The Times Finds What It Said Didn’t Exist

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-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.

And here’s a real shocker:

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 at the same time the Times was accusing Vice President Cheney of lying about connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda, they had in their possession a document that showed that the allegations of a bin Laden/Iraq connection were indeed true.

The long tradition of the Times publishing "all the news fit to distort, ignore, or obfuscate" continues unabated…

22 thoughts on “The Times Finds What It Said Didn’t Exist

  1. It must also be acknowledged that at the time of the “contact” in 1992 Al-Qaeda was not referenced as a terrorist group.

  2. If you read the article it also mentions contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq in 1994 and 1995…

    Add this to all of the other data and reports of contacts between the two, and one realizes it would have been irresponsible for any president, after 9-11, to ignore the very real possibility of an Al Qaeda-Iraq connection.

    I guarantee that if Bush had not taken action to remove Saddam, at this point the Dems would be raking him over the coals for not dealing adequately with the Iraqi threat.

  3. Bottom line, as pointed out by Rudy Giuliani: On Sept 20 2001 Pres Bush declared war against all of international terrorism. And there is no way any one could have waged war against international terrorism without dealing with the Saddam Hussein threat. Clearly, Saddam was a huge factor in international terrorism. Case closed.

  4. If the liberals had their way, all a terrorist group would have to do to avoid any attempt by the US to stop it would be to call itself something different than “Al Qaeda.” Only after they hit us hard would it get any of their attention, and even that, most likely a weak response. Let’s not forget that many of Bush’s critics on Iraq did not even want us to go into Afghanistan to take out the Taliban and the Al Qaeda camps. They have dropped that line of argument only out of political expediency; even they realize that won’t sell.

    Again, as Rudy G. has pointed out, when he took on organized crime one couldn’t just take out one family…one had to take them all out or else the problem still remained.

  5. Using selective clips from the New York Times hardly validates the comments Vice President Dick Cheney has made the last week or so. The reality of this issue is this: Al Qaeada may have tried to establish a connection with Iraq sometime in the 1990s, and that connection was squashed because Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein did not have similar interests. Osama bin Laden is an international terrorist bent on the destruction of Western culture, ideals, and Western institutions like the UN, NATO, and the WTO. He sees these as oppressive instutions and ideals for the Arab world. Saddam Hussein was a thug. He was not an international terrorist. His interests were in consolidating power in Iraq, and keeping it. Saddam was insulted and called an infidel by Al Qaeda, and he represented, in many ways, exactly what they hated: gluttonous power repressing “true” Arab interests. Both men are warped, deranged, and murderous. However, Saddam Hussein was not, I repeat, not an international terrorist, nor did he have anything to do with the attacks on September 11th, 2001. This is an important fact, and one that should not be overlooked. To lump Saddam and Osama in the same category is a grave, grave mistake (as over 800 Americans in Iraq have learned, not to mention their familires and loved ones). Saddam had no official ties to Al Qaeda. He never sheltered them, armed them, or provided them with weapons secrets. There is simply no proof, period. Now, the 9/11 panel has said there is no connection. Just about every expert on global terrorism has said there is no connection. In fact, the only people who are saying there is one are people whose political careers hinge on their being a connection. Conclusion: there is no connection, and it’s both sad and deranged that conservatives seem to actually hope there is one. The war in Iraq is not an extension of the war on terror. 54% of Americans now believe it was a mistake in invade Iraq, according to CNN-USA Today. It is apparent now, more than ever, that the United States government should have remained focused on rebuilding Afghanistan rather than waste time, effort, resources, and lives looking for imaginary weapons in the iraqi desert.

  6. Saddam Hussein wasn’t a supporter of terrorism?

    Let’s see, he had a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist living in Baghdad (Abu Abbas), he hid Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi in December of 2001, he was hiding the murderers of Laurence Foley, he was paying off Hizb’Allah and Hamas for attacks against Israel, and he had established a terrorist training center at Salmon Pak.

