“The CIA had long thought Chalabi was a liar. His outlandish claims that a liberated Iraq would surely recognize Israel and would welcome permanent US military bases on its land soured Powell and Armitage on him as well. Armitage became to wonder how the INC was spending the millions of dollars that State was funneling to it. When Chalabi was unable to produce receipts, Powell’s deputy ordered an audit. While the State Department’s Inspector General, Clark Kent Ervin, was proceeding with the investigation, he received a call from a Chalabi friend. ‘Would Ervin like to come to dinner at the home of journalist Christopher Hitchens and meet Chalabi?’ the caller wanted to know.”
Well, isn’t THAT interesting. Ervin was investigating the INC’s failure to produce any receipts for millions of dollars in taxpayer money, and he gets a mysterious dinner invite to Hitchens’ home with the head of the very organization he’s investigating. Cozy.
Which Chalabi friend might that be, I wonder? Anyone connected to a certain Vice President we all know and loathe? Or perhaps it was former DOD chum Paul Wolfowitz (see also here) or his former PR flack Kevin Kellems, with whom Hitchens travelled on occasion to provide
steno coverage on Iraq.
Did Hitchens know that Chalabi was using him as a legitimizing personal vouch in an attempt to influence an investigation of the INC’s unaccounted for taxpayer funds? And, if Hitchens did know, was he trying to help obstruct an investigation by the State Department into said alleged misuse of funds? What was Hitchens getting out of this? Was he paid for his assistance to Mr. Chalabi in throwing dinner parties for his investigator — if so, with what? For what? I’d like some details — and not just from Hitchens. Mr. Ervin could give the public an explanation on this one as well.
I’ve reviewed a large number of past Hitchens’ columns, and they are replete with oozing little Chalabi stories, as though they were bosom pals, but in a creepy, scratch your back sort of way. Let’s peruse a few:
— Lay Off Chalabi (4/24/03): Wherein Mr. Chalabi is a leader in good standing and anyone who ever questions that is a meanie. “If I was ever to volunteer for the role of American colonial puppet, I would hope to play my role with the same panache that Ahmad Chalabi has brought to the part.” (No, I am not making that quote up. I swear.)
— Ahmad and Me: Defending Chalabi (5/27/04): Wherein Chalabi’s close relationship with Iran is a big plus. “If any Iraqi is “brokering” relations with Iran, I hope it’s Chalabi.” (Yep, direct quote.)
— Believe It Or Not (11/14/05): Wherein that Curveball was a great fella, Chalabi did us all a service, and the fact that there were no WMDs is a good thing, and we have the war in Iraq to thank for it. “We can now certify Iraq as disarmed, even if the materials once declared by the Saddam regime and never accounted for have still not been found.” (Logical masterpiece, that one.)
And so it goes…on and on and on and on and on.
FYI, Mr. Ervin also served as the IG for the Department of Homeland Security. Sarah Posner did a piece for American Prospect on this back in 2005, in which our old pal Barbara Comstock makes an appearance on behalf of clients in need of a (GO)PR blitz. Bad pennies do keep turning up, don’t they Babs?
Lots of questions here. There is being close to your sources, and then there is Judy-esque. If ever there were a group of people in need of some sunshine…
(Photo of Christopher Hitchens via Seattlest.)