This week, infamous intelligence fabricator Ahmed Chalabi, will be visiting Washington. I have heard rumors that he will be staying in a luxurious bloc of eight suites at the Ritz Carlton hotel and that he has meetings arranged with high ranking Administration officials, including Secretary of State Rice.
This is a man who was reportedly the source for much of the cooked up and fraudulent intelligence foisted on the American people to justify going to war with Iraq. That fraud has now resulted in the death of over 2,000 American soldiers. This is a man who has been accused of passing U.S. intelligence secrets to Iran. This week, he is being greeted as an esteemed dignatary by Secretary of State Rice. That is a disgrace.
While he is here, I have some questions for him and I -- and many of my colleagues -- want to meet with him to discuss those questions. He needs to answer for his role in one of the most tragic scandals in American history. I have attached below a letter from me and 19 of my colleagues asking for a meeting (that number is not complete, nor is the list of names complete. In a very short -- almost unreasonable -- period of time, the signatures are literally pouring in).
November 8, 2005
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi
Iraqi National Congress
c/o The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown
3100 South Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Dear Mr. Deputy Prime Minister:
In the months leading up to the present conflict in Iraq, information from your close circle of associates was a key element in the Bush Administration’s effort to convince the public of the need to go to war. As one of the leading Members of the Iraqi National Congress, you were responsible for providing a major portion of the information the Bush Administration used to persuade Members of Congress and the American people that a war with Iraq was neccessary.
Most notably, an “Iraqi chemical engineer” designated “Curveball” supplied hundreds of pages “firsthand” descriptions of mobile biological and chemical weapons facilities to the United States Defense Intelligence Agency. Secretary of State Colin Powell later used this information in his February 2003 address to the United Nations detailing the state of Iraq’s weapons programs.
Since then, the Congress and the American public have determined that these “firsthand” accounts were entirely fabricated. Moreover, we have learned that “Curveball” is, in fact, the brother of one of your top lieutenants within the Iraqi National Congress. Secretary Powell has since apologized for the use of such “intelligence” in making his case for the invasion of Iraq. However, neither you nor your associatees have ever fully accounted for the role you played in the buildup to this war, or for the $340,000 you and your associates received every month from the United States intelligence community for your efforts in gathering “evidence.”
We respectfully request that you make yourself available to us to explain the details and reasons for your involvement in the manipulation of intelligence as the Bush Administration pushed for war. It is vital to the integrity of both our democracies that the truth behind these terribly destructive events be known.
In 2002, you told the New York Times that the Iraqi people “are grateful to President Bush for liberating Iraq, but it is time for the Iraqi people to run their affairs.” As members of Congress and concerned citizens, we, too, seek an end to this war and a conclusion to the violence that has plagued both our countries for years. Your cooperation in this investigation will serve as an invaluable aid to the American people as we labor towards a final resolution in Iraq.
We therefore encourage you to meet with us during your visit to the United States this week, explain your actions to the public, and help the people of both Iraq and the United States to understand why we are at war today. Please reply through the Judiciary Committee Democratic office, 2142 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (tel: 202-225-6504; fax: 202-225-4423).
John Conyers, Jr.
Raul M. Grijalva
Chris Van Hollen