The Saddam-Al Qaeda link

John B. Dwyer
Initial news stories about the Joint Forces Command Report on the Saddam-Al Qaeda link featured headlines and gloating passage that no such link existed.  The actual report, "Saddam & terrorism: Emerging Insights From Captured Iraqi Documents" reveals that a link did exist.  Stephen F. Hayes was onto the connection story from the get-go and wrote several Weekly Standard articles about it, and a book detailing the Saddam-AQ links titled The Connection.  Here is an excerpt from his Weekly Standard blog posting citing a relevant excerpt from the Report: 

Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist and Islamic terrorist organizations. 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. 

See also Eli Lake's New York Sun article "Report Details Saddam and Terrorist Ties".
Initial news stories about the Joint Forces Command Report on the Saddam-Al Qaeda link featured headlines and gloating passage that no such link existed.  The actual report, "Saddam & terrorism: Emerging Insights From Captured Iraqi Documents" reveals that a link did exist.  Stephen F. Hayes was onto the connection story from the get-go and wrote several Weekly Standard articles about it, and a book detailing the Saddam-AQ links titled The Connection.  Here is an excerpt from his Weekly Standard blog posting citing a relevant excerpt from the Report: 

Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist and Islamic terrorist organizations. 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. 

See also Eli Lake's New York Sun article "Report Details Saddam and Terrorist Ties".