RealNews

Ex-Officials Dispute Iraq Tie to al-Qaida

As President Bush works to quiet a controversy over his discredited claim of Iraqi uranium shopping in Africa, another of his prewar assertions is coming under fire: the alleged link between Saddam Hussein’s regime and al-Qaida. Before the war, Bush and members of his cabinet said Saddam was harboring top al-Qaida operatives and suggested Iraq could slip the terrorist network chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons. Now, two former Bush administration intelligence officials say the evidence linking Saddam to the group responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was never more than sketchy at best. “There was no significant pattern of cooperation between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist operation,” former State Department intelligence official Greg Thielmann said this week. Intelligence agencies agreed on the “lack of a meaningful connection to al-Qaida” and said so to the White House and Congress, said Thielmann, who left State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research last September. Full Story

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