View Full Version : U.S. Reportedly Tried To Influence Iraq Vote

07-17-2005, 07:13 PM
U.S. reportedly tried to influence Iraq vote
Article contradicts White House claim that covert assistance was called off


Updated: 6:27 p.m. ET July 17, 2005

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration proceeded last year over congressional objections with a covert plan to try to influence Iraqi elections in January, the New Yorker magazine reported, citing unnamed current and former officials.

The article, by award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, said “the methods and the scope of the covert effort have been hard to discern,” and the report offered few details.

These activities were kept, in part, “off the books,” and were conducted by retired CIA officers and other non-government personnel, and “used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress,” Hersh reported.

White House: Covert plan was shelved
White House officials, responding to the story, said they were concerned in the run-up to the elections about Iranian influence, but that President George W. Bush decided in the end against carrying out a previously reported plan to provide covert assistance to candidates favored by Washington.

Instead of the covert operation, the Bush administration informed Congress that it would provide overt training and advice to Iraqi political parties deemed to be moderate and democratic.

Sources: Plans changed after Bush’s re-election
The magazine cited unidentified past and present intelligence and military officials as saying the administration decided “sometime after” Bush’s re-election to override congressional opposition and covertly intervene in the elections.

Bush has touted the elections as a post-invasion success, and any secret effort to influence the outcome could undercut U.S. assertions that the vote was free and fair.

Frederick Jones, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, declined to comment on last year’s so-called “finding” which, sources have told Reuters, would have authorized a clandestine U.S. effort to support certain Iraqi candidates during the campaign.

Leveling the playing field?
“There were concerns about efforts by outsiders to influence the outcome of the Iraqi elections, including money flowing from Iran,” Jones said.

“This raised concerns about whether there would be a level playing field for the election. This situation posed difficult dilemmas about what action, if any, the United States should take in response,” he added.

But Jones said, “In the final analysis, the president determined — and the United States government adopted — a policy that we would not try to influence the outcome of the Iraqi elections by covertly helping individual candidates for office.”

Administration officials said in October 2004 that the White House had decided against instituting the plan, first reported by Time magazine, to provide covert assistance to Iraqi candidates preferred by Washington.

Congressional sources said the covert election plan was scuttled after objections were raised by Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.

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07-17-2005, 07:18 PM
what is democracy? what is an election?