Ahmad Chalabi seems to be a major pain in the ass for the administration right now. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s unfolding in the fallout from the U.S. cozying up to this megalomaniac.
Employees at the Pentagon are undergoing polygraph tests to determine who gave the Iraqi National Congress (I.N.C) state secrets about Iran. The New York Times has that piece in “Polygraph Testing Starts at Pentagon in Chalabi Inquiry”:
The F.B.I. is looking at officials who both knew of the code-breaking operation and had dealings with Mr. Chalabi, either in Washington or Baghdad, the government officials said. Information about code-breaking work is considered among the most confidential material in the government and is handled under tight security and with very limited access.
In the 1990’s, the Iraqi National Congress was part of a C.I.A. covert action program designed to undermine Saddam Hussein’s rule. But Mr. Chalabi had a falling out with the C.I.A., and agency officials concluded that he was untrustworthy. He subsequently forged an alliance with major conservative Republicans in Washington. When President Bush took office, Mr. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress were embraced by senior policy makers at the Pentagon, which became his main point of contact in the American government.
Billmon isn’t buying the neocon line from Perle and others. He thinks that this is a major screw-up on the part of the Bush administration and the results are finally coming home to bite them in the ass. The Whiskey Bar has more in:
For the past week, watching the neocons (the ones outside the administration anyway) rally to Chalabi’s cause, I’ve been wondering if our crooked Iraqi will eventually prove to be the right’s version of Alger Hiss, the high-ranking State Department official who was exposed as a Soviet spy – or at least, convicted of perjury for denying he was a Soviet spy under oath.
The Hiss case was an enormous cause celebre in the opening years of the Cold War. The anti-anti-communist left adopted him as a symbol of political persecution and slander – much as the neocons have now done with Chalabi. To the right, Hiss was also a symbol – of everything they detested about the New Deal and the “eastern liberal elite.” He was also a useful tool for pinning the loss of Eastern Europe on the Democrats. Hiss had advised FDR at the infamous Yalta conference, where the map of Europe had been divided among the victorious allies. Treason!
And then a stupid maneuver on the part of the administration to distance itself from Chalabi is failing horribly. He even has photographic proof. Check out “Flopped” by Atrios:
Before: “I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment”
After: “My meetings with him were very brief. I mean, I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just kind of working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders. But I haven’t had any extensive conversations with him. “
Polygraph Testing Starts at Pentagon in Chalabi Inquiry [New York Times]