Saddam and al-Qaeda

SADDAM AND AL-QAEDA….In his new book, Ron Suskind writes that the White House once ordered the CIA to forge a letter showing a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda:

According to Suskind, the administration had been in contact with the director of the Iraqi intelligence service in the last years of Hussein’s regime, Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti.

“The White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush to Saddam, backdated to July 1, 2001,” Suskind writes. “It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq — thus showing, finally, that there was an operational link between Saddam and al Qaeda, something the Vice President’s Office had been pressing CIA to prove since 9/11 as a justification to invade Iraq.”

The White House, of course, adamantly denies Suskind’s story. Coincidentally, though, the Daily News reports that the FBI received similar treatment after the 2001 anthrax attacks:

In the immediate aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks, White House officials repeatedly pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by Al Qaeda….Mueller was “beaten up” during President Bush’s morning intelligence briefings for not producing proof the killer spores were the handiwork of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, according to a former aide. “They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East,” the retired senior FBI official told The News.

Add to this the uncontested fact that George Bush once mused to Tony Blair about flying fake UN planes over Iraq to try and create a pretext for war, as well as Seymour Hersh’s revelation that Dick Cheney recently discussed similar kinds of schemes to foment war with Iran. Maybe it’s coincidence. Maybe all these sources are just making stuff up. Maybe. But that’s a helluva similar pattern of allegations, isn’t it?

UPDATE: Anonymous Liberal points out that the forged letter also claimed that al-Qaeda had helped Saddam obtain an unspecified shipment from Niger — pretty clearly a reference to Niger providing yellowcake to Iraq. Apparently they were trying to cover all their bases with a single forgery.