Connecting Clarke's Dots

Excerpt from Clarke’s Progress

…The Age of Sacred Terror justifies the Clinton strike on Khartoum on the grounds that "Iraqi weapons-scientists" were linked to Bin Laden's factory and that the suggestive chemical EMPTA, detected at the site, was used only by Iraq to make VX nerve gas. At the time, Clarke defended the bombing in almost the same words, telling the press that he was "sure" that "intelligence existed linking bin Laden to Al Shifa's current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan."

I doubt any measure of evidence will convince the anti-war folks of an Al-Qaidi / Iraq connection. Nevertheless, I offer this story about the only terrorism expert with credibility in liberal circles. Richard Clarke.


empty.I seem to recall that it turned out that the Sudan plant didn't produce chemical weapons. There is a Dec 1998 article in Reason that seems to throw some serious doubt on Clinton's claims about the plant. Some quotes from this non-liberal magazine article:-------------But reports from other sources--including some in the American intelligence community--quickly undercut such seeming certitude. A number of publications reported that the German ambassador to Sudan, who had a working knowledge of the plant, challenged the Clinton administration's assertions. Similarly, administration depictions of the factory as secretive and highly guarded turned out to be inaccurate. The Los Angeles Times cited experts who said not only that EMPTA has multiple uses but that apparent traces could have come from a number of other sources. British newspapers such as the London Observer reported that the factory lacked airlocks and other chambers necessary for producing chemical weapons.The administration's own actions and admissions raise even more disturbing questions. Despite the Sudanese government's call for an international inquiry--and its insistence that the factory produced about 50 percent of the country's legitimate drugs--the Clinton administration has refused to allow an independent test of the CIA soil sample. U.S. officials have conceded that despite claims to good intelligence on the factory, they did not even know who owned it until after the bombing. (They now claim that the owner, Salih Idris, a Sudanese expatriate living in Saudi Arabia, has links to bin Laden; Idris denies any connection.)In fact, CIA information on Sudan has been suspect since at least 1996, when the United States closed its embassy there (the CIA had shut down its own station there a year earlier). In January 1996, the CIA withdrew 100 intelligence reports on the country after determining that they contained largely fabricated information. The Pentagon is reportedly beginning an inquiry into how the factory came to be a target for U.S. military action.---------------------------If you have newer info on the plant's status, point it my way. If the drug plant really did just make drugs, then Mr. Clarke MAY have reconsidered his thoughts about Iraqi sponsorship. Perhaps he should be asked about it.I'd also like to take the opportunity to mention that last November the Pentagon took a pass on confirming a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. A famous article in the Weekly Standard purported to have solid proof of an Iraq-al-Qaeda connection to 9/11 based on a "secret pentagon memo."In response, DoD released DoD Statement on News Reports of Al Qaeda and Iraq Connections which stated in part:"The items listed in the classified annex were either raw reports or products of the CIA, the National Security Agency or, in one case, the Defense Intelligence Agency. The provision of the classified annex to the Intelligence Committee was cleared by other agencies and done with the permission of the intelligence community.The selection of the documents was made by DoD to respond to the committee’s question. The classified annex was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and it drew no conclusions."Don't you believe that if the Pentagon had SOLID proof of an Iraq/al-Qaeda connection, they would have confirmed the news reports? I would have if I were Secy Rumsfeld. Confirmed information like that would have stripped the peace movement of 90% of its marchers, including me.Finally, I'd like to thank you for not mentioning that Christopher Hitchens authored this article. Otherwise, my inclination would have been not to read it. I still find him deeply polemic and unconvincing. However, I may take his reading advice and pick up the "Age of Sacred Terror" sometime.

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