Rummy’s Dump

Donald Rumsfeld, channeling Julian Assange, has now made the database of documents accompanying his book available.

As Spencer notes, making these documents available is largely self-serving; a way for Rummy to point to early moments of reflection that were followed by later moments of rash stupidity or lies.

To put it uncharitably: when you’ve got a rep for being less-than-honest and unwilling to debate, you might as well let the documents speak for themselves.

So take, for instance, one that Rumsfeld’s promoting on his website. It’s a September 9, 2002 summary from the Joint Staff’s top intelligence official confessing that U.S. assessments of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction “rely heavily on analytic assumptions and judgment rather than hard evidence.” Rumsfeld told the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to “take a look” at the memo, because “what we don’t know about WMD… is big.”

Aha! Rumsfeld was a voice for moderation on the Iraq WMD all along! He looks pretty good for bravely disclosing that, right? Not when you remember that after he received that summary, he continued to portray the evidence against Iraq as ironclad, up to and after the invasion. (“We know where [the WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”)

Spencer points to similar examples relating to Afghanistan and interrogation.

But there are some fascinating documents in here. As Marc Ambinder noted yesterday, there’s Rummy’s memo to General Myers and Stephen Cambone supporting George Tenet’s recommendation that John Brennan head the Terrorist Threat Integration Center; in that position Brennan oversaw targeting for Cheney’s illegal wiretap program. But in news relevant to today, the memo also emphasizes Brennan’s experience as CIA’s Chief of Station in Cairo.

Then there’s this memo from retired General Wayne Downing to Rummy recommending some changes to Special Operations. Among other things, this memo recommends that special operations report directly to the Secretary of Defense:

To flatten the chain of command, JSOC should report directly to the SD for the immediate future. There is precedent for this new approach to the combat employment of SOF that will better position DoD for the future fight. JSOC reported directly to the CJCS prior to Goldwater-Nichols legislation and the Nunn-Cohen Amendment.

Sy Hersh explained some of the implications of Bush reversing Goldwater-Nichols so as to give civilians direct oversight of JSOC in a 2008 article.

[T]he 1986 Defense Reorganization Act, known as Goldwater-Nichols, [] defined the chain of command: from the President to the Secretary of Defense, through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and on to the various combatant commanders, who were put in charge of all aspects of military operations, including joint training and logistics. That authority, the act stated, was not to be shared with other echelons of command. But the Bush Administration, as part of its global war on terror, instituted new policies that undercut regional commanders-in-chief; for example, it gave Special Operations teams, at military commands around the world, the highest priority in terms of securing support and equipment. The degradation of the traditional chain of command in the past few years has been a point of tension between the White House and the uniformed military.

“The coherence of military strategy is being eroded because of undue civilian influence and direction of nonconventional military operations,” [ret. General Jack] Sheehan said. “If you have small groups planning and conducting military operations outside the knowledge and control of the combatant commander, by default you can’t have a coherent military strategy. You end up with a disaster, like the reconstruction efforts in Iraq.”

The memo gives hints of other issues that would later be points of contention wrt JSOC. For example, it describes the activities JSOC will need to undertake:

The future GWOT fight will be conducted principally using indirect and clandestine ways and means. It will require sustained [unconventional warfare],  [foreign internal defense] and operational preparation of the environment (OPE) in multiple countries. Building and leveraging partner capacity will be a core element of strategy, and the employment of surrogates will be a key method for accomplishing many GWOT missions.

As we would see, JSOC and Cheney would make broad claims for activities included under “preparation of the environment” as a means to evade congressional oversight. As that same Hersh article explained, preparing the environment was the buzzword DOD used to avoid briefing Congress on ops.

There is a growing realization among some legislators that the Bush Administration, in recent years, has conflated what is an intelligence operation and what is a military one in order to avoid fully informing Congress about what it is doing.“This is a big deal,” the person familiar with the Finding said. “The C.I.A. needed the Finding to do its traditional stuff, but the Finding does not apply to JSOC. The President signed an Executive Order after September 11th giving the Pentagon license to do things that it had never been able to do before without notifying Congress. The claim was that the military was ‘preparing the battle space,’ and by using that term they were able to circumvent congressional oversight. Everything is justified in terms of fighting the global war on terror.” He added, “The Administration has been fuzzing the lines; there used to be a shade of gray”—between operations that had to be briefed to the senior congressional leadership and those which did not—“but now it’s a shade of mush.”

