Category Archive 'Anti-Bush Intel Operation'
12 Feb 2013
The Daily Mail reports on spectacular accusations made by Benghazi: The Definitive Report, an eBook published yesterday, which apparently reveals the inside story behind the exposure and resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.
David Petraeus was betrayed by his own bodyguards and vengeful high-ranking enemies in the CIA, who made sure his affair with his biographer was exposed to the public. ...
Senior CIA officers targeted Petraeus because they didn’t like the way he was running the agency – focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis. They used their political clout and their connections to force an FBI investigation of his affair with Paul Broadwell and make it public, according to ‘Benghazi: The Definitive Report.’
‘It was high-level career officers on the CIA who got the ball rolling on the investigation. It was basically a palace coupe to get Petraeus out of there,’ Jack Murphy, one of the authors, told MailOnline. ...
Perhaps the most startling accusation in the book is that Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was leaked by the members of his personal protection detail.
The authors say that senior intelligence officers working on the 7th floor of Central Intelligence headquarters in Langley, Virginia, used their political clout to ensure that the FBI investigated the former Army general’s personal life.
They then told Petraeus that they would publicly humiliate him if he didn’t admit the affair and resign.
Hat tip to John Fund, who adds:
A lot of fact-checking will have to be done to substantiate the claims by Webb and Murphy. But from my own reporting, I have learned that no one runs afoul of senior CIA officials — or John Brennan — lightly or without peril. CIA officials angry at the Bush administration’s treatment of the agency in 2006 helped elevate the Valerie Plame affair into a national scandal and crippled much of the White House’s ability to conduct foreign policy. In the end, there was precious little evidence of any real security breach or wrongdoing beyond a perjury conviction of Scooter Libby, a top aide to Vice President Cheney.
17 Apr 2010
Stephen R. Kappes
Stephen R. Kappes has announced his retirement as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency next month.
WaPo—New York Times
Kappes dramatically returned in triumph to the CIA as DDCIA in May of 2006, having come close to being appointed Director but being edged out by Leon Panetta. Kappes was the preferred candidate for the directorship of Senators Jay Rockefeller and Diane Feinstein, and his Deputy Directorship was a concession to Feinstein.
Kappes had earlier resigned as Deputy Director of Operations in November of 2004 after a brief interval of conflict with Porter Goss, who had been appointed CIA Director with a charter to reform the Agency in late September. Stephen Hayes describes what happened.
On November 5, Goss’s new chief of staff Patrick Murray confronted Mary Margaret Graham, then serving as associate deputy director for counterterrorism in the directorate of operations. The two discussed several items, including the prospective replacement for Kostiw, a CIA veteran named Kyle “Dusty” Foggo. Murray had a simple message: No more leaks.
Graham took offense at the accusatory warning and notified her boss, Michael Sulick, who in turn notified his boss, Stephen Kappes. A meeting of Goss, Murray, Sulick, and Kappes followed. Goss attended most of the meeting, in which the two new CIA leaders reiterated their concern about leaks. After Goss left, Murray once again warned the two career CIA officials that leaks would not be tolerated. According to a source with knowledge of the incident, Sulick took offense, called Murray “a Hill puke,” and threw a stack of papers in his direction.
Goss summoned Kappes the following day. Although others in the new CIA leadership believed Sulick’s behavior was an act of insubordination worthy of firing, Goss didn’t go quite that far. He ordered Kappes to reassign Sulick to a position outside of the building. Goss suggested Sulick be named New York City station chief. Kappes refused and threatened to resign if Sulick were reassigned. Goss accepted his resignation and Sulick soon followed him out the door.
William Safire referred at the time to the exodus of “a flock of pouting spooks at Langley who bet on a Kerry victory.”
Stephen Kappes had a distinguished career in CIA Operations, but he was one of the central figures in Agency efforts to oppose the policies of a Republican elected administration.
Scott Johnson, at Power-line, quotes the pseudononymous former CIA case officer and author “Ishmael Jones” on the reasons for Kappes’ resignation.
His departure suggests that the Obama administration understands that the status quo at the CIA is unacceptable.
The bomb attack at the CIA base in Khost helped push Kappes out. Kappes had personally briefed President Obama on the quality of the operation beforehand. Following the bombing, we learned that the operation had been a classic bureaucratic boondoggle: 14 people, many with little experience, had met the agent when there should have been only one. Espionage is a one on one business. With so many layers of management involved both in the field and at Headquarters, the chain of command was vague and no-one was really in charge. The CIA’s chief at Khost was set up for failure.
