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Detroit Free Press
WASHINGTON -- House intelligence committee chairman Rep. Peter Hoekstra and Rep. Curt Weldon met secretly in Europe last week with an Iranian exile who CIA officials charge has passed worthless or bogus intelligence to the United States, current and former U.S. government officials said.
The Paris meeting appears to be the latest incident in which players outside the intelligence community try to affect U.S. foreign policy by highlighting threats that the CIA and other agencies find dubious.
In some ways, it echoes the claims by Iraqi exiles that President Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction, claims proven to be false after the U.S.-led invasion.
Weldon, R-Pa., says in a new book that the Iranian exile, whom he calls "Ali," told him of Iranian-sponsored terrorist plots against the United States.
But the CIA says it has wasted hundreds of hours checking the claims of Ali -- whose real name is Fereidoun Mahdavi -- and that they're a mix of fabrications and embellishments of news reports, according to a letter from the CIA to Weldon.