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JINSA/PNAC Zionist (Neocon) Spy Unit Skirted CIA on Iraq
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:48 pm    Post subject: JINSA/PNAC Zionist (Neocon) Spy Unit Skirted CIA on Iraq Reply to topic

When you read the following, keep in mind that Douglas Feith is a JINSA/PNAC Zionist extremist Jew who is pictured at www.nowarforisrael.com as we really need to put the heat on these nefarious traitors to America (like Feith, Bolton, Perle, etc) who have no problem spending the lives of US soldiers (over 600 thus far in Iraq) for their 'protect Israel at all cost' agenda:

http://www.latimes.com/la-na-tenet10mar10,1,267466.story

THE NATION

Spy Unit Skirted CIA on Iraq

Pentagon group's role in shaping White House views about ties between Hussein and Al Qaeda was greater than known, Senate panel hears.





IRAQ WAR 2003

INTELLIGENCE SERVICES

TENET GEORGE J

IRAQ WAR 2003 INTELLIGENCE SERVICES DEPARTMENT OF

THE NATION

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE U S


By Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — A special intelligence unit at the Pentagon privately briefed senior officials at the White House on alleged ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda without the knowledge of CIA Director George J. Tenet, according to new information presented at a Senate hearing Tuesday.

The disclosure suggests that the controversial Pentagon office played a greater role than previously understood in shaping the administration's views on Iraq's alleged ties to the terrorist network behind the Sept. 11 attacks, and bypassed usual channels to make a case that conflicted with the conclusions of CIA analysts.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Tenet said he was unaware until recently that the Pentagon unit had presented its findings to the offices of Vice President Dick Cheney and national security advisor Condoleezza Rice. It is not clear whether Cheney or Rice were present for the briefing, which was mentioned in a Defense Department letter released by the Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

In a wide-ranging hearing, Tenet said violence in Iraq was on the upswing, but that he thought there was a "low probability" that strife would prevent the United States from handing authority to an interim Iraqi government on July 1.

Although the hearing was billed as a session to discuss international security concerns, it was marked by heated exchanges reflecting the political tensions over the Iraq war and the failure to find weapons the Bush administration cited as the principal reason for last year's U.S.-led war.

Tenet came under sharp attack from Democrats, who called the prewar intelligence a "fiasco," pointed to what they said were disturbing disparities between classified CIA estimates and more alarming versions released to the public before the war, and criticized the CIA director for saying recently that the agency never portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat.

"The fact that the intelligence assessments before the war were so wildly off the mark should trouble all Americans," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the committee.

It was under questioning from Levin that Tenet acknowledged that he did not know until within the last few weeks that a special Pentagon intelligence analysis unit had briefed the White House on ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

"I did not know that at the time, and I think I first learned about this at [a congressional] hearing last week," Tenet said. A U.S. intelligence official said Tenet first learned of the White House briefing Feb. 24 during a closed hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The Pentagon unit was created by Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of Defense for policy, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The unit was a handful of intelligence analysts, Feith has said, and was established to examine state sponsorship of terrorism, but is principally known for its efforts to assemble evidence linking Iraq to Al Qaeda.

It has been reported previously that the so-called Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group presented its findings to the CIA in August 2002. But in a letter to Warner released Tuesday for the first time, Feith said the group's briefing "was also given to National Security Council and Office of Vice President staff members."

Levin asked Tenet whether it was "standard operating procedure" for intelligence analysis to be presented to the White House without his involvement.

"I don't know," Tenet replied. "I've never been in the situation."

Tenet emphasized that he briefed President Bush personally almost daily, and that his was "the definitive view about these subjects."

"I know you feel that way," Levin replied, making it clear he wasn't convinced.

Levin said the committee had obtained copies of the Pentagon group's written briefing material, and that the version presented to the White House included material omitted from the briefing for the CIA. He declined to elaborate, saying the documents were classified.

A government official familiar with the briefings said the presentation for the White House included a slide sharply critical of the CIA for failing to recognize evidence pointing toward collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda. That slide was excluded from the briefing at CIA headquarters at Langley, Va.

The government official said those briefed at the White House included the staff of Stephen Hadley, the deputy national security advisor, and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff.

The Pentagon intelligence group was disbanded before the war, but remains under scrutiny because of its controversial mission and role.

Critics say it sifted through years of intelligence reports on Iraq, seizing on shards that supported the contention that there was collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and then funneling the information to senior policymakers to help bolster the case for war. Pentagon officials reject that characterization.

Many of the group's findings have been disputed by the CIA and other agencies, who say there is a history of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda but no evidence of an operational relationship. But administration officials continue to cling to the theme, and polls show many Americans believe that Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

In January, Cheney said "there's overwhelming evidence there was a connection between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government." Cheney has touted the work of the Pentagon group, saying a Feith memo that lists Iraq-Al Qaeda connections and was leaked to the media is the "best source" on the subject.

Tenet said Tuesday that the CIA "did not agree with the way the data was characterized in that document," and that he intended to contact Cheney to caution him about its conclusions. "I learned about [Cheney's] quote last night when I was preparing for this hearing," Tenet said. "And I will talk to him about it."

Some lawmakers said that if Tenet did not believe Iraq was an imminent threat — as he said in a recent speech at Georgetown University — he should have done more to challenge the prewar assertions by Bush and others casting Hussein's regime as a danger that required immediate military intervention.

"You can't have it both ways, can you, Mr. Tenet?" said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "You can't on the one hand just say look, we never said that war was imminent, and then have this superheated dialogue and rhetoric [from the White House] … and tell us here before the committee that you have no obligation to correct it or didn't even try."

Tenet shot back: "I'm not going to sit here today and tell you … what I did or what I didn't do, except that you have the confidence to know that when I believed that somebody was misconstruing intelligence I said something about it."

Kennedy then asked Tenet whether he believed the administration "misrepresented the facts to justify the war." Tenet responded, "No, sir, I don't."

Dissecting a key prewar intelligence estimate on Iraq's weapons program, Levin cited a number of cases in which he said the CIA or the administration hardened its language or dropped caveats to bolster the case for war. A declassified version of the report warned that Iraq's alleged weapons stocks could be used "against the U.S. homeland," language he said was missing from the classified text.

In another example, Levin cited the CIA's assessment in its classified analysis that Iraq would supply weapons to Al Qaeda only under "desperate" or "extreme" circumstances, qualifiers missing from the public version of the report.

Democrats attacked Tenet for allowing recent statements by administration officials to go unchallenged. Cheney, in particular, has reiterated claims that the intelligence community has backed away from, including comments suggesting Iraq might have been complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks, and that Iraqi trailers seized by American forces are "conclusive" evidence that Iraq had banned weapons.

Urged by Levin to be more swift and assertive in correcting public statements by White House officials, Tenet said, "Sir, it's a fair point."

Republicans on the committee accused Democrats of using the hearing to score political points against the Bush administration as the presidential election is heating up.

Some Republicans defended Tenet, and said he should not have to answer for the prewar claims made by policymakers. The CIA director "is not their keeper," said Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), the chairman of the committee.

Even Republicans who were not involved in the hearing reacted to Democrats' criticisms. One, Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in a television interview called Kennedy and Levin "two old attack dogs gumming their way through artificial outrage about something they should know a lot more about and be more responsible about."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-03-09-iraq-intel_x.htm

Tenet: CIA lax in policing Iraq war claims

By John Diamond, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — CIA Director George Tenet acknowledged Tuesday that his agency was "wildly inconsistent" about policing White House statements on Iraq before the invasion last year. The result, Democrats say, is that Bush administration exaggerations about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction went unchallenged.

