Iraqi Colonel and 9/11
Although I watched portions of both Meet the Press and This Week yesterday, via TiVo delay, I actually missed what appears to be a rather interesting development.
WaTimes — Iraqi officer in al Qaeda, papers show
A senior officer in Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s security services was a member of the terrorist group that committed the September 11 attacks, a member of the commission investigating the suicide hijackings said yesterday.
“There is at least one officer of Saddam’s Fedayeen, a lieutenant colonel, who was a very prominent member of al Qaeda,” said September 11 commission member and former Navy Secretary John Lehman.
The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks has been told “a very prominent member” of al Qaeda served as an officer in Saddam Hussein (news – web sites)’s militia, a panel member said on Sunday.
Republican commissioner John Lehman told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that the new intelligence, if proven true, buttresses claims by the Bush administration of ties between Iraq (news – web sites) and the militant network believed responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America.
“We are now in the process of getting this latest intelligence,” Lehman said.
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean urged the administration to make any such information available to the panel quickly.
“Obviously, if there is any information (that) has to do with the subject of the report, we need it, and we need it pretty fast,” Kean said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “We’ll ask for it and see.”
He said the final report would be modified to take any new intelligence into account.
Lehman said the information, contained in “captured documents,” was obtained after the commission report was written that stated there was no evidence of a “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda.
UPDATE: More information on this appeared in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph:
The Wall Street Journal reported that captured documents listed one Ahmed Hikmat Shakir as a senior officer in the elite paramilitary Saddam Fedayeen. By an amazing coincidence, an Ahmed Hikmat Shakir was present at the January 2000 al-Qa’eda “summit” in Kuala Lumpur at which the September 11 attacks were planned.
It is of course possible that this was a different Ahmed Hikmat Shakir. However, Hayes reveals subsequent events showed this man was very important indeed to Iraq. Four days after September 11, he was arrested in Qatar and found to possess phone numbers of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombers’ safe houses and contacts, as well as information about an al-Qa’eda plot to blow up airliners. But he was released, re-arrested in Jordan and released again (with CIA collusion) – following pressure from Iraq at the highest level. What is the point of an inquiry into al-Qa’eda that doesn’t even consider such evidence?
The piece also provides other compelling arguments about ties between Saddam and jihadist terrorists.