TSR: "One of the true great legacies of the war in Iraq"

Click photo to play
Length: 4:31

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Now let's delve deeper between the alleged connection with the U.K. car bombs and al Qaeda in Iraq. I spoke earlier with our man in Baghdad, Michael Ware.

Michael, thanks so much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I want to start off by talking about the London terror plot. There are now reports that one of the perpetrators, one of those doctors involved in the plot received training from al Qaeda, possibly in Iraq. From your reporting, are you seeing evidence that al Qaeda is training potential would-be terrorists, exporting those folks to places in Europe and overseas?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, the short answer is yes. I mean, that's been part of al Qaeda in Iraq's grand design, that ultimately they'd be exporting terror. And of course, you'll recall that we saw the hotel bombings in neighboring Jordan in the capital Amman. That was carried out by al Qaeda in Iraq.

We also have intel reports from Kuwaiti officials, Lebanese officials, Syrian officials, others in the region saying that they are picking up al Qaeda veterans from Iraq or al Qaeda in Iraq, veterans, the graduating class coming back, recruiting, training, forming cells. I mean this is precisely what happened in the 1980s after Afghanistan. It's the same thing.

When the Russians were defeated by Afghan fighters and by the Arabs who went to fight against them in the name of jihad, these Arabs went home and they became the heroes and around them formed groups and cells. And eventually we saw the emergence of al Qaeda itself, so this is going to be -- and we've said this for a long time -- one of the true great legacies of the war in Iraq. And that is going to be the ferment of a whole new era of al Qaeda jihadists that will come out of this place.

MALVEAUX: And Michael, you reported that we're also seeing another group, Hezbollah, inside Iraq, working with the Iranian Quds Force now. I want to read to you a statement from the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman today who says today, "It is another silly and ridiculous scenario brought up by Americans based on a baseless remark of a person. It is a sheer lie and it is ridiculous." They're knocking down your reporting here.

WARE: Well, they're actually knocking down the American intelligence and, of course, the reporting, yes. I mean, I've been dealing with the Iran story for years now. And this is one of the great difficulties. It's getting to the story. I mean, this is great cloak and dagger stuff. Again, harkening back to Afghanistan, what America did to the Russians in the 1980s by funding and supplying the Afghan fighters and the Arab mujahideen, weapons, training, anything else they might have needed, that's precisely what Iran is doing.

Now it was very hard to catch America with its hand in the proverbial cookie jar in the '80s; same again now. But the fact remains there is a Lebanese Hezbollah man in American custody. Now is it any great surprise that no one wants to take responsibility for him? No. But the fact remains the guy is here. The guy was caught with the special groups' paramilitaries, which are funded by Iran.

The special groups' paramilitary commanders all admitted that he was Lebanese Hezbollah, that he was working with them and they, like he, work for Iran. There were documents to support it. The materials they had with them confirmed their story. Also there's electronic evidence that the Americans say they have gathered to support this story. This is the whole point of having proxies. When they're killed or captured, you can just sever the tie. Plausible deniability is what it's all about.

Now the difference in this case is that this time the evidence that the Americans have is much more tangible than anything they've ever had before. Nonetheless, you would expect General Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, to brush it away. But I can tell you, Suzanne, that in discussions with Iraqi representatives from this government who have been to Tehran recently, General Suleimani and others from the Tehran's regime haven't exactly denied their involvement in supporting these groups. In fact, some of them are very happy to celebrate the fact.

MALVEAUX: Michael Ware, thank you for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks again.

WARE: Thanks, Suzanne.