Note, too, that last year, the Armed Services Committees expressed concern about (on the Senate side) DOD using special ops’ ability to provide support to “surrogates” being used to justify long-term engagements in countries other than Iraq and Afghanistan and (on the House side) involving contractors. When asked whether he would share information to alleviate these concerns with intelligence committees at his confirmation hearing last year, DNI James Clapper said he wasn’t obligated to, again hiding information on ops under the veil of DOD legal authorities.

Closely related is Downing’s complaint that the difference between Title 10 and Title 50 authorities impede flexibility.

Operations [redacted] outside of Iraq and Afghanistan are complicated by Title 10 vs. Title 50 authorities, and inability to flexibly detail personnel.

Title 10 activities fall under DOD war-making authority and less stringent Armed Services Committee oversight; Title 50 fall under CIA covert op authority with the required Findings to be shared with Intelligence Committees.

Now, none of this is new–we’re had ongoing reporting on how both the Bush and Obama Administrations have used the legal distinction between DOD war-making and IC clandestine ops to operated with limited oversight. But it is interesting seeing Downing lay some of that framework back in 2005.

  1. tejanarusa says:

    EW, you are so much deeper “in the weeds” than I on these things – how you can keep all these separate issues straight I can’t imagine.
    But it’s interesting that Rumsfeld is putting this stuff out there, with the obvious belief that they will support his actions.

    In my relatively short legal career, I was often surprised at what the other side would give up, or even wave defiantly, believing it supported their contentions, when in fact it turned out to be what lost the case for them.

    Let’s hope that is true for these docs of Rumsfeld’s.

    Are you going through them all?

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m searching for things that might be interesting between trying to stay up on other events. That is, I’m not going through them systematically.

      It really helps that I’ve written about these and can usually find what I’ve written.

      • MadDog says:

        I too was dumpster-diving through Rummy’s hoard using search terms.

        Some of the more common search words that all produce results:

        CIA, of course, NSA, DIA, Detainee, Interrogation, Torture, Guantanamo, GITMO, JSOC, SOCOM, Pakistan, Thailand, Bagram, etc.

        And some of the more common names that all produce results:

        Cheney, Tenet, Rice, Haynes, Feith, Cambone, Ashcroft, UBL (as opposed to OBL), Musharraf, etc.

        • MadDog says:

          And another few names that produce results:

          McLaughlin, Scooter, Libby, Hadley, Wolfowitz, and Stavridis who was Rummy’s senior military assistant.

          • MadDog says:

            I’m even reading some of Rummy’s stuff from w-a-a-a-y back in the Ford administration. Like when Rummy took over from Alexander Haig (3 page PDF) as Ford’s Chief of Staff (otherwise known as the “Safe in Haig’s Office” memo):

            …I arrived at the Haig office in the West Wing at approximately 5:00 pm, asked Bill Walker, and Bob Coidwin to assist me in emptying the cupboards, drawers, closets and looking around the place. Brenda Williams and Dick Cheney walked over a bit later. I wanted to make sure that Haig had left nothing that he might want, I wanted to clean out the place so that I could move in. And, I wanted to make sure that there was nothing in the place that I didn’t want there, such as recording equipment, telephone bugs and the like

            Fookin’ Repugs and their genetic paranoia. And I’d guess they’d have very good reasons to think they’d be bugged, because that’s exactly what they’d do themselves, and therefore expect it.

    • gigi3 says:

      I’m following up on a statement by Suleiman I just read (AP). He said “we can’t put up with” continued protests. That certainly doesn’t bode well, especially coupled with the US sending in war ships and Marine platoons.

      I’m also searching for more articles on the growing unrest in Saudi Arabia.

      Pepe Escobar has this take on “Sheik-Al-Torture.”

  2. 1der says:

    Of fuzzing the lines between JSOC and the CIA:

    Pakistani journalists have been speculating that Davis is either a CIA agent or is working as a contractor for some private mercenary firm–possibly Xe, the reincarnation of Blackwater. They are not alone in their suspicions. Jeff Stein, writing in the Washington Post on January 27, suggested after interviewing Fred Burton, a veteran of the State Department’s counter-terrorism Security Service, that Davis may have been involved in intelligence activity, either as a CIA employee under embassy cover or as a contract worker at the time of the shootings.

