THE NEWSLETTER

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, July 22-24, 2005

 

 

Still no health care for those that need health care on the horizon. Just another Bush broken promise. No wonder they call him "The Lipper."

 

Never have so few done so little for so many while doing so much for so few. (That ought to make your head spin.)

 

-Noah Greenberg


 

Quote in the Lead

"And let's be honest about this. Mrs. Plame, Mrs. Wilson, had a desk job at Langley. She went back and forth every single day."
-Michael Medved, on Larry King Live on July 12, 2005,

I wish Michael Medved would go back to reviewing movies. Come to think of it, he wasn't too good at that either.

 

-Eddie Konczal

I want to know just what makes all of these right-wing blow-hards think they know what a CIA operative is. The proof is in the pudding: Where are all of the former CIA agents coming out AGAINST Valerie Plame or Joe Wilson? -NG



Ben Stein's Brain

Heard today on a CBS Sunday Morning Program was Ben Stein (former Nixon aide, host of "Win Ben Stein's Money" and frequent Fox News "contributor"). Mr. Stein suggested in a commentary that "G"lobal "W"arming Bush ought to protect Karl Rove no matter what he did. He reckoned back to President Nixon's not supporting those in his administration who were accused, and convicted, as the reason for the collapse of his presidency.

What Ben Stein suggests President Bush do is to break the law, no more, no less. If the evidence shows that Karl Rove broke the law (and most of US think it will), then Karl Rove must pay the price. Keeping a traitor (that's what someone who releases the identity of a CIA operative is) that close to the president is not only dangerous, it's just plain stupid.

Ben Stein suggests that Mr. Bush "needs" Rove. That might very well be, but when President Dwight D. Eisenhower's chief of staff, Sherman Adams accepted a fur coat in exchange for political favors, he left the White House. Mr. Adams was the main "delegate of authority" of President Eisenhower. Many people say that the Ike years weren't productive until after the ousting of Adams and that Eisenhower became a better president when he took a more hands-on approach himself.

Ben Stein just doesn't get it. Nixon couldn't keep his criminals close to him because they were just that... criminals. Nixon's presidency suffered and ended because of these people, and Nixon himself, not because they "didn't stick together."

Maybe Ben Stein ought to keep a buck or two of his money. With advice like this, he might need it to see a psychiatrist.

-Noah Greenberg



More than Rove

We will find out exactly what it was Karl Rove did or didn't do to blow Valerie Plame's cover when the grand jury issues its report. I suspect that when the report is issued, it will turn out to have broader ramifications than just Karl Rove. But of course this is just speculation. I don't know what the report will say.

In the meantime we should not lose sight of the larger picture:

Joseph Wilson IV was asked to investigate the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal not because his wife worked for the CIA, but because he was the best qualified person for the job. He was one of the few people who had extensive experience in both Iraq and Niger. He was ambassador to Iraq just prior to the 1991 Gulf War, and he worked for the State Department for 14 years in west Africa, including Niger. (He by the way undertook his mission of the CIA without pay.)

The smearing of Joseph Wilson was part of an overall disinformation campaign by the Bush administration in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, in order to persuade the American people that Iraq was acquiring nuclear weapons and to destroy the careers and reputations of those who questioned the administration's falsehoods.

The claim of an Iraq-Niger deal was based on forged documents originating in Italy and said to have been made by rogue ex-agents of Italian intelligence. There has never been any official investigation by the U.S. or Italian governments, so far as I know, as to who forged those documents and why.

-Phil Ebersole



In response to Justin Green, "From the Netscape news column: 'Saudi Arabia's ambassador to London and former spy chief Prince Turki al Faisal said the attack bore the classic taint of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network,' Is this the same guy who is coming to Washington?"

 

Yes it is.

Families of the victims of 9/11 accuse Prince Turki al-Faisal of funding and supporting Osama bin Laden. A US lawsuit is seeking more than $1 trillion in compensation from a list of individuals and companies alleged to have supported al- Qaeda. The claimants' head lawyer, Ron Motley, has already called it 'the trial of the century'

Prince Turki al-Faisal had held the post as head of the Saudi intelligence agency for 25 years before being replaced in 2001 just before the attacks on New York.