CIA chief George Tenet told senators Tuesday that his agency did not consistently police White House statements on Iraq.
By Dennis Cook, AP
Senate Democrats pressed the nation's top spy on whether Tenet had a responsibility to ensure policymakers did not overstate the CIA's carefully qualified intelligence reports. With the presidential campaign under way, the senators made clear their real target was not Tenet but President Bush.But the CIA chief said he had no major problems with the case the administration made for going to war. And when asked by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., whether he thought the White House had misrepresented facts to justify the war, Tenet said, "No sir, I don't." Under heated questioning by Senate Democrats, Tenet said he was too busy to check every public utterance by Bush administration officials. Kennedy contrasted Tenet's insistence that the CIA never characterized the Iraqi threat as "imminent" with pre-war warnings by the Bush administration about the "grave" and "unique and urgent" threat posed by Iraq."You can't have it both ways, can you, Mr. Tenet?" Kennedy said. "If you're saying that there was no immediate threat and you hear either the president, the vice president, the secretary of Defense using that super-heated rhetoric, we have to ask, what is your responsibility?"Tenet replied, "I have a responsibility. I lived up to my responsibility." Tenet said that when he was aware that a senior administration official exaggerated the Iraqi threat, he took action internally.But Tenet said there were times when he was unaware of administration statements or failed to ensure that a concern he had raised previously was not later ignored.• Tenet said the CIA did not "approve" a Jan. 20, 2003, Bush administration report to Congress referring to Iraqi "attempts to acquire uranium." The CIA had previously told the White House not to repeat that charge because there was no intelligence to support it. Even so, Bush cited the claim just days later in his State of the Union address.• Tenet learned only last week that senior Pentagon official Douglas Feith had briefed White House officials and senators about alleged connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda. "We did not clear on that document," Tenet said. Tenet said that when CIA officials complained, the Pentagon issued a correction. "I don't know that I did (correct the record) in this instance," Tenet said. "I don't know that I listened to it or was made aware of it."
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:25 pm    Post subject: The (Neocon) Lie Factory Reply to topic

Robert Dreyfuss discusses (on the 'Democracy Now' radio program which broadcast nationally in the USA on Pacifica Radio) his excellent 'The (Neocon) Lie Factory article mentioned below at the following URL:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/06/1527224

Subj: The (Neocon) Lie Factory
Date: 1/9/04 5:21:34 PM Pacific Standard Time
From:
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Sent from the Internet (Details)




Friends,

The (Neocon) Lie Factory

This is an excellent article by Jason Vest and Robert Dreyfus discussing how the neocons took over Defense Department intelligence and used it to propagandize for war against Iraq, especially with the creation of the Office of Special Plans. Thus neocon dominance went far beyond the existence of a few leading individuals, such as Wolfowitz, Feith, or Perle. Rather, the leading neocons brought in other members of their ilk and concomitantly purged those career officials who were resistant to their war mission. All the neocons worked together to promote the war. "’It was organized like a machine," she [Karen Kwiatkowski] says. ‘The people working on the neocon agenda had a narrow, well-defined political agenda. They had a sense of mission.’" A close analogy was the success of the old Soviet-directed Communists to take over liberal and leftist organizations (and some governments) by virtue of their discipline and organization. The neocons, however, achieve greater success without the external, formal discipline of the Communist Party. They seem to have innate talent here. But it also might be added that the neocons are able to act more openly—in part because to oppose to them brings on the lethal charge of "anti-Semite," which is far more deadly than "red-baiter."



_________________________

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2004/01/12_405.html



MotherJones.com / News / Feature

The Lie Factory

Robert Dreyfuss, Jason Vest. Mother Jones. San Francisco: Jan/Feb 2004. Vol. 29, Iss. 1; pg. 34



Only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq. Here is the inside story for how they pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war. BY ROBERT DREYFUSS & VEST



IT'S A CRISP FALL DAY IN WESTERN VIRGINIA, a hundred miles from Washington, D.C., and a breeze is rustling the red and gold leaves of the Shenandoah hills. On the weather-beaten wood porch of a ramshackle 90-year-old farmhouse, at the end of a winding dirt-and-gravel road, Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski is perched on a plastic chair, wearing shorts, a purple sweatshirt, and muddy sneakers. Two scrawny dogs and a lone cat are on the prowl, and tne air is filled with swarms

So far, she says, no investigators have come knocking. Not from the Central Intelligence Agency, which conducted an internal inquiry into intelligence on Iraq, not from the congressional intelligence committees, not from the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. All of those bodies are ostensibly looking into the Bush administration's prewar Iraq intelligence, amid charges that the White House and the Pentagon exaggerated, distorted, or just plain lied about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda terrorists and its possession of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. In her hands, Kwiatkowski holds several pieces of the puzzle. Yet she, along with a score of other career officers recently retired or shuffled off to other jobs, has not been approached by anyone.

Kwiatkowski, 43, a now-retired Air Force officer who served in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia (NESA) unit in the year before the invasion of Iraq, observed how the Pentagon's Iraq war-planning unit manufactured scare stories about Iraq's weapons and ties to terrorists. "It wasn't intelligence-it was propaganda," she says. "They'd take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don't belong together." It was by turning such bogus intelligence into talking points for U.S. officials-including ominous lines in speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell's testimony at the U.N. Security Council last February-that the administration pushed American public opinion into supporting an unnecessary war.

Until now, the story of how the Bush administration produced its wildly exaggerated estimates of the threat posed by Iraq has never been revealed in full. But, for the first time, a detailed investigation by Mother Jones, based on dozens of interviews-some on the record, some with officials who insisted on anonymity-exposes the workings of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and of the Defense Department's war-planning task force, the Office of Special Plans. It's the story of a close-knit team of ideologues who spent a decade or more hammering out plans for an attack on Iraq and who used the events of September 11, 2001, to set it into motion.

SIX MONTHS AFTER THE END of major combat in Iraq, the United States had spent $300 million trying to find banned weapons in Iraq, and President Bush was seeking $600 million more to extend the search. Not found were Iraq's Scuds and other long-range missiles, thousands of barrels and tons of anthrax and botulism stock, sarin and VX nerve agents, mustard gas, biological and chemical munitions, mobile labs for producing biological weapons, and any and all evidence of a reconstituted nuclear-arms program, all of which had been repeatedly cited as justification for the war. Also missing was evidence of Iraqi collaboration with Al Qaeda.

The reports, virtually all false, of Iraqi weapons and terrorism ties emanated from an apparatus that began to gestate almost as soon as the Bush administration took power. In the very first meeting of the Bush national-security team, one day after President Bush took the oath of office in January 2001, the issue of invading Iraq was raised, according to one of the participants in the meeting-and officials all the way down the line started to get the message, long before 9/11. Indeed, the Bush team at the Pentagon hadn't even been formally installed before Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of Defense, and Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of Defense for policy, began putting together what would become the vanguard for regime change in Iraq.

Both Wolfowitz and Feith have deep roots in the neoconservative movement. One of the most influential Washington neoconservatives in the foreign-policy establishment during the Republicans' wilderness years of the 1990s, Wolfowitz has long held that not taking Baghdad in 1991 was a grievous mistake. He and others now prominent in the administration said so repeatedly over the past decade in a slew of letters and policy papers from neoconservative groups like the Project for the New American Century and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Feith, a former aide to Richard Perle at the Pentagon in the 1980s and an activist in far-right Zionist circles, held the view that there was no difference between U.S. and Israeli security policy and that the best way to secure both countries' future was to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem not by serving as a broker, but with the United States as a force for "regime change" in the region.

Called in to help organize the Iraq war-planning team was a longtime Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, a specialist on Islam who speaks Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, and Farsi. Though Feith would not be officially confirmed until July 2001, career military and civilian officials in NESA began to watch his office with concern after Rhode set up shop in Feith's office in early January. Rhode, seen by many veteran staffers as an ideological gadfly, was officially assigned to the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment, an in-house Pentagon think tank headed by fellow neocon Andrew Marshall. Rhode helped Feith lay down the law about the department's new anti-Iraq, and broadly anti-Arab, orientation. In one telling incident, Rhode accosted and harangued a visiting senior Arab diplomat, telling him that there would be no "bartering in the bazaar anymore.... You're going to have to sit up and pay attention when we say so."

Rhode refused to be interviewed for this story, saying cryptically, "Those who speak, pay."

According to insiders, Rhode worked with Feith to purge career Defense officials who weren't sufficiently enthusiastic about the muscular anti-Iraq crusade that Wolfowitz and Feith wanted. Rhode appeared to be "pulling people out of nooks and crannies of the Defense Intelligence Agency and other places to replace us with," says a former analyst. "They wanted nothing to do with the professional staff. And they wanted us the fuck out of there."

The unofficial, off-site recruitment office for Feith and Rhode was the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank whose 12th-floor conference room in Washington is named for the dean of neoconservative defense strategists, the late Albert Wohlstetter, an influential RAND analyst and University of Chicago mathematician. Headquartered at AEI is Richard Perle, Wohlstetter's prize protege, the godfather of the AEI-Defense Department nexus of neoconservatives who was chairman of the Pentagon's influential Defense Policy Board. Rhode, along with Michael Rubin, a former AEI staffer who is also now at the Pentagon, was a ubiquitous presence at AEI conferences on Iraq over the past two years, and the two Pentagon officials seemed almost to be serving as stage managers for the AEI events, often sitting in the front row and speaking in stage whispers to panelists and AEI officials. Just after September 11, 2001, Feith and Rhode recruited David Wurmser, the director of Middle East studies for AEI, to serve as a Pentagon consultant.

