Ahmed Chalabi: Guilty, Or Really Really Guilty?

AHMED CHALABI: GUILTY, OR REALLY REALLY GUILTY?….Josh Marshall reminds us today that although Reagan and D-Day have pushed everything else to the side, the mystery of Ahmed Chalabi and his continuing support among certain of his neocon friends is still with us:

To try to figure out what might be going on I talked to several folks over the last few days who have a very good view into not only what folks in the intel community make of this stuff but what the prime neo-cons and/or Iraq hawks at DOD think too.

So what did I hear?

From what I can tell, they all think Chalabi is guilty as sin. They may have questions about how Chalabi got the information — here there is some interagency skirmishing. But none seem to seriously question that he passed it on.

Actually, it’s even weirder than that. As near as I can tell, even his last ditch supporters outside DOD seem to have tacitly accepted that Chalabi really is guilty of betraying sensitive U.S. secrets to the Iranians. For example, here is Danielle Pletka writing a couple of days ago in the LA Times about the allegations against Chalabi:

Of all the charges, passing secrets to Iran is the most serious. It is gravest, obviously, for the American who supposedly told Chalabi that we had broken Iranian codes. That person is governed by U.S. laws, and if he exists, he should be prosecuted.

Chalabi, on the other hand, is a foreigner and owes us no fealty (although it is worth noting that he denies the charges). That he has been close to the Iranians has been well known for years; the United States even paid for his offices in Tehran. So there’s no great surprise there.

This is genuinely remarkable. Pletka can barely even work up the energy to claim that Chalabi is innocent. Instead she glosses over his treachery against the country that supported his cause for over a decade by blandly reminding us that that Chalabi “is a foreigner and owes us no fealty.” In other words, even if he’s guilty he barely even did anything wrong. You can almost hear her yawning in the background as she types this.

It’s funny, isn’t it? Normally I’d expect hawkish neocons to be opposed to people betraying sensitive national secrets to charter members of the Axis of Evil ? certainly a far worse offense than anything ever committed by Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroeder. This time, though, they seem to be remarkably sanguine about it. I wonder why?