Terrorists Claim to Seize CIA Files
Documents Said to Detail American Middle East Intelligence

By AARON KLEIN  /  June 14, 2007

JERUSALEM — Terror groups including Hamas and the Popular Resistance
Committees have seized large quantities of CIA security files stored
at major compounds of militias associated with the American-backed
Fatah organization of Palestinian Arab President Abbas, terror leaders
told The New York Sun today.

The terror leaders claimed the files contain, among other things,
details of CIA networks in the Middle East.

“The CIA files we seized, which include documents, CD’s, taped
conversations, and videos, are more important that all the American
weapons we obtained the last two days as we took over the traitor
Fatah’s positions,” said Muhammad Abdel-El, spokesperson for the Hamas-
allied Popular Resistance Committees terror group.

The Committees has previously been accused of carrying out anti-
American attacks, including a 2003 bombing of an American convoy in
Gaza that killed three American contractors.

Hamas has the past few days taken near complete control of the Gaza
Strip, advancing on the vast majority of Fatah security buildings and
positions in the northern, southern and central sections of Gaza.

Hamas gunmen today captured the second of four major Fatah command
centers in central Gaza City, planting the group’s green flag on the
roof of the intelligence services building. Also today Hamas seized
the Palestinian Preventive Security headquarters in Gaza, a major
Fatah compound, reportedly executing witnesses and several defeated
Fatah members.

According to Hamas sources, the terror group will soon advance on Gaza
City’s Ansar Compound, one of the most important Fatah security
establishments and the site at which American weapons have been
delivered to Fatah the past few years. Security sources say Ansar
contains large quantities of weaponry America provided to Fatah.

Hamas and Popular Resistance Committees leaders told the Sun upon
taking over Gaza City’s Fatah compounds, particularly the Preventative
Security Services building and intelligence compound, they seized
large quantities of what they said were CIA files concerning the
Middle East.

They said prior to Hamas’ advances, Fatah officials attempted to
destroy the CIA files but only succeeded in destroying some.

American security coordinators the past few years maintained a
presence at Fatah’s Gaza headquarters. America regularly trains and
arms Fatah militias.

Abu Abdullah, a member of Hamas’ so-called military wing, said, “Now
our job is to study these files, which are already showing that they
are crucial for our fight against the Zionists and anyone who
collaborates with them, including the Americans.”

Mr. Abdullah said the CIA documents they browsed so far contain
“information about the collaboration between Fatah and the Israeli and
American security organizations; CIA methods on how to prevent
attacks, chase and follow after cells of Hamas and the Committees;
plans about Fatah assassinations of members of Hamas and other
organizations; and American studies on the security situation in

Mr. Abdullah claimed the documents also detailed CIA networks in other
Arab countries, and “how to help beat Islamic allies of Hamas in other
Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan.”

“We will use these documents and make portions public to prove the
collaboration between America and traitor Arab countries,” Mr.
Abdullah said.

Committees Spokesman Abdel El told the Sun he was sitting in a Gaza
mosque today pouring through some of the files on the Committees when
he found his name mentioned in the documents four times.

“I am amazed by the material and the context of the documents,” he



“…Polk describes how Saddam Hussien rose to power in the regime’s
intelligence apparatus, collecting files on everyone for purposes of
blackmail and manipulation in the style of J. Edgar Hoover or East
Germany’s Stasi…”


“Tens of thousands of security files on Iraqis have been found in a
huge underground vault beneath the headquarters of Saddam Hussein’s
most feared secret police agency, the legacy of a Soviet-style
domestic spying system that controlled everything from job assignments
to whether a person would live or die.
“The files include the mundane — a man denied the right to leave the
country because he refused a job transfer — and the chilling — a 19-
year-old high school student hanged because he admitted he was the
leader of a cell of a banned political party.
“‘By God, this is everyone in Iraq,’ translator George Yousef muttered
as he entered the records vault, about twice the size of a basketball
court, discovered two days ago by U.S. marines and visited by a
journalist Sunday.”– Knight-Ridder Newspapers, April 21, 2003


Secret Baath files may help Chalabi settle old scores
By Owen Bowcott  /  May 8 2003

“Some of the files are very damning” . . . Ahmad Chalabi.

