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October 4, 2004
CNS News: Documents Link Saddam To AQ, WMD, Other Terrorists

In a blockbuster article if their sources pan out, CNS News reported today that it has documents from the Saddam regime which not only document active operational links to al-Qaeda and other terrorists as late as 2000 but also contain directives to use WMD stocks to attack Americans:

Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by CNSNews.com, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders. ...

Among the organizations mentioned are those affiliated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri, two of the world's most wanted terrorists. Zarqawi is believed responsible for the kidnapping and beheading of several American civilians in Iraq and claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombings in Iraq Sept. 30. Al-Zawahiri is the top lieutenant of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, allegedly helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist strikes on the U.S., and is believed to be the voice on an audio tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera television Oct. 1, calling for attacks on U.S. and British interests everywhere.

CNS News details their acquisition and authentication of the documents in question in a much more open and thorough fashion than anything at CBS News regarding the Killian memos. They received the memos from a non-political appointee in US intelligence and vetted them through a former UNSCOM inspector, retired CIA counterterrorism official Bruce Tefft, and Laurie Mylroie, who advised Bill Clinton on national security for his 1992 election. The documents were translated by two people working independently of each other.

If the translations and the authentications hold up, this is a blockbuster find.

So far, CNS has not provided PDF files of the original documents, but have posted translations of a few. This translation shows a purchase order for 5 kgms mustard gas, showing delivered, and dated August 21, 2000. The supplier was "Saddam's company", which CNS says is a reference to Saddam's General Establishment network, which produced a number of military items for the Saddam regime. This invoice shows that 3 ampules of "malignant pustule" (anthrax) was delivered on Se. 6th, 2000.

Other memos show Saddam's outreach to al-Qaeda and like-minded groups. This memo, dated Jan 18th, 1993, tells the Ba'ath party leadership that "its decided that the party should move to hunt the Americans who are on Arabian land, especially in Somalia, by using Arabian elements, or Asian (Muslims) or friends." Another memo outlines contacts with Ayman al-Zawahiri, whose own terrorist network was absorbed into al-Qaeda when he became one of Osama bin Laden's top deputies:

he same 11-page memo refers to the "re-opening of the relationship" with Al-Jehad al-Islamy, which is described as "the most violent in Egypt," responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The documents go on to describe a Dec. 14, 1990 meeting between Iraqi intelligence officials and a representative of Al-Jehad al-Islamy, that ended in an agreement "to move against [the] Egyptian regime by doing martyr operations on conditions that we should secure the finance, training and equipments."

Al-Zawahiri was one of the leaders of Jehad al-Islamy, which is also known as the Egyptian Islamic Group, and participated in the assassination of Sadat, Tefft said. "Iraq's contact with the Egyptian Islamic Group is another operational contact between Iraq and al Qaeda," he added.

Read the entire article. CNS News believes that the US government is unaware of the existence of these documents until now. If they can be authenticated, the new documents will change the entire tenor of the debate.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 4, 2004 12:04 PM

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