Somewhere on A1A...

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Today's column by William Safire contributes to the debate on whether to invade Iraq. Specifically, he talks of Saddam's attachment to terror:

Such verification of data obtained from the captured terrorists awakened C.I.A. bureaucrats who for nearly a year waved reporters away from evidence of Qaeda-Iraqi links lest it justify U.S. action. Belatedly, a C.I.A. team interrogated some of the terrorists held in northern Iraq — comparing what they found with information gleaned from Al Qaeda prisoners at Guantánamo and elsewhere.

Even religiously motivated terrorists crack in dismay at how much the interrogator already knows. When added to prisoners' family details provided by Kurdish sources, the scope of our knowledge led captives in Kurdistan to talk about poison production and Iraqi links because they figured there was little left to hide.

The new information has changed much intelligence analysis. The C.I.A. has even stopped discrediting reports from Czech intelligence about a different point of Qaeda-Saddam contact: the meeting between the Sept. 11 hijackers' leader, Mohamed Atta, and a top Saddam spymaster in Prague.
Look for more evidence like this as it begins to appear throughout the media.


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