The Ghorbanifar Meetings Timeline

The SSCI report on the Rome meeting has a really funny footnote.

Mr. Franklin is currently awaiting direction from the Department of Justice to report to prison on matters unrelated to those discussed in this report. He was indicted in August 2005 along with two employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for conspiring with each other to unlawfully disclose classified national defense information. Mr. Franklin subsequently pled guilty, and was sentenced in January 2006 on three felony counts: conspiracy to communicate national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it; conspiracy to communicate classified information to an agent of a foreign government; and the unlawful retention of national defense information.

The footnote is funny (in addition to the fact that it misstates when Franklin was first indicted) because Franklin pled guilty to dealing information about Iran to AIPAC. The reason Franklin did so was not because of money or blackmail, but because he disagreed with US policy on Iran, and was happy to work with AIPAC to pressure the government into a more hawkish policy on Iran. Which is pretty much what was happening with the Ghorbanifar information. As DOD’s own Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) report suggested,

Ghorbanifar or his associates are being used as agents of a foreign intelligence service to leverage his continuing contact with Michael Ledeen and others to reach into and influence the highest levels of the U.S. Government.

Along with a lot of other crappy "intelligence," Ghorbanifar was floating plans to overthrow the regime in Iran, so the end goal of both the AIPAC effort and Ledeen and Ghorbanifar’s efforts was regime change in Iran.

The suggestion that Franklin’s indictment is unrelated to the Ghorbanifar meetings is also funny because, while Franklin claimed he did not know Ledeen in 2001 when Ledeen selected him to attend the Rome meeting, by fall 2004, Ledeen was intervening to get Plato Cacheris to represent Franklin in the AIPAC scandal. Thus, while there’s no reason to believe the Israelis were involved in the Rome meeting, the same group of Neocons were involved in parallel efforts to undercut US efforts to establish closer relations with Iran.

Now, as Laura Rozen revealed, it appears that this thing is not over–she reports that Harold Rhode has lawyered up. Rhode refused to cooperate with the SSCI’s most recent efforts to investigate this meeting last fall, which suggests he has gotten much more reluctant to talk about what happened (and DOD says he has forgotten what he said in 2004, displaying the forgetfulness all Bush Administration criminals seem to share). But if you think about it, there are only two logical explanations for why–two and a half years after Larry Franklin pled guilty to sharing defense information–he is still "awaiting direction from DOJ to report to prison." Either someone high up in the Administration intervened to keep Franklin out of the pokey (OVP is named in the SSCI report, and we know Dick Cheney has prevented allies from going to prison before), or Franklin has been cooperating with investigators for two and a half years. (His docket just shows a "delayed reporting date."

With all that said, I decided to look more closely at the timeline involved. What follows combines several timelines: the timeline of both the meetings and the investigations into those meetings from the SSCI report, key details from Franklin’s indictment, and details of attempts to foster closer relations with Iran detailed in this Flynt Leverett op-ed. I’ll say more about what this timeline shows in follow-up posts.


September 9. 2001: Condi demands an investigation into a leak that ended up in NYT story; the leak would lead to AIPAC investigation

Before November 7, 2001: Ledeen calls Rodman; Rodman says no to Rome meeting

Before November 7, 2001: Ledeen calls Hadley, claims Iranians want to defect

November 7, 2001: Hadley calls Wolfowitz, who instructs Rodman to approve the meeting

November 15, 2001: Rodman checks with DOD General Counsel Haynes on whether DOD can accept defectors

December 9. 2001: Powell publicly mentions meetings with Iran

December 2001: US requests Iran prevent Gulbuddin Hekmatyar from returning to Afghanistan

December 10-13, 2001: First Rome meetings

December 12, 2001: Sembler and Ledeen meet

December 23, 2001: Sembler hosts Ledeen; Ledeen says US should support deal with Ghorbanifar’s Iranians

January 2002: Franklin report on meeting

Early 2002: Franklin contacted by "official from the Office of the Vice President" regarding Ghorbanifar

January 7, 2002: Rodman drafts–but doesn’t send–summary of meeting for Wolfowitz

January 14, 2002: Meeting with DCI reveals details of meetings

January 16, 2002: Ledeen meeting with Hadley

January 29, 2002: Bush names Iran in "axis of evil"

January 31, 2002: Handwritten note exchange between Rodman and Wolfowitz, with the latter stressing secrecy

February 1, 2002: Marc Grossman inquires about meeting after learning of Ledeen summary for Hadley; does not identify Rhode as one of the participants

February 2, 2002: Rodman meeting with DIA Director Wilson

February 5, 2002: Rodman prepares draft memo from Wolfie to Rummy

February 8, 2002: State Department cable on meetings

February 9, 2002: CIA and State oppose further meetings

February 2002: CIA’s Deputy Director of Operations Pavitt establishes channel for Ledeen to contact agency about any further contacts

February 12, 2002: Rodman summary on meeting (mentioning oil contracts); drafted with Franklin assistance

Early 2002: Luti and another DOD official tell Rhode activity had been shut off

April 2002: "Executive referral" from OSD to Defense HUMINT to meet with Ledeen

May 10, 2002: Newt Gingrich faxes Ledeen memo to Rumsfeld

June 27, 2002: Rumsfeld documented as having read Ledeen memo (DOD claims the memo "passed through" Rumsfeld’s office)

July 4, 2002: Ledeen contacts Sembler about further meetings with Ghobanifar in Italy

July 13, 2002: Wolfowitz assistant tells Rodman Tenet supported contacts; Charles Allen to coordinate

July 15, 16, 2002: CIA cables on meeting

July 18, 2002: Sembler alerts Marc Grossman that Ledeen contacted him on July 4 regarding further meetings in Rome in August

July 19, 2002: Rodman action memo (citing multi-million dollar business deals) in response to Ledeen memo recommends ongoing contact with CIA coordination

July 25, 2002: Feith reviews Rodman action memo

July 25, 2002: CIA cable reflecting Powell’s lack of approval for contacts

August 8, 2002: CIA cable reflecting NSC legal advisor stating Hadley had "chastised" Ledeen for ongoing efforts on this matter

August 15, 2002: Franklin returns Steve Rosen contact about discussing Iran

August 21, 2002: Franklin and Rosen postpone meeting

September 4, 2002: Sembler in DC told Ledeen’s activities would not continue

December 2002: Rhode has "chance meeting" with Iranians while attending Iraqi opposition conference in London; Rhode informs his supervisor of meeting, but does not document it

January 2003: Pat Roberts becomes Chair of SSCI

February 12, 2003: Franklin and Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman discuss draft internal policy document regarding "Middle Eastern country"

March 13, 2003: Rosen discloses information on policy document to "senior fellow" at DC think tank (Ledeen?)

March 17, 2003: Franklin faxes Rosen contents of appendix from internal policy document

March 18, 2003: Rosen leaks details of policy document to WaPo’s Michael Dobbs, saying "I’m not supposed to know this"

April 2003: Iran proposes re-establishing relations; US rejects proposal because Iranian government "on the verge of collapse"

May 3, 2003: US and Iran in negotiations in Geneva

May 7, 2003: Rhode apparently stages "find" of anti-Israel materials in Iraq (and uranium document) with Ahmed Chalabi; Judy Miller reports it

Late May, 2003: Ledeen sends new letter outlining Ghorbanifar plan to Feith, including promise of finding "Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that had been moved to Iran"

May 21, 2003: US cancels Geneva meeting with Iran, accusing Iran of harboring Al Qaeda leaders

May 25, 2003: Report (quoting Rummy elsewhere) that US considering using MEK to launch attack on Iran

June 2, 2003: Feith forwards Ledeen letter to Cambone; "let’s discuss"

June 2003: While in Istanbul at conference on US/Turkish relations, two Middle East experts from OVP asks Rhode to meet with Iranian Professor, Palestinian, and others in Paris in lieu of them

June 15, 2003: WaPo publishes article based on policy document leaked on March 18; the article quotes both Ledeen and Leverett

June 26, 2003: Franklin meets with Rosen and Weissman, gives information about potential attacks in US troops in Iraq

June 28, 2003: Feith writes letter to Pat Roberts on "the cell set up in his office to review intelligence"

June 30 and July 1, 2003: While in Paris filling in for OVP employees, Rhode meets with Ghorbanifar (Ledeen arranges meeting)

July 14, 2003: Roberts informs Tenet that he met with Ledeen "at the urging of Senators Santorum, Kyl and Brownback"; Roberts asks Tenet for comment

July 2003: FBI begins investigation of Larry Franklin

August 2003: DOD IG Rome review

August 2003: Rhode continues to receive contacts from Ghorbanifar

August 6, 2003: Ledeen meets with several DOD intelligence figures to "discuss a source who knew where enriched uranium was buried in Iraq"; Ghorbanifar was conduit to this source

August 8, 2003: Newsday reports on Paris meeting

August 9, 2003: WaPo reports on Rome and Paris meeting

August 9, 2003: Rhode recalled from Iraq, where he had been liaising with Ahmad Chalabi

August 9, 2003: According to Ledeen, Rhode and Franklin ordered to stop talking to Ledeen about Iran; Franklin and Rodman do not recall such an order

August 11, 2003: Rodman prepares chronology of Iran contacts for Rumsfeld, leaving out details of June 2003 Paris meeting because it "[took] place without the knowledge" of DOD International Security Affairs or Policy

Before 2003 (unspecified): Franklin’s faxed correspondence with Ghorbanifar destroyed

September 11, 2003: Rumsfeld requests details from Wolfowitz, nothing Powell and Rice interested in response; Wolfowitz writes memo

September 2003: Wolfowitz instructs Rodman to make clear to Rhode to get "potentially sensitive contacts with foreigners approved by Policy."

September 19, 2003: At request of Wolfowitz and Feith, Cambone orders CIFA review of Ghorbanifar contacts

September 23, 2003: CIA response to Pat Roberts on Ledeen’s information stating, "none of these leads has resulted in information of significant intelligence value."

