This is a re-post from IDDYBUD/June 6, 2004. Richard Sale has written, in an article today, that Brooke may be involved or implicated somehow in the Fitzgerald CIA leak investigation cover-up.
Who Is Francis Brooke?
--Ahmed Chalabi's right-hand man in Baghdad --An American consultant --An Iraqi National Congress lobbyist --Worked with the shady Rendon group on the Iraq project, a London-based C.I.A.-funded program to influence global opinion on Saddam Hussein. --An evangelical Christian --Ex-CIA consultant --A recent consultant for BKSH and Associates, a company run by Charlie Black, a Republican Party veteran. --A man who has boasted of engineering the war on Iraq by providing the United States the "evidence" it was seeking on (apparently non-existent)weapons of mass destruction along with Saddam's supposed ties to terrorists.
Where is Francis Brooke now?
--It's thought he scrambled back to Washington D.C.
Who wants to know?
An Iraqi judge...Judge Zuhair Al-Maliky of the central criminal court in Baghdad, to be precise.
Francis Brooke allegedly obstructed the Iraqi police from conducting a legitimate raid on Ahmed Chalabi's place. They say Brooke stopped the Chalabi raid by telling the police they didn't have the legal power to do it because "he was an American and they were Iraqis."
Reports from Iran suggest Francis Brooke acted as an intermediary between Washington and Tehran, passing letters between the two governments, which do not have diplomatic relations.
Brooke is trying to pass the buck and blame it all on a fellow by the name of Arras Habib, who is Chalabi's security chief.
Federal law enforcement officials told Richard Sale that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was likely to charge the people indicted with violating Joseph Wilson's civil rights, smearing his name in an attempt to destroy his ability to earn a living in Washington as a consultant. No action was taken today, it will likely take place on Friday, according to unnamed sources from federal law enforcement and unnamed senior US intelligence officials.
I. Scooter Libby, the chief of staff of Vice President Richard Cheney, and chief presidential advisor Karl Rove are expected to be named in indictments this morning by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald..
..Others are to be named as well, these sources said. According to US officials close to the case, a bill of indictment that named five people has been in existence since before October 17. Various names have surfaced, such as National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley (see my previous comments about Hadley here), yet only one source would confirm that Hadley was on the list. Hadley could not be reached for comment.
..The probe is far from being at an end. According to this reporter's sources, Fitzgerald approached the judge in charge of the case and asked that a new grand jury be impaneled. The old grand jury, which has been sitting for two years, will expire on October 28...
..They said that Fitzgerald is looking into such individuals as former CIA agent Duane Claridge, military consultant to the Iraqi National Congress Gen. Wayne Downing, another military consultant for INC, and Francis Brooke, head of INC's Washington office (see my previous post from 2004 - Who is Francis Brooke? ) in an effort to determine if they played any role in the forgeries or their dissemination. Also included in this group is long-time neoconservative Michael Ledeen, these federal sources said. [Truthout Perspective]
** See my thoughts on the web of links, whether direct or indirect, between the CIA leak, the Niger forgery, INC, SISMI, the INR memo, the infamous 16 SOTU words, Joseph Wilson, and AIPAC/Larry Franklin indictments.
Laura Rozen has some excellent updates. Via Kevin Drum, Nur al-Cubicle has put online her translations of the Repubblica series (On the Fake Yellowcake Dossier):
I am not sure how the Berlusconi government can plausibly deny that Sismi didn't have a direct role in the Niger yellowcake claims to western intelligence, and a very cozily indirect role to the forgeries themselves. Unless it's the kind of denial that Rove and Libby meant when they told the grand jury that they hadn't told journalists about Wilson's wife or her place of employment.
With Patrick Fitzgerald widely expected to announce indictments in the CIA leak investigation, questions are again being raised about the intelligence scandal that led to the appointment of the special counsel: namely, how the Bush White House obtained false Italian intelligence reports claiming that Iraq had tried to buy uranium "yellowcake" from Niger.
The key documents supposedly proving the Iraqi attempt later turned out to be crude forgeries, created on official stationery stolen from the African nation's Rome embassy. Among the most tantalizing aspects of the debate over the Iraq War is the origin of those fake documents -- and the role of the Italian intelligence services in disseminating them.