Kappes then attempted to recover from the Khost debacle by leaking news of the defection of an Iranian nuclear scientist. But closer examination showed this to be a hollow achievement. CIA officers are taught to keep agents operating in place because once they defect, their access to intelligence is lost. Defection is an option only when the agent’s life is at risk. And then, once an agent has defected, the news is not to be leaked to the press. The scientist in question turned out to be a low-level participant in the Iranian program who had left the program almost a year ago.
Kappes had outlived his usefulness and become a liability. And so, like Jeremiah Wright, under the bus he goes.
18 Mar 2010
Thought to be a photo of Hussami
Last week, a predator drone strike in Waziristan sent a number of al Qaeda militants to the Prophet’s Paradise, including a top trainer who helped arrange the suicide bombing at a CIA post in Afghanistan last December.
Bill Roggio reports.
The US killed a key al Qaeda operative involved in the network’s external operations during an airstrike last week in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
Sadam Hussein Al Hussami, who is also known as Ghazwan al Yemeni, was killed during the March 10 airstrike in the town of Miramshah, according to a statement released on a jihadist forum.
The March 10 airstrike was carried out by unmanned US attack aircraft and targeted two terrorist compounds in the middle of a bazaar in the town. Six Haqqani Network and al Qaeda operatives were reported killed.
Three other al Qaeda operatives, identified as Abu Jameelah al Kuwaiti Hamed al Aazimi, who served with slain al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi; Abu Zahra al Maghrebi; and Akramah al Bunjabi al Pakistani, were killed with Hussami, according to a translation of the martyrdom statement released on March 12 by Abu Abdulrahman al Qahtani, who is said to be based in Waziristan. The statement was posted on the Al Falluja Forum and a translation is provided by Global Terror Alert. [For more information on Aazimi, see Threat Matrix report, “Al Qaeda operative killed in Pakistan linked to Zarqawi.”]
According to Qahtani, Hussami was a protégé of Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda’s top bomb maker and WMD chief who was killed in a US airstrike in July 2008. Hussami was in a prison in Yemen but was released at an unknown point in time.
Hussami “was involved in training Taliban and foreign al Qaeda recruits for strikes on troops in Afghanistan and targets outside the region,” The Wall Street Journal reported. He “was also on a small council that helped plan” the Dec. 30, 2009, suicide attack at Combat Outpost Chapman that killed seven CIA officials and a Jordanian intelligence officer. The slain intelligence operatives were involved in gathering intelligence for the hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban leaders along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
“Hussami was a skilled operative high up in al Qaeda’s external operations network,” a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. “He also has direct links to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” the terror branch that operates in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
“He was sorely wanted for his involvement in the COP Chapman suicide attack,” the intelligence official continued. Hussami is said to have been instrumental in helping the Jordanian suicide bomber Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al Balawi, who is also known as Abu Dujanah al Khurasani, plan and execute the attack.
Hussami is the first al Qaeda operative killed by the US who is directly linked to the suicide attack at Combat Outpost Chapman. The US has been hunting Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, after he appeared on a videotape with Khurasani.
Hussami’s death was considered sufficient cause for Leon Panetta to indulge in a certain amount of public self congratulation on behalf of the Agency and the current administration.
Aggressive attacks against al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal region have driven Osama bin Laden and his top deputies deeper into hiding and disrupted their ability to plan sophisticated operations, CIA Director Leon Panetta said Wednesday.
So profound is al-Qaeda’s disarray that one of its lieutenants, in a recently intercepted message, pleaded with bin Laden to come to the group’s rescue and provide some leadership, Panetta said. He credited improved coordination with Pakistan’s government and what he called “the most aggressive operation that CIA has been involved in in our history,” offering a near-acknowledgment of what is officially a secret war.
“Those operations are seriously disrupting al-Qaeda,” Panetta said. “It’s pretty clear from all the intelligence we are getting that they are having a very difficult time putting together any kind of command and control, that they are scrambling. And that we really do have them on the run.” ...
t he said the combined U.S.-Pakistani campaign is taking a steady toll in terms of al-Qaeda leaders killed and captured, and is undercutting the group’s ability to coordinate attacks outside its base along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
To illustrate that progress, U.S. intelligence officials revealed new details of a March 8 killing of a top al-Qaeda commander in the militant stronghold of Miram Shah in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s autonomous tribal region. The al-Qaeda official died in what local news reports described as a missile strike by an unmanned aerial vehicle. In keeping with long-standing practice, the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the CIA formally declines to acknowledge U.S. participation in attacks inside Pakistani territory.
