portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

government | imperialism & war | political theory

Chalabi Tipped Off Iranians

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ahmed Chalabi, a former Iraqi exile who recently lost his standing as a special friend of the Bush administration, told Iran that the United States had broken the code of its intelligence service, according to broadcast and published reports.
No wonder Bush "doesn't know him"...


Reports: Chalabi tipped Iran about breaking of code
Wednesday, June 2, 2004 Posted: 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ahmed Chalabi, a former Iraqi exile who recently lost his standing as a special friend of the Bush administration, told Iran that the United States had broken the code of its intelligence service, according to broadcast and published reports.

CBS News initially reported Tuesday that Chalabi had told an Iranian intelligence official that the United States had cracked its codes, allowing U.S. agents to read Iran's secret communications.

Revealing such information would expose one of the United States' most important sources of information about Iran.

Following the broadcast report, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post followed with similar stories, all quoting anonymous U.S. intelligence officials.

The New York and Los Angeles papers said they had learned some details of widely reported U.S. assertions last month that Chalabi had given classified material to Iran, but had agreed not to publish those details at the request of U.S. officials who said to do so would endanger an ongoing investigation.

The two papers said those requests to withhold the information they had gathered were withdrawn Tuesday when other news accounts began appearing.

A CIA official declined to comment on the reports Tuesday night.

American officials quoted in the news reports said Chalabi told the Baghdad chief of the Iranian spy service that the United States was reading its communications and that the Iranian spy described the conversation in a message to Tehran, which was intercepted by U.S. intelligence.

The New York Times account said Iranians in Tehran then sent a bogus message to Baghdad purportedly disclosing the location of an important weapons site, in an apparent attempt to test whether what they were hearing from Chalabi was true.

The idea was that if the United States was able to intercept such transmissions, Americans would react by going to the weapons site. They intercepted the message, according to the Times, but did not take the bait by going to the weapons site.

Chalabi reportedly told the Iranian he had gotten the information from an American who had been drunk.

FBI agents were reported to be questioning Defense Department officials in an effort to find out who gave such information to Chalabi.

Chalabi, a member of the Shiite Islamic sect to which the majority of Iranians and Iraqis belong, once was a favorite of Pentagon officials.

He had provided intelligence to the Bush administration about weapons of mass destruction, which was used to justify the U.S. war against Iraq, but his information came under major criticism after no weapons were found.

The CIA has long been suspicious of Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, but he had maintained strong supporters in other government agencies.

Until last month, his organization was on the U.S. government payroll, receiving roughly $340,000 a month from the Defense Department for intelligence under a specific authorization from Congress.
so that makes 2 02.Jun.2004 16:10


So that makes 2 foreign governments that this administration has given classified information to. Sure, they are guilty of far worse crimes but if they're giving the US the rope with which to hang them may as well put it to use. Unlike the deliberate use of classified material given to Saudi Arabia for political gain this information can be denied as incompetence. But really, if the administration is claiming to be too stupid to keep intelligence out of the hands of an Iranian spy, once again, that is plenty of rope to hang them with.

how is this relevant to anything? 02.Jun.2004 16:12


who cares about chalabi or the united states' relationship with him? there are a million more chalabi's out there waiting to be recruited by the bush administration. i don't see how this is relevant or even news except for the fact that maybe it's a bit more difficult for us to spy on the iranians for the time being. we will find other ways and someone similar to chalabi or hussein or bin laden is going to end up leading iraq any way. the u.s. was completely happy with the way hussein was running things until he stopped listening to our wants. we could care less about him torturing innocent iraqis. the u.s. government wants to find someone exactly like saddam hussein, but a bit more open to capitalist intervention, that's all. it's not as complex as we make it out to be.

perle and chalabi... 02.Jun.2004 16:20

this thing here

mr. chalabi is a man who committed bank fraud in jordan. i'm not sure that he has any kind of loyalty to anyone other than himself, and would play friends against enemies if it got him what he wanted.

given this inability to be trusted, i find it interesting that someone like mr. perle has no problem being his biggest advocate.

i think that's because the two men are slimy peas in a pod. a guy who committs bank fraud and plays friends against enemies, and a guy who sat on a policy board advocating a war at the same time as he owned stock which would make him big money if there was a war. they know how each other operate. just two guys on the take, two guys who are always looking for out for "# 1" above all else...

That was no simple bank fraud 02.Jun.2004 19:16


It nearly crippled the Jordanian government. Unbelievable... but what am I saying? Now it is certainly believable that this admistration was so stupid that they thought of Chalabi as a possible head of state of Iraq, when he would have to be dealing with other Arab states, one of which is Jordan. Jordan convicted him in absentia. If he sets foot in Jordan he will be imprisoned. They expected the Jordanian government to deal with Chalabi as a head of state.

Absolutely, mind-bogglingly moronic.

Some historians blame the fall of Rome on the content of lead in the drinking vessels of the Romans. They think the once-great Romans suffered from dementia, thus couldn't hold onto their empire.

What's our excuse?

Song about Chalabi 02.Jun.2004 19:44


This song came out when he was still on the payroll of the US goverbment. Compliment of the US taxpayers of course.

