White House Links Saddam, Al Qaeda

image AP

Drawing the tightest link yet between the regime of Saddam Hussein and the followers of Osama bin Laden, the Bush Administration connected the murder of an American diplomat in Jordan to a senior al Qaeda operative in Baghdad.

Members of Congress heard new details in the president's case for war against Iraq, including Iraq links to the murder of diplomat Laurence Foley in Jordan on Oct. 28, 2002.

"A recent assassination of our diplomat in Amman, Mr. Foley, that was apparently orchestrated by an al Qaeda member who is resident in Baghdad," said Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

As CBS News Correspondent David Martin reports, the operative is said to have been wounded during the bombing of Afghanistan and took refuge in Baghdad.

Armitage said flatly, "There are al Qaeda in Baghdad."

Secretary of State Colin Powell will unveil intelligence to back up those claims next week to the U.N. Security Council along with other intelligence documenting Iraq's efforts to deceive the U.N. weapons inspectors.

He will present satellite photos showing a flurry of activity around suspect weapons sites days and, in some cases, hours before U.N. weapons inspectors arrive. However, the photos do not reveal what is being moved. The Iraqis will no doubt claim the activity was all in a normal day's work.

There will also be communications intercepts of senior Iraqi officials telling workers at those sites to make sure they have been cleaned up along with directions on what they are to say to the inspectors when they arrive. But, like the photos, the intercepts do not reveal exactly what is being cleaned up.

Powell will also present Iraqi defectors who have told the U.S. about mobile biological weapons vans Saddam is hiding. What is lacking is an actual photo of the vans.

"The problem is they're parked, we believe, in either one of the many, many underground facilities or someone's garage," says Armitage.

The issue at hand is that Powell will not have the kind of smoking gun Adlai Stevenson had when he went before the U.N. in 1962 to unveil U-2 photos of Soviet nuclear missiles being erected in Cuba.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, photos clearly showed three of the four launching pads.

Powell's intelligence, however, will show a suspicious pattern of behavior -- the same pattern the world has let Saddam get away with for the last 12 years.
  • Sue Chan

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