We speak with author Peter Lance, a five-time Emmy-award winning investigative reporter and former ABC News correspondent. His latest book is 1000 Years For Revenge: International Terrorism and the FBI — The Untold Story which outlines how the FBI missed dozens of chances to stop the Sept. 11 attacks going as far back as 1989.
And Richard Miniter, investigative reporter and author of Losing bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror that claims that President Bill Clinton had the opportunity to stop, catch, or kill bin Laden more than twelve times during his presidency and knowingly refused to wage a real war on “terror” which may have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks.
President Bush is scheduled to address the United Nations today on Iraq and defend his decision to invade without UN backing.
In an exclusive interview, Bush told Fox News, “I will make it clear that I made the right decision and that the others that joined us made the right decision.” Bush is also expected to announce his support for UN involvement in the writing of an Iraqi constitution and the oversight of elections.
Meanwhile the Associated Press reported Sunday that the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed who was captured in Pakistan in March, told U.S. interrogators al-Qaeda had originally planned to hijack five commercial jets on each U.S. coast. The operation, originally developed in 1996, was scaled down at the request of Osama bin Laden to improve the chances that the attacks could be pulled off simultaneously.
Mohammed also divulged that, in its final stages, the hijacking plan called for as many as 22 terrorists and four planes in a first wave, followed by a second wave of suicide hijackings that were to be aided possibly by al-Qaeda allies in southeast Asia. This according to AP’s review of interrogation reports released by U.S. authorities.
Today we are going to have a discussion about the roots of 9/11, about Osama Bin Laden, and how much the U.S. government has known over the years with two people who’ve researched this extensively.
- Peter Lance, a five-time Emmy-award winning investigative reporter and former ABC News correspondent. His latest book is 1000 Years For Revenge: International Terrorism and the FBI — The Untold Story (Reagan Books) which outlines how the FBI missed dozens of chances to stop the Sept. 11 attacks going as far back as 1989.
- Richard Miniter, investigative reporter and author of Losing bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror that claims that President Bill Clinton had the opportunity to stop, catch, or kill bin Laden more than twelve times during his presidency and knowingly refused to wage a real war on “terror” which may have prevented the September 11 attacks.
AMY GOODMAN: So we have a discussion today about the roots of 9/11, about Osama Bin Laden, about how much the U.S. government has known over the years, we’re joined by two people who’ve researched this extensively. We’re joined in our studio here in New York by Peter Lance who is an investigative reporter, five time Emmy-award winning reporter, former correspondent for ABC news, he’s written the new book, “One thousand years for revenge, International Terrorism and the FBI, the untold story”. We’re joined on the telephone by Richard Miniter. He’s written the book, “Losing Bin Laden, How Bill Clinton’s failures unleashed global terror”. And, we’re going to begin with him. We want to welcome you both to Democracy Now. Richard Miniter, can you layout your case for why you think this can be traced all to or the blame can be put on the shoulders of Bill Clinton?
RICHARD MINITER: I don’t know if I would say that Bill Clinton is solely responsible for 9/11. I think he’s part of the picture. But, I wouldn’t say that he’s entirely to blame. The Bin Laden threat really emerged on Bill Clinton’s watch. December 29, 1992, was the first time in which Bin Laden targeted Americans. That was while George Bush was still president but after Clinton had won the election and just shortly before he was going to be sworn in as president. In two towering hotels in Yemen, 100 U.S. Marines were stationed and Bin Laden’s plan was to blow up both of those towers and he nearly succeeded but was spoiled by a sharp eyed security guard and so no one was injured. Everyone has sort of forgotten about this 1992 incident in Yemen. But that was the first time the CIA learned of Bin Laden and was the first time also that Clinton or any president was briefed on Bin Laden.
February 1993 of course was the bombing of the World Trade Center about 30 days after Clinton was sworn in. He made several decisions at that time which had long range effects on the war on terror that he waged. One of those decisions was to put the investigation entirely into the hands of the FBI to treat it like a criminal matter. That meant that effectively the CIA was shut out of the investigation as were other intelligent agencies so it was not treated like a counter-terrorism operation but like a crime. And that had important effects. Two which were this. One which was the FBI was not able to compare notes with the CIA which had files on the oversees activities of many of the people who were being investigated in connection with the bombing. The CIA director, Jim Woolsey told me how frustrated he was by that because any junior agent in the New York office of the FBI knew far more about the first major foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil than he did. He was not able to then connect a lot of the dots and the CIA’s counter-terrorism center which is typically run, the deputy is of which is typically an FBI official which is supposed to coordinate all of these activities was also cut out of the loop. It had important effects as well because the FBI’s New York office usually does take the lead in counter-terrorism activities didn’t have access to CIA’s international information. It relied on an informant named Ali Mohammed.
