The Secrets Novak Brings to the Grave

I tried to say nothing when news of Novak’s announcement came. I had nothing good to say, though my own father died of brain cancer and I empathize with Novak and his family for that–it is a horrible way to die, particularly for someone whose identity was tied with his intellect.

But I couldn’t resist a snark on twitter: 

Cue Woodward claiming he got deathbed confession about what really happened during the 7/9/03 conversation Novak & Libby hid.

Perhaps Woodward will–as he did with Reagan’s CIA Director and Iran-Contra co-conspirator, Bill Casey, who also died of brain cancer–make dubious claims about deathbed conversations with Novak.

But the fact is that Novak died with most of his role in the Plame outing still shrouded in secrecy. That’s partly true because of the significant changes in Novak’s story over time. All of the following Novak claims changed as the stage of the investigation suited:

  • Whether he understood the leak was intended to seed a story or it was an offhand remark
  • From whom he learned the name "Plame," changing from "they" (his sources, then in the plural, not "two"), to possibly Who’s Who, to definitely Who’s Who
  • From whom he learned that Valerie Wilson worked in counterproliferation and whether that person made it clear this meant she was covert
  • His use of the word "operative" and whether he really confused Valerie Wilson with someone running a congressional campaign in Wyoming (really! he claimed to have–and other journalists bought it!) 
  • From whom he learned that Joe Wilson had learned that an "Iraqi delegation had tried to establish commercial contacts"–a detail that was in the CIA report on Wilson’s trip (which remained classified until after Novak spoke to his claimed sources for the story), though Novak used the wrong date for it
  • When he spoke to Rove–which changed from July 9 to maybe July 8 or 9

On all those details, Novak’s story changed repeatedly. And then there’s one I’ve never heard anyone ask: from whom Novak got the talking point, "The White House, the State Department and the Pentagon, and not just Vice President Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it," a talking point that shows up in Libby’s note from Cheney on Plame’s identity and may appear in Judy Miller’s notes.

Yet today, most journalists assume Novak’s final answers–the ones that eventually shielded Rove and Libby and Cheney from most consequences–were truthful, and believe they know what happened.

Me, I don’t claim to know what happened. But I see no reason to trust Novak’s most recent answers when there was so much volatility in his story over time.

And I’m just as interested in unanswered questions about Novak’s timeline. For example:

July 7: As more details of Novak’s story came out, it became clear that he said he was working on a planted story impugning Frances Fragos Townsend on July 7 (one which was published on July 10). Murray Waas once suggested that that story had been planted by Scooter Libby and David Addington. And we now know that shortly after Novak sat for a deposition with Fitzgerald in fall 2004, the White House did a search (presumably pursuant to a Fitzgerald request) on "Plame Wilson Novak" on select dates including July 7.  So did Novak talk with Scooter Libby on July 7, one day before Novak asked Richard Armitage a rather stupid question that nevertheless elicited Valerie Plame’s role at the CIA? Did Novak talk with Scooter Libby on July 7, the same day Libby told Ari Fleischer Plame’s name and status and just hours before Novak called Fleischer asking for information on Wilson (Fleischer did not return the call)? Novak testified to disliking Wilson from their appearance on Meet the Press on July 6; if Novak spoke with Libby on July 7, is it even plausible that Wilson wouldn’t come up? Scooter Libby might one day be able to answer those questions, but Novak will bring his side of the story to the grave.

July 8: As I mentioned, Novak ultimately could never decide whether his conversation with Rove, in which Rove confirmed Valerie Plame’s identity, occurred on July 8 or July 9. I suspect the date is significant because if it was on July 8, then some of what Novak said to a friend of Joe Wilson’s on July 8–"Wilson’s an asshole. The CIA sent him. His wife, Valerie, works for the CIA. She’s a weapons of mass destruction specialist. She sent him."–could be attributed to Rove, not Armitage. Indeed, at least as of August 2004, Armitage and Novak disagreed about whether or not Armitage revealed either Valerie’s first name or her role in counterproliferation, and the latter is one part of Novak’s public story that kept changing. I suspect this story remained fluid for some very good reasons–because if it were solved, then Novak’s Armitage story might break down. But we’re not going to find out from Novak now.