Hussein al-Yemeni, the man killed in the attack, was identified by one intelligence official as among al-Qaeda’s top 20 leaders and a participant in the planning for a Dec. 30 suicide bombing at a CIA base in the province of Khost in eastern Afghanistan. The bombing, in which a Jordanian double agent gained access to the CIA base and killed seven officers and contractors, was the deadliest single blow against the agency in a quarter-century.
This is the same Central Intelligence Agency that is winning on Wednesday that includes elements who leaked to the New York Times for publication two days earlier a story alleging that private contractor efforts which seem to have been succeeding rather well in identifying enemy targets have been conducted in contravention of unspecified Intelligence statutes and International Law, and represented a fraudulent diversion of funds.
If I were Mr. Panetta, I’d be doing something about some of my own internal adversaries, those in the habit of employing leaks and innuendo to undermine Agency efforts in the field. It is also essential to do something to terminate the enthusiastic cooperation of their establishment media allies and enablers. Putting a Hellfire missile into certain offices at the New York Times and the Washington Post may be off-limits, but there is still on the books an Intelligence Act of 1917, which makes it a crime to convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies, punishable by death or by imprisonment for not more than 30 years.
If the private contractor operation mentioned by the Times on Monday really was, as seems most probable, a legitimate US Intelligence covert operation, Messrs. Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazetti of the New York Times and their informants could very well be guilty of producing “false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies and whoever when the United States is at war.” False reports or statements in such a case would be punishable by a fine and 20 years in prison.
The Bush Administration chickened out on prosecuting its leakers, and the result has been a dysfunctional situation in which certain members of the Intelligence community are permitted to exercise their own liberum veto over policies and operations.
08 May 2009
Poor Nancy Pelosi is confused about having been briefed on EIT
Wasn’t it kind of the CIA to help her out by leaking to ABC News?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002, according to a report prepared by the Director of National Intelligence’s office and obtained by ABC News.
The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosi’s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics. Instead, she has said, she was told only that the Bush administration had legal opinions that would have supported the use of such techniques.
The report details a Sept. 4, 2002 meeting between intelligence officials and Pelosi, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, and two aides. At the time, Pelosi was the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.
The meeting is described as a “Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed.”
EITs stand for “enhanced interrogation techniques,” a classification of special interrogation tactics that includes waterboarding.
Pelosi, D-Calif., sharply disputed suggestions last month that she had been told about waterboarding having taken place.
“In that or any other briefing . . . we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used,” Pelosi said at a news conference in April. “What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel. . . opinions that they could be used, but not that they would.”
26 Feb 2009
George W. Bush confronting the bureaucracies
In the National Interest, Richard Perle describes the fatal disconnect between George W. Bush’s professed policies and the entrenched State Department and National Security bureaucracies’ failure to implement them. Not only were Bush’s policies not faithfully pursued, in many cases, they were openly attacked and covertly undermined by leaks and disinformation operations.
Perle additionally debunks the left’s favorite bogey: the sinister imperialist “neocon” conpiracy. In recent years, neocon came to be used as a leftwing pejorative for someone supposedly guilty of responsibility for a new, more virulent and objectionable form of conservatism, inclined to unilateral militarism overseas and supportive of hypersecurity measures at homes. The left entirely managed to forget that a neocon is really a (typically Jewish intellectual) former liberal who has been “mugged by reality” and become a foreign policy and law enforcement hawk in response to the excesses of the radical left post the late 1960s. Dick Cheney, who has always been a conservative, for instance, cannot possibly be classified as a neocon.
For eight years George W. Bush pulled the levers of government—sometimes frantically—never realizing that they were disconnected from the machinery and the exertion was largely futile. As a result, the foreign and security policies declared by the president in speeches, in public and private meetings, in backgrounders and memoranda often had little or no effect on the activities of the sprawling bureaucracies charged with carrying out the president’s policies. They didn’t need his directives: they had their own. ...
The responsibility for an ill-advised occupation and an inadequate regional strategy ultimately lies with President Bush himself. He failed to oversee the post-Saddam strategy, intervening only sporadically when things had deteriorated to the point where confidence in cabinet-level management could no longer be sustained. He did finally assert presidential authority when he rejected the defeatist advice of the Baker-Hamilton commission and Condi Rice’s State Department, ordering instead the “surge,” a decision that he surely hopes will eclipse the dismal period from 2004 to January 2007. But that is but one victory for the White House among many failures at Langley, at the Pentagon and in Foggy Bottom. ...
