Iraq: Former CIA Envoy Repeats White House Intimidation
Iraq: Former CIA Envoy Repeats White House Intimidation
Mon Nov 17 02:54:57 2003

Iraq: Former CIA Envoy Repeats White House Intimidation Charge

Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who visited Niger last year on behalf of the CIA to investigate reports that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium there, accused the White House again yesterday of using intimidation to prevent criticism of its handling of prewar intelligence, according to Reuters (see GSN, July 25).

After returning from Niger, Wilson reported that Iraq had probably not attempted to purchase uranium there, helping to discredit the Bush administration’s claim that Iraq had sought to obtain uranium from Africa. During a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Wilson said there had been several attempts at discrediting him, most notably a leak to the media identifying his wife’s as a CIA employee. Wilson also said the recent apparent suicide of British WMD expert David Kelly, whom the BBC cited as a source in a story claiming London had exaggerated the case for war, would also have a chilling effect on other intelligence experts coming forward (Tabassum Zakaria, Reuters/Yahoo!News, Aug. 5).

Iraqis Attacks Conducted by Hussein Loyalists

Meanwhile, U.S. military officers in Iraq and Iraqis themselves have said that militia groups loyal to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein are behind the continuing attacks on U.S. forces there, not al-Qaeda fighters as some senior U.S. officials have said, according to the Associated Press.

Over the past week, several senior U.S. officials, including Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq; and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, have suggested that foreign terrorists were conducting the attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Several U.S. military commanders, however, have said the attacks appear to be conducted by loyalists to the Hussein regime.

“We think Saddam Fedayeen are operating in this area,” Army spokesman Capt. Mike Calver said in the Anbar Province west of Baghdad, referring to a loyalist militia. “We suspect there are ex-regime loyalists — people who are much disenfranchised with the loss of the regime,” he said.

A number of Iraqis have also denied that foreign fighters were taking part in the attacks on U.S. troops, saying that most of the 4,000 to 6,000 Arab fighters that came into Iraq before the war had been killed or left the country. Those Iraqis interviewed by AP said U.S. officials were blaming the attacks on foreign fighters in an attempt to show that Iraqis supported the occupation.

“They are claiming there are al-Qaeda fighters in order to justify to their people their invasion and occupation of Iraq,” said Sheik Diyab Younis Zo’ebi (Scheherezade Faramarzi, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Aug. 5).

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