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CHENEY CITES LEAKED INTELLIGENCE ON IRAQ-AL QUEDA
from The Daily Mis-lead
January 23, 2004

In 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 Qaeda claims.

When 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."

But 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."

The 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."

Today's 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."

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