« Let's Keep the British Protests in Perspective | Main | UN Buggers Out -- Again »
One of the constant themes of the anti-war media blitz was that Osama and Saddam were enemies due to Saddam's secularism (or skin-deep Islamism prior to the first Gulf War) and Osama's fanatical Islamist beliefs. Osama, they said, could not abide a secularist such as Saddam and probably was working against him. Believers in this meme -- and there were many -- argued that an American war that deposed Saddam benefited al-Qaeda rather than hinder it. Cynical essays were published during the brief war that had Osama celebrating the Americans doing his dirty work in Iraq.
However, reality was somewhat different, as even the Clinton administration knew well before the embassy bombings of 1998. After those bombings, Janet Reno's Justice Department indicted Osama bin Laden for both bombings and for conspiring to kill Americans:
According to the indictment, bin Laden and al Qaeda forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in Sudan and with representatives of the Government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah with the goal of working together against their common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.
"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," the indictment said. [USIA press release, 11/4/98]
That substantiates this part of the Feith memo, as has been discussed at length around the blogosphere:
5. A CIA report from a contact with good access, some of whose reporting has been corroborated, said that certain elements in the "Islamic Army" of bin Laden were against the secular regime of Saddam. Overriding the internal factional strife that was developing, bin Laden came to an "understanding" with Saddam that the Islamic Army would no longer support anti-Saddam activities. According to sensitive reporting released in U.S. court documents during the African Embassy trial, in 1993 bin Laden reached an "understanding" with Saddam under which he (bin Laden) forbade al Qaeda operations to be mounted against the Iraqi leader.
This agreement did not just comprise a non-aggression pact between Osama and Saddam; it was the basis of a working relationship, allowing al-Qaeda safe harbor from which to plot attacks against American and Western targets:
8. Reporting from a well placed source disclosed that bin Laden was receiving training on bomb making from the IIS's [Iraqi Intelligence Service] principal technical expert on making sophisticated explosives, Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed. Brigadier Salim was observed at bin Laden's farm in Khartoum in Sept.-Oct. 1995 and again in July 1996, in the company of the Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti.
Remember that this section of the Feith memo does not detail newly-discovered intelligence on the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Saddam regime; this was known to the Clinton administration, and presumably to the Senate Intelligence Committee, at least as far back as 1998. Why, then, have the Democrats been insisting that there was no evidence of a link between al-Qaeda, Osama, and Saddam Hussein? According to evidence available to the Clinton administration and the Senate, they knew about the link from multiple sources. In this light, the Rockefeller memo of the past month is particularly reprehensible, as is the public statements of most Democratic presidential candidates, excepting Lieberman and Gephardt.
More tomorrow. And if you're blogging on this memo daily in response to Andrew Sullivan's challenge to the blogosphere, please send a trackback ping so I can liink your posts on my site, or leave a comment with the URL of your post.
UPDATE: Power Line links to a Washington Post article and an Andrew Sullivan critique of it. The article is off-line at the moment, but here's a quote that states the thinking of the reporter, Walter Pincus:
The classified annex summarized raw intelligence reports but did not analyze them or address their accuracy, according to a senior administration official familiar with the matter.
That's a pretty lame excuse for burying the story -- just the two paragraphs I quote today mention "a well placed source" and "a contact with good access, some of whose reporting has been corroborated". That both analyzes them and addresses their accuracy. The entire Feith memo has numerous such passages. And, let's remember, that the correlation was strong enough for Justice in '98 to claim the exact same correlation as discussed in my post. This is why the blogosphere needs to stay on top of this story.
Jon at QandO has more on the WaPo article; he notes that Pincus' attitude towards investigative journalism seems a bit suspect.Sphere It View blog reactions
TrackBack URL for this entry is
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Challenge, Chapter 2: Osama's Peace with Saddam:
Tracked on November 18, 2003 6:31 AM
» Al Qaeda Connections? -- Check from Oscar Jr. Was Here
According to Kathryn Jean Lopez on The Corner, Stephen F. Hayes will be reporting some big news as soon as the Weekly Standard's site is back up. Excerpt from the article: But there can no longer be any serious argument... [Read More]
Tracked on November 18, 2003 8:27 AM
» Case Closed, the Story that Must Not Die (UPDATED) from The Young Curmudgeon
It's time for a full-on media war, and the stakes are as high as they could possibly be. The Weekly Standard has published a piece by Stephen F. Hayes, aptly titled "Case Closed". The piece is based on "a top [Read More]
Tracked on November 18, 2003 11:27 AM
Tracked on March 30, 2006 2:49 AM
Tracked on March 30, 2006 2:51 AM
Tracked on March 30, 2006 2:51 AM
My Other Blog!
Comment Moderation Policy - Please Read!
Skin The Site
Des Moines Register
International Herald Tribune
The Weekly Standard
The New Republic
AP News (Yahoo! Headlines)
Guardian Unlimited (UK)
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
- dave on Another National Health Care System Horror Story
- brooklyn on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- rbj on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- Robin S on Requiem For A Betrayed Hero
- Ken on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- Robin S. on Requiem For A Betrayed Hero
- RBMN on Hillary Not Hsu Happy
- NoDonkey on Another National Health Care System Horror Story
- Robin Munn on Fred Thompson Interview Transcript
- filistro on When Exactly Did Art Die?
Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!