U.S. Army says Chalabi provided best Iraqi intelligence

Friday, June 4, 2004

The U.S. military has rated intelligence from the Iraqi National Congress led by Ahmad Chalabi as the best received from any anti-Saddam Iraqi group.

A U.S. Army report determined that INC intelligence was the best of five Iraqi organizations that helped topple the Saddam regime. The report said INC tactical military information provided accurate and wide-ranging intelligence on the situation in Iraqi cities and the location of leading Saddam aides.

"In the final analysis, the INC has been directly responsible for saving the lives of numerous soldiers as a result of early warning and providing surveillance of known enemy elements," the army report said.

The report was commissioned in March 2004 as part of a Defense Department review of the cooperation by five Iraqi organizations, including Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish groups.

The review was meant to determine the extent and effectiveness of cooperation, particularly in providing intelligence that helped U.S. troops in Iraq.

The Pentagon received the report from a senior U.S. Army intelligence officer who worked with information provided by Iraqi opposition groups. The report said the INC "proved to be head and shoulders above the information provided by the other four organizations," Middle East Newsline reported

The INC, according to the chief intelligence officer of a combat division, relayed intelligence on Saddam's forces in Iraqi cities, including Baghdad and Tikrit. The report said the INC identified enemy regular and irregular forces and their strongholds as well as troop movements and morale.

The report said the INC information constituted "reconnaissance surveillance capability that U.S. forces cannot match in an urban environment." The report discussed INC information relayed both during and following major U.S. combat in Iraq, a period that comprised the entire 2003 and the first two months of 2004.

The INC also provided what the report termed "imminent threat warning" of attacks by Saddam loyalists in Iraq. The information was deemed by the report to have been a "true force multiplier" that significantly supported the operations of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division, which operated in the Sunni Triangle.

The report said the INC also helped capture leading aides of Saddam. They included four out of eight aides whose names were found in Saddam's possession during his capture outside Tikrit in December 2003.

U.S. military intelligence said INC intelligence was strongest along the Baghdad-Tikrit axis. A U.S. intelligence source said INC information in northern Iraq and along the Iranian border was not nearly as reliable.

The U.S. military has come to the defense of charges against the INC and its chief Ahmad Chalabi that they deliberately misled U.S. intelligence during the war in Iraq. Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee in May that the INC provided intelligence that saved the lives of U.S. soldiers.

But leading members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have called for an investigation into Chalabi and his contacts with Iran. Unidentified U.S. officials said Chalabi relayed classified information to Iran, including an assertion that the United States broke the Iranian intelligence code.

"This is a very, very serious charge," Sen. Chuck Hagel said. "There is no way the Senate Intelligence Committee is not going to be in this. I had big concerns about him. But the fact is, there were some in this administration, some in Congress who were quite taken with him."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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