…read Blog of the Week Thomas Joscelyn’s superb discussion of the Clinton administration’s 1998 attack on a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant named al-Shifa, and its ongoing relevance to debates over intelligence and the connections between Iraq and al Qaeda. Joscelyn notes along the way that recent coverage of al-Shifa by the New York Times has been “ridiculous,” and sets out ten basic facts about the 1998 bombing. Here are just a couple:
President Clinton authorized the intelligence community to discuss the multiple threads of evidence used to justify the strike. One thread, in particular, was more important than the others. The NSA intercepted communications between the father of Iraq’s chemical weapons program, Emad Al Ani, and the plant’s management. Thus, the soil sample was not the only, nor even the strongest piece of evidence used.
That was back in the days when the Democrats were in favor of having the NSA eavesdrop on terrorists. (They will be again, as soon as they control the Executive Branch.)
Richard Clarke, Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon have all defended the intelligence surrounding al-Shifa from the beginning. The indictment referenced above was unsealed in November 1998. The 9-11 commission report notes that when Clarke read the passage above it “led Clarke, who for years had read intelligence reports on Iraqi-Sudanese cooperation on chemical weapons, to speculate to Berger [National Security Advisor] that a large Iraqi presence at chemical facilities in Khartoum was ‘probably a direct result of the Iraq-Al Qida agreement.’ Clarke added that VX precursor traces found near al Shifa were the ‘exact formula used by Iraq.’”
Please read all ten, as well as Tom’s just-published article on the topic in the Daily Standard.