In 2004 the Russian president said that Saddam had planned terrorist attacks on America. New Iraqi documents suggest he may have been right.
by Dan Darling
IN JULY 2004, DURING THE COURSE of a little-publicized event while on a visit to Kazakhstan, Russian President Vladimir Putin made some unusual remarks:I can confirm that after the events of September 11, 2001, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received . . . information that official organs of Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations.
Putin's remarks were little noticed by the American press, coming as they did so soon after the release of the 9/11 Commission's report. Moreover, despite his strong opposition to the war in Iraq, Putin was unabashedly in favor of Bush's reelection, having earlier criticized Senator Kerry for supporting unilateral action against Serbia while opposing it with regard to Iraq. Putin went so far as to claim in October 2004 that "The goal of international terrorism is to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term."
And one of the newly-released Iraqi documents, BIAP 2003-000654, indicates that Putin may have been on to something. On page 6 of the document it is revealed that:The top secret letter 2205 of the Military Branch of Al Qadisya on 4/3/2001 announced by the top secret letter 246 from the Command of the military sector of Zi Kar on 8/3/2001 announced to us by the top secret letter 154 from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001 we ask to provide that
Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests and according what is shown below to please review and inform us.
Written by the commander of Iraq's Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Base, this document, if authentic, indicates that Iraq was actively recruiting suicide bombers with the intention of targeting U.S. interests at least as far back as early 2001. Nor is this the only document released with the intention of making it clear that Saddam's intentions for carrying out terrorist attacks against other nations--the plans for Blessed July appear to lay out a similar agenda focusing on using the Saddam Fedayeen to carry out a bombing and assassination campaign in London, Iran, and the "self ruled" areas of Iraq, a likely reference to Iraqi Kurdistan. While these documents do not by themselves prove the veracity of Putin's remarks, if they are deemed to be authentic they would appear to indicate that his claims did not occur in a vacuum.
IF EITHER DOCUMENT can be verified as accurate, it would seem to refute a long-standing contention among members of the U.S. intelligence community that Iraq ceased its involvement in international terrorism after its failed 1993 plot to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush. Indeed, the following exchange is reported in former counterterrorism chief Dick Clarke's book Against All Enemies:
[Anti-terror czar Dick Clarke said],"I am unaware of any Iraqi-sponsored terrorism directed at the US since 1993, and I think FBI and CIA concur in that judgment?"CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin replied,"Yes, that is right. We have no evidence of any active Iraqi terrorist threat against the US."It would be sad to learn that the Russian Federation's intelligence service was better informed as to Iraq's terrorist capabilities than were their American counterparts.
Saturday, April 08, 2006