    The whole argument that we should be rebuilding Afghanistan doesn’t fly – we should rebuild, but that does squat to end the source of Islamofascist terrorism, which are the deplorable political and social conditions in the Arab world. al-Qaeda isn’t the only terrorist group threatening the US, and it’s naive to assume that simply removing them without taking further action will produce anything but a false sense of security.

    There was a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and even The New York Times now agrees with that statement. The September 11 Commission Report said there was no tie between Iraq and September 11 (which was never the argument), but there certainly were ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and to say otherwise is to ignore the mountains of credible evidence that suggests otherwise.

  7. Jay, while I respect your opinions (and congratulate you on building a very well-polished site) much of what you are saying is thin, at best. The NY Times is not saying there is a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. The link you provided for us goes to a like-minded blog that also talks about the Times story. But if you go into the Times and actually read the story you see that the source of this information is Ahmend Chalabi and the now defunct Iraqi National Congress. Chalabi and the congress have both been discredited, and the Times itself posted two weeks ago an apology for using Chalabi as a source in pre-war coverage. So, basically, the source for these already weak allegations is questionable at best. I will also remind you that the 9/11 commission looked at this “connection” document the Times mentions, and still found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and Al Qaeda. I will also remind you that groups like Hizb’Allah and Hamas are not Al Qaeda, and should not be lumped in with them. Hizb’Allah and Hamas did not destroy the WTC or the Pentagon. Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi was hiding out in Northern Iraq with the Kurds, in an area Saddam had no control over. That hardly constituted Saddam aiding him. Saddam Hussein had no legit ties or collaboration with Al Qaeda against the United States. Both Saddam and Al Qaeda have their own reasons for seeing America hurt, but they are not one in the same.

  8. The documents were reviewed by the Pentagon and determined to be authentic, and are also corroborated with other reporting not related to Chalabi. Some of Chalabi’s information was incorrect, some of it was very much correct. This information appears to be the latter.

    Furthermore, al-Zarqawi went to a hospital in Baghdad to treat a leg wound, and Saddam knew who he was and where he had come from. The Iraqis still offered him shelter.

    The whole argument seems to be based on the idea that just because Iraq and al-Qaeda hadn’t yet coordinated on attacks that they never would in the future, and that there was no threat of such an occurance. The problem with that line of argumentation is that it presents an untenable standard for action. By the time we could have conclusive evidence that Iraq had helped al-Qaeda, it could very well be only after a major attack had taken place. One of the main points of the Bush Doctrine is that the old doctrine that we have to wait for an “imminent” threat no longer applies – there’s simply no way to determine how imminent a terrorist threat is, and by the time that determination could be made it may already be too late.

    I don’t personally think that Iraq and al-Qaeda were working hand-in-hand. I do think that if we hadn’t taken out Saddam Hussein eventually they would have. I do suspect that Iraq did provide some material help to al-Qaeda, such as training, money, or expertise. The argument that the secular Hussein and the fanatic bin Laden would never work together no longer holds any water.

  9. If Saddam Hussein gives safe haven and medical help to Al Qaeda, that is just as good as helping them coordinate attacks against us, because it enables those Al Qaeda operatives getting the assistance to later on attack us.

    The liberals are just splitting hairs and constantly moving the goalposts…nothing would satisfy them short of seeing us attacked by terrorists wearing “Saddam” T-shirts. And even then they wouldn’t want to use military action…just to take it to the UN and talk about it.

  10. I agree with Jay’s reasoning: “I don’t personally think that Iraq and al-Qaeda were working hand-in-hand. I do think that if we hadn’t taken out Saddam Hussein eventually they would have. I do suspect that Iraq did provide some material help to al-Qaeda, such as training, money, or expertise. The argument that the secular Hussein and the fanatic bin Laden would never work together no longer holds any water.”

