M. Contacts Between the Iraqi Regime and al-Qaida
( ) Iraqi Support for Terrorism contained the following summary judgments regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qaida:
Saddam Husayn and Usama Bin Ladin are far from being natural partners, yet intelligence reports during the last decade point to various Iraq-al-Qaida contacts through high-level and third-party intermediaries . . . .
We have reporting from reliable clandestine and press sources that DELETED direct meetings between senior Iraqi representatives and top al-Qaida operatives took place from the early 1990s to the present.
These statements were based on clandestine intelligence and press reporting, which the CIA provided to the Committee. In addition to the DELETED meetings noted in the assessment, the CIA also provided additional reporting on several other meetings between Iraqi and al-Qaida officials during the same period. The CIA assessed these reports of additional meetings as less credible in Iraqi Support for Terrorism.
( ) Contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida were an important factor in determining whether Iraq would have cooperated, assisted, or directed al-Qaida in any terrorist operation against U.S. interests. However, the intelligence reporting used to create the finished papers often came from foreign government services whose reliability was questioned by the CIA. For instance, some of the contacts between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaida were reported to the CIA by foreign government services or DELETED groups opposed to the Iraqi government. The raw intelligence reporting from the CIA detailed the questionable nature of reporting by countries or groups that clearly opposed the Iraqi regime.
( ) For example, the first three of the DELETED meetings cited in Iraqi Support for Terrorism came from one raw intelligence report and are listed below with the source of the reporting noted in bold and in brackets:
( ) The January 2003 version of Iraqi Support for Terrorism did not include the sources in the bracketed, bold text. The September 2002 version of Iraqi Support for Terrorism, with a limited distribution, did, however, include information about the reporting from a foreign government service. Therefore, the reader of the January 2003 version did not know that the source of this information came from a government that could have been trying to influence the U.S. Government. SENTENCE DELETED
PARAGRAPH DELETED 42
( ) A DELETED direct meeting is explained in Iraqi Support for Terrorism as, "Hijazi joined the IIS chief on a visit to Khartoum in 1995, according to DELETED reporting." SENTENCE DELETED The raw report does not include information specifically about a direct meeting, but explains, SENTENCE DELETED
( ) Information on another direct meeting came from an Italian newspaper article that was translated by the CIA as:
- Saddam Husayn and Usama bin Ladin have sealed a pact. Faruk Hidjazi, the former Director of the Iraqi Secret Services and now the country's Ambassador to Turkey, held a secret meeting with the extremist leader on 21 December.
The article contains direct quotes from Faruk Hijazi, but does not specify the source of the information. Iraqi Support for Terrorism stated this information as "[a] press report from 1998 alleges Hijazi [Faruk Hidjazi in the article] visited Sudan to meet bin Ladin as early as June 1994"
( ) Information on two other direct meetings comes from an FBI interrogation of Wali Khan, an al-Qaida associate. SENTENCE DELETED Abu Hajir, himself, was subsequently taken into custody and Iraqi Support for Terrorism stated, "in his debriefings, Abu Hajir has not yet claimed any past or continuing ties to Iraqi intelligence or mentioned returning to Iraq since he left in the late 1980s and repudiated his Iraqi citizenship." When asked about follow-up on this intelligence, the CIA answered, "The only reporting we have linking Abu Hajir to Iraq comes from Wali Kha DELETED.
( ) PARAGRAPH DELETED The intelligence cited in Iraqi Support for Terrorism of "at least DELETED direct meetings" was based on DELETED raw reports from foreign sources, an FBI interview and an Italian news article.
( ) A DIA analyst described collection on contacts as:
( ) PARAGRAPH DELETED
The CIA discussed these meetings as possible contacts between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaida and did not draw any further conclusions attempting to characterize the content of the meetings.
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