Chalabi accuses George Tenet of being behind allegations against him|
NAJAF, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi accused CIA director George Tenet on Thursday of being responsible for allegations that the former exile leader passed intelligence information to Iran.
Chalabi, a former member of the Iraqi Governing Council, made the accusation after President Bush announced that Tenet was stepping down as CIA director for personal reasons.
Tenet's announcement came amid new storms over intelligence issues, including an alleged Pentagon leak of highly classified intelligence to Chalabi.
Chalabi told reporters that Tenet "was behind the charges against me that claimed that I gave intelligence information to Iran. I denied these charges and I will deny them again."
In Washington, a U.S. law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the FBI is examining whether Pentagon officials who had frequent contacts with Chalabi may have leaked sensitive information that U.S. intelligence had broken Iran's secret communications codes.
Chalabi, a longtime favorite of the Pentagon, is at the center of a controversy over whether he then shared with Iranian officials the closely guarded information about methods used by the United States to spy on the Iranian regime.
The New York Times reported in its Thursday editions that federal investigators have started giving polygraph tests to civilian Pentagon employees in attempt to determine who may have disclosed the highly classified intelligence.
Although Chalabi was close to the Pentagon for years, the CIA favored another Iraqi exile figure, Iyad Allawi, who was named prime minister of the interim government due to take power in Iraq on June 30. Allawi headed an organization made up of former Iraqi army officers who tried unsuccessfully to oust Saddam.
Speaking to reporters, Chalabi lashed out at Tenet, saying the effects of his policies toward Iraq over the past years "have been not helpful to say the least."
"He continued attempting to make a coup d'etat against Saddam in the face of all possible evidence that this would be unsuccessful," Chalabi said. "His policies caused the death of hundreds of Iraqis in this futile efforts."
Chalabi also accused Tenet of providing "erroneous information about weapons of mass destruction to President Bush, which caused the government much embarrassment at the United Nations and his own country."
U.S. officials have said much of the information about Saddam's banned weapons programs came from Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. No major banned weapons stockpiles have been found.
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