5,950. 6/17/2004

When asked why the administration continued to insist that Saddam Hussien had a relationship with al Qaeda, when the same administration denies any connection between Saddam and 9/11? President Bush answered: “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. For example, Iraqi intelligence officers met with bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda, in the Sudan. There’s numerous contacts between the two. I always said that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He was a threat because he had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He was a threat because he was a sworn enemy to the United States of America, just like al Qaeda. He was a threat because he had terrorist connections — not only al Qaeda connections, but other connections to terrorist organizations; Abu Nidal was one. He was a threat because he provided safe-haven for a terrorist like Zarqawi, who is still killing innocent inside of Iraq.”

 – Transcript, “President Discusses Economy, Iraq in Cabinet Meeting,” George W. Bush – White House Archives, June 17, 2004

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