Ahmad Chalabi, the exiled financier promoted by the Pentagon as a
leader of postwar Iraq, claims to have obtained 25 tonnes of
intelligence documents detailing Saddam Hussein’s relationship with
foreign governments and Arab leaders.

The files, seized by supporters of his Iraqi National Congress (INC)
from Baath party offices and secret police stations, may fuel a fresh
round of recriminations and score-settling as politicians meeting in
Baghdad struggle to agree the terms of an interim administration.

In interviews with Abu Dhabi television and Newsweek magazine, Chalabi
has already threatened to use the papers to damage the Jordanian royal
family and the Al-Jazeera television organisation, with which he has
had long-running disputes.

The INC offices in London said that some of the documents may be
published, but other Iraqi political groups, and the British Foreign
Office, called for the files to be returned to the authorities.

The papers were collected from abandoned buildings used by Saddam’s
Special Security Organisation (SSO) and the Mukhabarat intelligence
service, from Baath party offices, and from the Iraqi army.

“The SSO was the organisation closest to the regime,” a spokesman for
the INC said in London. “Its members were those running the country
and their bodyguards. Some of the documents will be used in the
interests of Iraq; some kept for the future government.

“In the case of Al-Jazeera, for example, it has been bombarding Arabs
and Iraqis with false news for so long. Now we can put things right.
Likewise the Jordanian [royal family] has been leading the campaign
against Iraqi opposition politicians. But I don’t think there’s a plan
to go after any other person or country.”

Chalabi has repeatedly been accused of being influenced by the US
Government and was blamed for the collapse of the Petra bank, which he
headed in Jordan in the 1980s. The Amman authorities convicted him of
fraud and theft.

Speaking on Abu Dhabi television, Chalabi read from documents which he
claimed showed a number of reporters for the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera
were working for Iraqi intelligence. “We will not allow this channel
to continue its destructive work, which might lead to civil war in
Iraq, through their lies and the spreading of rumours,” he said.

In the latest issue of Newsweek Mr Chalabi targeted the Jordanians,
declaring: “Some of the files are very damning.” King Abdullah, who
has ruled Jordan since 1999, “is worried about his relationship with
Saddam . . . he’s worried about what might come out”.

The Jordanian Government has not yet replied to the threats or to the
suggestion that the royal family privately profited from its dealings
with Saddam. Al-Jazeera said it had not seen the details and could not
therefore comment on the allegations.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Office observed: “There are
regrettably still incidents of theft and looting. Those in possession
of of documents/property should return them to the appropriate


Chalabi’s House Raided; He is Suspended from the Interim Governing Council
May 20, 2004

Ahmad Chalabi’s house was raided in Baghdad by US troops on orders of
an Iraqi judge. He is said to have been suspended from the Interim
Governing Council, though he maintains that Ghazi al-Yawer, the
current president of the IGC, has called him to a meeting on Friday
afternoon at 4 pm Baghdad time.

Rumors are swirling in Baghdad that Chalabi had been taking a
percentage of some contracts or that he had been trying to transfer
government assets to the Iraqi National Congress before the transfer
of sovereignty on June 30. There are also rumors that his militia,
which Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz had flown into Iraq last year on a
Pentagon aircraft, has engaged in coercive or extortionate activities.
The problem is that these sorts of rumors have been swirling in
Baghdad for many months. So why did the US move now?

Chalabi is charging that the crackdown on him is an attempt by the
United Nations to squelch investigations into the bribes Saddam had
paid UN officials under the oil for food program, and on which Chalabi
had information. The Pentagon had quite outrageously turned over to
the Iraqi National Congress the intelligence files of the old Saddam
government, which Chalabi has threatened to use to blackmail officials
of neighboring governments. Chalabi’s charge is implausible and he is
just trying to waft some smoke into the public’s eyes.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the special UN envoy, had made it clear over a month
ago that he would not appoint Chalabi to the caretaker government. In
response, Chalabi has become increasingly critical of the US. He
complained that rehabilitating the Baathists after the siege of
Fallujah failed was tantamount to putting Nazis in power. He has
recently loudly complained about the crackdown on the militia of
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, saying that it has cost 1500 Iraqi
lives, more than should be spent to arrest a single man.

