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8/31/2004

F. Michael Maloof

The Boston Globe article discussed below mentions F. Michael Maloof as allegedly involved in a back-door effort to subvert the Syrian regime. This Knight Ridder article has necessary background information on Maloof:

WASHINGTON - A veteran Pentagon employee who was a key player in the effort to find links between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida has been stripped of his security clearance, according to senior U.S. officials.

The employee, F. Michael Maloof, is associated with a Lebanese-American businessman who is under federal investigation for possible involvement in a gun-running scheme to Liberia, the West African nation embroiled in civil war. The businessman, Imad El Haje, approached Maloof on behalf of Syria to seek help in arranging a communications channel between Syria and the Defense Department.
Also according to Knight Ridder, Maloof and Imad El Haje were involved in the backchannel efforts of Iraq to avoid the U.S. invasion.
Early this year, a Lebanese-American businessman, Imad El Haje, relayed word that Saddam would allow U.S. experts and troops into Iraq to verify that he had no weapons of mass destruction, said the officials, who requested anonymity.

El Haje sent his message through a Department of Defense official, F. Michael Maloof, who was involved in a Pentagon effort to find links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden, and Richard Perle, the head of a Pentagon advisory panel who was a leading advocate of invading Iraq.

U.S. officials said none of the approaches went anywhere. They were deemed either fraudulent or attempts by Saddam to stall for time to allow international opposition to a U.S.-led attack to build, they said.

 

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