Understanding Bush’s foreign and defense policy requires clarity about its origins and the thinking behind the administration’s key decisions. That means rejecting the false claim that the decision to remove Saddam, and Bush policies generally, were made or significantly influenced by a few neoconservative “ideologues” who are most often described as having hidden their agenda of imperial ambition or the imposition of democracy by force or the promotion of Israeli interests at the expense of American ones or the reshaping of the Middle East for oil—or all of the above. Despite its seemingly endless repetition by politicians, academics, journalists and bloggers, that is not a serious argument. ...
I believe that Bush went to war for the reasons—and only the reasons—he gave at the time: because he believed Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States that was far greater than the likely cost of removing him from power. ...
[T]he salient issue was not whether Saddam had stockpiles of WMD but whether he could produce them and place them in the hands of terrorists. The administration’s appalling inability to explain that this is what it was thinking and doing allowed the unearthing of stockpiles to become the test of whether it had correctly assessed the risk that Saddam might provide WMD to terrorists. When none were found, the administration appeared to have failed the test even though considerable evidence of Saddam’s capability to produce WMD was found in postwar inspections by the Iraq Survey Group chaired by Charles Duelfer.
I am not alone in having been asked, “If you knew that Saddam did not have WMD, would you still have supported invading Iraq?” But what appears to some to be a “gotcha” question actually misses the point. The decision to remove Saddam stands or falls on one’s judgment at the time the decision was made, and with the information then available, about how to manage the risk that he would facilitate a catastrophic attack on the United States. To say the decision to remove him was mistaken because stockpiles of WMD were never found is akin to saying that it was a mistake to buy fire insurance last year because your house didn’t burn down or health insurance because you didn’t become ill. ...
I believe the cost of removing Saddam and achieving a stable future for Iraq has turned out to be very much higher than it should have been, and certainly higher than it was reasonable to expect.
But about the many mistakes made in Iraq, one thing is certain: they had nothing to do with ideology. They did not draw inspiration from or reflect neoconservative ideas and they were not the product of philosophical or ideological influences outside the government. ...
If ever there were a security policy that lacked philosophical underpinnings, it was that of the Bush administration. Whenever the president attempted to lay out a philosophy, as in his argument for encouraging the freedom of expression and dissent that might advance democratic institutions abroad, it was throttled in its infancy by opponents within and outside the administration.
I believe Bush ultimately failed to grasp the demands of the American presidency. He saw himself (MBA that he was) as a chief executive whose job was to give broad direction that would then be automatically translated into specific policies and faithfully implemented by the departments of the executive branch. I doubt that such an approach could be made to work. But without a team that shared his ideas and a determination to see them realized, there was no chance he could succeed. His carefully drafted, often eloquent speeches, intended as marching orders, were seldom developed into concrete policies. And when his ideas ran counter to the conventional wisdom of the executive departments, as they often did, debilitating compromise was the result: the president spoke the words and the departments pronounced the policies.
Read the whole thing.
17 Feb 2009
Today’s Intel leak in the British Telegraph provokes curiosity about the leakers’ intention.
Israel has launched a covert war against Iran as an alternative to direct military strikes against Tehran’s nuclear programme, US intelligence sources have revealed.
It is using hitmen, sabotage, front companies and double agents to disrupt the regime’s illicit weapons project, the experts say.
The most dramatic element of the “decapitation” programme is the planned assassination of top figures involved in Iran’s atomic operations. ...
Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst with Stratfor, the US private intelligence company with strong government security connections, said the strategy was to take out key people.
“With co-operation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets involved in the nuclear programme and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain,” she said.
“As US-Israeli relations are bound to come under strain over the Obama administration’s outreach to Iran, and as the political atmosphere grows in complexity, an intensification of Israeli covert activity against Iran is likely to result.”
Mossad was rumoured to be behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant, who died in mysterious circumstances from reported “gas poisoning” in 2007.
Other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli “hits”, intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the programme, according to Western intelligence analysts.
“Israel has shown no hesitation in assassinating weapons scientists for hostile regimes in the past,” said a European intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity. They did it with Iraq and they will do it with Iran when they can.”
Is all this by way of being a pouting spooks’ spoiler intended to rein in Israeli efforts too violent and extreme for thin-blooded liberals in the Agency? Or is it actually a warning to the mullahs that the covert gloves are off and Mossad is going to do the wet work with Washington’s blessing?
Meanwhile, DEBKAfile (the Mossad press blog), was hinting darkly about the mysterious fate of an American doctor of Iranian extraction.