Wurmser would be the founding participant of the unnamed, secret intelligence unit at the Pentagon, set up in Feith's office, which would be the nucleus of the Defense Department's Iraq disinformation campaign that was established within weeks of the attacks in New York and Washington. While the CIA and other intelligence agencies concentrated on Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda as the culprit in the 9/11 attacks, Wolfowitz and Feith obsessively focused on Iraq. It was a theory that was discredited, even ridiculed, among intelligence professionals. Daniel Benjamin, co-author of The Age of Sacred Terror, was director of counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the late 1990s. "In 1998, we went through every piece of intelligence we could find to see if there was a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq," he says. "We came to the conclusion that our intelligence agencies had it right: There was no noteworthy relationship between Al Qaeda and Iraq. I know that for a fact." Indeed, that was the consensus among virtually all anti-terrorism specialists.

In short, Wurmser, backed by Feith and Rhode, set out to prove what didn't exist.

IN AN ADMINISTRATION devoted to the notion of "Feith-based intelligence," Wurmser was ideal. For years, he'd been a shrill ideologue, part of the minority crusade during the 1990s that was beating the drums for war against Iraq. Along with Perle and Feith, in 1996 Wurmser and his wife, Meyrav, wrote a provocative strategy paper for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." It called on Israel to work with Jordan and Turkey to "contain, destabilize and roll back" various states in the region, overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq, press Jordan to restore a scion of the Hashemite dynasty to the Iraqi throne, and, above all, launch military assaults against Lebanon and Syria as a "prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial integrity."

In 1997, Wurmser wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal called "Iraq Needs a Revolution" and the next year co-signed a letter with Perle calling for all-out U.S. support of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an exile group led by Ahmad Chalabi, in promoting an insurgency in Iraq. At AEI, Wurmser wrote Tyranny's Ally: America's Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, essentially a book-length version of "A Clean Break" that proposed an alliance between Jordan and the INC to redraw the map of the Middle East. Among the mentors cited by Wurmser in the book: Chalabi, Perle, and Feith.

The purpose of the unnamed intelligence unit, often described as a Pentagon "cell," was to scour reports from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and other agencies to find nuggets of information linking Iraq, Al Qaeda, terrorism, and the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In a controversial press briefing in October 2002, a year after Wurmser's unit was established, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that a primary purpose of the unit was to cull factoids, which were then used to disparage, undermine, and contradict the CIA's reporting, which was far more cautious and nuanced than Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith wanted. Rumsfeld particularly enjoyed harassing the CIA staffer who briefed him every morning, using the type of data produced by the intelligence unit. "What I could do is say, 'Gee, what about this?'" Rumsfeld noted. "'Or what about that? Has somebody thought of this?'" Last June, when Feith was questioned on the same topic at a briefing, he acknowledged that the secret unit in fact looked at the connection between Iraq and terrorism, saying, "You can't rely on deterrence to deal with the problem of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of state sponsors of terrorism because [of] the possibility that those state sponsors might employ chemical weapons or biological weapons by means of a terrorist organization proxy...."

Though Feith, in that briefing, described Wurmser's unit as an innocent project, "a global exercise" that was not meant to put pressure on other intelligence agencies or create skewed intelligence to fit preconceived policy notions, many other sources assert that it did exactly that. That the White House and the Pentagon put enormous pressure on the CIA to go along with its version of events has been widely reported, highlighted by visits to CIA headquarters by Vice President Cheney and Lewis Libby, his chief of staff. Led by Perle, the neocons seethed with contempt for the CIA. The CIA'S analysis, said Perle, "isn't worth the paper it's printed on." Standing in a crowded hallway during an AEI event, Perle added, "The CIA is status quo oriented. They don't want to take risks."

That became the mantra of the shadow agency within an agency.

Putting Wurmser in charge of the unit meant that it was being run by a pro-Iraq-war ideologue who'd spent years calling for a pre-emptive invasion of Baghdad and who was clearly predisposed to find what he wanted to see. Adding another layer of dubious quality to the endeavor was the man partnered with Wurmser, F. Michael Maloof. Maloof, a former aide to Perle in the 1980s Pentagon, was twice stripped of his high-level security clearances-once in late 2001 and again last spring, for various infractions. Maloof was also reportedly involved in a bizarre scheme to broker contacts between Iraqi officials and the Pentagon, channeled through Perle, in what one report called a "rogue [intelligence] operation" outside officiai CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency channels.

As the momentum for war began to build in early 2002, Wolfowitz and Feith beefed up the intelligence unit and created an Iraq war-planning unit in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia Affairs section, run by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William Luti, under the rubric "Office of Special Plans," or OSP; the new unit's director was Abram N. Shulsky. By then, Wurmser had moved on to a post as senior adviser to Undersecretary of State John Bolton, yet another neocon, who was in charge of the State Department's disarmament, proliferation, and WMD office and was promoting the Iraq war strategy there. Shulsky's OSP, which incorporated the secret intelligence unit, took control, banishing veteran experts-including Joseph McMillan, James Russell, Larry Hanauer, and Marybeth McDevitt-who, despite years of service to NESA, either were shuffled off to other positions or retired. For the next year, Luti and Shulsky not only would oversee war plans but would act aggressively to shape the intelligence product received by the White House.

Both Luti and Shulsky were neoconservatives who were ideological soulmates of Wolfowitz and Feith. But Luti was more than that. He'd come to the Pentagon directly from the office of Vice President Cheney. That gave Luti, a recently retired, decorated Navy captain whose career ran from combat aviation to command of a helicopter assault ship, extra clout. Along with his colleague Colonel William Bruner, Luti had done a stint as an aide to Newt Gingrich in 1996 and, like Perle and Wolfowitz, was an acolyte of Wohlstetter's. "He makes Ollie North look like a moderate," says a NESA veteran.

Shulsky had been on the Washington scene since the mid-1970s. As a Senate intelligence committee staffer for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, he began to work with early neoconservatives like Perle, who was then an aide to Senator Henry Jackson. Later, in the Reagan years, Shulsky followed Perle to the Pentagon as Perle's arms-control adviser. In the '90s, Shulsky co-authored a book on intelligence called Silent Warfare, with Gary Schmitt. Shulsky had served with Schmitt on Moynihan's staff and they had remained friends. Asked about the Pentagon's Iraq intelligence "cell," Schmitt-who is currently the executive director of the Project for the New American Century-says that he can't say much about it "because one of my best friends is running it."

According to Lt. Colonel Kwiatkowski, Luti and Shulsky ran NESA and the Office of Special Plans with brutal efficiency, purging people they disagreed with and enforcing the party line. "It was organized like a machine," she says. "The people working on the neocon agenda had a narrow, well-defined political agenda. They had a sense of mission." At NESA, Shulsky, she says, began "hot-desking," or taking an office wherever he could find one, working with Feith and Luti, before formally taking the reins of the newly created OSP. Together, she says, Luti and Shulsky turned cherry-picked pieces of uncorroborated, anti-Iraq intelligence into talking points, on issues like Iraq's WMD and its links to Al Qaeda. Shulsky constantly updated these papers, drawing on the intelligence unit, and circulated them to Pentagon officials, including Rumsfeld, and to Vice President Cheney. "Of course, we never thought they'd go directly to the White House," she adds.

Kwiatkowski recalls one meeting in which Luti, pressed to finish a report, told the staff, "I've got to get this over to 'Scooter' right away." She later found out that "Scooter" was none other than Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. According to Kwiatkowski, Cheney had direct ties through Luti into NESA/OSP, a connection that was highly unorthodox.

"Never, ever, ever would a deputy undersecretary of Defense work directly on a project for the vice president," she says. "It was a little clue that we had an informal network into Vice President Cheney's office."

Although Feith insists that the OSP did not seek to gather its own intelligence, Kwiatkowski and others sharply disagree. Staff working for Luti and Shulsky in NESA/OSP churned out propaganda-style intelligence, she says. As an example, she cited the work of a U.S. intelligence officer and Arabic specialist, Navy Lt. Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein, who was a special assistant to Luti. "His job was to peruse the Arabic-language media to find articles that would incriminate Saddam Hussein about terrorism, and he translated these." Such raw intelligence is usually subject to a thorough vetting process, tracked, verified, and checked by intelligence professionals. But not at OSP-the material that it produced found its way directly into speeches by Bush, Cheney, and other officials.

According to Melvin Goodman, a former CIA official and an intelligence specialist at the National War College, the OSP officials routinely pushed lower-ranking staff around on intelligence matters. "People were being pulled aside [and being told], 'We saw your last piece and it's not what we're looking for,'" he says. "It was pretty blatant." Two State Department intelligence officials, Greg Thielmann and Christian Westermann, have both charged that pressure was being put on them to shape intelligence to fit policy, in particular from Bolton's office. "The Al Qaeda connection and nuclear weapons issue were the only two ways that you could link Iraq to an imminent security threat to the U.S.," Thielmann told the New York Times. "And the administration was grossly distorting the intelligence on both things."

