Clarke ignors his own words showing connection between Iraq and al Qaeda

Deroy Murdock:


" 'There is absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda ever,' Clarke declared March 21 on CBS' 60 Minutes. Because Baathist Iraq and al Qaeda colluded less than, say, Iceland and the Cosa Nostra, the theory goes, President Bush squandered American time, treasure, and blood by hunting Saddam Hussein rather than Osama bin Laden.

"This view totally overlooks extensive connections between Baghdad and bin Laden. Just ask Richard Clarke.

"On Wednesday, he told the September 11 Commission about Abdul Rahman Yasin, the al Qaeda operative indicted who federal prosecutors indicted for mixing the chemicals in the bomb that rocked the World Trade Center, killed six, and injured 1,042 people on February 26, 1993.

" 'He was an Iraqi,' Clarke observed. 'Therefore, when the explosion took place, and he fled the United States, he went back to Iraq.' While Clarke believes Baghdad did not orchestrate that attack, he concedes that Hussein embraced this assassin.

" 'The Iraqi government,' Clarke continued, 'didn't cooperate in turning him over and gave him sanctuary, as it did give sanctuary to other terrorists.'

" 'Last week, Day One confirmed he [Yasin] is in Baghdad,' ABC correspondent Sheila MacVicar reported June 27, 1994. 'Just a few days ago, he was seen at [his father's] house by ABC News. Neighbors told us Yasin comes and goes freely.'

"Vice President Dick Cheney told National Public Radio last January 22: 'We've discovered since [Iraq's liberation] documents indicating that a guy named Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was a part of the team that attacked the World Trade Center in '93, when he arrived back in Iraq was put on the payroll and provided a house, safe harbor and sanctuary.'

" excavated on Tuesday a January 23, 1999, Washington Post article in which Clarke defended the Clinton administration's August 20, 1998, cruise-missile strike on the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. That mission avenged al Qaeda's demolition of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that August 7, which killed 224 individuals and injured more than 5,000. The Post quoted Clarke as 'sure' that Iraqi experts there produced a powdered VX nerve gas component. According to the Post, Clarke 'said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa's current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan.'


" Washington Times Pentagon correspondents Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough reported March 19 on a 20-page, Arabic-language document from the Iraqi Intelligence Service. Stamped 'top secret,' it lists IIS 'collaborators,' among them, 'the Saudi Osama bin Laden.' It says he is a 'Saudi businessman and is in charge of the Saudi opposition in Afghanistan...And he is in good relationship with our section in Syria.' Signed 'Jabar,' the 1993 record seemed authentic to an American official who reviewed it.

" 'Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qa'ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad,' CIA Director George Tenet concluded in an October 7, 2002 letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee. 'Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al-Qa'ida, suggest that Baghdad's links with terrorists will increase, even absent US military action.'

"Perhaps all of this made Richard Clarke state: 'There is absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qaeda ever.' "


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