The Truth On The Iraq/al-Qaeda Connections

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This latest MSM piece is just one more in a long line of half truths and misinformation on the connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda. 

Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides "all confirmed" that Hussein’s regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday.

The declassified version of the report, by acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble, also contains new details about the intelligence community’s prewar consensus that the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda figures had only limited contacts, and about its judgments that reports of deeper links were based on dubious or unconfirmed information. The report had been released in summary form in February.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), who requested the report’s declassification, said in a written statement that the complete text demonstrates more fully why the inspector general concluded that a key Pentagon office — run by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith — had inappropriately written intelligence assessments before the March 2003 invasion alleging connections between al-Qaeda and Iraq that the U.S. intelligence consensus disputed.

Of course the IG report does not state why the intelligence assessment was "inappropiate" if the activity broke no laws and violated no policies.  What is so inappropriate about having different agencies developing different analysis reports on intelligence?  Isn’t alternative viewpoints a very important tool in developing a consensus?

Be that it may lets get into some facts about the very real connections between al-Qaeda and Iraq.  While I agree with all the intelligence agencies that Saddam most likely did not have a very strong operational connection with the group nor was he involved in 9/11 (at this point, more evidence may come up which does in fact tie the two together) I do not agree with most of the left leaning think tanks, MSM outfits and blogs that there was NO connections.

I’ve asked Scott Malensek to do a rebuttal on this WaPo article which he will try to do tonight.  He emailed me a few minutes ago with this:

Simply put, there was no pre-war CIA investigation into ties that made any conclusions that there were either ties or not ties.  There was no post-war CIA investigation at all.  Moreover, the WaPo piece ignores the ties that the ISG report DOES cite (like Saddam training AQ, using Abu Nidal and ANO as intermediary to AQ, and more).  That WaPo piece is a full-on partisan hard-on that cherry picks a report, makes assumptions and claims where none are in the report, and makes deliberately false statements contrary to the facts/intel in the report.  Man, such a huge subject…so many things to contradict, so little time and space.

Amen.  There is just a TON of evidence and facts to point out that any post on this matter would take up hundreds of pages.  Just take a look at my Iraq/Al-Qaeda category, lots of pages there.

Of course this editorial at the WaPo calls all this evidence "delusional"

Here are a few examples of intelligence that taken as a whole (along with my many other posts on the subject, the book The Connection, the released Saddam documents, Ray Robisons new book, and Scott Malensek 124 page rebuttal to the IG report along with his book (under the pen-name Sam Pender) Saddam’s ties to al-Qaeda) point to a definite connection.

First lets start with a Stephen Hayes article:

Indeed, more than two years after the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was ousted, there is much we do not know about the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. We do know, however, that there was one. We know about this relationship not from Bush administration assertions but from internal Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) documents recovered in Iraq after the war–documents that have been authenticated by a U.S. intelligence community long hostile to the very idea that any such relationship exists.

We know from these IIS documents that beginning in 1992 the former Iraqi regime regarded bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence asset. We know from IIS documents that the former Iraqi regime provided safe haven and financial support to an Iraqi who has admitted to mixing the chemicals for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. We know from IIS documents that Saddam Hussein agreed to Osama bin Laden’s request to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda on Iraqi state-run television. We know from IIS documents that a "trusted confidante" of bin Laden stayed for more than two weeks at a posh Baghdad hotel as the guest of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

We have been told by Hudayfa Azzam, the son of bin Laden’s longtime mentor Abdullah Azzam, that Saddam Hussein welcomed young al Qaeda members "with open arms" before the war, that they "entered Iraq in large numbers, setting up an organization to confront the occupation," and that the regime "strictly and directly" controlled their activities. We have been told by Jordan’s King Abdullah that his government knew Abu Musab al Zarqawi was in Iraq before the war and requested that the former Iraqi regime deport him. We have been told by Time magazine that confidential documents from Zarqawi’s group, recovered in recent raids, indicate other jihadists had joined him in Baghdad before the Hussein regime fell. We have been told by one of those jihadists that he was with Zarqawi in Baghdad before the war. We have been told by Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi prime minister and a longtime CIA source, that other Iraqi Intelligence documents indicate bin Laden’s top deputy was in Iraq for a jihadist conference in September 1999.

