This is the true story of Ahmad Chalabi, fraudster, statesman, banker, math whiz and aesthete, whose legendary charisma and charm - and almost hypnotic powers of persuasion - helped propel the United States to war in Iraq. This extraordinary investigative biography - written by an Emmy Award-winning journalist who works for NBC's Investigative Unit - exposes massive white-collar mischief, sophisticated international espionage operations, and political intrigue spanning the globe from Tehran to Texas. Chalabi was a shrewd Iraqi Arab from a family of Shiite bankers. Aram Roston tracked down forgotten Chalabi business partners and friends and dug through the records from courthouses around the world. The book reveals how this convicted felon, fugitive from justice in Jordan, and ally of the Iranian government managed to charm and influence the top leaders fo the United States, including US senators like John McCain. The book has the inside story of Chalabi's pre-war propaganda operations the exclusive details of Chalabi's financial dealings and political access.
Although the agenda to invade Iraq was in place well before 9/11, many insiders maintain it wouldn't have happened without the subject of this lively, often dismaying biography. A child when his wealthy parents fled Iraq during the 1958 revolution, Chalabi attended college in America before entering his family's banking business in 1977. Moving easily in Washington social circles, he joined Iraqi groups opposed to Saddam Hussein. Other exiles enjoyed grassroots support; Chalabi had something better: contacts among American leaders who preferred him to bearded clerics or exotic Kurds. Although he had no political credentials, he insinuated himself in-and was funded by-the CIA, the State Department, and the Department of Defense. His denunciations of Hussein appealed to the neoconservative movement; most significantly, his spurious claims affirming that Hussein was harboring WMDs marshaled much of the public support for the war. Readers will shake their heads as Roston reminds them that leading newspaper and TV journalists accepted these fictitious claims as facts. The author's obvious dislike of Chalabi is shared by the journalists and officials who fell under his spell and now feel betrayed. Although the bungled occupation of Iraq has severely undermined Chalabi's influence in his power base-American neoconservatives-interviews with those who knew him portray a complex, charismatic figure who won over na ve Americans by telling them what they wanted to hear. Readers will find an avalanche of disturbing information to chew over, although they will often find themselves gnashing their teeth.