Rice, giving a series of interviews ahead of the fifth anniversary of the September 11 Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States, brushed aside a recently released US intelligence report (PDF) saying there was no evidence Saddam's regime was helping Al-Qaeda obtain such arms.
"There were ties between Iraq and Al-Qaeda," she said on Fox News Sunday.
(emphasis added). Let's leave Rice's la-la land for a moment and take a stroll through the pages of the just-released Senate Intelligence Committee report, shall we?
From a July 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency assessment:
"[C]ompelling evidence demonstrating direct cooperation between the government of Iraq and al Qa'ida has not been established, despite a large body of anecdotal information."
From interviews with DIA officials:
During an interview with Committee staff, the lead analyst who follows the issue of possible connections between the Iraqi government and al-Qa'ida noted that the DIA "continues to maintain that there was no partnership between the two organizations."
From a February 28, 2002 DIA analysis:
Iraq has been repeatedly accused of aiding al-Qa'ida's chemical and biological acquisition efforts. Despite recent information from a senior al-Qa'ida trainer currently in custody, all-source intelligence has not confirmed Iraq's involvement. Iraq is unlikely to have provided bin Laden any useful CB knowledge or assistance.
From a 2005 CIA analysis:
[T]he CIA assessed that prior to the war, "the regime did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates."
From the Committee's report:
The Committee uncovered no information in postwar Iraq about Saddam's intent to use terrorism in the event of a U.S. invasion...Saddam was resistant to cooperating with al-Qa'ida or any other Islamist groups. No information has been uncovered that indicates Iraq considered soliciting al-Qa'ida's assistance in attacks against the U.S.
And one of the main conclusions of the report:
Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa'ida and viewed Islamic extremists as threats to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qa'ida to provide material or operational support.
Secretary Rice isn't the only one that's addicted to lying. Even in the face of so many reports putting to rest the Iraq-al Qaeda myth, the President can't seem to kick the habit either:
As recently as two weeks ago, President Bush said at a news conference that Mr. Hussein "had relations with Zarqawi.''
The release of the Phase II report, incomplete as it may be, at least serves to remind the American people of one thing: that this is an administration addicted to lies, one that is unwilling (perhaps unable?) to wean itself off the propaganda it has pushing for the last three years. Deception, for these habitual liars, appears to be the hardest habit to break.