A Pentagon-sponsored study of captured Iraqi intelligence archives has been unable to find a single operational link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden or his al-Qaeda network, reports the McClatchy newspapers. The study will be released this week and is expected to refuel debate over the US justification for invading Iraq. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once described evidence for links between the two as "bulletproof."
Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell also cited several links—which turned out to be based on misinterpreted or bogus intelligence—in a key 2003 speech to the UN to build support for the invasion. The study exhaustively trawled through 600,000 Iraqi documents captured by the US. The finding were sifted through a lengthy process of declassification before they could be shared with Congress. The study did discover Iraq was sponsoring a number of Palestinian terrorist groups.