The case for war: Sketchy and false

Published March 3, 2004 3:48PM (EST)

The Bush administration's pre-war intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was bad, as we all know by now, but it's less discussed that the "evidence" cited on supposed links between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein was even worse. As a new Knight-Ridder investigation shows, while more public attention is paid to the debunked WMD claims, the administration's hype and distortion surrounding al-Qaida and Saddam are just as disturbing.

From the Knight-Ridder investigation: "Much of the evidence that's now available indicates that Iraq and al Qaeda had no close ties, despite repeated contacts between the two; that the terrorists who administration officials claimed were links between the two had no direct connection to either Hussein or bin Laden; and that a key meeting between an Iraqi intelligence officer and one of the leaders of the Sept. 11 attacks probably never happened. A Knight Ridder review of the Bush administration statements on Iraq's links to terrorism and what's now known about the classified intelligence has found that administration advocates of a preemptive invasion frequently hyped sketchy and sometimes false information to help make their case. Twice they neglected to report information that painted a less sinister picture."

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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