July 9: Ah, the secret conversation with Scooter Libby! I’m most interested in this conversation because Novak and Libby appear to have very deliberately hid it. Fitzgerald appears to have been unaware of the conversation as late as September 2004. And Libby and Novak both used a strategy on journalist waivers–refusing global while accepting specific ones–that would have and did shield this conversation for years. Furthermore, there are hints that Judy Miller knew of a Libby-Novak conversation and suggestions that Libby’s unconscious was revealing it even when he was denying it to Fitzgerald. In short, this conversation stinks. And given that the aspects of Novak’s story that remain most dubious–where he got the name "Plame" and whether his use of "operative" meant he knew Plame was covert–are two things Libby was spilling to Ari Fleischer on July 7, that stinky conversation really stinks. Maybe Libby’s unconscious–or the burgeoning war between Cheney and Bush–will reveal these things. But Novak won’t.  

In other words, short of Woodward making up some wildarsed story about a conversation with Novak on his deathbed, much of this story will likely remain unrevealed.

May Novak’s family have the solace that comes now that he is at peace. And may some of the others keeping these secrets eventually tell them.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

73 replies
  1. Leen says:

    “May Novak’s family have the solace that comes now that he is at peace. And may some of the others keeping these secrets eventually tell them”

    We can be sure Bob “groupthink” Woodward who said the Plame outing was “much ado about nothing” will not be sharing in any truthful way what Novak may have shared. Woodward will not be telling the truth…no one should hold their breath on that one

    Wash. Post’s Woodward’s misleading, disingenuous statements on Plame investigation
    http://mediamatters.org/research/200511160013

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    I will not speak ill of the dead. May Novak rest in peace.

    I take some comfort in knowing that he can’t lie before the court he’s now facing, nor can he evade the questions.

    Boxturtle (No lawyer, either)

    • Leen says:

      Hey I am sorry this man suffered and am truly glad that he is out of pain and do hope that he is at peace. But come on he was part of the team to out Plame a woman who put her own life on the line for U.S. National Security. He put it in print for the public and others around the world to see.

      We don’t even know how many people may have been offed because of her outing. We don’t know the cost to U.S. National Security by him being willing to print her name and identity.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        And we don’t know how many times he’s done somthing similar. BushCo was in power for 8 years and this only happened ONCE?

        Boxturtle (And who will take Novak’s place in the GOP toolbox?)

  3. Mary says:

    I wish I could remember the specifics (EW no doubt will) but the only time I can remember hearing Novak say something about the Plame case that I thought had a ring of spontaniety and truth was when he made some comment in a low profile setting to the effect that of course Bush knew who had been his sources, implying that rather than the pantomine of a lengthy investigation Bush should just man-up and tell what happened.

    OT – but under the heading of things you can’t trust, the Daily Beast has a really inane piece up on Panetta and how he’s now had a good talking to from Tenet and Goss and “Let’s ask Mikey, he’ll do anything” Hayden (who reads to me like the main source for the article) about how he screwed up the death squads briefings.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/b…..stpopular1

      • Leen says:

        listening to the Rehm/Novak interview again. Novak spins so much he must have gotten sick to his stomach

        Novak ” Mr. Libby if he got mixed up which he apparently did um uh was not responsible for uh uh for uh getting Mrs. Plame’s name in to in to print and Mr. Fitzgerald the special counsel had determined Diane that no law was broken in the publication of that name. Otherwise uh uh Mr. Armitage would have been a prosecutorial target”

        —————————————-

        I thought Armitage came clean rather quickly is that right?

        • MrCleaveland says:

          No, that is not right. Armitage cowered under the desk quaking like a despicable weasel while investigations were launched, people went to jail, and reputations were smeared. He’s a gutless wonder.

          • emptywheel says:

            Actually, that is inaccurate on every point.

            I assume you’re propagating the WSJ-financed spin that utterly ignores the state of the case as revealed by Fitz’ two fall 2004 affidavits? Or are you simply ignorant of them?

            But thanks for participating.

          • bmaz says:

            That is really not true in any regard. Irrespective of how he came to be involved, and there are many questions on that still, Armitage self reported to the State Department in October of 2003, and subsequently was debriefed by the FBI, shortly thereafter. Right as the investigations were starting and before Fitzgerald was involved.