Ali Mohammed would later turn out to be a double agent simultaneously an informant source for the FBI and working for Bin Laden. He was passing on tremendous amounts of information from the FBI investigation that he was given by investigators who believed him to be very helpful to Bin Laden. He also translated U.S. Army warfare manuals into Arabic and passed them onto Bin Laden. On his vacations he would go and train Bin Laden’s bodyguards and help surveil embassies across Africa and U.S. embassies that would later be targeted for attack. The CIA knew that Ali Mohammed was a Bin Laden operative but didn’t know that he was an informant for the FBI. The FBI did not know that he was a Bin Laden operative but thought of him as a very helpful, knowledgeable man.
This is a problem when you don’t allow communication and of course communication is virtually illegal if it’s a criminal investigation, rules of evidence and so on. And this inability to grasp that terrorism is not a crime but an act of war meant that it took a very long time for the Clinton administration to put together the pieces. Now to be fair, we had not been the target in the United States of an ongoing attack. We weren’t having the experience that the Germans, the French and the Italians had starting in the late 60’s. Our government had very little understanding, there was a learning curve there about terrorism. But still that decision would turn out to be very fateful. I’m sure Mr. Lance could probably speak more authoritatively on that. He’s written a fantastic and well written book on the FBI.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s take on some of these issues. We’re speaking with Richard Miniter whose written the new book, “Losing Bin Laden, How Bill Clinton’s failures unleashed global terror”. Peter Lance.
PETER LANCE: Richard, first of all, thanks for the compliment. I do appreciate it and I recommend your book as well as Cheryl Posner’s book out right now because all people have to get educated if they’re going to understand the threat as it existed and still exists. But I have to take exception with your general thesis because I think while a lot of what you have to say is true and I especially agree with your notion of that they treated this as a series of legal cases as opposed to a geo-political problem. I totally embrace that thesis. I think what you did was you did a disservice to the current debate by focusing this only on Clinton. The fact of the matter is that the President’s father, George Herbert Walker Bush, it was on his watch that the FBI had the greatest opportunity to first stop Ramsey Yusef and also ultimately stop 9/11. One of the revelations in my book is that Ramsey Yusef was the architect of 9/11 and after he escaped New York, went to the Philippines and with his uncle Kallee Chik Mohammed and several other cohorts put the 9/11 plot well into motion as early as 1994. There were 6 targets chosen, there were 10 Islamic pilots training in flight schools and the Philippines authorities that actually uncovered this Colonel Mendoza who I interviewed at length turned all of this information over to the U.S. embassy in Manila. Now the U.S. Embassy in Manila, while it had one FBI legate, it also had a major CIA presence. The notion that the CIA was barred from understanding the threat and the potential for 9/11 is just absurd.
Second of all, I’d like to go back and talk first about President Sr. Bush and his culpability in this matter and we can get to his son eventually while we talk about President Clinton because I agree that the lion’s share of the culpability lies during those 8 years of the Clinton administration. But let’s look at Senior Bush if you will.
RICHARD MINITER: Can I just jump in one second. I’m not saying that Clinton is entirely responsible. The sentence that you just uttered that the lion’s share belongs with Clinton and the Clinton years, I don’t even think I’d say that. I’d say that Clinton and the Clinton administration is largely responsible but I would not say solely.
PETER LANCE: No, I’m not saying that.
RICHARD MINITER: You may be far more anit-Clinton than I am.
PETER LANCE: No, I’m not anti anybody. What I found was culpability that transcended three presidencies that lies specifically in the New York office of the FBI and that by politicizing this and doing a history as you did where you don’t mention Senior Bush or essentially the culpability of the incumbent what happens is you politicize the debate and we don’t get anywhere. I want to talk about the first serious lapse on the president’s father’s, during his administration.
