Iraqi state television today reported that US Vice President Dick Cheney was in Baghdad, but US officials said Cheney was not in the capital.
State-run Iraqiya TV and the private Al-Arabiya TV station both reported Cheney had arrived in the Iraqi capital this morning, apparently to visit American troops for the Thanksgiving holiday.
But Lt Col Christopher Garver said that the vice president was not in Iraq “as far as we know".
When the vice president’s office announced last night that he would leave Washington tomorrow for a trip to Saudi Arabia, it gave no indication that he also would visit Iraq.
For security reasons, previous visits to Iraq by President George Bush, Cheney and other high administration officials have not been made public in advance, but have been disclosed immediately upon their arrival – regardless of whether they were accompanied by reporters or travelling without a press contingent.
For example, Attorney General Albert Gonzales travelled unannounced and without reporters to Iraq in August, but his visit was disclosed to the press in Baghdad and Washington immediately upon his arrival.