The Weekly Standard‘s website is back up and running — so now you can finally read their detailed report on the Pentagon’s leaked Iraq/al Qaeda connection memo.
But somehow, this won’t be enough for the rabid “progressives” who sneer at us for believing that there was any connection between Hussein/binLaden. Actually, I don’t think that *any* proof would ever convince them.
First, as w/ the “Rumsfeld said they were reconstituting nuclear WEAPONS” meme, the Left will alter its claims (my guess is that their version will be that Dubya accused Hussein of masterminding 9-11).
THEN, it’ll be that unless proof is shown of Saddam masterminding 9-11, then there is STILL no connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda.
All-the-while the drumbeat will be that the memo, b/c it came from Feith and not Tenet, is simply a deliberately leaked memo of intel for political purposes. This will both cover the Dems on the Senate Intel Committee, AND allow the Left to claim that the entire thing is fabricated anyway, and the CIA knows better than to claim this.
Now why wasn’t this explained better beforehand? It’s almost like they wanted the charge of their connection to be ridiculed.
One minute: “We have some proof”
next: “we have absolutely no proof”
Now: “we had a ton of proof, we just didn’t feel like telling anyone until now”
Seems like those rabid “progressives” at the Defense Department are already sneering:
But the Weekly Standard has spoken! What will it take to convince these people? Why does the military hate America?
The DOD missive doesn’t disagree with the elements of the memo, just the conclusions. This leads me to believe that the dissemition of this memo is unathorized.
I know I’m not able to see the big picture, so help me out here folks. If this memo is all that it appears to be, why did Cheney go on television and say there was evidence of a connection, and Rummy and W smacked him down a day later?
I don’t get it. Was someone lying there? I don’t know if the lie was for our own good or what, but which one (VP or Pres/Sec.Def.) was telling the truth? Don’t tell me they both were?
Doogler: sounds like the info wasn’t declassified yet (as it apparently wasn’t when released this weekend). Just speculating.
What Doogler is referring to is in regards to Saddam and Sep. 11, not Saddam and al Qaeda.
All right, first of all this stuff is WAY classified. The term “sensitive” in an internal intel document that is already classified Top Secret/codeword is a signal that the intelligence could get someone killed. So right there you have one good reason why this information wasn’t leaked before — it would have been illegal and dangerous.
Second of all, the reports you see here are “raw intelligence” and have not been processed by the analysts. They are absolutely cherrypicked — as the DOD press release makes clear. The letter to the SSCI was responding to the request that the administration provide whatever information it had that showed a connection — not any of the other data that might have showed something else. The SSCI asked for this stuff purposely. No one in the intel community would look at this data alone without analysis, contextual information, and other reports. One common problem with “juicy” intel is that sometimes it turns out to be coming from the same source through multiple conduits, thus resulting in what seems like corroborated intel but what is instead the same song played through different radios. Analysts are trained experts at sifting through it all and figuring out what is a reasonable conclusion and what isn’t. When you consider how many resources we poured into Saddam and Bin Laden in the time period in question, it is no wonder that the “greatest hits” look pretty awesome when laid out in summary form on a few pages.
This may be a collection of heavily smoking guns. But I’m not sure. If this stuff was generally representative of the whole file on these guys, and went back as long as it did, it would have generated a series of SEIBs that would have definitely caused us to take action against Iraq, even in the Clinton administration. And this President would not have had to wait until 2003 to move on Saddam — he could have taken off in Spring, 2001.
Keep in mind that hundreds of analysts had access to this info along with other stuff we have not seen. And keep in mind that a memo concluding a bin-Laden/Saddam connection with enough data to withstand factchecking AND contradictory reporting would have catapulted its author up the ranks. If you wanted to be appointed a Sr. Director at the NSC any time in the last 5 years, being able to draw an unimpeachable line between Saddam and Osama would have gotten you there.
This is compelling reading. But my Spidey Sense is tingling a bit while I read it. (Among other things: since when was Saddam in a position to “allow” anyone to do anything in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1999?)
I am way happier to be reading this as speculation than fact, though, because the last item on the list could have been:
“the CIA has traced the ingredients in the bomb that destroyed downtown Boston to IIS agents who met Al-Qaeda contacts in Damascus in June, 2003. . . ”
Further, WaPo update:
As noted on Metafilter, whence I found the link, now that DOJ is involved, that “will be the end of this news story.”