SADDAM AND AL-QAEDA, PART 2….Yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld admitted that Saddam Hussein never had any strong ties to al-Qaeda. “To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two,” he said.

Today, he says he was “misunderstood.” It’s not clear from his statement exactly how he was misunderstood, but he now says he’s resolutely agnostic on this and it’s up to the CIA to answer questions about Saddam and al-Qaeda.

Fine. So what does the CIA think?

A new CIA assessment undercuts the White House’s claim that Saddam Hussein maintained ties to al-Qaida, saying there’s no conclusive evidence that the regime harbored Osama bin Laden associate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The CIA review, which U.S. officials said Monday was requested some months ago by Vice President Dick Cheney, is the latest assessment that calls into question one of President Bush’s key justifications for last year’s U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

I guess that’s that. So we won’t be hearing anything from Cheney tonight about Saddam and al-Qaeda, right?


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