Saturday September 6, 2008
Iraq wants explanation on reported U.S. spying on PM
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will seek an explanation from U.S. officials about a report asserting the United States spied on Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi government spokesman said on Friday.
The Washington Post said on Friday that a book by U.S. journalist Bob Woodward reported that the United States spied on Maliki and other Iraqi leaders.
"If it is true ... it reflects that there is no trust," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.
Iraq will ask the United States for an explanation, he said.
"If it is true, it casts a shadow on the future relations with such institutions," he added, referring to the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. agencies.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino declined to comment on the report, detailed in Woodward's fourth book on U.S. President George W. Bush, entitled "The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008."
"We have extensive cooperation with Prime Minister Maliki. Our ambassador sees him almost daily," Perino told reporters.
"To the extent that they (the Iraqi government) have any concerns, because we have the good relationship that we have with them -- which is one that's been very open and frank, and we have contact with them every single day -- I'm sure that they'll be talking about it," she added.
Woodward writes that the surveillance of the Iraqi prime minister caused concern among several senior U.S. officials, who questioned whether it was worth the risk given Bush's efforts to earn Maliki's trust, The Washington Post reported.
At the State Department, spokesman Robert Wood also sidestepped direct comment on the book, instead emphasizing the "good working relationship" Washington had with Maliki.
"I don't have anything to say, other than, you know, I read books, but I don't do book reviews, basically," Wood said.
(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington)
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