What a coincidence. This guy had absolutely no idea that 15 of his country's subjects were going to hijack and crash jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? 25 years as the Saudi intelligence chief. Do you think he might have had an idea of what was going to happen?

"Turki had two meetings in 1998 with al-Qaeda."
-Mullah Kakshar, in a sworn testimony from the Taliban intelligence chief

"Mullah Kakshar's sworn statement implicates Prince Turki as the facilitator of these money transfers in support of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and international terrorism,"
-The Observer

Mohammed Zouaydi, one of al-Qaeda's top money- launderers acted as the accountant for the Faisal branch of the Saudi royal family Zouaydi, who is now in jail in Spain, is accused of being al-Qaeda's top European financier. He distributed more than $1 million to al- Qaeda units, including the Hamburg cell of Mohammed Atta which plotted the World Trade Centre attack.

Sometimes you ARE judged by the company you keep.

"I thank the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd, and HRH Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for nominating me for the post of Ambassador to the US."
-Faisal

Isn't a "nomination" in Saudi Arabia the same as an "appointment"? Talk about nepotism.

"It was an honour to be appointed as Ambassador to the UK two and a half years ago and it has been a position I have much enjoyed where I have made many new friends."
-Faisal

And as he leaves his UK post, BOOM! London is under attack. Just like in 2001! Another coincidence!

"I will make every effort to serve my country faithfully and as well in the US as I have in the UK. I have enjoyed maintaining and developing a strong relationship with Britain and appreciate the importance of this new post in the US and the importance of maintaining and developing good relations with the US."
-Prince Turki al-Faisal, 7/20/2005, from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Website, article titled "News Story"

Well as long as you keep holding hands with the Bushes, I'm sure everything will be "hunky-dory". (Yeah, I said "honky-dory.")

"Former Saudi Intelligence Minister Prince Turki al Faisal has revealed that Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, two of the 19 9/11 hijacker terrorists, were put on a Saudi terror watch list in late 1999 (Their plane was flown into the Pentagon where 189 people were killed. Rush Limbaugh would have used the word 'only'). Al Faisal also said that he revealed this to the CIA, saying 'What we told them was these people were on our watch list from previous activities of al-Qaeda, in both the embassy bombings and attempts to smuggle arms into the kingdom in 1997.' The CIA strongly denies having received any such warning

"On September 10, 2001, Hanjour, al-Mihdhar, and al-Hazmi checked into a hotel. Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, a prominent Saudi government official, was staying at the same hotel. There is no evidence Hussayen met with them, but he has been linked to terrorism many times since "
-Numerous Sources

"From where do Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda get their money?
Sunil Dasgupta Answers: Personal wealth, stock market and other business deals, the drug trade, and even petty crime are sources of terrorist money. Though few talk about this today the most important source of money in the five years up until 1999 for the Taliban and by extension the bin Laden network were the states of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been financing and arming the Taliban since its early days. In his remarkable book on the rise of the Taliban [Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia] Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid writes that Naseerullah Babar, a minister in the Benazir Bhutto government, gave money to the Taliban. Prince Turki al Faisal, the Saudi intelligence chief, repeatedly visited Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan. The Saudis provided Taliban convoys of Toyota pickup trucks, the militia preferred transport and attack horse. The official pipelines should have dried up by now under U.S. pressure following the Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam bombings."
-http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/terrorism/faqs.htm


During the 1980s he had contact with Osama bin Laden and, in 1998, sought unsuccessfully to have the al-Qaeda chief extradited from Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia.

I could have guessed he was going to be "unsuccessful." So obviously, Faisal knew where Osama bin-Laden was. Maybe he could have given US a call or something.

Born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the prince was educated at Princeton, Cambridge and Georgetown.

I guess the Saudi public school system isn't all it's cracked up to be... unless you're talking about teaching hatred, intolerance and terrorism, I mean.

