AUDIO: Richard Perle Insists That Saddam Had Ties To Al Qaeda Because He's ‘Seen The Evidence'
Think Progress | November 13, 2006
Yesterday, in an interview with NPR, Richard Perle, a prominent neoconservative and leading proponent for the war in Iraq, insisted that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda. He stated that anyone who believes otherwise is “simply wrong” because he's “seen the evidence.”
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But the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee in September concluded that there was no relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda :
Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa'ida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qa'ida to provide material or operational support. Debriefings of key leaders of the former Iraqi regime indicate that Saddam distrusted Islamic radicals in general, and al Qa'ida in particular… Debriefings also indicate that Saddam issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al Qa'ida. No postwar information suggests that the Iraqi regime attempted to facilitate a relationship with bin Ladin. (p. 105)
Perle is no longer a government official. There's no way he saw any intelligence that the Senate Intelligence Committee didn't.
Full transcript below:
ANDREA SEABROOK: Now the American public has just watched the years pass — three years and plus of this war — has watched the intelligence that said there were WMD in Iraq be discredited, has watched Saddam's ties to terrorists be discredited, can you blame them for voting against this policy by voting out Republicans in large part?
RICHARD PERLE: Well, the intelligence about Saddam's stockpiles appears certainly to have been wrong. I don't believe it's correct to say that his ties to terrorists have been discredited. There were numerous links between Iraqi intelligence and various terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda. Those have been documented. And I frequently hear people say that there's no evidence. It's simply wrong. I've seen the evidence.
SEABROOK: But much of that evidence — that I've heard other analysts say, on both sides of the aisle and from several different policy points of view — has in fact been discredited. Most people, it seems now, are saying that Saddam didn't have any serious connection with terrorists.
PERLE: Well, I simply think that's wrong. I've looked at the evidence and have come to a different conclusion
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