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WASHINGTON, June 24 — Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990's were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq.
A senior intelligence official said that one of the leaders of Iraq's chemical weapons program, Emad al-Ani, had close ties with senior Sudanese officials at the factory. The official said a number of Iraqi scientists working for Emad al-Ani had attended the grand opening of the factory two years ago.
While the administration maintains the evidence of VX production is clear, the links between the factory and Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile whose network of terrorists was the target of last week's strike, is circuitous.
Bin Laden controls a sprawling web of companies underwritten by a fortune said to exceed $200 million, including ventures in the Sudan, where he made a home after his expulsion from Saudi Arabia in 1994 until he was forced to leave in 1996.
The officials said bin Laden has no direct investment in the pharmaceutical plant, but has financial ties to Sudan's state-run military industrial complex. They said that fact and bin Laden's suspected interest in obtaining chemical weapons was enough to warrant destroying the factory, along with a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan.
"When you put all that together," the senior intelligence official said of the factory, "it all adds up to a source of real concern."