The Washington Times joins defense of Saddam-al Qaeda link.

On March 13, the Pentagon released a detailed study (pdf) confirming “no direct link between late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the Al-Qaeda network.” But oddly, numerous conservatives and Iraq war supporters — including the Wall Street Journal — have cited the report as vindication of their theories about a Saddam Hussein-al Qaeda alliance. Today, the Washington Times joined the conservative echo chamber and even criticized “the mainstream media” for “badly misreport[ing]” the report’s conclusion:

Newly declassified documents captured in Iraq show that Saddam Hussein’s regime had extensive ties with a variety of Islamist and other terrorist groups, in some cases dating back to the early 1990s. Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence Service (or Mukhabarat) established a working relationship with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, whose leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, later merged the group with al Qaeda, according to a new report by the Institute for Defense Analyses.

Few stories in recent memory have been as badly misreported by the mainstream media. News outlets — including The Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and ABC —all issued reports earlier this month declaring that the IDA report showed no link between Saddam and al Qaeda.

The Wonk Room has more.