This article appears in the September 22, 2006 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
No Saddam-al-Qaeda Link
Following are excerpts from the conclusions of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report dealing with allegations of Iraqi links to al-Qaeda. This section of the SSCI report was approved by a 14:1 vote in the Committee.
- "Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa'ida, and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qa'ida to provide material or operational support."
- "Postwar findings have identified only one meeting between representatives of al-Qa'ida and Saddam Hussein's regime.... Postwar findings have identified two occasions ... in which Saddam Hussein rebuffed meeting requests from an al-Qa'ida operative. The Intelligence Community has not found evidence of any other meetings between al-Qa'ida and Iraq." The one meeting identified, was a 1995 meeting between an Iraqi Intelligence (IIS) officer and bin Laden in Sudan; the Iraqi officer was instructed to "only listen" and not to negotiate or promise anything to bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein immediately rejected all of bin Laden's requests.
- Regarding allegations that Saddam Hussein provided CBW (chemical-biological weapons) training to al-Qaeda: "No postwar information has been found that indicated CBW training occurred and the detainee who provided key prewar reporting about this training recanted his claims after the war." The cited detainee was Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who says he made up false claims under abusive treatment and threats of torture.
- "Postwar findings support the April 2002 DIA assessment that there was no credible reporting on al-Qa'ida training at Salman Pak or anywhere else in Iraq.... [T]he DIA told the Committee that it has no 'credible reports that non-Iraqis were trained to conduct or support transnational terrorist operations at Salman Pak after 1991.'"
- While post-war information supports the Intelligence Community's assessment that al-Zarqawi, using an alias, was in Baghdad in 2002, "Postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi." Post-war information indicates that Saddam Hussein "considered al-Zarqawi an outlaw."
- "Ansar al-Islam operated in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Iraq, an area that Baghdad had not controlled since 1991.... Postwar information reveals that Baghdad viewed Ansar al-Islam as a threat to the regime and that the IIS attempted to collect intelligence on the group."
- "Postwar information supports prewar Intelligence Community assessments that there was no credible information that Iraq was complicit in the September 11 attacks or any other al-Qa'ida strike." No meeting in Prague between Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmed al-Ani and Muhammed Atta occurred. "Postwar debriefings of al-Ani indicate he had never seen nor heard of Atta until after September 11, 2001, when Atta's face appeared in the news."
- "No postwar information indicates that Iraq intended to use al-Qa'ida or any other terrorist group to strike the United States homeland before or during Operation Iraqi Freedom" (the U.S. invasion).
- "While document exploitation continues, additional reviews of documents recovered in Iraq are unlikely to provide additional information that would contradict the Committee's finding or conclusions."