We’re Still Following Germ Boy’s Biodefense Strategy

Wired’s Danger Room reports that the US is still following the biodefense strategy of the Bush Administration (and, since that policy was largely formulated by Scooter “Germ Boy” Libby, the strategy of Dick Cheney).

On Tuesday, Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher was in Geneva at the Biological Weapons Convention talks. Her primary purpose was to announce President Obama’s long-expected “National Security for Countering Biological Threats.”


The first clue that something was wrong was when Ms. Tauscher … decided to use language that most people associated with bioterrorist alarmists such as Dr. Tara O’Toole and former Senators Graham and Talent. “President Obama fully recognizes that a major biological weapons attack on one of the world’s major cities could cause as much death and economic and psychological damage as a nuclear attack could,” she said. Wow! Holey overstatement, Batman! Then she told the convention attendees that the U.S. government “would not seek to revive negotiations on a verification protocol to the Convention.”

Now, Danger Room attributes the hawkish statement to folks at NSC, burrowed in from the Bush Administration, who took over the speech drafting process.

Sources tell this reporter that the National Security Council had some Bush administration holdovers in charge of editing the National Strategy and preparing Ms. Tauscher’s script, and these individuals basically bulldozed the final draft through Defense and State officials with very little interagency input and with a very short suspense. There were no significant changes in her speech, either, despite attempts to soften the heavy Bush administration-type language.

But I wonder.

I’m not so much bugged that Ellen Tauscher, formerly one of the Blue Dogs from the most liberal districts saying this. Maybe she is as hawkish as all this.

I do wonder, as always, whether John Brennan–himself a repurposed Bush Administration flunkie–had a hand in this.

But it always comes back to questions of staffing with Obama. And to suggest that he has simply mistakenly failed to clean out NSC of Cheney’s moles doesn’t cut it, almost a year into Obama’s Administration. This is NSC after all, not a giant bureaucracy across the Potomac. And yet these anonymous speechwriters-turned-policy-setters still managed to put these very hawkish words into Tauscher’s mouth.

28 replies
  1. prostratedragon says:

    One might have expected a sharp operation such as the WH allegedly is to stamp freshness dates on that talking point about buried Bushies, maybe correlated with the visibility of the issue.

    But then, that’s so far down the list of what one might have expected; presumably reputation is so fully devalued these days that there’s no loss in looking, um, thick.

  2. phred says:

    And yet these anonymous speechwriters-turned-policy-setters still managed to put these very hawkish words into Tauscher’s mouth.

    Nope. They put it into the script. She voluntarily read it. If she opposed those words, she could have removed them herself.

    I am unwilling to absolve anyone, especially officials in high office, of their own free will to refuse to follow an illegal order or to make false claims in speeches. No one makes them do it. They choose to do it. If they feel they are being asked to do/say something false, immoral, unethical, and/or illegal, they can quit. They are responsible for their own actions.

    This endless pawning off of blame onto behind-the-scenes others is absurd. And ought to be rejected out of hand. You would think politicians were a bunch of brain damaged hostages forced against their will to do things they oppose. This is simply ridiculous.

      • freepatriot says:

        Oh, I agree with that. But I also wonder how bright Tauscher is.a

        well, having her make statements like this is THE BENEFIT we got from her appointment

        she could still be a Democratic member of congress making stupid statements about healthcare

        I hate to sound like perfesser pangloss, but trust me, this is the best of all possible worlds

        • PJEvans says:

          I hate to sound like perfesser pangloss, but trust me, this is the best of all possible worlds

          I keep feeling like we somehow slid into the mirror universe from Star Trek, the one with the Terran Empire. In which case, there is a better world possible, but we have to figure out how to get there from here.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It seems pretty clear that it is Obama who is as “hawkish as all this”, and conservative, too. He and Rahm would make the final staffing choices on these people, or the people who hire and promote (in the sense of their careers and views) them.