Iranian media this week offered a glimpse into the purported double life of an Iranian-born American physician alleging he was a secret bio-weapons scientist. They reported that Dr. Noah McKay (formerly Nasser Talebzadeh Ordoubadi) died in mysterious circumstance Saturday, Feb. 14 aged 53, vaguely accusing “intelligence agencies” of causing his death. ...
The Iranian reports only hint that he may have met a similar fate to the British ministry of defense’s bio-weapons expert Dr. David Kelly, whose body was found in an Oxfordshire wood on July 17, 2003.
This close conjunction of two quick tours of Israeli Intelligence’s trophy room seems to argue that the intent is to send a pretty explicit message indicating that conspicuous involvement in Iran’s WMD procurement efforts poses a significant hazard to one’s health.
21 Jan 2009
George W. Bush’s failure to pardon Lewis Libby, I think, makes it clear why he never asserted his authority and passively allowed the entrenched bureaucratic left to criminalize policy differences in order undermine his policies and destroy his public support.
George W. Bush really was at heart, a liberal statist who believes implicitly in the validity of governmental processes and in the judgements delivered by government institutions. He does not look beyond the form and process to see the partisan human beings working the levers and putting their thumbs on the scales of justice.
If officials of the CIA said disclosing Valerie Plame’s employment was a federal crime, it didn’t matter to Bush that their interpretation was a stretch motivated by partisan malice. Those CIA adversaries were officials of the government. What they said was the law was the law.
No wonder he appointed James Comey Deputy Attorney General.
A sophisticated conservative would never have promoted the official who threw Martha Stewart into jail on supposititious insider trading charges. The conservative would be skeptical of the merits of insider trading prosecutions to begin with, remembering that the pre-FDR-packed Supreme Court threw out those laws back when the Constitution still mattered. The conservative, beyond that, would take a dim view of celebrity prosecutions featuring strained efforts at landing a big fish played in the glow of the media spotlight.
George W. Bush was clearly never all that sophisticated nor all that conservative. If some partisan official, an ambitious prosecutor, and a leftwing urban jury filled with unemployed hippies and welfare moms says that Libby was guilty, why, he must have been guilty.
It’s a wonder Bush wasn’t willing to believe what the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post said about himself.
Bush brought the Republican Party into public disrepute and electoral disaster because he did not effectively answer his opponents’ attacks. His passivity, it is apparent, was not some kind of mistake. It was grounded in an implicit acceptance of the authority of his adversaries in government and in his willingness to allow himself and his administration to be gamed.
The contrast with Bill Clinton’s cynical and self-regarding use of the presidential pardon power could not be more remarkable. Clinton was a crook and a clever and successful one. George W. Bush is obviously a scrupulously honest man, but albeit a fool.
19 Jan 2009
J.R. Dunn puts the Bush presidency into historical perspective.
It can be stated without fear of serious argument that no previous president has been treated as brutally, viciously, and unfairly as George W. Bush.
Bush 43 endured a deliberate and planned assault on everything he stood for, everything he was involved in, everything he tried to accomplish. Those who worked with him suffered nearly as much (and some even more—at least one, Scooter Libby, was convicted on utterly specious charges in what amounts to a show trial).
His detractors were willing to risk the country’s safety, its economic health, and the very balance of the democratic system of government in order to get at him. They were out to bring him down at all costs, or at the very least destroy his personal and presidential reputation. At this they have been half successful, at a high price for the country and its government.
Although everyone insists on doing so, it is impossible to judge Bush, his achievements, or his failings, without taking these attacks into account. ...
[T]he New York Times, which on its downhill road to becoming a weekly shopper giveaway for the Upper West Side, seriously jeopardized national security in the process of satisfying its anti-Bush compulsion. Telecommunications intercepts, interrogation techniques, transport of terrorist captives, tracking of terrorist finances… scarcely a single security program aimed at Jihadi activity went unrevealed by the Times and—not to limit the blame—was then broadcast worldwide by the legacy media. At one point, Times reporters published a detailed analysis of government methods of searching out rogue atomic weapons, a story that was no doubt read with interest at points north of Lahore, and one that we may all end up paying for years down the line. The fact that Bush was able to curtail any further attacks while the media as a whole was working to undermine his efforts is little less than miraculous.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Bird Dog.
12 Jan 2009
It was never really demonstrated that any crime had ever been committed by anyone, and Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald already knew that it was Richard Armitage who told Robert Novak about Valerie Plame when he indicted Lewis Libby on the basis of his account of conversations a few years back differing from those of his interlocutors.
