Saddam paid for 2002 Congressional junket to Baghdad

posted at 6:40 pm on March 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

If federal prosecutors have this correct, let’s just say that the optics on this story will not help Democrats According to an indictment resulting from the Oil for Food scandal, Saddam Hussein footed the bill for three Congressional Democrats to visit Iraq and argue against military intervention:

Federal prosecutors say 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.

An indictment in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti 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. …

The lawmakers are not mentioned but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. There was no indication the three lawmakers knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.

The trip cost Saddam 2 million barrels of oil. To give that some perspective, Saddam allegedly paid George Galloway about 18 million barrels for his consistent outspoken support as a member of Parliament. Millions of barrels went to other politicans in France, Russia, and elsewhere as the means to keep the UN humanitarian mission in operation and to keep the US from calling a halt to Saddam’s rule.

Bonior, Thompson, and McDermott apparently didn’t know about Al-Hanooti’s connection — but they don’t appear to have asked, either. Instead, they got snookered into a ploy by Saddam to buy some American dissent at a time when our nation still reeled from the deaths of 3,000 people in a terrorist attack. Wouldn’t the possibility of exploitation have crossed their minds — and shouldn’t the three Congressmen have asked the FBI to check out Al-Hanooti at the time?

In fact, the three of them broadcast the Saddam propaganda straight from Baghdad, as the Weekly Standard reported at the time:

The controversy ignited on September 29 when Bonior and McDermott appeared from Baghdad on ABC’s “This Week.” Host George Stephanopoulos asked McDermott about his recent comment that “the president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war.”

McDermott didn’t backpedal at all: “I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation. . . . It would not surprise me if they came out with some information that is not provable, and they, they shift it. First they said it was al-Qaeda, then they said it was weapons of mass destruction. Now they’re going back to and saying it’s al Qaeda again.” When Stephanopoulos pressed McDermott about whether he had any evidence that Bush had lied, the congressman replied, “I think the president would mislead the American people.”

An American official floating unsubstantiated allegations against an American president during a visit to Baghdad would be troubling enough. But McDermott compounded his problem by insisting, despite its twelve years of verifiable prevarication, that the Iraqi regime should be given the benefit of the doubt on inspections and disarmament. Said McDermott on “This Week”: “I think you have to take the Iraqis on their face value.”

It helps to take them at their “face value” when they’re not hiding the facts. For instance, by this time the OFF program had put billions into Saddam’s pockets, thanks to the widespread corruption and kickbacks it generated. Saddam and his IIS had begun putting that money into organizations like Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Army of Mohammad in Bahrain, both groups part of the same al-Qaeda network that attacked the US a year prior to this junket.

I don’t think Bonior, McDermott, or Thompson deliberately sold themselves out to shill for Saddam’s propaganda machine. I think they were stupid enough to get caught in a trap and didn’t care enough about putting their own nation’s priorities ahead of their political careers to see the trap for what it was. They wanted their Baghdad photo op, and they got it — courtesy of Saddam Hussein.

Update: Don Nickles was prescient 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.”

I think he meant it figuratively. YMMV.

Update II: Galloway is Scottish, but doesn’t represent a Scottish district. I’ve made the reference more generic.

Update III: Debbie Schlussel has been covering this story for some time and has more details.  For that matter, so has the boss.


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Oh. my. God.

wise_man on March 26, 2008 at 6:44 PM

There is no shortage of Useful Idiots in the Democrat Party.

Buy Danish on March 26, 2008 at 6:44 PM

Oh they are SO screwed. But the Media will do its damndest to hide it from the American public

Defector01 on March 26, 2008 at 6:46 PM

2,000,000,000 barrels of oil. Now THAT’s a grim milestone.

Exurban Jon on March 26, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Treason?

Chakra Hammer on March 26, 2008 at 6:49 PM

They were snookered by Saddam, Saddam out smarted the democrats, so its not treason. LOL

Yea, right.

