Russian officials deny their ambassador passed details of America's war plan to Saddam Hussein's government before the Iraqi war, despite Iraqi documents that suggest otherwise.
"Similar, baseless accusations concerning Russia's intelligence have been made more than once," Russian Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman Boris Labusov said. "We don't consider it necessary to comment on such fabrications."
"To my mind, from my understanding, it's absolutely nonsense and it's ridiculous," Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia's U.N. mission in New York, told The Associated Press. "Somebody wants to say something, and did -- and there is no evidence to prove it."
Zakharova said the U.S. government had not shown Russian officials the Iraqi documents, which are posted below by ABC News.
According to those documents obtained by the U.S. government, Vladimir Teterenko, the Russian ambassador in Baghdad, gave specific details of the planned action to Iraqi officials before the United States went to war with Iraq in 2003.
The documents' account of Teterenko's revelations included the specific number of troops, tanks, fighter planes and cruise missiles, along with other highly sensitive information.
"That they would actually pass such specific information to the Iraqis that could possibly compromise our troops and put them at risk, that is frustrating and it is disturbing," said former U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane, now an ABC News consultant.
Two Iraqi documents say the Russians collected information from sources "inside the American central command" and that Teterenko provided battlefield intelligence to Saddam Hussein.
The second document details a meeting with Teterenko four days after the start of the war. It gives alarming information about the top-secret U.S.-coalition war plan. It cites information Russia obtained through its sources at the U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar. "The Americans," it says, will "depend on deployment along the Euphrates River … while avoiding entering the cities."
A Pentagon study released today concludes, however, that the information didn't do Saddam Hussein any good because he never acted on it -- though it proved to be accurate.
In a twist of fate, Teterenko was injured when U.S. forces accidently fired on his convoy as he attempted to leave Baghad three weeks after the war started.
Representatives of the Russian government in Washington and New York did not return calls for comment on this story. Teterenko is now the Russian ambassador to Algeria.
Following is an excerpt from the first document, translated by ABC News. It is one of many released by the U.S. government. Clarifications of the text by ABC News appear in brackets.
The full documents can be found on the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office Web site: http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/products-docex.htm.
Secret and Urgent
The Presidency of the Republic, Mr. Secretary
Subject: The aggression against Iraq
Date: March 25th, 2003
First, the Russian ambassador informed us on March 24, 2004 of the following: