Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
We Can't Do It Without You!  
     
Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives | Search
   
 
   Headlines  
 

Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
 
 
White House Takes a Hit Over CIA Plan to Rig Iraq Election
Published in the October 4, 2004 issue of Time Magazine
The Bush Administration Takes Heat for a CIA Plan to Influence Iraq's Elections
by Timothy J. Burger; Douglas Waller
 

President Bush and interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi insisted last week that Iraq would go ahead with elections scheduled for January, despite continuing violence. But U.S. officials tell TIME that the Bush team ran into trouble with another plan involving those elections a secret "finding" written several months ago proposing a covert CIA operation to aid candidates favored by Washington. A source says the idea was to help such candidates whose opponents might be receiving covert backing from other countries, like Iran but not necessarily to go so far as to rig the elections. But lawmakers from both parties raised questions about the idea when it was sent to Capitol Hill. In particular, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi "came unglued" when she learned about what a source described as a plan for "the CIA to put an operation in place to affect the outcome of the elections." Pelosi had strong words with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in a phone call about the issue.

Rice spokesman Sean McCormack says, "I cannot in any way comment on classified matters, the existence or nonexistence of findings." But, McCormack says, "there have been and continue to be concerns about efforts by outsiders to influence the outcome of the Iraqi elections, including money flowing from Iran. This raises concerns about whether there will be a level playing field for the election. This situation has posed difficult dilemmas about what action, if any, the U.S. should take in response. In the final analysis, we have adopted a policy that we will not try to influence the outcome of the upcoming Iraqi election by covertly helping individual candidates for office." A senior U.S. official hinted that, under pressure from the Hill, the Administration scaled back its original plans. "This was a tough call. We went back and forth on it in the U.S. government. We consulted the Hill on this question ... Our embassy in Baghdad will run a number of overt programs to support the democratic electoral process," as the U.S. does elsewhere in the world.

© 2004 Time Inc.

###

Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article

 
     
 
 

CommonDreams.org is an Internet-based progressive news and grassroots activism organization, founded in 1997.
We are a nonprofit, progressive, independent and nonpartisan organization.

Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives | Search

To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Copyrighted 1997-2011