Skip to comments.The Missing Link (What the Senate Ingelligence Report Said about Iraq/AQ Connections)
Posted on 06/29/2005 1:33:01 PM PDT by Peach
The Missing Link What the Senate report really says about Iraq and al Qaeda. The Weekly Standard ^ | July 26, 2004 | Stephen F. Hayes
The Missing Link From the July 26, 2004 issue: What the Senate report really says about Iraq and al Qaeda. by Stephen F. Hayes 07/26/2004, Volume 009, Issue 43
IN THE FLOOD OF COMMENT that greeted the Senate Intelligence Committee's 511-page report on pre-Iraq war intelligence, no one remarked upon this sentence from the document about the Iraq-al Qaeda connection: "Any indication of a relationship between these two hostile elements could carry great dangers to the United States."
That is the reason the CIA's Counterterrorism Center gave for its decision to provide an "aggressive" analysis of Saddam Hussein's links to al Qaeda. The statement may seem self-evident--yet it is surprising nonetheless, coming as it does in a report said by the Washington Post to "shred" the Bush administration's rationales for the war.
The Post, like others, prominently featured the committee's Conclusion 93: "The Central Intelligence Agency reasonably assessed that there were likely several instances of contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda throughout the 1990s, but that these contacts did not add up to an established formal relationship."
No established formal relationship. That assessment, of course, hardly precludes cooperation--or "linkage" or "ties" or a "connection," though Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and John Edwards denied in recent days that these existed between al Qaeda and Iraq, and news reports echoed the Democrats.
With the absence of large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, a new conventional wisdom has emerged. Saddam Hussein was contained, in his box. The Iraqi Intelligence Service, active in crushing internal dissent, was essentially inactive outside Iraq's borders. The bottom line: Saddam Hussein's Iraq was not a threat.
The text of the Senate report tells a very different story. The panel based much of its analysis on a CIA product published in January 2003 called Iraqi Support for Terrorism--the most restrained of five CIA reports on Iraq and terror. The findings will surprise Americans who have relied for their information about the Iraqi threat on the establishment news media.
Iraq continues to be a safehaven, transit point, or operational node for groups and individuals who direct violence against the United States, Israel, and other allies. Iraq has a long history of supporting terrorism. During the last four decades, it has altered its targets to reflect changing priorities and goals. It continues to harbor and sustain a number of smaller anti-Israel terrorist groups and to actively encourage violence against Israel. Regarding the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship, reporting from sources of varying credibility points to a number of contacts, incidents of training, and discussions of Iraqi safehaven for Osama bin Laden and his organization dating from the early 1990s.
The Senate report summarized the findings on Iraqi Intelligence support for terrorism this way: "The CIA provided 78 reports, from multiple sources, [redacted] documenting instances in which the Iraqi regime either trained operatives for attacks or dispatched them to carry out attacks....Iraq continued to participate in terrorist attacks throughout the 1990s." No wonder the Clinton administration cited Iraqi support for terrorism as one of the main reasons that Saddam Hussein's regime posed a threat to the United States.
Again, from the Senate report:
From 1996 to 2003, the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] focused its terrorist activities on western interests, particularly against the U.S. and Israel. The CIA summarized nearly 50 intelligence reports as examples, using language directly from the intelligence reports. Ten intelligence reports, [redacted] from multiple sources, indicated IIS "casing" operations against Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in Prague began in 1998 and continued into early 2003. The CIA assessed, based on the Prague casings and a variety of other reporting, that throughout 2002, the IIS was becoming increasingly aggressive in planning attacks against U.S. interests. The CIA provided eight reports to support this assessment.
For seven years, then, Iraq "focused its terrorist activities on western interests" including those of the United States. And throughout 2002, at a time when one might expect the Iraqis to lower their terrorist profile so as to avoid becoming the next target in the war on terror, Iraqi Intelligence "was becoming increasingly aggressive in planning attacks against U.S. interests."
The Senate report goes on to detail Iraqi support and funding for a variety of anti-Israel groups. According to one report from a foreign government service, the Iraqis provided "approximately $10 million to $15 million" to the families of suicide bombers. In another surprising detail, the report indicates that Iraq even reached out to Hezbollah, a terrorist organization with close ties to Iran, the regime's chief regional enemy. Hezbollah is said to have rejected the Iraqi overtures.
One of the more striking aspects of the 46-page section of the Senate report on "Iraq's Links to Terrorism" is the sparseness of the intelligence collection on the subject, particularly on Iraq's relationship with al Qaeda. For that reason, according to the Senate report, "the CIA was unable to make conclusive assessments in Iraqi Support for Terrorism regarding Iraq's relationship with al Qaeda."