September 25, 2003: CIFA interview of Rhode

Early October 2003: Possible Rhode meeting with Ghorbanifar in Rome

October 2003: SSCI reviews Rome meetings but does not yet add it into Iraq intelligence review

October 21, 2003: Cambone orders CIFA investigation halted; report notes:

Pursuant to direction from the offices of DoD General Counsel [Haynes] and USD(I) [Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Cambone] the inquiry has been limited in scope. The inquiry has been restricted to interviews of some of the principal DoD personalities identified in news articles as being associated with this matter and their supervisors, review of material voluntarily provided by interviewees, review of all records from DoD agencies, and open source information.

Analysis of the information obtained by this limited scope inquiry, suggests there are several interviews of people both internal to DoD and external to DoD that have not been completed and would likely corroborate and/or enhance the information obtained to date. Analysis also suggests there are records and information possessed by the CIA that would likely corroborate and/or enhance the information obtained to date. The offices of the USD(I) and DoD General Counsel have advised CIFA not to conduct the key interviews CIFA has recommended. The DoD Office of General Counsel has not forwarded CIFA’s letter to the CIA, which was drafted dof DoD General Counsel review and dissemination.

The report lists five unresolved issues:

  • A National Security Counsel staff report of a possible third meeting between Mr. Rhode and Mr. Ghorbanifar in early October 2003
  • The lack of follow-up with the CIA
  • The lack of understanding of the role of the Office of Vice President or the role of the National Security Counsel in the Rome and Paris meetings
  • No independent corroboration of the information or timelines provided by DoD personnel involved in the two known meetings with Mr. Ghorbanifar
  • The lack of information on the involvement of the foreign government in the Rome meeting

October 24, 2003: Franklin tells a foreign official that work on the policy document had been stopped

October 29, 2003: SSCI staff meeting with DOD officials

October 29, 2003: State Department ready to resume negotiations with Iran

February 2004: SSCI adds OUSD(P) activities into scope of Iraq intelligence review

February 2004: DOD puts together chronology of meeting including inaccurate description of June 2003 Ghorbanifar meeting (basically hiding the role of OVP personnel)

April 16, 2004: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs letter backgrounding the meeting; the letter hides the role of OVP in the meeting

April 20, 2004: Harold Rhode interview with SSCI

April 21, 2004: Michael Ledeen interview with SSCI, claims he learned of Paris meeting by "read[ing] about it in the papers"

April 23, 2004: Larry Franklin interview with SSCI

May 2004: FBI catches Franklin leaking sensitive information and flips him

May 20, 2004: US raids Chalabi’s Iraqi compound

June 2, 2004: NYT reports that Chalabi alerted Iran that US had SigInt code

June 8, 2004: SSCI staff imterview with DIA employees

June 10, 2004: SSCI staff interviews former DIA Director Wilson

July 9, 2004: Franklin passes information on US intelligence about Middle Eastern country to Weissman

July 21, 2004: Franklin passes on information about foreign government’s covert actions in Iraq to Weissman

August 3, 2004: FBI contacts Weissman and Rosen

August 24, 2004: State Department QFRs

Week of August 22, 2004: FBI interviews American not in government about Franklin

An American not in government who was interviewed by the FBI last week described the line of questioning as a "fishing expedition" that did not include any mention of Franklin or Iran.

The FBI appeared more concerned about people this person knows who were looking for access to intelligence or classified information.

"I was left startled that in a town of award-winning journalists, law enforcement officials were asking if anyone I knew might be interested in classified information," the person said. "It was a fishing expedition. It was an extremely odd conversation."

August 27, 2004: Rosen and Weissman interviewed by FBI; Rosen warns Israeli of investigation 

August 27, 2004: News of AIPAC investigation leaked; Paul McNulty put in charge of case

August 29-20, 2004: Feith, Luti, Rodman interviewed about whether they had authorized Franklin’s leaks to AIPAC

September-October 2004: Through Michael Ledeen’s intercession, Plato Cacheris agrees to represent Franklin pro bono

May 3, 2005: Franklin charged with espionage in sealed complaint

August 2005: Feith leaves DOD

September 2005: Roberts requests DOD IG investigation into "unlawful" activities of OUSD(P)

September 2005: Levin requests DOD IG investigation into "improper" activities of OUSD(P)

November 1, 2005: Harry Reid shuts down Senate in effort to restart Phase II

November 2005: DOD OIG begins investigation into Feith, stalling the SSCI investigation into Feith

January 2006: Jello Jay becomes Chair SSCI (Pat Roberts quits Committee, Kit Bond becomes Ranking Member)

January 2006: Franklin sentenced

July 13, 2006; Patton Boggs writes letter to DOD IG on behalf of Feith

February 2007: DOD OIG report on Feith’s intelligence analysis

March 6, 2007: DOD OIG report on involvement with the Rendon group

July 2007: SSCI asks DOD for details on content of and response to CIFA investigation; receives nothing

September 2007: Jello Jay asks DOD for copies of CIFA materials; receives nothing

2007: Rhode refuses to interview with SSCI

September 27, 2007: SSCI interviews Rodman

October 3, 2007: SSCI interviews Franklin

October 22, 2007: CIA QFR on Iranians at the meeting

October 24, 2007: Ledeen interview, admits he may have arranged Paris Ghorbanifar meeting

November 28 , 2007: CIA QFR on Iranians at meeting

December 19, 2007: Staff interview of DIA Analyst (about whether Iranians identified were real)

March 10, 2008: Phone interview with Tenet

March 12, 2008: DOD QFR on Rhode, Ledeen

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134 replies
    • skdadl says:

      Oh, I’d say you’re doing some fine weeding here, EW. This is stunning.

      LS @ 12 is also stunning. ElBaradei has said he could feel forced to quit if there is an attack against Iran, and millions will march worldwide, believe me. Do the congresscritturs realize that? Would they care if they did?

    • Neil says:

      When I read Bmaz who informed us EW was “pulling weeds” and then saw this post with its timeline and analysis, I concluded Bmaz must have been coining a new phrase, “pulling weeds”, that means deducing the truth by analyzing the rhetoric and using a timeline to reveal contractions and identify key areas of inquiry to find the facts about a story. I like it, “pulling weeds

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Yes.
        “Wheel-isms”
        Pulling weeds, Pixie Dust, and Perfecting the Time Line
        Marcy — The Secret Power of the Live Blog.

        Q for Obama.
        If you were Prez, would you veto the FISA Bill?

        “Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like
        expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.”

        Plame d’Affaire conclusion:

        When you find yourself in deep water, keep your mouth shut?
        Dennis Wholey

  1. LS says:

    ” An American not in government who was interviewed by the FBI last week described the line of questioning as a “fishing expedition” that did not include any mention of Franklin or Iran.

    The FBI appeared more concerned about people this person knows who were looking for access to intelligence or classified information.

    “I was left startled that in a town of award-winning journalists, law enforcement officials were asking if anyone I knew might be interested in classified information,” the person said. “It was a fishing expedition. It was an extremely odd conversation.”

    Sort of sounds like Richard Perle’s language.

  2. LS says:

    Oh, right. I see what you are saying.

    Gawd, this stuff is fascinating..same old characters….

    Smells like a VP’s office…Chalabi, Judy….where’s Libby?…I’m quite sure it smells like the Plame leak…sniff, sniff….Iran…Iran, Cheney’s “prize”….now, Israel making a “show of force”…

    The plan of these goons is old…back in the 90’s….they are only now going to go after the rest of their agenda…they only have a few “legal” months to do it…but, what do they care about “legal”…

    • JThomason says:

      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.

      Col. Kwiatkowski, Salon, March 10, 2004 (this Article was linked by [email protected])

  3. JThomason says:

    It was Chalabi, after all – a foreigner, an Arab – who persuaded the most powerful men and women in the United States to make the liberation of Iraq not merely a priority but an obsession. First in 1998, when Chalabi persuaded Congress to pass the Iraq Liberation Act (in turn leading to payments to his group, the Iraqi National Congress, exceeding $27 million over the next six years) and then, later, in persuading the Bush administration of the necessity of using force to destroy Saddam Hussein. And when it all went bad, when those nuclear weapons never turned up, the clever child shrugged and smiled. “We are heroes in error,” Chalabi told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. Almost with a wink.

    International Herald Tribune, Nov. 3 2006

  4. LS says:

    “”I was left startled that in a town of award-winning journalists, law enforcement officials were asking if anyone I knew might be interested in classified information,”

    Hmmmm…now…who could this “person” be referring to as “award-winning journalists”…Is this person insinuating that law enforcement should be asking those “journalists” if anyone they knew might be interested in classified information? Thinking about an award-winning journalist who is on CNN…who has direct connections to AIPAC and used to report for them…who has published under another name. They should ask, “Little Red Riding Hood”…

    Is this person suggesting that kind of journalist should be questioned instead of them…

  5. JThomason says:

    Another tidbit:

    Indeed, Chalabi and Sadr are not as unlikely a pair as they may seem. Musa al-Sadr, the late Iranian-born ayatollah and Moktada’s cousin, presided over Chalabi’s wedding in Beirut in 1971. Chalabi’s wife, Leila, is the daughter of Adel Osseiran, a leader of the Lebanese independence movement. Musa al-Sadr was the founder of Amal, which became the prototypical Shiite party in the Middle East.

    International Herald Tribune, Nov. 3, 2006

    • LS says:

      Exactly. The “separation” of the Iraqis seems manufactured mainly by the West. They may have extremely different political views as individuals, but they can be joined at the hip socially or through family. They are Irakis first and foremost.

      Chalabi seems to me to be a snake.

    • PetePierce says:

      LOL and just 3 threads ago people were jumping up and down and saying it was Israel doing war drills to Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran and you don’t even have to leave the banks of the Patomic to find out who wants to declare war. They only have 6 months or so, but Condi and the Congress can succeed in having bombs set off in the US–they have the rhythm and their gettin’ down with it and ready to jive.

      It’s not as if Armed forces are stretched thin and the chicken hawks in Congress whose own families never enlist are ready to boogie.

      This post from EW and timeline is a stellar piece of work and taking some time to digest.

      • LS says:

        It never ceases to amaze me that people are ready to believe that they “will” do “something”, but refuse to look back to see if they already “did” “something”. That is exactly why they will get away with more. What is up with that?