  4. Jkat says:

    well .. i hate to break the etiquette.. but they didn’t call evans & novack “errors and no facts” for no reason ..

    bob novack was both ethically challenged and sleazy .. right down to reviewing and hawking books his son had an interest in ..without disclosing the conflict ..

    i feel for the man’s family .. but imo he was a waste of skin … he was a partisan hack ..not a journalist .. an unprincipled ideologue .. i’m not going to miss his schtick a bit .. there’s now one less fabricator for the lying distorting woof and warp of the conservative right .. [spit]

  5. Leen says:

    Marcy you are mentioned in this piece over at Crook and Liars having to do with Novak’s role in the Plame outing
    Bob Novak dies of cancer — and his right-wing pals rush to lie about his role in the Plame case
    “Novak himself had constantly lied about this role, and was fond of accusing the people uncovering his tracks of lying. (See Marcy’s authoritative work on Novak for more.)”
    http://crooksandliars.com/davi…..-his-right

  6. AZ Matt says:

    I am sorry for the family but won’t miss him. I am sure he confessed to his priest so off to heaven.

    His part in the Plame Case and its effects with the reasons for going to war got many American and Iraqis killed. I guess he could live with that just like Scooter and Shooter.

    • Twain says:

      “The evil that men do lives after them”. We will be paying for these past 8 years for a long time.

  7. sbvpav says:

    i thought it was interesting yesterday on hardball when good ol’ pat “this country was made for by and of white people” buchanan revealed, “if someone wanted a hit on another republican, they dropped it on novak.”

    this is exactly how cheney et. al wanted to get back at joseph wilson by outing valerie plame. just their standard playbook.

  8. AitchD says:

    A radio headline news reader guy – either CNN or CBS (they alternate on the half-hour) – said Libby was convicted for disclosing Plame as CIA (though he was convicted ‘only’ for obstruction, lying, and perjury). Jeebus, you know?

  9. emptywheel says:

    Okay, just to clarify.

    Armitage went to Taft and then Fitz to reveal his role within days after the investigation was announced.

    The only “people” who went to jail are Judy Miller and … Judy Miller. And Armitage had nothing to do with that leak–the leak of Plame’s identity to Judy Miller before Novak claimed to have first gotten the leak.

    So while people may whine that THEY didn’t know, that doesn’t mean Armitage didn’t come forward.

    And, as I have pointed out in this post, there is plenty of reason to think that Libby’s role in the Novak leak was greater than revealed. But I suppose lying about Armitage is a nice way to distract from that some more.

  10. nahant says:

    Like you Scarecrow I have nothing good to say about Novak. He has been my favorite ReichWinger to yell and throw things at for on the TV evah. I have loathed him since I first watched CrossFire. He was such a Blowhard who thought every word he spoke was gospel( he did convert to Catholicism… for the Confession I bet)!
    I am not even sure I feel bad for the family as they are finally rid of such a despicable entity, but I guess they are also jaded so maybe a little pity for them.
    As for the whole Plame incident
    I am sure it was done with malice to get at someone who dared to criticize his President.

  11. timr says:

    Novak fit right in with all the other village millionaire hacks. Come to that, just how many “journalists” in DC and NYC actually check and verify their stories? Think about all the slanted and just plain wrong stories that come out of the MSM these days. Then think abot this. Would the list of real reporters who actually commit journalism be a lot shorter than the total number of journalist hacks? Maybe 1 in a thousand? Nope. Novak was a lying hack who gave up his sources at will. A typical bully who was actually a coward. But then, I have seen very very few in the MSM who don’t lie and slant their stories. Hacks all of them. The US MSM feeds the ignorance and bigotry of the american sheeple.

    • Hugh says:

      You made me think of the perfect epitaph for Novak, paraphrasing Upton Sinclair:

      Here lies a man who never understood something when his salary depended upon his not understanding it

  12. MrCleaveland says:

    I’m sorry, but what Armitage did was indefensible. That sniveling coward could have stopped all this b.s. in its tracks, but he didn’t have the guts. All mouth and no spine.

    BTW, can we dispense with this “covert operative” nonsense? You know darn well that’s as phony as “death panels.”

    • bmaz says:

      So, tell me, are you just horribly uninformed or blithely and intentionally spreading misinformation? Because it is one or the other pal.

      • emptywheel says:

        Seeing as how he consistently ignores the whole Dick Cheney (who knew she was covert–and we now know there are witnesses who knew that) ordering Libby (who knew she was covert–ditto) to leak Valerie to Judy before the Novak story, I’m guessing he’s a paid troll.

