March 25, 2006 -- 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.
'Inside the American Command'
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:
1) Regarding the "position paper" that we gave them on March 23, 2003 (subject of our letter 459 on March 23, 2003), he mentioned that the Russian FM is convinced of what was in it, and that it's time to raise the issue of the American aggression against Iraq at the Security Council. The Russian ambassador to the U.N. has therefore asked his counterparts from China, France and Germany to discuss the issues of the Iraqi position paper and prepare for a proposal to be presented to the Security Council. The Russian FM sees that the possibility of success of the proposal nonexistent because the Anglo-Saxons have the veto power. But Russia still considers Security Council discussions important to communicate the nature of the American-British action against Iraq as an aggression with unilateral use of power outside of international law, the U.N. charter and the Security Council resolutions. When the Security Council fails to adopt a resolution, the issue will be transferred to the U.N.'s General Assembly. The Russian FM proposes that Iraq coordinates with Arab countries and the nonallied movement to request a Security [Council] meeting.
2) Regarding Kofi Anan's proposals about changes to the Oil-for-Food program, the Russian FM told Russia's permanent representative at the U.N. to stop any discussions about Kofi Anan's proposals. A meeting will be held in Paris on March 27, 2003, to be attended by the presidents of the organizations at the foreign ministries of Russia, France, China and Germany to agree on proposals to be presented by these countries about the program.
3) The info that Russia obtained through its sources at the U.S. central command in Doha indicates that the Americans are convinced that occupying the Iraqi cities is impossible. They therefore changed their way [strategy] and depend on deployment along the Euphrates River from Basra in the south to al Qa'em in the north, while avoiding entering the cities. The goal is to isolate Iraq from its western borders. The Americans also plan to occupy [take control] of the oil wells in Kirkuk.
4) There is information indicating that Jordan agreed to receive the fourth U.S. mechanical unit. This unit was supposed to enter Turkey. After the Turkish parliament rejected this, it changed its destination. It is crossing the Suez Canal now and is expected to go to Aqaba.
5) The Russian ambassador mentioned recently that he had informed us two days ago about the U.S. special units [Delta and Baba] based on Russian intelligence info [the subject of our letter 446 on March 20, 2003] while he did not have orders to give us this information. Yesterday Iraqi intelligence officers called their counterparts at the Russian Embassy inquiring about this issue, mentioning that the Russian ambassador in Baghdad was the source of the info, which caused him embarrassment. He requested that we don't mention the source of info he provides us with when discussing it with other Russian parties.
[The rest of the document details a meeting of Arab countries at the United Nations.]
The following is excerpted from a second document obtained by ABC News, with clarifications indicated in brackets:
The Presidency/The Secretary
Subject: Meeting the Russian Ambassador
We would like to inform you that the Russian ambassador met with the director general of foreign economic relations and the director general of grains and apprised us of the following:
1. Facilitate without delay the travel of the Russian experts who work on our ministry's projects between March 5 and 8, because the last airplane will take off on March 9. He stated that the request to evacuate the Russian nationals has come on orders from the Russian president.
2. He stated that Russia along with France and Germany -- with the expectation that they will be joined by Syria and China -- have prepared the proposal of a resolution opposite the American-British proposal presented to the Security Council. The two proposals will be voted on March 9. He indicated that it is expected that some countries on the Security Council like Pakistan, Chile and Kenya will abstain.
3. During this meeting, the ambassador provided the following pieces of information about the American military presence in the Gulf and the region as of March 2
Number of troops 206,500 among them 98,000 Navy, 36,500 infantry and 90 percent of them are in Kuwait and on board U.S. Navy ships.
U.S. troops have arrived on Bobyan island [in Kuwait]
Number of tanks 480
Armored cars 1132
Apache helicopters 735
Fighter planes 871
Units of the U.S. Navy fleet 106, of which 68 are in the Gulf and the rest in Oman, Eden, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
Aircraft carriers 5, one nuclear, three in the Gulf, one in the Mediterranean and another on its way.
Cruise Missiles 583 on the U.S. Navy fleet and distributed on 22 naval pieces
Cruise Missiles loaded on airplanes 64
Heavy B-52 aircraft [bombers] 10 in the Indian Ocean
B-1B [could also read B-18] aircraft 8 in a U.S. base in Oman (Tamarid Center)
4. The Ambassador indicated that what worries us is the increase in the number of airplanes in Jordan and stated that their current number in the Sult Base is as follows:
F-16 aircraft [fighters] 24
Tornado aircraft 10
Carrier aircraft 11
As he indicated, there are also 5 aircraft in the King Faisal Base in Jordan of the A-10 anti-tank type.
5. The Ambassador also stated that a number of the troops of the 82nd brigade, which was stationed in Afghanistan, have begun to arrive in Kuwait and that 750 of them have arrived thus far.
[The document continues, but a page is missing.]