Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is what happens when lackeys staff your administration

In the months before the invasion of Iraq was launched, a congressional fact-finding junket comprised of three Democratic congressmen and members of their respective staffs. The trip was organized by an American citizen who was also a covert Iraqi intelligence agent, and who accompanied the delegation. On Wednesday, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against Muthanna al-Hanooti , charging him with one count of conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein, one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers act, and three counts of making false statements.
The Michigan resident began working for the Iraqi intelligence service without registering with the Justice Department and was paid for his services with 2 million barrels of oil, the indictment said.

The trip was organized by a Michigan charity, Life for Relief and Development, that looked legitimate but in fact was connected to the Iraq government, according to the indictment.

The October 2002 trip included three members of Congress, the indictment said. Between 1999 and 2002, the Michigan man had been providing the Iraqi intelligence service with strategic advice on getting Congress to lift sanctions against Iraq, the indictment added.

The members of Congress were innocent and unwitting victims of the scheme, according to officials familiar with the case.

"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,” Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said.

The government did not name the lawmakers. But The Associated Press said the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington and Mike Thompson of California and then-Rep. David Bonior of Michigan.

I am sure that if I went to the right side of the blogosphere, I could find all manner of crowing and squawking about the congressmen who were on that trip. Some slavering simpleton has no doubt pounded out a treatise on why questioning the patriotism of Democrats is now okay; nay, it is it is demanded of all true and noble upright citizens!

Never mind that the fault for this lies squarely at the feet of the State Department, who vetted the trip. Let me put it this way - at one point, during the vetting process for a security clearance, the FBI found and interviewed my freakin' prom dates mother during the vetting process for a security clearance. I would expect them to do a better job vetting the trip and it's organizers, especially in that political climate.

When the Detroit News called David Swanson for comment on the indictment, he basically shrugged and said "so?"
Of course, at that time, Hussein was screaming the truth to the world: "I have no WMDs," and an important corner of the world was refusing to listen. Instead, the White House was telling us that Saddam Hussein might blow us all up at any moment, that a "war" with him would take no more than a few weeks and cost no more than $50 billion, and that Iraqi oil would pay for that war. So, if a few congress members unwittingly got Iraq to pay for a trip aimed at saving millions of lives, that's more than Bush has accomplished wittingly or otherwise. He invaded, slaughtered, and is sticking our descendants with a bill for trillions of dollars (including another $102 billion from Congress next month unless we help Congress find a spine).
Well, that works too.

It certainly doesn't reflect poorly on the congressmen. But the lackeys and ideologues who have destroyed every federal agency from a to z? They don't get the same pass.

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