Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tenet's Smoking Gun links Hussein, Al Qaeda

It's a Democrat's worst nightmare. Mark Eichenlaub points us to a Weekly Standard article of critical importance. Author Thomas Joscelyn's "More then enough evidence" reveals several startling insights gleaned from George Tenet's new book:

...[it] confirms that there was a relationship between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda. And, according to Tenet, "there was more than enough evidence to give us real concern..."

Tenet devotes an entire chapter to the question of Iraq's ties to al Qaeda (Chapter 18, "No Authority, Direction, or Control")... [he] concedes that there was evidence of a worrisome relationship. For example, Tenet explains that in late 2002 and early 2003:

There was more than enough evidence to give us real concern about Iraq and al-Qa'ida; there was plenty of smoke, maybe even some fire: [Al-Qaeda affiliate] Ansar al-Islam; Zarqawi; Kurmal; the arrests in Europe; the murder of American USAID officer Lawrence Foley, in Amman, at the hands of Zarqawi's associates; and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad operatives in Baghdad.

The intelligence told us that senior al-Qa'ida leaders and the Iraqis had discussed safe haven in Iraq. Most of the public discussion thus far has focused on Zarqawi's arrival in Baghdad under an assumed name in May of 2002, allegedly to receive medical treatment. Zarqawi, whom we termed a "senior associate and collaborator" of al-Qa'ida at the time, supervised camps in northern Iraq run by Ansar al-Islam (AI).

...What was even more worrisome was that by the spring and summer of 2002, more than a dozen al-Qa'ida-affiliated extremists converged on Baghdad, with apparently no harassment on the part of the Iraqi government. They had found a comfortable and secure environment in which they moved people and supplies to support Zarqawi's operations in northeastern Iraq.

...More al-Qa'ida operatives would follow, including Thirwat Shihata and Yussef Dardiri, two Egyptians assessed by a senior al-Qa'ida detainee to be among the Egyptian Islamic Jihad's best operational planners, who arrived by mid-May of 2002. At times we lost track of them, though their associates continued to operate in Baghdad as of October 2002. Their activity in sending recruits to train in Zarqawi's camps was compelling enough.

There was also concern that these two might be planning operations outside Iraq. Credible information told us that Shihata was willing to strike U.S., Israeli, and Egyptian targets sometime in the future...

It strains credulity to imagine that all of this was going on without, at the very least, Saddam's tacit approval...

Read the whole thing and remember: no one tell the New York Times. They're on a monumental losing streak (market share, stock price, credibility) and no one wants them to break the cycle by having them report the truth. After all, in the Times' carefully constructed fantasy world, Saddam Hussein had nothing -- nothing! -- to do with terrorism.

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