  6. JThomason says:

    A snake really:

    Chalabi’s denials are unconvincing for another reason. His role in the preparations for war was not just as a source for American intelligence agencies. He was America’s chief public advocate for war, spreading information gathered by his own intelligence network to newspapers, magazines, television programs and Congress. (A New York Times reporter, Judith Miller, was one of Chalabi’s primary conduits; in an e-mail message sent in 2003 that has been widely quoted since, she wrote that Chalabi “has provided most of the front-page exclusives on W.M.D. to our paper” and that the Army unit she was then traveling with was “using Chalabi’s intell and document network for its own W.M.D. work.”) Indeed, the press proved even more gullible than the intelligence experts in the American government. In a June 2002 letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the I.N.C. listed 108 news articles based on information provided by the group. The list included articles concerning some of the wildest claims about Hussein, including that he had collaborated in the Sept. 11 attacks.

    International Herald Tribune, Nov. 3 2006

    I know I may be late to some of this information but with the detailing of the OVPs independent intelligence operation it seems timely. Not that the OVP was ultimately aligned with either AIPAC or the INC, afterall oil was at stake. Chalabi was simply cagey enough to realize that a secular Iraq was the most effective point of advocacy toward his more fundamental aims.

  7. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    So on 14 April 2003 Ledeen claims to have learned about the Paris meetings ‘by reading about [it] in the newspapers.’
    And four years later, on 24 Oct 2007 Ledeen has a sudden flash of recollection and admits that he ‘may have set [the Paris meetings] up‘?!

    Wow.
    Now that’s a world-class galaxy-class memory lapse.

    Also, 24 Aug 2004 Paul McNulty begins to oversee the case via DoJ. Presumably, he oversees the case so that he can ensure the FBI has all the resources they need to track down such potentially serious suspicions.
    And why are three guys out of DoD OSP interviewed the two subsequent days after McNulty begins to oversee the case — and then nothing happens? Well, ‘nothing’ except for Ledeen getting Franklin a pro bono atty the following month…?
    Seems odd.

    Is the ‘Rodman’ noted here Peter Rodman, a Kissinger accolyte, and signer of PNAC? (In other words, did my Googling turn up the correct ‘Rodman’?)

    Sembler = Mel, Florida developer who was a key state chair of the 2000 BushCheney election theft in Florida, IIRC? And Amb to Italy at the time of the Niger forgeries?

    Mark Grossman… same name that comes up associated with ‘Sibyl Edmonds’ one presumes?

    My heavens, the plot thickens.
    What a brain buster.

    Here are the easy bits:
    Ledeen lied to the FBI at least once. He’s been in Rome and Paris. And oh, BTW, he also reads newspapers. (So — technically — he did read about those meetings in Rome and Paris; too bad he initially forgot to mention to the FBI his role in helping to set those meetings up. Tsk, tsk.)

    Rhode was up to no good in Iraq with Chalabi (WTF was going on 7 May 2003, when he was caught in Iraq with ‘anti Israeli’ propaganda AND also documents about nukes…?). Why did it take four months before he was called back’ in Aug 2003 from Iraq? Who called him? Why?

    ——-
    (This puzzler puts me in mind of the GRE Analytics Tests:
    There are 3 shelves; each contains 10 compartments.
    There are 27 herbs and spices.
    Each herb or spice can fit in only one compartment.
    One shelf has an herb or spice in each compartment.
    The rosemary is next to the basil, which is next to the curry on the top shelf.
    The allspice is above the cloves, but below the cardemom, which is just below the ginger…
    Where are the 3 empty compartment located on the shelves?
    And so on…

    Maybe it was the cardemom Ledeen above the maceFranklin and to the right of the cinnamon Wolfowitz…?
    (Can anything be to the right of a Wolfowitz? Doubtful.)

    Puzzling.
    I hope the FBI folks have more brains than I do.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Logic error:
      which is just below the ginger…
      Correction:
      which is just belownext to the ginger…

      Whoopsie.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Sigh. Bob S in HI will probably recognize that was not necessarily a logic error.
        Sorry to mess up the thread.

        Back to the timeline:
        29 Oct 2003 — SSCI staff meets with DOD officials. But it’s unclear whether they were counterintell, or quite who.
        Feb 2004 — SSCI expands its scope of investigation into an additional section of DOD.
        Aug. 2004 — McNulty assigned at DoJ to ‘oversee’ the FBI portion of the investigation.

        Now, in a perfect world, McNulty would have been brought in to help the FBI.
        But given the fact that the investigation seemed to stall…
        McNulty works for… who does he work for, again…?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I was unsure about ‘Rodman’.
        The ‘Rosen’ was director of AIPAC, and if you check out anything about the AIPAC spy scandal, you’ll encounter the name almost instantly.

        MadDog… $100 million the CIA paid the Rendon Group, eh?
        Well, hey, what’s chump change among pals?

        • MadDog says:

          Well, hey, what’s chump change among pals?

          That’s an apt description of our money. As in, the chumps have money, let’s take it from them!

  8. PJEvans says:

    ‘award-winning journalists’ sounds like they were expecting to be cornered by reporters long before the law found them.
    Maybe they shouldn’t have been sending broiled quail to the reporters. [/s]

  9. JThomason says:

    Mary mentioned this item earlier concerning retribution for the assassination of Mugniyah

    “They want to kill as many people as they can, they want it to be a big splash,” said former CIA intelligence officer Bob Baer, who says he met with Hezbollah leaders in Beirut last month.

    And low and behold Baer turns up in the Chalabi story (as does Col. Lang):

    The conversation is wrapping up. The talk turns to the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the machinations of those around him, what the future might hold. Chalabi, in an expansive mood, gets up, goes into a closet and brings out a note that Bob Baer, the C.I.A. agent, scribbled to him in that hotel lobby when the two men plotted a coup many years before. The talk, improbably, turns to memoirs; at the moment, Baer’s, “See No Evil,” was a best seller. I ask Chalabi, who is back on the couch, if it isn’t time that he write his own.

    Oh, plotted a coup, really?

  10. MadDog says:

    And to add some more spice to the mix, from WaPo yesterday:

    …Committee aides had been working for many weeks to secure Feith’s appearance. But hours before the hearing, Feith’s lawyer, John Moustakas, said Feith would not appear…

    …But Feith’s lawyer, in his letter, said he’d been assured his client would testify “in an atmosphere free from the vitriol and ad hominem attacks that have regrettably dominated the debate.” And this other witness was none other than Lawrence Wilkerson, who had been chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and had allegedly made “reckless, bigoted and defamatory remarks” about Feith.

    Moustakas said that in 2006 Wilkerson accused Feith of being a “‘card-carrying member of the Likud party’ whose allegiance is to Israel rather than the United States.” (Actually, according to writer George Packer’s book “The Assassins’ Gate,” it was Powell who made that allegation to President Bush in the Oval Office in January 2005.)

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Pfffttttt… Did someone tug Dougie Feith’s shirt on the playground? Call the wahambulance!

  11. FormerFed says:

    Larry Wilkerson’s written testimony is @:

    http://www.thewashingtonnote.c…..stimony%20(18%20Jun%2008).htm

    You can see why Feith didn’t want him sitting at the same table during a hearing.

    A sample from the testimony: “These were the lawyers who set the legal background against which other-than-standard interrogation methods would be explained away as “in accord with the Geneva Conventions”, “not constituting torture”, “fully within the Article II powers of the Commander-in Chief”, and so forth. At Defense, Jim Haynes and Douglas Feith would adapt these views to their needs at the Pentagon. Indeed, in the recent book Torture Team by English barrister Philippe Sands, in extended interviews Mr. Feith appears to express no small degree of pride in having helped make the Geneva Conventions adaptable to the needs of the new interrogation regime. In my view, this was done largely through artifice not unlike the angels sitting on the pinhead. Such artifice may appeal to certain lawyers but I assure you soldiers have no use for it for they know how dangerous such arguments are when put to the hard act of execution in the field.”

    Wilkerson refers to these chicken hawks as REMFs. RE stands for “Rear Echelon” and you can figure out the rest of the acronym.

  12. JThomason says:

    I am floundering to get a grasp of the overview but the picture I am getting is that both Rumseld and Cheney understood that they would not be able to acheive an Iraqi/Iranian invasion in the context of relying on traditional intelligence sources and so they knew they would have to subcontract this work out. At the same time they had developed an assessment of the internal characters whom they believed would be loyal to the purposes of the DOD and OVP whether through PNAC, AIPAC or some other martially oriented special interest group that had practical concern parallel to corporate strategy.

    In parallel media stenographers were identified who could be led to sources in the sub-contracted organization already operating in Israeli, Irani, and Iraqui contexts. Chalabi filled this role in the Iraqi/Shi’a context and as Wilkerson said he was able to spit off his information so that it would reach independent intelligence agencies appearing to be multi-sourced. This would be the particular strength of a mathematician provocateur. Chalabi was also associated with the presentation of American documents to the Iranians. Likewise Ghobanifar with his background in matter Iran/Contra, although discredited at the CIA served as a sub-contractor in the context of things Iranian and Israeli with the capacity to draw on related regional resources.

    Feith, Wolfowitz, Franklin, Rhodes, Cambone, Hayes, McNulty and the like operate in an administrative context as being particularly shrewd and loyal bureaucratic operators. Hadley is the liaison to the President. Leeden is the general contractor serving the Cheney/Rumsfeld alliance. And we too get a taste of the genesis of the friction between Rice and Cheney. Players in Congress need to be likewise identified to keep the various threads of influence isolated from their true genesis and to give validity to operational fictions.

    Cheney is the principle who manages the shell game and holds all the threads together to maintain maximum effectiveness and voila the impediment of the accepted epistemologies practiced in the authorized intelligence channels is overcome. Cheney and Rumsfled have reached an understanding decades ago. If an agent strays off on a personal agenda or he is otherwise of no longer of any use to the cabal it is of no particular loss if he is stripped away by an indictment or other tactical difficulty. In fact such activity increases the intrigue. And that which is intended never to be seen: The puppet strings of the executive branch above and beyond the public stage are pulled to seize the oil fields of both Iraq and Iran. Who would have counted on our hostess and critic at large with an adroit facility for disentanglement tiring of the misleading conventions of this puppet theater noir? I got here a few years ago looking for answers. We are very close.