Chakra Hammer on March 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Maybe they were undercover, marking targets for invasion airstrikes. Or……..maybe they are traitors shilling for a monster. It could go either way.

AIRBORNESHUFFLE on March 26, 2008 at 6:52 PM

I can’t believe this! This is a crime against the United States!
Can’t anyone get arrested over this!

redshirt on March 26, 2008 at 6:53 PM

I hope this will get played up to the max. My wife and I will be moving from the burbs into Seattle later this year. I would love to see Baghdad Jim disgraced to the point that he won’t be reelected. The thought of him as my Congressman is hard to take.

If he is reelected, it shows poorly on the citizens of Seattle. He’s already been convicted for the cell phone eavesdropping case. Now we are being reminded that he was providing aid and comfort to the enemy. The guy’s a loon. But, this is Seattle.

Mallard T. Drake on March 26, 2008 at 6:53 PM

What about Pelosi and Kerry that publicly went to kiss the feet of our enemies?

Is this the next line of excuses for treason in the democrat party?
I wuz Duped?

Kini on March 26, 2008 at 6:55 PM

As I am wont to do; I’ll quote or paraphrase those who are smarter than me… This calls for Charles Johnson… “Imagine my surprise…”

darkpixel on March 26, 2008 at 6:55 PM

Please, Baghdad Jim is gonna get a boost in his district for this.

doubleplusundead on March 26, 2008 at 6:56 PM

don’t think Bonior, McDermott, or Thompson deliberately sold themselves out to shill for Saddam’s propaganda machine.

Why? What is the evidence that these guys are loyal Americans? Haven’t we seen in this election season that the overwhelming majority of demofasists put party ahead of country? This is the same thing as excusing barry’s membership in wrights church as a cynical political move. His past and current political associations, legislative voting record, friends, his wife’s words and recent moral equivalency speach support the charge that he was a member of that church because he believes the message. Same as most demofascists who defend thier patriotism. Most evidence is usually to the contrary.

peacenprosperity on March 26, 2008 at 6:56 PM

There’s a lot on Muthanna Al-Hanooti in Google.

For example, his name comes up in this WND story about CAIR being a “Turnstile for Terrorist Suspects”.

Buy Danish on March 26, 2008 at 6:56 PM

Rope. Tree. Traitors. Some assembly required.

HerrMorgenholz on March 26, 2008 at 7:03 PM

George Galloway is Scottish, but he represents the Bethnal Green and Bow district of London.

flipflop on March 26, 2008 at 7:05 PM

I wonder how many barrels of oil it cost Saddam to fund the CNN news bureau that shilled for him, too.

RushBaby on March 26, 2008 at 7:05 PM

So let me get this straight. If I put up the money to send these three asshats on a one-way fact-finding trip to Hell, they’d just go without asking any questions?

I’m in.

Cicero43 on March 26, 2008 at 7:07 PM

Nothing surprises me anymore. We make laws to avoid the laws and flim-flam politicos go on picking pockets without any fear of getting jail time. These boys need to be put on a row boat, with one oar, and told to make for the horizon.

Limerick on March 26, 2008 at 7:09 PM

The Dems didn’t want to ask too many questions about Muthanna Al-Hanooti because that would be “ethnic profiling”.

Vote Sauron 08 on March 26, 2008 at 7:10 PM

What you want to bet that 40% of today’s Democratic party have no problem at all with what these three did and feel sympathetic to ol’ Saddam trying to stop that evil, eeeevil Bush?

Sugar Land on March 26, 2008 at 7:10 PM

The trip cost Saddam 2 million barrels of oil.

Wonder how much Sean Penn cost.

Seriously, these Congressmen are traitors and should be prosecuted.

highhopes on March 26, 2008 at 7:16 PM

Wouldn’t the possibility of exploitation have crossed their minds — and shouldn’t the three Congressmen have asked the FBI to check out Al-Hanooti at the time?

Thats like asking the cat if the trough is wet.
They know it is but they’re just way too indignant to be asked.