Chalabi came on television on Thursday and said his message to the US
was “Let my people go!” He is now playing an Iraqi Martin Luther King!
He says he wants an immediate turn-over of all authority in Iraq to
the Iraqis. I.e. he now has adopted the Dennis Kucinich position.
Assuming that he manages to stay out of jail, Chalabi will run for
political office in January, 2005, and will probably represent himself
as an anti-Occupation Iraqi nationalist. You know, the wily old
chameleon could still come out ahead.

Chalabi was for long a darling of the Department of Defense and VP
Dick Cheney, and their initial plan had been to turn Iraq over to him.
The State Department, the CIA and (I am told) Tony Blair all
intervened in April 2003 to stop DoD from simply handing the country
over to him. Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress supplied to the US
government and to Judith Miller of the New York Times false and
misleading “intelligence” that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction,
a nuclear weapons program, and was connected to al-Qaeda. Chalabi
later all but admitted that these allegations had been false, and said
they didn’t matter because Saddam had been overthrown.

The State Department and the CIA became increasingly less enamored of
Chalabi in the course of the 1990s. In part, he could not account for
the money they gave him. In part, his harebrained schemes to overthrow
Saddam went awry. He retained strong supporters in Neoconservative
circles, however, especially Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Paul
Wolfowitz. Rumsfeld and Cheney were also big boosters, at least until
recently. The CIA and State Department appear to have leaked to
Newsweek a couple of weeks ago intelligence that Chalabi had been
sharing sensitive information with Iran, and was tilting toward Iran.
Some Neocons have felt betrayed by Chalabi’s inability to get Iraq to
recognize Israel or provide it with petroleum, as he appears to have
pledged to them.



Here’s a 5/22/2004 Newsday story written by Knut Royce entitled
written top-notch stories about the war in Iraq):

Here are some excerpts:

WASHINGTON – “The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that a
U.S.-funded arm of Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress has been
used for years by Iranian intelligence to pass disinformation to the
United States and to collect highly sensitive American secrets,
according to intelligence sources.

“Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through
Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program
information to provoke the United States into getting rid of Saddam
Hussein,” said an intelligence source Friday who was briefed on the
Defense Intelligence Agency’s conclusions, which were based on a
review of thousands of internal documents.

The Information Collection Program also “kept the Iranians informed
about what we were doing” by passing classified U.S. documents and
other sensitive information, he said. The program has received
millions of dollars from the U.S. government over several years.

An administration official confirmed that “highly classified
information had been provided [to the Iranians] through that channel.”

The Defense Department this week halted payment of $340,000 a month to
Chalabi’s program. Chalabi had long been the favorite of the
Pentagon’s civilian leadership. Intelligence sources say Chalabi
himself has passed on sensitive U.S. intelligence to the Iranians…

At the center of the alleged Iranian intelligence operation, according
to administration officials and intelligence sources, is Aras Karim
Habib, a 47-year-old Shia Kurd who was named in an arrest warrant
issued during a raid on Chalabi’s home and offices in Baghdad
Thursday. He eluded arrest…

“There was an ongoing intelligence relationship between Karim and the
Iranian Intelligence Ministry, all funded by the U.S. government,
inadvertently,” he said.

The Iraqi National Congress has received about $40 million in U.S.
funds over the past four years, including $33 million from the State
Department and $6 million from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

In Baghdad after the war, Karim’s operation was run out of the fourth
floor of a secure intelligence headquarters building, while the
intelligence agency was on the floor above, according to an Iraqi
source who knows Karim well…

The links between the Iraqi National Congress and U.S. intelligence go
back to at least 1992, when Karim was picked by Chalabi to run his
security and military operations.

