Newsday is reporting that allegations made by a republican member of the 9/11 commission that an al-Qaida associate who met with two of the Sept. 11
hijackers in Malaysia was an officer in Saddam Hussein's army are false according to the CIA.
CIA: No Iraqi officer link
in al-Qaida meeting
Commissioner John Lehman, who was Navy secretary under Ronald Reagan, said "new ... documents" indicated that "at least one officer of Saddam's
Fedayeen," an elite army unit, "was a very prominent member of al-Qaida."
Lehman's remarks on NBC's "Meet the Press" lent support to the Bush administration's insistence that there were strong ties between Hussein and
The administration official said the CIA and U.S. Army obtained the lists of members of the Fedayeen shortly after the invasion of Iraq last year.
Some, he said, had names "similar to" Ahmad Hikmat Shakir. But, he said, the CIA had concluded "a long time ago" that none were the al-Qaida
associate. He would not say whether the al-Qaida associate is in U.S. custody. Other sources said he was not.
A report last week by the 10-member commission concluded that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had "explored possible cooperation" with Iraq and that
there had been contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida, but that these did not result in a "collaborative relationship."
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Knowing how slowly and tepidly the media reported Lehmans comments, I wonder how very fast the media will be to jump on the bandwagon and report this
aspect of the story - we'll see. Oh and of course the source always has to remain unidentified - how convenient.
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