The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Prosecutors: Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency bankrolled McDermott's prewar trip to Iraq

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
By Matt Apuzzo
Associated Press
Published:
WASHINGTON -- Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott of Seattle, during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
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. McDermott, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. There was no indication the three lawmakers 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. Though such weapons 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."
In exchange for coordinating the trip, Al-Hanooti allegedly received 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil.
DeCesare said McDermott was invited to go to Iraq by a Seattle church group and was unaware of any other funding for the trip.

More Nation & World Headlines

NEWSLETTER

HeraldNet Headlines

Top stories and breaking news updates

Calendar

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus