Q Well, one more, Tony, just one more. Do you believe — does the President still believe that Saddam Hussein was connected to Zarqawi or al Qaeda before the invasion?
MR. SNOW: The President has never said that there was a direct, operational relationship between the two, and this is important. Zarqawi was in Iraq.
Is that so? What aboutthis from June 15, 2004?
Q The Vice President, who I see standing over there, said yesterday that Saddam Hussein has long-established ties to al Qaeda. As you know, this is disputed within the U.S. intelligence community. Mr. President, would you add any qualifiers to that flat statement? And what do you think is the best evidence of it?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Zarqawi. Zarqawi is the best evidence of connection to al Qaeda affiliates and al Qaeda. He’s the person who’s still killing. He’s the person — and remember the email exchange between al Qaeda leadership and he, himself, about how to disrupt the progress toward freedom?
We knew Saddam Hussein harbored Zarqawi, the terrorist we have seen who has beheaded some of our citizens.