- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 15, 2003

The U.S. government has ordered an Iraqi journalist to leave the country, saying he has been engaged in "activities considered harmful to U.S. national security" language that typically means espionage.
The Iraqi government swiftly retaliated by ordering Fox News correspondents in Baghdad to leave.
Iraqi News Agency reporter Mohammad Hassan Allawi, who has been based at the United Nations for two years, denied any wrongdoing yesterday.
"I have done nothing wrong," he said to reporters yesterday, even as the Security Council debated Iraq behind closed doors. "I have covered the Security Council, the United Nations. I haven't left the United Nations. I haven't done anything bad."
Mr. Allawi received a letter Wednesday from a diplomat at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on Wednesday, ordering him and his family to leave the country in 15 days.
The longtime INA correspondent, 38, and previously based in Baghdad, has five children and lives in a midtown Manhattan apartment supplied by the Iraqi government.
The INA is the government's official news agency and is operated by the Ministry of Information. There was no mention of the incident on its English-language Web site yesterday evening.
"The United States, after consultations with the United Nations, has requested the departure of a correspondent for the Iraqi News Agency," said Patrick Kennedy, a diplomat at the U.S. Mission who deals with host-country matters such as expulsions. "The correspondent was engaged in activities outside the scope of his job functions. These activities were considered harmful to U.S. national security."
Mr. Kennedy declined to say exactly what Mr. Allawi is accused of doing. Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq's U.N. ambassador, defended Mr. Allawi's work yesterday, saying he is a professional journalist and not a spy.
Fox News reporters in Baghdad were told yesterday they have 48 hours to leave the country.

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