How about Ahmed Hikmat Shakir?  Who is he?  Well take a look at my post on him from two years ago:

Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, a 37 year old Iraqi citizen, was a greeter at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia in August 2000 (I know, sounds kinda like wal-mart but apparently greeters are quite common in Southeast Asia). How was he hired to be a greeter? Ahmed had told associates that he had been hired by contact’s in the Iraqi embassy. What’s unusual is that it was this contact, not his employer, who told him when and where to report to.

In late December of 1999 the CIA, NSA and The State Department all received intelligence that indicated there would be a Al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in early January of 2000. The NSA had intercepted communications from those tied to the 1998 Kenya/Tanzania embassy bombings. The information was incomplete but did contain the names of three people, Khalid, Nawaf, and Salem.

The CIA and Malaysian intelligence set up a joint operation to track the meeting. They got many photographs of the principals arriving. Principals such as Khalid al Mihdhar (A known al-Qaeda associate), Nawaf al Hazmi, Yazid Sufaat (another known al-Qaeda associate) and Ramzi bin al Shibh. An interesting note about Ramzi, he would later brag to be the "coordinator of the holy tuesday operation" (9/11).

Ahmed was told to work the day these guys showed up. After greeting these fine folks Ahmed didn’t go back to work but left with them to the meeting. The meeting ended on Jan 8th and Ahmed quit on the 10th.

The purpose of this meeting? The planning of attack on the USS Cole and 9/11. Malaysian and American intelligence bear this out. Don’t believe it? Then guess who was on flight 77 on 9/11? Nawaf al Hazmi, his brother Salem and Khalid al Mihdhar…that’s right, the same folks photographed upon their arrival for the above meeting.

On Sept 17th, 2001 authorities in Qatar arrested Ahmed and found a huge amount of information on high level terrorists with strong ties to al-Qaeda and indirect links to Iraq.

Among his contacts? Zahid Sheikh Mohammed, the brother of 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Musab Yasin, the brother of the 93 WTC bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin. Interestingly Musab was harbored by Iraq for a decade after the 93 bombing.

Want more? When he was arrested he had the telephone number for Mamdouh Mahmud Salim. The number was to the desk of Taba Investments, one of the best known front companies used by Osama Bin Laden.

So you have a known Iraqi citizen being paid by the Iraqi embassy in Kuala Lumpur, attending a meeting by known al-Qaeda members, some of whom later turn up on one of the planes on 9/11. After 9/11 he is arrested and found to have information on some high level al-Qaeda contacts who have direct links with Iraq. Add all this up and what does it tell ya? Maybe Iraq had links with al-Qaeda after all.

How about the fact that Saddam Hussein supported Syrian religious extremists in their efforts to overthrow Syrian leader Hafez al Assad. In 1982 Assad brutally put down this rebellion at which point the extremists, who had formed the group Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, scattered. Some went to Iraq where they trained with Iraqis at the al Rashdiya camp outside Baghdad.

One of the Syrians who spent time at the camps was Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas who would later become the leader of al-Qaeda’s operations in Spain. He stayed in Iraq until 1986.

Yarkas was captured in Madrid in November 2001, along with papers that included a invitation to a party at the residence of the Iraqi ambassador to Spain. The invitation was addressed to Luis Galan Gonzales (a known al-Qaeda associate who took the muslim name Yusaf Galan.

It also turns out Yarkas was the roommate of lead hijacker Mohamed Atta in Germany (must be a coincidence tho huh?). Since then intelligence departments around the world have found that many leaders of the al-Qaeda cells in Madrid and Hamburg, the cells that executed 9/11, were onetime Syrian Muslim Brotherhood members.

On May 5th, 1998 Iraqi state-run tv reported that vice president Taha yasin Ramadan met with leaders of the SMB in Baghdad.

What does Saddam’s relationship with SMB show us, not only that he was not hostile to Islamic Radicals as suggested by many in the left, but openly welcomed them.

How about the fact that on January 19th, 1991, Ahmed J. Ahmed and Abdul Kadham Saad, two Iraqi students living in the Philippines, attempted to detonate a bomb at a US government building. The consul general at the Iraqi embassy in Manila (Muwufak al-Ani) met with the two bombers at least 5 times in the days leading up to the attack, they even used his car to deliver the bombers to within a few blocks of their target. The bomb was accidently detonated one block short of their target when they went to check it. Saad survived the blast, badly burnt, and at the hospital he directed the nurses to notify the Iraqi embassy and recited the embassy’s number. Muwufak’s business card was found in his pocket.

Think that may point to Saddam actively supporting terrorists?

