Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Osama? Saddam? What's his name?

Dec 19, 2005 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With a slip of the tongue, U.S. President George W. Bush briefly turned Osama bin Laden into Saddam Hussein on Monday.

Bush momentarily switched the names of his two greatest nemeses in a news conference at the White House where he was defending his decision to authorize eavesdropping on Americans suspected of links with al Qaeda and other organizations in the U.S. war on terrorism.

"In the late 1990s, our government was following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone and then the fact that we were following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone made it into the press as the result of a leak," Bush said.

"And guess what happened. Saddam …Osama bin Laden changed his behavior. He began to change how he communicated. We're at war. And we must protect America's secrets."

The Bush administration sought to convince Americans before the invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein's government had links to bin Laden's al Qaeda. No such links have been proven.

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