Indications that Iran, which fought a bloody war against Iraq during
the 1980s, was trying to lure the United States into action against
Saddam Hussein appeared many years before the Bush administration
decided in 2001 that ousting Hussein was a national priority…”


US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war
BY Julian Borger  /  May 25, 2004

An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether
Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing
on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress,
it emerged yesterday.

Some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in
the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbour,
and pave the way for a Shia-ruled Iraq.

According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence
that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed
US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent
for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both

The CIA has asked the FBI to investigate Mr Chalabi’s contacts in the
Pentagon to discover how the INC acquired sensitive information that
ended up in Iranian hands.

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the
channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which
Washington built its case for war.

“It’s pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and
dinner,” said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. “Iranian
intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through

Larry Johnson, a former senior counter-terrorist official at the state
department, said: “When the story ultimately comes out we’ll see that
Iran has run one of the most masterful intelligence operations in
history. They persuaded the US and Britain to dispose of its greatest

Mr Chalabi has vehemently rejected the allegations as “a lie, a fib
and silly”. He accused the CIA director, George Tenet, of a smear
campaign against himself and Mr Habib.

However, it is clear that the CIA – at loggerheads with Mr Chalabi for
more than eight years – believes it has caught him red-handed, and is
sticking to its allegations.

“The suggestion that Chalabi is a victim of a smear campaign is
outrageous,” a US intelligence official said. “It’s utter nonsense. He
passed very sensitive and classified information to the Iranians. We
have rock solid information that he did that.”

“As for Aras Karim [Habib] being a paid agent for Iranian
intelligence, we have very good reason to believe that is the case,”
added the intelligence official, who did not want to be named. He said
it was unclear how long this INC-Iranian collaboration had been going
on, but pointed out that Mr Chalabi had had overt links with Tehran
“for a long period of time”.

An intelligence source in Washington said the CIA confirmed its long-
held suspicions when it discovered that a piece of information from an
electronic communications intercept by the National Security Agency
had ended up in Iranian hands. The information was so sensitive that
its circulation had been restricted to a handful of officials.

“This was ‘sensitive compartmented information’ – SCI – and it was
tracked right back to the Iranians through Aras Habib,” the
intelligence source said.

Mr Habib, a Shia Kurd who is being sought by Iraqi police since a raid
on INC headquarters last week, has been Mr Chalabi’s righthand man for
more than a decade. He ran a Pentagon-funded intelligence collection
programme in the run-up to the invasion and put US officials in touch
with Iraqi defectors who made claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of
mass destruction.

Those claims helped make the case for war but have since proved
groundless, and US intelligence agencies are now scrambling to
determine whether false information was passed to the US with Iranian


“Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an
international business-consulting firm that helps multinational
corporations and financial institutions identify strategic
opportunities, manage risks, and counter threats posed by terrorism
and money laundering.

From 1989 until October 1993, Larry Johnson served as a Deputy
Director in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism.
He managed crisis response operations for terrorist incidents
throughout the world and he helped organize and direct the US
Government’s debriefing of US citizens held in Kuwait and Iraq, which
provided vital intelligence on Iraqi operations following the 1990
invasion of Kuwait.  Mr. Johnson also participated in the
investigation of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103.  Under Mr.
Johnson’s leadership the U.S. airlines and pilots agreed to match the
US Government’s two million-dollar reward.

From 1985 through September 1989 Mr. Johnson worked for the Central
Intelligence Agency.  During his distinguished career, he received
training in paramilitary operations, worked in the Directorate of
Operations, served in the CIA’s Operation’s Center, and established
himself as a prolific analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence.  In
his final year with the CIA he received two Exceptional Performance

CONTACT :  LCJohnson [at] BERG-Associates [dot] com, lcjohnso [at] ix [dot] netcom [dot] com


Intel Agencies Fear Iran Used Chalabi To Lure U.S. Into Iraq
Marc Perelman | Fri. Jun 04, 2004

American intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating
the possibility that Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile leader, was
used by Iranian intelligence to feed Washington false information on
Iraq, with the goal of tricking America into deposing Saddam Hussein,
Iran’s archenemy, several intelligence sources have confirmed.

