What did Baghdad Jim know and when did he know it?

Saddam Hussein’s spy agency financed a trip to Baghdad for US Congressmen prior to the start of the Gulf War. The Justice Department took great pains, in the indictment of the guy who arranged the trip, to state that there is “no information whatsoever” that the Congressmen knew who was paying for the trip.

That’s nice. But here’s what they did know.

  • They didn’t pay for it themselves. It wasn’t a vacation.
  • Their offices didn’t pay for it. It wasn’t a taxpayer funded junket.
  • Tobacco companies, oil companies and all the other much abused US special interests didn’t pay for it. It wasn’t a lobbyist funded junket.
  • A “charity” associated with Islamist fundamentalists, of exactly the sort used to funnel money to Hamas and Hezbollah, did pay for it. Two years after Al Qaida attacked the US, three US Congressmen thought they were taking a trip funded by Islamist fundamentalists. I’m not sure that it matters that they didn’t know the trip was actually funded by the relatively civilized Saddam Hussein.

So, the question is, “What did Baghdad Jim McDermott, David Bonior and Mike Thompson know and when did they know it?”

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