The Blog

Cheney v. Powell

The vice president and the secretary of State appear to have conflicting opinions of the Iraq-al Qaeda connection.

11:45 AM, Jan 13, 2004 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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Absolutely. Absolutely. And you can look at Zarkawi, (Abu Mussab) al-Zarkawi, who is still out there operating today, who was an al-Qaida associate, who was wounded in Afghanistan, took refuge in Baghdad, working out of Baghdad, worked with the Ansar al Islam group up in northeastern Iraq, that produced a so-called poison factory, a group that we hit when we went into Iraq. They were involved in trying to smuggle things, manufacture and smuggle things like ricin into Europe to attack various targets in Europe with. He also, Zarkawi, was responsible for the assassination of a man named Foley, who worked for A.I.D. in Amman, Jordan, an American assigned over there.

The links go back. We know for example from interrogating detainees in Guantanamo that al Qaida sent individuals to Baghdad to be trained in C.W. and B.W. technology, chemical and biological weapons technology. These are all matters that are there for anybody who wants to look at it. A lot of it has been declassified. More, I'm sure, will be declassified in the future, and my expectation would be as we get the time. We haven't really had the time yet to pore through all those records in Baghdad. We'll find ample evidence confirming the link--that is the connection, if you will, between al Qaida and the Iraqi intelligence services. They have worked together on a number of occasions.

Cheney's comments are consistent with Powell's compelling presentation about the connection between Iraq and al Qaeda at the United Nations Security Council and with Powell's congressional testimony a week later. They're not really consistent with what appears to be Powell's current view. What's the administration's view?

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