Chalabi Update

It’s all CIA Director George Tenet’s fault:

(CNN) — Ahmed Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile who worked closely with the White House before the Iraq war, blamed CIA Director George Tenet Sunday for recent allegations that have apparently caused his standing with the Bush administration to plummet.

… “We never provided any classified information from the U.S. to Iran — neither I nor anyone in the INC [Iraqi National Congress],” he said.

“That is a charge being put out by George Tenet. I say let him bring all his charges, all his documents. We also will bring all our charges and all our documents to the U.S. Congress, and let Congress have hearings and resolve this issue,” Chalabi said.

… Chalabi said tension with Tenet goes back to 1994, when Tenet argued that “the way to remove [former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein] was through a coup. We said no; a war of national liberation, assisted by the United States, is the way to move forward.

“And he [Tenet] tried many coups, and we exposed the fact that he was wrong publicly, after he failed, and we sometimes warned the CIA in private about the possibility of failure. … The feud with Aras [Habib] goes back a long way.”

Now, I’m not Tenet’s biggest fan, and I certainly believe that he and Chalabi don’t get along well. But allow me to join with my right wing brethren, at least the ones who aren’t diehard neocons, and defend Tenet: I don’t believe he faked this, and I really don’t believe anything Chalabi says. More likely, Tenet’s case against Chalabi (insofar as it is “Tenet’s” rather than a more broad case — an issue under some debate(*)) is a true “Slam-Dunk.”


(*) The debate is over whether (1) Genuinely new information surfaced — likely from Jordan’s King Abdullah — and so the US acted against Chalabi, or (2) The information always existed and now those who believe it (the CIA) have more power compared to those who don’t (the Neocons in general and the Defence Intelligence Agency in particular.) Supporting (1) are the tips possibly received from Abdullah. Supporting (2) is this Newsweek story alleging that the Pentagon was out of the loop on the Chalibi raid:

When Iraqi police, guarded by American GIs, burst into the home and offices of Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress, looking for evidence of kidnapping, embezzlement, torture and theft, the men who run the Pentagon were left asking some uncomfortable questions. “Who signed off on this raid?” wondered one very high-ranking official. “What were U.S. soldiers doing there?” asked another, according to a source who was present in the room.