    However, I don’t think it matters whether there were any ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda. The bottom line is this: we are in a war against international terrorism, not just Al Qaeda. To only focus on Al Qaeda would be to leave us horribly vulnerable to all of the other terrorist groups out there. Saddam was totally linked with international terrorism; no sane person can argue he was not. Therefore, one could not wage war on international terrorism without dealing with Saddam. Case Closed.

    Again, if the liberals had their way, all a terrorist would have to do to shield themselves from us would be to label themselves as something other than “Al Qaeda.” How stupid.

  11. It’s interesting Jay, because your comments go back to the whole argument of pre-emption, which has shown to make America less safe (according to the State Dept.’s report). And, based on 3-plus years of Bush docturine policy, the “old docturine” (I’m assuming you mean Clinton’s) was fairly effective. Al Qaeda was a priority, and remianed a priority throughout Bill Clinton’s presidency. Even when we were bombing Kosovo, Clinton had weekly meetings on Al Qaeda. Bush did not hold a meeting regarding the subject of terrorism, let alone specifically Al Qaeda (despite Clinton’s warningsin January 2001) until after 2,000 people were killed in NYC on 9/11. So, please forgive me if I put little stock in the Bush docturine, which is a failed policy both in terms of protecting America and in stabilizing the world against terrorism. I don’t recall any “shelter offered” when al-Zarqawi went to a hospital in Baghdad. And I’d hardly call not arresting al-Zarqawi when he was there a “collaborative” arrangment between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. And again, the Pentagon has a vested interst politically in a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The Pentagon is also still a big Chalabi fan, even though he sold vital American intelligence secrets to Iran. My point is the Pentagon is hardly the reliable, credible source on this issue when compaired to a body like the 9/11 commission (bi-partisan, appointed by the President). While I’m sure there are tidbits here and there of truth regarding communication between Al Qaeda and Iraq from the Pentagon, that does not constitute a connection that presented an imminent and substantial threat to the United States, and it surely does not justify (legally) the invasion and subsequently botched occupation of Iraq.

  12. Another Thought, I take offense to the notion that liberals, when they take a different side on this issue, are “splitting hairs.” And to make the suggestion that the only thing that would make liberals happy beings terrorists attacking and killing Americans with “I Love Saddam” tee-shirts is both insulting and demeaning to the seriousness of this argument.

    Jay has been kind enough to answer my opinion with thoughtful opinions, of which I strongly disagree with. You, on the other hand, have lumped liberal dissent in with terrorist murder. I resent that statement, and you should be ashamed of yourself for making such a statement. 54% of America now believes that the war in Iraq was unjustified. I take it you now believe (based on your earlier statement) that more than half of America thinks that the only way to prove a connection between Saddam and Osama are corpses in American streets is a terrible statements, and as a liberal American I will not stand for it!

    I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t lump me in with murderers and thugs. I have not done the same to you, though your way of thinking has an 800-plus American GI body count weighed against it.

    This is a very unpopular war and occupation. To simply write-off dissenters as terrorist lovers is both petty and demeaning, and I will not tolerate it.

    Sorry for the rant, Jay. But such statements are unnecessary when debating this important issue in America (and the world) today.

  13. Bubbahotep: Sniff…sniff…your complaints just reduce me to tears…

    As to this being a “very unpopular war and occupation”…first, you cite one poll…and frankly, with all of the polls floating around these days, and their sampling bias, I have a hard time taking any of them that seriously…

    Second, funny that when the polls showed greater support for the war you weren’t proclaiming this to be a “very popular” war…

    Third, one cannot measure such endeavors with popularity polls…history can be the only judge. Let’s remember that a majority of colonists were against our Revolutionary war, and that support for the Civil War went up and down like a rollercoaster…and I suspect popular opinion of this war will fluctuate as well…

    Finally, I do say this: certainly everyone has a right to dissent. However, what is passed off as dissent oftentimes is sheer disingenuous political opportunism and demagoguery, at the risk of this country’s success in the War on Terror.

    So sure anyone can dissent…but that doesn’t mean that such dissent doesn’t carry negative consequences for this country.