-Noah Greenberg



How To Win...

Recent polls of the ENTIRE voting population indicate that Hillary trails McCain, and barely squeaks by Giuliani. They also show that Edwards beats Giuliani and barely loses to McCain.

The significant indicator was that Edwards does much better in the South, the Midwest and most of the battleground states.

Are the Dems, led by labor, the liberal elitists and the left wing activists going to once again elect a candidate of their choice and lose once more in the Presidential Election.

-Jack Kashinsky

...But at What Cost

Three presidential contenders are trekking to the DLC's annual conference in Ohio, giving the organization a boost of legitimacy at a time when it faces increasing irrelevance in the political scene.

Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, and Tom Vilsack are all dutifully trekking to Ohio to worship at the altar of the "vital center" -- that elusive moving target that has conspired to rob Democrats of all conviction. Every time you hear a Democrat talk about how Democrats don't stand for anything? That's the DLC, as they urge Democrats to chase after a "center" that gets constantly redefined rightward by an ideologically principled Republican party.

As we strive to find our core convictions, and define who we are and what we stand for as a party, the DLC is one of the roadblocks -- a divisive, fundamentalist organization willing to sell any and all progressive ideals to the altar of big business. And anything that threatens their dominance has met with their ire -- be it Howard Dean, the netroots, or regular people suddenly interested in transforming and reforming the Democratic Party.

Democrats have a choice to make -- stand with the DLC, or stand with the grassroots and netroots of the party. It's interesting that Democrats with a strong sense of self -- those who truly know what they stand for and are unafraid to say so -- are those least interested in the DLC's snake oil. Obama twice had to demand the DLC take him off their list. California's Phil Angelides -- the next governor of the Golden State given Ahnold's spectacular collapse -- also demanded to be taken off their list. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who's anti-war floor speech made the internet rounds last year, also demanded to be taken off their list. Western Democrats in Montana -- blood red territory -- have shown no interest in cozying up with the DLC.

It's those Democrats who are afraid of who or what they stand for that seem most drawn to the DLC. It's a shame that Hillary has thrown in with that lot, but it's clear that she's looking for the perfect positioning. She's not confident she can win on who she is and what she stands for, so she's what, looking for cover to the charges that she's "too liberal"? Is she looking to the DLC to help define that "vital center"?

The irony, of course, is that it's been DLC positions that have decimated Ohio and its Democratic Party. As (David) Sirota (The Center for American Progress) says:

-The story is about the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) holding a three-day conference in Ohio about how to reverse conservatives' gains. The story quotes the DLC's ultimate Beltway insider Bruce Reed saying "If Democrats can't win in Ohio, we don't deserve to win the presidency." That's a true statement. But it's ironic coming from the head of the DLC, a group that has ardently pushed the very "free" trade policy that has destroyed Ohio's job base, and has pushed that policy at exactly the right time to stab the Democratic Party in the back.

-As USA Today reported during the campaign, trade is one of the most important issues in Ohio. And yet the Beltway insiders from the DLC - the very people who have used corporate money to buy Democratic support in Congress for "free" trade - is arrogantly coming into Ohio to tell Democrats there the way to win is to support their agenda. This is the kind of arrogance and lunacy that could only come from Washington, D.C.'s corporate money circles - it is totally divorced from political reality, yet these well-heeled clowns over at the DLC still claim they have a model of success.

-It will be interesting to see if, just as the DLC viciously attacked Howard Dean, the DLC will try to make life harder for people like Ohio's popular Congressman Sherrod Brown (D), should he jump into the state's U.S. Senate race in 2006. Brown has been a leader in pushing for fair trade, and in whipping up opposition to CAFTA an opposition the DLC tried to undercut last week.

Keep chasing the "vital center", and you'll prevent the Democratic Party from standing for core principles. The GOP polls to find the best ways to sell their agenda, the Democratic Party polls to find that "vital center", and then demands its politicians chase after those popular positions.

