A Lebanese American insurance man
may or may not have met with Habbush before the war.
in suskinds book Edit
Suskind talks about him on pg 368 of The Way of the World
- says Hage met with Habbush in March 2003, in Baghdad
- says Hage was 'trying to act as an intermediary between the Iraqis and some Pentagon officials he'd met'
- says Habbush told Hage there were no WMDs
- mentions some unnamed article by James Risen
- apparently that article is THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: DIPLOMACY; Iraq Said to Have Tried to Reach Last-Minute Deal to Avert War, nov 6 2003, james risen
Question: Did Suskind have any other source for this information about Hage besides that James Risen story, and the other stories that came out at the same time?
Jack Shafer, not so sure Edit
Jack Shafer, Slate Magazine, Nov 6 2003, Back Channel to Nowhere?, writes about how Hage is probably not a good source for information.
"The most immediately striking aspect of the Times piece, by veteran reporter James Risen, is its gentle touch. Compared to Newsweek's account, the Times piece seems billowy and without context, as if Risen thinks he's running with some sort of exclusive and doesn't want to write anything that might pinch the toes of any of his anonymous sources. For instance, you'd never know from reading Risen (or ABC News or Knight Ridder, for that matter) that Republicans and Democrats are currently hammering one another about intelligence failure, and that this story—and its timely appearance—might have something to do with that struggle.
. . . [Hage] tried to smuggle an undeclared gun out of the country on a flight from Dulles . . . only Newsweek reports that in addition to packing semiautomatic .45-caliber heat, Hage's luggage contained four stun guns. He was also carrying a Liberian diplomatic passport, having done business with the government of the now-vanquished Charles Taylor. . . . .
I see no independent evidence that Hage ever met with Iraqi leaders Tariq Aziz, Amer Saadi, Naji Sabri, or Tahir Jalil Habbash in Baghdad, as he alleges in a Feb. 19 e-mail to Maloof, to discuss a peace plan or even the weather.
Aziz and Saadi surrendered to coalition forces long ago. Is it too much to ask the Times and Newsweek to check Hage's story with them? "
(note: Charles Taylor is now on trial for war crimes: link is here)
Question: what is the evidence of the charles tayor connection exactly?
Question: Did Suskind miss the Jack Shafer article, or just think Jack was wrong? Why ?
Risens reason for trusting Hage Edit
" U.S. intelligence officials say that in fact there was an attempt to arrange a meeting with Habbush in Morocco and that there was some kind of meeting in Rome in March between the CIA and an Iraqi representative.
Interesting to me is the fact that Imad Hage was told by Habbush about the attempt to arrange a meeting in Morocco and about the meeting in Rome, which to me gave great credibility to what Mr. Hage was telling me. The fact that the CIA then confirmed both facts. "
Johnathan Mann Interview with James Risen, Nov 6 2003, CNN: link is here
question: what if Hage figured that information out some other way? how woudl he have done that? why?
ken pollack says hage story is not true Edit
Johnathan Mann Interview with Kenneth Pollack, Nov 6 2003, CNN: link is here
"MANN: The bottom line on this is the story is probably not true to your way of thinking because Saddam Hussein wouldn't have put forward an offer, because he was still ready to bluff his way if necessary, but to face down the United States.
POLLACK: Exactly. I mean, again, what we're hearing from all of the senior Iraqi officials was that Saddam just didn't think that the United States would really go to war, that at some point in time we would lose the courage, we wouldn't be willing to carry through with it. That's why, of course, the Iraqis really didn't make the kind of military preparations that Saddam was claiming that they would make. That's why the war unfolded the way that it did.
And for all of those reasons, it doesn't seem that Saddam was ever going to be willing to make the kind of concessions that would have bought off any U.S. regime, let alone the Bush administration, which was determined to simply remove him from power. "
Did anyone ever track down anyone to verify Hage's stories about Habbush?
What would be Hage's motive for lying about this story?