US Used UN Weapons Program
To Spy On Iraq For Three Years
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S intelligence agents entered Iraq and spied on its military for three years under the guise of UN arms control inspectors, according to the Washington Post.
The newspaper said today that the UN Special Commission was not aware it had been infiltrated by U.S. spies and did not authorize or benefit from the operation.
Clinton administration officials have acknowledged gaining valuable information about Iraq as a byproduct of its co-operation with UNSCOM in rooting out Saddam Hussein's forbidden missile, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.
But the administration has disputed claims that U.S. intelligence directly used UNSCOM to penetrate Iraq's security forces and undermine the Iraqi regime.
"Our support was specifically tailored to facilitate the UN Special Commission's mission and for no other purpose," State Department spokesman James Rubin said in early January.
The Post, citing government employees and documents describing classified operations, said U.S. agents rigged UNSCOM equipment and office space -- without permission -- to intercept Iraqi military communications between commanders and infantry and armoured forces in the field.
American intelligence agents infiltrated the system when UNSCOM changed the arrangement it used to monitor distant sites in Iraq with video cameras. The U.S. technicians who installed and maintained the system were intelligence operatives, and they hid antennas capable of intercepting transmissions in the equipment, the newspaper said.
At least two other technicians lent by the U.S. government to run the remote camera system for UNSCOM were employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, according to the Post.