  13. klynn says:

    EW

    Thanks for taking on this timeline. You’ve hit some important points which are illuminating. I know some of us have been a pain in the arse wrt the AIPAC scandal, Feith and the VP.

    The May – Oct 2003 events are telling…

    JThomason…you’re getting the answers…

    Thought this was interesting from Counter Punch 1/06:

    The first blow was struck on August 29, 2004, when CBS publicized the FBI investigation just when Franklin confessed to have passed highly confidential documents to a member of the Israeli government and began cooperating with federal agents. He was prepared to lead authorities to his contacts inside the Israeli government. Subsequently Franklin stopped cooperating. The Anti-Defamation League’s (a leading Jewish pro-Israeli lobby) Abe Foxman called for a special prosecutor to investigate “leaks” of the FBI investigation, because they were “tarnishing” Israel’s image. Then Attorney General Ashcroft intervened to try to apply the brakes to the investigation, which spread into the neo-con nest in the Pentagon: Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle, and Rubin were “interviewed” by the FBI. Neo-con Michael Rubin, former Pentagon specialist on Iran and resident “scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute, blasted Bush for “inaction in the spy affair” and called the investigation an “anti-Semitic witch hunt” (Forward Sept. 10, 2004). AIPAC launched a campaign against the spy probe and in support of its activities and leaders. As a result scores of leading Congress members from both parties vouched for AIPAC’s integrity and pledged their confidence and support of AIPAC.

    Never in the history of the United States had so many leading Congress members from both parties pledged their support for an organization under suspicion of spying, based only on information supplied by the suspect and in total ignorance of the federal prosecutor’s case. Contrary to the bipartisan Congressional support for AIPAC, a poll of likely voters found that 61 per cent believed that AIPAC should be asked to register as an agent of a foreign power and lose its tax exempt status.

    (my bold)

  14. MadDog says:

    For a deeper picture of one of the two top AIPAC players caught with their hands in the cookie jar, Steven Rosen, this New Yorker article about him paints the framework accurately:

    …He is a hard-liner on only one subject—Iran—and this preoccupation helped shape aipac’s position: that Iran poses a greater threat to Israel than any other nation. In this way, aipac is in agreement with a long line of Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who fears Iran’s nuclear intentions more than he ever feared Saddam Hussein’s. (aipac lobbied Congress in favor of the Iraq war, but Iraq has not been one of its chief concerns.) Rosen’s main role at aipac, he once told me, was to collect evidence of “Iranian perfidy” and share it with the United States.

    Unlike American neoconservatives, who have openly supported the Likud Party over the more liberal Labor Party, aipac does not generally take sides in Israeli politics. But on Iran aipac’s views resemble those of the neoconservatives. In 1996, Rosen and other aipac staff members helped write, and engineer the passage of, the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, which imposed sanctions on foreign oil companies doing business with those two countries; aipac is determined, above all, to deny Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons…

    And of course, none of this would have anything to do, not anything at all, with today’s marketing of the need to have a War with Iran!.

    Nothing at all to do with things like this:

    IRAN: Stop nukes by bombing oil wells, neocons suggest

    Why attack Iran’s nuclear facilities when striking their oil infrastructure would be much more effective in the scope of a US-led preventive war? Sure, oil prices might skyrocket and the world economy might collapse. But, hey, that’s the price you pay for security.

    Such a scenario is not a nightmare or an outtake from a remake of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” but part of a serious recommendation made by two neoconservatives in case sanctions fail to persuade Iran to abandon its enrichment of uranium, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons or fuel for peaceful energy production…

    Which comes from this: The Last Resort: Consequences of Preventive Military Action against Iran

    Be sure to read page 41 of that PDF to find the members of the Executive Committee who I’m willing to bet pay their dues promptly for membership in AIPAC.

    • greenbird4751 says:

      no matter what these idiot players think, the endgame will be won by the inventors of the game.

  15. klynn says:

    So how much of the compromise on FISA is a part of all of this?

    from August 06:

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/se…..82806.html

    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) can be used to monitor U.S. persons who engage in unlawful collection of classified or controlled information even if they are not acting on behalf of a foreign power.

    That is the upshot of an August 14 ruling unsealed last week in the case of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

    • Hmmm says:

      Interesting, but I’m too heat-addled to follow closely. (Or maybe it’s just that I’m just older than I’ve ever been before.) How would that relate to the current FISA revisions, do some of the changes bear in some way on the AIPAC situation?

      • klynn says:

        Well, I’m wondering how the wording on immunity would apply to others the President would authorize to gather and disseminate intel…Like AIPAC…

        • klynn says:

          Hmmm @ 40

          You might enjoy this old link about a 4 part series on Israel and their role in telecom surveillance.

          The story was originally run by FOX of all places and then Fox yanked it from their archives quickly…right after the AIPAC spy story broke…

          Worth watching…It will put my comments in context.

  16. klynn says:

    Here’s more from that Secrecy News article:

    Building on that prior ruling, the Court has now redefined the meaning of “agent of a foreign power” so as to justify the FISA surveillance in the AIPAC case.

    “The FISC [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that originally authorized surveillance of the AIPAC defendants] had ample probable cause to believe that the targets were agents of a foreign power quite apart from their First Amendment lobbying activities.”

    But under the Court’s new definition, “agents of a foreign power” need not be literally “agents of a foreign power.” Rather, the term now includes other persons who engage in unlawful information gathering.

    “While the defendants’ lobbying activities are generally protected by the First Amendment, willful violations of sec. 793 [the provision of the Espionage Act that prohibits collection and disclosure of national defense information] are not, and … the FISC had probable cause to believe that such violations had occurred in this case,” Judge Ellis explained.

    Thus, the Court did not find that there was any reason to believe the defendants were acting on behalf of a foreign power. (The prosecution has conceded that they were not.)

    Instead, Judge Ellis expanded the scope of the term “agent of a foreign power” to include someone who clandestinely gathers restricted information in a probable violation of the Espionage Act, even if there is no reason to suppose he is a spy or a terrorist.

    By the Court’s logic, it does not take an big imaginative leap to envision the application of FISA surveillance to members of the press or others who deliberately solicit classified or controlled defense information or who report on classified programs in conscious defiance of official directives to the contrary.

    A former FBI official with extensive experience in FISA policy and practice expressed doubt that the FISA could now be easily invoked against the press or the public for ordinary reporting or research activities since, he said, these do not normally involve the requisite intent to violate the law.

    “There is quite a bit on the periphery that is not included in this Order,” the official told Secrecy News.

    “The judge referred to the information ‘not generally available to the public’ in the context of clandestine activities that are violations of, for example, 18 USC 793 and 794 [the Espionage Act]. These are statutes that require an intent to harm the United States or benefit another power. Judge Ellis may have been parsimonious in his words, but he hasn’t advocated the position that worries you,” he said.

    Even so, the FBI FISA expert agreed that the new court order does “make it possible to be ‘an agent of a foreign power’ for FISA surveillance purposes without having any actual connection with a foreign power whatsoever.”

    The new order also called for a leak investigation to determine the sources of a August 2004 CBS news story about the AIPAC case.

    I know…old news

    Just bring the events together for questions down the line…

  17. MadDog says:

    And that New Yorker article had this to say about the unusual Larry Franklin:

    …The person who, in essence, ended Rosen’s career is a fifty-eight-year-old Pentagon analyst named Lawrence Anthony Franklin, who is even more preoccupied with Iran than Steven Rosen…

    …Franklin, a trim man with blond hair and a military bearing, is a colonel in the Air Force Reserve who spent several years as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has a doctorate in Asian studies and describes himself as a capable speaker of Farsi. In addition, he was a Catholic in a largely Jewish network of Pentagon Iran hawks.

    Franklin was particularly close to the neoconservative Harold Rhode, an official in the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s in-house think tank. Franklin was also close to Michael Ledeen, who, twenty years ago, played an important role in the Iran-Contra scandal by helping arrange meetings between the American government and the Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. Ledeen, now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is one of the most outspoken advocates in Washington of confrontation with the Tehran regime.

    The conversation at the banquet, and just about everywhere else in official Washington at that time, centered on the coming war in Iraq. “We may well hope that with the demise of a truly evil and despotic regime in Iraq, we will see the liberation of one of the most talented peoples in the Arab world,” Wolfowitz said in his speech. Franklin did not seem especially concerned with the topic at hand. As we stood outside the banquet hall, he said that Iran, not Iraq, would turn out to be the most difficult challenge in the war on terror.

    Then, as now, the Administration was divided on the question of Iran. Many of the political appointees at the Defense Department hoped that America would support dissidents in an attempt to overthrow Iran’s ruling clerics, while the State Department argued for containment. Even within the Defense Department, many officials believed that it would be imprudent to make regime change in Tehran a top priority. “There are neocons who thought Iran should come sooner and neocons who thought it should come later,” Reuel Marc Gerecht, of the American Enterprise Institute, told me. As for Franklin, Gerecht, a former Iran specialist in the C.I.A.’s Directorate of Operations, said, “It’s fair to say that Larry was impatient with Bush Administration policy on Iran.” In the Pentagon’s policy office, I learned later, it was sometimes said that Franklin inhabited a place called Planet Franklin. Gerecht referred to him as “sweet, bumbling Larry.”

    (My Bold)

    • LS says:

      “As for Franklin, Gerecht, a former Iran specialist in the C.I.A.’s Directorate of Operations, said, “It’s fair to say that Larry was impatient with Bush Administration policy on Iran.”

      Why do I always get this feeling that Valerie Plame was outed to get her out of the CIA to make way for a policy of going after Iran in the GWOT by the Neocons.. and Joe Wilson’s article turned out to be a convenient way of getting it done….???? I have always felt that Plame was the target that always mattered to them, not Joe Wilson…nobody (the public) really knew who Wilson was and the story would have just died had they not gone after Plame.

      • Rayne says:

        Have always suspected the same. Plame was either of no consequence to them, or of incredibly great consequence; hard to believe that the dissent of a single former diplomat in the form of Wilson was a huge threat to them when they had everything else tightly sewn up, including the media. The two of them combined, though, were a very big threat, because between the two of them they knew it all.

        I still wonder, too, exactly who and what Ret. Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski saw roaming the halls.

