Saddam Hussein's foreign minister was paid for information he supplied to the Central Intelligence Agency, through the French intelligence agency, that raised questions about the scale of Iraq's weapons programs, former intelligence officials said Tuesday.
The role of Naji Sabri, Iraq's foreign minister from 2001 until the America-led invasion began in 2003, was first described publicly in a 2004 speech by George J. Tenet, the former director of central intelligence, but Mr. Tenet did not give the Iraqi's name.
NBC News reported on Monday night that Mr. Sabri had been the man Mr. Tenet described as "a source who had direct access to Saddam and his inner circle," and two former intelligence officials confirmed the identification.
The above is from Scott Shane's "Iraqi Official, Paid by C.I.A., Gave Account of Weapons" in this morning's New York Times which also notes that, to the UN in September 2002, Sabri testifed "Iraq is free of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons."
Zach notes Robert Parry's "Those Lies, Again" (Consortium News):
In a nationally televised press conference, George W. Bush repeated some of his favorite lies about the Iraq War, including the canard that he was forced to invade because Saddam Hussein blocked the work of United Nations weapons inspectors in 2003.
Bush has uttered this lie in a variety of forms over more than 2 ½ years, yet the Washington press corps has never challenged the President directly about the falsehood. He got away with it again on March 21 when no journalist followed up the question from Helen Thomas that elicited Bush's response.
Some TV commentary about the Thomas-Bush exchange even suggested that Bush had scored points with the American public for calling on -- and then slapping down -- the senior White House correspondent who is known for her irreverent and acerbic questions. But Bush's truthfulness wasn't questioned.
Bush reasserted his false claim about the U.N. inspectors after Thomas noted that Bush's pre-war rationales had turned out to be false, an apparent reference to Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein's supposed links to al-Qaeda.
"Your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime," Thomas said. "Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true.
"My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, your Cabinet officers, former Cabinet officers, intelligence people and so forth -- but what's your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil, the quest for oil. It hasn't been Israel or anything else. What was it?"
Zach also notes that if you click here you're taken to a resource of Iraq coverage from Consortium News.
Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) Democracy Now! today.
And from last night:
Heads up to a broadcast tomorrow morning (and chances are I'll forget to mention it tomorrow morning so this may be the only heads up). On KPFA at seven a.m. PT, nine a.m. CT and ten a.m. ET, Andrea Lewis (a favorite of Ruth's) will interview a family from Baghdad on The Morning Show. One more time, KPFA, Wednesday morning. The broadcast will be archived so if you miss it, check the archives. At a time when the New York Timid doesn't even try to provide an imitation of reality, this should be worth hearing. (You can listen to KPFA, free of charge, online if you're not in their broadcasting area.)
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