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The Intelligence War

What the New York Times left out of its latest assault on the Bush administration.

8:25 AM, Nov 6, 2005 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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As noted above, the CIA assessed in Iraqi Support for Terrorism that "the most disturbing aspect of the relationship is the dozen or so reports of varying reliability mentioning the involvement of Iraq or Iraqi nationals in al Qaeda's efforts to obtain CBW training." [emphasis added].

Fortunately, we are no longer reliant on Carl Levin's claims or even CIA analyses for our understanding of the Iraq-al Qaeda connection. Documents uncovered in postwar Iraq allow us to test Levin's views and CIA prewar assessments against the words and deeds of the former Iraqi regime.

On June 25, 2004, the New York Times reported on an internal Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) document that discussed relations between Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda. The document, authenticated by the U.S. intelligence community, reports on meetings between bin Laden emissaries and Uday Hussein in 1994. The document further reports that the Iraqi regime agreed to a request from bin Laden to broadcast sermons from an anti-Saudi cleric. The IIS document advises that "cooperation between the two organizations should be allowed to develop freely through discussion and agreement." And when bin Laden was ousted from Sudan in 1996, the document reports that Iraqis were "seeking other channels through which to handle the relationship."

All of which makes one thing clear: Carl Levin may still believe there was no relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.

But the Iraqis, who might have had unique insight into such matters, thought otherwise.

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