In 1989, in Calverton Long Island on 4 successive weekends in July, the FBI special operations group which is the elite black bag unit, the unit that got Gotti if you will, followed a group of what a group of what they called M.E.'s, which is FBI speak for Middle Eastern Men. From the el-Furuk mosque on Atlantic avenue in Brooklyn out to Calverton Long Island on four weekends they photographed these men with dozens and dozens of photos firing automatic weapons etc. Of that group of men photographed, 3 of them went on to bomb the world trade center, 1 of them, El-Siyad Nosayr went on to kill Rabbi Mara Kahani in 1990. By the way, that was Bin Laden's first attack on America. November 5, 1990, not the hotel bombings in ’92 that you point out. The first attack on America by essentially a member of a Bin Laden cell was the murder of Kahani by Nosayr. Nosayr and another member of the Calverton crew, Clement Rodney Hamptonell were later convicted to blow up the bridges and tunnels around New York and Ali Mohammed as you rightfully point out was their leader. But Ali Mohammed was actually a triple agent. He was working for the U.S. special warfare for school at Fort Bragg, he was essentially been an ex-Egyptian army officer who got into America despite a presence on a watch-list, married an American woman, became a naturalized citizen, joined the U.S. Army and in 1989 while he was serving with the Green Berets at Fort Bragg, as an active duty sergeant in the U.S. Army he was going up to these Para military training sessions and training these men who would terrorize our country.
Nine years later, as you point out Richard, rightfully, he’s the guy that actually did the surveillance of African embassies that had killed 234. He actually took the pictures that Bin Laden pointed to and said, “here’s where we place the bomb”. As early as the presidency of George Bush Senior they had these guys on the radar. The most astonishing thing happened in 1992 also on the watch of George Herbert Walker Bush. And that is, FBI agent Nancy Floyd, a young agent in the New York office recruited ex-Egyptian army officer named Amad Selem. Selem went undercover, infiltrated the sheik’s cell and for $500 a week had uncovered a bombing plot. To bomb what they call twelve Jewish locations around New York City. Contrary to what you say in your book. You make the statement where you say that the FBI, let me just read quickly. “According to official DOJ guidelines and various statutes passed by congress, Agents had to have evidence that crime had been committed or was underway, sometimes supervisors would not approve an investigation even if there was evidence of criminal activity. If the crime seemed insignificant, in practical terms that meant that the FBI could investigate terrorists after Americans were dead but not before”. That’s patently false. They had the foreign counter-intelligence recruited Selem. He was undercover they had a special deal, he would be an asset who wouldn’t have to testify and then Carson Dunbar, a man with zero terrorism experience took over the terrorism branch, did not like Nancy, did not trust Selem and basically changed the rules and forced him over the wall to become a criminal informant and he withdrew. The last thing he said to Nancy Floyd in the fall of '92 was, “there's somebody in town building a bomb, I don’t know who.” That was of course Ramsey Yusef. “Please Nancy, tell the FBI to follow Mohammed Salema and Makmud Abalima”. These are two of the guys from Calverton from '89. “If you follow them they will lead you to the bomber and if you do not do that, don't call me when the bombs go off.” He used plural. The day after the bombing the FBI realized they made an extraordinary mistake, brought Selem back in and paid him $1.5 million to do what he could have done in the fall for $500 a week. In two months he wrapped up the entire cell around the sheik in the bridge and tunnel plot. The FBI had all the capability, all the tools. Tee patriot act was unnecessary. This idea that we need all these Draconian civil libertarian intrusions today to fight the war on terror is absurd. All the tools to have stopped Ramsey Yusef, therefore to stop the original bombing and 9/11 were there during the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush.
AMY GOODMAN: Richard Miniter.
RICHARD MINITER: Despite Mr. Lance’s tone, I actually agree with about 95% of what he just said. This is an extraordinary debate. I guess we don’t disagree about all that much. It’s unfortunate enough that in the case of the murder of Mahara Makan that key documents were not translated until years later. The FBI, and maybe Mr. Lance is better informed than I am, my understanding was that the FBI was not the lead investigator. That the New York police department was and treated it originally as a hate crime and as a murder and not as a political assassination.
PETER LANCE: That’s true Richard, but they both…
RICHARD MINITER: Can I just respond, if you’d let me.
PETER LANCE: Sure, go ahead.
RICHARD MINITER: That was a bureaucratic bungle of course, and of course, the New York police department which once had a very good translation capability, didn’t, in this case translate documents and if they had they would have discovered in serious possession were Arabic translations of U.S. Army warfare manuals, which of course were collected by Ali Mohammed. You should probably add that Ali Mohammed got his Visa, even though he was on a watch-list, from a CIA official in Cairo. He was essentially let into the United States by the CIA.
