3,980. 9/26/2002

On September 26, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld testified before the House Armed Services Committee: “Since we began after September 11th, we do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad. We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical and biological agent training. And when I say contacts, I mean between Iraq and al Qaeda. The reports of these contacts have been increasing since 1998. We have what we believe to be credible information that Iraq and al Qaeda have discussed safe haven opportunities in Iraq, reciprocal nonaggression discussions. We have what we consider to be credible evidence that al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire weapon of–weapons of mass destruction capabilities. We do have–I believe it’s one report indicating that Iraq provided unspecified training relating to chemical and/or biological matters for al Qaeda members. There is, I’m told, also some other information of varying degrees of reliability that supports that conclusion of their cooperation.”

 – Donald H. Rumsfeld, “Public Statement of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld,” Defense Department Regular Briefing, Defense Department, Sep. 26, 2002

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