Yet time and time again, the public rewards those with convictions (Feingold, anyone?), and punishes those who wander the political landscape aimlessly, with no moral compass or overarching core philosophy.

The netroots and grassroots both get it. The DLC doesn't. Instead of working as a team, they want to divide. They want to excommunicate certain Democrats from the party. They are as bad as the single-issue groups they love to decry. They are the enemy within. And Democrats that associate with them are telegraphing who they stand with.

www.dailykos.com as forwarded by ProudLiberal7



In response to Michael Coogan's forwarding of the Richard Reid (the Shoe Bomber) verdict,, and the judges words, Jack Kashinsky writes:

Thank you Michael Coogan for bringing the interaction between the judge and the slimeball to our attention.

The problem is that extremist fundamentalists in all religions couldn't see the truth if it hit them square between the eyes.



Testimony of James Marcinkowski

a former CIA case officer and former member of the "Young Republicans"
July 22, 2005

What is important now is not who wins or loses the political battle or who may or may not be indicted; rather, it is a question of how we will go about protecting the citizens of this country in a very dangerous world. The undisputed fact is that we have irreparably damaged our capability to collect human intelligence and thereby significantly diminished our capability to protect the American people.

Understandable to all Americans is a simple, incontrovertible, but damning truth: the United States government exposed the identity of a clandestine officer working for the CIA. This is not just another partisan "dust-up" between political parties. This unprecedented act will have far-reaching consequences for covert operations around the world. Equally disastrous is that from the time of that first damning act, we have continued on a course of self-inflicted wounds by government officials who have refused to take any responsibility, have played hide-and-seek with the truth and engaged in semantic parlor games for more than two years, all at the expense of the safety of the American people. No government official has that right.

For an understanding of what is at stake it is important to understand some fundamental principles. No country or hostile group, from al Qaeda to any drug rings operating in our cities, likes to be infiltrated or spied upon. The CIA, much like any police department in any city, has undercover officers--spies, that use "cover."

To operate under "cover" means you use some ruse to cloak both your identity and your intentions. The degree of cover needed to carry out any operation varies depending on the target of the investigation. A police officer performing "street buys" uses a "light" cover, meaning he or she could pose as something as simple as a drug user, operate only at night and during the day and, believe it or not, have a desk job in the police station. On the other hand, if an attempt were made to infiltrate a crime syndicate, visiting the local police station or drinking with fellow FBI agents after work may be out of the question. In any scenario, your cover, no matter what the degree, provides personal protection and safety. But it does not end there. Cover is also used to protect collection methodology as well as any innocent persons a CIA officer may have regular contact with, such as overseas acquaintances, friends, and even other U.S. government officials.

While cover provides a degree of safety for the case officer, it also provides security for that officer's informants or agents. In most human intelligence operations, the confidentiality of the cover used by a CIA officer and the personal security of the agent or asset is mutually dependent. A case officer cannot be identified as working for the CIA, just as the informant/agent cannot be identified as working for the CIA through the case officer. If an informant or agent is exposed as working for the CIA, there is a good chance that the CIA officer has been identified as well. Similarly, if the CIA officer is exposed, his or her agents or informants are exposed. In all cases, the cover of a case officer ensures not only his or her own personal safety but that of the agents or assets as well.

The exposure of Valerie Plame's cover by the White House is the same as the local chief of police announcing to the media the identity of its undercover drug officers. In both cases, the ability of the officer to operate is destroyed, but there is also an added dimension. An informant in a major sophisticated crime network, or a CIA asset working in a foreign government, if exposed, has a rather good chance of losing more than just their ability to operate.

Any undercover officer, whether in the police department or the CIA, will tell you that the major concern of their informant or agent is their personal safety and that of their family. Cover is safety. If you cannot guarantee that safety in some form or other, the person will not work for you and the source of important information will be lost.

So how is the Valerie Plame incident perceived by any current or potential agent of the CIA? I will guarantee you that if the local police chief identified the names of the department's undercover officers, any half-way sophisticated undercover operation would come to a halt and if he survived that accidental discharge of a weapon in police headquarters, would be asked to retire.

