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Powell Admits No Hard Proof in Linking Iraq to Al Qaeda

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell conceded Thursday that despite his assertions to the United Nations last year, he had no “smoking gun” proof of a link between the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and terrorists of Al Qaeda. “I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection,” Mr. Powell said, in response to a question at a news conference. “But I think the possibility of such connections did exist, and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did.” Mr. Powell’s remarks on Thursday were a stark admission that there is no definitive evidence to back up administration statements and insinuations that Saddam Hussein had ties to Al Qaeda, the acknowledged authors of the Sept. 11 attacks. Although President Bush finally acknowledged in September that there was no known connection between Mr. Hussein and the attacks, the impression of a link in the public mind has become widely accepted — and something administration officials have done little to discourage. Full Story

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