Artorius Castus

Accused Saddam Agent Says He Met With Hillary at White House

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on March 29, 2008

IRAQI’S MEETING WAS IN WHITE HOUSE IN 1996, HE CLAIMS
By IRA STOLL, STAFF REPORTER OF THE SUN | March 27, 2008

A Michigan man facing federal criminal charges of illegally working for Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Service says he met with Hillary Clinton at the White House in May 1996.

In a 1997 interview with this reporter, Muthanna Hanooti said that at the meeting, Mrs. Clinton was “very receptive” to his request for an easing of the American sanctions on Iraq that were in place at the time. He said Mrs. Clinton “passed a message to the State Department” about the need to implement the oil-for-food deal, which was intended to allow Saddam to sell billions of dollars’ worth of oil to pay for food for Iraqi citizens.

Back in 1997, a spokesman for the first lady referred inquiries about the meeting to the National Security Council. At the time, a spokesman for the National Security Council, Eric Rubin, responded by saying that President Clinton, not the first lady, sets foreign policy.

Asked whether Senator Clinton recalls the meeting or whether the presidential campaign had any further comment on the meeting in light of Mr. Hanooti’s indictment, the Clinton presidential campaign yesterday offered no formal response.

White House schedules for Mrs. Clinton that were released earlier this month by the National Archives show a May 9, 1996, “Private Meeting w/ Congressman Bonior and Chaldean-Americans” in the Map Room. David Bonior, who was a member of the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives until he stepped down in January 2003, backed Mr. Hanooti’s efforts to ease the American blockade of Baathist Iraq. Mr. Bonior has been back in the news this week for having been one of the congressmen on an October 2002 trip to Iraq that Mr. Hanooti organized and that, apparently unbeknownst to the congressmen, was paid for by Saddam’s government. Chaldeans are Iraqi Christians.

For the Clinton campaign, already reeling from Mrs. Clinton’s misstatement on another 1996 episode — a landing at an airport in Bosnia that she claimed took place under sniper fire — the indictment of Mr. Hanooti and the disclosure of his claim to have met with her could not have come at a worse time. Mrs. Clinton has made her foreign policy experience in the White House an important part of her argument to voters that she is the only Democratic presidential candidate who would be ready to serve as president if the red phone rings at 3 a.m.

Mrs. Clinton and her defenders may claim that no one could have known in 1996 that Mr. Hanooti would become an agent of Saddam Hussein, engaged in what a grand jury and federal prosecutors say was a criminal conspiracy. The indictment charges that the conspiracy began “in or about 1999.” Mr. Hanooti has pleaded not guilty.

But to reporters on the foreign policy beat in Washington at the time and to those active in the Iraqi opposition to Saddam, it was clear whose agenda was being advanced. The news article in 1997, published in the Forward, that described Mrs. Clinton’s involvement with Mr. Hanooti began: “The American-led blockade of Iraq is crumbling, following an intensive, domestic lobbying effort that has involved Rep. David Bonior and Senator Abraham — and, according to some sources, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

In the October 1997 interview, Mr. Hanooti identified himself as a Palestinian and said he had recently visited Iraq. He also said he had recently met with America’s U.N. ambassador, Bill Richardson, to make the case against U.N. sanctions on Iraq.

“Of course we want the sanctions to be lifted, because we don’t believe in it,” Mr. Hanooti said. He added that the sanctions hurt the Iraqi people but do not affect the Iraqi regime.

When a reporter identified the Forward as a Jewish newspaper, Mr. Hanooti said, “It is interesting that our cousins are interested in this issue. We believe that part of the problem we have is their lobbying against lifting the sanctions.”

Mr. Hanooti described the impact of the sanctions on Iraqis as “another Holocaust, like the one which happened to the Jews.” He claimed that 1 million Iraqi children have died because of the lack of food and medical supplies there, and he said had raised the matter in the May 1996 meeting at the White House with Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Hanooti’s dealings with politicians reach beyond Mrs. Clinton. Federal Election Commission records show he donated to the campaigns of Mr. Bonior, of President Bush, and of Spencer Abraham, a Republican senator of Michigan who served as Mr. Bush’s energy secretary. He also gave to Rep. Tom Campbell, a Republican of California, and to Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat of Michigan.

Asked yesterday about the donation to Mr. Bush’s presidential campaign, the White House referred The New York Sun to the Republican National Committee, which in turn offered no immediate comment. A Republican familiar with the president’s 2000 campaign said the compliance committee for the campaign had disbanded. Nonetheless, this official, requesting anonymity, said, “We are looking into this.”

As a senator, Mrs. Clinton voted to authorize the Iraq war, but she has since stated both that she regretted the vote and that she thought it was a vote to allow more time for diplomacy and inspections by allowing the diplomacy to be backed by the threat of force. She is campaigning for president on the theme of bringing the troops home from Iraq.

Did Oil for Food money make it into the Clintons hands???

New York Sun

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One Response

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  1. Patrick Truax said, on March 29, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    There is no criminal, no tyrant, no murderer the Clintons wont take money from…


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