The Blog

The Saddam-Osama Memo (cont.)

A close examination of the Defense Department's latest statement.

11:00 PM, Nov 18, 2003 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.

--We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda going back a decade.

--Credible information indicates that Iraq and al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.

--Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.

--We have credible reporting that al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.

--Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

James Woolsey, CIA director under President Bill Clinton, made reference to the Tenet letter in an appearance this past weekend on "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." Tenet's enumeration of the links and the evidence in the Feith memo has Woolsey convinced.

"Anybody who says there is no working relationship between al Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence going back to the early '90s--they can only say that if they're illiterate. This is a slam dunk."

Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.