Why did not also not post the very next paragraph?<quoted text>
To be sure, Blair does not contend that Saddams ties to al Qaeda made regime change necessary.[T]he assessment of the threat was not based on Saddams active sponsorship of terrorism or terrorist groups, he writes. As Blair sees it, Saddams Iraq was not the same threat as Afghanistan because there was no direct connection between Iraq and the September 11 attacks. In addition, British intelligence officials thought the link between Saddam and al Qaeda was hazy.
There is an interesting sidebar to this. It later emerged that [Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi, the deputy to bin Laden, had come to Iraq in May 2002, had had meetings with senior Iraqis and established a presence there in October 2002. This intelligence has not been withdrawn, by the way. Probably we should have paid more attention to its significance, but we were so keen not to make a false claim about al Qaeda and Saddam that we somewhat understated it, at least on the British side.