  4. Jim White says:

    With the active embrace of Germ Boy’s policies and the validation of the left-behinds, I really shudder to think what plans are afoot by this crew.

    Thanks for ruining my weekend, EW!

      • Jim White says:

        Yeah, the “ruining my weekend” bit was as much for reminding me of that as much as anything…

        For the candidate who ran on “transparency”, it’s really striking how many investigations he has quashed. I can’t really think of any he has actively pushed.

  5. FromCt says:

    O/T, but important…NY Times’ double distortion; first in it’s December 8 “reporting”, and in it’s “correction”, today:

    Correction: December 11, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com
    An obituary on Tuesday about Dr. Malcolm O. Perry 2nd, who performed a tracheotomy on President John F. Kennedy after the president was shot, referred incorrectly to his remark that based on appearance alone, a hole in the president’s neck could have been either an entrance or an exit wound. The remark was made to the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination; it was not made to reporters. Dr. Perry also told the commission that based on autopsy findings and other factors, he later concluded that the hole was an exit wound.

  6. Teddy Partridge says:

    I simply cannot imagine the words put in front of Ellen Tauscher that might cause her to say, “Oh, this is too hawkish, I can’t say this!”

  7. Leen says:

    false wmd intelligence, 16 words, Colin Powell’s UN spiel, One would think they would be checking their speeches and checkin them twice

  8. scribe says:

    No wonder, this. I am coming to the conclusion – one which I’d earlier had an inkling of but did not want to accept – that the only change wegot last year was in the occupant of the WH.

    Obama’s speech to the Nobel commitee was nothing more than a bitch-slap from the imperial power to those who’d protest, that the empire will continue its path regardless. And now he has a Nobel Peace prize to provide him with cover. “War for Peace” – riiiight.

    Any time a Democrat gets approving mentions from Palin and Gingrich, you have to stop wondering and start concluding: “I was sold a Democrat. If I’d wanted a Republican, I would have voted for McCain. But I still got one.”

    And can you see all the Rethug ads, come 2012, featuring the outtake from his speech, where he says: “My achievements are slight.” And the list of how slight they truly are? They’re already in production as we speak, I’m sure.

    For a graduate of Harvard Law and Columbia, he’s either pretty fucking stupid or being quite deliberate – but obscure – in carrying out a pretty damn destructive agenda. Doesn’t really matter though which is the case, because the resulting pile of rubble will look pretty much the same regardless of whether he’s stupid or intends this.

    • person1597 says:

      And what’s to wonder? It’s just more cribbing from the best darn self-hagiographer in Amerika!

      “… In fact, I thumbed through my book quickly this morning to say, ‘Wow, that really sounded familiar,'”

      After all in 50 years time, history will show the Palinistas to have won the election.

      I thought, wow, good, those are nice, a broad message, so broad that I just wrote about those. A lot of Americans right now are getting to read also my take on when war is necessary,” she continued.

      Also. Bush and Cheney. Still winning the reign of Terror. Color me Copernicus. It’s the new Palinocentric model of politics!

    • prostratedragon says:

      For a graduate of Harvard Law and Columbia, he’s either pretty fucking stupid or being quite deliberate – but obscure – in carrying out a pretty damn destructive agenda.

      Known too many who are at least one to do anything but laugh derisively at the first alternative.

      I only hope that the “transformative” episode that is a required deployment event of the plant mechanism is not considered necessary here, or that election into the mysteries of the WH counts.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Well, Gonzales graduated from Harvard Law School and Shrub from Harvard Business School. It’s not perfect.

        Mr. Obama’s brains are not his problem, it’s his lack of humanity, what he would call his intellectual objectivity, what the press would call his “coolness” and what neighborhood Republicans in famously Democratic Chicago wards would call his being a “made man”.

        Mr. Obama’s post-election victory bait-n-switch in his staffing, the subject of Matt Taibbi’s popular article, was not limited to his economic gurus. Ask Dawn Johnsen.