Chalabi, once the darling of the Bush administration’s hawkish wing,
has been under a cloud of suspicion for the past two weeks, since the
Pentagon cut off its funding to his organization, and Iraqi security
forces raided his Baghdad home and offices May 20. The New York Times
reported Wednesday that American intelligence officials believe
Chalabi informed an Iranian official that the United States had broken
the secret communications code of Tehran’s intelligence service.

But the far more serious suspicion in intelligence circles is that he
passed Iranian disinformation on Iraq to Washington in order to
bolster American support for regime change in Baghdad. The allegation
was first disclosed May 22 in the Long Island-based Newsday. Expanded
accounts have since appeared in the London-based Guardian, the
conservative Washington Times and Israel’s mass-circulation Yediot

Chalabi and his supporters have dismissed all the allegations against
him as part of a CIA-orchestrated smear campaign. One Chalabi
supporter, Danielle Pletka, vice presi- dent of the American
Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank, called the
disinformation charge “the stupidest thing I ever heard.”

But several former intelligence officials told the Forward that the
CIA, which has long opposed U.S. support to Chalabi, believes the
former Iraqi exile is an Iranian agent and that this might have
enabled Tehran to mastermind an intelligence operation of such

“The CIA firmly believes that Chalabi is an Iranian agent,” former CIA
analyst Larry Johnson told the Forward. “Based on that, I believe Iran
used us to carry their water and get rid of Saddam Hussein.”

Asked why the CIA had not raised the issue earlier, Johnson replied
that the agency had in fact repeatedly warned U.S. officials about
Chalabi’s Iranian connections – but was ignored by the Pentagon.
Johnson said CIA Director George Tenet also ignored the warnings of
his own analysts, choosing instead to tow the administration’s hawkish
line on Iraq.

Officials at the CIA, as well as at the State Department, have long
held a skeptical view of Chalabi, who is often cited as the main
source for the notion that Hussein was developing weapons of mass
destruction and U.S. forces would be welcome as liberators by the
Iraqi people. But now Chalabi’s enemies are raising the specter that
his neoconservative allies in Washington – as well as President Bush –
were the unwitting dupes of Iran, one of America’s and Israel’s most
dangerous enemies.

Chalabi’s supporters dismiss such claims as implausible conspiracy
theories pushed by longtime political enemies with axes to grind. But
in recent weeks, several media outlets have published reports lending
credence to the claim of deeper ties between Chalabi and Iran.

Newsday’s initial report claimed that the Pentagon’s Defense
Intelligence Agency had concluded that Iran used Chalabi’s
intelligence operation to feed false information to Washington.
Similar claims then appeared in the Guardian of London and United
Press International, whose dispatch appeared in the right-leaning
Washington Times. The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot published a long
exposé on the topic on May 28, in its highly respected weekend
edition. An article the same day by former Clinton administration aide
Sidney Blumenthal, now the Washington editor of the online journal
Salon, also pushed the story.

“The Iraqi neocon favorite… has been identified by the CIA and the
Defense Intelligence Agency as an Iranian double agent,” Blumenthal
wrote. Blumenthal added, “Either Chalabi perpetrated the greatest con
since the Trojan horse, or he was the agent of influence for the most
successful intelligence operation conducted by Iran, or both.”

Chalabi, a member of the 25-person Iraqi Governing Council, has
steadfastly denied allegations that he is an Iranian agent. He
repeatedly has accused the CIA of conducting a smear campaign against
him in order to settle old scores.

In attempts to raise doubts about the latest accusations against the
Iraqi politician, several observers pointed out that most of the
stories alleging an Iranian plot have come from sources at the CIA or
the Defense Intelligence Agency. Operatives at both agencies have
opposed Chalabi since the mid-1990s, and now blame him for passing on
fabricated weapons information.

In addition, skeptics argue, it would have made little sense for Iran
to lure U.S. troops into Iraq at a time when Tehran already was
worried about the American presence in neighboring Afghanistan.

