- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2020

One of the men identified by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a leader of the Iran-backed siege of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was welcomed to the White House in 2011 by President Barack Obama.

Hadi al-Amiri was photographed outside the U.S. Embassy during the siege and was singled out by Mr. Pompeo as an Iranian “proxy” abetting terrorists who stormed the embassy walls and set fires.

In December 2011, Mr. Amiri was serving as Iraq’s minister of transport when he attended a meeting in the Oval Office with Mr. Obama, the Daily Mail reported. He was with then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr. Amiri is a former commander of the Badr Corps militia, which was funded by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

At the time that Mr. Obama hosted the meeting, then-Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of the House Foreign Affairs Committee expressed outrage that the president would allow Mr. Amiri into the White House. He was suspected at the time of a link to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel.

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican, told The Washington Times in 2011 that it was “extremely disturbing that the White House would see fit to welcome al-Amiri to a discussion on the future of Iraq.”

“If anything, he should be subject to questioning by the FBI and other appropriate U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies,” she said at the time. “The victims of Khobar Towers and the families of thousands of U.S. troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq deserve no less.”

The truck bombing was later blamed on Iran and Hezbollah.

On Twitter, Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani on Thursday called the disclosure “the legacy of Obama & his #POINTMAN for Iraq, VP Biden, who failed” to reach a “status of forces” agreement so U.S. troops could remain in Iraq beyond 2011. The withdrawal of U.S. troops was blamed for the subsequent rise of the Islamic State extremist group.

Mr. Giuliani also highlighted a lucrative deal that Mr. Biden’s younger brother, James, obtained in 2011 as executive vice president of the HillStone International construction company to build 500,000 houses in Iraq.

“Brother James, however, was much more successful for the Biden Family Enterprise, obtaining 1/3 of a $1.5B housing deal in Iraq,” Mr. Giuliani tweeted. “James knew as much about housing as Hunter did about Oil & gas.”

Mr. Biden’s son Hunter was paid at least $3 million for his position with a Ukrainian gas company while his father was the Obama administration’s point person on Ukraine policy.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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