What the CIA did find, however, was troubling. Then CIA director George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the relationship in a closed session on September 17, 2002.
There is evidence that Iraq provided al Qaeda with various kinds of training--combat, bomb-making and [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] CBRN. Although Saddam did not endorse al Qaeda's overall agenda and was suspicious of Islamist movements in general, he was apparently not averse, under certain circumstances, to enhancing bin Laden's operational capabilities. As with much of the information on the overall relationship, details on training are [redacted] from sources of varying reliability.
So Saddam was open to enhancing bin Laden's operational capabilities. There is evidence he may have done so. That seems significant. But that datum has apparently escaped the notice of every major journalist covering this story.
According to an earlier, more specific version of the CIA's Iraqi Support for Terrorism, "the general pattern that emerges is one of al Qaeda's enduring interest in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) expertise from Iraq." The Senate reports add to this understanding, citing "twelve reports received [redacted] from sources the CIA described as having varying reliability" that pointed to "Iraq or Iraqi national involvement in al Qaeda's CBW [chemical/biological weapons] efforts." The reports were not conclusive--some of them were based on hearsay, and in other cases connections to the Iraqi regime could not be confirmed. They were troubling nonetheless.
The Senate committee also reports that the CIA's counterterrorism center cited four "intelligence reports mentioning Saddam Hussein's standing offer of safehaven to Osama bin Laden." The Senate report also indicates that the Iraqi regime "certainly" had knowledge that Abu Musab al Zarqawi--described in Iraqi Support for Terrorism as a "senior al Qaeda terrorist planner"--was operating in Baghdad and Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.
We are left, then, with the following scenario. Before the Iraq war, the U.S. intelligence community reported that from 1996 to 2003 the Iraqi Intelligence service had focused its terrorist activity on Western interests, including the United States; "throughout 2002, the IIS was becoming increasingly aggressive in planning attacks against U.S. interests"; Saddam Hussein was open "to enhancing bin Laden's operational capability" and may have provided training to al Qaeda; bin Laden had made direct and specific requests for Iraqi assistance; al Qaeda had demonstrated an "enduring interest" in WMD expertise from Iraq; the Iraqi regime "certainly" knew that al Qaeda agents were operating in Baghdad and northern Iraq; and Saddam Hussein had made a "standing offer" to Osama bin Laden for safe haven in Iraq.
That this information comes from a collection operation deemed "inadequate" suggests that it represents just a fraction of the available knowledge of the Iraqi threat. To be sure, some of that additional information might suggest that Iraq was not the threat the Senate report indicates. Who would want to take that chance?
Certainly not John Edwards, who used the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks to call for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. "The terrorist threat against America is all too clear. Thousands of terrorist operatives around the world would pay anything to get their hands on Saddam's arsenal, and there is every reason to believe that Saddam would turn his weapons over to these terrorists. No one can doubt that if the terrorists of September 11 had had weapons of mass destruction, they would have used them. On September 12, 2002, we can hardly ignore the terrorist threat and serious danger that Saddam would allow his arsenal to be used in aid of terror."
John Kerry, too, invoked the September 11 attacks to warn about the threat from Iraq. "The events of September 11 created a new understanding of the terrorist threat and the degree to which every nation is vulnerable," he said in his October 9, 2002, floor speech explaining his vote to authorize the Iraq war.
Imagine for a moment that we had not gone to war in Iraq in March 2003. And that Washington, D.C., had been attacked using five pounds of Iraqi anthrax--a development that William Cohen, secretary of defense under Bill Clinton, said would "destroy at least half the population" of the city. Imagine, too, that Iraq had supplied the deadly substance to al Qaeda terrorists, the kind of collaboration a 1999 Congressional Research Service study called "likely" if Saddam were to attempt a strike inside the United States. That report, some readers may recall, also presented a scenario eerily similar to the September 11 attacks. Democrats and journalists used the report to suggest the Bush administration had done too little to prevent those attacks.
Rather than speeches about a needless war to counter an exaggerated threat, we would almost certainly be hearing something like this: This administration had 12 separate reports that Iraq had provided training in chemical and biological weapons to al Qaeda. Yet it refused to act. This administration knew of numerous high-level meetings between Iraqi Intelligence and Osama bin Laden and his top deputies. Yet it refused to act. This administration had been told by the CIA that Iraqi Intelligence had become increasingly aggressive throughout 2002 in targeting U.S. interests. Yet it refused to act. This administration knew that Saddam Hussein had made Osama bin Laden a standing offer of safe haven. Yet it refused to act.