BESIDES CHENEY, key members of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, including Perle and ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, all Iraq hawks, had direct input into NESA/OSP. The offices of NESA were located on the Pentagon's fourth floor, seventh corridor of D Ring, and the Policy Board's offices were directly below, on the third floor. During the run-up to the Iraq war, Gingrich often came up for closed-door meetings with Luti, who in 1996 had served as a congressional fellow in Speaker of the House Gingrich's office.

As OSP got rolling, Luti brought in Colonel Bruner, a former military aide to Gingrich, and, together, Luti and Bruner opened the door to a vast flow of bogus intelligence fed to the Pentagon by Iraqi defectors associated with Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress group of exiles. Chalabi founded the Iraqi National Congress in 1992, with the help of a shadowy CIA-connected public-relations firm called the Rendon Group, one of whose former employees, Francis Brooke, has been a top aide to Chalabi ever since. A scion of an aristocratic Iraqi family, Chalabi fled Baghdad at the age of 13, in 1958, when the corrupt Iraqi Hashemite monarchy was overthrown by a coalition of communists and the Iraqi military. In the late 1960s, Chalabi studied mathematics at the University of Chicago with Wohlstetter, who introduced him to Richard Perle more than a decade later. Long associated with the heart of the neoconservative movement, Chalabi founded Petra Bank in Jordan, which grew to be Jordan's third-largest bank by the 1980s. But Chalabi was accused of bank fraud, embezzlement, and currency manipulation, and he barely escaped before Jordanian authorities could arrest him; in 1992, he was convicted and sentenced in absentia to more than 20 years of hard labor. After founding the INC, Chalabi's bungling, unreliability, and penchant for mismanaging funds caused the CIA to sour on him, but he never lost the support of Perle, Feith, Gingrich, and their allies; once, soon after 9/11, Perle invited Chalabi to address the Defense Policy Board.

According to multiple sources, Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress sent a steady stream of misleading and often faked intelligence reports into U.S. intelligence channels. That information would flow sometimes into NESA/OSP directly, sometimes through Defense Intelligence Agency debriefings of Iraqi defectors via the Defense Human Intelligence Service, and sometimes through the INC's own U.S.-funded Intelligence Collection Program, which was overseen by the Pentagon. The INC's intelligence "isn't reliable at all," according to Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA chief of counterterrorism.

"Much of it is propaganda. Much of it is telling the Defense Department what they want to hear, using alleged informants and defectors who say what Chalabi wants them to say, [creating] cooked information that goes right into presidential and vice presidential speeches."

Bruner, the aide to Luti and Gingrich's former staffer, "was Chalabi's handler," says Kwiatkowski. "He would arrange meetings with Chalabi and Chalabi's folks," she says, adding that the INC leader often brought people into the NESA/OSP offices for debriefings. Chalabi claims to have introduced only three actual defectors to the Pentagon, a figure Thielmann considers "awfully low." However, according to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, the three defectors provided by Chalabi turned up exactly zero useful intelligence. The first, an Iraqi engineer, claimed to have specific information about biological weapons, but his information didn't pan out; the second claimed to know about mobile labs, but that information, too, was worthless; and the third, who claimed to have data about Iraq's nuclear program, proved to be a fraud. Chalabi also claimed to have given the Pentagon information about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda. "We gave the names of people who were doing the links," he told an interviewer from PBS'S Frontline. Those links, of course, have not been discovered. Thielmann told the same Frontline interviewer that the Office of Special Plans didn't apply strict intelligence-verification standards to "some of the information coming out of Chalabi and the INC that OSP and the Pentagon ran with."

In the war's aftermath, the Defense Intelligence Agency-which is not beholden to the neoconservative civilians at the Pentagon-leaked a report it prepared, concluding that few, if any, of the INC's informants provided worthwhile intelligence.

SO FAR, DESPITE ALL of the investigations underway, there is little sign that any of them are going to delve into the operations of the Luti-Shulsky Office of Special Plans and its secret intelligence unit. Because it operates in the Pentagon's policy shop, it is not officially part of the intelligence community, and so it is seemingly immune to congressional oversight.

With each passing day, it is becoming excruciatingly clearer just how wrong U.S. intelligence was in regard to Iraqi weapons and support for terrorism. The American teams of inspectors in the Iraq Survey Group, which has employed up to 1,400 people to scour the country and analyze the findings, have not been able to find a shred of evidence of anything other than dusty old plans and records of weapons apparently destroyed more than a decade ago. Countless examples of fruitless searches have been reported in the media. To cite one example: U.S. soldiers followed an intelligence report claiming that a complex built for Uday Hussein, Saddam's son, hid a weapons warehouse with poison-gas storage tanks. "Well," U.S. Army Major Ronald Hann Jr. told the Los Angeles Times, "the warehouse was a carport. It still had two cars inside. And the tanks had propane for the kitchen."

Countless other errors and exaggerations have become evident. The thousands of aluminum tubes supposedly imported by Iraq for uranium enrichment were fairly conclusively found to be designed to build noncontroversial rockets. The long-range unmanned aerial vehicles, allegedly built to deliver bioweapons, were small, rickety, experimental planes with wood frames. The mobile bioweapon labs turned out to have had other, civilian purposes. And the granddaddy of all falsehoods, the charge that Iraq sought uranium in the West African country of Niger, was based on forged documents-documents that the CIA, the State Department, and other agencies knew were fake nearly a year before President Bush highlighted the issue in his State of the Union address in January 2003.

"Either the system broke down," former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was sent by the CIA to visit Niger and whose findings helped show that the documents were forged, told Mother Jones, "or there was selective use of bits of information to justify a decision to go to war that had already been taken."

Edward Luttwak, a neoconservative scholar and author, says flatly that the Bush administration lied about the intelligence it had because it was afraid to go to the American people and say that the war was simply about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Instead, says Luttwak, the White House was groping for a rationale to satisfy the United Nations' criteria for war. "Cheney was forced into this fake posture of worrying about weapons of mass destruction," he says. "The ties to Al Qaeda? That's complete nonsense."

In the Senate, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is pressing for the Intelligence Committee to extend its investigation to look into the specific role of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, but there is strong Republican resistance to the idea.

In the House, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation calling for a commission to investigate the intelligence mess and has collected more than a hundred Democrats-but no Republicans-in support of it. "I think they need to be looked at pretty carefully," Waxman told Mother Jones when asked about the Office of Special Plans. "I'd like to know whether the political people pushed the intelligence people to slant their conclusions."

Congressman Waxman, meet Lt. Colonel Kwiatkowski.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More on Lieutenant Colonel Karen KwiatkowsKi:

http://itszone.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=10558


http://itszone.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=11325


Neocon Potpouri:

http://itszone.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=11861

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NY TIMES/Zionist Extremist Jew Safire Push Neocon Line


http://itszone.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=13791
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Alpha



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:41 pm    Post subject: Step forward Mr Chalabi. The JINSA Connection Reply to topic

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/comment/0,12956,1163522,00.html

Need to build a case for war? Step forward Mr Chalabi

If governments are going to rely on intelligence, its reliability is critical

Isabel Hilton
Saturday March 6, 2004
The Guardian

In the mayhem that followed the explosions in Baghdad and Karbala this week, Ahmad Chalabi, an ever more powerful member of the Iraqi Governing Council and a Pentagon favourite, was swiftly at the scene, behaving like a politician come to offer sympathy. It was a shrewd piece of public relations - if you forget the responsibility Chalabi bears for Iraq's present tragic condition. It was Chalabi, more than any other individual, who helped persuade the US that toppling Saddam Hussein would bring peace and democracy, and break the link that he alleged existed between the Iraqi leader and al-Qaida.
The argument surrounding the decision to go to war in Iraq, Tony Blair said yesterday, is not about trust or integrity but about judgment and intelligence. That is also the case his critics make. In the approach to war, both the US and the UK governments mobilised a mishmash of arguments in a campaign of persuasion that was based not on rigorous analysis of intelligence but on the selective use of data and informants. And in this sorry tale, no one played a more critical role than the man many proclaim the most likely future leader of Iraq, Ahmad Chalabi.

He has been working to take power in Iraq for a long time. The son of a wealthy and influential family in Iraq that lost its place with the fall of the monarchy, Chalabi has a long association with US intelligence. In the early 1990s, he was considered a serious asset by the CIA - but they soon found him to be unreliable. By then, however, he had found other supporters, among them the staff and advisers of one of the neo-cons' favourite thinktanks, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jinsa) in Washington. In 1997, Jinsa declared: "Jinsa has been working closely with Iraqi National Council leader Dr Ahmad Chalabi to promote Saddam Hussein's removal from office and a subsequently democratic future for Iraq."

Jinsa describes its mandate as two-fold: "To educate the American public about the importance of an effective US defence capability...and to inform the American defence and foreign affairs community about the important role Israel can and does play in bolstering democratic interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East." Their interests, Chalabi persuaded them, coincided: Saddam, the supporter of Palestinian suicide bombers, the strongest and most troublesome leader in the Arab world and a menace to Israel, should be replaced with a friendly government that would make peace with Israel and become the US's best Arab friend.

