Rumsfeld meets with Iraq's Chalabi

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld discussed Iraqi security and political developments on Monday with Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile tainted by the since-discredited claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Chalabi is a now a deputy prime minister of Iraq and is considered a likely candidate to be the next prime minister.

Last year, U.S. forces raided Chalabi's Baghdad office after he was accused of giving U.S. intelligence information to Iran. He is still under investigation regarding those allegations.

Pentagon officials did not allow TV or photo coverage of Chalabi's arrival at the Pentagon, and there was no coverage of the talks.

Chalabi met later with Vice President Dick Cheney, and he also had talks with Robert Zoellick, the deputy secretary of state. Last week he met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser.

In the 45-minute Rumsfeld meeting, Chalabi stressed the importance of improving the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the U.S.-led military coalition to enhance the Iraqi security forces' ability to disrupt and ultimately defeat the insurgents, a Pentagon official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.