Carl W. Ford, Jr., MA, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, on Feb. 11, 2003 stated in his remarks before the Senate Select Committee of Intelligence:
"Al-Qaida's presence in Iraq has grown since 9/11, including inside
Baghdad. We know that Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi spent considerable time in
Baghdad during 2002, and has a network of operatives in northern Iraq
in an area under the control of Ansar al-Islam. This network has been
working steadily to produce toxic substances which are ready for
deployment, based on recent arrests in Europe. Zarqawi controls
operations outside Iraq as well, as evidenced by the assassination of
USAID representative to Jordan, Lawrence Foley, in which the
perpetrators reported they were acting with support from Zarqawi.
Though we do not know the specific operational details of Iraq's
relationship with al-Qaida yet, we do know that neither Iraq nor
al-Qaida would have any compunction about using WMD in terrorist
attacks against civilians. Based on the weight of our current
information, I believe that al-Qaida operatives inside Iraq have
positioned themselves so that they could launch operations with little
or no warning."
Colin L. Powell, MBA, former US Secretary of State, on Feb. 5, 2003 stated in his presentation to the United Nations Security Council:
"But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially
much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist
network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and
modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network
headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi an associate and collaborator of Usama
bin Laden and his al-Qaida lieutenants.
When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped
establish another poison and explosive training center camp, and this
camp is located in northeastern Iraq.
Those helping to run this camp are Zarqawi lieutenants operating in
northern Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein's controlled Iraq. But
Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical
organization Ansar al-Islam that controls this corner of Iraq. In 2000,
this agent offered al-Qaida safe haven in the region.
Zarqawi's activities are not confined to this small corner of northeast
Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May of 2002 for medical treatment,
staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to
fight another day.
Now let me add one other fact. We asked a friendly security service to
approach Baghdad about extraditing Zarqawi and providing information
about him and his close associates. This service contacted Iraqi
officials twice and we passed details that should have made it easy to
find Zarqawi. The network remains in Baghdad. Zarqawi still remains at
large, to come and go."
Richard Perle, MA, former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, on Feb. 23, 2003 stated in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press broadcast:
"With all due respect to Tom Friedman and Congressman Kucinich, there
is a lot of evidence of relationships between Iraqi intelligence and
al-Qaeda, a lot of evidence. We know that they have entered into
agreements with one another, something that has been characterized as a
non-aggression agreement, but it's really a mutual assistance
agreement. We know that al-Qaeda operatives have been trained in Iraq
by Iraqis. And there is still additional evidence involving meetings
and arrangements and substantial numbers of operatives."
Donald Rumsfeld, former US Secretary of Defense, on Sep. 26, 2002 stated in his testimony before the US House Armed Services Committee:
"Since we began after September 11th, we do have solid evidence of the
presence in Iraq of al Qaeda members, including some that have been in
Baghdad. We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of
senior level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical and
biological agent training. And when I say contacts, I mean between Iraq
and al Qaeda. The reports of these contacts have been increasing since
1998. We have what we believe to be credible information that Iraq and
al Qaeda have discussed safe haven opportunities in Iraq, reciprocal
nonaggression discussions. We have what we consider to be credible
evidence that al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts in Iraq who could
help them acquire weapon of -- weapons of mass destruction
capabilities. We do have -- I believe it's one report indicating that
Iraq provided unspecified training relating to chemical and/or
biological matters for al Qaeda members. There is, I'm told, also some
other information of varying degrees of reliability that supports that
conclusion of their cooperation."
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (aka 9/11 Commission) stated in its June 16, 2004 report titled "Staff Statement No. 15: Overview of the Enemy":
"[Usama] Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan [1991-1994], despite his opposition to [Saddam] Hussein's secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded.
There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."
Dr. Judith Yaphe, PhD, Senior Research Fellow and Middle East Project Director in the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, on July 9, 2003 stated at a public hearing to the National Committee on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States:
"In my judgment, Saddam assessed Usama bin
Ladin and al-Qaida as a threat rather than a potential partner to be
exploited to attack the United States. Bin Ladin wanted to attack Iraq
after it occupied Kuwait in 1990 rather than have the Saudi government
depend on foreign military forces. Several captured al-Qaida operatives
have said Usama refused to consider working for or with Saddam,
according to press accounts. Saddam would have understood that after
Usama had realized his ambition to remove U.S. forces from Arabia and
eliminate the Al Sa`ud and other ruling families in the Gulf, that he
would have been the next target. The threat would have appeared
particularly risky to Saddam, given the modest indicators of a revival
in personal piety and Islamist dress among Iraqi Sunnis in the last
decade. He certainly suspected Saudi Arabia of encouraging Wahhabi
pietism and practices among Iraq's Sunni Arabs and Bin Ladin's
loyalists would have been suspect of similar anti-regime activities...
Czech and American intelligence
officials say they are unable to confirm any meeting between al-Qaida
operative Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer, identified
as Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. I would be disappointed if an
Iraqi intelligence officer did not meet with al-Qaida operatives. He
would have been derelict in his duty if he did not at least try to
arrange a meeting. His purpose would have been to assess intent,
operational capability, and recruitment potential. It would not have
been sufficient for both simply to hate the U.S. Saddam always demanded
total loyalty from and control over any group he supported. The
evidence is fairly clear, at least in my mind, that al-Qaida would not
be subordinated to any government, even if Usama had admired Saddam,
which he did not."
Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, stated in a Feb. 4, 2003 interview with former UK Labour Cabinet Minister Tony Benn broadcast on UK's Channel 4 News program:
"If we had a relationship with al-Qaeda and we believed in that
relationship we wouldn't be ashamed to admit it. Therefore I would like
to tell you directly and also through you to anyone who is interested
to know that we have no relationship with al-Qaeda."
Ron Paul, MD, US Representative (R-TX), on Oct. 10, 2002 presented arguments to the claims presented by supporters of the resolution to authorize the use of military force in Iraq to the Senate floor:
"Claim: Iraq harbors al-Qaeda and other terrorists.
Reality: The administration has
claimed that some al-Qaeda elements have been present in Northern Iraq.
This is the territory controlled by the Kurds - who are our allies -
and is patrolled by U.S. and British fighter aircraft. Moreover, dozens
of countries - including Iran and the United States - are said to have
al-Qaeda members on their territory. Other terrorists allegedly
harbored by Iraq, all are affiliated with Palestinian causes and do not
attack the United States."