The FBI investigated allegations that a CIA agent involved in covert operations in Iraq encouraged an assassination attempt against Saddam Hussein, Newsweek said in its editions on newsstands today.
No evidence of illegal activity was found, and the agent was later decorated by the CIA for his work in Iraq, the magazine said.
The agent, code-named Bob, informed CIA headquarters of a plan by an Iraqi resistance group to ambush the Iraqi president’s convoy on a vulnerable stretch of road and kill him, the report said.
Bob was ordered to discourage the resistance fighters from even attempting the ambush, it said. It was not clear if the ambush ever took place.
The CIA is prohibited by U.S. law from plotting to assassinate foreign leaders.
The report said Bob also was involved in the failed 1996 attempt by the Iraqi National Congress, a coalition of anti-Saddam groups, to foment an uprising. Other Iraqi dissidents refused to join the National Congress, and Iraqi tanks moved into northern Iraq in August 1996 to end the resistance and destroy the CIA operation in the region.
Anthony Lake, then the White House national security adviser, learned at the last minute of the planned National Congress attacks and sent Bob a cable telling him to inform the rebels their plan had been compromised and risked failure.
It said Iraqi resistance leaders also said Bob promised that U.S. warplanes would hit Saddam’s tanks if they moved north against them. Bob told his superiors he made no such promise.