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    22 May 2004
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    Old news finally makes it to cable.

    I have maintained that Ahmad Chalabi was the wrong man for Iraq. He left Iraq as a pre-teen and he is wanted in Jordan for embezzlement or something like that.

    In Febuary 2004 there was this article:


    www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/justify/2004/0218chalabiconnection.htm

    and then this from Newsweek in early May:

    Http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4881157/

    Dr. Cole summs it up best from his Blog "informed Comment" on May 3rd:

    MONDAY, MAY 03, 2004
    Chalabi Gave Sensitive Information to Iran: Newsweek

    Mark Hosenball of Newsweek reports that US intelligence has intercepted telephone calls among high-ranking Iranian officials that prove that Ahmad Chalabi has provided Tehran with sensitive information about US political plans in Iraq.

    ' 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.") '

    Some comments here. First, Chalabi's close links to Tehran have been known for a long time (the Stratfor article is suggestive but I wouldn't take everything in it at face value).. In fall of 2002 when he had a brief falling out with the Americans, Chalabi convened a conference of expatriate Iraqi politicians in Tehran, just to demonstrate that he could switch patrons if necessary.

    It seems to me more likely that the US has tapped Chalabi's phone calls to Tehran than that they are effectively listening in on calls between Khamenei and Rafsanjani in Tehran, but it is impolitic to admit this.

    The leak of the Chalabi/Tehran link so breathlessly at this juncture seems intended to checkmate his Neoconservative patrons in the Department of Defense and in Dick Cheney's office (indeed, Cheney himself). The CIA and State have long held that Chalabi is unreliable and that he was unable to account for the money they gave him in the 1990s. If they got damning evidence on tape that he was passing sensitive information to the Iranians, they would certainly use it this way against him.

    A question for the investigators: Did any of the sensitive information Chalabi have come from his Neconservative backers in Washington?

    www.juancole.com

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