3,618. 6/21/2002

The CIA’s Middle East analysis “took the view that a secular, authoritative regime like Saddam’s would not form an alliance with a fundamentalist group like Al Qaeda. The agency’s experts also discounted reports that Mohamed Atta, who planned the 9/11 attacks, had met in Prague with a head of Iraqi intelligence. In June [21] 2002, the CIA distributed a classified report, ‘Iraq and Al-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship.’ The report noted that Saddam and bin Laden regarded each other warily, but did not exclude the possibility that there might be ‘limited offers of cooperation.’ Even that heavily qualified conclusion was controversial within the agency. The CIA ombudsman for politicization received a confidential complaint that the conclusion went too far.”

 – Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II, Page 145

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