In the wake of 9/11 no one knew when the next attack would come, or where it would come from. America's enemies seemed gathered on all sides, and for several nerve-racking months, we lived in fear that the perpetrators might be plotting another action or, worse, that our most dangerous enemies -- al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's murderous regime in Iraq -- could be banding together against us.
The Bush administration and CIA director George Tenet warned against complacency and pointed to growing indications that al Qaeda and Iraq were in league. But their case was undercut by unnamed intelligence officials, skeptical politicians, and a compliant media. So America relaxed. A comforting consensus settled in: Osama bin Laden was an impassioned fundamentalist, Saddam a secular autocrat. The two would never, could never, work together. ABC News reported that there was no connection between them, and the New York Times said so too, and pretty soon just about everyone agreed.
Just about everyone was wrong.
In The Connection, Stephen Hayes draws on CIA debriefings, top-secret memos from our national intelligence agencies, and interviews with Iraqi military leaders and Washington insiders to demonstrate that Saddam and bin Laden not only could work together, they did -- a curious relationship that stretches back more than a decade and may include collaboration on terrorist acts, chemical-weapons training, and sheltering some of the world's most wanted radicals.
Stephen Hayes's bombshell Weekly Standard piece on this topic was cited by Vice President Cheney as the "best source of information" about the Saddam-al Qaeda connections. Now Hayes delves even deeper, exposing the inner workings of America's deadliest opponents and providing a clear-eyed corrective to reams of underreported, politicized, and just plain wrong information.
The Connection is both a gripping snapshot of the War on Terror and a case study in how bureaucratic assumptions and media arrogance can put us all at risk.
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Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer for the Weekly Standard and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America. He has been a commentator on many television and radio broadcasts, including the Today show, Meet the Press, the Diane Rehm Show, Fox News Sunday, the O'Reilly Factor, and CNN's Late Edition. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Wall Street Journal, The National Review, and the New York Post. He lives on the Chesapeake Bay with his wife and two children.From Publishers Weekly:
Weekly Standard reporter Hayes marshals a wealth of evidence that, in contrast with the tenuous connections that have so far made news, point to ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda. Most intriguingly, Hayes finds links between Iraq and the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, one of whom apparently received shelter and financial support from Iraq after the attack. Hayes also gets confirmation by Czech officials of the alleged Prague meeting between September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent. Elsewhere, Hayes points to Iraqi intelligence documents that mention a "good relationship" with bin Laden. Other sources note an alleged agreement for Iraq to assist al-Qaeda in making chemical and biological weapons. Relying both on "open sources" like news articles, transcripts from the 1998 embassy bombing trials, as well as anonymous intelligence reports and informants, Hayes allows that some of these stories may prove unreliable. But he contends that the number, consistency and varied provenance of reports of high-level contacts between al-Qaeda and Iraq throughout the past decade allows one to "connect the dots" into a clear pattern of collaboration. Despite the frustrating absence of source notes and no knowledge of what cooperative efforts ever came of these contacts, most readers will conclude from this volume that the Saddam–al-Queda thread has some play left in it.
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