Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 38578
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2019/01/20 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2005/7/12-14 [Politics/Foreign/MiddleEast/Iraq] UID:38578 Activity:nil
7/12    Still think there's no connection between Hussein and Bin Laden?
        Think again! (freeper)
        \_ "I would characterize it as sort of an on again, off again
           relationship. I mean, I don't think these guys were buddies by
           any stretch of the imagination, but they viewed each other as
           something that could be exploited." That's it? You are crowing
           about that? Pathetic.
2019/01/20 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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JOHN KERRY , MASSACHUSETTS: There's no connection to Al Qaeda at that point in time. BARBARA BOXER , CALIFORNIA: There was no confirmed reporting on S addam cooperating with bin Laden. He thinks of Hussein as an apost ate, an infidel, or someone who is not worthy of being a fellow Muslim. But a year ago, Stephen Hayes o f our sister publication, the Weekly Standard, published a book document ing connections between Saddam Hussein's regime and Islamic terrorism, i ncluding Al Qaeda. Now he reports in the new edition of the Weekly Standard there is more ev idence on the subject. STEPHEN F HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Good to be with you. HUME: Sum up, if it's possible to do so, sort of the nature of the connec tions you found between the Islamic terrorism, Al Qaeda, and the Iraqi g overnment under Saddam Hussein, that you knew before. HAYES: There are a whole host of connections from before that we knew bef ore the war. There were allegations that have since been confirmed that Saddam was supporting Al Qaeda in Ansar al-Islam, an Al Qaeda affiliate, in northern Iraq, financially with weapons. There were, of course, the reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in Iraq operating freely before th e war. It was in the Butler Report, which was the British rep ort looking back at prewar intelligence. It was in the Senate Intelligen ce Committee Report in this time last year, looking back at prewar intel ligence. And we also have numerous interviews with people who were in Ba ghdad with Zarqawi before the war who are saying, "Yes, we were there wi th him." Now, what has since come to li ght since your book was published, new information that's come out? HAYES: I think that the most interesting stuff that we've seen -- and we' ve only really scratched the surface on this -- comes from internal Iraq i intelligence documents that have been uncovered since the end of the w ar. So it's no longer a matter of, "Well, do we have to take this person 's word for it? These are allegations, but they've not yet been proven." We now know from the Iraqis, for instance, that there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, that Saddam at least agreed on some limited c ooperation broadcasting anti-Saudi propaganda. It was a request that he got from bin Laden in the mid-'90s. We know that there have been payments, additional payments, from Saddam t o bin Laden's No. There's a period in February of 1998 in which this relat ionship really seemed to blossom. It was a time when there was lots of p ressure put on by the US for Saddam to comply with inspectors. President Clinton went to the Pentagon, gave a big speech, basically preparing the nation for war. And at that time, we know that t here was this payment to Zawahiri for $300,000. There was also, in these documents that we've uncovered since the end of the war, a series of meetings in M arch of 1998 between a senior Al Qaeda terrorist, someone that the docum ents label "a trusted confidant of bin Laden." HAYES: He met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Baghdad, the Iraqi int elligence service. Really, these are accounting documents that were foun d in the bombed-out headquarters of Iraqi intelligence service. And what they say is, "Hey, we're going to pick up the tab for this guy. Let the Saudi station chief of Iraqi intelligence know that we're going to pay for this. Let the Sudanese station chief know that we're going to pay fo r this." HUME: Do we know the purpose of this relationship at that time? I mean, you know, we can speculate, but we don't really know exactly what was going on at that time, except that there was a lot of pressure coming from the United States and the United Nations. We kn ow that Usama bin Laden, on February 23rd, issued a fatwa that was very focused on Iraq. He called for the killing of Americans and the targeting of American inte rests wherever they could be found at a time when the Iraqis were really under pressure, as I say, from the international community. And then fo llowing that, there was a series of meetings that we know from Iraqi int elligence documents. And there was also a mention of March 1998 meetings in the 9/11 Commissio n report. So it's possible that, you know, you have a handful of meeting s in really a month-and-a-half span. We don't yet know what came of these meetings, but there are some suggest ive clues. There was a document that came out of the Pentagon which desc ribes an Al Qaeda detainee, held down in Guantanamo Bay right now, who a llegedly conspired with Iraqi intelligence to blow up the US embassies in Pakistan in 1998. HUME: Now, do we have reason to believe that when he did all this that he had been encouraged to do so by the Iraqi authorities? We don't yet know really what the disposition of his tra vels were. We do know that he'd taken money from Al Qaeda, that he swore -- took a pledge of biat to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. HAYES: A pledge of loyalty, essentially, to Mullah Omar. HUME: And so what we know about him, he was an Iraqi, right? But then the interesting part of this summary of evidence comes that he is alleged by the US government formally to hav e participated in a plot to blow up the US embassy and the British emb assy in Pakistan in August of 1998. HUME: So whether he was at any time during all of that operating as an ag ent of Iraq, we don't know, but it's at least possible, because that's w here he originally came from? But then the important compo nent is that he was plotting this with a member of Iraqi intelligence. HAYES: He was plotting this with Iraqi intelligence, according to this su mmary of evidence. Now, you've talked about Iraqi intelligence repeatedly a s being the locust of the contacts. How did Iraqi intelligence and perha ps Saddam, as well, regard Usama bin Laden? HAYES: I would characterize it as sort of an on again, off again relation ship. I mean, I don't think these guys were buddies by any stretch of th e imagination, but they viewed each other as something that could be exp loited. Saddam certainly called on Islamic radicals in his past. I mean, during t he first Gulf War, he called on Islamic radicals to attack US interest s throughout the world. He even held annual conf erences in Baghdad bringing these terrorists. HUME: Now, you mentioned all these things, and there are obviously just - - there's more, and you're going to be reporting on this. The administra tion, however, has fallen silent on this. Why do you suppose the ad ministration has fallen so silent on these contacts? HAYES: I don't think, frankly, that they want to fight with the CIA, many of whom were skeptical of this before. And, to be honest, if these link s are indeed proven, they will have egg on their face. Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, LLC ALL RIGHT S RESERVED. This i s not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.