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Cheney Speaks

A Weekly Standard exclusive: Vice President Cheney on the Iraq-al Qaeda connection.

1:05 PM, Jun 24, 2004 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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Other reporting suggests that the former Iraqi regime provided funding for al Qaeda and its affiliates, including $300,000 to Ayman al Zawahiri, former leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and currently bin Laden's top deputy. A communications intercept included in a May 2002 report from the National Security Agency indicates that an Iraqi intelligence officer provided Ansar al Islam-an al Qaeda affiliate that operated in northern Iraq, in territory not under the direct control of Saddam Hussein-with $100,000. Abdul Rahman al Shamari, an Iraqi detainee who claims to have worked for Iraqi intelligence from 1997 to 2002, has told journalists and U.S. intelligence interrogators that he served as a conduit for funding between the regime and Islamic terrorists, including Ansar al Islam.

CHENEY WOULD NOT COMMENT SPECIFICALLY on the case of Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi who has admitted to mixing the chemicals for the first World Trade Center attack, and has been living in Iraq for the past decade. The vice president raised the case of Yasin in an interview with CNBC's Gloria Borger last week. "There's Mr. Yasin, who was a World Trade Center bomber in '93 who fled to Iraq after that. And we've found since, when we got into Baghdad, documents showing that he was put on the payroll and given housing by Saddam Hussein after the '93 attack-in other words, provided safe harbor and sanctuary." Cheney refused to speculate whether those documents-which would seem to arouse few concerns about sensitive sources and methods-might be declassified. "I think that would have to be addressed by the Agency."

Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard and the author of The Connection.