Speakup on March 26, 2008 at 7:16 PM

When will Americans turn their back on these traitors! These democrats know what they do, they also know no one will do anything about it. Imagine a republican doing this, this would have been exploited by the dems and repubs would have shunned them. I cry for my country!

csvdsaint on March 26, 2008 at 7:18 PM

To give that some perspective, Saddam allegedly paid George Galloway about 18 million barrels for his consistent outspoken support as a member of Parliament.

I’d point out here that Galloway didn’t pocket the net worth of those 18 million barrels. He would have pocketed the “kickback” amount on them, which is still a lot of money. His business associate fed $445,000 to Galloway’s political organization, in addition to around $150,000 to his wife’s account, along with $15,000 to Ron McKay, Galloway’s spokesman.

Galloway still claims, with a straight face, that he never got any money from Saddam…

Seixon on March 26, 2008 at 7:19 PM

Bah. They’re Dems, they’ll skate.

Midas on March 26, 2008 at 7:19 PM

Seriously, these Congressmen are traitors and should be prosecuted.

highhopes on March 26, 2008 at 7:16 PM

Yes they should but Boosh left his balls with the Texas Rangers.

Wade on March 26, 2008 at 7:21 PM

What you want to bet that 40% of today’s Democratic party have no problem at all with what these three did and feel sympathetic to ol’ Saddam trying to stop that evil, eeeevil Bush?

Sugar Land on March 26, 2008 at 7:10 PM

40%? You underestimate.

I suspect you won’t find enough to count on both hands that would find true fault with these guys.

Midas on March 26, 2008 at 7:22 PM

Er, perhaps I meant ‘overestimate’.

Midas on March 26, 2008 at 7:30 PM

Little Green Footballs is reporting that Muthanna Al-Hanooti has been indicted as a spy. I’m feeling that shadenfreude again.

Tom McLaughlin on March 26, 2008 at 7:34 PM

…. but they were under sniper fire. Doesn’t that count for anything?

Seven Percent Solution on March 26, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Don’t you dare question their patriotism!

WisCon on March 26, 2008 at 7:36 PM

Wade on March 26, 2008 at 7:21 PM

Oh! I think the real value in these facts would be diminished by actual prosecution (as much as it is deserved). By just having this trio of Quislings activities exposed, all Democrats- especially those that approved of the “fact finding” mission- can be tarred as the traitors they are.

highhopes on March 26, 2008 at 7:44 PM

Nyuk…nyuk…nyuk…these congressmen sure gone crazy! Hey Moe! Hey Larry! the food for oil……

dmann on March 26, 2008 at 7:46 PM

Ah yes! “Baghdad” Jim McDermott of Washington, the True Voice of America!

And The Official Poster Child For Congressional Term Limitation!

pilamaye on March 26, 2008 at 7:46 PM

Democratic corruption/incompetence/treason has GOT to become this years election theme.

Iblis on March 26, 2008 at 7:48 PM

Don’t you dare question their patriotism!

WisCon on March 26, 2008 at 7:36 PM

Well they’re going to have to choose: either I question their patriotism or I question their sanity. This was either a treasonous trip or a dementia detour. I’m willing to give them a pass on the treason thing, so long as they’ll admit to being utterly and completely insane.

Rational Thought on March 26, 2008 at 7:58 PM

Democrapic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California, treasonous ba$tards.

And as Michelle states on her signature website, the above idiots have been “bought and paid for”.

I can’t wait to hear Pelosi and Reid defend the indefensible.

Zorro on March 26, 2008 at 7:59 PM

Galloway is Scottish, but doesn’t represent a Scottish district.

Makes me ashamed of my Scottish heritage.

Bonior, McDermott, and Thompson

Make me ashamed to be American. They’ll give the benefit of the doubt to a murderous, raping thug who started two wars and starved his own people, but will also assume that their own democratically elected president will lie to them — when they had the same intelligence they had.

rbj on March 26, 2008 at 8:00 PM

They should have all been arrested for this. Logan Act, giving aid and comfort to the enemy, foreign agents, whatever. This kind of crap needs to stop.

