Archive for September 8th, 2006

Report: No prewar Saddam-al-Qaida tie

WASHINGTON – There’s no evidence Saddam Hussein had a relationship with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his Al-Qaida associates, according to a Senate report on prewar intelligence on Iraq. Democrats said the report undercuts President Bush’s justification for going to war.

The declassified document being released Friday by the Senate Intelligence Committee also explores the role that inaccurate information supplied by the anti-Saddam exile group the Iraqi National Congress had in the march to war.

It discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam’s government “did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates.”

Bush and other administration officials have said that the presence of Zarqawi in Iraq before the war was evidence of a connection between Saddam’s government and al-Qaida. Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in June this year.

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(Bloomberg) — The scandal over Hewlett-Packard Co.’s secret probe to catch leaking information to the media deepened yesterday, with the California attorney general threatening to bring criminal charges.

Investigators hired by Chairwoman Patricia Dunn got board members’ phone records using fake identities, and Dunn used the information to weed out the source of leaks under the assumption the methods were legal, according to Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard. Bill Lockyer, the state’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, said he is working to determine who violated identity theft and computer-information theft laws.

“It appears that a crime has been committed, we’re convinced of that,” Lockyer said in a telephone interview yesterday. “It’s unclear exactly who is liable and how severe it is and who had specific knowledge.”

The board of Hewlett-Packard, the second-largest maker of personal computers, is reeling from disclosures that the investigation started by Dunn resulted in hired vendors obtaining the phone records of directors and nine journalists. AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone company, helped the attorney general investigate alleged unauthorized access to call records and is suing 25 unknown individuals who set up phony accounts..

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Armitage Says He Was Source in CIA Leak

WASHINGTON (AP) – The former No. 2 State Department official said Thursday he inadvertently disclosed the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame in conversations with two reporters in 2003.

Confirming that he was the source of a leak that triggered a federal investigation, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said he never intended to reveal Plame’s identity. He apologized for his conversations with syndicated columnist Robert Novak and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.

For almost three years, an investigation led by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has tried to determine whether Bush administration officials intentionally revealed Plame’s identity as covert operative as a way to punish her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, for criticizing the Bush administration’s march to war with Iraq.

“I made a terrible mistake, not maliciously, but I made a terrible mistake,” Armitage said in a telephone interview from his home Thursday night.

He said he did not realize Plame’s job was covert.

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