The Pentagon released a report that detailed the following (Weekly Standard Blog):
Captured documents reveal that the regime was willing to co-opt or support organizations it knew to be part of al Qaeda — as long as that organization’s near-term goals supported Saddam’s long-term vision . . . Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.
The report also says (same link):
While these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist-operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some way, a “de facto” link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.
So how what does MSM do with this report? Take a wild guess.
An item on the New York Times blog snarks, “Oh, By the Way, There Was No Al Qaeda Link.” The ABC News story that previews the full report concludes, “Report Shows No Link Between Saddam and al Qaeda.”
I guess “de facto” links don’t count.
The more I think about this, the more upset I get - because this isn’t the first time MSM has pulled stunts like this. When the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran came out, MSM took certain phrases so badly out of context that even leading American conservatives thought the NIE report was a whitewash of Tehran and started ripping it incessantly (for anyone willing to see what that NIE actually said, take a look here, here, here, and here).
Now, MSM may turn a reasonable report which details Saddam Hussein’s cooperation with al Qaeda into a Bush-debunking ad for the Democratic Party. It’s beyond despicable.