I wonder how many other foreign intelligence services are funding Congressional activities…?

CP on March 26, 2008 at 8:01 PM

It seems that this Muthanna Al-Hanooti, Saddam’s Hanooti, is related to the imam Al-Hanooti in Virginia who helped the 9/11 terrorists.

Connections.

Buddahpundit on March 26, 2008 at 8:02 PM

What’s up with the “Malaki gives Madhi Army 3 Days or Else” thread only getting limited posts? Biggest news of the War since the invasion in my book. If Malaki is threatening the pukes in the heart of Sharia/Iran proper, this is big. Big Big.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 26, 2008 at 8:02 PM

It seems that this Muthanna Al-Hanooti, Saddam’s Hanooti, is related to the imam Al-Hanooti in Virginia who helped the 9/11 terrorists.

Connections.

Buddahpundit on March 26, 2008 at 8:02 PM

Correction. He was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Buddahpundit on March 26, 2008 at 8:09 PM

The gift bag containing autographed copies of Saddam’s book, photo albumn, CD and travel guide and a personalized thank you note should have been a clue.

moxie_neanderthal on March 26, 2008 at 8:18 PM

Is it me, or is the curtain finally being drawn on the Democrats? Exposing these Marxist is long overdue.

chief on March 26, 2008 at 8:24 PM

I guarantee some Dem will call these guys heroes before this blows over.

Maquis on March 26, 2008 at 8:35 PM

Arrested? Investigated? What are you thinking!?!?! They’re Democrats.

This will get them boosted to higher profile committee leadership positions. Heck, one might even be the next Speaker of the House, or maybe even Vice-President.

mojojojo on March 26, 2008 at 8:59 PM

Ho hum. Treason has become a contact sport and the defecrats are winning by 10,000 to zilch.

Besides, this is a resume enhancer for them.

BowHuntingTexas on March 26, 2008 at 9:00 PM

They should have all been arrested for this. Logan Act, giving aid and comfort to the enemy, foreign agents, whatever. This kind of crap needs to stop.

I wonder how many other foreign intelligence services are funding Congressional activities…?

CP on March 26, 2008 at 8:01 PM

Well, the Saudis own the State Dept and its alumni (including one Joseph Wilson IV), and the Chinese and Uzbeks have both bought Bill Clinton, none of which caused much of a stir at the time, so I doubt this will either unfortunately.

18-1 on March 26, 2008 at 9:01 PM

Kirsten Powers is super sexy for a Liberal apologists.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 26, 2008 at 9:08 PM

If the government investigators have a singing canary with a paper trail, Levinworth has a wonderful general population this time of year.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 26, 2008 at 9:10 PM

This is priceless,I see a Hollywood movie that needs to
be made,maybe Michael Moore could give it a go!

The three wise Liberals who went to see Saddam and
almost averted a war,from a Liberal perspective of
course!

And how does one say treason,especially when the side
that was doing the treason were calling for Bushs
impeachment!

canopfor on March 26, 2008 at 9:20 PM

Y’all do know that this isn’t really new info????

A lot of us who were paying attention and knew how to add 2+2 and come up with 4 knew of it when it happened. Bush, His Justice department, The Congressional and Senate Ethics and Intel committees knew about it……. and chose to do nothing about it.

If this doesn’t blow over again, and we see some actual charges against these guys, I’ll be glad, but I fully expect it to be swept under the table by Monday.

LegendHasIt on March 26, 2008 at 9:22 PM

I think they were stupid enough to get caught in a trap and didn’t care enough about putting their own nation’s priorities ahead of their political careers to see the trap for what it was.

Yeah, thank God they were only stupid and didn’t care.

And I object to that smear of Moe, Larry and Curly (etc) on the front page. Neither in their acting nor in real life did the Stooges mollycoddle dictators.