        No surprise at all that Gingrich was a channel, the unifying link being Luti. Just don’t turn your backs on that bastard newt.

        • Minnesotachuck says:

          Col. Kwiatkowski was one of the very first to blow the whistle and call bullshit on the neocon shenanigans in DOD during the run-up to the war in Iraq, when she began posting as “Deep Throat” on the Soldiers for the Truth website founded by the late Col. David Hackworth. She was a career USAF intelligence officer assigned to the office of the Secretary of Defense, IIRC. An archive of her Deep Throat postings is available here.

          I’ve been surfing SFTT, which is inhabited mainly by retired military folks, since the late 90s. The place was just dripping with Clinton loathing and both writers and commenters couldn’t wait for Bush to take over the government. It was fascinating to watch their disillusionment set in.

          • Minnesotachuck says:

            I should have mentioned that Col. Kwiatkowski’s Deep Throat postings began in the fall of 2002 (September, IIRC). She retired from active duty in April, 2003.

  18. MadDog says:

    Did you know that Dougie Feith was instrumental in getting the US to nix Geneva Convention policy toward prisoners far, far earlier than when Yoo’s OLC opinion was written? Like decades earlier?

    Per Wiki:

    During his time in the Pentagon in the Reagan administration, Feith was instrumental in getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Weinberger and Shultz all to recommend (successfully) to the President not to ratify changes to the Geneva Conventions. The changes, known as Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, would have allowed non-state militants to be treated as combatants and prisoners of war even if they had engaged in practices that endangered non-combatants or otherwise violated the laws of war. Reagan informed the Senate in 1987 that he would not ratify Protocol I. At the time, both the Washington Post and the New York Times editorialized in favor of Reagan’s decision to reject Protocol I as a revision of humanitarian law that protected terrorists.

  19. SaltinWound says:

    This Administration likes to not answer questions from Congress while at the same time not claiming Executive privilege. Now they want to keep people out of jail without using a PARDON. There is a mechanism in place but they don’t want to use it.

  20. JThomason says:

    Now this comment gives interesting insight into Feith’s understanding of methods:

    The CIA’s assessments were incomplete, nonrigorous and shaped around the dubious assumption that secular Iraqi Baathists would be unwilling to cooperate with al Qaeda religious fanatics, even when they shared strategic interests. This assumption was disproved when Baathists and jihadists became allies against us in the post-Saddam insurgency, but before the war it was the foundation of much CIA analysis.

    Doug Feith in the WSJ, May 4, 2007. Do you suppose the fact of the invasion made a difference?

  21. Rayne says:

    This bit, by the Lt. Col. from the piece I linked above, has always stuck in my craw sideways:

    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.

    If they were working on “something worse than Iran-Contra”, Feith could give a fig about facts; he and others had dispensed with both law and history.

      • Rayne says:

        Tempting, but we have so little time, seems like we can’t get out in front of these monsters, have so much to read to keep up with EW as it is let alone add anything to this. Walsh’s “Final Report” summary document is so good, worth reading if folks have the time and not the gumption/cash to get Firewall.

        I think what’s worth asking: What could be “worse than Iran-Contra”?

        – black ops by this administration, funded off the books, and all the lies necessary to cover them?
        – the run-up to an illegitimate war?
        – both of the above?
        – or something worse…?

        Sibel Edmonds comes to mind when I think of worse, but I don’t think she’s got the entire story.

        Feith comes across as a facile bootlicker, someone who’s had it bad for Rummy and would do anything like a lapdog to please him or somebody in the corrupted, perverted chain of command. I don’t know how Sen. Levin’s office could produce a report that says this about him:

        Although Administration officials cited classified intelligence in support of their statements about the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship, their statements did not accurately reflect the intelligence assessment provided in classified reports to the Executive Branch and Congress by the IC.(3) Administration officials were apparently using intelligence analyses that originated outside of the IC. Those intelligence analyses claiming a close relationship were produced by the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, and presented to high level Administration officials. Vice President Cheney specifically stated that the Feith analysis was the “best source of information.”(4)

        [emphasis mine]

        and yet the moron is still on the loose, free to roam, not frogmarched in shackles.

        There are so many other people in this up to their eyeballs besides Franklin; as long as Franklin isn’t in the poky, he’s not likely to flip. How convenient.

  22. JThomason says:

    Pursuant to direction from the offices of DoD General Counsel [Haynes] and USD(I) [Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Cambone] the inquiry has been limited in scope.

    I think its becoming increasingly clear that Haynes has a particular gift for shutting down investigations.

  23. MadDog says:

    OT – As I expect, many of you will cruise by the NYT to see their Sunday offerings. The lead lede is Cracking a Terrorist – Inside a 9/11 Mastermind’s Interrogation

    In some ways it is an ode to the idea of “we can be nice too”, but I suspect that more will be made of some interesting details:

    It located its overseas jails based largely on which foreign intelligence officials were most accommodating and rushed to move the prisoners when word of locations leaked. Seeking a longer-term solution, the C.I.A. spent millions to build a high-security prison in a remote desert location, according to two former intelligence officials. The prison, whose existence has never been disclosed, was completed — and then apparently abandoned unused — when President Bush decided in 2006 to move all the prisoners to Guantánamo.

    (My Bold)

    I don’t know if these dots are connected, but the NYT has a sub article which consists of a world map graphic and following the arrow pointing to an area that is comprised by places like Israel, Saudia Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the NYT says this:

    4. Middle East
    Late 2005
    After the location of the Poland site is disclosed by press reports and human rights groups, both detainees are moved to an unknown location in the Middle East.

    Note: The two detainess they are refering to are Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

    And more interesting details:

    Within a few days, Abu Zubaydah was flown to Thailand, to the first of the “black sites,” the agency’s interrogation facilities for major Qaeda figures.

    Thailand, which had long faced Muslim insurgents in its south, became the first choice because C.I.A. officers had a very close relationship with their counterparts in Bangkok, according to one American intelligence official. At first, the official said, “they didn’t even tell the prime minister.”

    And more again:

    Senior Federal Bureau of Investigation officials thought such methods unnecessary and unwise. Their agents got Abu Zubaydah talking without the use of force, and he revealed the central role of Mr. Mohammed in the 9/11 plot. They correctly predicted that harsh methods would darken the reputation of the United States and complicate future prosecutions. Many C.I.A. officials, too, had their doubts, and the agency used contract employees with military experience for much of the work.

    (My Bold)

    And more details:

    Within days, Mr. Mohammed was flown to Afghanistan and then on to Poland, where the most important of the C.I.A.’s black sites had been established. The secret base near Szymany Airport, about 100 miles north of Warsaw, would become a second home to Mr. Martinez during the dozens of hours he spent with Mr. Mohammed.

    Poland was picked because there were no local cultural and religious ties to Al Qaeda, making infiltration or attack by sympathizers unlikely, one C.I.A. officer said. Most important, Polish intelligence officials were eager to cooperate.

    “Poland is the 51st state,” one former C.I.A. official recalls James L. Pavitt, then director of the agency’s clandestine service, declaring. “Americans have no idea.”

    And more still:

    But the rules had changed, and the tough treatment began shortly after Mr. Mohammed was delivered to Poland. By several accounts, he proved especially resistant, chanting from the Koran, doling out innocuous information or offering obvious fabrications. The Times reported last year that the intensity of his treatment — various harsh techniques, including waterboarding, used about 100 times over a period of two weeks — prompted worries that officers might have crossed the boundary into illegal torture.

    (My Bold)

    And finally this:

    His interrogator has moved on, too. Like many other C.I.A. officers in the post-9/11 security boom, Mr. Martinez left the agency for more lucrative work with government contractors.

    His life today is quiet by comparison with the secret interrogations of 2002 and 2003. But Mr. Martinez has not turned away entirely from his old world. He now works for Mitchell & Jessen Associates, a consulting company run by former military psychologists who advised the C.I.A. on the use of harsh tactics in the secret program.

    And his new employer sent Mr. Martinez right back to the agency. For now, the unlikely interrogator of the man perhaps most responsible for the horrors of 9/11 teaches other C.I.A. analysts the arcane art of tracking terrorists.

    (My Bold)

    • skdadl says:

      They correctly predicted that harsh methods would darken the reputation of the United States and complicate future prosecutions. Many C.I.A. officials, too, had their doubts, and the agency used contract employees with military experience for much of the work.

      Whatever made these guys believe that that would get them off the hook? Nuremberg. Nuremberg. Can we say it often enough? There’s a whole generation of professionals around who seem never to have heard of it. If you were involved, you are responsible, to whatever degree applies. And beyond that, we are all responsible.

      The NYT article is problematic, as are the attitudes of the CIA officers quoted anonymously. They are so alert to their own and their colleagues’ humanity, to the need to humanize themselves as actors. That tone has the effect of lulling readers into thinking of what interrogators were doing as just a particular kind of highly skilled work, undertaken by well-intentioned clean-cut young men working in difficult and uncertain conditions. In other words, they still think that saying “But I’m a nice guy / he’s a nice guy / we’re the nice guys” gets you off the hook.

      But it doesn’t.

    • Rayne says:

      It located its overseas jails based largely on which foreign intelligence officials were most accommodating and rushed to move the prisoners when word of locations leaked. Seeking a longer-term solution, the C.I.A. spent millions to build a high-security prison in a remote desert location, according to two former intelligence officials. The prison, whose existence has never been disclosed, was completed — and then apparently abandoned unused — when President Bush decided in 2006 to move all the prisoners to Guantánamo.

      Mauritania. I suspect the location was leaked; the location could have been compromised more readily than in Poland, too. (There is an odd facet to the relationship between Mauritania and the U.S. as Israel appears to be right by the U.S.’s side during key events in the relationship.)

      And the “unused” descriptor is certainly questionable.

      klynn (58) — just a thought experiment: imagine what the folks who installed those systems could do to a presidential candidate if he did not appear to be playing ball. (This exercise terrifies me.)

      • klynn says:

        klynn (58) — just a thought experiment: imagine what the folks who installed those systems could do to a presidential candidate if he did not appear to be playing ball. (This exercise terrifies me.)

