The Magazine

About That Memo . . .

From the December 8, 2003 issue: You can understand why the media might ignore the Saddam-Osama memo, but what about the Bush administration?

Dec 8, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 13 • By THE EDITORS
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(2) Faruq Hijazi, former deputy director of Iraqi Intelligence, is in U.S. custody. He was allegedly one of the key facilitators of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and apparently admitted, during a May 2003 custodial interview, meeting with bin Laden in 1994 in Sudan. What else is he saying? Do you believe him? Is there corroborating evidence for this meeting? Is there corroborating evidence for the reports detailed in the memo of 1998-1999 meetings between al Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

(3) The Feith memo refers to "fragmentary evidence" of Iraqi involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, and possible Iraqi involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center attack. What is this evidence? How persuasive is it?

(4) Ahmed Hikmat Shakir is an Iraqi native who escorted two of the September 11 hijackers to the planning meeting for the attacks in January 2000 in Kuala Lumpur. He got his job at the Kuala Lumpur airport through a contact at the Iraqi embassy, and that person controlled his schedule. During his detention by Jordanian intelligence after September 11, Saddam's regime exerted pressure on the Jordanians for his release. Shakir was set free and fled to Baghdad. What have the Jordanians told you about Iraq's demands that Shakir be released? What have other detainees told you about Shakir's connections to Iraqi intelligence, on the one hand, and to the September 11 hijackers on the other?

(5) The U.S. government has 1,400 people on the ground in Iraq searching for evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. Is there any similar effort to examine Iraq's ties to al Qaeda? Why not? Wouldn't such an effort give us insight into the nature of the relationship between Baathists and al Qaeda before the war, and into the ongoing fight against al Qaeda today?

We at THE WEEKLY STANDARD have long believed that the war in Iraq was, indeed, central to the broader war on terror. This argument never depended on particular connections of Saddam and al Qaeda, but such connections are certainly relevant. Based on all the evidence we have seen, we believe that such connections existed. Does the Bush administration agree, or doesn't it?

--The Editors