From 911 Commission Book.
page 66. "...there's no credible evidence of any cooperation between OBL and Saddam.
then to page 128,
They dropped "understanding" from the indictment to what?
"On November 4, 1998, the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed its indictment of Bin Laden, charging him with conpiracy to attack US defense installations. The indictment also charged that al Qaeda had allied itself with Sudan, Iran, and Hezbollah. The orginal sealed indictment had added that al Qaeda had "reached an uderstanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq." 109
This passage led Clarke, who for years had read intelligence reports on Iraqi-Sudanese cooperation on chemical weapons, to speculate to Berger that a large Iraqi presence at chemical facilities in Khartoum was "probably a direct result of the Iraq-Al Qida agreement." Clarke added that VX precursor traces found near al Shifa were the "exact formula used by Iraq." 110
This language about al Qaeda's "understanding" with Iraq had been dropped, however, when a superseding indictment was filed in November 1998." 111
#109: Indictment, United States v. Usama Bin Laden, No. 98Cr. (S.D.N.Y. unsealed November 4, 1998), page 3. For the reports concerning Derunta, see NSC membo. Clarke to Berger, Roadmap, Nov 3, 1998.
#110: NSC email, Clarke to Berger, Nove, 1998, Evidence on Iraqi ties to al Qaeda is summarized in Chapter 2.
Patrick Fitzgerald testimony, June 16, 2004
"...One of the hazy questions that surrounds Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda is really its relationship, if any, with Iraq and with Saddam Hussein.
We've often heard that Osama bin Laden would not have been a natural ally, for religious reasons, for the composition and nature of Saddam Hussein's regime. And our staff report, as you just heard, basically says there's no credible evidence of any cooperation between the two. However, there seems to be some indicia that there may have been.
And, Mr. Fitzgerald, I'm delighted you're here, because this first question really I wanted to ask specifically to you, because it relates to the indictment of Osama bin Laden in the spring of 1998.
FIELDING: This is before the U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa and the administration indicted Osama bin Laden. And the indictment, which was unsealed a few months later, reads, "al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government, and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."
So my question to you is what evidence was that indictment based upon and what was this understanding that's referenced in it?
FITZGERALD: And the question of relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda is an interesting one. I don't have information post-2001 when I got involved in a trial, and I don't have information post-September 11th. I can tell you what led to that inclusion in that sealed indictment in May and then when we superseded, which meant we broadened the charges in the Fall, we dropped that language.
We understood there was a very, very intimate relationship between al Qaeda and the Sudan. They worked hand in hand. We understood there was a working relationship with Iran and Hezbollah, and they shared training. We also understood that there had been antipathy between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein because Saddam Hussein was not viewed as being religious.
We did understand from people, including al-Fadl -- and my recollection is that he would have described this most likely in public at the trial that we had, but I can't tell you that for sure; that was a few years ago -- that at a certain point they decided that they wouldn't work against each other and that we believed a fellow in al Qaeda named Mondu Saleem (ph), Abu Harzai (ph) the Iraqi, tried to reach a, sort of, understanding where they wouldn't work against each other. Sort of, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
And that there were indications that within Sudan when al Qaeda was there -- which al Qaeda left in the summer of '96 or spring '96 -- there were efforts to work on joint -- you know, acquiring weapons.
FITZGERALD: Clearly, al Qaeda worked with the Sudan in getting those weapons in the national defense force there and the intelligence service. There were indications that al-Fadl had heard from others that Iran was involved. And they also had heard that Iraq was involved.
The clearest account from al-Fadl as a Sudanese was that he had dealt directly with the Sudanese intelligence service, so we had first-hand knowledge of that.
We corroborated the relationship with Iran to a lesser extent but to a solid extent. And then we had information from al-Fadl, who we believe was truthful, learning from others that there were also was efforts to try to work with Iraq. That was the basis for what we put in that indictment. Clearly, we put Sudan in the first order at that time as being the partner of al Qaeda.
We understood the relationship with Iran but Iraq, we understood, went from a position where they were working against each other to a standing down against each other. And we understood they were going to explore the possibility of working on weapons together.
That's my piece of what I know. I don't represent to know everything else, so I can't tell you, well, what we've learned since then. But there was that relationship that went from opposing each other to not opposing each other to possibly working with each other.
You're right - they have gone from somewhat opposing each other to working together. Documents found from Zarqawi today prove that.
This is from a freeper's blog:
Baathist holdovers have admitted putting aside any ideological differences with Zarqawi to cooperate with him for a "greater" cause (something critics have argued wasn't possible).