PETER LANCE: The blind sheik.
RICHARD MINITER: That’s right. No, not the blind sheik. The blind sheik was also let in, talking about Ali Mohammed.
PETER LANCE: No, no I understand.
RICHARD MINITER: As for the construction of my book, it does not deal with the second Bush administration for the simple reason that that is what my next book is about. The next book is called “Bush’s secret war”, that you end with a long and unwieldy narrative if you begin in the early 90’s and go to the present.
AMY GOODMAN:have now, if you’ve segmented that out because this is coming in the time of the election and it is taking blame off the Bush bookends, Senior and Junior. It’s subtitle is “How Bill Clinton’s failures unleashed global terror”.
RICHARD MINITER: Well of course, publishers write titles and design covers and not writers.
AMY GOODMAN: So, do you disagree with that subtitle?
RICHARD MINITER: I think it probably overstates the case a little bit, sure. But, look, when you write a book you want to write a compelling narrative. You want to follow certain people through, course of events. One of the people I followed was Richard Clarke, Clinton’s counter-terrorism czar. Who did make it into the Bush years, the second Bush administration but his role was severely downgraded. He left in the middle. Just to construct the narrative, to make it comprehensible to the average reader, and interesting you need to stop it somewhere. The second book “Bush’s secret war” actually picks up almost exactly where this leaves off and that’s appearing in September 2004.
AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think President George Bush’s culpability is since you’re framing things in which president is culpable?
RICHARD MINITER: In the eight months, between January and September 2001, there were missed opportunities. The retaliation plan that had been left behind by the Clinton administration for the retaliation of the attack of the U.S.S. Cole. did work it’s way through the Bush bureaucracy and is one of the interesting bits of history. They had gotten the missile strike on Bin Laden’s camp approved in August 2001. Condoleezza Rice signed off on it September 4, 2001, and the chiefs of staff put it, all that remains was to order a massive missile strike on Bin Laden’s operations in Afghanistan was the personal approval of the president. They scheduled a meeting with the president for 3 P.M. September 11. At 9 A.M. that morning, obviously the world had changed. They did not realize that they had to hurry that process. A lot of key administration officials were not in place. The FBI director for example came in a week before 9/11. The Florida vote fiasco meant that a lot of decisions, a lot of key people were not decided on by the administration until much later. The transition was much slower and much more adversarial with the outgoing Clinton administration. Various people were denied briefings and various Clinton officials who wanted to give briefings to their incoming people were not given them.
AMY GOODMAN: Who was refused? Who of the Clinton administration. attempted to give a briefing on terrorism to the Bush administration and who refused under George W. Bush?
RICHARD MINITER: Now, we’re talking about a book.
AMY GOODMAN: No, not a book, we’re talking about events.
RICHARD MINITER: That’s one of the scoops in my new book and I’d rather not give it away.
PETER LANCE: It’s pretty well known that Richard Clarke had attempted to set up a meeting with Condoleezza Rice but I wanted to talk about Richard Clarke.
RICHARD MINITER: That’s not what we’re talking about here. Richard Clarke did meet with Susan Rice…
AMY GOODMAN: Condoleezza Rice.
RICHARD MINITER: With Condoleezza Rice and met with her extensively and she ended up retaining him for a period of time on the National Security Council.
PETER LANCE: Right.
RICHARD MINITER: But that’s not who I’m talking about. I’m happy to talk about the Clinton, Bin Laden years when my next book comes out in September 2004, about two months before the presidential election, mind you. We can come back on and I’ll talk extensively about what I’ve learned about the Bush Bin Laden years. Let me just say that that book will be as thorough as critical a piece of reporting as Losing Bin Laden is.
PETER LANCE: Ok, I want to say a couple of things about the lost opportunities during the second Bush administration. By the year 2001, there were so many dots on the chart. I have a timeline in the middle of my book which cites almost 150 either lost opportunities of mismanaged intelligence, etc. But by the time 2001 came around, the number of dots were thundering, the drums were pounding so loud. On July 5th, Condoleezza Rice admitted that the threat reporting, she later used the words “sufficiently robust.” She called it, there was a lot of chatter in the system. This is a gross understatement. Richard Clarke the same day called a White House meeting with officials of the FBI, FAA, coast guard, etc. Warning, “Something really spectacular is going to happen here and it’s going to happen soon.” The next day Clarke shared a meeting of the national security council’s security group, the CSG and ordered a suspension of all non-essential travel by the staff. The Attorney General Ashcroft was told by his staff to only take private planes for the rest of his tenure. The American people had no idea what was going on and…
AMY GOODMAN: Wait a second, can you just repeat that last point?
