Entitled "Report shows no link between Saddam and al Qaeda" the ABC News report states
It's government report the White House didn't want you to read: yesterday the Pentagon canceled plans to send out a press release announcing the report's availability and didn't make the report available via email or online.
Based on the analysis of some 600,000 official Iraqi documents seized by US forces after the invasion and thousands of hours of interrogations of former officials in Saddam's government now in US custody, the government report is the first official acknowledgment from the US military that there is no evidence Saddam had ties to al Qaeda.
And it's true that in the preface the report does state that it couldn't find a "smoking gun" link between the two, however it the goes on to detail a number of links between Saddam and organizations or actors associated with al Qaeda. An example:
A directive (Extract 24) from the Director for International Intelligence in the IIS to an Iraqi operative in Bahrain orders him to investigate a particular terrorist group there, The Army of Muhammad.Extract 24.
We have learned of a group calling themselves The Army ofMuhammad... has
threatened Kuwaiti authorities and plans to attack American and Western interests
...We need detailed information about this group, their activities, their objectives,
and their most distinguished leaders. We need to know [to] whom
they belong to and with whom they are connected. Give this subject your ut-
The agent reports (Extract 25) that The Army of Muhammad is working with Osama bin Laden.Extract 25.
[9 July 200 1]
Information available to us is that the group is under the wings of bin
Laden. They receive their directions from Yemen. Their objectives are the
same as bIll Laden...
A later note lists the group's objectives, among them:
• Jihad in the name of God.
• Striking the embassies and other Jewish and American interests anywhere
in the world.
• Attacking the American and British military bases in the Arab land.
• Striking American embassies and interests unless the Americans pull
out their forces from the Arab lands and discontinue their support for
• Disrupting oil exports [to] the Americans from Arab countries and
threatening tankers carrying oil to them.
A later memorandum from the same collection to the Director of the IIS reports that the Army of Muhammad is endeavoring to receive assistance [from Iraq] to implement its objectives, and that the local IIS station has been told to deal with them in accordance with priorities previously established. The IIS agent goes on to inform the Director that "this organization is an offshoot of bin Laden, but that their objectives are similar but with different names that can be a way of camouflaging the organization."
Additionally the report lays out Saddam's support for Islamic Jihad (one of the organizations co-opted into al Qaeda) and the overlapping mutual interests of Saddam and al Qaeda which occasionally led to cooperation if not a direct relationship:
Saddam's interest in, and support for, non-Iraqi non-state actors was
spread across a wide variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic
terrorist organizations. For years, Saddam maintained training camps for foreign
"fighters" drawn from these diverse groups. In some cases, particularly for Palestinians, Saddam was also a strong financial supporter. Saddam supported groups
that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad,
led at one time by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally
shared al Qaeda's stated goals and objectives.
Some aspects of the indirect cooperation between Saddam's regional
terror enterprise and al Qaeda's more global one are somewhat analogous to the
Cali and Medellin drug cartels. Both drug cartels (actually loose collections of
families and criminal gangs) were serious national security concerns to the United
States. Both cartels competed for a share of the illegal drug market. However, neither cartel was reluctant to cooperate with the other when it came to the pursuit of a common objective-expanding and facilitating their illicit trade.
The well publicized and violent rise of the Medellin cartel temporarily obscured and overshadowed the rise of, and threat posed by, the Cali cartel. Recognizing Iraq as a
second, or parallel, "terror cartel" that was simultaneously threatened by and
somewhat aligned with its rival helps to explain the evidence emerging from the
detritus of Saddam's regime.
There is a lot more like this and it is being pointed out in detail at places like Ace of Spades, Powerline, and Hot Air as well as in the comments of the ABC piece itself.
BTW sorry about some of the formatting - It is a cut and paste thing from adobe and no matter what I do I can't fix it.
Iraq, War, Terrorism, al Qaeda