Skip to content or view screen version

CIA Accused Of Bank Heist

Gordon Thomas | 20.08.2003 23:26 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Repression | World

Shortly before U.S. forces began streaming across the Iraqi border, commencing Persian Gulf War II, the CIA and the Department of Defense, with a little help from Israel and some Europeans, pulled off a massive bank heist in Iraq to the tune of several billion dollars.

The CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) are accused by International Currency Review, the London-based journal, of mounting a joint ultra-secret operation to electronically remove an estimated $10 billion out of the Iraqi Central Bank hours before the start of Persian Gulf War II. The whereabouts of the money is not known.

"We believe it is in a secret CIA fund which will be used to mount further special services operations, such as tracking down Saddam Hussein," said the Review’s publisher, Christopher Story.

Story is a former financial advisor to Lady Thatcher when she was Britain’s prime minister. In the past 10 years, he has testified before several congressional committees dealing with financial scandals.

DIA coordinates all intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is headquartered in the Pentagon.

The report is titled "The Great Robbery of the Central Bank of Iraq." It has been sent to finance ministers of leading nations, the World Bank, the Bank of England and heads of all other major banks.

The report is bound to cause huge embarrassment to President Bush after he signed an executive order on March 23, ordering a worldwide hunt for the hidden assets of Saddam Hussein and his family.

The Review claims that using skilled hackers recruited by the DIA and key Iraqi bank officials who had been bribed to provide secret access codes to the Central Bank’s accounts for Saddam Hussein and his family, the money was transferred out of the bank in a high-tech operation.

According to the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative agency of Congress, Saddam was estimated to have accumulated "$6.6 billion between 1997 and 2000 from illegal oil smuggling and from illicit deals connected with the United Nations oil for food program."

But a substantial portion of that money may have been lifted by the secret CIA/DIA operation.

The operation, claims the Review, was masterminded by the CIA/DIA out of a military facility, Redstone Arsenal, in Alabama. It is the base for U.S. Special Ser vices.

"The money was laundered through a number of CIA controlled accounts, including some held in the Discount Bank of Israel, Credit Suisse in Switzerland and the Dresdner Bank in Germany," said Story.

He confirmed that Germany’s secret service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) is checking with the major German banks on electronic transfers, which could match the $10 billion.

The Review states in its 25-page report that it had questioned a key member of the operation. She is identified as "Nelda Rogers, a debriefing officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency."

"She was in Germany last year when American intelligence officials were devising covert operations ahead of the long-planned conflict. She has revealed that a covert operation targeting the Central Bank of Iraq took place prior to and during the war. The operatives involved were military ‘black operations’ personnel brought into service for this purpose," said Story.

The Review claims that Rogers and a team of ten DIA operatives were financed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They were supported by CIA agents in Iraq.

"In all, 100 people were involved in the operation," says the report. "The Department of Agriculture has been consistently used to hide payments for U.S. covert operations," claimed Story, whose headquarters are close to Whitehall.

The Review states: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture is used as a paymaster for certain DIA ‘black operations’ because it has traditionally remained unscrutinized."

"Like the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Treasury’s secret Exchange Stabilization Fund, the Department of Agriculture is yet another federal agency which benefits from a special exemption from rigorous auditing by the General Accounting Office."

The Review also states it has testimony from Rogers that the operation was designed to "purloin the Iraq Central Bank’s assets ahead of the arrival of U.S. troops in Baghdad. This suggests that the operation was designed for a nefarious purpose, rather than to help use it for the rebuilding of Iraq."

After interviewing Rogers and "a number of U.S. intelligence operatives," Story confirmed he received three warnings to stop his investigation.

"I was told that 19 people are very dead as a result of trying to cover what you are exposing," Story wrote in an editorial in the Review.

The Review costs $475 a copy and is one of a small group of titles that Story publishes on financial intelligence for the world banking community.

Gordon Thomas