Reader Douglas Beard has been studying the newly-released Iraqi documents, and comparing them to the September 11 Commission report, as well as the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report. His findings are interesting enough to be worth quoting at length:
After the reading ABC’s most recent translation of the Iraqi documents, I reviewed the 9/11 Report and noticed something that will likely slip under most people’s radar. Besides the fact that the 9/11 Report got both the substance of Khartoum meeting incorrect, and wrongly dismissed the meeting because there was no evidence Iraq “responded” to Bin Ladin’s request, I found the following:
Footnote 55 of Chapter 2 of the Report involves intelligence from a foreign intelligence service of another meeting in Sudan between Iraqi intelligence and Bin Ladin. It states that the parties met in Khartoum on July 30, 1996, at which Bin Ladin asked for and received bomb making assistance from an Iraqi Intelligence bomb making specialist present at the meeting. The Report then proceeds to discount the intelligence, stating: “The information is puzzling, since Bin Ladin left Sudan for Afghanistan in May 1996, and there is no evidence he ventured back there (or anywhere else) for a visit.” The Report then also discounts the source as merely having “third hand” material.
The reason this is interesting is because the Iraq document translated by ABC states that “bin Laden had to leave Sudan in July 1996 after it was accused of harboring terrorists.” So, does this report confirm that it is possible that Bin Ladin was indeed in the Sudan in July 1996, making it possible for the meeting with Iraq to have taken place? It doesn’t confirm it, of course, but the 9/11 Report’s primary objection to the intelligence of the July 1996 meeting was that it did not fit its own timeline. At the very least, this document calls into question the accuracy of the 9/11 Report’s timeline and, at best, adds more corroboration to the intelligence of the July 1996 meeting.
Of course, this is not the only time the 9/11 Report dismisses intelligence based on its own timeline and flimsy excuses.
By the way, the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on WMDs also mentions the meeting but states the CIA discounted the intelligence as being of “questionable nature” because it came from a country or group opposed to the Iraqi regime. The WMD Report really plays up the fact that the intelligence of the meeting was questionable at best.