  14. Bubba,

    Your comment: “Al Qaeda was a priority, and remained a priority throughout Bill Clinton’s presidency. Even when we were bombing Kosovo, Clinton had weekly meetings on Al Qaeda” is illustrative of established facts that the Clinton admin was COMPLETELY ineffective against Al-Qaeda during the entirety of its tenure. Besides the wag-the-dog cruise missle attacks against Khartoum,Sudan and empty tents in Afghanistan, the rest of their “action” was inaction. There was no effective response whatsoever. Your assertions are wildly off the mark. What about Khobar Towers, 1993 WTC bomb attack, USS Cole. His fecklessness is what disqualifies the lefty U.N. loving Demoncrats from holding any position of direct responsibility for national defense. Your argument is tired and weak. The GWOT will be won only by those with the resolve and the historical perspective that a long term peace comes only from the resolute use of overwhelming force. One final thought- Chruchill to Chamberlain: “You had a choice between war and dishonor, you chose dishonor and now you shall have war” (paraphrased). An additional thought, I have no desire to offend you or others of your ilk. However, the seditious nature of many of your like minded colleagues (read: Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, Michael Moore, Al Gore) makes many of us on the center-right quite ill given the thought of such weakness in charge of our destiny. Couple this with the fact that you have the media on your side; (exception Fox News, talk radio, blogs worth reading), and you can readily see the right perspective.

  15. AnotherThought,
    I agree with your last post particularly regarding the dangerous nature “disingenuous political opportunism and demagoguery, at the risk of this country’s success in the War on Terror.” Politics used to stop at the edge of the shoreline, however, sedition now seems to be the mantra of those opposed to the continuation of the Union. Make no mistake, our enemies celebrate the demagoguery displayed by the disloyal opposition. During the Vietnam War, after the humiliation the NVA and Viet Cong suffered on the battlefield, Nguyen Giap and Uncle Ho were ready to give up. However, once they saw John Kerry and the rest of the invertebrate cabal throwing their medals of the White House gate, they decided to fight on. We lost the war here at the hands of the seditionists. It must not be allowed to happen again.

  16. Well Scott, while I respect your opinion, I’m sorry to say that very little of what you just said is backed up by these pesky little things we call “facts.” Clinton’s efforts against Al Qaeda were precise and direct. During his presidency, Al Qaeda mebmership and operations were small. He succeeded in capturing, and aided in capturing Ramzi Yousef and others that were the masterminds behind the 1993 WTC bombing. Such claims cannot be made by Bush, as Osama bin Laden is still at large. Under the Bush presidency, Al Qaeda ranks have swelled, and Al Qaeda has more power and access around the world and especially in the Middle East) than ever before. Prior to Saddam’s downfall, there was little, if any, Al Qaeda movement or operations in Iraq. That is a fact, despite what Dick Cheney would have you believe. Today, Iraq is a breeding ground for Al Qaeda, with membership growing. And even in Afghanistan, the very heart of Al Qaeda activity prior to our invasion, Al Aqeda has returned and, in many areas, retains much of the former controll it had prior to the UN invasion. Afghanistan’s legit government is little more than a city-state, with former Taliban and Al Qaeda ruling the rest of the country.

    Again, that is the truth.

    And, like “After” Thought’s mindless dribble and senseless insults on this serious topic, I will call you out on your thoroughly un-American and un-Patriotic claims that the speeches and actions of people like Al Gore and Michael Moore are “sedious.” You claim not to want to upset liberals. However, when you call the opinions of honroable Americans like Al Gore and Senator Leahy “sedious”, you paint yourself as un-American. You are not an American if you trully believe the actions and words of Al Gore, Michael Moore, and Sen. Leahy are sedious, and you spit in the face of American soldiers dying in Iraq.

    They are dying so you and I can have this debate; so Michael Moore can make his movie; so Jay can publish this blog; so Al Gore can question the President. They die so freedom can survive. Dissent IS freedom.

