- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 6, 2004

BAGHDAD — An arrest warrant has been issued for Ahmed Chalabi’s right-hand man in Baghdad, American consultant Francis Brooke, who tried to stop the recent raid on the politician’s headquarters in the Iraqi capital, an Iraqi judge said.

Judge Zuhair Al-Maliky of the central criminal court in Baghdad said Mr. Brooke, who is believed to have returned to Washington, had obstructed the Iraqi police.

“[Mr. Brooke] stopped the raid by telling the police they didn’t have the legal power to do it because he was an American and they were Iraqis,” the judge said. “As a result, the raid didn’t go as planned. The warrant is for interfering with the work of the Iraqi police in their legitimate business.”

The United States recently withdrew its support for Mr. Chalabi, who was once its favored candidate to run post-Saddam Iraq. The FBI is investigating claims that Mr. Chalabi passed classified information to Iran, accusations he denies.

The inquiry was launched after U.S. intelligence officers intercepted a message sent by Iranian spies in Baghdad to Tehran. The message purportedly reported how Mr. Chalabi told the Iranians that Washington’s code-breakers had cracked the Iranians’ communications channels — information Mr. Chalabi said had been let slip by a “drunken American.”

Mr. Brooke, who is an evangelical Christian, has worked with Mr. Chalabi since 1990 — first as a consultant paid by the CIA and most recently as a consultant for BKSH and Associates, a company run by Charlie Black, a Republican Party veteran.

Reports from Iran suggest Mr. Brooke acted as an intermediary between Washington and Tehran, passing letters between the two governments, which do not have diplomatic relations.

Mr. Brooke could not be reached for comment yesterday, although a colleague in Baghdad said the arrest warrant was part of a politically motivated campaign to discredit Mr. Chalabi and his followers.

Mr. Brooke has boasted of engineering the war on Iraq by providing the United States the evidence it was seeking on weapons of mass destruction.

“I’m a smart man,” he told the New Yorker magazine last week. “I saw what they wanted, and I adapted my strategy.”

Charles Laurence in New York contributed to this article.

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