The advocates of radical action in the Middle East came to power with Bush. The next steps are now well documented. As Richard Perle once complained: "The CIA has been engaged in a character assassination of Ahmad Chalabi for years now, and it's a disgrace." To bypass such obstacles, an alternative intelligence group - the Office of Special Plans - was created. But there was still a shortage of evidence on two key points: that Saddam had WMD and that he had links to al-Qaida. Step forward Ahmad Chalabi, whose INC benefited from nearly $100m of US taxpayers money, despite Chalabi's conviction for a $300m bank fraud in Jordan. Chalabi, who knows a market when he sees one, claimed his sources inside and outside Iraq could supply the necessary evidence.

In 2001, Colin Powell declared: "He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction...our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbours of Iraq." Tony Blair told the Commons in November 2000 that, "We believe that the sanctions regime has effectively contained Saddam Hussein." These assessments coincided with the view of the intelligence services and the inspectors.

The alternative intelligence, marshalled to make the case for war, came overwhelmingly from Chalabi's INC and their carefully coached "sources". Among the INC allegations that have not been borne out were that Hussein had built mobile biological weapons facilities, that he was rapidly rebuilding his nuclear weapons programme and that he had trained Islamic warriors at a camp south of Baghdad. Now defence officials acknowledge that the defectors' tales were "shaky" at best.

On whose judgment was this shaky information included in official pre-war intelligence estimates of Iraq's illicit weapons programmes and key statements by US and UK politicians? On September 12 2002, for instance, claims by Iraqi military officers supplied by the INC that Iraq had been training Arabs in "hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage and assassinations" were given uncritical prominence in a White House report. And what is now described as an INC "fabrication" - that Iraq had mobile biological warfare research facilities - was included in Powell's presentation to the UN security council in February 2003.

To give wider credibility to this dubious narrative, Chalabi planted stories in mainstream newspapers such as the New York Times, stories that were then quoted as independent corroborative evidence by administration officials. The paper's now much-criticised specialist on WMD, Judith Miller, has acknowledged her 10-year association with Chalabi.

Chalabi has admitted that the "evidence" he supplied was wrong. Unlike Blair, he is no longer interested in pretending that there are any WMD in Iraq, but nor is he repentant. Bush may lose the election and Blair is trapped in the political minefield of the war's aftermath, but Chalabi is a clear winner. "We are heroes in error," he told the Telegraph. Since Saddam was gone, "What was said before is not important."

When the US flew Chalabi into Iraq by helicopter early in the war, along with 700 friends and supporters, he was not remotely electable. He did, though, look like a man positioning himself to be at the centre of power. This week, Iraq's provisional constitution was agreed. Given Bush's need to create a puppet government in time for the US elections, power will now remain in the hands of the governing council until such time as elections might be held - a promise that recedes into the future with each terrorist outrage. The first drafts of the Iraqi transitional administrative law were written by Chalabi's nephew. The longer elections are postponed, the better for Chalabi, who is now in control of Iraq's finances and of de-Ba'athification.

Perhaps his greatest coup was to gain possession of 25 tonnes of captured Saddam documents that could prove useful in the future. Before the war, for instance, the Jordanian foreign minister criticised Chalabi as untrustworthy. Chalabi then threatened to "expose" documentary evidence of the Jordanian royal family's close relations with Saddam. The public criticisms stopped. Since the war several forged documents have come into circulation. Some have been used to animate dead arguments, others to discredit critics of the war, such as George Galloway.

With power there also come opportunities for enrichment. US authorities in Iraq have awarded more than $400m in contracts to a company that has extensive family and business ties to Chalabi. One, for $327m, to supply equipment for the Iraqi armed forces, is now under review after protests to Congress.

If intelligence, Blair tells us, is to be of even greater importance in the future, its reliability is critical - an argument, perhaps, to learn from recent experience. Not for the US Defence Department. It plans to spend $4m over the next year buying intelligence on Iraq. And who does it plan to buy that intelligence from? Step forward Ahmad Chalabi.



Special report
Iraq

Chronology
Iraq timeline: Feb 1 2004 - present
Iraq timeline: July 16 1979 - Jan 31 2004

Interactive guides
Click-through graphics on Iraq

Key documents
Full text of speeches and documents

Audio reports
Audio reports on Iraq

More special reports
Politics and the war
Aid for Iraq
Iraq - the media war
The anti-war movement
28.01.2003: Guide to anti-war websites

Useful links
Provisional authority: rebuilding Iraq
Iraqi-American chamber of commerce
cnn.com: Transcript of David Kay's evidence on 28.01.04 to US Senate committee
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Alpha



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:40 pm    Post subject: CIA: Pentagon lied in run-up to war Reply to topic

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/09A59841-7C86-4E31-9962-91F00CE4CB0B.htm

CIA: Pentagon lied in run-up to war


Wednesday 10 March 2004, 9:02 Makka Time, 6:02 GMT


Tenet is the third-longest-serving director in CIA history



CIA director George Tenet has revealed that a senior defence official leaked a false intelligence report before the US-led invasion of Iraq, ignoring agency advice.

Answering questions before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Tenet confirmed that an article in November's Weekly Standard was written by Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith.

The magazine claimed to have obtained a leaked top-secret document, but the CIA chief admitted the third highest Pentagon official wrote it specifically for publication.

Vice President Dick Cheney then cited the leaked unapproved document as "the best source of information" on cooperation between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.

Question time

Michigan's Senator Carl Levin asked the CIA director: "Did the CIA agree with the contents of the Feith document?"

"Senator, we did not clear the document. We did not agree with the way the data was characterised in that document."

"Senator, we did not clear the document. We did not agree with the way the data was characterised in that document"

George Tenet,
CIA director




Tenet added that the Pentagon had also disavowed the Feith document.

He had planned to speak to Vice President Cheney about the matter.

But in an hour of questioning, Tenet said other officials also chose to ignore agency advice.

Embarrassing revelations

Speaking to Senator Edward Kennedy, Tenet said there had been instances when he warned administration officials they were overstating the threat posed by Iraq.

Tenet had personally told the vice president he was wrong to say that two trailers recovered in Iraq were "conclusive evidence" that Hussein had a biological weapons programme.

Nevertheless, Cheney made the assertion in a 22 January 2003 interview with National Public Radio.

Nearly all analysts now believe the "mobile biological-weapons facilities" were in fact used for making hydrogen gas to fill weather balloons.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:59 pm    Post subject: Cheney and Perle Associated with JINSA/PNAC as Well Reply to topic

Here is the real motivation for the invasion of Iraq (and beyond) as one can read via this excellent article by Robert Fisk that Vice-President Dick Cheney was also associated with JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) and was associated with PNAC (Project for the New American Century) as well:


http://www.robert-fisk.com/articles114.htm

Here is the 'Men from JINSA and CSP' article (from 'The Nation') that Fisk mentions in the above referenced article:

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020902&s=vest

War Conceived in Israel:

http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg_conc1.htm

Whose War? (Must Read as well):


http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

More on JINSA/PNAC (Israel Firster and Zionist extremist Jew) Richard Perle as he recently resigned from the Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon:

http://www.fpp.co.uk/online/02/12/Counterpunch_1.html

The following article will convey how the 'democracy' line (used to get the Iraq invasion going) was Zionist propaganda to dupe the US and UK people:

http://www.vdare.com/misc/macdonald_neoconservatism.htm


PNAC (Project for the New American Century):

http://www.sundayherald.com/27735
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Posts: 2462

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic

Hold their feet to the fire !!!! .. and don't spare the dual-loyalists in our government.

Vote all of them out of office.....
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 10:21 pm    Post subject: Neocons' Iraq Strategy Now Focused on Syria Reply to topic

Neocons' Iraq Strategy Now Focused on Syria:


http://www.libertyforum.org/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=news_international&Number=1355135&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=21&part=
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 11:47 pm    Post subject: The New Pentagon Papers Reply to topic

http://www.nowarforisrael.com

http://www.nogw.com/warforisrael.html

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5829.htm

The New Pentagon Papers

A high-ranking military officer reveals how Defense Department extremists suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country to war.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5829.htm

By Karen Kwiatkowski

March 10, 2004 "salon.com" In July of last year, after just over 20 years of service, I retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. I had served as a communications officer in the field and in acquisition programs, as a speechwriter for the National Security Agency director, and on the Headquarters Air Force and the office of the secretary of defense staffs covering African affairs. I had completed Air Command and Staff College and Navy War College seminar programs, two master's degrees, and everything but my Ph.D. dissertation in world politics at Catholic University. I regarded my military vocation as interesting, rewarding and apolitical. My career started in 1978 with the smooth seduction of a full four-year ROTC scholarship. It ended with 10 months of duty in a strange new country, observing up close and personal a process of decision making for war not sanctioned by the Constitution we had all sworn to uphold. Ben Franklin's comment that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia had delivered "a republic, madam, if you can keep it" would come to have special meaning.

In the spring of 2002, I was a cynical but willing staff officer, almost two years into my three-year tour at the office of the secretary of defense, undersecretary for policy, sub-Saharan Africa. In April, a call for volunteers went out for the Near East South Asia directorate (NESA). None materialized. By May, the call transmogrified into a posthaste demand for any staff officer, and I was "volunteered" to enter what would be a well-appointed den of iniquity.

The education I would receive there was like an M. Night Shyamalan -- intense, fascinating and frightening. While the people were very much alive, I saw a dead philosophy -- Cold War anti-communism and neo-imperialism -- walking the corridors of the Pentagon. It wore the clothing of counterterrorism and spoke the language of a holy war between good and evil. The evil was recognized by the leadership to be resident mainly in the Middle East and articulated by Islamic clerics and radicals. But there were other enemies within, anyone who dared voice any skepticism about their grand plans, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Gen. Anthony Zinni.

From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.

I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.

I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.

While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account.

To begin with, I was introduced to Bill Luti, assistant secretary of defense for NESA. A tall, thin, nervously intelligent man, he welcomed me into the fold. I knew little about him. Because he was a recently retired naval captain and now high-level Bush appointee, the common assumption was that he had connections, if not capability. I would later find out that when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense over a decade earlier, Luti was his aide. He had also been a military aide to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during the Clinton years and had completed his Ph.D. at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. While his Navy career had not granted him flag rank, he had it now and was not shy about comparing his place in the pecking order with various three- and four-star generals and admirals in and out of the Pentagon. Name dropping included references to getting this or that document over to Scooter, or responding to one of Scooter's requests right away. Scooter, I would find out later, was I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff.

Co-workers who had watched the transition from Clintonista to Bushite shared conversations and stories indicating that something deliberate and manipulative was happening to NESA. Key professional personnel, longtime civilian professionals holding the important billets in NESA, were replaced early on during the transition. Longtime officer director Joe McMillan was reassigned to the National Defense University. The director's job in the time of transition was to help bring the newly appointed deputy assistant secretary up to speed, ensure office continuity, act as a resource relating to regional histories and policies, and help identify the best ways to maintain course or to implement change. Removing such a critical continuity factor was not only unusual but also seemed like willful handicapping. It was the first signal of radical change.

At the time, I didn't realize that the expertise on Middle East policy was not only being removed, but was also being exchanged for that from various agenda-bearing think tanks, including the Middle East Media Research Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Interestingly, the office director billet stayed vacant the whole time I was there. That vacancy and the long-term absence of real regional understanding to inform defense policymakers in the Pentagon explains a great deal about the neoconservative approach on the Middle East and the disastrous mistakes made in Washington and in Iraq in the past two years.

I soon saw the modus operandi of "instant policy" unhampered by debate or experience with the early Bush administration replacement of the civilian head of the Israel, Lebanon and Syria desk office with a young political appointee from the Washington Institute, David Schenker. Word was that the former experienced civilian desk officer tended to be evenhanded toward the policies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, but there were complaints and he was gone. I met David and chatted with him frequently. He was a smart, serious, hardworking guy, and the proud author of a book on the chances for Palestinian democracy. Country desk officers were rarely political appointees. In my years at the Pentagon, this was the only "political" I knew doing that type of high-stress and low-recognition duty. So eager was the office to have Schenker at the Israel desk, he served for many months as a defense contractor of sorts and only received his "Schedule C" political appointee status months after I arrived.

I learned that there was indeed a preferred ideology for NESA. My first day in the office, a GS-15 career civil servant rather unhappily advised me that if I wanted to be successful here, I'd better remember not to say anything positive about the Palestinians. This belied official U.S. policy of serving as an honest broker for resolution of Israeli and Palestinian security concerns. At that time, there was a great deal of talk about Bush's possible support for a Palestinian state. That the Pentagon could have implemented and, worse, was implementing its own foreign policy had not yet occurred to me.

Throughout the summer, the NESA spaces in one long office on the fourth floor, between the 7th and 8th corridors of D Ring, became more and more crowded. With war talk and planning about Iraq, all kinds of new people were brought in. A politically savvy civilian-clothes-wearing lieutenant colonel named Bill Bruner served as the Iraq desk officer, and he had apparently joined NESA about the time Bill Luti did. I discovered that Bruner, like Luti, had served as a military aide to Speaker Gingrich. Gingrich himself was now conveniently an active member of Bush's Defense Policy Board, which had space immediately below ours on the third floor.

I asked why Bruner wore civilian attire, and was told by others, "He's Chalabi's handler." Chalabi, of course, was Ahmad Chalabi, the president of the Iraqi National Congress, who was the favored exile of the neoconservatives and the source of much of their "intelligence." Bruner himself said he had to attend a lot of meetings downtown in hotels and that explained his suits. Soon, in July, he was joined by another Air Force pilot, a colonel with no discernible political connections, Kevin Jones. I thought of it as a military-civilian partnership, although both were commissioned officers.

Among the other people arriving over the summer of 2002 was Michael Makovsky, a recent MIT graduate who had written his dissertation on Winston Churchill and was going to work on "Iraqi oil issues." He was David Makovsky's younger brother. David was at the time a senior fellow at the Washington Institute and had formerly been an editor of the Jerusalem Post, a pro-Likud newspaper. Mike was quiet and seemed a bit uncomfortable sharing space with us. He soon disappeared into some other part of the operation and I rarely saw him after that.

In late summer, new space was found upstairs on the fifth floor, and the "expanded Iraq desk," now dubbed the "Office of Special Plans," began moving there. And OSP kept expanding.

Another person I observed to appear suddenly was Michael Rubin, another Washington Institute fellow working on Iraq policy. He and Chris Straub, a retired Army officer who had been a Republican staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee, were eventually assigned to OSP.

John Trigilio, a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, was assigned to handle Iraq intelligence for Luti. Trigilio had been on a one-year career-enhancement tour with the office of the secretary of defense that was to end in August 2002. DIA had offered him routine intelligence positions upon his return from his OSD sabbatical, but none was as interesting as working in August 2002 for Luti. John asked Luti for help in gaining an extension for another year, effectively removing him from the DIA bureaucracy and its professional constraints.

Trigilio and I had hallway debates, as friends. The one I remember most clearly was shortly after President Bush gave his famous "mushroom cloud" speech in Cincinnati in October 2002, asserting that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction as well as ties to "international terrorists," and was working feverishly to develop nuclear weapons with "nuclear holy warriors." I asked John who was feeding the president all the bull about Saddam and the threat he posed us in terms of WMD delivery and his links to terrorists, as none of this was in secret intelligence I had seen in the past years. John insisted that it wasn't an exaggeration, but when pressed to say which actual intelligence reports made these claims, he would only say, "Karen, we have sources that you don't have access to." It was widely felt by those of us in the office not in the neoconservatives' inner circle that these "sources" related to the chummy relationship that Ahmad Chalabi had with both the Office of Special Plans and the office of the vice president.

The newly named director of the OSP, Abram Shulsky, was one of the most senior people sharing our space that summer. Abe, a kindly and gentle man, who would say hello to me in the hallways, seemed to be someone I, as a political science grad student, would have loved to sit with over coffee and discuss the world's problems. I had a clear sense that Abe ranked high in the organization, although ostensibly he was under Luti. Luti was known at times to treat his staff, even senior staff, with disrespect, contempt and derision. He also didn't take kindly to staff officers who had an opinion or viewpoint that was off the neoconservative reservation. But with Shulsky, who didn't speak much at the staff meetings, he was always respectful and deferential. It seemed like Shulsky's real boss was somebody like Douglas Feith or higher.

