Here's today's compare and contrast: an item in the UK Daily Telegraph with an item in The Dreyfuss Report, which looks to be yet another great blog without an RSS feed (grrr).
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. …”
Last week, US State Department officials admitted that much of the first-hand testimony they had received was “shaky”.
“What the INC told us formed one part of the intelligence picture,” a senior official in Baghdad said. “But what Chalabi told us we accepted in good faith. Now there is going to be a lot of question marks over his motives.”
Mr Chalabi is now a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, but his star in Washington has waned.
Dreyfuss Report, Chalabi Scandal (Yes, Another One):
Thanks to Newsday, and to Knut Royce, one of the all-time great reporters, we now know that Chalabi is not just a liar. He's also on the take. Royce reports that Chalabi-connected cronies—including members of his enormous family—have pocketed contracts from the Pentagon worth more than $400 million. One of them, Royce reports, allows former INC militiamen to provide security for Iraq's oil industry, giving huge power to a “private army” and giving Chalabi a lot of clout over Iraq's single most important source of cash. The second one is a deal to supply Iraq's fledgling armed forces.
Interestingly, one of Chalabi's named cronies in the Newsday story also was the beneficiary during the 1980s of millions of dollars from Chalabi's Jordan-based Petra Bank. It was Chalabi's looting of Petra Bank back then that led to the seizure of the bank by Jordanian authorities, Chalabi's fleeing from justice, and his eventual conviction (in absentia) for embezzling and fraud, for which he was sentenced to 22 years at hard labor. (The sentence still stands.)