Paul Wolfowitz is puzzled

Stephen W. Stromberg
June 23, 2004 12:56AM (UTC)

Hot off the AP wire: "Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz insisted Tuesday that Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi's organization provided information that helped U.S. forces in Iraq but conceded that some of Chalabi's recent behavior was 'puzzling.'" That's an understatement.

Let's recap. The AP says: "Chalabi's star has fallen in recent months because much of the intelligence his group supplied on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction programs failed to pan out. Last month, U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police raided his residence and office. Allegations then surfaced that he supplied Iranians with classified U.S. intelligence on American monitoring of Iranian communications."


From the May 31 Newsweek: "Until at least very recently, Chalabi had been the darling of these top Pentagon officials.a man once regarded as the hope of free Iraq ... Just last January, Chalabi had been seated behind First Lady Laura Bush at the State of the Union Message. Now, according to intelligence officials, he is under investigation by the United States for leaking damaging secrets to the government of Iran."

And more from Newsweek earlier this month: "Senior officials tell NEWSWEEK that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were briefed several weeks ago about intelligence indicating that someone in Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress gave the Iranian government 'extremely sensitive' and 'highly classified' info which could jeopardize U.S. intelligence sources and even 'get people killed.' Intelligence sources say potential suspects for the leak include Chalabi himself and his intelligence chief, Aras Habib." This is puzzling behavior, Mr. Wolfowitz, you're so right. But we wonder what puzzled you more, the allegations of Chalabi lying and cheating -- or treason?

Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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