The Central Intelligence Agency last fall repudiated the claim that there were prewar ties between Saddam Husseinâ€™s government and an operative of Al Qaeda, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to a report issued Friday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The disclosure undercuts continuing assertions by the Bush administration that such ties existed, and that they provided evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The Republican-controlled committee, in a second report, also sharply criticized the administration for its reliance on the Iraqi National Congress during the prelude to the war in Iraq.
The findings are part of a continuing inquiry by the committee into prewar intelligence about Iraq. The conclusions went beyond its earlier findings, issued in the summer of 2004, by including criticism not just of American intelligence agencies but also of the administration.
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As recently as Aug. 21, President Bush said at a news conference that Mr. Hussein â€œhad relations with Zarqawi.â€™â€™ But a C.I.A. report completed in October 2005 concluded instead that Mr. Husseinâ€™s government â€œdid not have a relationship, harbor or even turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates,â€ according to the new Senate findings.