Congressman George Miller's speech on Chalabi
On Ahmad Chalabi, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq's newly constituted government
Statement by Congressman George Miller
Watch Congressman Miller's speech on the House Floor here (video)
Monday, November 7, 2005
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Madam Speaker, somebody ought to call the cops. Today I am not talking about collusion, corruption and cronyism and the leaking of sensitive classified information that has irreparably damaged the national security of the United States. No, I am not talking about Scooter Libby or Karl Rove, though their involvement in outing a female CIA agent to silence her husband's criticisms of the President's Iraq policy deserves closer scrutiny.
No, I am talking about another shadowy character and administration ally, someone whose deception played a large role in leading the United States into war in Iraq. I am talking about Ahmad Chalabi. Mr. Chalabi is the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq's newly constituted government. But Mr. Chalabi also is a convicted bank swindler who, we now know, fed the Bush administration false intelligence about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and capabilities and Iraq's ties to terrorism.
Many Americans remember Mr. Chalabi as a man who convinced Vice President Cheney that the United States would be greeted as a great liberator in Iraq. Some have even said it was Mr. Chalabi who promoted the false story about Iraq's attempted purchase of nuclear material in Niger. Chalabi fed false stories about Iraq's weapons capabilities to New York Times reporter Judith Miller, a story that the Times was later forced to publicly discount.
Mr. Chalabi, who supplied information to the White House Iraq working group, a mysterious cabal, as Colin Powell's former chief of staff recently said, that hijacked U.S. foreign policy and hyped the case for war in Iraq. The bottom line is that Mr. Chalabi played a central role in the orchestrated deception leading to the invasion of Iraq.
After the administration discovered that Mr. Chalabi provided false intelligence, instead of investigating, the Department of Defense attempted to prop Mr. Chalabi up as a candidate of choice in the post-war Iraq.
Keep in mind what Mr. Chalabi did next. He was suspected of leaking classified information about U.S. intelligence capabilities to Iran. He was suspected of telling the Iranians that we had broken the code by which we were learning information about their activities.
Seventeen months ago, then National Security Adviser Rice promised an FBI inquiry into who leaked information to Iran. Seventeen months ago, and yet nothing has happened. Despite the fact that Mr. Chalabi was a prime suspect, the FBI has never interviewed him. In fact, the Wall Street Journal quotes the FBI as having said they have little active interest in this matter. Little active interest in a person who is leaking intelligence material to Iran in the middle of the war in Iraq?
Just this week the administration invited this criminal to meet with the Secretary of State and maybe even Vice President Cheney in the West Wing to discuss his candidacy for the Iraq presidency in this December's election. I would be curious to learn from the President what role granting a U.S. entry visa to a man suspected of spying for Iran plays in the administration's terrorism strategy.
Mr. Chalabi's actions are an insult to every American, especially those serving in our Nation's Armed Forces, and his high-level visit to the United States is an additional affront. Chalabi's crimes cannot go unanswered. He belongs in jail for his misdeeds. Instead, he gets a White House photo-op.
As the Senate concludes its investigation into the administration's use of false and misleading intelligence to make the case for war, no such inquiry would be complete without Mr. Chalabi's testimony under oath. While he is sashaying around the streets of Washington, D.C., the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee may want to issue a subpoena for his presence. He has offered to testify, but no intelligence agency of the United States has interviewed him, nor has the FBI, as we learned today.
He should be detained in this country until he gives that testimony. I know I speak for all Americans when I say that our idea of democracy is not propping up a bank swindler, kidnapper and extortionist whose lies and deceptions contributed to the 14,000 U.S. soldiers injured and over 2,000 killed in action and is an intractable quagmire with no end in sight. Americans deserve the truth about the Bush administration's manipulation of intelligence to justify this tragic war.
Calling the cops to arrest Mr. Chalabi, while he is here, so he can be interrogated, would be a good beginning to understand how extensive the manipulation, how false the evidence was, that caused the President to take us to war and which was championed by the Vice President and the President and the cabal to try to justify to the American citizens the reason for this war.
Mr. Speaker, call the cops. Mr. Chalabi should not be allowed to run free on the streets of this Nation's capital.