The Bush administration--with the support of John Edwards and John Kerry--did act. And despite the misreporting from the mainstream media and the criticism from these onetime war proponents, "Iraqi support for terrorism" as enumerated in the Senate Intelligence Committee report make it clear that the war was both necessary and justified.
Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard. Parts of this article are drawn from his new book, The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein has Endangered America (HarperCollins).
Peach, you're on a roll today. Keep up the good work. (Now, just waiting for the "Patsies" to show up.)
LOL. It never takes long, does it?
Great work today Peach. Adding to my bookmarks.
Thank you :-)
I don't seem to be able to go to the website.
Can you read the article?
There's more to be read here, if you're interested:
BLACKBURN REPORT US Rep Marsha Blackburn (R) TN
Wednesday, June 29, 2005 Dear Friend,
This past weekend I joined several of my colleagues in the U.S. House to visit and review our Guantanamo Bay, Cuba terrorist detention facility. As you know, there have been a great many articles and news stories on Guantanamo's role in the war on terror. After returning to Washington, I spent a great deal of Sunday and Monday on national news programs talking about what we saw at the facility. I've included my comments regarding Guantanamo and the war on terrorism below, and I've also included my journal from the visit to our detention facility. I hope you find it informative.
"Contrary to what some would tell the American people, Iraq is not a quagmire, Guantanamo Bay is not a gulag, and our soldiers are not Nazi-like. We're at war, our military is performing spectacularly, and America should be proud and thankful for what we've been able to achieve since September 11th. I believe we've got terrorist organizations on the run like never before. They've never been so aggressively pursued. The American people want this plague of terrorism hunted down and eliminated, not appeased. There's no doubt that we've experienced both successes and setbacks, but the goal we're reaching for is worth the struggle. The bloodshed breaks our hearts, but it also reminds us that losing this war is not an option. May God bless our troops and their families."
Guantanamo Bay Detainee Facility Review
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Rayburn House Office Building
The members of the Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) Congressional delegation gathered at the Rayburn House Office Building just a short distance from the Capitol building for a press availability before boarding a bus to Andrews Air Force base in southern Maryland. The 15 member delegation was led by Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Ellen Tauscher(D-CA). Representatives Boren, Butterfield, Calvert, Cole, Conaway, Cooper, Fitzpatrick, Hayes, Jackson-Lee, Schwarz, Tauscher, Wilson, and Delegate Bordallo all joined us. We were also accompanies by Armed Services Committee staff members, Department of Defense representatives, and media pool.
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE
Upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base we boarded a military plane, found our seats and began reviewing briefing materials. The briefing included background information on the detention center, the detainees, treatment policies, and a Supreme Court case relating to our operations at Gitmo.
I've included a few reports containing information on Gitmo at the end of this journal.
U.S. NAVAL BASE
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
After landing in Cuba, we were met at the Gitmo airstrip by SOUTHCOM Commander General Craddock and Gitmo's Commanding General, Brigadier General Hood. We transferred to the Bayview Officers Landing and into a barge to travel to the Detention Facility and the post. Captain McCoy who heads the naval operations for the Joint Task Force met us at the boat landing. He gave an interesting assessment of the base, speaking about the 500 to 600 military families who call Gitmo home. We met the high school principal. Captain McCoy talked about the small town feel, lack of crime, lack of drug use, but neighbors who are enemy combatants.
We moved on to the headquarters and courtroom in the Commission Building for a briefing from General Hood and the Joint Task Force. The courtroom had been readied for any trials that might be forthcoming as some of the combatants seek to be released from Gitmo. The Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Bay (JTF-GTMO) is charged with running the facility and is composed of military, military intelligence, and law enforcement. They also have a Medical Group in place. Their mission is the safe detention and gather of intelligence from enemy combatants. The 2000 Americans inside the wire at Gitmo are all part of this team.
The Joint Defense Operation Group (JDOG) is responsible for safe and secure detention. The Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) is responsible for intelligence. Over 200 people are involved in this operation. Joint Medical Group (JMG) is responsible for healthcare. The base is staffed by Active Duty, Reserve, National Guardsmen. And civilian military employees.
No firearms are allowed inside the detention camp. This is a testament to the degree of security and careful management at Gitmo. The military police who guard the camps do so without weapons. Every second of the day is very scheduled and orderly. They are guarding a detainee population of more than 520 enemy combatants. It's important to remember that these are people who were involved in the 9-11 atrocities. They are either members of or have ties to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. These are people with known terrorist ties. Some were apprehended as they carried out acts of violence against out troops. They have varied backgrounds. A few have studied in the U.S. There are computer experts, financial experts, explosive technicians - but all linked by their efforts to attack America.