        I hope you’re well paid, MrCleaveland, for being such a troll. Because engaging in that kind of BS would really humiliate me.

        • MrCleaveland says:

          Paid? Jeez, some of you folks are really consparanoid. (Like that word? I just made it up.) Paid?

          I don’t suppose it would ever occur to you that someone would actually disagree with you and just enjoy arguing about it.

          Paid? Wow!

          • bmaz says:

            If you want to argue, that is cool; but you ought to come armed with material that consists of something other than outright lies.

          • foxman says:

            You can disagree with an opinion, but when you disagree with reality you sound like an idiot, or worse.

          • emptywheel says:

            You can’t “disagree” with facts on a lefty blog, troll, which is whta you are doing. You got other facts than those I’ve laid out here? Lay them out. What you are laying out are inaccurate myths told by WSJ, Dick CHeney’s friends, and ignorant fools that are easily refuted by anyone who reads this post and links through to the primary resources I’ve citeda.

            So unless you’ve got some real facts to contribute, then I will assume you are a self-humiliating paid troll.

              • emptywheel says:

                I’m not hostile. I am just completely intolerant of ignorant fools propagating myths on my blog. Don’t want “hostility”? Then either don’t come here or don’t propagate obviously false myths.

                • bmaz says:

                  And she is the nice one here; unfortunately I have been busy for a bit with a recalcitrant pool pump. Like I said a while back, discussion and disagreement is encouraged here; bullshit misinformation is not. So, play appropriately or get the fuck out.

              • boadicea says:

                And still, somehow, you come up with not one fact to back up your assertions.

                I amend the description to “overpaid troll”

              • Watt4Bob says:

                Wow, you’re so hostile. Lighten up, already. Sheesh.

                One could be excused for thinking that you consider the topic under discussion to be light material.

                It is not, Brewster Jennings was a CIA front organization engaged in countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons and thwarting the black-market in nuclear secrets stolen from the USA by moles, spies and traitors.

                Brewster Jennings was also Valerie Plame’s employer and as such was part of her ‘cover’.

                Brewster Jennings cover was blown in 2001 by Marc Grossman, [third-ranking State Dept. official in the Bush Admin and former Ambassador to Turkey] who tipped off Turkish agents who had been introduced to Brewster Jennings by the American Turkish Council, (ATC), that Brewster Jennings was not an alternative energy consulting company, but was actually CIA.

                The CIA subsequently dismantled Brewster Jennings, and reassigned Valerie Plame.

                The covert fight to protect our country and the world from those who would spread nuclear weapons technology is not a light-weight subject and those who insist on spreading disinformation as concerns the lawless behavior of the previous administration are obviously hostile to the truth.

                Those who are openly hostile to the truth should expect to be challenged when shooting their mouths off around those who are hostile to lies and liars.

                • bmaz says:

                  While you say the company was dismantled and blown in 2001 by Grossman (and to a very minor extent, there is some truth to that), but the CIA still formally considered it to be classified and protected cover (which is the legal standard by the way) and the people associated with it are likely not so excited about having the matter put in play by Cheney, Libby et. al.

                  • Watt4Bob says:

                    Of course you’re right, and I wasn’t making excuses for the inexcusable.

                    It’s Brewster Jennings’ cover that was blown, in 2001, and that was because of information shared with Turkish agents by Grossman, (who I would think should probably be prosecuted) it was not published world-wide by the MSM.

                    That doesn’t mean that Valerie Plame’s cover was also blown at that time, it doesn’t mean it’s open season on Brewster Jennings et al, and it sure doesn’t excuse the actions of the OVP, and their lapdog reporters like Novak and Miller.

                    My point in bringing this up is to point out that Valerie Plame was a professional, engaged in very important and covert work, contrary to the disinformation still being spread by irresponsible people in an effort to keep Cheney and crew out of jail.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Exactly. And I that is what I took you to be saying; there has been some disinformation lately about the Grossman thing though and I just wanted to make sure it was clear.