Doug Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, was a case study in how not to run a large organization. In late 2001, he held the first all-hands policy meeting at which he discussed for over 15 minutes how many bullets and sub-bullets should be in papers for Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. A year later, in August of 2002, he held another all-hands meeting in the auditorium where he embarrassed everyone with an emotional performance about what it was like to serve Rumsfeld. He blithely informed us that for months he didn't realize Rumsfeld had a daily stand-up meeting with his four undersecretaries. He shared with us the fact that, after he started to attend these meetings, he knew better what Rumsfeld wanted of him. Most military staffers and professional civilians hearing this were incredulous, as was I, to hear of such organizational ignorance lasting so long and shared so openly. Feith's inattention to most policy detail, except that relating to Israel and Iraq, earned him a reputation most foul throughout Policy, with rampant stories of routine signatures that took months to achieve and lost documents. His poor reputation as a manager was not helped by his arrogance. One thing I kept hearing from those defending Feith was that he was "just brilliant." It was curiously like the brainwashed refrain in "The Manchurian Candidate" about the programmed sleeper agent Raymond Shaw, as the "kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I've ever known."
I spent time that summer exploring the neoconservative worldview and trying to grasp what was happening inside the Pentagon. I wondered what could explain this rush to war and disregard for real intelligence. Neoconservatives are fairly easy to study, mainly because they are few in number, and they show up at all the same parties. Examining them as individuals, it became clear that almost all have worked together, in and out of government, on national security issues for several decades. The Project for the New American Century and its now famous 1998 manifesto to President Clinton
on Iraq is a recent example. But this statement was preceded by one written for Benyamin Netanyahu's Likud Party campaign in Israel in 1996 by neoconservatives Richard Perle, David Wurmser and Douglas Feith titled "A Clean Break: Strategy for Securing the Realm."
David Wurmser is the least known of that trio and an interesting example of the tangled neoconservative web. In 2001, the research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute was assigned to the Pentagon, then moved to the Department of State to work as deputy for the hard-line conservative undersecretary John Bolton, then to the National Security Council, and now is lodged in the office of the vice president. His wife, the prolific Meyrav Wurmser, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, is also a neoconservative team player.
Before the Iraq invasion, many of these same players labored together for literally decades to push a defense strategy that favored military intervention and confrontation with enemies, secret and unconstitutional if need be. Some former officials, such as Richard Perle (an assistant secretary of defense under Reagan) and James Woolsey (CIA director under Clinton), were granted a new lease on life, a renewed gravitas, with positions on President Bush's Defense Policy Board. Others, like Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz, had apparently overcome previous negative associations from an Iran-Contra conviction for lying to the Congress and for utterly miscalculating the strength of the Soviet Union in a politically driven report to the CIA.
Neoconservatives march as one phalanx in parallel opposition to those they hate. In the early winter of 2002, a co-worker U.S. Navy captain and I were discussing the service being rendered by Colin Powell at the time, and we were told by the neoconservative political appointee David Schenker that "the best service Powell could offer would be to quit right now." I was present at a staff meeting when Bill Luti called Marine Gen. and former Chief of Central Command Anthony Zinni a "traitor," because Zinni had publicly expressed reservations about the rush to war.
After August 2002, the Office of Special Plans established its own rhythm and cadence separate from the non-politically minded professionals covering the rest of the region. While often accused of creating intelligence, I saw only two apparent products of this office: war planning guidance for Rumsfeld, presumably impacting Central Command, and talking points on Iraq, WMD and terrorism. These internal talking points seemed to be a mélange crafted from obvious past observation and intelligence bits and pieces of dubious origin. They were propagandistic in style, and all desk officers were ordered to use them verbatim in the preparation of any material prepared for higher-ups and people outside the Pentagon. The talking points included statements about Saddam Hussein's proclivity for using chemical weapons against his own citizens and neighbors, his existing relations with terrorists based on a member of al-Qaida reportedly receiving medical care in Baghdad, his widely publicized aid to the Palestinians, and general indications of an aggressive viability in Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program and his ongoing efforts to use them against his neighbors or give them to al-Qaida style groups. The talking points said he was threatening his neighbors and was a serious threat to the U.S., too.
I suspected, from reading Charles Krauthammer, a neoconservative columnist for the Washington Post, and the Weekly Standard, and hearing a Cheney speech or two, that these talking points left the building on occasion. Both OSP functions duplicated other parts of the Pentagon. The facts we should have used to base our papers on were already being produced by the intelligence agencies, and the war planning was already done by the combatant command staff with some help from the Joint Staff. Instead of developing defense policy alternatives and advice, OSP was used to manufacture propaganda for internal and external use, and pseudo war planning.
As a result of my duties as the North Africa desk officer, I became acquainted with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) support staff for NESA. Every policy regional director was served by a senior executive intelligence professional from DIA, along with a professional intelligence staff. This staff channeled DIA products, accepted tasks for DIA, and in the past had been seen as a valued member of the regional teams. However, as the war approached, this type of relationship with the Defense Intelligence Agency crumbled.
Even the most casual observer could note the tension and even animosity between "Wild Bill" Luti (as we came to refer to our boss) and Bruce Hardcastle, our defense intelligence officer (DIO). Certainly, there were stylistic and personality differences. Hardcastle, like most senior intelligence officers I knew, was serious, reserved, deliberate, and went to great lengths to achieve precision and accuracy in his speech and writing. Luti was the kind of guy who, in staff meetings and in conversations, would jump from grand theory to administrative minutiae with nary a blink or a fleeting shadow of self-awareness.
I discovered that Luti and possibly others within OSP were dissatisfied with Hardcastle's briefings, in particular with the aspects relating to WMD and terrorism. I was not clear exactly what those concerns were, but I came to understand that the DIA briefing did not match what OSP was claiming about Iraq's WMD capabilities and terrorist activities. I learned that shortly before I arrived there had been an incident in NESA where Hardcastle's presence and briefing at a bilateral meeting had been nixed abruptly by Luti. The story circulating among the desk officers was "a last-minute cancellation" of the DIO presentation. Hardcastle's intelligence briefing was replaced with one prepared by another Policy office that worked nonproliferation issues. While this alternative briefing relied on intelligence produced by DIO and elsewhere, it was not a product of the DIA or CIA community, but instead was an OSD Policy "branded" product -- and so were its conclusions. The message sent by Policy appointees and well understood by staff officers and the defense intelligence community was that senior appointed civilians were willing to exclude or marginalize intelligence products that did not fit the agenda.
Staff officers would always request OSP's most current Iraq, WMD and terrorism talking points. On occasion, these weren't available in an approved form and awaited Shulsky's approval. The talking points were a series of bulleted statements, written persuasively and in a convincing way, and superficially they seemed reasonable and rational. Saddam Hussein had gassed his neighbors, abused his people, and was continuing in that mode, becoming an imminently dangerous threat to his neighbors and to us -- except that none of his neighbors or Israel felt this was the case. Saddam Hussein had harbored al-Qaida operatives and offered and probably provided them with training facilities -- without mentioning that the suspected facilities were in the U.S./Kurdish-controlled part of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was pursuing and had WMD of the type that could be used by him, in conjunction with al-Qaida and other terrorists, to attack and damage American interests, Americans and America -- except the intelligence didn't really say that. Saddam Hussein had not been seriously weakened by war and sanctions and weekly bombings over the past 12 years, and in fact was plotting to hurt America and support anti-American activities, in part through his carrying on with terrorists -- although here the intelligence said the opposite. His support for the Palestinians and Arafat proved his terrorist connections, and basically, the time to act was now. This was the gist of the talking points, and it remained on message throughout the time I watched the points evolve.

