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May 21, 2004

"Rock Solid" Evidence Chalabi Spied for Iran


"There is no need for an investigation because we're quite certain he did it," one senior Bush administration official said.


CBS said the "rock solid" evidence was said to show that Chalabi himself gave Iranian intelligence officers information so closely guarded that if revealed it could "get Americans killed."


Update: Score one for the liberals, who've hated Chalabi for years. They hated him on other grounds, of course -- they resented him for being a prime advocate for a war they didn't want -- but it turns out their basic distrust of him was well-deserved.

Hyperpartisan hack Josh Marshall introduces a conspiracy-theory suggested by his conspiracy-minded readers, to wit, that the Americans raided Chalabi as a bit of Kabuki theater designed to give Chalabi credibility among hate-America Iraqis. He doesn't believe it, and we think it's so ridiculous as to be beneath consideration. Earlier developments, in which Chalabi criticized the American occupation and the Americans expressed displeasure with Chalabi, could have been a bit of Kabuki. But not accusing Chalabi of treason and espionage against his own people.

We hate being Cassandras, but we also think conservatives should be warned about possible future developments.

First of all, this is politically damaging, because Chalabi was a trusted ally until recently. The fact that he's giving life-threatening information to Iran obviously casts doubt on the Bush Administration's judgment.

But even worse, it casts doubt on the case for war, because a lot of the WMD intelligence came from either Chalabi's INC or from "sources" the INC brought forward to America. If Chalabi goes on Sixty Minutes and announces, "I played the Bush Administration with fake intelligence," this would obviously be politically damaging. Very damaging.

And it could even get worse, because Chalabi, seeing his lifelong dream undone by America (and he'll blame us-- don't they always?), could begin embroidering his tale to make it even worse for Bush. He could claim, for example, that he was repeatedly told by the Americans something like "We need more of a pretext for war-- and we don't care how you provide it. Give us something. Give us anything. It doesn't even have to be true. It just has to be something we can use to convince the public."

We doubt very much anything like that was ever said. But, having had his cushy allowance from the Pentagon cut off, hated by Iraqis, and now in great disfavor among conservatives, he'll be looking for a new patron to support his lavish London lifestyle. Why not start spinning liberal fantasias and land himself a nice book deal from Knopff?

He has a history of telling people whatever it is they want to hear in order to secure an unearned allowance. We doubt he'll suddenly stop now.

Update! Here's a cut-and-paste report on Chalabi from Stratfor/Strageic Forecasting. We don't know how reputable they are.

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posted by Ace at 12:54 PM

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