DC09 Posted June 26, 2004 #1 Share Posted June 26, 2004 WASHINGTON, June 24 — Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990's were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq. American officials described the document as an internal report by the Iraqi intelligence service detailing efforts to seek cooperation with several Saudi opposition groups, including Mr. bin Laden's organization, before Al Qaeda had become a full-fledged terrorist organization. He was based in Sudan from 1992 to 1996, when that country forced him to leave and he took refuge in Afghanistan. The document states that Iraq agreed to rebroadcast anti-Saudi propaganda, and that a request from Mr. bin Laden to begin joint operations against foreign forces in Saudi Arabia went unanswered. There is no further indication of collaboration. Last week, the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks addressed the known contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda, which have been cited by the White House as evidence of a close relationship between the two. The commission concluded that the contacts had not demonstrated "a collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The Bush administration responded that there was considerable evidence of ties. The new document, which appears to have circulated only since April, was provided to The New York Times several weeks ago, before the commission's report was released. Since obtaining the document, The Times has interviewed several military, intelligence and United States government officials in Washington and Baghdad to determine that the government considered it authentic. The Americans confirmed that they had obtained the document from the Iraqi National Congress, as part of a trove that the group gathered after the fall of Saddam Hussein's government last year. The Defense Intelligence Agency paid the Iraqi National Congress for documents and other information until recently, when the group and its leader, Ahmad Chalabi, fell out of favor in Washington. Some of the intelligence provided by the group is now wholly discredited, although officials have called some of the documents it helped to obtain useful. A translation of the new Iraqi document was reviewed by a Pentagon working group in the spring, officials said. It included senior analysts from the military's Joint Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency and a joint intelligence task force that specialized in counterterrorism issues, they said. The task force concluded that the document "appeared authentic," and that it "corroborates and expands on previous reporting" about contacts between Iraqi intelligence and Mr. bin Laden in Sudan, according to the task force's analysis. It is not known whether some on the task force held dissenting opinions about the document's veracity. Full Article Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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