Is Ahmad Chalabi Betraying Us?

Published May 21, 2004

| FoxNews.com

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, May 20, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Is Ahmad Chalabi (search) betraying us, and is he in cahoots with Iran?  Fox News Foreign Affairs Analyst Mansoor Ijaz joins us from New York.  Mansoor, what does this raid mean today of Chalabi's home in Baghdad?

MANSOOR IJAZ, FOX NEWS FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST:  Well, Greta, I think what they were looking for was nothing related to the oil-for-food (search) program nonsense and other things that havealready been reported earlier in the day.  My judgment is that there was probably some indication, intelligence indication, that Ahmad Chalabi had -- we know he's now visited Iran at least half a dozen times since he was the president of the Governing Council back in, I believe it was, October or November of last year.  And on one of those trips, or maybe multiple trips, he may have said things or handed data over to the Iranian mullahs that he met with that would have been inappropriate. And I think we needed to find out very clearly and without any hesitation whatsoever precisely what was in his computer files, his paper records, maybe bank accounts, finding out exactly where his money's coming from, and so forth.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, I'll tell you where some of his money's coming from.  According to "The Washington Times," between 1994 and the present, the INC, which is his organization -- maybe not him personally -- has received $40 million from us.  Why did we give him $40 million, or his organization?

IJAZ:  Well, the idea behind all of that originally was that this was the organization that was going to help rebuild the democracy in Iraq, once Saddam Hussein was taken out.  And in the meantime, they provided what has turned out to be factually and structurally erroneous information on just about everything that was going on in Iraq.

But that wasn't really the problem that we were facing.  The problem here is that this is a man who throughout his career has served only one interest, and that is his own.   I don't believe that he really servedthe interests of the Iraqi people.  I never have believed that.

And I can tell you point-blank that what I've been told by my intelligence sources inside Iraq is that during the course of his conversations with the Iranian mullahs and the theocracy there in Iran that he essentially made a devil's pact.  And that devil's pact was that, You guys, the Iranians, support me in my bid to become the first president of a post-U.S. Iraq and get out of Iraq and leave my back yard alone, and in return, I will, shall we say, give you a clear look at the thinking of what the Americans are doing and what they're planning, and so on and so forth.  I don't think he probably passed raw intelligence, but if it was as something as simple as, for example, the phone number of Paul Bremer (search) or some other military commander in the theater, Iranian intelligence could then listen in to a lot of conversations.  And that, I think, is what they wanted to do, and that's why they seized the computer records as quickly as they did today.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, Mansoor, the very obvious question, then, is, especially in light of the fact that he is shown sitting as a guest during the State of the Union (search) for President Bush, is has the Bush administration been had by Ahmad Chalabi?

IJAZ:  I give you a one-word answer to that question.  I think the answer is yes.  No ands, ifs or buts about it.

VAN SUSTEREN:  He is a Shi'ite. Iranians are Shi'ites. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni. Is this part of sort of the continuing battle between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites, and Iran wanting to sort of almost move into Iraq? They battled in the '80s.

IJAZ:  Look, the first person who should have told us that the Iranians had an intelligence infrastructure bar none, you know, better than anything else anywhere in the world, sitting there, particularly in southern Iraq, was Ahmad Chalabi.  And did he do that?  No.  Did he tell us that al Sadr could be a problem?  No.  Did he tell us al Sistani could be a problem?  No.  Did he tell us where the weapons of mass destruction were after we went in?  No.

So the fact of the matter is that all of the information that this man claimed he was going to provide, all of the analytical skills that he should have been able to help us with at the Pentagon and other place, not one iota of that information was forthcoming.  And in fact, I think, in fact, the opposite was going on.  He knew that the Iranians were helping al Sistani and al Sadr. They were then going to support him inhis bid to become president.  And this was the devil's pact that they did.

And because certain elements of the U.S. government -- the CIA, the State Department and other elements of the U.S. government -- didn't like him and were against him, they were very clearly putting that information out in such a way that would, you know, ruin his reputation, he decided to go after them.  And this is the result of what we got today.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, today, when they had -- when the U.S. -- when the Iraqi police raided his house, which support of the coalition, meaning us, he blasted the coalition, and he says it's time for Americans to leave.  And he demanded sovereignty be turned over to the Iraqis at once.  This doesn't sound like a guy we're in partnership with to make -- to bring democracy to Iraq.  This sounds like someone we are very much at odds with tonight.

IJAZ:  Not only at odds with, but he showed his true colors today, and those true colors were that when push came to shove and when it became a matter of his personal interest versus the interests of his country, his people, the people of Iraq, he immediately chose his interests over everything else.

VAN SUSTEREN:  So what kind of problem is it for us?  Because who replaces him?  If we were putting all our hope on this man, who replaces him for us?

IJAZ:  Well, first of all, I don't think that the Pentagon or the State Department or the White House are that stupid that they would put all of their hopes in this guy.  No. 2, I think what we need to do is findout whether or not he really did pass intelligence.  And if he did, he ought to be put on the next airplane back to Washington, and we ought to arrest him on sight.

No. 2, I think the president needs to go in front of the world and make a very clear, one-line statement and walk out of the briefing room.  And that statement ought to be very simple: Iran is on notice today, keep your hands off of Iraq and keep your hands off of Afghanistan.  We will not tolerate this nonsense.  Don't take us for a bunch of fools.  And he ought to just walk out of the room.  There's no ands, ifs or buts that Iran is trying to create problems in both of these spheres because they have to make sure that they get -- keep us out of their own back yard.

VAN SUSTEREN:  And let me add one other thing.  I'd sure like to know what his organization did with the $40 million of American taxpayers' money...

IJAZ:  I agree with you.

VAN SUSTEREN:  ... over the last number of years.  Mansoor,  thank you.

IJAZ:  Good to be with you, Greta.

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