Many of Saddam’s documents also contain evidence of the link such as this one from the late 90’s:

B. An approval to meet with opposer Osama bin Laden by the Intelligence Services was given by the Honorable Presidency in its letter 138, dated January 11, 1995 (attachment 6). He [bin Laden] was met by the previous general director of M4 in Sudan and in the presence of the Sudanese, Ibrahim al-Sanusi, on February 19, 1995. We discussed with him his organization. He requested the broadcast of the speeches of Sheikh Sulayman al-Uda (who has influence within Saudi Arabia and outside due to being a well known religious and influential personality) and to designate a program for them through the broadcast directed inside Iraq, and to perform joint operations against the foreign forces in the land of Hijaz. (The Honorable Presidency was informed of the details of the meeting in our letter 370 on March 4, 1995, attachment 7.)


D. Due to the latest conditions in Sudan and accusing her harboring of supporting and harboring terrorism it was agreed with the opposition person the Saudi Osama Bin Laden to leave Sudan to another place where he left Khartoom in the month of July 1996 and the information indicate that he is Afghanistan at the present moment. There is stil relation with him through the Sudanese side and we work in the present moment to activate this relation with him through a new channel in light of the current place where he stays.

[…]The approval of the Honorable Presidency was granted to meet with the opposition person Osama Bin Laden by the Apparatus

[…]a discussion occurred about his organization, and he requested the broadcasting of Sheikh Sleiman AL Awada (who has influence in Saudia and outside since he is a known and influential religious personality) and dedicate a program for them through the station directed inside the country and make joint operations against the forces of infidels in the land of Hijaz

How about Saddam’s ten years of harboring of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin?

Or the Clinton administration’s top counter-terrorism official, Richard Clarke’s, assertions that Saddam had offered bin Laden asylum after the embassy bombings, and Clarke’s memo to Sandy Berger advising him not to fly U-2 missions against bin Laden in Afghanistan because he might be tipped off by Pakistani Intelligence?  From the 9/11 Commission report:

It would require Pakistani approval, he wrote; and “Pak[istan’s] intel[ligence service] is in bed with” Bin Ladin and would warn him that the United States was getting ready for a bombing campaign: “Armed with that knowledge, old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad.”

How about the fact that high-ranking Clinton administration officials insisted to the 9/11 Commission that the 1998 strikes against a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory was justified because the factory was a chemical weapons facility tied to Iraq and bin Laden?

Finally, but not last by any long shot, we have the Clinton Justice Department’s indictment against bin Laden

In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

Want more?  Scott’s piece tonight will detail much more I’m sure.  Or check out my Iraq/Al-Qaeda category, or Scott’s rebuttal to the IG report and his many books on the subject, or Ray Robisons new book (in ebook format at the moment) which details many more connections. 

The evidence is staggering, except to our MSM outfits and the lefties in this country who wish to keep their heads in the sand.  All in the name of politics.

The truth be damned.




A reader has pointed out to me that the indictment against Osama by the Clinton Administration was updated with the state sponsorship segment retracted.  I asked the resident expert on this subject Scott Malensek to add his thoughts on this:

Scott Malensek adds:

Yes, it was in fact updated, and the section 4 that described UBL/AQ ties was removed by (drum roll) Patrick Fitzgerald…the same guy who went on a witch hunt for Rove, Cheney, and wound up with Scooter Libby.  HOWEVER(!!!!), far more detailed and confirmed descriptions of the IIS (Saddam’s intel service) working directly with Al Queda (including and specifically on the USS Cole attack) was included in the civil case against Iraq re the wtc attacks and more.  That case was a success.  Additionally, I believe (though I haven’t gotten the docs to confirm it yet) that the recent case in Virginia about the Sudan being partially responsible for the Cole, includes information about how AQ got the Russian RDX to Yemen via Sudan, and that it came from Iraq to Sudan.  That case went something like this: 

Russian RDX (confirmed by FBI dir Freeh in his book, MY FBI pg 282) was used in USS Cole attack. (unconfirmed)

Reports in Russian media, History Channel, and a few others suggest that this RDX was sold to Iraq, then shipped to Iraq’s only ally in 1990+…Sudan.  Sudan then used diplomatic "pouch" clearances to get RDX to Yemen, and in Yemen, Iraqi IIS bombmakers helped develop the largest shaped charge ever built (per History Channel). 

They put it on a boat, it sank. 

SO, the terrorists got out the explosives, tested some in Afghanistan, came back, rebuilt the bomb, and hit the Cole with it. 