    Ray Davis – 36, reportedly a former Special Forces officer, … and despite protests by the US Embassy and the State Department that he is a “consular official” responsible for “security,”

    • MarkH says:

      Based on nothing at all, my feeling is Davis was sent in by Republicans in Congress and that’s why Issa and other reps ran over there to help him out. I doubt Obama has many intell people in Pakistan as there’s nothing to be gained by being there. We talk to the top people and we use drones and probably very little else. What was Davis doing there?

      I also suspect he was discovered because they nearly always discover outsiders and they knew we weren’t supposed to have anybody there. Perhaps even more, the reason there was violence was because they don’t want us there and are willing to make that point forcefully. More reason to believe it wasn’t the administration who sent him.

      Of course, after all the violence and his public exposure we had to run to his rescue. Talk about a stupid mess.

  3. JohnLopresti says:

    I wish TNH ease of text viewing were available in the new FDL more database configured environment. Rumsfeld began with a reputation of not liking to travel; though he engaged in travel on the administration*s behalf. His department*s location in the stovepipe topology put his office in a bureaucratic bind on numerous issues early. ew wrote extensively on many such confluences and initiatives, though not a whole lot about Rumsfeld per se. I probably am exceptional in the milieu on this; I often pictured Macnamara in the chains of similar oligarchic tides despite his tarred image in many quarters. Different times for different secretaries of defense. Which is not to exculpate Rumsfeld; I see Spencer*s tone. But I expect even with legal proofreaders and editors Rumsfeld will be contributing to explications beyond the ambit of rationallizsations which are his likely primary intent. I also would read into the political invisible writing with 2012 elections in mind, and congress strategies ongoing. In sum, I think he may have some contributions in the public information base realm among the online postings. It*s all outside my area of interest and understanding, though, currently. I have been reading about Gamal Abdel Nasser again; I knew a young teenager who nearly launched a journalism career at the time of the French, English, Egyptian confrontations over closure of Suez traderoutes in 1956. Egypt has had 3 presidents, or, rather, leaders from the military, accounting for its full modern history. Much mostly offtopic for the thread, admittedly.

  4. pdaly says:

    It seems Title 10 provides less oversight than Title 50, but then I am confused. Aren’t the black sites CIA? The powers that be knew the oversight-free benefits to Title 10 activities but chose to keep the torture within Title 50 sites, then this was by design and not just tradition.

    • emptywheel says:

      Nah, the distinction was evolving, which is why this memo is interesting.

      REmember that for most of the Bush Admin, CIA wasn’t telling Congress about what it was doing (including the full extent of the torture).

      But at the same time they’re really stretching teh definition of preparing the battlefield. At some point, the armed services committees are going to start cracking heads on that front.

      • KrisAinCA says:

        But at the same time they’re really stretching teh definition of preparing the battlefield

        I think this is key. As you point out, “JSOC and Cheney would make broad claims for activities included under “preparation of the environment” as a means to evade congressional oversight.”

        This has traditionally been a military exercise in preparation of military occupation, and typically consisted of intelligence gathering on enemy installations, officers and officials, and assets. I understand the logic of putting “enhanced” interrogation in this category. However, it doesn’t make it legal.

        The lack of Congressional oversight in these POE activities served no purpose but to distance the Congresscritters and the WH Officials from any responsibility. I really believe the reclassification of JSOC and the argument for Title 50 facilities was simply to exempt the people in power.

      • pdaly says:

        Ahh, got it. I didn’t realize the memo was from 2005.

        Going forward, however, DoD secrets without congressional oversight is goal? Maybe secret revisions to Appendix M in the military handbook, for example? Hire private contractors of former CIA operatives to cut out the CIA Findings requirements?

        • bobschacht says:

          Hire private contractors of former CIA operatives to cut out the CIA Findings requirements?

          This is what I was wondering about. To what extent is the CIA and/or JSOC obligated to disclose what its contractors are doing? ISTM one of the reasons the Bush admin was so infatuated with outsourcing is they thought it could be used to seal off reporting requirements.

          Has anyone yet written the book on “Rogue elements in the CIA and JSOC,” or “What private contractors did in our name”? I’m gonna bet that if you could look at everything, there would be a whole lot of material, enough for thousands of pages of a very big book. Probably a whole series of books.

          Bob in AZ

  5. marymccurnin says:

    So creepy to see Rummy’s image again.

    I remember a story by a commenter a few years ago about waiting at a bus stop with Rummy. I think it was in D.C. or Virginia. The guy went up to Rummy and called him a war monger and torturer.

    Does anyone else remember that?