“Interesting, but too baroque and not very plausible,” said Daniel
Benjamin, a former Clinton administration official, of the alleged
Iranian intelligence plot. “There was more than enough motivation
within the administration to invade Iraq.”

Chalabi supporters went even further in their criticism.

“Just because Iran hated Saddam doesn’t mean Saddam was a good guy,”
said Pletka. “Chalabi was always up-front about his closeness with
Iran. If the U.S. had been more helpful, he may not have needed them
as much.”

In an interview with the Forward last week, Richard Perle, the former
chairman of the Pentagon’s advisory body and arguably Washington’s
most influential neoconservative, claimed that Iran had actually
provided clues of its close relationship with Chalabi to the CIA in
order to discredit him.

Through much of the 1990s, Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress
maintained an office in Tehran while running a U.S.-funded program to
gather Saddam Hussein-era documents and provide Washington with
informants. Chalabi himself has made no secret about his links to the
Iranian leadership, arguing that as Iraq’s biggest neighbor and an
opponent of Saddam Hussein, it was natural for him to seek positive

In recent weeks, however, speculation about a closer relationship
between Chalabi and Tehran has been fueled by allegations that
Chalabi’s intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, was an Iranian agent.
The FBI has opened an investigation into whether sensitive U.S.
intelligence was indeed passed to Tehran via Chalabi’s Iraqi National
Congress. Several U.S. officials are said to be under FBI scrutiny for
supplying secrets to Chalabi, both at the Coalition Provisional
Authority in Baghdad and at the Pentagon, where several of his
strongest supporters now work.

“Some in the intelligence community have made a persuasive case that
Iranian intelligence used Aras Habib Karim to [lure the United States
into Iraq],” an intelligence source said. “Certainly Aras was central
in producing the sources who provided so much disinformation to
Western countries that then shared their reports, without sourcing,
thus providing false confirmation.”

In its May 22 article, Newsday cited intelligence sources claiming
that the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that the intelligence
arm of the INC had been used for years by Iranian intelligence to pass
disinformation to the United States and to collect highly sensitive
American secrets. The former director of the DIA’s Middle East branch,
Patrick Lang, was quoted as saying the alleged Iranian plot was “one
of the most sophisticated and successful intelligence operations in


CONTACT: ismoot [at] turcopolier [dot] com


Iran used Chalabi to dupe U.S., report says
BY KNUT ROYCE  /  May 22, 2004

WASHINGTON – The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that for
years Iran has used a U.S.-funded arm of Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi
National Congress to funnel disinformation to the United States and to
collect highly sensitive American secrets, according to intelligence

“Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through
Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program (ICP)
information to provoke the United Sates into getting rid of Saddam
Hussein,” said an intelligence source who was briefed on the
conclusions of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

The ICP also “kept the Iranians informed about what we were doing” by
passing classified U.S. documents and other sensitive information, he
said. The ICP has received millions of dollars from the U.S.
government over several years.

An administration official confirmed that “highly classified
information had been provided (to the Iranians) through that channel.”

The Defense Department this week halted payment of $340,000 a month to
Chalabi’s program.

Patrick Lang, former director of the DIA’s Middle East branch, said he
had been told by colleagues that Chalabi’s U.S.-funded program to
provide information about weapons of mass destruction and insurgents
was effectively an Iranian intelligence operation. “They (the
Iranians) knew exactly what we were up to,” he said.

He described it as “one of the most sophisticated and successful
intelligence operations in history.”

“I’m a spook. I appreciate good work. This was good work,” he said.

An DIA spokesman would not discuss questions about his agency’s
internal conclusions about the alleged Iranian operation. But he said
some of its information had been helpful. “Some of the information was
great, especially as it pertained to arresting high-value targets and
on force-protection issues,” he said. “And some of the information
wasn’t so great.”

At the center of the alleged Iranian intelligence operation, according
to administration officials and intelligence sources, is Aras Habib,
47, a Shiite Kurd who was named in an arrest warrant issued during a
raid on Chalabi’s home and offices in Baghdad on Thursday. He eluded

Habib is in charge of the information collection program.

