Last Friday, September 8, the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence—author in July 2004 of the Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq—released what the Committee calls its “Phase II Reports:” Two reports totaling a little over 350 pages, each devoted to critical aspects of the prewar lying and fabrications that went into the Bush Administration’s elaborate public case for invading Iraq in March 2003.
As the Washington Post summed up one aspect of these Phase II Reports the following day ("Iraq's Alleged Al-Qaeda Ties Were Disputed Before War," Jonathan Weisman, September 9):
A declassified report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that U.S. intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush administration officials were publicly asserting those links to justify invading Iraq.
Far from aligning himself with al-Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Hussein repeatedly rebuffed al-Qaeda's overtures and tried to capture Zarqawi, the report said. Tariq Aziz, the detained former deputy prime minister, has told the FBI that Hussein "only expressed negative sentiments about [Osama] bin Laden."
As recently as Aug. 21, Bush suggested a link between Hussein and Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who was killed by U.S. forces this summer. But a CIA assessment in October 2005 concluded