        Read on a security blog that it has already happened…which explains a great deal about the last few days…

        Which means both candidates are …

        I just hope more read this link on this story. It makes more sense that FISA immunity is about AIPAC/Israel and the telecoms.

        It also makes sense that everyone wants the AIPAC Spy case to go away.

        Hoyer is quite the AIPAC supporter. I had wondered how he came out on creating a FISA compromise when he seemed in the background initially…This all makes some sense.

        Here’s past praise for Hoyer from AIPAC. I don’t know if the link will work. You’ll probably have to copy and past it (BTW, so I do not get tutoring on how to use the link icon, folks it does not work for me on my computer and has not for months.)

        here:

        http://64.233.167.104/search?q…..=firefox-a

        • bigbrother says:

          Obvious conclusion.If the most effective intelligence agency in history Mossad http://www.fas.org/irp/world/israel/mossad/
          Revamping FISA to give coverup to AIPAC’s known spying on US intel agencies may be a very strong benefit for them and their agents. Since they have only 1200 employees that have to contract spy work out. For me one of the most disturbing revalations is that Rand Corporation is involved agian. Remember Secretary of State McNamara said after the Nam war it was a “mistake”, he had extensive advise from Rand in the Nam war runup.
          With 35 of the new Bush administration official being signees of the PNAC statements and the PNAC letter to the Clinton administration requesting a ground invasion of Iraq, now pushing for bombing Iran, William Christol and Dick Cheney original members it is obvious “We the people” did not know that Isreal is making foriegn policy for the USA. That is on their best interest not ours. The fact that they are willing to break our laws and spy on our top secret branches of government is more than troublesome. The fact that they are promoting ther dissolution of our rights under FISA is an outrage. The fact that thise convicted of a spying conspiracy are not serving their sentence is like the pardon of Libby.
          If ever treason was rampant it is under the Bush administration.
          Marcy could overlay this work with last fall and this spring’s effort to get the Immunity included…PAA…Military Commissions Act legislation restricting our Constitutional Rights and priveledges. Mussolini was hung upside down for his treason against Italy. I do not recomend or believe that will happen, but I do believe he his family and associates have collorated to restrict the constitution of the United States to which they have sworn to protect and uphold. Pelosi and Hoyer in the House and Reid in the senate are participants in enabling this attack.

  24. rkilowatt says:

    Thompson @33. Very Perceptive. Cheney is principal locus for action-with- legal-authority, albeit only delegated, to enforce steps on the overall plan of attack of The-Powers-That-Be to grab Oil/Gas resources for US-Anglo use in face of PeakOil, dwindling production. Curiouser and curiouser.

  25. tryggth says:

    Heh. Thanks for the timeline EW.

    Nice part is that DoJ counter espionage doesn’t really need to make this a 30 second sound bite. They just need to start the indictments.

  26. klynn says:

    Rayne,

    I’m in the process of seeing if the vote in the House breaks down on AIPAC lines…

  27. masaccio says:

    OT, report from Beijing.

    Today, we saw Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. They are gargantuan, and totally exposed to the heat, it was mid-90s today, and what passes for sunny. The square abuts the South Gate of the Forbidden City. There is a large picture of Chairman Mao, flanked by two huge gold sets of characters, both refer to peace, one for the workers and one for the world. People line up to get their picture taken in front of the portrait and so did we. As we left, a guy pointed to his camera and his wife, and we assumed he wanted us to take a picture of the two of them, but no, he wanted to take a picture of us with his wife. So we did, grinning like the friendly souls we are. Our guide said that in the new China, country people have money, and can come to visit Beijing. We are probably the first Westerners they have ever seen in person.

    There isn’t much to say about the Forbidden City: it is monumental, and recently repainted. It features the biggest stone carving in China, and there is a really nice park behind it, and it is overrun with tourists.

    One of the buildings is the hall where scholars met the Emperor after passing the final examination. As our guide tells the story, there were no schools in the old China, and people learned from tutors. Then they took examinations, first at the city or province level, then at a larger level, and then at the national level, and if they passed, they would have a luxurious life. The whole place was build in the Ming Dynasty, beginning around 1420, and was occupied in the Qing Dynasty until 1911 and the collapse of the Old China.

    After lunch we went to the Temple of Heaven. The guide explained the history, saying that the Emperor went there twice a year to deal with the Gods: the new harvest god and something to do with the Winter Solstice. Apparently, these ceremonies were important to the common people.

    So, there are two things I can’t grasp about this culture. First, it appears that foot-binding was common through the end of the Qing Dynasty, or so our guide in Xi’an said. Second, it is unimaginable that feudalism could survive in such a huge nation. The struggles of China since the end of feudalism have been horrible. Internal wars, weakness as a nation in the face of European imperialism and Japanese aggression, the uproars of the Cultural Revolution, hundreds of thousands of deaths, it is all in their recent history. There are people alive today whose mothers had bound feet.

    I’ll offer a wild guess with little factual basis, that one of the reasons that the system stayed in place so effectively was the lack of schooling for the common people, and a system for educating elites that failed the test of modernity.

    This baggage of feudalism was the stage for Chairman Mao. As they say here, mistakes were made. Say what you will, it seems that eventually the way forward emerged.

    I mentioned that in the Village in Guangzhou, there are lots of wealthy people whose money came from renting houses in the area, and who are illiterate, but whose dreams for their children are just like my parents dreams for me and my brothers and sisters: education leading to a good life. Somehow, China feels like a nation gathering itself for a real great leap forward.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      You skipped over the part about lunch too quickly. How is the food?

      The whole footbinding issue has never made sense, unless it was a form of imprisonment for women.

      The other primary attribute of a woman having bound feet was to limit her mobility, altering the means by which females were allowed to be a part of the world at large. It also gave the woman an irreversible dependency on her family. Thus bound feet became an alluring symbol of chastity, as a bound foot woman was largely restricted to her home and could not venture far without an escort to help her, thus denying any advances upon her and ensuring her total devotion to her husband.

      • emptywheel says:

        Hell, Western and Asian women STILL wear impossible shoes. How are spike heels, which prevent women from walking powerfully and are terrible for feet, all that much different?

        • bmaz says:

          Well, they are much more attractive to the men folk, for one thing. Granted, probably not the distinction ya was looking for, but…..

    • emptywheel says:

      masaccio

      If you get the chance, do see the Summer Palace. Compared to Forbidden City, it’s absolutely lovely. And cooler, too, obviously.

      I had a very funny experience when I went to teh Wall, which I presume you’ll go to next. I was with one Chinese guy, who was the translator for the Ford guy I was working with but who had never seen the Wall so my colleague let him stay behind and go with me. We went to the big touristy site on the wall, and walked out as far as the fully reconstructed wall went. Way out there, we ran into a Japanese couple. They asked me, in English, to take their picture and seemed to get uncomfortable when the guy I was with took it. That was when China and Japan were in a raw spat over imperial myth textbooks in China, so I think the Japanese couple were geuinely uncomfortable asking any Chinese people to take their picture (or maybe they spoke English, but no Chinese, and somehow figured all the Chinese folks there didn’t speak Chinese.

      On the way back, the wall was swarming with people–the guy I was with had to push our way through at points (remember, this from a former rugby player). But then we went up the other side. It was totally empty, and almost everyone on that side was a foreigner. I asked the guy I was with why the Chinese folks don’t split up, on both sides. He said he thought Chinese people were just drawn to the crowds.

  28. klynn says:

    This House bill from May is also interesting IRT the Pelosi comment about pulling the congressional approval for war with Iran portion of the compromise bill after AIPAC contacted her…

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/6/20/2556/57619

    Guess we should pay attention and support Jim Webb’s Senate Bill for legislative approval for military action.

  29. Mary says:

    Yeah Mad Dog, the “soft spoken” hero of the Shane piece (who handled all the interrogations with out speaking the language or having any al-Qaeda background) went to work for the guys who came up with live burial as an “interrogation technique.”

    When Shane mentioned KSM’s children, he never referred to the US role in disappearing them or their continued disappearance or their use as an ancillary “crushing a child’s testicles to question his father” interrogation tool.

    Amd they say there are direct approvals for everything done at every stage. So that should be an interesting paper trail. Especially for the approvals given to put a “young detainee” in stress positions and freeze him to death, as detailed by Priest.

    On the McNulty spec, that’s part of why I would like to also, on Plame, have someone nail down whether or not he recalled the Margolis delegation when he came on and whether or not he ever revised or modified the delegation to Fitzgerald. Just to clear the decks. I know it would have been hard to find the time, what with strategerizing to obstruct cases against Republicans and to encourage the filing of criminal actions against Dems just to create headlines prior to elections, but he might have had a few spare moments.

  30. skdadl says:

    I just finished reading the report. Most of the way through, I was simply aghast at Ledeen above all (as I have been before), but then I got to the minority report, which is fascinating and often entertaining too. The amendments especially get more and more petulant as they go on. I don’t know the actors as you do, EW, but I’m looking forward to reading you on the amendments.

  31. hackworth says:

    EW, What can you tell us about the Wilson CIA letter that Steve King held forth? On its face, it damages Wilson’s credibility. Can you point me to something that explains it in proper context?

    • emptywheel says:

      IIRC, King was talking about the CIA trip report. That’s not a document Joe wrote himself, it’s a document a reports officer wrote based on his conversation with Joe. When Joe came back, his message was, “there’s nothing there, it would be impossible for Niger to sell its uranium secretly and they wouldnt do it anyway bc they’re dependent on the US, but in the interests of full disclosure, know taht Iraq was trying to get somethign which may have been uranium, but Niger didn’t give it.”

      The report said, “Joe said no, but the Iraqis tried to get uranium.”

      In fact, what went on was that the Iraqis were trying to establish commercial relations OF ANY KIND as a way to break through sanctions–it’s a tactic that Qadaffi had used successfully. And the person looking for that relationship was Baghdad Bob–not a big secret nuke officer.

      But the most interesting thing about it is that people within the Administration–including Libby–confused Wilson’s account of this 1999 Iraqi attempt with a different one, thereby thinking Joe was involved in something. Thing is, they were stupid enough to miss that the Iraqi-Nigerien meeting took place in Algeris, not in Niger. It couldn’t be the same meeting.