        • knowbuddhau says:

          That’s what I’m saying! Remember the exclusion of Kucinich and Gravel by the networks and DNC at the debates? Our candidates were selected for us well in advance. It’s the ol’ fake election / regime change ploy, right here at home.

          Looks to me like Obama has been a stalking horse for Wall Street, the MIC, and the networks/telecoms/NSA wire-tappers, all this time. Keeping the torturers and thieves in charge says it all.

          Let’s face it: We were sold a brand, we didn’t select our best possible public servant.

          Is it regulatory capture, or straight up control fraud? Is he controlled and compromised by TPTB, or some sort of Perkinsian economic hit man?

          I like the way John Pilger puts it in this video of his presentation of his article, Mourn on the Fourth of July.

          Above all, the goal was to distract and deter the social democratic impulses of working people. Big business was elevated from its public reputation as a kind of mafia to that of a patriotic force. “Free enterprise” became a divinity. “By the early 1950s,” wrote Noam Chomsky, “20 million people a week were watching business-sponsored films. The entertainment industry was enlisted to the cause, portraying unions as the enemy, the outsider disrupting the ‘harmony’ of the ‘American way of life’ . . . Every aspect of social life was targeted and permeated–schools and universities, churches, even recreational programmes. By 1954, business propaganda in public schools reached half the amount spent on textbooks.”

          The new “ism” was Americanism, an ideology whose distinction is its denial that it is an ideology. Recently, I saw the 1957 musical Silk Stockings, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Between the scenes of wonderful dancing to a score by Cole Porter was a series of loyalty statements that the colonel in Vietnam might well have written. I had forgotten how crude and pervasive the propaganda was; the Soviets could never compete. An oath of loyalty to all things American became an ideological commitment to the leviathan of business: from the business of armaments and war (which consumes 42 cents in every tax dollar today) to the business of food, known as “agripower” (which receives $157bn a year in government subsidies).

          Barack Obama is the embodiment of the “ism”. From his early political days, Obama’s unerring theme has been not “change”, the slogan of his presidential campaign, but America’s right to rule and order the world. Of the United States, he says, “we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good . . . We must lead by building a 21st-century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people.” And: “At moments of great peril in the past century our leaders ensured that America, by deed and by example, led and lifted the world, that we stood and fought for the freedoms sought by billions of people beyond their borders.”

          Since 1945, by deed and by example, the US has overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, crushed some 30 liberation movements and supported tyrannies from Egypt to Guatemala (see William Blum’s histories).

          PR, propaganda, advertising–they all make use of the power of our own dreams, terrors, and aspirations, using symbols and narratives that speak directly to the psyche–that literally push our buttons–to somehow make us feel good about getting jacked. And there’s no doubt about it anymore: we got jacked by master myth-makers.

          They used the power of our dreams of a better America, to jack us into this Waste Land, and stick us with the bill.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Now you made me all kind of depressed and looking for my beer.
      What will come first, Bmaz’s Christmas Edition Trash Talk or release
      of the “long awaited” redacted-full OPR Report?

      • scribe says:

        Just go get yer beer and deal on the football.

        Me. I’m switching to whiskey, brandy or rum, whatever’s available, straight no chaser.

        (Not that I don’t like beer – I love it. But it’s too cold here for beer right now – going through 20 F on the way down as I write this and windy, too. And my favorite craft brewery lost its lease a while back and that means no Santa Dark for Christmas this year. [weeps])

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Good idea.
          It’s 29 with a gusty wind around these parts.
          I’ve got our monthly poker game to keep me warm tonight (one generous participant brings “Jello Shots”)
          “The Girl who Played with Fire” starring that ‘spiky and sassy’ Lisbeth, is helping too…

    • Mary says:

      I think the other change we got is that there is now no party of opposition to the WH’s battle against civil liberties and use of imperial power to commit crimes. At least the Dems ran in 06 and 08 as being the party to change that – now, you have the Republicans and the Reidites in lockstep and just a few Bernie Sanders and Russ Feingold’s out there even attempting to oppose the Executive branch crimes.

