Welcome back, Tony

Returning from cancer treatments, Snow says the White House has never tried to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11.

Published April 30, 2007 4:06PM (EDT)

Tony Snow is back on the job after taking leave for cancer treatments, and he's just in time to respond to the charges laid out in George Tenet's new book.

On "Good Morning America" this morning, ABC's Chris Cuomo played for Snow a clip from "60 Minutes" in which Tenet says that the Bush administration "could never verify that there was any Iraqi authority, direction and control, complicity with al-Qaida for 9/11 or any operational act against America, period."

Snow's response: "Well, wait a minute, Chris. The president has been saying exactly that all along, so I don't know what the headline is ... The fact is, the president made it clear before the State of the Union in 2002 that there was no link between Saddam Hussein and September 11. So I'm afraid what's happened there is that George Tenet may have been referring to something that has been misreported or at least twisted by people who may have political motives in recent years, but there's been no attempt to try to link Saddam to Sept. 11."

No attempt? Not exactly.

The Bush administration has spent the better part of the past five years suggesting, subtly and not so, that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. The president has repeatedly linked 9/11 to the war in Iraq. And in a September 2003 appearance on "Meet the Press," Vice President Dick Cheney said that it's "not surprising" that people "make that connection" between Saddam and 9/11.

The president acknowledged then that there was "no evidence" that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks, but he muddied those waters in June 2004 when he said: "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al-Qaida [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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