Monday, August 09, 2004

Here's an interesting turn of phrase:

Q I understand that you don't want to comment on these charges that have been leveled against Ahmed Chalabi by the Iraqi government on counterfeiting. You said that already. But given the fact that he was once a welcome figure around the White House and other federal buildings in this town, does the President now feel that Ahmed Chalabi is a totally discredited figure? And is concerned about Chalabi's being in Iran and that he may be in some way vetting the Iranian nuclear project or turning over some information that could be harmful to the United States? Is he concerned about Chalabi?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, I think we have talked about this issue previously. His future will be decided by the people of Iraq, if he wants to continue to be involved in Iraq 's future. Iraq is a sovereign nation now. They're moving forward on building a free and peaceful and stable future. This latest investigation, that is a matter for Iraqi authorities to handle. They're working to address that matter We would expect that due process be followed. The rule of law is part of the new Iraq, and so we would expect there to be due process.

Q Apart from the counterfeiting charge, based on other allegations that have come out regarding Chalabi, as far as this White House is concerned, is Chalabi is not welcome around here?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, he is someone who is an Iraqi citizen, he is -- and his future will be determined by the Iraqi people, if he seeks to have a future role in that country. So this is bigger than any one person, what is going on in Iraq.

Is Scottie trying to imply that the charges against Chalabi are just a wedge to drive him out of the Iraqi political scene? Or is he simply trying to distance Chalabi from the White House, by portraying it as an internal Iraqi problem?

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