The "Dirty Thirty" members and Osama bin Laden's bodyguards are held at Gitmo. The 20th 9-11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, is also being detained at Gitmo.
The point is that these people are not being held for arbitrary reasons. They have either attacked us or been caught planning to attack us, and we know that when released they return to their terrorist cells and attack us again. This has happened more than a dozen times with detainees who've been released from Gitmo.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON DETENTION CENTER AT U.S. NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA
Enemy Combatant Definition
"An enemy combatant is an individual who was part of or was supporting Taliban or al Qaida forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This includes any person who committed a belligerent act or has directly supported hostilities in aid of enemy armed forces"
Overview of Detainees
The United States began detaining individuals captured in the War on Terrorism at Guantanamo in January 2002. There are now approximately 520 foreign-national enemy combatants at Guantanamo. The Department of Defense defines an enemy combatant as "an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This includes any person who committed a belligerent act or has directly supported hostilities in aid of enemy forces." The Department states enemy combatants are detained to prevent them from continuing to fight against the United States and not to punish them.
The detainees are from 40 countries and speak 17 different languages. To date, 234 detainees have departed Guantanamo; 149 have been released, and 83 were transferred to the control of other governments: 29 to Pakistan, 17 to Afghanistan, 9 to Great Britain, 7 to France, 7 to Russia, 4 to Saudi Arabia, 1 to Spain, 1 to Sweden, 1 to Kuwait, 1 to Australia, and 1 to Turkey. The majority of detainees transferred to the control of their home countries have subsequently been released. At least 12 detainees identified by name have re-joined the fight against coalition forces.
According to the Department of Defense, Guantanamo remains a key intelligence resource, but the bulk of operations are shifting from intelligence to detention consistent with the protection function. DOD believes the detention mission will continue for some time because of the likelihood that the Global War on Terrorism will not come to a "quick" end. The government is committed to not holding anyone longer than necessary. The Guantanamo population is expected to continue to diminish over time, but there are no available estimates as to exactly what those numbers will be.
Facilities at Guantanamo
In January 2002, detainees were housed in Camp X-Ray, a temporary detention facility. Conditions at Camp X-Ray were primitive, with detainees housed in open-air chain link cells, concrete slabs, and portable toilets. Camp X-Ray was closed down in April 2002 and a permanent facility, Camp Delta, was opened. Camp Delta is composed of six separate detention camps where detainees are housed according to level of confinement. According to Department media reports, when a detainee arrives at Camp Delta, he is sent to Camp 3, a maximum-security facility. If a detainee shows cooperation with the staff, he is moved to Camp 2, which is still maximum-security, but where a detainee receives more privileges. With more cooperation, a detainee is moved to Camp 1. Finally, detainees who are actively cooperating with the interrogation process and are judged not to be a security risk, are moved to Camp 4. Detainees preparing for military commissions are held in Camp Echo. Juveniles were previously held in Camp Iguana, although the Department reports there are currently no juvenile detainees.
Camps 3-2-1 are each maximum-security facilities, with detainees held in individual cells. They wear orange uniforms. Media reports estimate about 340 detainees are held in Camps 3 and 2.
Camp 1 houses approximately 150 detainees who are one step away from being moved to Camp 4. They wear tan uniforms and are afforded prayer rugs and canvas sneakers. Detainees are housed in individual cells with a toilet and sink in each cell. They have 30 minutes in one of two exercise years twice a week. Showers are allowed in outdoor stalls after exercise periods. There are 10 cellblocks with 48 cells each, although they are not fully occupied to maximize the guard-to -detainee ratio. Detainees receive basic items such as a "finger toothbrush" (short so it can't be used as a weapon), toothpaste, soap, shampoo, plastic flip flops, cotton underwear, shorts, pants, and a shirt. Guards are not allowed to remove basic items but comfort items can be taken away for behavior infractions.
Camp 4 houses detainees in medium-security complexes where each unit consists of communal living rooms and a small common recreation area. Each detainee has access to a private toilet and sink and a larger shower and toilet room that serve the entire complex. Each unit houses 10-12 detainees. Each detainee has a bed with a mattress, locker for storing personal items, and access to writing materials. Detainees wear white color uniforms, rather than the orange-colored ones in the maximum-security camps. Detainees are generally allowed out in exercise areas attached to their living bays seven to nine hours a day. Exercise yards include picnic tables under cover and ping-pong tables. Detainees also have access to a central soccer area and volleyball court. Detainees eat meals together within their cellblocks. Food-service personnel bring the food and the detainees portion it out among themselves, although a guard ensures each detainee gets an equal portion. Other privileges unique to Camp 4 include electric fans in the bays and ice water available around the clock. Camp 4 houses a total of approximately 160 detainees.