The intelligence source briefed on the DIA’s conclusions said that
Habib’s “fingerprints are all over it.”

“There was an ongoing intelligence relationship between Habib and the
Iranian Intelligence Ministry, all funded by the U.S. government,
inadvertently,” he said.

A U.S. intelligence official said the evidence of Habib’s ties to Iran
includes both intercepts and some documentation. The official said
Habib provided sensitive information, some of it classified above top
secret, to the Iranians.

The Iraqi National Congress (INC) has received about $40 million in
U.S. funds over the past four years, including $33 million from the
State Department and $6 million from the DIA.

The links between the INC and U.S. intelligence go back to at least
1992, when Habib was picked by Chalabi to run his security and
military operations.

An intelligence official said Habib also was the INC official who
handled most of the Iraqi defectors, including one code-named
“Curveball,” who provided much of the fabricated, exaggerated and
unconfirmed information about Iraqi weapons programs and links to
terrorism that President Bush used in making his case for invading

Indications that Iran, which fought a bloody war against Iraq during
the 1980s, was trying to lure the United States into action against
Saddam Hussein appeared many years before the Bush administration
decided in 2001 that ousting Saddam was a national priority.

In 1995, for instance, Khidhir Hamza, who had once worked in Iraq’s
nuclear program and whose claims that Iraq had continued a massive
bomb program in the 1990s are now largely discredited, gave United
Nations nuclear inspectors what appeared to be explosive documents
about Iraq’s program.

Hamza, who fled Iraq in 1994, later teamed up with Chalabi.

The documents, which referred to results of experiments on enriched
uranium in the bomb’s core, were almost flawless, according to Andrew
Cockburn’s recent account of the event in Counterpunch, a political
newsletter and Web site.

But the scientists were troubled by one minor matter: Some of the
technical descriptions used terms that would be used only by an
Iranian. They determined that the original copy had been written in
Farsi by an Iranian scientist and then translated into Arabic.

The International Atomic Energy Agency concluded the documents were



“Knut Royce was a major contributor to three Pulitzer Prize-winning
stories in three different decades before joining the Center for
Public Integrity (1999-2001) as a senior fellow, specializing in
Russian organized crime. A decade ago, he was named by the
Washingtonian as one of the two best investigative print reporters in
the nation’s capital, and his exposes have continued to break ground
— on topics ranging from the Iraq war to the Valerie Plame case, from
terrorism and al-Qaeda to the Russian mob. Armed with an English
degree (Dickinson College), and a journalism masters (Univ. of Iowa),
Royce worked in Ethiopia for the Peace Corps before joining Newsday
(1968-76) as a beat reporter, foreign correspondent and a member of
the investigative team. After a two-year stint probing political
corruption for the Suffolk County (NY) DA’s office, he launched an i-
team at the San Jose Mercury-News, worked as an investigative reporter
at the Kansas City Times, and served as the national security and
intelligence correspondent for Hearst Newspapers. In 1987, he returned
to Newsday, where he’s been working part-time since 2002. In addition
to his work on three Pulitzers — “The Heroin Trail” (1974); the
collapse of a Hyatt skywalk (1982); the crash of TWA Flight 800 (1997)
— Royce has won numerous awards, including the Worth Bingham prize
and an AP award for investigative reporting. In 2002, he conducted
State Dept-sponsored seminars on investigative reporting for
journalists in Africa, Slovenia and Croatia.”

CONTACT: knutroyce [at] cox [dot] net





Going to the Sources
Knut Royce ’62 logs decades as a newsman/sleuth

By Sherri Kimmel

The war with Iraq is winding down, and Knut Royce ’62 has a thing or
two to say about the quality of the coverage.

“It’s a mixed bag. I think the print medium is doing a far better job
at explaining it than all-news cable, which tends to be jingoistic,
very simplistic and makes no pretense at dispassioned reporting.” Why
does it matter what this son of the late Dickinson German professor
Herbert Royce thinks? Because Knut Royce was an investigative reporter
before Woodward and Bernstein made it cool and glamorous.

