The Woolsey Factor

Josh Marshall notes the, shall we say ironic, qualities of using James Woolsey as a surrogate to call Barack Obama "delusional." There's a lot of Woolsey-ania out there, but it's important to recall that his September 24, 2001 New Republic article "Blood Baath: The Iraq Connection" (in the magazine's first post-9/11 issue) was one of the very first and boldest strokes in the journalistic campaign for the Iraq War:

In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's attacks, attention has focused on terrorist chieftain Osama bin Laden. And he may well be responsible. But intelligence and law enforcement officials investigating the case would do well to at least consider another possibility: that the attacks--whether perpetrated by bin Laden and his associates or by others--were sponsored, supported, and perhaps even ordered by Saddam Hussein.

To this end, investigators should revisit the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. A few years ago, the facts in that case seemed straightforward: The mastermind behind the bombing, who went by the alias Ramzi Yousef, was in fact a 27-year-old Pakistani named Abdul Basit. But late last year, AEI Press published Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America, a careful book about the bombing by AEI scholar Laurie Mylroie. The book's startling thesis is that the original theory of the attack, advanced by James Fox (the FBI's chief investigator into the 1993 bombing until his replacement in 1994) was correct: that Yousef was not Abdul Basit but rather an Iraqi agent who had assumed the latter's identity when police files in Kuwait (where the real Abdul Basit lived in 1990) were doctored by Iraqi intelligence during the occupation of Kuwait. If Mylroie and Fox (who died in 1997) are right, then it was Iraq that went after the World Trade Center last time. Which makes it much more plausible that Iraq has done so again.

Like a lot of other TNR content, the article's vanished from their website and I don't want to infringe their copyrights. But I will post a link to this other guy who seems happy to infringe the copyright on the web version of the article that seems to have been posted on 9/13/2001 and is identical as far as I can tell.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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