There is a slew of new news to discuss, from the still-emerging scandal over the torture of Iraqi prisoners to the withdrawal from Fallujah, to the lies of the president who, at root, made all of this possible. Lies, particularly Big Lies, the sort that the media is least equiped to confront, are corrosive in their effect, breeding smaller, more situational deceptions and abuses, which spread like a dye into porous fabric.
We’ll be covering each of these matters in the coming hours and days. But first, a note about this article in Newsweek which discusses US suspicions that Ahmed Chalabi and his close aides have been feeding the Iranians highly sensitive information about US security operations within Iraq.
This should not come as a great surprise. Chalabi’s ties to the Iranians are well-known and have long been awkwardly acquiesced in by his supporters in Washington. Moreover, there have been plenty of warning signs of his willingness to play both sides of the fence. Chalabi and his supporters regularly take credit for trying to warn the US that a planned coup attempt, run by the CIA from Jordan in 1996, had been compromised and would fail.
High-ranking CIA agents, however, believed it was Chalabi who had tipped off the Iraqis because he — i.e., Chalabi — was not part of it, and thus would have been left out in the cold had it succeeded.
On this point, it has never been clear to me what the nature of the evidence was that made people at CIA believe this. And thus I cannot speak to or vouch for the quality of that evidence. On that point I want to be clear. But I’ve spoken to enough folks to be quite clear that this was their consensus view of what happened.
Then there’s the matter of the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad on August 7th, 2003. I’m told that the Jordanians have phone intercept intelligence, which they shared with the US government, showing that Chalabi had advance warning of the bombing, which he chose not to share with the Jordanians or the Americans.
Of course, we still fund Chalabi to the tune of some $340,000 a month. So don’t think your tax dollars aren’t being well-spent. And that does not include the various highly-lucrative contracts doled out to his family members, political associates and cronies.