I read the news today, oh boy! 02.Jun.2004 21:49

just a citizen

I think this article offers a very clear and reasonable analysis of the Chalabi phenomenon:


When I heard this news story break, despite the heartbreaking implications, I just had to laugh. I do not take this blow to US security and reputation as a joke, but at some point the heaping on of incompetence takes on a ludicrous air. I had some small experience in the intelligence community many years ago in the Army, and even at this long remove I can remember something of how one goes about determining reliability of sources. As far as I can tell from what is reported of this man's background, Chalabi would be one that I would not have paid to report on the color of the sky, yet the US paid this absolutely untrustworthy creep of a man $350,000 a month for the worst junk info...!!! Just when I think that Bushco has already got so much egg on their faces that their necks will break under the weight, splat! And rather than cry, I just had to laugh......

don't know how much 03.Jun.2004 01:49

it really matters

chalabi's nephew is the new iraqi prime minister. bush approved of this after complaining he was blindsided by it. the chalabis also seem to get some favoritism in business deals in iraq, crowded out some deal or other with the ex-patriate puppets connected to nick berg or something. don't suppose they're hurting.

funny thing is, not only is the story a little fishy in places, but none other than richard pearle jumped right on the fishy part,

"Richard Perle, a former Pentagon adviser now with the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, said he finds it inconceivable that Iran's top intelligence official in Baghdad would have used a compromised channel to tell Tehran that the United States was reading its communications, as has been reported. U.S. intelligence reportedly intercepted that message, which indicated Chalabi had provided the information.

'The idea that the Iranians, having been informed that their codes were broken, would then use their broken codes back to Iran is absurd,' Perle said. 'It is so basic of a mistake .... It is comparable to a math teacher instructing a student that two and two is five.'"


what that may leave the story to be, is the third story in 2 days that ran across the yahoo! front page that looked intended to promote ire towards iran. the old centrifuge story, and then one about the poor oppressed iranians, preceeded it.

i have no clue what this means, but i wonder if some neocons are starting to worry they won't get to invade iran after jan, 2004?

Don't know what he's up to 03.Jun.2004 02:45


Heard an interview with Richard Perle a few days ago on NPR. He was introduced as a former Pentagon advisor or something, but none of his previous Neocon views and actions were mentioned. He went on to say that the US should pull out of Iraq. The interviewer didn't challenge him about how his views have changed... didn't mention his previous views at all

Fishy to say the least.

There are plenty of clues, you need perspective 03.Jun.2004 18:11

Batwing Ba'thist

What we are seeing is a visible fissure along the underlying fault
lines in the coalition within the US govt, in particular within the Bush Admin, which took us into Iraq.

This coalition combined two factions.To describe them in shorthand; one is the "big oil"-State Department-CIA faction and the other is the Israeli - neocon think tank - Pentagon chickenhawk faction. Each faction has its Islamist ally in the region. Big oil's ally is Saudi Arabia. The neocons' ally is Iran.Each faction had an exile Iraqi resistance group. The big oil group had the INA, the neocons had the INC. The INA's leader, Allawi, has just been appointed Prime Minister. The INC's leader was Chalabi.

The only interest that both factions share regarding Iraq's government is that they are all enemies of secular Arab nationalism. The neocons are opposed to the Arab identity period, and would like to see a divided, weak Iraq. Big oil would prefer a unified, but compliant, Iraq, something along Jordanian lines probably, but while Jordan's monarchy relies on its rusty old Arab nationalist credentials for most of its legitimacy, big oil's ideal future Iraqi government could certainly not be Hashemite, and would have to gain some legitimacy in Islamist circles by allowing a certain degree of Islamic influence in legal, educational and social matters. If the war had been properly planned the big oil faction may have actually gotten something close to what it wanted, but it's too late now. After the coming interim period, during which the big oil faction is going to try to co-opt the UN into helping them give it one last try, the situation will head for what looks like democratic chaos, out of which may emerge a weak and unstable Shi-ite dominated Islamic Republic. This is a game in which the current losers, the neocons, will end up winning. The big losers will be the Iraqis, as usual.Iran will be the only clear winner - not Iran's people, but its rulers - who will gain a new lease on life from having a junior partner next door.

It was inevitable that these two factions in the Bush administration would fall out with each other once the occupation of Iraq bogged down.Our President and VP both come from the big oil camp, but Cheney moved decisively in the neocon direction many years ago, as did Bush more recently.The neocons had a dry run in converting Presidential candidates from big oil backgrounds with Dan Quayle in the early 1990s.Cheney was converted and he happened to know someone as vapid and ambitious as Danny boy.Bush himself lacks the curiosity to learn enough about Iraq or the Arab world to analyze or anticipate events, and Cheney is probably only slightly better informed, but you can be sure that better informed people a step or two down the totem pole have anticipated this current trouble and prepared for it.

There is also an element of CIA revenge for the Plame business, etc, but don't delude yourself into thinking of Chalabi as a victim in any of this. He has acted as an intelligence agent/informant for Israel, the US, Britain,various factions in Lebanon, the PUK, Iran and possibly Syria with no regard for the havoc his actions wreaked on Iraq, or on Lebanon and Jordan before that. Besides displaying little loyalty, least of all to his own native land, he is also a crook who has siphoned-off hundreds of millions of dollars from the US and Jordan as a sideline to his main business of wreaking havoc.And he is not finished yet. It will be interesting to see where he goes next if he loses his footing in Iraq.