Clarice Feldman, who did a superb job of covering the Plamegame scandal at American Thinker, calls on President Bush to pardon Lewis Libby before leaving office.
She’s right, and I think he will.
14 Dec 2008
Thomas M. Tamm
Michael Issikoff, in Newsweek, systematically applies the coat of whitewash, drapes the red-white-and-blue bunting, and affixes the journalistic left’s paper mâché halo to Thomas M. Tamm, renegade attorney from the Department of Justice’s Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), who leaked damaging allegations about the NSA foreign communications surveillance program to New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, ultimately resulting in their famous December 16, 2005 Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts story, which naturally won them the Pullitzer Prize.
Tam, you see, was understandably outraged by the following nefarious practice.
After arriving at OIPR, Tamm learned about an unusual arrangement by which some wiretap requests were handled under special procedures. These requests, which could be signed only by the attorney general, went directly to the chief judge and none other. It was unclear to Tamm what was being hidden from the other 10 judges on the court (as well as the deputy attorney general, who could sign all other FISA warrants). All that Tamm knew was that the “A.G.-only” wiretap requests involved intelligence gleaned from something that was obliquely referred to within OIPR as “the program.”
Obviously any fair-minded attorney would conclude that an instance of special handling of particular intelligence information or the exclusion from participation in its processing and examination by any subordinate judges of Justice Department officials always ipso facto constitutes a sufficiently grave breach of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the US Constitution to necessitate an immediate donation to the John Kerry Campaign and a covert phone call to the Times. What else is a patriotic American do?
Issikoff procedes to explain that Tamm’s Hamlet-like struggle with his conscience over leaking and Raskolinkov-like agonies over fear of being caught and punished made the poor soul depressed.
He had trouble concentrating on his work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and ignored some e-mails from one of his supervisors. He was accused of botching a drug case. By mutual agreement, he resigned in late 2006. He was out of a job and squarely in the sights of the FBI. Nevertheless, he began blogging about the Justice Department for liberal Web sites.
And Tamm had good cause for fear.
With the investigative speed and precision the FBI is famous for, brandishing guns and wearing flak jackets, G-men promptly descended a mere two years later upon Tamm’s suburban home to seize his desktop computer, his children’s laptops, some private papers, and his Christmas card list.
Let that be a lesson to policy free-lancers, leakers, violator of the Espionage Act, and traitors everywhere!
Divulge highest level classified information, participate in undermining US counterrorism, act consciously to discredit the elected government you serve, and the FBI will come over and browbeat your family and steal your PC.
That, of course, is as far as it is going to go, if the administration you are discrediting happens to be George W. Bush’s. The Bush Administration has never been able to muster the intestinal fortitude needed to make sure that the people working in the highest level classified positions in its War on Terror are actually on its own side, and still less has it able to steel its nerves to the point where it dares actually to prosecute such cases.
The Bush Administration understands only too well that it would be represented, after all, in court in cases of that kind by representatives of the Bush Administration. The leakers and traitors would be represented by skilled counsel from leading white shoe law firms and the cream of the faculty of Ivy League law schools. The defendants would additionally have the mainstream media operating as full-time public relations managers and publicists. So I suppose the administration’s timidity may be at least partly exculpated by its self awareness of its own inadequacy.
02 Dec 2008
Larrey Anderson, at American Thinker, makes an argument that I basically agree with.
George W. Bush’s presidency has been a disaster for the Republican Party, and for Conservatism, and ironically the unhappy result has much more to do with what George W. Bush failed to do than with anything he did. The Bush presidency was discredited not by defeat abroad or the results of his own policies at home. George W. Bush’s reputation and capacity to govern was destroyed by the ceaseless attacks of his political enemies which succeeded because he failed in any way effectively to respond.
Bush never satisfactorily explained why Iraq and not Syria (or Saudi Arabia, for that matter). He accepted the theory that no Iraqi WMD ever existed, refusing to discuss the truck convoys departing over the Syrian border. He allowed opponents within the Intelligence Community to leak National Security information without response, and he even allowed the same group to turn identification of one of their number by a third party into a national scandal resulting in the indictment and conviction on a preposterous basis of the Vice Presidential Chief of Staff. He tamely bowed his head and accepted all the blame for the disaster in New Orleans, refusing to identify the impact of state and local incompetence and corruption in a situation in which both played the key role.
Perhaps, on the day Machiavelli’s The Prince came up for discussion in Political Theory 101 at Yale, good old George was partying at Deke. Or, perhaps, even more likely, George W. Bush is ethically inhibited from implementing the wisdom of the Florentine cynic by his authentic commitment to Christianity and his resolute determination to keep turning the other cheek.
