Connections between al Qaida and Iraq will not die. They just keep rolling in. (Via Glenn Reynolds.)
Not that the Iraqi-al Qaida connection is earthshakingly new; I have blogged about it previously here, and here. Something else which should not be forgotten are the revelations from retired Sixth Circuit Judge Gilbert S. Merritt. A man of unquestioned integrity with access to classified documents in Iraq, he concluded,

Saddam had an ongoing relationship with Osama bin Laden.

What’s news (whether reported adequately or not) is that Clarke apparently knew about Iraqi connections to al Qaida — even though he now downplays his prior knowledge in the hope of making Bush look like a man irrationally obsessed with finding an Iraqi connection. (“I now know that I didn’t know what I knew then”?)
I can see why the man needs to cut himself some slack.
But, to me, the most intriguing recent nugget of information is Clarke’s admission of a possible connection between Iraq and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing:

On Page 127 [of his new “Against All Enemies”], Clarke notes that it’s possible that al-Qaida operatives in the Philippines “taught Terry Nichols how to blow up the Oklahoma Federal Building.” Intelligence places Nichols there on the same days as Ramzi Yousef, and “we do know that Nichols’s bombs did not work before his Philippines stay and were deadly when he returned.”
This ties in to the theory that Clinton quashed investigations into a foreign connection to Terry Nichols. The objective – blame Oklahoma City on right-wing wackos for political purposes. The subtle message – the people who voted for Newt and listen to Rush blew up this building. Hey, we report, you deride.

There’s much more here.
I did a long post about this in January. Obviously, I do not have access to Clarke’s sources, but the fact that someone at his level is starting to talk — regardless of how accurate the man is — should take this matter outside of the realm of crackpot conspiracy web sites, and hopefully lead to some serious and sober investigation.
What most fascinates me now about the Clarke book is that, if we assume something is being covered up, who would have been the one charged with covering it up? Clarke himself? (He’s the guy who, after all “personally authorized the evacuation by private plane of dozens of Saudi citizens, including many members of Osama bin Laden’s own family, in the days immediately following Sept. 11.” Via Glenn Reynolds.)
Following the same link, there’s this from the Boston Herald:

It’s too bad Clarke cuts no one in the Bush administration the same slack he so easily cuts himself.

Considering the Oklahoma City remarks, might Clarke also be cutting himself some slack at the expense of the Clinton adminstration?
(Maybe it comes from years of CIA CYA thinking….)