287. Telegram From the Interests Section in Baghdad to the Department of State1

476. For Assistant Secretary Atherton. Subject: Intelligence Activity in Iraq.

1. During recent consultations with NEA/ARN Director-designate Day I stressed extreme importance of U.S. covert intelligence agencies not rpt not attempting to [1 line of text not declassified]. I assume Department is equally sensitive to great risk involved in discovery of any such activities but I wish to bring my opinions to your personal attention.

2. No country in the Middle East is more paranoid than Iraq about interference in its internal affairs and real and imagined activities of foreign intelligence services, particularly CIA. The reasons for this are found in recent Iraqi history and well known to you. Secondly, Iraq has probably most effective and omnipresent intelligence services of any Arab country and they are anxious to justify their special power by un[Page 782]covering foreign interference, again real or imagined. In addition, they almost certainly have intelligence exchanges with the KGB and other Communist services. Nor do I rule out the possibility of joint operations where Soviet-Iraqi intelligence services ojectives coincide.

3. I have been told that Soviet Embassy and ICP officials have warned the GOI about [3½ lines not declassified]. The Soviets would like nothing better than to see this prediction come true and can be counted on to do their best to see that it does, [1½ lines not declassified]. Should an incident take place, it would have disastrous consequences [2 lines not declassified]. Regime would almost certainly take drastic measures against us.

4. I recognize that this may sound as if I too am becoming paranoid, but I am already aware [9½ lines not declassified].

5. I recommend that the Department make clear to all USG intelligence services that Iraq is off limits for this type of activity. [2½ lines not declassified] I do not know of any suspected target in Iraq at this time which could justify taking this risk.

6. Although I have classified this message as Nodis I of course have no objection to it being given to other agencies.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, Box 14, Iraq—State Department Telegrams, To SECSTATE–NODIS. Secret; Nodis.