AAM: More on the Terrorist Parliamentarian
MILES O'BRIEN: A new crisis for Iraq's leaders. It turns out one of the members of Iraq's parliament is a convicted terrorist.
CNN's Michael Ware first broke the story. He joins us now live from Baghdad.
Michael, who is he and what is he accused of?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miles, this member of parliament's name is Jamal Jafaar Mohammed, although he goes by many names. This man was convicted in Kuwait in 1984 for blowing up a U.S. embassy, no less.
U.S. military intelligence also links him to the hijack of at least one Kuwaiti airliner back in the '80s in a bid to free other members of the car bombing or embassy bombing plot. American military intelligence also links him to one attempted assassination on a Kuwaiti prince.
Now, this fellow later went on to become the commander of an Iraqi element of the Iranian armed forces, a position he left just shortly before the invasion when he returned to covert operations. U.S. military intelligence now says that under the cover of parliamentary privilege, with the immunity from prosecution that that gives him, he is now a conduit for Iranian special forces as they run weapons and political influence in and out of Iraq. It says that he is a part of assisting Shia insurgents to this day -- Miles.
O'BRIEN: Wow. That's amazing. Now, the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, what can he do about it, and what does this mean about the effectiveness of his government at this point?
WARE: Well, it says many things. The first thing is, there's little Maliki can actually do. Maliki says this is now a parliamentary issue.
He has called upon the U.S. to now present its large body of information to the Iraqi parliament and let them decide. It's only the parliament that can lift the immunity. But the question is, how did this man end up there in the first place?
He was elected in December 2005, in the elections that the Bush administration held up as a model of success for the region to follow. Now, one U.S. official I spoke to said the fact that this fellow is in the parliament, a man who is said to have masterminded the bombing of U.S. and French embassies, the official said to me, "well, given his background, given how good he is at covert operations, at spying, at moving without detection, given how many false names he has, you cannot blame us. It's not beyond the realm that these things would happen."
The irony, Miles, is that the name that he is registered in the Iraqi parliament is the same name that the Kuwaiti court sentenced him to death in absentia for bombing the American embassy.
O'BRIEN: Wow. Talk about hiding in broad daylight there.
All right. Michael Ware in Baghdad.
ALINA CHO: A new crisis for Iraq's leaders. It turns out one of the members of Iraq's parliament is a convicted terrorist. CNN's Michael Ware first broke the story, and he's live with us now from Baghdad.
Michael, so who is this guy and what is he accused of?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alina, this is one of the members of the Iraqi parliament known here as Jamal Jafaar Mohammed, although he has many names, given his background. U.S. military intelligence calls him the joint or co-mastermind of the 1983 car bombing of the U.S. and French embassies. Indeed, a Kuwaiti court found him guilty in absentia of playing a role in a series of attacks, including the embassy bombings, and sentenced him to death.
Now, he eventually moved to Iran, where he came to command an Iraqi element of the Iranian armed forces, and then shortly before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, he reverted back to covert operations.
In the U.S.-sponsored elections in December, 2005, the dominant Shia Political Alliance nominated him as a candidate, and he was elected to parliament. He now has immunity from prosecution, yet U.S. military intelligence now tells the Iraqi government that he is helping support Shia insurgents and is a conduit for Iranian special forces.
CHO: CNN's Michael Ware live for us in Baghdad.
Michael, thank you.