US Senate Report Rules Out al-Qaida Link with Saddam

A report by a Senate committee says there is no evidence former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had any relationship with the al-Qaida terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his associates before the U.S. and allied forces invaded Iraq in 2003.

The report is part of an ongoing investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been looking into intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq, it was widely thought at the time to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

According to the 400 page document, an assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2005 stated that before U.S. and allied forces invaded, the Saddam Hussein regime did not, in the words of the report, have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates.

President Bush and other administration officials have acknowledged that no evidence has emerged to show a direct link between Saddam and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

However, the president, along with Vice President Dick Cheney and other key officials have maintained that Zarqawi's presence in Iraq before the war constituted proof of an al-Qaida connection. 

At a news conference Friday, Senate Democrats asserted the report proves that the Bush administration sought to exploit the fears Americans had in the wake of the 2001 al-Qaida attacks in New York and Washington to justify military action in Iraq.

On the basis of the report, Senator John Rockefeller, the committee's ranking Democrat, says the administration's case for war in Iraq was, in his words, fundamentally misleading.

"Most disturbingly the administration in its zeal to promote public opinion in the U.S. for toppling Saddam Hussein pursued a deceptive strategy prior to the war," he said.

The Senate Intelligence Committee investigation has sparked intense partisan battles on Capitol Hill, with Democrats charging Senate Pat Roberts, the Republican chairman, with deliberately slowing down the probe.

Senator Roberts has strongly denied these allegations.  Statements by committee Democrats, he said in a written statement Friday, are little more than a rehashing of the same unfounded allegations they've used for over three years.

White House spokesman Tony Snow took the same approach, repeating the argument that Democrats had access to the same intelligence the Bush administration had prior to military action in 2003.

But Senator Carl Levin says what he calls unrelenting, misleading and deceptive attempts to convince Americans of the existence of links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida had far-reaching effects.

"And to make repeated public statements that gave the misleading impression that Saddam Hussein's regime was connected to the terrorists who attacked us on September 11 cost him [President Bush] any credibility that he may have had on this issue," he said,

The release of the second part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report comes just days before Americans observe the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

In its final report on intelligence and other failures leading to the 2001 attacks, the independent 9/11 Commission also found that there had been no collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs