an interview this month, Vice President Dick
Cheney touted a report and leaked classified
document that the Administration itself has
billed "inaccurate" as the basis for his Iraq-Al
questioned about his assertion of a Saddam-Al
Qaeda connection, Cheney said, "you ought to
go look [at] an article that Stephen Hayes did
in the Weekly Standard here a few weeks ago,
that goes through and lays out in some detail,
based on an assessment that was done by the
Department of Defense and forwarded to the Senate
Intelligence Committee some weeks ago. That's
your best source of information."
the article and document Cheney cites was discredited
by the Administration as "inaccurate" two months
ago, at the time it was published. The Administration
also criticized the leak, saying, "Individuals
who leak or purport to leak classified information
are doing serious harm to national security;
such activity is deplorable and may be illegal."
Defense Department is not the only agency objecting
to the accuracy of the claim. Cheney raised
the connection again yesterday, saying, "There's
overwhelming evidence there was a connection
between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I
am very confident that there was an established
relationship there." But Secretary of State
Colin Powell disputed the idea two weeks ago,
when he admitted, "I have not seen smoking-gun,
concrete evidence about the connection."
Los Angeles Times reports that improved intelligence
has revealed neither the Iraqis nor Al Qaeda
trusted one another enough to establish a relationship.
September 11th lead planner Khalid-Sheikh Muhammad,
the highest ranking Al Qaeda official in custody,
has revealed that Al Qaeda saw Iraq as a "corrupt,
secular regime." Last week, the New York Times
reported that documents indicated Saddam Hussein
warned his followers to "be wary of joining
forces with foreign Arab fighters entering Iraq."