Wednesday, June 02, 2004

It's official - the FBI is investigating the Defense Department

Intelligence sources said the FBI is focusing on a small group of U.S. officials, particularly from the Defense Department, who worked with Chalabi on a regular basis and who had the Special Compartmented Intelligence clearance required for reading communications intercepts.
  Newsday article

Will anybody ever be accountable for anything in this administration? Does it seem a little odd that the GOP nominee for president in 2004 is currently in charge of an administration that is being investigated by either Senate commission or FBI regarding Iraqi prisoner "abuse", leaking the name of a CIA operative, leaking "code words" to an alleged Iranian spy, failure to prevent a terrorist attack on the nation, and false pre-war intelligence? I wonder if that's a presidential record for number of simultaneous investigations.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the United States learned of Chalabi's alleged role in disclosing that the United States had broken Iran's code six weeks ago when the Iranian station chief in Baghdad cabled Iran to detail his conversation with Chalabi. He told Iran that Chalabi's source had been drunk when he passed the information to Chalabi.

I wonder if that's a clue - or if that eliminates anybody in that small select group who had the knowledge and the opportunity.

Now, as if this whole thing isn't murky enough (and nobody knows who's who any more) if the following is correct, then I'm actually going to have to agree (shudder) with Richard the Prince of Darkness Perle:

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.
  Guardian article

CBS seems to have the same story, doesn't quite fit, does it? I mean, if Chalabi told the Iranians that the U.S. had broken their code, why would they be sending information through that same compromised channel, knowing it could be decoded? Perhaps the messages were simply, hey this is no longer a secure line. But wouldn't it have made more sense to pretend they didn't know the code had been broken and just start sending disinformation across that line while creating a new code for the real information? I mean, that would seem like a great opportunity. But then, what do I know....

He is alleged to have met in Baghdad with a top Iranian agent and disclosed to him that the U.S. had cracked Iran's secret codes and was eavesdropping on all Iranian intelligence messages.

Chalabi told the Iranians he learned about the code intercepts from an American who was "drunk" when he told him. What followed was a frantic exchange of messages between the Baghdad Iranian agent and his headquarters in Tehran all of which were intercepted and decoded by U.S. agents back here.
  CBS News article

And that bit about an unnamed drunken official giving Chalabi the code seems a little pat in the bargain.

There's another little interesting piece of information about that raid on Chalabi's office which adds even more murk to the intrigue...

From Newsweek via Josh Marshall

[S]ome U.S. officials also believe that Chalabi had collected and maintained files of potentially damaging information on U.S. officials with whom he had or was going to interact for the purpose of influencing them. Some officials said that when Iraqi authorities raided Chalabi’s offices, one of the things American officials hoped they would look for was Chalabi’s cache of information he had gathered on Americans.

Well, maybe in 30 years somebody will get the truth. That is, if we still have the Freedom of Information Act, and documents still get declassified, and BushCo hasn't gotten a second term. And somebody still cares.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.