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Senate Intel Committee Report

Here’s the report, and here’s the WaPo article on it, the most relevant portion of which reads:

Republican attempts to paint the findings as a partisan rehash were undercut by intelligence committee members from the GOP. The committee report’s conclusions are based on the Democrats’ findings because two Republicans -- Sens. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) and Chuck Hagel (Neb.) -- supported those findings.

Read that again: the "report’s conclusions are based on the Democrats’ findings," with "bipartisan" cover provided by Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe.

The stuff on WMD is basically old news, which will be resuscitated by the issuance of this report. Of course, bad intelligence (believed by everyone, including President Clinton and most western intelligence agencies) is different from lying, but that distinction is lost on the Bush-haters.

The discussion of ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda is more nuanced in the report than in the news coverage I’ve seen and, again, is nothing new: everyone agrees that there were contacts and that there might be (or have been) cooperation where the anti-American interests of the two parties coincided.

Discussions - 17 Comments

The mountain of evidence ignored, in order to reach the desired conclusion, is astonishing. Reliance on 2 cut and run Republicans to give the report credibility is laughable.

The more we learn about the terrorist network, the less we can believe the MSM. For instance, just last night I watched a History Channel program about Lebanon being (perhaps) the opening shot of WWIII. Buried in the program was this nugget -- one of Iran’s chief Hezbollah terrorists trained with OBL in Sudan. Now, that’s Shia being tutored by Sunni. I thought that was impossible?

Islamofascism is simply the next totalitarian ideology. It isn’t any different from Nazism or Communism...different ’god’, same old crap. And if we can’t get these stupid "head in the sand" liberals to understand that WWIII really IS just around the corner, we are set to lose millions of our people in the next few decades...really.

Joseph:

The conclusions of the report (starting on p.103) are much more clear about the absence of any credible evidence of any cooperation between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa’ida, or between Saddam and Zarqawi, than you let on here. Indeed, the conclusions highlight the hostility between the two parties. The whole issue of terrorist training camps was also overblown. The meeting between Atta and Iraqi agents was overblown. Connections between Saddam and Ansar al-Islam were overblown. Finally, it’s worth thinking about the role of al-Libi and our treatment of him, which produced unreliable and inconsistent information.

What, precisely, about the pre-war claims regarding these matters has turned out to be true? You seem to redescribe the pre-war claims as speculation that they could cooperate at some point. But the public claims were always much stronger than that.

The mere fact that two political actors are enemies of our regime does not mean that they will be able to surmount coordination difficulties. Facts matter here, because the mere category "enemy" doesn’t provide any useful insight. Here, the risk of a relationship seems to have been very close to zero. At any rate, it’s less than the risk - still relatively small - that such people will cooperate effectively when they can also fight under the banner of beating back an occupying army.

Precisely because we need to allocate resources efficiently in order to protect our interests, we shouldn’t be chasing after phantoms.

Brett,
Joseph DID say: bad intelligence (believed by everyone, including President Clinton and most western intelligence agencies) is different from lying, but that distinction is lost on the Bush-haters. Even this report will be superseded by other information in the future. If slanted by political considerations, then in a practical way, it is also "bad." For us to take it seriously, as facts do matter, we would have to be able to believe that there were NOT political factors in the "facts" of the report, which we can not do.

Surely you would concede this since one of the complaints of the pre-war intelligence is that it was colored by political considerations. That may be so, but IF so, then Joseph’s point that the previous administration said the same thing, must mitigate that criticism, but it never does.

Would you really dispute Dain’s point? Stalin and Lenin ought have had no common ground, except of course they had more ground in common than either with any of the free nations, no matter their rhetoric. Does it really matter how much or to what extent they loved one another if the ultimate goal of each included the death of liberty in the world? That the ideology of each required total domination worked in our favor, and we can hope that might be true in this case. To live in expectation of that, however, would be very foolish.

Dain, let’s not forget your earlier insistence in this thread that when "Bush said Saddam was ’dealing’ with Al Qaeda" that "this was the truth." The report directly contradicts your assertion of truth (and your claims about Zarqawi).

Further, I don’t understand why this can or should all be dismissed as just Dems playing politics (other than for purposes of consolation). Plenty of people know that nearly all of the Dems willingly signed onto Bush/Cheney’s Iraq misadventure. Okay, so perhaps the White House didn’t share ALL of their intelligence with Congress, but still, why should they want to highlight the debunking of yet another war justification that they cited (or didn’t disagree with) when authorizing military action? It makes the Dems look pretty bad, also.

As for this notion that Hagel and Snowe merely provided "bipartisan cover" (offered by Mr. Knippenberg), I swear that if every Republican in Congress agreed with the report’s conclusions, then they’d all be accused of being "RINOs" rather than just willing to acknowledge facts that have undeniably bitten them on the nose.

I don’t have any near-term plans for reading the "Manliness" book that has been so hyped here at NLT, but I am curious if the author says anything at all about the manly virtue of just admitting one was wrong.

I never said I endorse this particular report, trollboy. Indeed, I’ve thought that all the Congression "reports" were overly politicized...this one is no exception. On the other hand, anyone who knows much about this topic would have a hard time denying that a global network of these people exists, and I for one wouldn’t be surprised if Saddam had had dealings with them. I think the evidence strongly points to that fact...regardless of what you Dems and a few RINOs have to say about it.

