Four civilian contractors from Reston-based DynCorp International were present during the Iraqi police raid on the home and offices of former exile leader Ahmed Chalabi in Baghdad, the U.S. occupation authority has confirmed.
Officials of Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress have said that Americans in civilian clothes, holding rifles and wearing body armor, directed the Iraqi police on what rooms to go into and what items to take. The Americans did not enter Chalabi's home but did enter the Iraqi National Congress offices that also were raided May 20, Chalabi's associates said.
The presence of DynCorp employees at the raid was first reported by the Baltimore Sun. DynCorp declined to comment.
A spokesman for the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority said the DynCorp employees were "international police advisers." DynCorp, a subsidiary of Computer Sciences Corp. of San Diego, has a $50 million State Department contract to provide 1,000 advisers to help organize Iraqi law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
At a May 21 briefing in Baghdad, Dan Senor, a spokesman for the provisional authority, said that civilian contractors whom he would not identify were at the raid "to observe and advise the Iraqi police during this operation, as they do on numerous operations."
Military officials have said that the raid was an Iraqi police action with backup from U.S. soldiers, and that no one from U.S. intelligence agencies was present.
The role of contractors in sensitive operations has raised concerns among some in Congress as the military increasingly depends on civilians for work once done by soldiers.
Chalabi was once considered the Pentagon's pick to run postwar Iraq but has fallen out of favor. U.S., INC and Iraqi police officials have said the raid was part of investigations into corruption, kidnapping and robbery. Chalabi has not been charged, and calls to his Boston attorney were not returned. Chalabi has called the raid retaliation for his criticism of U.S. policy in Iraq.
Staff writer Scott Wilson in Baghdad and researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this report.