    You quoted Winston Churchill before. To compare global cooperation with Nazi appeasement is base and mindless. This is not a conflict in line with combating the Germans and Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s. These are not nations we are fighting. These are terrorists. You cannot swat a swarm of hornets with a club. It takes cooperation and trust.

    Right now, Bush and his party have neither.

  17. Bubba: First, to suggest that Clinton took Al Qaeda seriously or did anything effective against them is laughable. It was under his regime that Al Qaeda grew and metastasized and hit us harder and harder and Clinton just took it. Keep in mind it was under Clinton that the planning and preparation for 9-11 occurred. Yes, Al Qaeda was a force and a huge one, it’s just that Clinton did not recognize it or bring it to the nation’s attention.

    In fact, there is not a single person who lived through the Clinton years who would tell you during his time that Al Qaeda or terrorism was such a priority with him. If it was, he sure kept it a secret, even constantly telling the nation how good we had it. Here’s how Clinton characterized things in has last SOTU in 2000:
    “Never before has our nation enjoyed, at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats.” “few external threats…”…not a mention of Al Qaeda…sure doesn’t sound like a man obsessed.

  18. Bubba: No doubt we have freedom of speech in this country and no one wants to repeal that.

    However, freedom implies responsibility. Also, freedom means that I can criticize what someone else says.

    So, sure liberals/Dems can say anything they want, but that doesn’t mean such speech doesn’t have consequences.

    For instance, I could go off on a rant against my wife, and insult her and rake her over the coals. I have that freedom. Now that wouldn’t shield me from the consequences, which would be a very hurt wife and huge damage to our marriage. And I couldn’t accuse her of being against freedom of speech for reacting that way.

    A lot of what you call “dissent” is merely political rabble just to score points against Bush. And just like with Vietnam, it does have the consequence of encouraging our enemy and making it more difficult for us to win the war. To say so does not invalidate free speech…it simply recognizes consequences and responsibilities. If you don’t like that, then grow up.

  19. Bubba: when you point out Al Qaeda’s current presence in Iraq, you only prove how important it was to remove Saddam and attempt to install a functioning democracy there.

    To say that Iraq is not part of the war on terror misses the point that Al Qaeda disagrees…if Iraq were not at all involved in the war on terror, or terrorism in general, then Al Qaeda would just let us go our way in Iraq and welcome it as the distraction you claim it is.

    The very fact that Al Qaeda is active in Iraq is a testimony to the importance of the operation. The enemy fights us hardest at what they consider to be most significant. Al Qaeda knows a functioning democracy in Iraq would be a blow to their heart and soul. That is why they fight…because it does matter bigtime in the war on terror, and at least Al Qaeda gets it, even if the libs/Dems here do not.

