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February 06, 2003


Somewhere down there in today's post I said somebody should go back to CIA DIRECTOR George Tenet and ask him if he still thinks "Iraq won't attack unless we attack first."

I don't think
Howard Owens read that but he might have - he checks in every year of the ram.

He posted this Feb. 3 New Yorker link. Now I'll read it.

Update 2.6 00:11 At the mention of George Tenet I projected my mention of him to Howard's post. In reality he is trying to strengthen the Al-Qaeda/Iraq link. I'll keep on reading.

OK I do have this question. Secretary of State Colin Powell made an assertiontoday that Osama and Hussein signed a non-agression pact. Is that what friends and partners do? Or is it a high-level kind of pre-nuptial agreement.

Back to article. It is written by Jeffrey Goldberg who accompanied Bill Richardson a trip and a one-off meeting with Taliban leaders. But in The New Yorker? Did other magazines turn him down? I cannot claim enough knowledge of The New Yorker to know if this type of article is odd and I'll stop before I am accused of nitpicking.

UPDATE 2.6 00:24 OK, The Tenet part of the article indicates strongly that he does beleive that Hussein and bin Laden were starting a dance to help train and man each other's efforts. But here's wher eoyu need t play close attention.

If so, then (and you'll appreciate how I circle this back to my orginal point) why does Tenet also say that "Iraq will not attack America unless we Attack Iraq first?" Which indicates strongly to me that he feels there is no underlying or immediate threat from Saddam Hussein.

What makes this position even more pecular is that he said both these statements in the same letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee and its chair Bob Graham.
Strange how the writer left this part out.

New Yorker Article
In October of 2002, when Bob Graham was the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Tenet wrote to him, explaining the C.I.A.'s understanding of the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection. It is a curious letter, which begins with a statement that "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW"?chemical and biological weapons?"against the United States." At the same time, Tenet said, Iraq has "provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs." Tenet added, "Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression," and he suggested that, even without an American attack on Iraq, "Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase."

BBC article:
According to Mr. Tenet's letter, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein might help Islamic militants use weapons of mass destruction against the US if he sees it as "his last chance to exact vengeance".

For now, the letter says, Baghdad "appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or chemical weapons".

But should Saddam Hussein conclude that a US-led attack could not be deterred, "he probably would become much less constrained in adoption terrorist action," the letter said.

To be fair, Tenet also says, according to the BBC article
"There is no question that the likelihood of Saddam using weapons of mass destruction against the United States or our allies grows as his arsenal continues to build."

NOTE The Oct. 9, 2002 BBC article also indicated Tenet's position re: the Al Qaeda/Saddam link.

Here's the orginal Oct. 7, 2002 letter. If you read it - and it is much shorter than the New Yorker article - yikes, what did you get out of it.

There's some "declassified" give and take exchange where these comments quoted in the above articles seem to have originated. Other quotes about the Saddam-Al Qaeda link are much less damning.