Frum & Perle: ThirteenAETE pps 46-7, more lies, half-truths, bullshit. Subject: Saddam-al-Qaeda ties that were non-existent, plus more on Feith-based Intelligence:
Even if we agree to catalog the Atta/Iraq story as an unsolved mystery, pending further investigations in the Iraqi archives, it remains true -- as President Bush also said on September 17 -- that there is "no question that Saddam had al-Qaeda ties."
In 1998, bin Laden and the Iraqi government opened discussions on a joint campaign against the United States, according to documents found in Iraq by the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph in April 2003. More recently, intelligence sources have received credible information that Ayman al-Zawahiri visited Baghdad in 1998 and received a $300,000 payment just before he merged his Egyptian Islamic Jihad group with bin Laden's al-Qaeda.
After this is a footnote. The cite? To discredited Weekly Standard crackpot Stephen Hayes.
Unearthing the links between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein would have been hard work under any circumstances. But the persistent opposition of the CIA and the DIA to any outside investigation of those links made the task all the more difficult. When a small team of independent analysts inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense found clues that had eluded the agencies, the CIA and DIA sprang into action. First, they tried to deny the independent analysts essential access to the information they needed to do their work. Then they ferociously cross-examined every link the independent analysts did find -- as if they were more concerned to defend their vested opinion than to hear new observations. Next, they waged a campaign of leaks that accused the independent analysts -- all four of them -- of forming a "cabal" and "politicizing" intelligence. Finally, they cooked up on specious charges and removed the security clearance of at least one of the analysts.
But, if anyone bent intelligence, it was those analysts at the CIA and DIA who allowed their assumptions about what Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden would do and would not do to blind them to important information. And when challenged, they reacted with professional vindictiveness.