Interrogations of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and documents seizedafter the 2003 US-led invasion confirmed that his regime had not beencooperating with Al-Qaeda, the Washington Post reported on its website Friday.
The report contradicted a strong argument for the invasion made by theadministration of President George W. Bush that
The Post reported that a newly released declassified Department of Defensereport said information obtained after the fall of Saddam confirmed the prewarposition of the US Central Intelligence Agency and Pentagon intelligence thatthe Iraqi government had had no substantial contacts with Al-Qaeda.
This position was shored up by interrogations of Saddam and other topofficials captured by the US-led coalition forces in
The report noted that the office of then-undersecretary of defense DouglasJ. Feith, one of the foremost advocates for invading Iraq after the 2001attacks, had ignored the CIA's position and characterized the the Al-Qaeda-Iraqrelationship as "mature" and "symbiotic" in a September2002 briefing to the chief of staff of Vice President Dick Cheney.
The Feith briefing alleged that the two cooperated in 10 areas, includingtraining, financing and logistics.
But the new report, the Post says, said the US intelligence community hadconcluded at the time that there were "no conclusive signs" of linksbetween Iraq and Al-Qaeda, and that "direct cooperation ... has not beenestablished" between the two.
Prior to the war there was little public dispute inside the
But since the invasion, a number of intelligence officials have alleged thatthe White House and its backers ignored their intelligence and "cherrypicked" information that supported their campaign to persuade Americans ofthe need to go to war.
In a radio interview Wednesday Cheney insisted on a prewar link between