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Russia warned U.S. of potential Iraqi attacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russian special services had given the United States information about potential attacks inside and outside its territory by the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Russia gave the Bush administration intelligence before the Iraq war that suggested Saddam Hussein's regime was preparing attacks against the United States and its interests abroad, President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

Putin said he couldn't comment on how critical the Russians' information was in U.S. decision to invade Iraq. However, he said the intelligence didn't cause Russia to waver from its firm opposition to the war.

"Indeed, after Sept. 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, the Russian special services ... received information that officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States and outside it against the U.S. military and other interests," Putin said.

"Despite that information about terrorist attacks being prepared by Saddam's regime, Russia's position on Iraq remains unchanged," Putin said.

Putin said Russia didn't have any information that Saddam's regime had actually been behind any terrorist acts.

No elaboration
Putin didn't elaborate on any details of the terror plots or say whether they were tied to the al-Qaida terror network.

He said the United States had thanked Russia for the information.

A commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States reported this week that while there were contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq, they did not appear to have produced "a collaborative relationship."

President Bush, however, insisted Thursday that Saddam had "numerous contacts" with al-Qaida and said Iraqi agents had met with the terror network's leader, Osama bin Laden, in Sudan.

Saddam "was a threat because he had terrorist connections -- not only al-Qaida connections, but other connections to terrorist organizations," Bush said.