The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence appears to have missed some intel in their evaluation that no ties existed between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden. Perhaps they can be forgiven for missing information produced by another organization outside of the American intel community — but one would think that at least one member of the committee watched CNN in 1999 (via CQ reader Stoo Pid):
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against the Western powers.
Despite repeated demands from Washington, the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden after the August 7 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, demanding proof of his involvement in terrorist activities.
However, in recent weeks, both the United States and Britain have renewed their pressure on the Taliban to expel bin Laden.
It’s an interesting article, one that has drawn a bit of attention since the odd analysis provided by the SSCI. Twenty-two bloggers managed to find and note this report from seven years ago. Yet, the SSCI only mentions one report by CNN, on the existence of active WMD programs in Iraq, which it dismisses.
If Saddam Hussein offered asylum to bin Laden, it would certainly indicate a willingness to ally himself with AQ, as well as the intent to partner with them against the US. Saddam wouldn’t have made that kind of an offer to a group already responsible for a string of attacks against American interests just for the pleasure of their company. Sheltering Osama would hardly have demonstrated his willingness to abide by international law or to live peacefully with no ill intent towards the US.
It’s just another piece of intel that the SSCI managed to miss in its haste to render judgment. I wonder what else they forgot to review.