I never got the chance to confirm it, but I think some of the captured Iraq docs show Iraqis in Afghanistan purely coincidentally of course at this same moment in 2000.
SO, there’s court stuff saying that AQ/Iraq were in cahoots in several civil trials-often won, but the indictment of UBL was updated to remove the part about working together. 


Same as in my article-no intelligence was being gathered on AQ and no intelligence was being gathered on Iraq from 98-01.  This is exactly why I put so much emphasis on the last intel gathered on either (which happens to be in 98).  The link it my latest post shows that before Clinton and Bush blew off monitoring AQ and monitoring Iraq, the last thing on either was that they were working directly together.  Coincidentally of course, the 911 plot was set in motion within days of those reports…reports confirmed by KSM’s testimony in interrogations as cited by 911 Comm, his testimony to Moussaoui trial, and his gitmo testimony.

Other’s Blogging:

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

8 Responses to “The Truth On The Iraq/al-Qaeda Connections”

  1. 1


    What is so inappropriate about having different agencies developing different analysis reports on intelligence? Isn’t alternative viewpoints a very important tool in developing a consensus?

    I’d like to add this transcript of Hugh Hewitt’s interview with Douglas Feith, who deserves defending:

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007
    Douglas Feith On The CIA, The WMD, And The Information War
    Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 8:30 PM

    Here is the transcript of my interview with former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. The audio will be posted here later. Some key excerpts:

    HH: Do you believe, as opposed to your staff, that the CIA was filtering its own intelligence, Mr. Feith?

    DF: Yes, I think that there were people, there were people in the CIA who had a theory that the Baathist secularists would not cooperate with the religious extremists in al Qaeda. And because they had that theory, when they looked at information that was, that showed, or that suggested that there was cooperation, they were inclined not to believe that information. And so what they were doing is they were preparing reports about the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship in the year 2002, that were either excluding altogether, or downplaying older intelligence reports that suggested that there were contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda.

    HH: Are those people still in the CIA?

    DF: One of the main people who was propounding that theory about…that the Baathists wouldn’t deal with the jihadists is now out in the private sector, and he’s actually been quite vocal, and has written articles, and his name is Paul Pillar. He’s also at Georgetown with me, in fact. But there are other people, I assume, I don’t know all the personnel at the CIA, but I’m sure there are other people who retained that view.


    HH: Now there has been for some time speculation that there is a war against the war inside of the CIA. Is that fair?

    DF: Well, we know now quite clearly from people who were in the CIA at the time, and who have since left, and have written books and articles, and given interviews, that there were a substantial number of people, including some analysts at very high levels, who were fundamentally at odds with the President’s policy. And that’s…I mean, that’s okay in principle, as long as they are doing professional work. The problem is that some of these people, I think very unprofessionally, were leaking stories, making allegations, one of the standard techniques is using former intelligence officials as a vehicle for leaking stories about what’s going on within the administration, and a lot of those stories that came out were very harmful, very false, and have had a lasting effect in hurting the President.

    HH: Is Joseph Wilson’s trip to Niger one of those instances of the CIA using off the chart tactics to undermine the case for the war and the case for seriousness concerning Saddam?

    DF: I’m not an expert on all the facts of that, but it sounds right.


    HH: And Mr. Feith, looking back, knowing what we know now, do you still believe the decision to invade Iraq was a good one?

    DF: Well, I think that the President made a completely responsible decision when he evaluated the dangers that Saddam posed to the United States. And the whole history of Iraq’s hostility and aggression and working with various terrorist groups, and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and use of weapons of mass destruction over the years, and he looked at all the risks of leaving Saddam in power, I think he made the right decision that while it was obviously, and as Secretary Rumsfeld helped point out, very risky to remove Saddam from power, it was enormously risky to leave him in power. And I think the President made a sound judgment in deciding to remove him.

    HH: And knowing what we know now, would you still recommend that he make that same decision looking back?

    DF: Yes, I would. I think that, you know, you’re always wiser in retrospect. There are things in the process that could have been done better, and we’ve learned a lot, one always learns a lot when one has a major activity of this kind.


    HH: Professor Feith, do you believe he had WMD and got rid of them?

    DF: Well, we know he had WMD, because he used WMD.

    HH: No, I mean prior to the invasion, say 2001-2003.