    • phred says:

      I think that was brendanx. It was one of the greatest stories I have ever heard of an ordinary citizen giving a senior level member of any administration what for. Yep, I remember it : )

      • thatvisionthing says:

        Also Jeff Conant in New Mexico —

        March 13, 2007

        How to Talk to a War Criminal

        Greeting Rumsfeld in Taos

        By JEFF CONANT

        …I halted and took a step towards the table where he sat, not five feet away. I stood up tall on my ski boots and looked him right in the eye.

        I raised my voice so everyone within earshot could hear, and I said, “Well lookee here! If it isn’t Donald Rumsfeld, our favorite local war criminal!”

        He and his guests looked up. Rumsfeld himself looked exasperated. His two guests just stared at me in reproach. So rude!

        I shook my head, looking him in the eye still, and I said, “Mister Rumsfeld, you have killed so many people, you have murdered and tortured so many people, that it makes me sick to think about it.”

        I am still applauding.

  6. scribe says:

    Let’s not forget that, after Bush shitcanned him the day after the 2006 election (When Rover’s math came up short), Rummy got a rent-free office in the Pentagon from which he was supposedly working to organize his papers in preparation for publishing his memoirs.

    Gotta wonder how much hit the shredder. Four years is a long time to be culling the files.

  7. eCAHNomics says:

    I wanna know why he abandoned his original plans to invade, stay a month, get rid of OBL/SH (depending on the country) & then have the U.S. military leave. He didn’t do nation bldg. Would love to ask him what he thinks about U.S.’s longest war.

    • gigi3 says:

      We never intended to find/get rid of OBL. That was obvious from all the blown opportunities. No OBL – no Boogyman.

    • donbacon says:

      I wanna know why he abandoned his original plans to invade, stay a month, get rid of OBL/SH (depending on the country) & then have the U.S. military leave. He didn’t do nation bldg. Would love to ask him what he thinks about U.S.’s longest war.

      First, Bush sprang Bremer on him, not Rummy’s idea at all, as you suggest. Rummy was with Jay Garner, get in and get out. Then the generals went into their night raids and checkpoint shootings, turning liberatees into “insurgents,” then what could Rummy do but encourage detention and torture, and THEN the natives got explicably upset and started killing Americans, while General Casey was promising that victory was right around the corner, and then — it all took a while.

  8. lsls says:

    Here’s a good one from the “dump”:

    We should not talk about attacks, but effects. We look interested in not inputs but
    The normal buildup campaign, post-campaign, and come-home victorious, is not
    the concept. It will be sustained. We need to take time to set the architecture and
    then sustain the effort for the long term.
    External/Internal – Those categories seem not to apply. Would you characterize
    the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as internal or external? It
    is not self-evident.
    Come up with new words for Armys, Navys or Air Forces.
    Talk about “liquidating their connections and systems.”
    Come up with a different word for “occupying territory.”
    Talk about “severing relations.”
    No beachheads; no physical battlefields; no D-Days; no long marches and no Wellington
    at Waterloo.


  9. RevBev says:

    I am so glad someone has the stomach for this…can’t look at the guy or want to hear his arrogant words. No more worthwhile than Rove or W….so sad.

  10. quanto says:

    I just caught Candice Miller on the house floor hawking the Chrysler 200 that is being built in the Sterling Heights assembly plant. She just couldn’t bring herself to say they were made by “Union” workers.

  11. MadDog says:

    OT – Via the WSJ:

    Assange Probe Hits Snag

    U.S. investigators have been unable to uncover evidence that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange induced an Army private to leak government documents to his website, according to officials familiar with the matter.

    New findings suggest Pfc. Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst accused of handing over the data to the WikiLeaks website, initiated the theft himself, officials said. That contrasts with the initial portrait provided by Defense Department officials of a young man taken advantage of by Mr. Assange.

    Further denting the push by some government officials to prosecute Mr. Assange, the probes have found little to link the two men, though others affiliated with WikiLeaks have been tied to Pfc. Manning, officials said…

    • MadDog says:

      And more OT Wikileaks stuff via the WaPo:

      Twitter data privacy in dispute in WikiLeaks case

      Three people associated with the website WikiLeaks are asking a federal judge not to force the social networking site Twitter to turn over data about whom they communicate with online.

      In court documents unsealed Tuesday, the three challenged a court order forcing Twitter to tell the government the names of those they talk to privately and who follow their posts. Attorneys argued that violated their freedom of speech.

