Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Double Weasel?

If a double agent is one who works for both sides simultaneously, does this make Germany a double-weasel, stabbing both sides in the back at the same time?

A classified US military study states categorically that the Germans provided details about Saddam Hussein's plans for the defence of Baghdad. Since the spy issue first arose last month, the Berlin government has been repeatedly forced on the defensive. It issued a denial yesterday.

A copy of the US study was obtained by Michael Gordon, chief military correspondent of the New York Times, who has co-written Cobra 11: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, to be published by Pantheon in America and Atlantic Books in Britain next month. A New York Times report yesterday was based on the book.

The study, which reconstructs Saddam's military strategy, was prepared in 2005 by the US Joint Forces Command. It says that two German agents based in Baghdad gained access a month before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 to a sketch, covered in clear plastic, showing the proposed defensive lines for Baghdad, and that a German intelligence officer based in Qatar handed it to US intelligence. The sketch is identified as a plan presented at a meeting of Saddam and his senior commanders in December 2002.

A German government spokesman said yesterday: "This account is wrong. The Federal Intelligence Service, and therefore also the government, had until now no knowledge of such a plan."

hat tip: Ed Morrisey


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