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WSJ Editorial: White House Should Release Bin Laden Letters Showing Iran-Al Qaeda Alliance

The Obama administration should release all of the papers found at Osama Bin Laden’s complex that expose the ongoing ties between Iran and al-Qaeda, The Wall Street Journal urged in an editorial (Google link) Tuesday.

The editorial noted that former Vice President Dick Cheney gave a speech last week in which he quoted Gen. Michael Flynn, the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as saying that the papers included “letters about Iran’s role, influence and acknowledgment of enabling al-Qaeda operatives to pass through Iran as long as al-Qaeda did its dirty work against the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Flynn described the contents of the papers as “very telling” and said that Congress should seek the complete collection.

The editorial cited an example from one of the papers that has been made public.

In a memo to bin Laden, an al Qaeda operative talks about another who is ready to travel:

“The destination, in principle, is Iran, and he has with him 6 to 8 brothers that he chose. I told him we are waiting for final complete confirmation from you to move, and agree on this destination (Iran). His plan is: stay around three months in Iran to train the brothers there then start moving them and distributing them in the world for their missions and specialties.”

The editorial observed that while the 9/11 Commission concluded that there was no proof that Iran knew about al-Qaeda’s plan to strike the United States on September 11, 2001, “there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al-Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.” A number of the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission about Iran’s cooperation with al-Qaeda were collected here.

The editorial also cited State and Treasury Department reports on the ties between Iran and al-Qaeda during the past four years, and called on President Barack Obama to release all the documents detailing the ties between Iran and al-Qaeda. If he does not, “Congress ought to demand them.”

Many governments and news sources have reported in recent years on ties between Iran and al-Qaeda. The Canadian government said in 2013 that two suspects in a plot to attack a passenger train had been supported by members of al-Qaeda who were based in Iran. A spokesman for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria said last year that al-Qaeda did not target Iran in order to leave its network inside Iran intact. The pan-Arab newspaper a-Sharq al-Awsat reported in February that Saleh al-Qarawi, a senior member of al-Qaeda who operates in Iran, had been targeting American interests in the Gulf since 2007.

Sky News reported on Sunday that Iran was freeing five senior al-Qaeda members it had been holding. It is thought that they will leave Iran and head to Syria, “prompting fears they will join other terrorists in Syria planning attacks on the West.”

[Photo: CBS News / YouTube ]