Al-Shifa you may recall is the pharmaceutical/chemical plant bombed during the Clinton Administration in retaliation, IIRC, for the East African embassy bombings. I am not and never have been convinced of The Sudan's plea the plant was nice and harmless, that is I support President Clinton's selection of that place as a target. My only concern was Is that all?
Anyway, Powerline Blog passes
on that Mary McCarthy was a player in the internal debate about Al-Shifa. As it turns out, Mary was not convinced that Al-Shifa represented a collaboration of Saddam's Iraq and Al-Qaeda. However, she did come around to that view.
The report of the 9/11 Commission notes that the National Security staff reviewed the intelligence in April 2000 and concluded that the CIA's assessment of its intelligence on bin Laden and al-Shifa had been valid; the memo to Clinton on this was cosigned by Richard Clarke and Mary McCarthy, the NSC senior director for intelligence programs, who opposed the bombing of al-Shifa in 1998. The report also notes that in their testimony before the commission, Al Gore, Sandy Berger, George Tenet, and Richard Clarke all stood by the decision to bomb al-Shifa.Source: THOMAS JOSCELYN - The Leaker & Al-Shifa
Now, of course, Clarke and Benjamin argue that: (a) the decision to strike al-Shifa was justified because (b) the intelligence connecting Iraqi chemical weapons experts to al Qaeda's chemical weapons efforts was sound, but (c) this doesn't mean that Iraq and al Qaeda had a significant relationship because (d) somehow this collaboration occurred without either party realizing that it was working with the other! Sound bizarre? It is.
So, what is it? Saddam and Al-Qaeda had connection when President Clinton was in office and then discontinued those relations after January of 2001? Or were they never connected?