Covering Vice President’s Dick Cheney trip to Iraq, The Washington Post reports: “The vice president used the opportunity to reassert that there was ‘a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda’ before the U.S. invasion, despite reports that have found no operational ties between the two.” The Post does not give us any details on what kind of link Cheney asserted between Iraq and al Qaeda and neither do they give in details on what kind of ties reports have found between Iraq and al Qaeda. Considering how important Saddam Hussein’s relationship to al Qaeda was in the decision to go to war, the Post’s failure to examine this issue is unforgivable.

It is probable that the Post was referring to the recent Institute for Defense Analysis which the Post devoted six short paragraphs to last week. In their cursory coverage the Post is eager to mention that the study found “no smoking gun” supporting a “operational relationship.” The Post failed, however, to cover these sentences:

Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some way, a ‘de facto’ link between the organizations.

So a report comes out that concludes there was a de facto link between Iraq and al Qaeda and the Post refuses to cover that conclusion. Then a week later they use the existence of the report to try and refute claims there was a link between Iraq and al Qaeda. That is shameful. The Post owes its readers a detailed review of Hussein’s ties to al Qaeda. if they are so eager to prove there was no link between Hussein and al Qaeda then a good place for them to start is to try and refute Stephen Hayes thorough coverage of the IDA report.