Dusty on March 26, 2008 at 9:25 PM

Ed:
There’s actually a lot more to this story, and–since I have been a target of Hanooti and his partner Mohammed Alomari–I have the exclusive details here.
DS

Debbie Schlussel on March 26, 2008 at 9:44 PM

Ed:
There’s actually a lot more to this story, and–since I have been a target of Hanooti and his partner Mohammed Alomari–I have the exclusive details here.
DS

Debbie Schlussel on March 26, 2008 at 9:44 PM

Debbie Schlussel on March 26, 2008 at 9:45 PM

As I am wont to do; I’ll quote or paraphrase those who are smarter than me… This calls for Charles Johnson… “Imagine my surprise…”

darkpixel on March 26, 2008 at 6:55 PM

It quite possible that Charles Johnson is smarter than you but the fact that he’s able to quote a three-word line from Herman Melville doesn’t prove he is in any way smart himself.

aengus on March 26, 2008 at 10:18 PM

Can any sign of an intelligent mind be demonstrated on LGF?

“Imagine my surprise, nay my consternation” when without moving from his blog, Charles Johnson in a singularly mild, firm voice, replied, “I would prefer not to.”

aengus on March 26, 2008 at 10:24 PM

aengus on March 26, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Youth is afforded its discretions: I can comment at LGF but rarely if ever do. The ability to disregard content and substance is indeed afforded to those that DO NOT CARE, albeit I relish the pure emotion/energy/irreverance that is generated by Rusty. LGF is on the patrol schedule, their provisions for posting topics and the multi-site sidebar menu links are superior to HA offerings. Thankfully, they and many other sites compliment each other and offer the discriminating surfer a truely narely time! (ok GOOD LT.)

dmann on March 26, 2008 at 10:54 PM

We might as well just abolish all Federal laws relating to treason since nobody seems willing to enforce them.

As for me, I wrote those pricks’ names down when I saw them over there, and am not surprised by this news. Although it seems the only thing that will accomplish is raising my blood pressure.

Cylor on March 26, 2008 at 11:12 PM

I can’t wait to hear Pelosi and Reid defend the indefensible.

Zorro on March 26, 2008 at 7:59 PM

To whom? The drive-bys will never question them, and the maroons who voted them in likely support them even more now.

The only guy who might question these traitors is that guy who cornered Murtha and Kerry.

91Veteran on March 26, 2008 at 11:14 PM

We had one of the perps hung. I’m for hanging the other three!

wepeople on March 26, 2008 at 11:21 PM

dmann on March 26, 2008 at 10:54 PM

That’s fair.

aengus on March 26, 2008 at 11:58 PM

Did’nt you folks know that they are congressmen. They can do anything.

Johan Klaus on March 27, 2008 at 1:22 AM

I don’t think Bonior, McDermott, or Thompson deliberately sold themselves out to shill for Saddam’s propaganda machine.

I don’t think Bonior, McDermott, or and Thompson deliberately sold themselves out to shill for Saddam’s propaganda machine.

Mojack420 on March 27, 2008 at 1:28 AM

I think that Samuel Clements and Will Rogers were one hundred percent correct when describing politicians.

Johan Klaus on March 27, 2008 at 1:29 AM

McDermott is a shameless shill for despots everywhere that hate America.

Taking money from Saddam doesn’t surprise me, he will claim that he doesn’t know, but I believe he also showed up and supported George Galloway’s Miriam’s Appeal charity that was a front for Galloway getting money from Saddam.

Skeptic on March 27, 2008 at 1:35 AM

Nothing surprises me anymore. We make laws to avoid the laws and flim-flam politicos go on picking pockets without any fear of getting jail time. These boys need to be put on a row boat, with one oar, and told to make for the horizon.

Limerick on March 26, 2008 at 7:09 PM

Yeah but 0 oar causes prayer to Neptune for a wind of guidance.

Monas on March 27, 2008 at 8:54 AM