« La Fonda: The No-Lose Scenario | Main | Iran Thumbs Its Nose »
The New York Times, less than a week after demanding apologies from George Bush and Dick Cheney for supposedly misleading Americans on ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, publishes a report detailing even more ties and evidence of collaboration between Saddam and bin Laden (via Power Line):
Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990's were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq.
American officials described the document as an internal report by the Iraqi intelligence service detailing efforts to seek cooperation with several Saudi opposition groups, including Mr. bin Laden's organization, before Al Qaeda had become a full-fledged terrorist organization. He was based in Sudan from 1992 to 1996, when that country forced him to leave and he took refuge in Afghanistan. ...
At the time of the contacts described in the Iraqi document, Mr. bin Laden was little known beyond the world of national security experts. It is now thought that his associates bombed a hotel in Yemen used by American troops bound for Somalia in 1992. Intelligence officials also believe he played a role in training Somali fighters who battled Army Rangers and Special Operations forces in Mogadishu during the "Black Hawk Down" battle of 1993.
Note the contradiction in those final two passages above. Ten paragraphs separate those last two, and the latter utterly negates the former. The Times wants to eat its cake and have it, too; if bin Laden's "associates" bombed Yemeni hotels in 1992 and took part in Mogadishu, then they had already become a terrorist group, and Saddam's contacts with them prove the Administration's point.
The Times also makes an effort to muddy up the timeline in order to make bin Laden's status as a terrorist more ambiguous at the time of the contacts. In paragraphs 14-16, reporter Thom Shanker writes:
The document details a time before any of the spectacular anti-American terrorist strikes attributed to Al Qaeda: the two American Embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998, the strike on the destroyer Cole in Yemeni waters in 2000, and the Sept. 11 attacks.
The document, which asserts that Mr. bin Laden "was approached by our side," states that Mr. bin Laden previously "had some reservations about being labeled an Iraqi operative," but was now willing to meet in Sudan, and that "presidential approval" was granted to the Iraqi security service to proceed.
At the meeting, Mr. bin Laden requested that sermons of an anti-Saudi cleric be rebroadcast in Iraq. That request, the document states, was approved by Baghdad.
Shanker says that this meeting took place before any of the "spectacular" attacks on American assets, an important and misleading qualification, which I'll explain momentarily. Shanker then reports that the meeting was initiated by the Iraqis, with "presidential approval" -- meaning Saddam himself initiated the talks with bin Laden. At that meeting, the Iraqis agreed to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda from Iraq.
Does that not sound like collaboration to you?
The impression you get from Shanker is that this meeting took place in the short period of time between Saddam's defeat in 1991 at the hands of the American-led coalition and the point in 1992 when bin Laden conducted bombings in Yemen and got involved in Somalian efforts against the US in 1993. Shanker reveals only in the last two paragraphs that the Iraqis reached out to bin Laden in 1994 and met with him in 1994 and February 1995.
Before then, however, the Times notes that bin Laden requested coordination on attacks against foreign forces in Saudi Arabia -- American forces -- and that there is "no indication" that the Iraqis agreed to the proposal. Apparently, there is no indication they refused, either; otherwise, the Times would have trumpeted that in the lead paragraph. However, in 1999, Saddam felt close enough to bin Laden, a man that the Times has maintained considered Hussein an infidel unworthy of association, to offer him asylum in the face of American opposition, according to this CNN report from February 1999.
So we have evidence that Saddam himself approved approaching bin Laden and his terrorist organization -- not the other way around, as some have reported -- and agreed to collaborate on propaganda designed to create unrest in Saudi Arabia. At least two meetings between the IIS and al-Qaeda took place in the Sudan, where discussion of the means of conducting attacks on American assets in the region took place and specific proposals for such brought back to Baghdad. While these efforts took place before most civilians had heard of Osama and al-Qaeda, security experts certainly knew that AQ was a terrorist organization responsible for attacks on Americans, and Saddam sought OBL out specifically for that reason.
