Those three Democrats, Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California, claim that they had no knowledge that their fact finding trip was paid for by a wholly owned subsidiary of Saddam's intelligence agencies.
No, they were useful idiots who spoke out against the Administrations growing concerns over Iraq in 2002 claiming that there was a rush to judgment. They helped promote Saddam's interests and were propagandists for enemies of the United States.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.Nickles was closer to the truth than anyone could have imagined since the three were essentially getting their information lock, stock, and barrel from Iraqi intelligence.
An indictment unsealed in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a member of a Michigan nonprofit group, of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam's regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.
At the time, the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq.
The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. None was charged and Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said investigators "have no information whatsoever" any of them knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.
"Obviously we didn't know it at the time," McDermott spokesman Michael DeCesare said Wednesday. "The trip was to see the plight of the Iraqi children. That's the only reason we went."
During the trip, the lawmakers expressed skepticism about the Bush administration's claims that Saddam was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.
"War is not the answer," Bonior, who is no longer in Congress, said at a news conference while on the trip. "There is a way to resolve this."
Though weapons of mass destruction ultimately were never found, the lawmakers drew criticism for their trip at the time.
Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles, the second-ranking Senate Republican at the time, said the Democrats "sound somewhat like spokespersons for the Iraqi government."
At a minimum, Bonior, McDermott, and Thompson all failed their due diligence to ask more questions about who was sponsoring their trip.
Debbie Schlussel has more on the indictment that revealed the connection to these three Democrats, including the fact that one of the men involved in this scam is still walking free. One of the men indicted, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, apparently received 2 million barrels in oil profits in exchange for setting up the Congressional trip.
She also wonders how the businesses are allowed to remain operating despite the ties to terrorism and Saddam's Iraq:
Again, none of this is news to me. What is and continues to be news is that Shakir Al-Khafaji has gotten away with it and has been allowed to invest Saddams millions to make millions more for himself, all with impunity and under the knowing eye of the Justice Department.Meanwhile, AJ Strata notes the ways in which Saddam was looking to strike at the US. Keep that in mind as you have Members of Congress not bothering to inquire further about their host.
It was always well known that he was Saddam Hussein's agent, and that's why far-left Democrats--and rudderless Republicans, like Hezbollah's Congressman, Joe Knollenberg--got Saddam's, er . . . Al-Khafaji's cash, as did former U.N. Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, who got $400,000 from Al-Khafaji for a pro-Saddam propaganda film.
But, again, Al-Khafaji--Saddam's Mr. Moneybags--is walking free, thanks to do-nothing pan-Islamist U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy.
I've also asked why LIFE for Relief and Development, Al-Hanooti's employer and the organization through which he took the three Congressmen to Iraq, has continued to be allowed to remain open for business and to raise money, even though it was well known to FBI agents--and to me--that LIFE was Saddam Hussein's American advertising agency, as well as a financier of Sunni Islamic terrorism against our soldiers and contractors in Iraq and elsewhere where Al-Qaeda, HAMAS, and their satellites operate.
Despite all of this information--which FBI agents have known for at least seven year--U.S. Attorneys Stephen Murphy III a/k/a "Abu Porno" and, before him, Jeffrey Collins both regularly feted the LIFE For Relief and Development crowd and their biggest promoter, "former" Islamic terrorist and eternal FBI award revokee Imad Hamad. I have pictures (posted above).
While almost two years ago, LIFE was raided by the FBI, it--the largest Islamic charity in America--was allowed to continue to operate in the neighborhood where I grew up. And U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy III a/k/a "Abu Porno"--to this day--will still not do a thing to freeze LIFE's assets or shut down its operations. Its money flows freely to fund terrorist operations against some of our own boys. The indictment of Mr. Hanooti will be not much more than a papercut in terms of making a difference.
Others blogging: Stop the ACLU, Ed at Hot Air, Ace, and Don Surber.
Michelle Malkin has more, and questions how the three Democrats could not have known something was fishy about al Hanooti. As the Weekly Standard notes, Iraqi media reported who were beneficiaries of Saddam's cash and graft.
On January 25, 2004, a daily newspaper in Iraq called al Mada published a list of individuals and organizations who it says received oil from the now-deposed regime. Among those listed is Shakir al Khafaji, an Iraqi-American from Detroit, who ran "Expatriate Conferences" for the regime in Baghdad. Al Khafaji also contributed $400,000 to the production of Scott Ritter's film "In Shifting Sands." Finally, al Khafaji arranged travel and financing for the "Baghdad Democrats"--Jim McDermott, Mike Thompson and David Bonior--last fall. Following the trip, al Khafaji contributed $5,000 to McDermott's Legal Defense Fund.Quid pro quo.