Even after five years, the Bush administration still doesn’t seem ready to face up to the facts. With the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war quickly approaching, the Pentagon sponsored a new study on the relationship between Saddam Hussein and terror groups including al-Qaida.
Instead of a smoking gun or imminent mushroom clouds over American cities, the report found no "direct connection" between Saddam's Iraq and al-Qaida. The report did say that Saddam was one of the leading supporters of terrorism in the Middle East during his rule, but it found that, instead of foreign nations, "the predominant targets of Iraqi state terror operations were Iraqi citizens, both inside and outside of Iraq."
Word of the findings was reported by McClatchy on Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday, according to ABC News, the Pentagon terminated its "plans to send out a press release announcing the report's release and will no longer make the report available online."
The Joint Forces Command Web site was supposed to host the report but now the document will be made available only to those who request it. Reporters will not receive e-mailed copies, only ones sent by regular mail.
A spokesman for Joint Forces Command said: "We're making the report available to anyone who wishes to have it, and we'll send it out via CD in the mail."
The report analyzed close to 600,000 official documents from the Iraqi government obtained by the U.S. military following the invasion and also based its findings on numerous interrogations of former Hussein-regime top officials.
ABC has the report’s executive summary available online here.
The ABC article also reminds readers of this: "On June 18, 2004 the Washington Post quoted President George W. Bush as saying: 'The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,' Bush said."