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Friday, February 20, 2004

INC Inc.

It has long been known that the intelligence provided by Iraqi defectors, including those associated with the Iraqi National Congress, was mostly bogus.

Now, INC leader Ahmad Chalabi says the INC is willing to take the fall for the bogus intelligence -- effectively getting the White House and the CIA off-the-hook. Consider this statement from yesterday:
Mr Chalabi, by far the most effective anti-Saddam lobbyist in Washington, shrugged off charges that he had deliberately misled US intelligence. "We are heroes in error," he told the Telegraph in Baghdad.

"As far as we're concerned we've been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We're ready to fall on our swords if he wants."
The story points out that the information about the famous mobile bio warfare labs originated from a defector coached by the INC. Ultimately, US intelligence sources didn't figure all this out until after the war -- and after Colin Powell talked about them at the UN Security Council.

On a related note, Chalabi is apparently learning about defense contracting from Dick Cheney. His family members and business associates are doing nicely in the rebuilding of Iraq:
U.S. authorities in Iraq have awarded more than $400 million in contracts to a start-up company that has extensive family and, according to court documents, business ties to Ahmed Chalabi, the Pentagon favorite on the Iraqi Governing Council.

The most recent contract, for $327 million to supply equipment for the Iraqi Armed Forces, was awarded last month and drew an immediate challenge from a losing contester, who said the winning bid was so low that it questions the "credibility" of that bid.
The article, by Knut Royce in Newsday, reports also that another $80 million contract is being used to hire Chalabi guards (the Iraqi Free Congress) -- who may then constitute a private army.

Whenever you read a story about oil field security over 4000 miles of pipeline, keep in mind that Chalabi associates may be responsible for their defense -- thanks to your money.

Note: Thanks to the Dreyfuss Report for some of these links.

Update: Jim Lobe has a good piece on this too -- Thanks to a reader for the pointer.

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