Saddam Hussein rejected overtures from al-Qaida and believedIslamic extremists were a threat to his regime, a reverse portrait of an Iraq allied with Osama bin Laden painted by the Bush White House, a Senate panel has found.
The administration's version was based in part on intelligence that White House officials knew was flawed, according to Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing newly declassified documents released by the panel.
The report, released Friday, discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam's government "did not have a relationship, harbor or turn a blind eye toward" al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his associates.
As recently as an Aug. 21 news conference, President Bush said people should "imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein" with the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction and "who had relations with Zarqawi."
Democrats singled out CIA Director George Tenet, saying that during a private meeting in July Tenet told the panel that the White House pressured him and that he agreed to back up the administration's case for war despite his own agents' doubts about the intelligence it was based on.
"Tenet admitted to the Intelligence Committee that the policymakers wanted him to 'say something about not being inconsistent with what the president had said,'" Intelligence Committee member Carl Levin, D-Mich., told reporters Friday.
Tenet also told the committee that complying had been "the wrong thing to do," according to Levin.
"Well, it was much more than that," Levin said. "It was a shocking abdication of a CIA director's duty not to act as a shill for any administration or its policy."
Leaders of both parties accused each other of seeking political gain on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Republicans said the document contained little new information about prewar intelligence or postwar findings on Iraq's weapons and connection to terrorist groups...The report speaks for itself, Democrats said.
According to the report, postwar findings indicate that Saddam "was distrustful of al-Qaida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime." It quotes an FBI report from June 2004 in which former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said in an interview that "Saddam only expressed negative sentiments about bin Laden."
Yadda, yadda, yadda...Etc., etc., etc...
As I said...
Will we ever hear an end to partisan bickering?
Is there anyone who can unite the country?