The 9/11 panel has serious doubts about the existence of a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Such conclusion can be made from the report released by the independent commission probing the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
While, the bipartisan, independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks said Osama bin Laden met with an Iraqi intelligence official in Sudan in 1994, the commission’s report released Wednesday cast fresh doubt on the alleged links between al-Qaida and Iraq prior to the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Voanews.com cites Douglas MacEachin a former deputy director of intelligence for the Central Intelligence Agency and a staff member of the 9/11 commission.
"There have been reports of contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida [that] also occurred after bin Laden returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship," he noted. "And two senior bin Laden associates have adamantly denied any ties existed between al-Qaida and Iraq and so far we have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States."
The commission's conclusion is in sharp contrast to the Bush administration's long held view that there were links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his assertion that the Iraqi dictator had "long established ties" with al-Qaida.
Corresponding to in-forum.com, the commission staff said that Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed initially outlined an attack involving 10 aircraft targeting both U.S. coasts. Mohammed proposed that he pilot one of the planes, kill all the male passengers, land the plane at a U.S. airport and make a "speech denouncing U.S. policies in the Middle East before releasing all the women and children," the report said.
Bin Laden rejected that plan as too complex, deciding instead on four aircraft piloted by handpicked suicide operatives. The report said the targets were chosen based on symbolism: the Pentagon, which represented the U.S. military; the World Trade Center, a symbol of American economic strength; the Capitol, the perceived source of U.S. support for Israel, and the White House. Training for the attacks began in 1999.
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