Friday, Sep 19, 2003
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By Sridhar Krishnaswami
"We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September 11th," Mr. Bush told reporters even while he contended that "there's no question that Saddam Hussein had Al-Qaeda ties." The Al-Qaeda ties aspect has been brushed off in many quarters as quite weak, at best.
Mr. Bush's comments are not without context for many top administration members have been commenting on why it was that a solid majority of Americans believed that the Iraqi leader did indeed have something to do with 9/11.
The Bush administration stressed that it had never made any claims on Mr. Hussein-9/11 link. Critics have said the administration never dispelled such a thinking or perhaps even assisted building it up by making some dubious statements.
The Vice-President, Dick Cheney, said over the weekend that Iraq was the "heart of the base" of terrorism leading to 9/11. The White House is concerned that this statement might trigger another mess and fan the troubles it is facing on Iraq.
"If we're successful in Iraq...then we will have struck a major blow right in the heart of the base...the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11," Mr. Cheney said. The Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, asserted that the U.S. had no evidence tying Saddam Hussein to 9/11. .One of the things that this administration had tried was to see if the ringleader of the 9/11, Mohammad Atta, had met an Iraqi intelligence agent in the Czech Republic in April 2001.The Iraq-Atta link was persistently brought up a number of times by many including Mr. Cheney. The CIA could not confirm it and the FBI had apparently indicated that Atta was somewhere in Florida at that time.
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