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June 16, 2004
MORE ON THE 9/11 COMMISSION: Staffer Jonathan Stull emails:
I'd recommend that you look directly at Staff Statement No. 15 when discussing the Iraq-al Qaeda issue, specifically regarding the Commissions' hearing today. Note that the paragraph in question is on page 5 of the attached statement. I'd point out that it is but one paragraph in a 12-page statement. The AP and others have picked up on one sentence, which was carefully worded: "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."
The rest of the paragraph concisely summarizes the cases where we can identify cooperation and other connections where they exist.
The other relevant information is included on page 8 of Staff Statement No. 16. In the statement, which exhaustively discusses the 9-11 plot, we address the movements of the hijackers in the years leading up to the attacks. This paragraph addresses reports that Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence agency in Prague on April 9, 2001.
While some have criticized the questioning during public hearings, I have seen few quibbles with our staff statements. I urge you to look over all of the statements.
Here's the link to the staff statements. I couldn't get Statement 16 to open (here's the link to the PDF), I guess because of all the traffic. But maybe you'll have more luck.
UPDATE: It wasn't their server -- it was a hangup (again) in Acrobat's auto-update routine. Rebooting fixed the problem. I've read the passages that Stull references, and it's not overwhelmingly convincing, though your results may differ. At any rate, as noted below, it's important not to conflate Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 attack, which the Bush Administration has repeatedly said there's no evidence for, with Iraqi cooperation with Al Qaeda in general (existing and threatened), which there's some evidence for and which the Commission notes. As Stull points out, the statement is "carefully worded."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Frank Lynch makes the distinction but thinks it's the Administration that blurred it.