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Art by Steve Hamburger

The Niger forgeries

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
- President George W. Bush, 1/28/2003


by Clayton Hallmark

YEARS 1999-2000 Rocco Martino is a double-agent for the French secret service and the Italian intelligence agency SISMI, even though SISMI had officially fired Martino stealing money for himself (not much more than any good intelligence agent would do). The French find out that someone has been working abandoned French mines in Niger. They want to find where the uranium is going and consult Martino.

Martino, needing intel to sell to the French, asks his old friend at SISMI, Antonio Nucera, for help. Nucera introduces him to a lady ("La Signora") who is a SISMI asset (spy) at the Rome embassy of Niger (Niger rhymes with forger). She in turn enlists the cooperation of a Niger employee of the embassy, Zakaria Yaou Maiga, and the three conspire to obtain materials at the embassy to sell to the French.

JANUARY 1, 2001 The little gang simulates a break-in and burglary at the embassy and steals letterhead and some document stamps, the kind that make documents official as a notary stamp does.

The gang types and stamps the amateurish forgeries you see here, including:

Forged letters / Forged contracts - A memorandum of understanding for Niger to supply Iraq some uranium in 2000 An 2-page agreement, as an attachment to the memorandum

Martino conveys the dodgey dossier to the French. The French are the first to get it and immediately see that it is a forgery, having obvious mistakes in naming ministers of the Niger government. That doesn't stop them from paying him.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 Nineteen people -- ostensibly Islalmic fanatics -- crash a few planes, knock down the a few buildings in New York and part of the Pentagon and kill about 0.014 percent of the population of metropolitan New York. In response, the Bush administration decides not just to launch preemptive wars and a war on terror -- but to throw out over 2000 years of Western civilization, jettisoning its heritage of human rights and resorting to torture, wars on civilians, and other crimes of King Herod. In Silvio Berlusconi's "Clash of Civilizations," we immediately run away from ours.

In this atmosphere, Bush is empowered to carry out his family's vendetta against the Hussein family, and the Italian president Silvio Berlusconi seeks to serve his master some intelligence for the vendetta. Berlusconi and the CIA chief in Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, ask the new (effective Sept. 27) SISMI chief, Nicolo Pollari, to get the goods on Saddam.

FALL 2001 General Pollari's SISMI has the Niger forgeries assembled by Rocco Martino and Antonio Nucera (Nucera, Martino's friend, was still working for them). SISMI shows the Niger forgeries -- but does not give a copy -- to the CIA's Castelli in Rome.

Rocco Martino delivers actual copies of the Niger forgeries to Sir Richard Dearlove's MI6 (em-eye-six) in London. The Brits are ahead of the CIA in Rome, which only got to view, not keep, copies of the forgeries.

FALL 2001 IN THE USA - A CIA field officer in Rome, probably COS Castelli, sends the CIA in Washington a memo "that Italian intelligence permitted him see some papers documenting the attempt by Iraq to acquire 500 tons of uranium ore from Niger" (I quote from the Repubblica article). Apparently the Italian SISMI was pushing these forged Niger documents to Castelli as authentic.

OCTOBER 15, 2001 (APPROX.) George W. Bush receives Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at the White House.

The CIA in Washington makes its first report on the memo it received from its Castelli in Rome. It is merely an acknowledgment that Italian intelligence has a dossier based on the the Niger forgeries (forgeries the CIA doesn't have and Castelli has only seen) on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Niger.

FALL 2001 (WASHINGTON) CIA analysts in Washington report that Castelli's memo from Rome is "somewhat limited" and is "lacking in necessary detail." The State Departments intelligence analysts (under Greg Thielmann) report that the Italian intelligence in the Castelli memo is "highly suspect." Remember, the US supposedly still does not have a copy of the forgeries the intelligence is based on, the forgeries presented here.


FALL 2001 (ROME) Since the Italian warmongers have been rebuffed by American intelligence, the normal channel for intelligence on WMD -- and still wanting to ingratiate themselves with the American government (American warmongers) -- they turn to political operatives in Washington, the back-channel. These include:

Dick Cheney's and Paul Wolfowitz's White House Iraq Group

The Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (the "Stovepipe") created by Wolfowitz

The office of National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice

All of the above have been infiltrated by Israeli agents, as indictments such as Larry Franklin's are only just beginning to show.

AFTER OCTOBER 15, 2001 Italy's defense minister arranges for Pollari to meet in Rome with Pollari's old bridge (card game) buddy Michael Ledeen, an Israel First, anti-Muslim, US neoconservative -- and, like so many other administration neocons, a Republican operative linked back to the Iran-contra black-ops affair of the 1980s. Ledeen is Karl Rove's foreign policy advisor -- Bush's brain's brain -- and he is coming to Rome to look for an excuse for war. He comes not as an official of the US government but as a "scholar" of a Washington think tank, the American Enterprise Institute and, according to Repubblica, at the request of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans.

DECEMBER 2001 There's a meeting in Rome attended by Ledeen, SISMI's Pollari, Italy's Minister of Defense, the now-indicted Larry Franklin, and Harold Rhode -- a member of the Office of Special Plans, Ledeen's protege, and Iraqi-exile, Iran-spy Chalabi's close associate. The Americans need a cause for war and Pollari just happens to have one waiting -- a DOSSIER on Martino's Niger forgeries. BUT NOT THE FORGERIES THEMSELVES.


