BAGHDAD - U.S. authorities detained a top aide to former Iraqi exile leader and Bush administration ally Ahmad Chalabi last year and accused him of helping Iranian-backed militants kidnap and kill American and British soldiers and contractors.
The aide, Ali Feisal al-Lami, said he was quizzed about Iranian agents, senior Shiite Muslim politicians and deadly bombings. Then, Lami said, he asked his American interrogator: "Have you ever been to the White House?"
"He said, 'No,'" Lami said in an interview. "I told him, 'Well, I have.'"
Al-Lami said he had visited the White House with Chalabi in November 2005 and met with a senior administration Mideast expert.
By August 2008, however, whenLami was arrested at the Baghdad airport, the U.S. command considered him a dangerous man with links to Shiite terrorist groups and Iranian intelligence.
He was released without charges last month after a 352-day detention, a fourth of it spent in what he said was a secret U.S.-run prison in Iraq.
American officials in Iraq confirmed that Lami was detained, but they declined to reveal where he was held before the detention facility at Camp Cropper in Baghdad, where the U.S. military holds high-profile detainees.
It was impossible to verify other details of Lami's account.
His story may be another example of how the Bush administration turned to Shiite Iraqi exiles, including Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, for intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorism, most of which turned out to be false or exaggerated. The administration later accused them of collaborating with Iran against the U.S. presence.
America's current and former Shiite allies are still the most powerful political blocs in Iraq.
Ex-soldier gets life for rape, killings in Iraq
A federal judge on Friday sentenced a former soldier to five consecutive life sentences for his role in the rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager and the slaying of three of her family members in 2006. A civilian jury in Paducah, Ky., convicted Steven Dale Green, 24, of Midland, Texas, in May of raping Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, 14, conspiracy and multiple counts of murder. Green shot and killed the teen's mother, father and sister, then became the third soldier to rape her before shooting her in the face. Three other soldiers received lengthy military sentences up to 110 years but will become eligible for parole in seven years. Another who had a lesser role was released from military prison after serving 27 months. Green was tried in federal court because by the time the Army pressed charges in June 2006, he had been honorably discharged.