Sonic Puke
It's all fun and games until somebody pokes out an eye

4/26/2003

Telegraph says documents link bin Laden to Iraq
Oh no, there's no link between Saddam and Al Qaeda

(Reuters) - The Sunday Telegraph newspaper says it has discovered documents showing Iraqi intelligence hosted an envoy from Osama bin Laden in 1998 and sought to meet the alleged September 11 mastermind in person.

The finding, if verified, would appear to support Washington's assertion of links between ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and bin Laden, one of the justifications for the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The paper said the documents, which its correspondent found in the wrecked headquarters of the Iraqi Mukhabarat intelligence service, showed Iraq brought a bin Laden aide to Baghdad in early 1998 from his former base in Sudan to arrange closer ties.

Iraqi officials sought to have the envoy pass on a verbal message setting up a direct meeting with bin Laden, the paper said.

In one document quoted by the paper an Iraqi official wrote: "We suggest permission to call the Khartoum station (Iraq's intelligence office in Sudan) to facilitate the travel arrangements for the above-mentioned person to Iraq.

"And that our body carry all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden."

A handwritten note on the same page said the letter had been passed on to the deputy director general of the intelligence service, recommending that he "bring the envoy to Iraq because we may find in this envoy a way to maintain contacts with Iraq".

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