The Justice Department said Wednesday that Saddam Hussein’s principal foreign intelligence agency and an Iraqi-American man had organized and paid for a 2002 visit to Iraq by three House Democrats whose trip was harshly criticized by colleagues at the time.No wrong doing, but between the incompetence of the state department approval and the obvious run against the standing Administrations policy, this just looks like no one bothered to enable a brain cell. Thompson certainly didn't enable any.
The arrangements for the trip were described in the indictment of an Iraq-born former employee of a Detroit-area charity group who was charged Wednesday with accepting millions of dollars’ worth of Iraqi oil contracts in exchange for assisting the Iraqi spy agency in projects in the United States.
The indictment did not claim any wrongdoing by the three lawmakers, whose five-day trip to Iraq occurred in October 2002, five months before the American invasion.
Two continue to serve in the House: Jim McDermott of Washington State and Mike Thompson of California. The other, David E. Bonior of Michigan, has since retired from Congress.
“None of the Congressional representatives are accused of any wrongdoing, and we have no information whatsoever that any of them were aware of the involvement of the Iraqi Intelligence Service,” said Dean Boyd, a Justice spokesman.
Mr. Thompson said in a statement that the trip was approved by the State Department and that “obviously, had there been any question at all regarding the sponsor of the trip or the funding, I would not have participated.”
The three-man Congressional delegation was criticized on its return to Washington as having undermined the Bush administration’s campaign to gather international support to disarm and later invade Iraq.
I'd say that Saddam's intelligence agencies succeeded magnificently in their plan to use these politicians. It didn't have the desired outcome, but they certainly were used.
Mr. Hanooti is suspected of having gone to work for the Iraqis in 1999 or 2000, specifically by publicizing efforts in the United States to lift international economic sanctions on Iraq. As part of that effort, the indictment said, he organized the October 2002 visit and accompanied the three lawmakers to Iraq.Wonder if any of that oil came from the "food for oil" program? That would make this even more humorous.
In December 2002, the indictment said, the Iraqi government secretly arranged to allocate two million barrels of oil to Mr. Hanooti; he then turned over the rights to the oil to a company incorporated in Cyprus for an amount of money that was not identified in the court papers.