Camp 5 was opened in May 2004 and is a state-of-the-art maximum-security facility used for interrogations. It can hold up to 100 detainees and houses detainees judged to be the most dangerous and those deemed to be the most valuable intelligence assets. It is the most modern facility and is composed of four wings of 12-14 individual cells. Detainees have access to an outdoor exercise year for about one hour a day.
U.S. Army military police make up the security force at Camp Delta. The number of guards assigned to Guantanamo is classified.
Standards of Treatment
The Department of Defense policy is to treat detainees at Guantanamo humanely and provide them with many privileges similar to those enemy prisoners of war (EPW's) would receive, including:
Three meals a day that meet cultural dietary requirements
Adequate shelter and clothing
The means to send and receive mail
Medical and dental care
Policies have been in place since the early days of the detention operation at Guantanamo to ensure respect for the practice of faith and its instruments, such as the Koran. The ICRC was consulted regarding these policies. The Koran practices were codified in a January 19, 2003 policy letter. The policies include:
· Distribution of 1600 Korans to detainees since January 2002
· Calls to prayer over public address system fives times a day
· Storage to protect and respect Korans (hung in surgical masks from the
cell wall) · Culturally appropriate meals
· Arrows stenciled on the floor to point towards Mecca
· Each detainee is issued the following basic items: a Koran in their language, a sleeping mat, a washcloth, a sheet, and a surgical mask. "Comfort items" (given if a detainee complies with camp rules) include a prayer rug, perfume oil, prayer beads, and a prayer cap. Approximately 64% of detainees receive all comfort items.
· Cultural guidelines for guards concerning treatment and respect for the Koran
· Special rules during Islamic Holy Periods, including Ramadan
· Special dietary practices
· Special medical practices
Visit Representative Blackburn's website at www.house.gov/blackburn for more information on issues important to Tennessee. If you would like to add a new email address to the list, visit the website and choose to sign up for Marsha's E-Newsletter. To remove your current email address from this list, reply to this email with "unsubscribe" typed into the subject line. Also, please note that this system is not capable of receiving an email response. To reply to Representative Blackburn by email visit her website and choose the "Contact Marsha" icon.
Have you read his book? I felt like he provided so many "chapters" for free on The Weekly Standard, that I never did read it.
A week ago I heard on FNC that one of the "abuses" at Gitmo was that we didn't give the jihadists sugar for their tea. I can't remember who said it and can't confirm it, but someone was being interviewed and listed that as one of the more ridiculous items the left complains about.
Good digging, Peach!
BTW, Hayes' book "The Connection" is a good read, and can probably be found at a discount in the used section of amazon.com--every Freeper should read it. It makes fools of the MSM talking heads who insist there is no "connection" between Iraq and Osama.
I thumbed through the book, but I copied most of his articles from the Weekly Standard site that reading the book seemed redundant. However, your post earlie today prompted me to place a hold on the book at the local library, just for the heck of it.
I'm going to check the library web site to see if they have his book. So many books...so little time. LOL
I noticed in all this crap on Gitmo that the MSM and even our GOP congresscritters leave out the abuse heaped on our Troops guarding these morons...urine, feces, spit thrown at them, physical attacks and the verbal abuse. Same as in US prisons.
Molly Hennenburg of FNC visited Gitmo a few days ago and mentioned the abuse our troops are told to take and said they are just told to take it and ignore it.
Even though the jihadists are threatening them and their families when they get out!
SVENDSEN: Well, the guards were constantly challenged. The detainees we have down there are very well-organized and they have worked together to try to come up with schemes to try to get the best of the guards. Every time we had new people come in, there was a thing called an anointing where - uh - granted it was a smaller percentage of the detainees but they would do things - they would throw bodily fluids of all types on 'em. There was always a danger of being head-butted. Things such as water faucets having to be removed and having spigots put on that couldn't be broken off and used 'em as weapons. There was always that danger of taking things for granted and find [sic] yourself injured - or anointed.
O'REILLY: So, there were some hard-core guys down there and they were tryin' to cause as much trouble as they could.
I had missed that. And I think it was Rumsfeld on Sunday who said we'd gotten a lot of specific information from several of these guys and had stopped attacks.
Oh, yeah...I also heard that some of them have their own lawyers who are using these so-called "abuses" as a pretext for their release.
What's not mentioned is that each of these detainees have representatives that are appointed to them...and overseen by a special court that rules on their detention.
If it weren't for FR, I'd never hear the truth about anything.
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