The claim that they found a definate link between Saddam and Osama.......
THE FINDING, if verified, would appear to support Washington’s assertion of links between ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and bin Laden, one of the justifications for the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
The paper said the documents, which its correspondent found in the wrecked headquarters of the Iraqi Mukhabarat intelligence service, showed Iraq brought a bin Laden aide to Baghdad in early 1998 from his former base in Sudan to arrange closer ties.
Iraqi officials sought to have the envoy pass on a verbal message setting up a direct meeting with bin Laden, the paper said.
The 1998 visit described in the documents would have taken place before bin Laden became a household name in the West, when Washington blamed him for the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa later that year.
According to the Telegraph, bin Laden’s name had been concealed in several places on the Iraqi documents with white correction fluid. Its correspondent scraped the fluid off with a razor to uncover the name.
In one document quoted by the paper an Iraqi official wrote: “We suggest permission to call the Khartoum station (Iraq’s intelligence office in Sudan) to facilitate the travel arrangements for the above-mentioned person to Iraq.
“And that our body carry all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden.”
A handwritten note on the same page said the letter had been passed on to the deputy director general of the intelligence service, recommending that he “bring the envoy to Iraq because we may find in this envoy a way to maintain contacts with Iraq.”
The documents do not make clear whether the hoped-for meeting between Iraqi officials and bin Laden took place.
Before the war, Saddam’s government repeatedly denied any links with bin Laden’s al Qaida network.
© 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.