[lit-ideas] Chalabi's leak reveals Iranian spy ops

  • From: Scribe1865@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2004 09:45:40 EDT

For those who cherished notions of a singularly benign Iranian presence in 
Iraq, this article hints at the extent of Iranian espionage in the post-Saddam 
country. According to the New York Times, that is  . . . .
WASHINGTON (June 1) â?? Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi leader and former ally of the 
Bush administration, disclosed to an Iranian official that the United States 
had broken the secret communications code of Iran's intelligence service, 
betraying one of Washington's most valuable sources of information about Iran, 
according to United States intelligence officials.  . . . . 

American officials said that about six weeks ago, Mr. Chalabi told the 
Baghdad station chief of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security that the 
United States was reading the communications traffic of the Iranian spy 
one of the most sophisticated in the Middle East.

According to American officials, the Iranian official in Baghdad, possibly 
not believing Mr. Chalabi's account, sent a cable to Tehran detailing his 
conversation with Mr. Chalabi, using the broken code. That encrypted cable, 
intercepted and read by the United States, tipped off American officials to the 
that Mr. Chalabi had betrayed the code-breaking operation, the American 
officials said. . . . . 

The Iranians sent what American intelligence regarded as a test message, 
which mentioned a cache of weapons inside Iraq, believing that if the code had 
been broken, United States military forces would be quickly dispatched to the 
specified site. But there was no such action. . . . .

American intelligence officials said the F.B.I. investigation into the 
intelligence leak to Iran did not extend to any charges that Mr. Chalabi 
the United States with incorrect information, or any allegations of corruption. 
. . . . 

American officials said the leak about the Iranian codes was a serious loss 
because the Iranian intelligence service's highly encrypted cable traffic was a 
crucial source of information, supplying Washington with information about 
Iranian operations inside Iraq, where Tehran's agents have become increasingly 
active. It also helped the United States keep track of Iranian intelligence 
operations around the world.

Copyright © 2004 The New York Times Company.

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