Monday, March 27, 2006
The Bush administration will ask Russia about a report that Moscow turned over information on American troop movements and other military plans to Saddam Hussein during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday.
"Any implication that the, that there were those from a foreign government who may have been passing information to the Iraqis prior to the invasion would be, of course, very worrying," Rice said on CNN's "Late Edition."
Rice declined to speculate on whether Russia's actions, as detailed in a Pentagon report based on captured Iraqi documents, resulted in casualties among U.S. troops or what Russian President Vladimir Putin knew about any possible Russian involvement.
"We want to take a real hard look at the documents and then raise it with the Russian government," Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service has dismissed the allegation that Moscow provided information to Hussein.
"I think we need an entirely new assessment of our relationships with Russia, should this be true," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) told CBS's "Face the Nation." He questioned whether President Bush should attend the July summit of the world's economic powers, the Group of Eight, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A Pentagon report released last week said two captured Iraqi documents indicate that Russia obtained information from sources "inside the American Central Command" in Qatar. Russia passed battlefield intelligence to Hussein through the then-Russian ambassador in Baghdad, Vladimir Titorenko, the Pentagon report said.
Rice, who was Bush's national security adviser at the time of the invasion, said she knew nothing of these reports back then.