Neocon darling Ahmad Chalabi's group was one of the major sources for misleading intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Now, we're learning why his so information was so bad: "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program information to provoke the United States into getting rid of Saddam Hussein," Newsday reports, relying on sources within the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The Information Collection Program also "kept the Iranians informed about what we were doing" by passing classified U.S. documents and other sensitive information, he said. The program has received millions of dollars from the U.S. government over several years...Indications that Iran, which fought a bloody war against Iraq during the 1980s, was trying to lure the U.S. into action against Saddam Hussein appeared many years before the Bush administration decided in 2001 that ousting Hussein was a national priority.In 1995, for instance, Khidhir Hamza, who had once worked in Iraq's nuclear program and whose claims that Iraq had continued a massive bomb program in the 1990s are now largely discredited, gave UN nuclear inspectors what appeared to be explosive documents about Iraq's program. Hamza, who fled Iraq in 1994, teamed up with Chalabi after his escape.The documents, which referred to results of experiments on enriched uranium in the bomb's core, were almost flawless, according to Andrew Cockburn's recent account of the event in the political newsletter CounterPunch.But the inspectors were troubled by one minor matter: Some of the techinical descriptions used terms that would only be used by an Iranian. They determined that the original copy had been written in Farsi by an Iranian scientist and then translated into Arabic.And the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded the documents were fraudulent.THERE'S MORE: Chalabi "sent Iraqi defectors to at least eight Western spy services before the war in an apparent effort to dupe them about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's illicit weapons programs," according to the L.A. Times (via Kevin Drum).
Because even friendly spy services rarely share the identities of their informants or let outsiders meet or debrief their sources, it has only in recent months become clear that Chalabi's group sent defectors with inaccurate or misleading information to Denmark, England, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, as well as to the United States, the officials said..."We had a lot of sources, but it was all coming from the same pot," said a former senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They were all [Chalabi's] guys. And none of them panned out."AND MORE: Drum now has a handy Chalabi timeline, too.
Bottom line: practically every group that has ever worked with Chalabi has eventually felt betrayed by him. This includes, at a minimum: (1) the Jordanian government, (2) the CIA, (3) the State Department, (4) Paul Bremer and the CPA, (5) the United Nations, (6) the NSC, and (7) the DIA. Oh and quite possibly, (8) George W. Bush.But at least the cuddly ayatollahs in Iran still seem to like him. It's good to have at least a few friends who stay loyal through thick and thin.