WASHINGTON - The top American commander in Iraq said Tuesday that the US has "direct intelligence" that two senior Iraqi officials in charge of keeping Saddam Hussein loyalists out of the Baghdad government have ties to Iran.
Gen. Raymond Odierno says Ali al-Lami and Ahmed Chalabi "are clearly influenced by Iran" and have attended senior-level meetings with members of the hardline Shi'ite regime there.
Odierno told an audience at the Institute for the Study of War that al-Lami "has been involved in various nefarious activities in Iraq for sometime" and called it "disappointing" that he was put in charge of the commission.
Al-Lami and Chalabi "are clearly influenced by Iran. We have direct intelligence (that) tells us that," Odierno said.