"Proof Of Al-Qaida's Links To Iraq Just Too Strong To Be Dismissed"
These sources reveal three kinds of undisputed connections between Iraq and al-Qaida: meetings, money, and training.
• Photographs taken by Malaysian intelligence in January 2000 place Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, an Iraqi intelligence operative, meeting with the Sept. 11 hijackers.
• Captured Iraqi intelligence documents show that bin Laden met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Syria in 1992.
• Sudanese intelligence officials told me that their agents had observed meetings between Iraqi intelligence agents and bin Laden starting in 1994, when bin Laden lived in Khartoum.
• Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit and a critic of the Bush administration, writes in "Through Our Enemies' Eyes" that bin Laden "made a connection with Iraq's intelligence service through its Khartoum station."
• Bin Laden met at least eight times with officers of Iraq's Special Security Organization, a secret police agency run by Saddam's son Qusay, according to intelligence made public by Secretary of State Colin Powell, at the United Nations on Feb. 6, 2003.
• Bin Laden met the director of the Iraqi mukhabarat, Iraq's external intelligence service, in Khartoum in 1996.
• An al-Qaida operative now held by the United States confessed that in the mid-1990s, bin Laden agreed to cease all terrorist activities against the Iraqi dictator, Powell said.
• Patrick Fitzgerald, a U.S. attorney in the Clinton Justice Department, noted in the bin Laden indictment: "Al-Qaida reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al-Qaida would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaida would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."
• In 2000, Saudi Arabia went on nation-wide alert when its intelligence learned that Iraq was working with al-Qaida to attack U.S. interests there.
• Weekly Standard writer Stephen Hayes cites captured Iraqi documents: "In 1998, according to documents unearthed in Iraq's intelligence headquarters in April 2003, al-Qaida sent a 'trusted confidant' to Baghdad for sixteen days of meetings beginning March 5. Iraqi intelligence paid for his stay in Room 414 of the Mansur al-Melia hotel and expressed hope that the envoy would serve as the liaison between Iraqi intelligence and bin Laden. The DIA \[the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency\] has assessed those documents as authentic."
• ABC News's Nightline interviewed a "twenty-year veteran of Iraqi intelligence," identified him by his nom de guerre, Abu Aman Amaleeki, who said: "In 1992, elements of al-Qaida came to Baghdad and met with Saddam Hussein. And among them was Ayman al-Zawahiri. I was present when Ayman al-Zawahiri visited Baghdad." Zawahiri is al-Qaida's no. 2.
• Another visit by al-Zawahiri, in 1999, was confirmed by former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi.
• Allawi also said that al-Zawahiri was invited to attend the ninth Popular Islamic Conference by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam's own no. 2. The Iraqi government, he said, has the invitation and other records. . . . . [the piece is much longer and contains much more information]