Thursday, June 17, 2004

al-Qaeda's friends at the 9-11 Commission

The 9-11 Commission has been a farce and continues its idiocy. Yesterday it released a staff report that included this whopper:

Bin Laden also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan . . . The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Laden to cease this support [for a free Kurdistan] and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.

Connect those three premises with the conclusion. Do they fit? Do the adamant denials by bin Laden's lackeys constitute credible evidence? Why did the Commission report COMPLETELY IGNORE the 1998 indictment of bin Laden that the US Government filed (and which has never been retracted) wherein the Government says: ". . . 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." And even if the premises fit with the conclusion, does that mean that: (a) there was no such connection as the media has said; (b) more investigation is unnecessary, especially in light of the Commission's admission that it does not know if al-Qaeda had involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing that WAS instigated by Iraq?

Then, there is this information from former CIA head George Tenet in 2002:

Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank. We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade. Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression. Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad. We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs. Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

There's even more that the 9-11 Commission staff ignored. As usual, the great Andy McCarthy has the full rundown.

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