But evolve they did, and the subtle changes I saw from September to late January revealed what the Office of Special Plans was contributing to national security. Two key types of modifications were directed or approved by Shulsky and his team of politicos. First was the deletion of entire references or bullets. The one I remember most specifically is when they dropped the bullet that said one of Saddam's intelligence operatives had met with Mohammad Atta in Prague, supposedly salient proof that Saddam was in part responsible for the 9/11 attack. That claim had lasted through a number of revisions, but after the media reported the claim as unsubstantiated by U.S. intelligence, denied by the Czech government, and that Atta's location had been confirmed by the FBI to be elsewhere, that particular bullet was dropped entirely from our "advice on things to say" to senior Pentagon officials when they met with guests or outsiders.
The other change made to the talking points was along the line of fine-tuning and generalizing. Much of what was there was already so general as to be less than accurate.
Some bullets were softened, particularly statements of Saddam's readiness and capability in the chemical, biological or nuclear arena. Others were altered over time to match more exactly something Bush and Cheney said in recent speeches. One item I never saw in our talking points was a reference to Saddam's purported attempt to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. The OSP list of crime and evil had included Saddam's attempts to seek fissionable materials or uranium in Africa. This point was written mostly in the present tense and conveniently left off the dates of the last known attempt, sometime in the late 1980s. I was surprised to hear the president's mention of the yellowcake in Niger in his 2002 State of the Union address because that indeed was new and in theory might have represented new intelligence, something that seemed remarkably absent in any of the products provided us by the OSP (although not for lack of trying). After hearing of it, I checked with my old office of Sub-Saharan African Affairs -- and it was news to them, too. It also turned out to be false.
It is interesting today that the "defense" for those who lied or prevaricated about Iraq is to point the finger at the intelligence. But the National Intelligence Estimate, published in September 2002, as remarked upon recently by former CIA Middle East chief Ray McGovern, was an afterthought. It was provoked only after Sens. Bob Graham and Dick Durban noted in August 2002, as Congress was being asked to support a resolution for preemptive war, that no NIE elaborating real threats to the United States had been provided. In fact, it had not been written, but a suitable NIE was dutifully prepared and submitted the very next month. Naturally, this document largely supported most of the outrageous statements already made publicly by Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld about the threat Iraq posed to the United States. All the caveats, reservations and dissents made by intelligence were relegated to footnotes and kept from the public. Funny how that worked.
Starting in the fall of 2002 I found a way to vent my frustrations with the neoconservative hijacking of our defense policy. The safe outlet was provided by retired Col. David Hackworth, who agreed to publish my short stories anonymously on his Web site Soldiers for the Truth, under the moniker of "Deep Throat: Insider Notes From the Pentagon." The "deep throat" part was his idea, but I was happy to have a sense that there were folks out there, mostly military, who would be interested in the secretary of defense-sponsored insanity I was witnessing on almost a daily basis. When I was particularly upset, like when I heard Zinni called a "traitor," I wrote about it in articles like this one.
In November, my Insider articles discussed the artificial worlds created by the Pentagon and the stupid naiveté of neocon assumptions about what would happen when we invaded Iraq. I discussed the price of public service, distinguishing between public servants who told the truth and then saw their careers flame out and those "public servants" who did not tell the truth and saw their careers ignite. My December articles became more depressing, discussing the history of the 100 Years' War and "combat lobotomies." There was a painful one titled "Minority Reports" about the necessity but unlikelihood of a Philip Dick sci-fi style "minority report" on Feith-Wolfowitz-Rumsfeld-Cheney's insanely grandiose vision of some future Middle East, with peace, love and democracy brought on through preemptive war and military occupation.
I shared some of my concerns with a civilian who had been remotely acquainted with the Luti-Feith-Perle political clan in his previous work for one of the senior Pentagon witnesses during the Iran-Contra hearings. He told me these guys were engaged in something worse than Iran-Contra. I was curious but he wouldn't tell me anything more. I figured he knew what he was talking about. I thought of him when I read much later about the 2002 and 2003 meetings between Michael Ledeen, Reuel Marc Gerecht and Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar -- all Iran-Contra figures.
In December 2002, I requested an acceleration of my retirement to the following July. By now, the military was anxiously waiting under the bed for the other shoe to drop amid concerns over troop availability, readiness for an ill-defined mission, and lack of day-after clarity. The neocons were anxiously struggling to get that damn shoe off. That other shoe fell with a thump, as did the regard many of us had held for Colin Powell, on Feb. 5 as the secretary of state capitulated to the neoconservative line in his speech at the United Nations -- a speech not only filled with falsehoods pushed by the neoconservatives but also containing many statements already debunked by intelligence.
War is generally crafted and pursued for political reasons, but the reasons given to the Congress and to the American people for this one were inaccurate and so misleading as to be false. Moreover, they were false by design. Certainly, the neoconservatives never bothered to sell the rest of the country on the real reasons for occupation of Iraq -- more bases from which to flex U.S. muscle with Syria and Iran, and better positioning for the inevitable fall of the regional ruling sheikdoms. Maintaining OPEC on a dollar track and not a euro and fulfilling a half-baked imperial vision also played a role. These more accurate reasons for invading and occupying could have been argued on their merits -- an angry and aggressive U.S. population might indeed have supported the war and occupation for those reasons. But Americans didn't get the chance for an honest debate.
President Bush has now appointed a commission to look at American intelligence capabilities and will report after the election. It will "examine intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and related 21st century threats ... [and] compare what the Iraq Survey Group learns with the information we had prior..." The commission, aside from being modeled on failed rubber stamp commissions of the past and consisting entirely of those selected by the executive branch, specifically excludes an examination of the role of the Office of Special Plans and other executive advisory bodies. If the president or vice president were seriously interested in "getting the truth," they might consider asking for evidence on how intelligence was politicized, misused and manipulated, and whether information from the intelligence community was distorted in order to sway Congress and public opinion in a narrowly conceived neoconservative push for war. Bush says he wants the truth, but it is clear he is no more interested in it today than he was two years ago.
Proving that the truth is indeed the first casualty in war, neoconservative member of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle called this February for "heads to roll." Perle, agenda setter par excellence, named George Tenet and Defense Intelligence Agency head Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby as guilty of failing to properly inform the president on Iraq and WMD. No doubt, the intelligence community, susceptible to politicization and outdated paradigms, needs reform. The swiftness of the neoconservative casting of blame on the intelligence community and away from themselves should have been fully expected. Perhaps Perle and others sense the grave and growing danger of political storms unleashed by the exposure of neoconservative lies. Meanwhile, Ahmad Chalabi, extravagantly funded by the neocons in the Pentagon to the tune of millions to provide the disinformation, has boasted with remarkable frankness, "We are heroes in error," and, "What was said before is not important."
Now we are told by our president and neoconservative mouthpieces that our sons and daughters, husbands and wives are in Iraq fighting for freedom, for liberty, for justice and American values. This cost is not borne by the children of Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld and Cheney. Bush's daughters do not pay this price. We are told that intelligence has failed America, and that President Bush is determined to get to the bottom of it. Yet not a single neoconservative appointee has lost his job, and no high official of principle in the administration has formally resigned because of this ill-planned and ill-conceived war and poorly implemented occupation of Iraq.
Will Americans hold U.S. policymakers accountable? Will we return to our roots as a republic, constrained and deliberate, respectful of others? My experience in the Pentagon leading up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq tells me, as Ben Franklin warned, we may have already failed. But if Americans at home are willing to fight -- tenaciously and courageously -- to preserve our republic, we might be able to keep it.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:00 am    Post subject: Feith-Based Intelligence Reply to topic

Feith-Based Intelligence:

Posted Mar 10, 2004 02:18 PM PSTIn a letter released by the Senate Armed Service Committee, it turns out that the Policy Counter Terror Evaluation Group, the rump intelligence unit that was the basis for Feith's Office of Special Plans, held formal briefings for the NSC and Vice President Cheney's staff. Feith, you'll recall, is the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy who built the OSP and its intelligence unit into the "lie factory" that produced bogus intelligence on Iraq:

http://www.tompaine.com/blog.cfm/ID/10045
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply to topic

http://www.salon.com/letters/editor/2004/03/15/smear/index.html

Smearing the messenger
The Bush machine aims its poison darts at another military hero -- Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By David Talbot



March 15, 2004 | There they go again. Whenever the Bush machine is put on the defensive, it immediately goes on the offensive, and character assassination is one of its favorite weapons. I'm not talking about the attacks on John Kerry's patriotism. I'm talking about the poison-tipped assault on another military veteran, retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, whose damning eyewitness account of how neoconservative zealots in the Defense Department bulldozed the facts and drove the country to war was published in Salon last week ("The New Pentagon Papers").

Kwiatkowski's right-wing critics could not challenge her facts, not a single one, so they immediately reached for the tar brush. The Wall Street Journal smeared her as "something of a right-wing crank." Max Boot, a conservative columnist for the Los Angeles Times, trashed her as "flaky." Then Clifford May, a hit man for the Republican National Committee, was given free reign by John Gibson, host of Fox News' "The Big Show," to drag the 20-year Air Force veteran through the mud after Fox turned off her microphone -- one more bold display of the network's commitment to fairness and balance. Once she was silenced, Gibson and May smeared Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski as an "anarchist" with "radical associations" to political weirdoes like Lyndon LaRouche.

The truth -- never an interest of these right-wing hatchet men -- is that the former Air Force intelligence officer comes from a politically conservative family and subscribes to a libertarian philosophy. She once gave an interview to a LaRouche publication -- the full extent of her "association" with this political fringe. By the RNC man's strained logic, the fact that she also spoke to Fox News should make her a Rupert Murdoch acolyte.

If I were part of the Bush reelection team, I would want to cloud reality too. The disturbing reality that Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski presented was of an administration driven by ideologues so determined to rush into an Iraq war that they would not let intelligence or expertise or facts get in their way. We are all now paying for the folly of these men, none more than Kwiatkowski's former colleagues in the military, who are fighting and dying in Iraq. The fact that many of Kwiatkowski's neoconservative opponents have never served their country in uniform makes the Bush machine's personal attacks against her all the more repellent.

Unlike Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski's character assassins, she served her country honorably for 20 years -- and she is serving America again by bravely telling the truth about the policies of deceit that led us to war.

The tens of thousands of readers who have clicked on Kwiatkowski's revealing exposé know this and you have flooded Salon with e-mails in praise of her courage and integrity. We want you to know that Salon will continue to stand by her and will continue to publish eye-opening reports on the Bush administration and its extremist policies.

But we need you to stand by us. If you do not already subscribe to Salon, now is the time to do so through this page. If you're already a subscriber we encourage you to give the gift of Salon for just $20 or renew your subscription today. Help Salon fight against the truth-twisters and the smear artists. Help us keep shining a light on the dark corners of power. We cannot do it without you.


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