ABC News: A senior State Department official told ABC News that the United States will not be going public with any evidence it has on Iran’s activities in Iraq.
Jan. 30, 2007 A senior State Department official told ABC News that the United States will not be going public with any evidence it has on Iran’s activities in Iraq.
The official contradicted a previous statement made by the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad. In a briefing with reporters last week, Khalilzad had said that the United States will provide details on its case against Iran very soon.
According to the State Department official, Khalilzad and the military leadership in Iraq had planned to present the evidence this Wednesday, but the State Department and the White House objected. Concerns were raised about revealing sensitive intelligence and about the echoes of intelligence failures on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
An American embassy spokesman in Iraq has also told ABC News that, “the ambassador promised and I would hold him to his word.” He did not, however, give a specific date on when the presentation would happen.
Recent assertions by the Bush administration point to Iran as responsible for part of the chaos in Iraq, saying that the Iranian government has been arming Shiite militias inside Iraq.
The U.S. military in Iraq has detained Iranians in at least two separate instances in the last few weeks.
While speaking with ABC News’ Betsy Stark, President Bush said that “all options are on the table” when it comes to dealing with Iran, but the United States has no plans to invade Iran.
Similarly, White House spokesperson Tony Snow said that there is “evidence that the Iranians have been involved in activities that have led to the deaths of American soldiers and also the deaths of innocent Iraqi civilians — and to the extent that that kind of activity continues, we will respond appropriately.”
The evidence was expected to include material seized after U.S. forces arrested several Iranians in Baghdad on Dec. 21. Those Iranians were eventually released and sent back to Iran.
One official said that the material seized during the raid includes evidence tying the top leadership of Iranian intelligence to an extensive effort to provide funding, arms and training to Shiite militia fighters in Iraq.
For now, it seems that officials have decided not to make any of this information public.