      • hackworth says:

        Thanks. Seems none of our Democratic Congressmen knew the context or authorship of that letter – could not refute it – so it stood as a stain on Wilson – and a plus mark for Bushco.

        I read Wilson’s book a while ago, but I do not remember reading about that letter and it’s gross misrepresentation of his oral trip report. That must be the one piece of evidence that wingnuts have to call Wilson a liar.

        Too bad our congressman are so unaware. Need lots of new ones who will do their jobs.

  32. JThomason says:

    But journalist Matthew Yglesias has already tipped us to a key piece of information. The Niger forgeries also try to implicate Iran. Indeed, the idea of a joint Iraq/Iran nuclear plot was so far-fetched that it is what initially made the Intelligence and Research division of the US State Department suspicious of the forgeries, even before the discrepancies of dates and officials in Niger were noticed. Yglesisas quotes from the Senate report on the alleged Iraqi attempt to buy uranium from Niger:

    ‘ The INR [that’s State Department intelligence] nuclear analyst told the Committee staff that the thing that stood out immediately about the [forged] documents was that a companion document — a document included with the Niger documents that did not relate to uranium — mentioned some type of military campaign against major world powers. The members of the alleged military campaign included both Iraq and Iran and was, according to the documents, being orchestrated through the Nigerien [note: that’s not the same as Nigerian] Embassy in Rome, which all struck the analyst as “completely implausible.” Because the stamp on this document matched the stamp on the uranium document [the stamp was supposed to establish the documents bona fides], the analyst thought that all of the documents were likely suspect. The analyst was unaware at the time of any formatting problems with the documents or inconsistencies with the names or dates. ‘

    Juan Cole, Aug. 1, 2004

  33. JThomason says:

    Franklin moved over to the Pentagon from DIA, where he became the Iran expert, working for Bill Luti and Undersecretary of Defense for Planning, Douglas Feith. He was the “go to” person on Iran for Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and for Feith. This situation is pretty tragic, since Franklin is not a real Iranist. His main brief appears to have been to find ways to push a policy of overthrowing its government (apparently once Iraq had been taken care of). This project has been pushed by the shadowy eminence grise, Michael Ledeen, for many years, and Franklin coordinated with Ledeen in some way. Franklin was also close to Harold Rhode, a long-time Middle East specialist in the Defense Department who has cultivated far right pro-Likud cronies for many years, more or less establishing a cell within the Department of Defense.

    Juan Cole, Aug. 1, 2004

    • Rayne says:

      JEEBUS. Mukasey has dual citizenship?? How’d we never talk about this during hearings in advance of his approval by Senate?

      And the rest of those folks on the list, dual citizenship too?

      Is there some way to vet this??

      • klynn says:

        That’s why I said I had no validation on any information in the comments at that link.

        Would like to vet that information…seems worth exploring…

        If it’s so, wow, what a cell…

        After all, there can be crazy stuff out there on the net…

      • klynn says:

        I think that list was compiled by applying the context of the “Law of Return” and the laws in the US on Dual Citizenship.

        Here is info on the Law of Return:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Return

        Here on US dual citizenship. It does mention that one can gain a security clearance while holding dual citizenship.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_citizenship

        As for vetting…who can? Someone could easily keep their alliance to a specific country secret while infiltrating and/or controlling the other as an apparent “loyal” citizen.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      The second link you placed at 86 leads to an article that includes a description about the way that spying often occurs when companies are set up as US/foreign ‘international’ concerns. This prompted the recollection of David Safavian former head of GSA under Bu$hCheney, who is Iranian American, former biz partner of Grover Norquist, and longtime pal of Abramoff.

      Norquist and Safavian set up ‘Janus Strategies’ (chuckle, chuckle, what a name…) to do ’strategy’. Among their clients is someone accused of using a company/non-profit as a terrorist front.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Safavian

      No documented links between Safavian and Ghorbanifar, but both are of Iranian descent, FWIW. Makes one wonder just who Safavian was really working for…?

      MarkH @118: amazing stuff, isn’t it?
      EW, I don’t fathom how you track down these details. Assembled, they’re incredible. It’s just hard to believe.

      • PetePierce says:

        The DC aka Bushie lackie Circuit gave crybaby Safavian a break on appeal.

        In a unanimous June 17 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered a new trial for Safavian, who was convicted in 2006 on charges he concealed information, made false statements and obstructed justice during investigations into the 2002 golf outing with Abramoff. Safavian was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but was out on bond pending the outcome of his appeal.
        The case against Safavian stemmed from what he told General Services Administration ethics officials, the GSA inspector general and Senate investigators about accepting the golf trip from Abramoff while he was GSA chief of staff.
        Safavian allegedly gave insider information to Abramoff about two GSA-owned properties that Abramoff wanted, but told ethics officials and investigators that he had no business dealings with Abramoff.

        The appeals court found that Safavian, when seeking ethics officers’ advice regarding the golf trip, was under no obligation to disclose his business dealings with Abramoff.
        “The government failed to identify a legal disclosure duty except by reference to vague standards of conduct for government employees,” Judge Raymond Randolph wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel. “Safavian had no legal duty to disclose … [therefore] his concealment convictions cannot stand.”
        Furthermore, ethics officers’ rulings are not legally binding and could be ignored without consequence or punishment, the court said. “It is not up to the GSA ethics officers to permit or forbid; their function was to offer advice,” Randolph wrote.
        By asking the court to rule otherwise, “the government essentially asks us to hold that once an individual starts talking, he cannot stop,” Randolph wrote. “We don’t think [the law] demands that individuals choose between saying everything and saying nothing” when seeking advice from or making statements to investigators.
        The court also sided with Safavian’s explanation that when he said he had “no business” with Abramoff, he meant Abramoff had no government contracts with GSA, a truthful statement. The Justice Department had argued that “business” referred to the information Safavian passed to Abramoff regarding the two GSA properties, which Abramoff never purchased.

        • bmaz says:

          I blew through the Safavian opinion too fast to say this with a any particular degree of confidence; but, although not overly compelling, I can see the CCA holding that Safavian should have been allowed to call an expert. The modern standards for expert opinion admissibility is fairly thin, much more so than most would expect. That said, I am still not a fan of experts opining on what the law is, and unless Safavian’s proffered expert had substantial experience in the Federal government determining this exact point, which I don’t recall (possible I missed such an indication, but I don’t think so) then I don’t think he was competent to testify. Other than that part of the opinion, it sure looked to me as if the appellate judges were impermissibly going behind the jury’s verdict on factual findings. Overall a pretty questionable decision, but maybe just slightly better that you indicate. Not much better though.

          • PetePierce says:

            I sure agree with you wholeheartedly on the expert opining on issues of law issue, and I’ve been out of pocket all day and didn’t get to even skim that opinion.

            I noticed that Move On is appropriately trying to hold Obama’s feet to the fire as to a fillibuster in the Senate, just as Loo Hoo made the point last week.

  34. 4jkb4ia says:

    There are so few people in the House who are not afraid of AIPAC that you could not get 128 who are anti-AIPAC in any real way. You might check if the 128 supported aid to the PA in the pre-Hamas days.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      The issue is not whether or not a Congress Critter is pro or anti-AIPAC. It’s whether or not he or she stands up for the vital interests of the USA regardless of where AIPAC stands.

    • klynn says:

      Comparing $$ donations from AIPAC to their campaigns and tracking the legislation they have backed. (Comparing to those who voted the other way as well.)

      Only a fifth of the way through the list and it is very interesting…

  35. JThomason says:

    But now The Jerusalem Post reveals that at least one of the meetings was quite specific with regard to an attempt to torpedo better US/Iran relations:

    The purpose of the meeting with Ghorbanifar was to undermine a pending deal that the White House had been negotiating with the Iranian government. At the time, Iran had considered turning over five al-Qaida operatives in exchange for Washington dropping its support for Mujahadeen Khalq, an Iraq-based rebel Iranian group listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department.

    [snip]

    Since high al-Qaeda operatives like Saif al-Adil and possibly even Saad Bin Laden might know about future operations, or the whereabouts of Bin Laden, for Franklin and Rhode to stop the trade grossly endangered the United States.

    Juan Cole, Aug. 29, 2004

  36. JThomason says:

    The two [Rove and Ledeen] met after Bush’s election. “He said, ‘Anytime you have a good idea, tell me,’ ” Ledeen said. Every month or six weeks, Ledeen will offer Rove “something you should be thinking about.” More than once, Ledeen has seen his ideas, faxed to Rove, become official policy or rhetoric.

    Washington Post, March 10, 2003

  37. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Hope it’s okay to add some timeline pieces from Anatomy of Deceit (inserted into Ghorbanifar timeline in italics).
    ——————-
    May 3, 2003: US and Iran in negotiations in Geneva

    May 7, 2003: Rhode apparently stages “find” of anti-Israel materials in Iraq (and uranium document) with Ahmed Chalabi; Judy Miller reports it

    Late May, 2003: Ledeen sends new letter outlining Ghorbanifar plan to Feith, including promise of finding “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that had been moved to Iran”

    May 21, 2003: US cancels Geneva meeting with Iran, accusing Iran of harboring Al Qaeda leaders

    [From “Anatomy of Deceit”, p. 136] May 21, 2003 Judith Miller publishes a third MBL [mobile biological labs] article (with William Broad), asserting that the trailers are definitely MBLs. The article relies on the still-classified white paper and preempts the investigation of the Jefferson Project, an international team of weapons inspectors.

    May 25, 2003: Report (quoting Rummy elsewhere) that US considering using MEK to launch attack on Iran

    [From “Anatomy of Deceit”, p. 136] May 27, 2003 The Jefferson Project determines the trailers are not MBLs, and so informs CIA in an emailed executive summary.

    [From “Anatomy of Deceit”, p. 136] May 28, 2003 CIA’s MBL white paper is declassified.

    [From “Anatomy of Deceit”, p. 136] May 29, 2003 Bush claims Coalition forces have found WMD, based on the MBL claims.
    Cheney’s office seeks info on Joe Wilson from the State Department.