  20. Bubba,

    Patrick Leahy is such an “honorable American” and a great senator that he was removed from the Senate Intelligence committee. He is an idiot. With repect to Iraq being a breeding ground for terrorism, that I think is better than having them breeding here. We will and are killing many of them over there. Militant Islamic facists respect only one thing-overwhelming force. They are being killed in far greater numbers than is ever reported. The Ist Armored division reported earlier this week that they killed several (meaning 2-3k) of Mookies druggies during the campaign. Back to your attempt to make a valid point regarding Slick Willie’s effectiveness, your statement reflects the posture of this being law enforcement. WAKE UP, this is a global war! You are continually reinforcing the point that the Dems are simply not qualified and therfore do not merit the trust to be the primary steward of our nation’s defense. Your statement that “Al Qaeda ranks have swelled, and Al Qaeda has more power and access around the world and especially in the Middle East) than ever before” is nonsense. Their bank accounts have been largely frozen, two thirds killed or captured, and now we are even getting help from our enemy the Saudis. “Al Aqeda has returned and, in many areas, retains much of the former controll it had prior to the UN invasion. Afghanistan’s legit government is little more than a city-state, with former Taliban and Al Qaeda ruling the rest of the country.”
    Again, bullshit. Al-Qaeda, and Taliban remnants are there to be sure, however, for a country that had been in civil war/occupied since the early 1970’s, the turnaround has been remarkable. The main areas where the aforementioned activities still occur are in SE Afghanistan, along the border with Pakistan. However, the Pakistani Army just killed several hundred tribesman/terrorists along with there leader earlier this week. Finally, if Bush doesn’t have cooperation and trust, why are the SKoreans reaffirming their goal to send 3k additional troops to Iraq. Additionally, we have 35+ countries helping in Iraq currently. This is larger or smaller than the number of countries that formed up the “allies” in WW2? If your side is so morally superior, then why is Zell Miller supporting President Bush and delivering a speech at the Republican National Convention? I am not a Republican, however, I believe that the United States does far more good in this world than bad. Bush is not perfect, nor am I or even you Bubba. However, he has made the world wake up and take notice of the U.S. in a manner in which it hasn’t since Reagan. Your side, the Democrats, have placed their stock in failed policies, high taxes, and reduced individual accountability. But above all, they are weak and reactive on matters of national security. The Dems believe that the U.N. is the panacea of the world and wish to subjugate United States sovereignty to the U.N. and old europe. The old european powers, now reduced to fiscally broken welfare states are simply jealous at our ability to hit very hard, very quickly, with highly controlled results and then set about to rebuild and repair the vanquished. This angers them to no end. You and your ilk are continually losing power to a rise of conservatism and a wish to return to core values of equity and accountability. Wise up.

  21. sauron: You clearly have decided not to raise the level of discussion here and instead feel the need to fling insults and ad hominem attacks.

    You’ve been banned for this before, and it’s clear I’ve little choice to do it again.

  22. Scott: there is nothing in that entire mass of dribble that is backed up by a single fact. You’ve posted are your opinions on the matter, but you haven’t provided a single thread of proof to back up your outlandish and, I’m sorry to say, highly misinformed views. Here’s a quote from the State Department’s revived 2003 report on terrorism:

    “There were 208 acts of international terrorism in 2003, a slight increase from the most recently published figure of 198* attacks in 2002, and a 42 percent drop from the level in 2001 of 355 attacks.

    A total of 625 persons were killed in the attacks of 2003, fewer than the 725 killed during 2002. A total of 3646 persons were wounded in the attacks that occurred in 2003, a sharp increase from 2013 persons wounded the year before. This increase reflects the numerous indiscriminate attacks during 2003 on “soft targets,” such as places of worship, hotels, and commercial districts, intended to produce mass casualties.”

    Now, seeing that, and then seeing this, reported 5/25/03 by USA Today quoting from the International Institute of Strategic Studies report on terror: “al-Qaeda has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks… Although about half of al-Qaeda’s top 30 leaders have been killed or captured, it has an effective leadership, with bin Laden apparently still playing a key role.”

    Here’s more:
    Driving the terror network out of Afghanistan in late 2001 appears to have benefited the group, which dispersed to many countries, making it almost invisible and hard to combat, the story said.

    “And the Iraq conflict “has arguably focused the energies and resources of al-Qaeda and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition that appeared so formidable” after the Afghan intervention, the survey said.”

    What does this mean? It means al-Qaeda is everywhere, not just in Iraq.

    Now, presented with those facts, your whole argument regarding the war on terror has just been proven incorrect. 18,000 members is astounding, considering that al-Qaeda was a shell of that five years ago. Al-Qaeda has grown. It’s ledership firm. It’s money intact. It’s capable now of destroying anything, anywhere, anytime. Also, passed on these very potent and very real FACTS, I fully expect you to be a man and come back here and admit error. Not to do so would make you the spineless “liberal” you seem to detest. Unlike yourself, I am proud to call myself a liberal (you are obviously a Republican, but simply do not want to be labeled).

    I highly recommend you read and take in information like this before you sound off, yet again, about issues you clearly have no understanding of.

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