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US Senate Report Contradicts Claims of Saddam-Al-Qaida Ties

  • VOA News

A US Senate report says there is no evidence that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had ties to either al-Qaida or slain terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The Bush administration alleged such links. President Bush and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have repeated the allegations in recent weeks.

The panel report, released on Friday, reveals a declassified CIA document from 2005 repudiating any such links. It echoes the arguments some outside the administration have made since the allegations first appeared.

Democrats characterized the findings as further proof the administration misled Americans about the need to invade Iraq.

White House spokesman Tony Snow, speaking before the report was released, said the president is willing to let people "quibble" about events of three years ago. He added that Mr. Bush is focused on making sure "this war on terror is won."

The Senate panel also focused on the influence of an exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, in providing information on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction -- the original justification for the war. No such weapons have been found.

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