Jewish World Review Dec. 22, 2003 / 27 Kislev, 5764

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Memo about Saddam, al-Qaida, carries enormous implications | In August of 2002, thugs from Saddam Hussein's secret police shot notorious terrorist Abu Nidal dead in a Baghdad residence where he had been staying as Saddam's "guest." The Iraqis immediately labeled Nidal's death a suicide, causing much commotion among fans of CSI, as the man apparently shot himself four times in the head.

Nidal, you may remember, was a Palestinian killer who roamed Europe and the Middle East in the '70s and '80s creating mayhem and murdering civilians. He felt right at home in Iraq. So why was he murdered? Good question.

The importance of this execution may be enormous. The Sunday Telegraph in London is reporting that a document discovered in Iraq details a meeting between Nidal and the leader of the 9/11 attack, Mohammed Atta. The document was allegedly written by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (ISI) and a man still on the run. Dated July, 1, 2001, three months before 9/11, the text says that Atta, along with a man named Abu Ammer, met with Nidal for three days under the direct supervision of the ISI. The document mentions "targets that we agree must be destroyed."

If this memorandum is legitimate, it will obviously change many things because it establishes that elusive link between Saddam and Al Qaeda. First, Howard Dean's credibility will be shattered, and he will cease to be a viable candidate for the Democrats. Second, France, Germany, Russia and the United Nations will be humiliated. And third, the far-left anti-war people will be marginalized for years to come in this country.

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One must assume that the Bush administration knows about this captured document, which is now believed to be in the hands of Iraqis working for the interim government. But it has not been mentioned in any public way by the U.S. Since disinformation is common in Iraq, and since the anti-Saddam Iraqi contingent was woefully wrong about WMDs, the Bush people may be prudent (as Bush the elder might say) in keeping quiet about this until its validity is confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt.

Saddam, of course, knows every devious thing his government did. This is why there should be no rush to bring him to trial. The CIA should take all the time it needs to find out everything this psychopath knows. And they should use all methods short of instrumental torture to get answers.

Saddam should be deprived of sleep, loaded up with truth serum, kept isolated and underfed, confronted with noise, whatever it takes. While the United Nations and the Vatican complain about his "dignity," most Americans would like to be protected from another 9/11, thank you very much.

With CIA analyst David Kay still searching for those annoying WMDs, with Saddam in custody, with a potentially explosive ISI memo in play, just about anything could happen in the next few months vis-a-vis Iraq. There are a lot of very powerful people sweating these developments, as they could be career altering. Even though he is now a common prisoner, Saddam Hussein retains a vast amount of power simply because of what he knows. It will be fascinating to see how he uses that power.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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