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Former Vice President Dick Cheney says there was “never any evidence” that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq played any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. |
“On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11, there was never any evidence to prove that,” Cheney said during an interview Monday night with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
“There was some reporting early on, for example, that Mohammed Atta had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official,” Cheney said. “But that was never borne out.”
In a 2003 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cheney said that “the Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack.”
But Cheney added, “We’ve never been able to develop any more of that yet, either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don’t know.”
Cheney said Monday that former CIA Director George Tenet brought to the Bush White House information pertaining to potential links between the hijacker and Iraq as “it became available.” But Cheney pointed out that Tenet “did say and did testify that there was an ongoing relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq, but no proof that Iraq was involved in 9/11.”
The former vice president explained away the early uncertainty of the connection by insisting that intelligence gathering is “more an art form than a science,” pointing to several examples of past CIA failures.
“They misread Saddam Hussein's intent when he invaded Kuwait in 1990,” Cheney said. “They underestimated the extent of the Iraqi program to try to acquire nuclear capability back in '90 and '91. They missed 9/11.”
Cheney did not list the never-found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as an intelligence failure, saying only that the CIA and the broader intelligence community have done a “magnificent job as part of the effort to keep the United States safe these last seven and a half years.”
“The intelligence community has had some enormous successes in the last few years,” he said. “You usually don't hear about the successes. What you hear about are the train wrecks, the things that didn't work out quite right.”
Source: yahoo.com June 2, 2009.