PETER LANCE: Attorney General Ashcroft, during the summer of 2001, was told that because of the level of threat that the intelligence agencies then knew was facing America not to take commercial air travel.
RICHARD MINITER: Well, let me just respond to that. That’s been reported widely but never confirmed by Ashcroft or anybody at the department of defense.
PETER LANCE: Ok, in a minute I can get to some of the things that you talk about in your book that I’ve found to take exception to, but I wanted to just talk about the 2001, the summer, how much knowledge they had, how much culpability the Bush administration had. In August 6, in the presidential daily briefing, the president was warned essentially there was a British intelligence report that cited a potential hijacking of a plane to free Blind Sheik Omar Abdul Rochman, and he as I say, runs like a hot circuit cable all the way from Afghanistan with Bin Laden in the late 1980’s all the way up through 9/11. He was beloved by Bin Laden. Bin Laden had adopted two of his sons, the Cole bombing fought while two weeks before the bombing Bin Laden wore the dagger and he said free the Blind Sheik he had the Blind Sheik speak, remember El-Siyad Nosayr, the guy that had killed Kahani. On August 6, Bob Woodward reported that there was a top secret memo within the presidential daily briefings called “Bin Laden determined to strike U.S.” This was on August 6, six weeks before 9/11.
RICHARD MINITER: I have the memo. That’s not the title of the memo.
PETER LANCE: More remarkably, on the sixth of September. Five days before 9/11, the Taliban foreign minister approached the U.S. and offered to exchange the eight Christian aid workers then being held in Kabul for the Blind Sheik. The incredible number of dots on the chart were thundering and yet here’s why the American people didn’t know. You cite Larry Johnson in your book as one of your experts, Larry C Johnson, he was the former counter-terrorism director in the state department under both President Bush Senior and President Clinton. Larry Johnson actually gave an interview to the New York Times in July of '01 and he basically said the threat from terrorism is diminishing in America. Unwilling to just embrace that, he went on to do an op-ed piece on June 10th in which he said “the threat from Osama Bin Laden has been widely overblown.” This is what the American people sense. The public sense was it was business as usual. All of this behind the scenes intelligence that was just coming at the administration on multiple levels the public knew nothing about and the ultimately in history maybe you'll report that in your book. But ultimately in history, this president, the current president is going to have to answer those questions. One of the biggest problems however has been The president resisted the creation of the 9/11 commission for months and he only allowed it to exist when he brokered a deal to have Henry Kissinger and Senator Mitchell chair it. Of course, they resigned within days citing potential conflict of interest. But when the commission issued it’s report in July, they reported that essentially the justice department and the pentagon were stone walling them. Only $14 million was initially approved for this commission which was the equivalent of the Warren Commission, yet $40 million was approved to investigate the Columbia disaster to give you an idea on perspective. And as you know Richard, the president for months and months and months refused to allow the 855 page report to be seen by the general public. Even then it came out heavily redacted. This administration to this day has never openly acknowledged it’s culpability. In fact, Director Mueller, true that he only had a few weeks on the job, at the time of 9/11.
RICHARD MINITER: I think it was one week.
PETER LANCE: Ok, one week. Director Mueller as late as April 19, 2002, actually gave a speech in San Francisco, in which he said, we haven’t found a single piece of paper in our files that would have given us any warning about 9/11. I’m paraphrasing. He then said the same thing in front of congress a week later only after Colleen Rowelly.
RICHARD MINITER: I don’t think any thoughtful person disagrees that Mueller is a political hack in over his head.