Thirty years post-Watergate, and after contributing to three Pulitzer
Prizes, he’s still at it, filing stories for Long Island-based Newsday
with headlines like: “A Terrorist No One Wanted, Except U.S.” and
“Sources: CIA Tips Prompted Bomb Attack.”

During his college days he not only didn’t write for The Dickinsonian,
but he had no interest in journalism. Royce transferred to Dickinson
in the early 1960s when his bow-tie-wearing dad, who students
affectionately called “Papa Royce,” took a job here.

An English major, Knut took off for Ethiopia after graduation as one
of the nation’s first Peace Corps volunteers. He so liked his
assignment that he wanted to return to work in Africa. Being a foreign
correspondent seemed the ticket. It didn’t exactly work out as
planned, but Royce found his way to the newsprint path, in 1966
earning an M.A. in journalism from the University of Iowa.

In the late 1960s he joined Newsday, which he says, “had the first
investigative team in the world.” He spent a year reporting on the
story that would win him his first Pulitzer in 1974, about the illicit
narcotics trade in the United States and abroad. “I was in Turkey
working on ‘The Heroin Trail’ when Nixon resigned.”

The second Pulitzer came in 1982, when he was part of a team at The
Kansas City Star and The Kansas City Times covering the Hyatt Regency
hotel disaster and its causes. For the third he was back on the
Newsday team, covering the crash of TWA Flight 800 and its aftermath.

What draws him to investigative journalism rather than just getting
the straight scoop? “The hunt,” he proclaims. “First you need a sense
of indignation that something is wrong. Then there’s the hunt. The
writing at the end is anticlimactic. It’s more of a chore. But if
you’ve done a good job [of reporting] the stories will write

With a wife and a young son, Royce does most of his work for Newsday
from Washington, D.C., these days. He looks at intelligence documents
and gleans tips from the many sources he has cultivated over the
years. Just because information may come from a government document or
source, doesn’t mean he takes it at face value. He asks, “Is it true,
is it a stretch, is it phony? It takes a lot of time to figure that
out. Ultimately, I have to rely on my gut instinct.

” There are a zillion gradations of intelligence, but intelligence is
never evidence,” he continues. “An example of good intelligence was in
1962 when a U2 [plane] spotted what looked like matchsticks [in Cuba].
They were analyzed rapidly as being nuclear-missile components.”

In contrast, he says the Bush administration was not able to provide
evidence for many of its claims before commencing the war with Iraq.
“Bush and his officials spent a number of months going on the stump,
not to inform, but to sell. They highlighted their best sales pitch-a
link between Saddam and bin Ladin. They contorted, exaggerated and
misrepresented the truth.”

Reporters, he adds, “are too prone to take what leaders say and report
on them unquestionably.” He points to the lead headline in USA Today a
week before the start of the war: “Saddam ‘is not disarming’-Bush vows
to press case at U.N., insists on right to defend U.S.” Royce shakes
his head. “There is not a shred of evidence [of the presence of
weapons of mass destruction].”

As for roadblocks to information access during the current
administration, Royce notes, “Not since the Nixon administration [has
it been so difficult to get sources to talk]. Bush is preoccupied with
secrecy. People don’t want to lose their jobs or go to jail. It makes
it harder to report, but you can’t just stop.”

To gain the information he needs, Royce rarely goes to top government
officials. “They are more removed from the data than a junior
official, and they have greater motive for spin. Rather than cultivate
a Cabinet secretary, I go to a deputy assistant secretary, who is much
closer to the information.”

What does Royce think of the new brand of war coverage, where
reporters are “embedded” with the troops? “It gives you little
glimmers of what’s going on. They provide very good color, but you
need the broad brush, and embedded reporters can’t do that. Reporters
in Washington or Central Command in Doha or Kuwait try to pull that

While analysis and skepticism are essential for the investigative
reporter, they also are necessary skills for news consumers. “Be
skeptical of information from the executive branch that is filtered
through the media.”

But ultimately, he adds, “It is the responsibility of journalists to
make readers skeptical of the media.”

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