Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Rumsfeld on Iraq/al-Qaeda connection

The Guardian does us a nice service by posting a quick little timeline of Rumsfeld quotes on the Iraq/al-Qaeda connection as well as the full text of Donald Rumsfeld's statement trying to backtrack from his comments today at an appearence before the Council on Foreign Rleations where he said, "to my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two."

Here is your handy Rumsfeld timeline:

August 2002: Mr Rumsfeld claims "there are al-Qaida in Iraq", and accuses Saddam of "harbouring al-Qaida operatives who fled the US military dragnet in Afghanistan".

September 2002: "We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qaida members, including some that have been in Baghdad," Mr Rumsfeld says. "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."

October 2002: He tells a Pentagon briefing he had already been informed there is "solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qaida members".

March 2003: Mr Rumsfeld says the US-led coalition has solid evidence that senior al-Qaida operatives had visited Baghdad in the past, and that Saddam had an "evolving" relationship with the terror network.

September 2004: The defence secretary confuses the jailed Saddam and the fugitive Bin Laden in a speech to the US National Press Club: "Saddam Hussein, if he's alive, is spending a whale of a lot of time trying to not get caught. And we've not seen him on a video since 2001." He corrects himself when asked for clarification.

October 2004: Rumsfeld tells the Council on Foreign Relations in New York that "to my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two" and he had seen intelligence on the Saddam-al-Qaida question "migrate in amazing ways" during the past year, adding that there were "many differences of opinion in the intelligence community."

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