      I agree with you on the speech – I don’t understand the rhapsodizing over it. It was like he was lecturing children and then he’d cock his head back and look down his nose when he made his “reality check” points. This – from a man who after two years of running for office was apparently overwhelmed to discover that there were not “easy” answers to the things like Afghanistan, Iraq, torture, foreign relations with torturers, domestic telespying, etc.

      From EW’s post, “to suggest that he has simply mistakenly failed to clean out NSC of Cheney’s moles doesn’t cut it, almost a year into Obama’s Administration” Amen.

      • scribe says:

        The rhapsodizing is how they sell it to the public. Think of it as the sugar to mask the bitter pill it is. No one listened to it in toto here, anyway. All the tradmed gave were some appropriately selected phrases to support their narrative.

    • mattcarmody says:

      At no point in that speech did I hear or read any valid enunciation of just war theory. None at all.
      This is an imperialist war bent on domination of the region and control of the numerous resources there, oil and opium poppies being the most important. The former for continuing our gluttonous advance to nowhere and the latter to continue funding the CIA/Blackwater war crimes being perpetrated throughout the world. Lest anyone forgets, there is a huge US presence in Colombia just itching to overthrow at least two democratically-elected governments in the region, those of Brazil and Venezuela. Any money the dark side can obtain without congressional oversight would be welcomed. Of course, that assumes congress would do anything to challenge the war machine which, at this point, appears highly unlikely.

  9. Gitcheegumee says:

    “to suggest that he has simply mistakenly failed to clean out NSC of Cheney’s moles doesn’t cut it, almost a year into Obama’s Administration”

    Might we look forward to a WH administration episode of “Hoarders”?

    It is abundantly evident that an emergency intervention is necessary.

  10. MartyDidier says:

    For some time I’ve been posting that we are in the midst of a White House Coup put on by the big Banks and many others. While posting this, how I knew is because I was in a family for more than 26 years who are directly involved in activities supporting the Coup. But unfortunately much of what I’ve said hasn’t been noticed however seeing so much discontent with questioning what is happening, maybe NOW is a good time to realize what really is happening. The Coup, by design, is in the INSIDE OUT. It’s not from the OUTSIDE IN as everyone wants to make is think it is.

    The Coup is in large part being paid by the proceeds of the sale of Drugs which has been grown into a World Wide Distribution Market. There are also other Black market products to including the sale of Nuclear Materials. All of this has links to Coup Members within our Federal, State and Local Governments. It’s HUGE bigger than your wildest nightmare. And it’s been going on for decades. The CIA is directly involved in so many operations that you may not be able to count that high. The family I was in ARE CIA Assets and brag about being protected from any prosecution even if it involved murder. Someone ought to count how many there have been as you would be very surprised. The family members should be approached so why not talk to eitehr Ray or Bruce Adreani in Illinois they are one of the largest midwest Drug Lords, CIA Assets and Clyde O’Connor is Bruce’s brother-in-law and partner in their Distribution business. The family’s drug and laundering business is directly linked to the big Banks which is how the money is hidden.

    Meet the Family:
    Mexico drug plane used for US ‘rendition’ flights: report Sep 4, 2008

    I learned from the family back in the 90’s about 911 being a starting point to kick off a series of operations ending in Martial Law. It’s coming folks….. Maybe you’ll start to beleive what I’m saying when it comes right to your front door?

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

    PS) Bruce Adreani lives in Northbrook IL too. Go ahead in ask him but be ready to hear lies.

  11. timbo says:

    Those are Tauscher and the Obama administration’s words. The hypocrisy in Washington, the platform that Obama ran on and the Nobel Peace (alleged) Prize are just fodder for the Democratic machine…and we’re the grist.

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