PETER LANCE: Wait, let me finish. Only after Coleen Rowelly from the Minneapolis Office, took him to task did he even begin to talk about reforms. This administration after 9/11 their entire approach, their major thrust has been invasion of Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq. It’s like their approach to fighting the war on terror has been completely military oriented and the FBI to this day, no one has ever been held accountable to 9/11 and this is one of the findings in the joint inquiry report. No one in the FBI, and I basically say in my book, there’s blood on the hands of people in the New York office of the FBI. No one has ever been held accountable. The only person that who’s ever been punished in the result to stop Yusef in 1992 was special agent Nancy Floyd, who was the object of a five and a half year internal affairs investigation OPR, and she was suspended for two weeks. Instead of getting a corner office in the Hoover building, for recruiting Amad Selem, arguably the greatest effort they’ve had on the war on terror. She got set up and treated as the scapegoat. Where’s the Bush administration today, openly cooperating with the 9/11 commission to get to the bottom of the greatest unsolved mass murder in U.S. history.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Peter Lance he is author of “One thousand years for revenge, International Terrorism and the FBI, the untold story” and Richard Miniter author of “Losing Bin Laden, How Bill Clinton’s failures unleashed global terror”. Vice President Dick Cheney just did his first interview in many months on Meet the Press, Tim Russert. He’s explaining the invasion of Iraq and he says that, “9/11 the roots of it, going back to the ’93, World Trade Center bombing can be found in Iraq. That this all connects to Iraq. I would like you first of all, Richard Miniter to respond to that.
RICHARD MINITER: The roots of this began in Iraq?
AMY GOODMAN: Yes. He’s explaining the justification for Iraq. Laying out why Iraq was invaded and he said that both 9/11 and you can go back to ’93. the World Trade Center bombing have its roots in Iraq.
RICHARD MINITER: I don’t know that I maintain that Iraq is behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. I don’t think anyone disagrees that Iraq had been a major funder of terrorism in the Middle east going back at least until 1969 for their funding for the Belucci uprisings in Pakistan. And they have a history of sponsoring Al Qaeda related groups, one of course in Uganda which was a member of Al Qaeda’s network that had given their oath of loyalty to Bin Laden and yet we found the equivalent of canceled checks in Iraqi archives after the war. Before the war, there was a lot known also about the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The Bush administration in it’s typically incompetent way, didn’t really lay the case out in public view except perhaps in Colin Powell’s speech about these connections. Egyptians and Sudanese intelligence sources that I’ve talked to say that they observed and photographed meetings between the Iraqi Mokabarat, that’s there external intelligence, one of the three intelligence agencies. And Al Qaeda and meetings in Cartoume, AdaSadaba, and Cairo and other cities going back as far as 1993. It appears by 1995, that their relationship had solidified and as the ’90’s progressed Iraq became progressively more impressed by Al Qaeda’s organization and funded it to a much greater degree and also provided it’s training facilities to Al Qaeda members and of course the training facility at Solomanpak, where they are able to send operatives to train on the Boeing 707 that was parked there for the purposes of practicing hijacking. Also the Iraqis were well known to have one of the best document forging and passport forging operations in the Middle East. They’d designed that over many years working with Stazi, the East German secret police and a lot of those skills were passed on to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, Admud Abduhl for example.
AMY GOODMAN: Peter Lance would you agree with this assessment, the connection between Iraq, Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda?
PETER LANCE: And the trade center bombing going back to 1993. Absolutely not. Richard cites…
MINITER: I did not say they were connected to the ’93 World Trade Center bombing.
LANCE: But you cite Laurie Milroy in you book a couple of times and Laurie Milroy is the perpetrator of this…
MINITER: There are minor points in which I don’t adopt her thesis.
LANCE: Let me just, if you don’t mind Richard, Laurie Milroy is the architect of the thesis that helped to justify the invasion of Iraq which is this myth that Saddam Hussein was somehow connected to Al Qaeda and had any connection at all to September 11th. When you mention the UN, the paper thin evidence was presented by Secretary Powell at the UN he talked about a possible connection to a camp in Kurdistan which wasn’t even held by Saddam and he talked about a guy who sought medical…
MINITER: That camp was held by Saddam by the way.
LANCE: Let me just say in the five years prior to the invasion of Iraq on the state department’s website where they talk about patterns of global terrorism not a shred of evidence linking Al Qaeda to Iraq. More importantly in U.S. versus Bin Laden, I’m sure you’ve read the indictment and you’ve looked at the transcript of the court case…
MINITER: I have.
LANCE: which became the African embassy bombing case, they actually list all the countries that are associated with Al Qaeda. The indictment was in fall of 98 and the case stood through February of ’01. not a shred of evidence that there was connection to Al Qaeda. In f