Intelligence

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N. Training of al-Qaida by Iraq

(U) Iraqi Support for Terrorism contained the following summary judgments regarding Iraq's provision of training to al-Qaida:

    Regarding the Iraq-al-Qa'ida relationship, reporting from sources of varying reliability points to . . . incidents of training . . . .

    The most disturbing aspect of the relationship is the dozen or so reports of varying reliability mentioning the involvement of Iraq or Iraqi nationals in al-Qa'ida's efforts to obtain CBW training.

(                ) As in the case of contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida, the intelligence reporting on training also was of varying reliability and contradictory. Concern over the reliability of sources was also reflected in DCFs September 17, 2002, testimony to the Committee:

    There is evidence that Iraq provided al-Qaida with various kinds of training-combat, bomb-making, and [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] CBRN. Although Saddam did not endorse al-Qaida's overall agenda and was suspicious of Islamist movements in general, he was apparently not averse, under certain circumstances, to enhancing bin Ladin's operational capabilities. As with much of the information on the overall relationship, details on training are DELETED from sources of varying reliability.

(U) The DCI subsequently testified about Iraqi training of al-Qaida in an open hearing before the Committee on February 11, 2003:

    Iraq has in the past provided training in document forgery and bomb-making to al-Qaida. It has also provided training in poisons and gases to two al-Qaida associates. One of these associates characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.

(                ) The DCI's unclassified, February 2003 testimony addressed "training in poisons and gases" which "comes to us from credible and reliable sources." The DCI's classified, September 2002 testimony addressed "evidence that Iraq provided al-Qaida with various kinds of training" of which "details on training are DELETED from sources of varying reliability." The DCI's unclassified testimony did not include source descriptions, which could have led the recipients of that testimony to interpret that the CIA believed the training had definitely occurred.

(                ) Due to concern over al-Qaida's interest in WMD, the CIA assessments in Iraqi Support for Terrorism concentrated on the intelligence reports regarding possible Iraqi assistance to al-Qaida's chemical and biological weapons (CBW) programs. Reporting on Iraq's potential CBW training of al-Qaida came from three sources:

  • Detainee DELETED
  • A dozen additional reports from varying sources, and
  • DELETED reporting about activity at the Salman Pak training facility.

(  ) 1. DELETED

(                )                                                             PARAGRAPH DELETED                                                                                   SENTENCE DELETED                                                                                   PARAGRAPH DELETED                                                             

(                ) In the September 2002 limited-distribution version of Iraqi Support for Terrorism, the CIA assessed, "The general pattern that emerges is of al-Qa'ida's enduring interest in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) expertise from Iraq."                                                              PARAGRAPH DELETED                                                             43

(                )                                                             PARAGRAPH DELETED                                                             

(                )                                                             PARAGRAPH DELETED                                                             

2. Additional Reports from Varying Sources

(                ) Twelve reports received DELETED from sources that the CIA described as having varying reliability, cited Iraq or Iraqi national involvement in al-Qaida's CBW efforts. The CIA noted that most of these reports involved discussions of offers or plans for training. The reports did not state whether any of the training initiatives had been implemented. Iraqi Support for Terrorism also noted, "in about half of the reports, we cannot determine if the Iraqi nationals mentioned had any relationship with the Baghdad government or were expatriate or free-lance scientists or engineers." Additionally, Iraqi Support for Terrorism noted, two of the reports appeared to have been based on hearsay and four of the reports were simple declarative accusations with no substance or detail to help corroborate them. The CIA explained these inconsistencies in the discussion of the reporting.

(  )

3. DELETED Reporting about Activity at Salman Pak

(                ) The Salman Pak facility outside Baghdad was an unconventional warfare training facility used by the IIS and Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen troops to train its officers for counterterrorism operations against regime opponents. The facility contained a village mockup for urban combat training and a derelict commercial aircraft. Iraqi Support for Terrorism explained that uncorroborated reports since 1999 have alleged "that Baghdad has sponsored a variety of conventional and mostly rudimentary instruction for al-Qa'ida at the Salman Pak Unconventional Warfare Training Facility outside Baghdad." The DELETED reports came from DELETED that "training at this camp includes paramilitary exercises, such as running long distances daily and self-defense tactics." Iraqi Support for Terrorism also stated, "these reports are part of a larger body of reporting over the past decade that ties Salman Pak to Iraqi surrogate groups." The Committee was not provided with reports that showed that Iraq trained Palestinian extremist groups and other Arabs of various nationalities at the Salman Pak facility for potential surrogate terror operations. However, a senior CIA analysts stated "We had [sources] talking about Salman Pak and training at Salman Pak and funding for Palestinian groups." The CIA did not rule out the possibility that Iraq trained known al-Qaida operatives or could have trained an Arab al-Qaida member without having knowledge that the terrorist was an al-Qaida member.

(                ) In Iraqi Support for Terrorism, the CIA provided additional explanation of the sources of the information, noting that, "press and DELETED reporting about al-Qa'ida activity at Salman Pak-DELETED-surged after 11 September." The CIA determined, "that at least one DELETED defectorDELETED, whose story appeared in Vanity Fair magazine, had embellished and exaggerated his access." Additionally, DELETED other sources only repeated information provided by the DELETED defector, and also lacked first-hand access to the information. Committee staff asked both CIA and DIA analysts whether any al-Qaida operatives or other sources have confirmed Salman Pak training allegations, and the unanimous response was that none have reported knowledge of any training. A DIA analyst told Committee staff, "The Iraqi National Congress (INC) has been pushing information for a long time about Salman Pak and training of al-Qa'ida."                      SENTENCE DELETED                     


footnotes

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