              • Tinroof says:

                Mr Cleaveland,
                You appear to be unaware that you have wandered into the home blog of the planet’s premier expert on the Plame story, the players involved, and all the public sources of information available on it. Our Marcy (yes, I’m claiming you, dear, you’ve been too large a part of my sanity for far too long) and her intrepid corps of most thoroughly, completely, and meticulously informed readers and cowriters have spent entirely too much time, money, and energy to tie all this together into a single, solid, professional, prosecutor-with-balls-ready history to let any uninformed twit who wants to tweak some liberals pretend to be credible. You might also have missed the part about Marcy being the chief national live-blogger of every single of the Libby trial, where she put on a display of journalism that shamed every major media outlet in the country.
                If you want to argue with this bunch, son, you gotta actually know something.

        • AitchD says:

          a very elegant way to say that bmaz should have written ‘horribly informed’ rather than “horribly uninformed”

          (McLuhan used to say ‘What you are saying is that my entire fallacy is wrong’.)

    • Hugh says:

      BTW, can we dispense with this “covert operative” nonsense? You know darn well that’s as phony as “death panels.”

      I don’t agree with the troll comments but you have to understand that the CIA invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the creation of the front Brewster Jennings that Plame worked for. When she was outed, that investment was lost. Other agents who had used the Bresster Jennings cover were effectively outed to foreign governments and foreign nationals who had dealings with Brewster Jennings became targets of their governments. I am not sure what you think covert agents are or how they operate but the outing of Plame blew up a major covert operation.

      • ghostof911 says:

        Nice argument, but what was the expected benefit from the hundreds of millions invested in those elaborate fronts? If the Bush/Cheney myth is to believed, they couldn’t prevent 19 boxcutter-wielding playboys from destroying the financial heart of this nation.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Who provided the information for Armitage to leak? Recall that Cheney, via Libby, asked for the State Department to provide “a report” on Wilson’s role. This even though Cheney appears to have already known about Wilson’s role from the CIA from direct contact. The “report” thus was utterly unnecessary for finding out who “uthorized” Wilson’s trip. Unless of course, it provided a secondary advantage, by getting Valerie Plame’s name out into a broader range of potential leakers (Armitage , etc.) not directly tied to Cheney or the White House. The more whisperers out there the less chance there would be that Scooter would need to “stick his neck in the meat grinder due to the incompetence of others”.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Plame went abroad over seven times under a false cover within four years of Novak’s public leak of her name and that of Brewster-Jennings.

      Even assuming BJ had been exposed by Grossman to the Turks

      -a fact that is still open to investigation, there are still reasons to believe that Plame would still be covert

      a) if the operation had been “rolled up” to prevent the identification of those involved in it then it’s possible that Plame wasn’t compromised. It all depends on what Grossman revealed.

      b) the Turks (NATO allies) may have been unhappy about US espionage on their territory, but unlikely to give the information to China, Pakistan, Irak or the Russians.

      c) Plame may have been reassigned, but that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t still under cover. She may have travelled abroad under a new Agency cover, or under assumed names. This is supported by the affidavit provide in the Libby trial regarding Plame’s work history and travel abroad.

      None of this justifies leaking by Armitage (who did it twice, but may have been the least likely to think she was covert), Libby, Rove and Cheney (all of whom were part of a more coordinated effort to subvert Joe Wilson’s credibility). It should be pointed out that the document that all of them had viewed about Wilson’s briefing were heavily marked as “Classified” and “Secret”.

      Cheney may have had the power to Classify, and declassify documents that he had classified himself. But these were not insta-declassifiable by anyone than the “original classification authority” or the President.

  13. Skilly says:

    I heard a bio brief on him yesterday, commenting that he had been a liberal in the 60’s and was born and raised in a Jewish household. He later converted to Catholicism and clearly had a political shift. Curious fellow, but not one whom I would want to know.

    • runfastandwin says:

      In the words of the esteemed Ben Franklin, the louder they proclaimed their innocence, the faster we hid our spoons.

  14. jaango says:

    Novak was present for the inception of America’s “participatory” Democracy and done by LBJ in four short years. He was also present for the demise of the Republican Party as evidenced by Bush43.

    So, I am left wondering, “Did Novak see himself a a ’sick-o-phant’ or see himself as a ‘psycho-phant’? And does it really matter?

    Jaango

  15. oldtree says:

    Novak dies and the type of pseudo journalism that he practiced lives on. He was the tool of his ideology and his paycheck. Both are the mantra of a certain aspect of humanity. Nothing about him was a journalist. He was first and foremost a propagandist. Josep Goebbels would have understood his motivation. He may have been on of Novak’s teachers.
    The new school of journalism must not forget what lies make of your work.

