The evidence that Ahmed Chalabi and his colleagues systematically provided false information to the United States government in order to get us to overthrow Saddam Hussein is now virtually incontrovertible. Today’s New York Times has details of Chalabi’s successful disinformation campaign, as supplied by one of Chalabi’s operatives.
As pointed out previously in this space, this is shameful to those American officals who were fooled, or wanted to be fooled, by Chalabi, or who used his bogus information to fool others, but it’s nothing for Chalabi to be ashamed of. He owed loyalty to his countrymen, not to us. (Whether he was in fact working for Iran, the common enemy of Iraq and the US, is a different question.)
But law doesn’t always track ethics. Fooling us into fighting his civil war for him may have been morally legitmate, but it was still a violation of U.S. law: 18 USC 1001 makes it a felony to make a false statement or otherwise deceive the government of the United States.
I, for one, can’t think of any good reason not to indict Chalabi, who is no longer an official of the Iraqi government and who therefore no longer has any sort of diplomatic immunity. Can you?