“Who’s Lying?”

In their “Inside the Ring” column, Washington Times reporters Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough question a recent New York Times report that the FBI has begun polygraphing DoD civilians regarding an alleged leak of classified information:

Who’s lying?

The breathless headline in a major daily newspaper read yesterday, “Polygraph Testing Starts at Pentagon in Chalabi Inquiry.”

Trouble is, no one at the Pentagon with whom we checked knows of anyone in the building being polygraphed by the FBI. Nor has the Pentagon been notified by the FBI that it is investigating the supposed leak of classified information to Ahmed Chalabi, who heads the Iraqi National Congress.

“No official has been polygraphed or told to expect to be polygraphed,” a Pentagon official said. The official and others said there has been no notification from the FBI that anyone is under investigation and needs to be questioned, in the Chalabi matter.

The case broke open when the United States intercepted a cable from an Iranian spy in Baghdad to Tehran saying that Iran’s code had been broken by the Americans and that Mr. Chalabi was the source for this information.

An FBI spokesman said he did not know whether anyone at the Pentagon had been questioned. He said the bureau is investigating whether any government official leaked classified information to Mr. Chalabi or his group that found its way to Iran.

Why, ask Pentagon officials, would the Iranians disclose such a development in a cable they know will be read by the United States? Some suspect the whole episode is a plot by Tehran to discredit Mr. Chalabi, a Shi’ite who opposes Tehran’s hard-line, Shi’ite theocracy.

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