    June 2, 2003: Feith forwards Ledeen letter to Cambone; “let’s discuss”

    —> then skip over June 2003, when Joe Wilson was writing his OpEd, and skip over July 03 when Valerie Plame was outed, to pick up the GHORBANIFAR TIMELINE in August 2003 —->

    August 2003: Rhode continues to receive contacts from Ghorbanifar

    August 6, 2003: Ledeen meets with several DOD intelligence figures to “discuss a source who knew where enriched uranium was buried in Iraq”; Ghorbanifar was conduit to this source

    August 8, 2003: Newsday reports on Paris meeting

    August 9, 2003: WaPo reports on Rome and Paris meeting

    August 9, 2003: Rhode recalled from Iraq, where he had been liaising with Ahmad Chalabi

    All this leaves me wondering who Judith Miller actually worked for. Yeah, she had a paycheck from the NYT but when Scooter wrote her that ‘aspens turning’ it sure had an eerie implication that Judy and Scooter were colleagues. Combining timelines is not flattering to Ms Miller’s reputation as a journalist.

    Looks like the harder the CIA/intel people tried to set the record straight, the faster Feith’s DoD “cell” tried to outpace and move ahead of them. Any threat that the US would open doors to Iran were vigilantly, rapidly demolished — no WMD? Let’s plant some! No anti-Israel propaganda? Let’s plant some!

    JThomason, you’ve outdone yourself this thread.
    Ditto MadDogs, klynn, others…

    EW, to have synthesized the documents you reference, and whittle them down to these essentials… I’m awestruck. And not for the first time.
    This is a marvel.

    But it’s also profoundly, sadly, appallingly damning.
    These people have more blood on their hands than I can even get my head around.

  38. WilliamOckham says:

    FYI, I had not been able to find a copy of the DOD IG Rendon Group Report until today. A redacted version is available here.

    • MadDog says:

      Oh, and just so everyone is working from a common point, the Rendon Group was an official member of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) which had as its primary purpose, the selling of the Iraq War to the American public.

      And further from Wiki on the Rendon Group:

      A February 1998 report by Peter Jennings cited records obtained by ABC News which showed that the Rendon Group spent more than $23 million dollars in the first year of its contract with the CIA. It set up the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an opposition coalition of 19 Iraqi and Kurdish organizations whose main tasks were to “gather information, distribute propaganda and recruit dissidents.” Journalist James Bamford reports that Rendon came up with the name for the INC and helped install Ahmad Chalabi as its head. In addition, ABC reports that Rendon channeled $12 million of covert CIA funding to the INC between 1992 and 1996. Writing in the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh says the Rendon Group was “paid close to a hundred million dollars by the CIA” for its work with the INC.

      • MadDog says:

        From the DOD IG Report on The Rendon Group link that WO provided:

        Results. We did not find evidence that the DoD hired The Rendon Group to deliberately create conditions that would convince the American people and Congress that Iraq was an inmminent threat. We examined the activities that The Rendon Group conducted under 46 different DoD work orders and did not find examples of any activities that did not comply with DoD policy and legal reguirements.

        Couple points come to mind:

        1. Of course the DoD IG didn’t find evidence that DoD hired The Rendon Group to propagandize the American public and sell the Iraq War! It was the fookin’ White House (WHIG) who hired them! Nitwits!

        2. On the other 46 work orders that the DoD did hire The Rendon Group, of course this all complied with DoD policy. After all, it was indeed DoD policy to utilize Propagandists for Profit™ to carry their water to the MSM. Why should the use of The Rendon Group be different. Apparently, “anything goes” was policy and acceptable at Rummy’s DoD. Despite Federal laws prohibiting it.

        Shorter DoD: “We’re above the law too, doncha know?”

      • MarkH says:

        And further from Wiki on the Rendon Group:

        A February 1998 report by Peter Jennings cited records obtained by ABC News which showed that the Rendon Group spent more than $23 million dollars in the first year of its contract with the CIA.

        This says 2/98 and another post referred to Reagan nixing relations with Iran in ‘87. So, just how far back did these plans go. It certainly didn’t seem to slow much with Clinton as president. Was he involved or looking the other way?

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      The questions were more interesting to me than the answers:

      (U) Qu e s t i o n 17. Th e U.S. Na vy e n g a g e d Re n d o n f o r t h e p u r p o s e s o f
      d i r e c t l y i n f l u e n c i n g t h e o u t c o me o f t h e Vi eques Yote in Pu e r t o Ri co. TRG
      ” g r e w” t h e c o n t r a c t f r o m $ 1 9 9 k t o $1. 697 mi l l i on – a n d st i l l ma n a g e d t o lose
      t h e Yote. Ad mi r a l Mc Cr e a r y ( Na vy Pu b l i c Af f a i r s ) e x p l a i n e d t h a t a ” n e w”
      c o n t r a c t mo d i f i c a t i o n wa s ” f o u n d ” a n d t h a t TRG r e a l l y d i d n ‘ t b r e a k t h e l a w
      in t h e r u n – u p t o t h e el ect i on – a l t h o u g h h e wa s n o t c e r t a i n a b o u t wh a t e xa c t l y
      TRG wa s d o i n g f o r its $. Th e c h a n g e in t a s k o r d e r ” o b j e c t i o n a b l e l a n g u a g e “
      is mi n i ma l .

  39. JohnLopresti says:

    TRG report is searchable, SCSI phase2b report continues to have skew that baffles Adobe software, appreciated ocr assistant in the other IG report recently. For readers who might still like to read how Padilla was rendered from SDNY to SC brig, I happened upon Mukasey’s 90pp 2002 opinion and order; I found it interesting to review after a few specifics and later events in that case have entered the public realm; Luttig’s irrascible opinion denying subsequent transfer from SC to FL appeared ~3 years later. Slightly onTopic, it is interesting Cacheris intends to remain ‘Not a PottedPlant’. Timeline, I would look at dates for BrewsterJ’s scaledown in Turkey, as well as adding as perhaps relevant the negotiations with Turkey re the initial concept of land route to Bagdhad traversing that territory. Also some of the dates of ElBaradei’s unit might misce into the same timeline, early 2003.

    • JThomason says:

      The cable to Kay had been preceded by a phone call from Libby specifying WMD coordinates in Lebanon. No action was taken as the result of either of these contacts because apparently Kay did not consider them credible. These two contacts of Kay originating with Cheney happen in the first week of October 2003. The last weekend of September 2003 is when Libby and Cheney were in Jackson Hole arranging for McClellan to exonerate Libby. Seems like they had some other items on the Jackson Hole agenda. Still, by the first week in October the aspens around Jackson Hole would be turning. EW, who of course developed the Cheney/Libby JH meeting time line from McClellan’s book notes this in the same period above: “Early October 2003: Possible Rhode meeting with Ghorbanifar in Rome.” Cheney is getting desperate here. Investigations are beginning to break on both the Franklin/Rhode front (CIFA) and the Plame leak front (Fitzgerald). But the CIFA investigation is quickly stopped by Haynes and Cambone (October 21, 2003).

      • bmaz says:

        Heh. I remember some interview with David Kay (may have been Congressional testimony, but i think it was an interview he did after releasing his final report) where he was literally almost incredulous about how the henchmen from Cheney’s VP shop would call at all times of the day or night with coordinates all over the entire country of Iraq to run check for WMD’s at the drop of a hat. Kay made it out to be almost comically pathetic. Some of the coordinates they sent turned out to even be in different countries and the Cheney shop didn’t even realize or check them before trying to scramble Kay’s team. Unbelievable.

  40. MadDog says:

    More from the DoD IG Report on The Rendon Group:

    Question 4. Why has The Rendon Group, a public relations firm, been hired by the DoD in every US military intervention since the Panama invasion in 1989?

    Answer…

    Strategic Communications Operations Support in Iraq...One example was a recommendation to conduct recorded interviews rather than live interviews. TRG stated that recording provided an economy of effort with interviews, rather than spending operational time conducting live interviews. TRG did not conduct the interviews, DoD conducted the interviewsl…

    Couple more points come to mind:

    1. Live interviews? Then someone might ask us a question that would get us, the DoD, in trouble. Recorded interviews, conducted by the DoD, would allow us, the DoD, to stay on message. No sense having a Free Press when you can buy one.

    2. The DoD IG never did answer the original question of “Why has The Rendon Group, a public relations firm, been hired by the DoD in every US military intervention since the Panama invasion in 1989?”

    Answering the question truthfully would have meant saying that the DoD wanted professional help to propagandize the American public about our warfare, and that spending the American public’s money is what we, the DoD, are all about.

  41. MadDog says:

    Amazingly, in the DoD IG Report on The Rendon Group, there seems not a paragraph that goes by where the weasels don’t squirm right out of their grasp:

    Question 6. In the mid 1990s, The Rendon Group was reprimanded by project managers in Washington when stories they contrived found their way into the American Press. This is a violation of the law. Why were their contracts non terminated?

    Answer. The scope of the audit was to review DoD contracts awarded to TRG from FY 2000 through FY 2005; therefore, the mid 1990s and other agencies are beyond the scope of the audit.

    Shorter DoD IG: “We wanted to ensure a good white-wash of TRG in this report, so we closed our eyes to all the criminal stuff that we couldn’t spin as legal.”

  42. MarkH says:

    Late May, 2003: Ledeen sends new letter outlining Ghorbanifar plan to Feith, including promise of finding “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that had been moved to Iran”

    May 25, 2003: Report (quoting Rummy elsewhere) that US considering using MEK to launch attack on Iran

    June 2, 2003: Feith forwards Ledeen letter to Cambone; “let’s discuss”

    Amazing stuff you got there wheel!

  43. JThomason says:

    More on the Rendon Group and INC:

    He went on to say that when the paper got to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Feith), it was changed to say that information operations will attempt to “disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial…decision making.” Adversarial…decision-making will be disrupted. In other words, we will even go after friends if they are against what we are doing or want to do.

    What an odd quote from a barely accessible document.

    And Francis Brookes turns up again here.

  44. Leen says:

    Great piece Ew incredible timeline.

    Ledeen “I learned about it in the papers”

    Hold them ACCOUNTABLE

    “Faster Please”

  45. Leen says:

    Still nothing in the MSM about the U.S. vs Rosen case. Just the way the I-lobby like it.

    Invasion of Iraq, outing of Plame, U.S. vs. Rosen…”connected at the roots”

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