Conservatism needs a fresh start. It is losing arguments … and it is losing elections. One person, more than any other (even more than John McCain), has caused this: President George W. Bush.
Conservatives have not been winning arguments—or elections—by defending President Bush and his record. We have been, repeatedly, thumped rhetorically and electorally in our efforts to support his policies. It is time for conservatives to move on.
George W. Bush is undoubtedly a sincere man. He is, in all probability, a good man. His dramatic conversion to Christianity indicates that he, at least at this point in his life, is a man of high moral principles. He is compassionate. And therein lies the problem: President Bush was too compassionate to be a good president.
14 Oct 2008
James Lewis, at American Thinker, explains how the domestic and international left are responsible for Iran and North Korea becoming nuclear powers.
The single most suicidal action by the Left has been its years of assault on President George W. Bush after the overthrow of Saddam. It has often been pointed out that every intelligence agency in the world believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq. UN inspectors like David Kay repeatedly said so. Democrats and European socialists alike repeated warned about the danger of Saddam’s weapons programs, knowing full well that his first nuclear reactor was destroyed by an Israeli air raid as long ago as 1981. Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and even the UN’s El Baradei pointed out the danger.
As we now know, Saddam has had 500 metric tons of yellowcake uranium in storage since 1992. But George W. Bush was assaulted by the Left, in the person of Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson and the New York Times editorial page, allegedly because Bush peddled the lie that Saddam wanted to obtain yellowcake uranium. But there was no lie; the whole phony brouhaha was a PR assault to destroy the credibility of the Bush administration. The end result was to make us helpless in the face of more nuclear proliferation. To slake its lust for power the Left was more than willing to sabotage our safety.
Did Saddam pose a plausible threat of nuclear weaponization? Of course he did. Did he pose an actual threat? That is, did he actually possess WMD’s ready to mount on missiles in a matter of hours, to shoot off at his enemies? Today’s conventional wisdom is that he did not. But that is pure post-hockery.
George W. Bush has been crucified for five long years in the media, by the feckless, hysterical and cowardly Europeans, by the United Nations, and of course by the Democratic Party, because he took the only sane action possible in the face of the apparent WMD threat from Saddam. Because presidents don’t have the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking. They cannot wait for metaphysical certainty about threats to national survival and international peace. There is no such thing as metaphysical certainty in these matters; presidents must act on incomplete intelligence, knowing full well that their domestic enemies will try to destroy them for trying to save the peace.
But that is water under the bridge by now. What’s not past, but rather a clear and present threat to civilization are the consequences of the unbelievable recklessness of the International Left—- including the Democrats, the Europeans, the UN, and the former communist powers. Because of their screaming opposition to the Bush administration’s rational actions against Saddam, we are now rendered helpless against two even more dangerous challenges. With Saddam there was genuine doubt about his nuclear program; the notion that he had a viable program was just the safest guess to make in the face of his policy of deliberate ambiguity. In the case of Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il there’s no guessing any more. They have nukes and missiles, or will have within a year.
The entire anti-proliferation effort has therefore been sabotaged and probably ruined by the Left. For what reason? There can be only one rational reason: A lust for power, even at the expense of national and international safety and peace. But the Left has irrational reasons as well, including an unfathomable hatred for adulthood in the face of mortal danger. Like the Cold War, this is a battle between the adolescent rage of the Left and the realistic adult decision-making of the mainstream—- a mainstream which is now tenuously maintained only by conservatives in the West.
22 Jun 2008
When Bush Administration policy opponent Richard Armitage’s disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson’s job in the course of gossiping with Robert Novak was apparently subsequently confirmed to Novak by administration officials interested in pointing out the partisan planning behind former Ambassador Wilson’s junket to Niger, the revealing of Mrs. Wilson’s CIA employment was treated by the left as major crime, despite the fact that Mrs. Wilson was not a covert agent in the terms defined by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.
Valerie Plame Wilson was working in the Counterproliferation Division of the Agency, liaisoning with other American and international agencies and publicly chairing meetings discussing that international problem. No evidence has ever been brought forward to indicate that she was doing anything likely to provoke a special personal animosity directed at herself on the part of terrorist organizations.
But for a Sunday headline, the New York Times today gleefully revealed the name, career background, role as targeting officer and interrogator of major al Qaeda prisoners, and current employment of a former CIA officer who certainly could be a particular target for revenge on the basis of his service, rejecting pleas on behalf of Mr. Martinez’s personal safety from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency himself.