      The documents capture the heart of the WikiLeaks debate because the U.S. is investigating whether WikiLeaks should be held responsible for leaking classified information, even though it was not the original leaker. Defense attorneys say it’s a question of political discussion, arguing that Twitter communication about WikiLeaks is protected speech…

  12. jdmckay0 says:

    What a nauseating individual this guy is. Can’t help thinking national character that runs cogs of everything these days is quite similar: obtuse to the extreme, self-justifying of the unjustifiable. That he’s out selling books instead of doing hard time… I dun’o.

    We went to see Fair Game last nite, thought it was excellent. I’m wondering though… there was details of Plame’s work in Iraq after W’s invasion, don’t recall any of those details when she was outed or soon thereafter. My recollection is she was bound by non-disclosure of “state secrets” & such, that she could say virtually nothing about what she did.

    Curious… anyone know source of her Iraq activities in this movie? Did she actually declare them?

    (good post Marcy, thanks).

    marymccurnin @ 12

    I remember a story by a commenter a few years ago about waiting at a bus stop with Rummy. I think it was in D.C. or Virginia. The guy went up to Rummy and called him a war monger and torturer.

    Does anyone else remember that?

    Don’t know about that. But… I live in New Mexico, Rummy had residence and spent time in Taos. All kinds of accounts of this kind’a treatment by locals there… he couldn’t sit down @ a restaurant w/out hearing it.

    • emptywheel says:

      Valerie never disclosed what she had been doing. Isikoff and Corn’s book laid out some of it. And Laura ROzen did a prologue to Valerie’s book describing what she had done.

      Note, however, that some of the incidents in the film are tied more closely to Valerie than necessarily was the case.

      Pincus and Leiby and Corn sort those out.

      One of the things I like best about the film is that it brings in Libby beating up on the CIA on intell. The evidence makes it really clear that that was as big a reason for outing Valerie as Joe’s op-ed, but it’s not one that has gotten enough attention.

  13. Mary says:

    Anything in the Rummy files about Donald Vance?

    Maybe someone could invite Vance to host a Rummy book salon.

  14. timbo says:

    There is a reason Rumsfeld’s relatives in Germany have disowned him. Showing bureaucratic documents indicating Rumsfeld wasn’t willing to go on the record about some of the policy decisions he made and tried to have it both ways while doing it the worst way, isn’t going to fly…except in corrupted US legal system.

  15. thatvisionthing says:

    Interesting misspelling: Prcsidcnts

    1. People DR has Met

    … s You have met with 73 Prcsidcnts/Kings from Jan 20, 2001 Dec 18, 2006 3 of 13 Hamid Karzai Afghanistan Alfred Moisiu Albania Abdel Aziz Bouteflika …

    but that’s the only result

  16. jdmckay0 says:

    EW @ 41:

    Thanks for links, think maybe I’ll have to get Val’s book. Curious what Rozen had to say.

    I’ve had high regard for Pincus, but IMO he’s off his game in your linked article. The notion he (they) put out, that…

    It’s told from the point of view of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson, upon whose separate memoirs the script is based. The CIA and the Bush White House will clearly disagree with its telling of events.

    According to agency officials? Hmmm… those oracle-of-truth “agency” (shudder) officials. And this:

    Although the film suggests that the blowing of Valerie’s cover led directly to the shutdown of the Iraqi scientist exfiltration, an intelligence insider told us: “Something like this, if it was going on, wouldn’t have been canceled for this reason.”

    Right, but so what? I mean, really…

    In particular, regarding questions I asked about (Plame’s work in Iraq), Pincus says:

    It’s true that Valerie Plame Wilson was working with one of the CIA’s teams trying to gather intelligence on Iraq WMD operations, but she evidently did not play the central role that the film puts her in. She was not directly part of the scientist program, according to agency officials.

    IMO Pincus would have done better to just say: “I don’t know.” That statement is at least once removed from the fact, but implies knowledge of fact anyway… eg. sloppy IMO. I’m entirely unconvinced by that.

    The article doesn’t say what happened to those Iraqi scientists.

    Wondering also truth about her superior who “sleeps well at night”, when (in movie) she confronted him w/risk of those scientists.

    Corn says…

    she was the operations chief of the CIA’s clandestine Joint Task Force on Iraq.

    Seems to contradict Pincus, don’t u think?

    The scene where Libby/Rove said they… “had to change the subject”: I presume there was no source for that. I also thought it was reasonable conclusion, as “changing the subject” IMO could be termed as at heart of BushCo messaging for their entire 8 year crime spree.

    So anyway, thanks for the links Marcy.