(cnn) -- documents obtained by cnn reveal the united states knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by saddam hussein's regime, and did so to shore up alliances with iraq's neighbors.
the oil trade with countries such as turkey and jordan appears to have been an open secret inside the u.s. government and the united nations for years.
the unclassified state department documents sent to congressional committees with oversight of u.s. foreign policy divulge that the united states deemed such sales to be in the "national interest," even though they generated billions of dollars in unmonitored revenue for saddam's regime.
the trade also generated a needed source of oil and commerce for iraq's major trading partners, turkey and jordan.
"it was in the national security interest, because we depended on the stability in turkey and the stability in jordan in order to encircle saddam hussein," edward walker, a former assistant secretary of state for near east affairs, told cnn when asked about the memo documents.
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