You know, people like you are going to fiddle while Rome burns. You just don’t get it at all.

I was hoping the report would cover such post invasion findings, related to Saddam’s connections to Islamic terrorists in General and al Qaeda in particular, as this:

SADDAM HUSSEIN’S REGIME PROVIDED FINANCIAL support to Abu Sayyaf, the al Qaeda-linked jihadist group founded by Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law in the Philippines in the late 1990s, according to documents captured in postwar Iraq.

Or this document found in Iraq, post invasion: CMPC-2003-006430

the Eight Directorate is responsible for development of materials needed for covert offensive operations. It contains advanced laboratories for testing and production of weapons, poisons, and explosives

Or these documents found post invasion: ISGP-2003-00028868 and CMPC-2003-005935

Training Non Iraqi Foreign Arab Terrorists in February 2003... and ...Iraqi Intelligence document CMPC-2003-005935 that is dated November 22 1999 and it talks about the plan for the year 2000 and that includes the Training of Arab Feedayeens which mean training non Iraqi Foreign Arab Terrorists.

But, alas, no.

I also thought the report would address this document, concerning Saddam’s nuclear weapons program:

CMPC-2004-000167 In September 2002, after almost a year and a half since the start of this Nuclear Project and when it became very clear to the Iraqi Regime that the UN inspectors were coming back to Iraq, a decision was made to stop this Nuclear Activity project.

No.

How about an al Qaeda terrorist’s confession, in the year 2004, to the Iraq connection to the 20 tons of WMD seized in Jordan, intended to kill 80,000 civilians? (Here) Not addressed.

Or how about this document found post invasion?:

hidden large container that contain a Chemical Material and that it was buried under the ground near Fallujah back when Hussein Kamal Hussein was in charge of the Iraqi Military Industrialization Commission. (from document ISGQ-2003-00004530). Those WMD are, most likely, still there.

Did the report mention this?:

Top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service....In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy". (here).

ISGZ-2004-018948 is a document found post invasion. "Blessed July" is the topic, Uday’s little project to bomb London. The London bombings were on July 7. Co-incidence? Addressed in the report? Uh uh.

Somebody is lying here, and it isn’t GWB.

Dear Uncle Guido,

For someone who has claimed to be a lawyer and "legal scholar" you have some mighty peculiar standards of "evidence."

What law school did you say you attended?

Kate:

You (and Joseph) are right: there is a difference between relying on bad intelligence and lying. There’s also a difference between being forthright and pushing hard a contested version of events as if it were confirmed. I’m less concerned about how mistaken a particular set of views on the left might be than I am about how this administration has performed.

As for the cooperation of our enemies: one of the central arguments that the administration advanced was that Iraq could eventually produce a nuclear bomb and then give it to al-Qaida in the hopes that that group would use it against the U.S. The available evidence - as interpreted in the report - casts doubt on the likelihood of that scenario. As much as there might be more to say here about the credibility of the right on this issue, I think the central question is how the evidence squares with the strongest version of the administration’s arguments, and I’m not sure that it looks very good.

Kate: that’s me, above. Not trying to impersonate you; I just mistyped it. Sorry about that!

Hey, Mr. Pain, it’s more evidence than you’ve ever produced. Indeed, haven’t such memos been used to squeeze money out of certain American industries?

Hold on a minute, Dain. So you’ve gone from stating that "Saddam dealing with Al Qaeda" "was the truth" to saying that you "wouldn’t be surprised if Saddam had had dealings with them [Al Qaeda]"?? (What’s next, that "maybe the WMD threat wasn’t quite of apocalyptic proportions?") Indeed, as the report concluded (and Brett noted before), there were actually considerable and substantial hostilities between the two entities, so I would, at this point, be somewhat surprised to learn of such a link. Maybe, at this point you should consider the face-saving strategy adopted by Jonah (Lucianne’s son) Goldberg, who’s now saying that he’s "always been agnostic about the Saddam - al Qaeda connection stuff," despite his having puffed it up various times previously, including a plug for his poker buddy (oh brother) Hayes’s book - yeah, the same one you’ve been pushing - The Connection.

I was just being scientific, trollboy. I have no doubts myself that there were some dealings between Osama and Saddam. As for as the "hostilities," have you never heard "the enemy of my enemy is my friend?" The Sunni and Shia aren’t supposed to cooperate either, but we now know they have (the point of my initial post).

Now tell me, troll. When’s the last time you actually approved of U.S. military action? Did you approve of the Gulf War, for instance?

Power Line calls our attention to a number of criticisms of the Senate Committee report, including this one, in addition to a number of its own, and these anticipatory concerns offered by Byron York this past summmer.

these anticipatory concerns

“We don’t have a majority on the committee,” says one Hill Republican, noting that while the GOP, of course, maintains formal control of the committee — there are eight Republicans and seven Democrats — Republican lawmakers have lost effective control because two of their own, Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine, sometimes side with Democrats.

How prescient.

Tom Pain:

Be sure and bring your above post to the attention of the prosecutor the next time you are called to jury service. You haven’t a clue.

Brett, I was shocked at myself.


So the report decides that Iraq did not have contact with Al Qaeda because Saddam said so? Who’re you gonna believe?

Kate:

Unfortunate act of blog life: if you look to Powerline for clarification of anything important, you’ll always be led astray. Saddam was interviewed, but the report makes clear that he’s not the single source for that or any other piece of information.

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