Monday, July 18, 2005
Bush violated US law to intervene in Iraq election
Yet another reason to read Billmon: he's firstest with the mostest posted.
Hersh suggests Iraq vote manipulated
The main advocate for channelling aid to preferred parties was Thomas Warrick, a senior adviser on Iraq for the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, who was backed, in this debate, by his superiors and by the National Security Council. Warrick’s plan involved using forty million dollars that had been appropriated for the election to covertly provide cell phones, vehicles, radios, security, administrative help, and cash to the parties the Administration favored.
...the pressure from the Administration to provide direct support for specific parties was unrelenting, and Warrick’s idea didn’t go away. As the campaign progressed, Campbell said, “It became clear that Allawi and his coalition had huge resources, although nothing was flowing through normal channels. He had very professional and very sophisticated media help and saturation television coverage.”
The focus on Allawi, Campbell said, blinded the White House to some of the realities on the ground. “The Administration was backing the wrong parties in Iraq,” he said. “We told them, ‘The parties you like are going to get creamed.’ They didn’t believe it.”
...a senior United Nations official who was directly involved in planning for the Iraqi election told me. “.... Bremer and the White House had empowered the Iranians. Warrick was trying to see what could be salvaged."
...the President said several times, “We will not put our thumb on the scale.” Nonetheless, in the same time period, former military and intelligence officials told me, the White House promulgated a highly classified Presidential “finding” authorizing the C.I.A. to provide money and other support covertly to political candidates
...Under federal law, a finding must be submitted to the House and Senate intelligence committees or, in exceptional cases, only to the intelligence committee chairs and ranking members and the Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress. [To her credit, Pelosi objected.]
...Sometime after last November’s Presidential election, I was told by past and present intelligence and military officials, the Bush Administration decided to override Pelosi’s objections and covertly intervene in the Iraqi election.
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