BAGHDAD, Iraq “” U.S. officials believe they have “rock solid” evidence that Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi (search), once a darling of the American government, passed secrets to Iran, Fox News has learned.
“There is no need for an investigation because we’re quite certain he did it,” one senior Bush administration official said.
The official first described the evidence against Chalabi as “pretty solid” and then characterized it as “rock solid.”
U.S. officials won’t describe the information Chalabi’s alleged to have passed to Iran or how he’s supposed to have obtained it, but they said he does not have the clearance to possess American classified information.
According to Reuters, however, this is not what yesterday’s raid was all about.
An Iraqi judge, Hassan Muathin, said the raid was carried out under an arrest warrant for several men wanted for stealing state-owned vehicles, but Chalabi accused U.S.-led authorities running Iraq of a “targeted attack” against him.
Squads of soldiers and police sealed off the neighborhood around the headquarters of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and a nearby house used by Chalabi, removing computers, files, a copy of the Koran and other personal items, Chalabi said.
UPDATE: Michael Rubin of the American Enterpise Institute sees it this way:
On May 20, U.S. forces raided the home and office of Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi. At a press conference following the operation, Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) spokesman Dan Senor told assembled journalists that U.S. forces did not participate. To be kind, Senor appeared to misspeak. There was a non-Iraqi American citizen in Chalabi’s house at the time of the raid. As armed men pointed guns at Chalabi’s head, the U.S. citizen demanded to know who was in charge. A number of heavily armed Americans (judging by language and accent) in civilian clothes, upon learning of the presence of a non-Iraqi witness, scurried outside and waited in U.S. military humvees while Iraqis searched Chalabi’s house.
Those conducting the raid stole a Chalabi family Koran, smashed a portrait of Chalabi’s father, and destroyed computers and family heirlooms. Chalabi’s name did not appear on the warrant they presented. Iraqi police conducting the raid under American supervision sheepishly apologized in Arabic; they did not know they were to target Chalabi.
Iraqis–fans and foes of Chalabi alike–saw the raid as another sign of the contempt the CPA shows for ordinary Iraqis. By sending forces to break into Chalabi’s house and then by holding a Governing Council member at gunpoint, Bremer sought to humiliate Chalabi. Bremer has not learned from the Abu Ghraib scandal. Humiliation backfires.
Simultaneously, the inside-the-beltway rumor mongering made clear both the irrational contempt and ignorance that many professional pundits feel for any proponent of Arab democracy. Those academics, pundits, and commentators who have never met Chalabi reserve for him the greatest vitriol.
Yet the State Department’s and the CIA’s Middle East gangs have hated him and fought him for more than a decade, because he is independent and while he is happy to work with them, he will not work for them.