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the C.I.A., and a lawyer representing Mr. Martinez asked that he not be named in this article, saying that the former interrogator believed that the use of his name would invade his privacy and might jeopardize his safety. The New York Times, noting that Mr. Martinez had never worked undercover and that others involved in the campaign against Al Qaeda have been named in news articles and books, declined the request.
The irony is that the American left is perfectly capable of successfully indicting, prosecuting, and convicting political opponents on the basis of supposititious intelligence crimes, armed with control only of the media, while the Bush Administration is demonstrably unable to deter, prevent, or punish genuine intelligence leaks obviously rising to the level of violations of federal statutes, while theoretically in control of the entire Executive Branch, including the Intelligence agencies doing the leaking and the Department of Justice.
04 Apr 2008
Peter Carr, Principal Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice, responded to Glenn Greenwald’s request for clarification as follows:
In a question-and-answer session after his Commonwealth Club speech last week, Attorney General Mukasey referenced a call between an al Qaeda safe house and a person in the United States. The Attorney General has referred to this before, in the letter he sent with Director of National Intelligence McConnell to Chairman Reyes on February 22, 2008. In that letter, contained in this link [.pdf], the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence explained that:
“We have provided Congress with examples in which difficulties with collections under [Executive Order 12333] resulted in the Intelligence Community missing crucial information. For instance, one of the September 11 hijackers communicated with a known overseas terrorist facility while he was living in the United States. Because that collection was conducted under Executive Order 12333, the Intelligence Community could not identify the domestic end of the communication prior to September 11, 2001, when it could have stopped that attack. The failure to collect such communications was one of the central criticisms of the Congressional Joint Inquiry that looked into intelligence failures associated with the attacks of September 11. The bipartisan bill passed by the Senate would address such flaws in our capabilities that existed before the enactment of the Protect America Act and that are now resurfacing.”
This call is also referenced in the unclassified report of the congressional intelligence committees’ Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks.
Greenwald spills buckets full of indignation and continues beating his accusatory tom-tom, being absolutely in love with the notion that he has found a deliberate falsehood he can explode to the embarrassment of the evil Bush Administration, and he has a pretty good echo of his theory (accepting it as proven gospel) going in a number ( 1, 2, 3) of the standard cages making up the left blogosphere’s monkey-house, but (sorry, Glenn!) he has actually proven absolutely nothing.
At best (from Greenwald’s point-of-view), the Attorney-General offered an inelegantly-phrased hypothetical open to misinterpretation. On the other hand, it is not impossible at all that there really was a phone call from an al Qaeda safe house which was not intercepted because of legal red-tape. In which case, Mr. Greenwald is going to be very sorry that he has so heavily invested in this story.
04 Apr 2008
Back in March, as this New York Sun 3/27 story indicates, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, in a speech arguing for Congressional support for FISA, seemed to indicate that the absence of a warrant prevented US surveillance of a crucial pre-9/11 phone call from a safe house in Afghanistan to someone in the United States.
Attorney General Mukasey, in an emotional plea for broad surveillance authority in the war on terror, is warning that the price for failing to empower the government would be paid in American lives. Officials “shouldn’t need a warrant when somebody with a phone in Iraq picks up a phone and calls somebody in the United States because that’s the call that we may really want to know about. And before 9/11, that’s the call that we didn’t know about,” Mr. Mukasey said yesterday as he took questions from the audience following a speech to a public affairs forum, the Commonwealth Club. “We knew that there has been a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went.”
At that point in his answer, Mr. Mukasey grimaced, swallowed hard, and seemed to tear up as he reflected on the weaknesses in America’s anti-terrorism strategy prior to the 2001 attacks. “We got three thousand. ... We’ve got three thousand people who went to work that day and didn’t come home to show for that,” he said, struggling to maintain his composure.
There has been little media coverage of what seems to be possibly a major story, but the left blogosphere has erupted today with attacks on Mukasey for allegedly lying, led by “the left’s most dishonest blogger” Glenn Greenwald himself.
Reading General Mukasey’s comment as reported in the Sun, I was not certain myself whether he was referring to a real incident or merely to a hypothetical, but the major counter-offensive being mounted this morning by the left’s big gun liars seems to indicate that it could very well be the former.
Greenwald’s attack in Salon is being followed up by the leading leftwing Congressional representatives, these days operating on the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-MI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), sending Mukasey an accusatory letter, demanding that he explain his March statement.
Mr. Mukasey may simply reply that he was only speaking hypothetically of course. Developing.
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