US Military Concludes No Saddam Link to Al Qaeda
Tuesday 11 March 2008
ABC News' Jonathan Karl Reports: ABC News has obtained a comprehensive military study of Saddam Hussein's links to terrorism. The study, which is due to be released Wednesday, is based on the analysis of some 600,000 official Iraqi documents seized by US forces after the invasion. It is also based on thousands of hours of interrogations of former top officials in Saddam's government who are now in U.S. custody.
The headline: "This study found no 'smoking gun' (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda."
Others have reached the same conclusion, but no previous study has had access to so much information. Further, this is the first official acknowledgement from the U.S. military that there is no evidence Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda.
The study does, however, show that Saddam Hussein did much to support terrorism in the Middle East and used terrorism "as a routine tool of state power." Saddam's government, for example, had a program for the "development, construction, certification and training for car bombs and suicide vests in 1999 and 2000." The U.S. military is still dealing with the fall-out from this particular program.
The report says Saddam's bureaucrats carefully recorded the regime's connections to Palestinian terrorists groups and its financial support for the families of suicide bombers.
The primary target, however, of Saddam's terror activities was not the United States, and not Israel. "The predominant targets of Iraqi state terror operations were Iraqi citizens, both inside and outside of Iraq." Saddam's primary aim was self preservation and the elimination of potential internal threats to his power.