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Secret memo linking Saddam and al-Qaida

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted November 17, 2003

It's been terribly discouraging to hear the liberal pundits and Democratic politicos continue to spout the lie that there has never been a substantive link between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaida terror organization. What gobbledygook! On the contrary, there has been considerable evidence in the public domain, from Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5, 2003 UN speech (citing al-Qaida agent Abu Mussab al Zarqawi's ties with the Ansar-al-Islam group), to crucial analysis from Bill Clinton's own Iraq expert, Dr. Laurie Mylroie.

Thankfully, the majority of Americans have rejected the ranting of the liberals on this matter, as evidenced by opinion polling. The long and short of it is that the Left-leaning elites must be prepared to have their stilted views challenged by the political right. Journalist Stephen Hayes' November 24th article for the Weekly Standard is poised to alter the political landscape on this hot topic of the Saddam/Osama connection. Unfortunately, Hayes is now in the mist of some controversy himself.

Another week, another leaked memo that the Department of Defense is none too thrilled about, noting "Individuals who leak or purport to leak classified information are doing serious harm to national security -- such activity is deplorable and may be illegal." That's unquestionably a shot across the bow to author Hayes and any other journalist willing to release information from a secret document. Moreover, the DOD underscores that the memo (which is the basis of Hayes' November 24th article), contains "raw reports or products of the CIA, the NSA, or, in one case, the DIA."

Only limited analysis had been conducted on the raw intel, which certainly is open to interpretation by others. That doesn't represent a significant quandary, given that people will always debate the implications of available data. The real rub is this: If Hayes compromised intelligence sources and methods by the leak, then it is problematic for intelligence gatherers. And, if he has broken the law, well he'll have to pay the price. However, we might just have to take the Pentagon's strongly worded press release with a grain of salt. It's fairly obvious that Hayes received the document pursuant to high level authorization. In any event, time will tell the extent of fallout on this matter.

That said, Hayes managed to get hold of a salient, classified 16 page memo that delineates Saddam's history of notable ties with al-Qaida. The memo was written by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration", according to Hayes. Moreover, if the Democrats on the committee had access to all this information, it demonstrates their rank partisanship for assailing Republicans who rightfully referenced a Saddam/Osama connection.

The Hayes article makes it clear that Saddam Hussein had been up-to-his-eyeballs in al-Qaida activities during the dozen or so years leading up to the current Iraq War. Iraq provided weapons training and safe haven for terrorists, in addition to financial support for al-Qaida. Moreover, with guerrilla warfare now underway, it doesn't take much to extrapolate that Saddam's loyalists are still collaborating with al-Qaida in efforts to besiege our troops in Iraq.

Hayes quotes liberally from the classified memo. What the document details, via fifty numbered points, are numerous meetings between Saddam's regime and al-Qaida, and sundry tidbits, as illustrated in these three segments:

"10. The Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti, met privately with bin Laden at his farm in Sudan in July 1996. Tikriti used an Iraqi delegation traveling to Khartoum to discuss bilateral cooperation as his "cover" for his own entry into Sudan to meet with bin Laden and Hassan al-Turabi. The Iraqi intelligence chief and two other IIS officers met at bin Laden's farm and discussed bin Laden's request for IIS technical assistance in: a) making letter and parcel bombs; b) making bombs which could be placed on aircraft and detonated by changes in barometric pressure; and c) making false passport [sic]. Bin Laden specifically requested that [Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed], Iraqi intelligence's premier explosives maker--especially skilled in making car bombs--remain with him in Sudan. The Iraqi intelligence chief instructed Salim to remain in Sudan with bin Laden as long as required."

"16. According to CIA reporting, bin Laden and Zawahiri met with two Iraqi intelligence officers in Afghanistan in Dec. 1998."

"17. . . . Iraq sent an intelligence officer to Afghanistan to seek closer ties to bin Laden and the Taliban in late 1998. The source reported that the Iraqi regime was trying to broaden its cooperation with al Qaeda. Iraq was looking to recruit Muslim "elements" to sabotage U.S. and U.K. interests. After a senior Iraqi intelligence officer met with Taliban leader [Mullah] Omar, arrangements were made for a series of meetings between the Iraqi intelligence officer and bin Laden in Pakistan. The source noted Faruq Hijazi was in Afghanistan in late 1998."

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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