[QODLink]
Archive
9/11 commission stands by findings
The public spat between the White House and the US commission probing the 11 September attacks has escalated over the Bush administration's claims.
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2004 06:05 GMT
The vice-president's claims have tested commission members
The public spat between the White House and the US commission probing the 11 September attacks has escalated over the Bush administration's claims.

The 9/11 commission released a statement on Tuesday saying it was aware of no new information proving the existence of cooperative pre-war ties between Iraq and al-Qaida, despite the administration's claims to the contrary.

The brief statement came in response to comments by Vice-President Richard Cheney, who suggested the 9/11 commission might have not had access to all available information on the subject.

But the panel made up of 10 prominent Americans representing both major political parties disagreed.

"After examining available transcripts of the vice-president's public remarks, the 9/11 commission believes it has access to the same information the vice-president has seen regarding contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq prior to the 9/11 attacks," the statement said.

Snappy remarks

The terse response was the latest round in a series of testy exchanges triggered by the commission's finding that the ousted Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Ladin's al-Qaida network had no "cooperative relationship".

Dick Cheney maintains al-Qaida
and Saddam were linked

The finding, made public last month, disproved a key argument used by the administration of President George Bush to justify its March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Bush administration insisted in the lead-up to the war that al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein's government had developed a "sinister nexus" that might result in terrorists gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.

But in a report released on 16 June, the commission said al-Qaida leader bin Ladin was actively opposed to Iraq's secular government and at one time even sponsored an anti-Saddam Islamist group based in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Sudanese refuge

Later, authorities in Sudan, where bin Ladin had found refuge in the early 90s, reportedly persuaded the al-Qaida chief to drop that support and attempt to make amends with Baghdad, according to the document.

As part of these efforts, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan and finally met bin Ladin in 1994, the report said.

But nothing appears to have come out of this courtship, according to the commission.

Bin Ladin is said to have requested space for establishing al-Qaida training camps in Iraq as well as assistance in arming the groups, "but Iraq apparently never responded," said the commission.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.