Via the NY Sun:
CAIRO, Egypt – A former Democratic senator and 9/11 commissioner says a recently declassified Iraqi account of a 1995 meeting between Osama bin Laden and a senior Iraqi envoy presents a “significant set of facts,” and shows a more detailed collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
In an interview yesterday, the current president of the New School University, Bob Kerrey, was careful to say that new documents translated last night by ABC News did not prove Saddam Hussein played a role in any way in plotting the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Nonetheless, the former senator from Nebraska said that the new document shows that “Saddam was a significant enemy of the United States.” Mr. Kerrey said he believed America’s understanding of the deposed tyrant’s relationship with Al Qaeda would become much deeper as more captured Iraqi documents and audiotapes are disclosed.
Last night ABC News reported on five recently declassified documents captured in Iraq. One of these was a handwritten account of a February 19, 1995, meeting between an official representative of Iraq and Mr. bin Laden himself, where Mr. bin Laden broached the idea of “carrying out joint operations against foreign forces” in Saudi Arabia. The document, which has no official stamps or markers, reports that when Saddam was informed of the meeting on March 4, 1995 he agreed to broadcast sermons of a radical imam, Suleiman al Ouda, requested by Mr. bin Laden.
The question of future cooperation is left an open question. According to the ABC News translation, the captured document says, “development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what’s open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation.” ABC notes in their report that terrorists, believed to be Al Qaeda, attacked the Saudi National Guard headquarters on November 13, 1995.
The new documents suggest that the 9/11 commission’s final conclusion in 2004, that there were no “operational” ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, may need to be reexamined in light of the recently captured documents.
While the commission detailed some contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda in the 1990s, in Sudan and Afghanistan, the newly declassified Iraqi documents provide more detail than the commission disclosed in its final conclusions. For example, the fact that Saddam broadcast the ser mons of al-Ouda at bin Laden’s request was previously unknown, as was a conversation about possible collaboration on attacks against Saudi Arabia.
“This is a very significant set of facts,” former 9/11 commissioner, Mr. Kerry said yesterday. “I personally and strongly believe you don’t have to prove that Iraq was collaborating against Osama bin Laden on the September 11 attacks to prove he was an enemy and that he would collaborate with people who would do our country harm. This presents facts should not be used to tie Saddam to attacks on September 11. It does tie him into a circle that meant to damage the United States.”
Related: Stephen Hayes’ latest piece on Saddam’s terrorist training camps is up at the Weekly Standard.
Ties ties, everywhere ties – not just to AQ to overall terrorism in general as well. The naysayers will never admit it, but we were right to go in and as more and more documents come to light about these ties, the more we know that waging war with Iraq was indeed the right thing to do.
Prior Toldjah So posts:
- Saddam’s Philippines terror connection
- Batch of pre-war Afghanistan and Iraq documents are released
- Post war Afghanistan and Iraq documents to be released
- Prepare to learn more about Saddam’s WMD intentions
- House Permanent Select Committee to review Saddam recordings
- The Syria/Iraq WMD connection
- Saddam’s #2 air force official: WMDs were moved to Syria
- Confirmed: Iraq was a terrorist training center
- Pentagon briefing docs on Iraq/AQ connection from 2002
- Where did the WMDs go?
- Show Hayes the documents!
- Pre-war Iraq and Syria: closer than we thought
- AQ/SH connections: Must read
- More evidence of OBL/Hussein connections
- Iraq and Al Qaeda: More connections
- No terrorism in Iraq before the war?