Originally Published: October 20, 2004 6 p.m.
If you believe what John Kerry and his stooges in the media say, there was never any connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and his terrorist al Qaeda organization.
During the debate between Vice President Cheney and John Edwards, Edwards attacked Cheney for maintaining that a real connection exists between the two, and the media rushed to say is no evidence of any such connection exists.
Among them was ABC News, which either has a very short memory or is willing to cover up what it knows about the connection. And it knows plenty – it just won't talk about it. The fact is, ABC interviewed bin Laden and had disclosed the ties that existed between Baghdad and the master terrorist as far back as 1999 when Bill Clinton was president.
Here's what ABC News reported on January 14, 1999: Citing an alleged key military adviser and a man believed to be "privy to bin Laden's most secret projects" whom authorities had apprehended, ABC News said: "The U.S. government alleges he was under secret orders to procure enriched uranium for the purpose of developing nuclear weapons. These are allegations bin Laden does not now deny. 'It would be a sin for Muslims not to try to possess the weapons,' bin Laden told ABC. 'But how we could use these weapons if we possessed them is up to us.'"
Commented ABC: "With an American price on his head there weren't many places bin Laden could go unless he teamed up with another international pariah, one also with an interest in weapons of mass destruction. 'Osama believed in the enemy of my enemy is my friend and is someone I should cooperate with. That's certainly the current case with Iraq,' " an ABC reporter involved with the bin Laden interview said.
And the ABC narrator added, "Saddam Hussein has a long history of harboring terrorists, Carlos the Jackal, Abu Nidal, Abu Abas – the most notorious terrorists of their era all found shelter and support at one time in Baghdad.
"Intelligence sources say bin Laden's long relationship with the Iraqis began as he helped Sudan's fundamentalist government in their efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Three weeks after (Clinton's bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory) on August 31st, bin Laden reaches out to his friends in Iraq and Sudan. Iraq's Vice President arrives in Khartoum to show his support for the Sudanese after the U.S. attack.
"ABC News has learned that during these meetings senior Sudanese officials acting on behalf of bin Laden asked if Saddam Hussein would grant him asylum. Iraq was indeed interested. ABC News has learned that in December an Iraqi intelligence chief … (who in 1999 was Iraq's ambassador to Turkey) made a secret trip to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden." During the meeting, ABC says their sources reported that "bin Laden was told be would be welcome in Baghdad."
ABC News was not alone in revealing this trip. In 1999, The Guardian, a British newspaper, reported that Farouk Hijazi, a senior officer in Iraq's mukhabarat (Iraq's intelligence service), had journeyed deep into the icy mountains near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 1998 to meet with al Qaeda men. Mr. Hijazi is "thought to have offered bin Laden asylum in Iraq," The Guardian reported.
ABC News continued: "Intelligence sources say they can only speculate on the purpose of an (Iraqi-bin Laden) alliance. What could bin Laden offer Saddam? Only days after he meets Iraqi officials, bin Laden tells ABC that his network is wide and there are people prepared to commit terror in his name who he does not even control."
Here's what bin Laden told ABC News: "It is our job to incite and to instigate. By the grace of God we did that."
Do you hear ABC telling that story today?
(E-mail Mike Reagan at email@example.com for Mike)