Vice President Cheney and President Bush have repeatedly claimed that al-Qaeda had a working relationship with Saddam Hussein which justified the invasion of Iraq. The key piece of evidence Cheney and President Bush have used to support this claim was that Hussein harbored Abu Musab al Zarqawi – a suspected associated of al-Qaeda. For example, on 6/21/04 Cheney said “Mr. Zarqawi, who is in Baghdad today, is an al Qaeda associate who took refuge in Baghdad, found sanctuary and safe harbor there before we ever launched into Iraq.”1 President Bush said on 6/15/04 “Zarqawi’s the best evidence of a [Hussein] connection to al Qaeda affiliates and al Qaeda.”2 One problem: there is no evidence to support these claims.
Knight Ridder reports “a new CIA assessment undercuts the White House claim that Saddam Hussein maintained ties to al Qaeda, saying there is no conclusive evidence that the regime harbored terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi.”3 According to a senior U.S. intelligence official “The evidence is that Saddam never gave Zarqawi anything.”4 Ironically, the assessment was requested by Cheney.5