I should have thought of this. Our failure to determine the nature of the new Iraq government has other unanticipated side-effects. Among them, we think the new government is too closely aligned with Iran. And, therefore, we refuse to turn over any of the intelligence files we have acquired, either through occupying the old intelligence agency buildings and carting away their files, or through the espionage that we have carried out since.

The CIA has so far refused to hand over control of Iraq’s intelligence service to the newly elected Iraqi government in a turf war that exposes serious doubts the Bush administration has over the ability of Iraqi leaders to fight the insurgency and worries about the new government’s close ties to Iran.

The director of Iraq’s secret police, a general who took part in a failed coup attempt against Saddam Hussein, was handpicked and funded by the U.S. government, and he still reports directly to the CIA, Iraqi politicians and intelligence officials in Baghdad said last week. Immediately after the elections in January, several Iraqi officials said, U.S. forces stashed the sensitive national intelligence archives of the past year inside American headquarters in Baghdad in order to keep them off-limits to the new government.

Iraqi leaders complain that the arrangement violates their sovereignty, freezes them out of the war on insurgents and could lead to the formation of a rival, Iraqi-led spy agency. American officials counter that the new leaders’ connections to Iran have forced them to take measures that protect Iraq’s secrets from the neighboring Tehran regime.

The dispute also highlights the failure of the Bush administration to establish a Western-leaning, secular government in Baghdad following the 2003 invasion.

The Iraqi intelligence service “is not working for the Iraqi government – it’s working for the CIA,” said Hadi al Ameri, an Iraqi lawmaker and commander of the Badr Brigade, formerly the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. SCIRI is the driving force behind the powerful Shiite coalition that swept the parliamentary elections.

“I prefer to call it the American Intelligence of Iraq, not the Iraqi Intelligence Service,” al Ameri continued during an interview last week at his heavily guarded home in Baghdad. “If they insist on keeping it to themselves, we’ll have to form another one.”
Yahoo: Knight-Ridder

This impasse will have to be resolved somehow. Iraq cannot be a sovereign nation if the CIA remains its intelligence agency.

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