Hours after 9/11 attacks, Rumsfeld allegedly said, 'My interest is to hit Saddam'
According to NBC's chief Pentagon correspondent, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that his "interest is to hit Saddam Hussein" just hours after the attacks on September 11, 2001, "even though all indications pointed at al-Qaida as the guilty party," a Rhode Island newspaper reports.
At the annual Business Expo at the Rhode Island Convention Center Tuesday, NBC's Jim Miklaszewski "advanced a theme garnering attention since former CIA director George J. Tenet made his public revelations last week," writes Tom Mooney for the Providence Journal.
"Some things are right on the mark, when he says the Bush administration appeared predisposed to attack Iraq," Miklaszewski says of Tenet's book At the Center of the Storm.
The NBC correspondent's "information" comes from "off the record" notes given to him from an unidentified person who was "in the White House situation room in the hours after the attacks."
"However, the notes describe, Miklaszewski said, then-Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld vowing to avenge the terrorist attacks by voicing frustration that attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983 and the attack on the Cole, in 2000, had gone unavenged," Mooney writes. "Reading from his notes, Miklaszewski quoted Rumsfeld as saying five hours after the terrorist attacks: 'My interest is to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time we go after al-Qaida.'"
Excerpts from article:
"We ought not to look only" at Osama bin Laden, Rumsfeld allegedly said before holding a conference call with President Bush. During the conversation, "Rumsfeld says not to focus solely on al-Qaida, consider all those range of options. And the president's response was yes."
Said Miklaszewski: "So there is no question that Tenet got the time wrong [with meeting Perle in the White House] but there is no question in my mind, and with subsequent conversations I had with officials in the Pentagon, that the Bush administration had their sights set on attacking Saddam Hussein and Iraq long before there was even an effort to gather any evidence ... that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attack. And all the evidence says quite the opposite."
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