    DF: I don’t know, I don’t know precisely what he did, or when…nobody’s ever ascertained that. What we do know is he had the WMD at one point. We know that we didn’t find it. We don’t know how we got from the one place to the other. I think nobody knows that yet. It’s never been ascertained. Nobody has ever established that he destroyed it. Nobody has ever established whether he transferred it or hid it. All we know is that we couldn’t find the stockpiles that the CIA thought he had. By the way, the fact that the CIA got that wrong is a sign of why it makes sense for policy officials to do the kind of challenging of intelligence that my office did, for which the Inspector General, I think completely wrong-headedly, criticized us.


    HH: All right. I understand that completely. In conclusion, Mr. Feith, when I had the Secretary on, Secretary Rumsfeld, I asked him, oh, a year ago, how come the American government is so flat-footed in the information war, in using new media. A) do you share my assessment that we are flat-footed, and B) why is that? Did you ever sit around with Dr. Wolfowitz and Secretary Rumsfeld, and say we’ve got to figure out how to teach the world and our people about what this war’s about, because I didn’t see that happening.

    DF: Well, the answer is yes, we did sit around on many occasions, raising that question almost in the very same words that you just raised it in. And it is, it is…it’s a mystery to me, to tell you the truth, that this administration has been as ineffective as it has been in its so-called strategic communications, or public diplomacy. It’s…I can’t quite figure it out, because it has a lot of very talented people who managed to run an extremely successful presidential reelection campaign, and yet when it comes to, as you say, getting the story out, explaining its strategy, explaining what it’s doing and why, it’s been, I think, far inferior to its critics.

    HH: My last question, really last question. Is there, in your opinion, do the American people understand the level of threat posed to us by our double enemy, Shia radicalism and Sunni radicalism? Do they really get the threat?

    DF: I think that the answer is no, and I think that there’s a paradox working here, and that is after the 9/11 attack, I think there was a very…an obviously heightened sense of risk throughout the country. And at that point, I think a lot of people were focused on the threats that you’re talking about of jihadist violence, Sunni and Shia. And what happened was the administration responded very vigorously, in a completely new way, saying that we’re going to fight this not as a law enforcement matter but as a war. And I think at least in part because of that, I think the administration deserves some credit here. There has not been another 9/11 scale attack in the United States for the last five and a half years. Now I think most serious people believe we’re going to get hit again at some point, but I think it is to the credit of the administration’s strategy that we’ve managed to get five and a half years after 9/11 without another major attack of that kind. And the paradox is that the success that the administration has had in helping prevent the additional attack has led a lot of people to say maybe the whole threat isn’t that serious. And I mean, it’s kind of just in the nature of things that if you succeed in fighting the threat, you’ll have people who deny that it existed to begin with.

  2. 2

    Indigo Red

    The modern prolem with the evidence presented is that it is couched in old fashioned circumstantial evidentiary words – …no direct connection…, …evidence points to…, etc.

    People today want CSI evidence, they want OBL DNA on SH cuttlery, Saddam footprint with distinctive shoe sole pattern in OBL’s cave. No one wants to hear about al-Qaida underlings posing as businessmen attending a conference at a Ba’athist demolitions training camp – there are too many alternative narratives for their attendance.

    Got di-oxynucleic acid?

  3. 3

    Indigo Red

    The modern prolem with the evidence presented is that it is couched in old fashioned circumstantial evidentiary words – …no direct connection…, …evidence points to…, etc.

    People today want CSI evidence, they want OBL DNA on SH cuttlery, Saddam footprint with distinctive shoe sole pattern in OBL’s cave. No one wants to hear about al-Qaida underlings posing as businessmen attending a conference at a Ba’athist demolitions training camp – there are too many alternative narratives for their attendance.

    Got di-oxynucleic acid?

  4. 4


    Nice post Curt. You know what I think of this topic and the “reporters” who cover this. Their knowledge or lack thereof on this topic and writing on it are nothing short of utterly perverse.

  5. 5


    I’ve said pretty much the same thing Indigo. But you could find Saddam’s fingerprints on the car that dropped off the 9/11 hijackers at the airport and his picture on the security camera and there would still be deniers out there who say he had no connection to Al Queda.

    The lefties have so successfully put out selective information that the common perception is that there is no link between Al Queda and Saddam.

    No matter what the unanimous Senate Intell or 9/11 Commission reports DO show about the connection, it gets twisted to suit the political ends of Democrats in denial.

    And there are so many other good reasons for fighting the central front in the WAR ON TERROR in Iraq that Democrats would just rather not talk about.

    So they dismiss Iraq as important altogether.

    Easier to maintain denial and delusion and wrap themselves in anti-Bush prejudice than face the reality of this global war.

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