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  • Neocons conned

    Intelligence: A Double Game
    Has Chalabi given 'sensitive' information on U.S. interests to Iran? He denies it, but the White House is wary
    By Mark Hosenball

    May 10 issue - Ahmad Chalabi, the longtime Pentagon favorite to become leader of a free Iraq, has never made a secret of his close ties to Iran. Before the U.S. invasion of Baghdad, Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress maintained a $36,000-a-month branch office in Tehran—funded by U.S. taxpayers. INC representatives, including Chalabi himself, paid regular visits to the Iranian capital. Since the war, Chalabi's contacts with Iran may have intensified: a Chalabi aide says that since December, he has met with most of Iran's top leaders, including supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his top national-security aide, Hassan Rowhani. "Iran is Iraq's neighbor, and it is in Iraq's interest to have a good relationship with Iran," Chalabi's aide says.

    But U.S. intelligence agencies have recently raised concerns that Chalabi has become too close to Iran's theocratic rulers. NEWSWEEK has learned that top Bush administration officials have been briefed on intelligence indicating that Chalabi and some of his top aides have supplied Iran with "sensitive" information on the American occupation in Iraq. U.S. officials say that electronic intercepts of discussions between Iranian leaders indicate that Chalabi and his entourage told Iranian contacts about American political plans in Iraq. There are also indications that Chalabi has provided details of U.S. security operations. According to one U.S. government source, some of the information Chalabi turned over to Iran could "get people killed." (A Chalabi aide calls the allegations "absolutely false.")

    Why would Chalabi risk his cozy ties to Washington by cuddling up to Iran's fundamentalist rulers? Administration officials say Chalabi may be working both sides in an effort to solidify his own power and block the advancement of rival Iraqis. A U.S. official familiar with information presented to policymakers said that White House advisers were concerned that Chalabi was "playing footsie" with the Iranians. Yet Chalabi still has loyal defenders among some neoconservatives in the Pentagon. They say Chalabi has provided information that saved American lives. "Rushing to judgment and cutting off this relationship could have unintended consequences," says one Pentagon official, who did not respond to questions about Chalabi's dealings with Tehran. Each month the Pentagon still pays his group a $340,000 stipend, drawn from secret intelligence funds, for "information collection."

    Still, the State Department and the CIA are using the intelligence about his Iran ties to persuade the president to cut him loose once and for all. Officials say that even some of Chalabi's old allies in Washington now see him as a liability. If Chalabi's support in the administration was once an iceberg, says one Bush aide, "it's now an ice cube."
    © 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
    *shakes head*

    Well, I think it's safe to say that my anti-war stance before the war was flawed. Here I was thinking long-term strategic problems and ramifications to a US move on Iraq, when it turns out the short-term question of stabilizing Iraq is, in all likelyhood, going to befuddle this administration.

    In a way, I _wish_ the Bush administration was just being deceptive with it's barrage of optimistic assessments on Iraq. It would be comforting to know that they actually might have an idea of what to do with Iraq, even if it's not up for public consumption. Instead, I suspect they are just completely stumped and fresh out of ideas.

    And when it looks like the only Iraqis you think you can trust (because you're giving them 4 million bucks a year) are probably stabbing you in the back.... well...
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

  • #2
    What about contacts between Britain and Iran. Is it possible that he's seeking support from his great Shiite neighbour(with a long-term view) in order to ease his own concerns in that quarter. I'm not pretending to know anything about the situation, but after the last couple of years i don't think i'll be taking at face value anything saying that 'intelligence indicating...' or 'intelligence agencies raised concerns...'

    The guy should be replaced because Iraqi's won't accept him, first and foremost.


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