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Ahmad Chalabi: Media Critic

By Christy Harvey  

"Ahmad Chalabi: Media Critic"

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Taking a break from his busy schedule (which includes running from prosecution for embezzlement, ducking allegations that he spied on the U.S. for Iran and consolidating power with anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr), everyone’s favorite disgraced neocon darling, Ahmad Chalabi, took time this week to write to the Columbia Journalism Review to complain about how he’s covered in the press.

Specifically, he took issue with the fact that journalists haven’t retracted stories that charged Chalabi’s group, the INC, was the main source of U.S. intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

Luckily, Knight-Ridder’s Jonathan Landay was on hand to set Chalabi straight. He points out:

“In a June 26, 2002, letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee staff, the INC itself reported that it was providing information directly to a senior official in the office of the vice president and to another one in the office of the secretary of defense.”

and

“The INC’s own June 26, 2002, letter lists 108 stories containing information it fed to journalists during a five-month period beginning in October 2001. Much of that information, it later turned out, was exaggerated or fabricated.”

Landay also supplies this case in point:

“When President Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly on September 12, 2002, the White House released a background paper titled ‘A Decade of Deception and Defiance’ on Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorism…. The first item in the chapter entitled ‘Saddam Hussein’s Development of Weapons of Mass Destruction’ is a claim by an INC-supplied defector, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al Haideri, a chemical engineer, that he had visited twenty secret nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons sites. The White House published this claim even though DIA and CIA interrogators nine months earlier had rejected Mr. Saeed as unreliable after he flunked a lie detector test by the CIA in Thailand.”

Chalabi also seems to have forgotten that he himself bragged about misleading the U.S. before the war, calling his group heroes in error for their part in convincing President Bush to go to war.

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