Saddam Paid for Lawmakers' Trip to Iraq
Three congressmen unaware he financed visit in 2002
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2008 8:45 PM CDT
Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly funded a trip to Iraq for three congressmen before the US invasion, prosecutors allege.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Saddam Hussein secretly paid for a trip made by three congressmen to Iraq in 2002  just ahead of the US invasion, the AP reports. The congressmen, all of whom opposed the war, did not know Saddam financed the trip because he funneled the money through a nonprofit group in Michigan. Federal prosecutors in Detroit today charged a member of that group with acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.

"Obviously we didn't know it at the time," said Rep. Jim McDermott, who went on the trip with fellow Democrats David Bonior and Mike Thompson. "The trip was to see the plight of the Iraqi children." During the trip, they questioned the need for war, drawing criticism from Republicans. The indictment claims Muthanna Al-Hanooti conspired with Iraqi intelligence agents and received 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil for his work, notes the Detroit Free Press.