And so the real issues before this Congress and this country today is not partisan politics, not even the loss of secrets. The secrets of Valerie Plame's cover are long gone. What has suffered perhaps irreversible damage is the credibility of our case officers when they try to convince our overseas contact that their safety is of primary importance to us. How are our case officers supposed to build and maintain that confidence when their own government cannot even guarantee the personal protection of the home team? While the loss of secrets in the world of espionage may be damaging, the stealing of the credibility of our CIA officers is unforgivable....

And so we are left with only one fundamental truth, the U.S. government exposed the identity of a covert operative. I am not convinced that the toothpaste can be put back into the tube. Great damage has been done and that damage has been increasing every single day for more than two years. The problem of the refusal to accept responsibility by senior government officials is ongoing and causing greater damage to our national security and our ability to collect human intelligence. But the problem lies not only with government officials but also with the media, commentators and other apologists who have no clue as to the workings of the intelligence community. Think about what we are doing from the perspective of our overseas human intelligence assets or potential assets.

I believe Bob Novak when he credited senior administration officials for the initial leak, or the simple, but not insignificant confirmation of that secret information, as I believe a CIA officer in some far away country will lose an opportunity to recruit an asset that may be of invaluable service to our covert war on terror because "promises of protection" will no longer carry the level of trust they once had.

Each time the leader of a political party opens his mouth in public to deflect responsibility, the word overseas is loud and clear--politics in this country does in fact trump national security.

Each time a distinguished ambassador is ruthlessly attacked for the information he provided, a foreign asset will contemplate why he should risk his life when his information will not be taken seriously.

Each time there is a perceived political "success" in deflecting responsibility by debating or re-debating some minutia, such actions are equally effective in undermining the ability of this country to protect itself against its enemies, because the two are indeed related. Each time the political machine made up of prime-time patriots and partisan ninnies display their ignorance by deriding Valerie Plame as a mere "paper-pusher," or belittling the varying degrees of cover used to protect our officers, or continuing to play partisan politics with our national security, it is a disservice to this country. By ridiculing, for example, the "degree" of cover or the use of post office boxes, you lessen the level of confidence that foreign nationals place in our covert capabilities.

Those who would advocate the "I'm ok, you're ok" politics of non-responsibility, should probably think about the impact of those actions on our foreign agents. Non-responsibility means we don't care. Not caring means a loss of security. A loss of security means a loss of an agent. The loss of an agent means the loss of information. The loss of information means an increase in the risk to the people of the United States.

There is a very serious message here. Before you shine up your American flag lapel pin and affix your patriotism to your sleeve, think about what the impact your actions will have on the security of the American people. Think about whether your partisan obfuscation is creating confidence in the United States in general and the CIA in particular. If not, a true patriot would shut up.

Those who take pride in their political ability to divert the issue from the fundamental truth ought to be prepared to take their share of the responsibility for the continuing damage done to our national security.

When this unprecedented act first occurred, the president could have immediately demanded the resignation of all persons even tangentially involved. Or, at a minimum, he could have suspended the security clearances of these persons and placed them on administrative leave. Such methods are routine with police forces throughout the country. That would have at least sent the right message around the globe, that we take the security of those risking their lives on behalf of the United States seriously. Instead, we have flooded the foreign airwaves with two years of inaction, political rhetoric, ignorance, and partisan bickering. That's the wrong message. In doing so we have not lessened, but increased the threat to the security and safety of the people of the United States.

-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane, from www.davidcorn.com



Quotes

''What has suffered irreversible damage is the credibility of our case officers when they try to convince an overseas contact that their safety is of primary importance to us. Each time the political machine made up of prime-time patriots and partisan ninnies display their ignorance by deriding Valerie Plame as a mere paper-pusher, or belittling the varying degrees of cover used to protect our officers, or continuing to play partisan politics with our national security, it's a disservice to this country,".
-Jim Marcinkowski


-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane


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-Noah Greenberg