Under these circumstances, not only would it be reasonable to conclude that Saddam and al-Qaeda had a collaborative relationship, but that the more pressure the West put on Saddam to knuckle under, the more likely that collaboration would blossom into proxy attacks on the US and its allies. With the vast fortune and resources of Saddam supporting al-Qaeda, reasonable and prudent people would conclude that resolving the twelve-year quagmire in Iraq had to be a top priority after Afghanistan.
The Times makes this curious statement a few paragraphs into the story:
The new document, which appears to have circulated only since April, was provided to The New York Times several weeks ago, before the commission's report was released. Since obtaining the document, The Times has interviewed several military, intelligence and United States government officials in Washington and Baghdad to determine that the government considered it authentic.
So the Times has had in its possession a document that details contacts and collaboration which it determined that the government found authentic, and still editorialized about the purported dishonesty of Bush and Cheney? Obviously, someone's being dishonest, but more and more it looks like the supposed defenders of truth at the Gray Lady.
UPDATE: Brant at SWLiP also notices the hypocrisies in the Times article:
The whole article is in this same vein of wanting desperately to bury one's head in the sand. The writer makes no effort to account for a number of contradictions. For example, there's this oddity early in the piece:American officials described the document as an internal report by the Iraqi intelligence service detailing efforts to seek cooperation with several Saudi opposition groups, including Mr. bin Laden's organization, before Al Qaeda had become a full-fledged terrorist organization.
But the article also asserts that the first key meeting occurred in 1994, which was after the first WTC bombing. Wasn't Al Qaeda involved in the first WTC bombing, and wasn't one of the bombers given safe haven in Iraq?
And the article notes, without a trace of irony:The document details a time before any of the spectacular anti-American terrorist strikes attributed to Al Qaeda: the two American Embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998, the strike on the destroyer Cole in Yemeni waters in 2000, and the Sept. 11 attacks.
I suppose that the writer meant for us to draw the conclusion that, since these contacts occurred in an age of relative innocence (during Clinton's first term, actually -- why hasn't the Left come up with a theory that Bin Laden only went "bad" after the Republican takeover of Congress?). But a more sensible conclusion is that these contacts marked the early stages of a collaboration.
It depends on the definition of sensible. If one's ultimate motivation is truth, then Brant is correct. If one's ultimate motivation is to commit libel in order to keep Bush from being elected, you get the Times' article.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! I've also cross-posted this at Oh, That Liberal Media. Be sure to bookmark and/or blogroll both of our sites.Sphere It View blog reactions
TrackBack URL for this entry is
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Even The NY Times Finds Collaboration, But Hides It From Its Readers:
» The Times Finds What It Said Didn't Exist from Jay Reding.com
Captain's Quarters finds that The New York Times has found yet another link between Iraq and al-Qaeda – the very thing they said didn't exist: Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-199... [Read More]
Tracked on June 25, 2004 8:39 AM
» Smoke Doesn't Always Mean Fire from pennywit.com
How deep was collaboration between al-Qaida and Iraq prior to 9/11?
That particular question has bedeviled proponents of the U.S. invasion of Iraq since the beginning. Those opposed to the war (myself among them) saw no evidence of a link betw[Read More]
Tracked on June 25, 2004 9:11 AM
» Really? Isn't that what the administration's been saying? from QandO
This has certainly gotten a lot of coverage, hasn't it? An apparently authentic document from Saddam Hussein's regime confirms cooperation between Iraq and Osama bin Laden, the New York Times reported Friday. The Iraqi document, obtained by the newspap... [Read More]
Tracked on June 25, 2004 10:11 AM
» Fish Wrap from
"All The News That's Fit To Print" my big white ass. It's more like, "All The News That's To Print, Except When It Supports Any Position of The Bush Administration." Captain Ed has the details. [Read More]
Tracked on June 25, 2004 3:19 PM
» INDC Blog Roundup: The Depressing, Gathering Anger Edition from INDC Journal
In this week's blog roundup, we're going to highlight things that depress me. * First up? Matthew "Mattie" Stepanek, that incredibly talented and bright-eyed boy-poet with muscular dystrophy died on Tuesday. Anyone that failed to be inspired by that ki... [Read More]
Tracked on June 26, 2004 9:50 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!