UPDATE: Hatch ‘Clarifies’ False Remark By Pretending He Said Something True

Yesterday we highlighted a claim by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — reported only in a small Utah newspaper — that “nobody with brains” denies that Saddam Hussein “was supporting al Qaeda.”

As ThinkProgress noted, this is patently false. Both the 9/11 Commission and the Senate Intelligence Committee (of which Hatch is a member) found no collaborative relationship between the two.

Today the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Hatch has “clarified” his remarks:

On Tuesday, Hatch said he may have misspoken at the event, and he was speaking of conditions in post-Hussein Iraq and the terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.


“Saddam clearly had a long history of supporting terrorists, but I was not talking about any formal link between Saddam and al-Qaida before the war,” Hatch said in a statement.

“Instead, I pointed out that the current insurgency in Iraq includes al-Qaida, under the leadership of al-Zarqawi, along with former elements of Saddam’s regime.”

Actually, it couldn’t be clearer from Hatch’s original statement what he was talking about, and it had nothing to do with “the current insurgency” or al-Zarqawi:

And, more importantly, we’ve stopped a mass murderer in Saddam Hussein. Nobody denies that he was supporting al-Qaeda. Well, I shouldn’t say nobody. Nobody with brains.

In other words, Hatch’s “clarification” is really just another deception.