L. Detainee Debriefings - Comments on the Relationship
1. Abu Zubaydah
( ) The CIA provided four reports detailing the debriefings of Abu Zubaydah, a captured senior coordinator for al-Qaida responsible for training and recruiting. Abu Zubaydah said that he was not aware of a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida. He also said, however, that any relationship would be highly compartmented and went on to name al-Qaida members who he thought had good contacts with the Iraqis. For instance, Abu Zubaydah indicated that he had heard that an important al-Qaida associate, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, and others had good relationships with Iraqi Intelligence. SENTENCE DELETED . During the debriefings, Abu Zubaydah offered his opinion that it would be extremely unlikely for bin Ladin to have agreed to ally with Iraq, due to his desire to keep the organization on track with its mission and maintain its operational independence. In Iraqi Support for Terrorism, Abu Zubaydah's information is reflected as:
- DELETED Afru Zubaydah opined that it would have been "extremely unlikely" for bin Laden to have agreed to "ally" with Iraq,
but he acknowledged it was possible there were al-Qaida-Iraq communications or emissaries to which he was not privy.
( ) 2. DELETED
( ) PARAGRAPH DELETED
3. Khalid Shaikh Muhammad
(U) For purposes of comparison, Committee staff requested information from the CIA on Khalid Shaikh Muhammad's (KSM) comments on an Iraq-al-Qaida relationship. The CIA provided a one page response to the staffs request that stated that Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, the planner of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, also maintained that he was unaware of any collaborative relationship between al-Qaida and the former Iraqi regime, citing ideological disagreements as an impediment to closer ties. In addition, he was unable to corroborate reports that al-Qaida associate Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi had traveled to Iraq to obtain medical treatment for injuries sustained in Afghanistan.
(U) The CIA assessed that KSM probably is accurately describing his understanding of the relationship. Most reporting indicates that KSM did not join al-Qaida until the late 1990s and did not enter the top echelon of its decision-making leadership until after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Prior to September 2001, he was an important operational planner but had a limited role in the administration of al-Qaida. He therefore may not have been privy to many activities pursued by other parts of the group, which could include contacts with Iraq.
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