.

When a senior intelligence analyst working for the government's counterterrorism task force obtained an early account of the conclusions by Feith's office -- titled "Iraq and al-Qaida: Making the Case" -- the analyst prepared a detailed rebuttal calling it of "no intelligence value" and taking issue with 15 of 26 key conclusions, the report states. The analyst's rebuttal was shared with intelligence officers on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but evidently not with others.

Zarqawi was a terrorist, he did have a couple of loose associations with al Qaeda, and he did take refuge in Iraq; but Saddam Hussein pursued him and attempted to arrest him, finding him a threat to Iraqi interests. Zarqawi only completely allied himself with the terrorist network al Qaeda in early 2004, fully nine months after the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

1 comment:

exMI said...

I'll be honest I would like to hear Cheney explain that a bit better but there isn't much chance of that.