  16. Hugh says:

    It is my understanding that Plame worked in counterintelligence in the area of WMD. 9/11 represented a failure in many areas by intelligence gatherers, law enforcement, the military, and the Bush Administration. It seems strange to put the onus for those failures on one unrelated intelligence venture.

    • ghostof911 says:

      That covers quite a few areas where magnicifently gross incompetence supposedly occurred. Was Palme’s area the only one immune to the pervasive gross incompetence?

  17. Bionic says:

    MrCleavland

    Well, I guess we just disagree to disagree.

    Truer words, pal. We’re interested in civil discourse about facts and informed speculation. You’re not.
    I guess when Hayden stated categorically under oath that she was covert, he was just some DFH from the left.

  18. Hugh says:

    Your assertion was about 9/11. Incompetent or not, Plame’s work had essentially nothing to do with that. There is blame that has never been properly allocated to those who deserve it but I do not understand what his has to do with Plame or Brewster Jennings.

    • ghostof911 says:

      Not implying that the work of Plame or Brewster Jennings had anything to do with 9/11. I was simply ridiculing your remark that

      9/11 represented a failure in many areas by intelligence gatherers, law enforcement, the military, and the Bush Administration

      I continue to be dumbfounded that intelligent people who express skepticism in all other matters remain fixated in their belief in the Bush/Cheney 9/11 myth.

  19. itwasntme says:

    One can, and should speak ill of the dead, if ill they did.

    But it is only civil to wait while general mourning is going on, unless some other life is at stake.

    So I will wait a year or so before I call him a traitor out loud.

    Since Cheney, Addington, Libby et al. are not dead, I will call them traitors right now.

  20. Gitcheegumee says:

    Speaking of Turkish matters, here is an interesting item.

    There was a thread about Dostum a few weeks back,here.

    Aug
    19

    US Is Picking & Choosing The Afghan Opium Trade Winners
    Tags: AFGHANISTAN

    Via Derrick Crowe, I see that accused war criminal and narco-warlord Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum has rejoined Karzai’s government from exile in Turkey.
    In 2001, according to Physicians for Human Rights, he and his men stuffed thousands of prisoners into metal containers, suffocating most and shooting any who survived.
    Because he was on the CIA’s payroll, the Bush administration discouraged any investigations even after the mass grave of the victims was discovered. Karzai trusts him to deliver more than 1 million Uzbeck votes in Thursday’s election.
    (What Really Happened)

    • Leen says:

      amy Goodman did a segment on Dostrum reappearing yesterday.

      Hope this killer does not have any plans for transporting voters on Convoys

      Eight Years After Orchestrating Massacre at Dasht-e-Leili, Afghan Warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum Returns to Afghanistan to Campaign for Karzai

      http://www.democracynow.org/20…..assacre_at

  21. Leen says:

    Folks might want to listen to Dianes interview with Novak. He sure tried to spin LIbby as an innocent bystander

    • Leen says:

      Listen to Dostom he sounds like he is threatening

      Had no idea that the Bush administration blocked investigations into Dostums war crimes three times

      GEN. ABDUL RASHID DOSTUM: [translated] We are hopeful. We are determined. Playing with General Dostum is playing with a million human beings. Playing with General Dostum is playing with a storm. Playing with General Dostum will be tough and will create anger. God willing, we will establish a party in Afghanistan which will be bigger and stronger within six years, and this party will be able to respond to your demands. And this is what you and your martyrs deserve.

      SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Dostum’s return to prominence in Afghanistan comes despite his role overseeing a 2001 massacre at Dasht-e-Leili that left at least 2,000 Taliban POWs dead. He’s also had extensive ties with the US and was formerly on the CIA payroll.

      Last month, New York Times reporter James Risen revealed the Bush administration blocked at least three federal investigations into the alleged war crimes committed by Dostum. Risen spoke about his findings on Democracy Now!

      JAMES RISEN: The evidence was overwhelming that something had happened and that it was the responsibility of the Bush administration to look into this or at least to push for an international investigation, because Dostum had been on the CIA payroll, was part of a US-backed alliance that was taking over Afghanistan. And what I found was, time after time, in different agencies and as far—and in the White House, Bush administration officials repeatedly ignored evidence or just decided or discouraged efforts to open investigations into the massacre.

Comments are closed.