EARLY 2002 Ledeen returns to the neocon cabal in Washington and informs Wolfowitz of Pollari's dossier. Wolfowitz tells Cheney, and Cheney asks the CIA to look into it.

LATE FEBRUARY 2002 Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV (husband of an undercover CIA agent going by the cover name of "Valerie Plame") goes to Niger to check on uranium sales to Iraq. He does it at the request of the CIA and for free. Wilson and the US Ambassador to Niger report that the sales are unlikely.

EARLY 2002 (WASHINGTON) The parallel intelligence conduit (DOD's Stovepipe, which is outside the regular US intelligence chain) distributes Pollari's back-channel dossier (not the forgeries yet) to the regular intelligence agencies, including the following. State Department intelligence tells the CIA the info in Pollari's dossier is implausible, referring among other things to an impossible amount of uranium mentioned in the dossier.

CIA headquarters, however, possibly influenced by having missed warnings signs of the 9/11 attacks, does not discount Pollari's dossier.

JULY 23, 2002 (LONDON) "DOWNING STREET MEMO" / "FIXED" INTELLIGENCE A full eight months before the invasion, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers meet. Notes are taken and a memo written (the Downing Street Memo) that will go public only long after the war starts.

Included in the note-taker's account was an assessment by the chief of British intelligence, after returning from a visit to Washington, that: "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." The WMD part is the Niger forgeries.

MID-2002 Pollari meets his opposite number Tenet near the McLean, VA, headquarters of the CIA. They seem to mistrust each other.

SUMMER 2002 Making an end run around Tenet and the CIA, Pollari holds has an ongoing dialog with Demon-Eyes Rice's office and the Wolfowitz/Feith Office of Special plans at the Pentagon.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2002 Pollari is movin' on up in the US, to the White House. There he meets with Rice's No.2 in the National Security Advisor's office, Stephen Hadley.

SEPTEMBER 2002 In its September 12-19 issue, the Berlusconi-owned Panarama weekly magazine claims that Iraq has bought uranium from African and has attempted to buy aluminum tubes, used in centrifuges for making bomb-grade uranium, from Germany.

SEPTEMBER 2002 Pollari tells the Italian Parliament -- a even more compliant representative body than the US Congress -- that he has no proof of the Niger-uranium claim.

30 DAYS LATER Pollari tells Parliament, no, he does have documentary evidence of uranium sales and attemped attempted centrifuge sales. Italy's intelligence chief is like Will Rogers, apparently -- all he knows is what he reads papers like Panorama.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2002 (LONDON) British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- advance man for the Angel of Death, Bush -- speaks for the first time on attempts by Saddam Hussein to obtain Uranium from Africa. This charge is based on the Niger forgeries that you see here, which Britain obtained about a year earlier. The US had Castelli's (CIA chief in Rome) memo on the forgeries through regular channels, and had Pollari's (SISMI chief) dossier on Iraq-Niger-uranium through the neocons' illegitimate back-door channels (Ledeen, Wolfowitz, Cheney) -- but the US did not have the actual forgeries, yet.


OCTOBER 2002 With SISMI's Pollari still trying to get the Niger uranium hoax to fly, Rocco Martino, the lead forger who already has given the forgeries to the British MI6, sells them to Elisabetta Burba, a correspondent for -- Panorama. Despite the affiliation with Berlusconi's propaganda sheet, she plays the honest reporter -- the antithesis of the media whoring of Judith Miller of the New York Times and Robert Novak -- and declines to spread the lies in the forgeries.

However, Berlusconi's trusty editor-in-chief sends the Niger forgeries to the US embassy in Rome. Now, finally, the actual Niger forgeries are in American hands, apparently for the first time.


OCTOBER 16, 2002 The State Department distributes the Martino/Pollari Niger forgeries (Martino had made them in early 2001, and Berlusconi and Pollari had been pushing them ever since) at a meeting with the regular intelligence agencies, including four CIA officials.

The forgeries are very crude as you can see. The CIA men could see that they would be an embarrasment to Cheney and the US warmongers. Luckily the forgeries disappear for three months. Fortunately (or unfortunately for the neocons) they are found in an internal audit ordered by the CIA inspector-general.

JANUARY 28, 2003 "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Sixteen little words in President Bush's State of the Union speech that will live with famous presidential words like "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (FDR). Contrast the terrorizing words of a demagogue with the reassuring words of a great, benevolent president. Bush was inciting the nation to war based on the crude forgeries you see here.

FEBRUARY 2003 The month before the Niger forgeries are used to start the Iraq war, the International Atomic Energy Agency of the UN needs just hours spread over 10 days to debunk these forgeries, which professionals and amateurs in the intelligence game -- a journalist, ambassadors, the Rome CIA chief, CIA analysts and State Department intelligence in Washington -- already had debunked. There is no way Bush and his administration could have believed their own lies about these forgeries.

Joseph Wilson had noted a year before that the documents were signed by Niger officials who were no longer in government and that they probably were forged. The CIA sent him to Iraq to find out this type of thing, on a request from Vice President Cheney.

The IAEA finds the following ridiculous errors that I could have found myself in a few hours of Googling (if I had had the forgeries):

* In an alleged letter dated July, 27, 2000, the president of Niger refers to the central African nation's constitution of May 12, 1965, but the constitution in place in 2000 was dated Aug. 9, 1999.

* A letter allegedly signed by the foreign minister of Niger on Oct. 10, 2000, bears the signature of Allele Elhadj Habibou, who was actually foreign minister in 1988-1989.

* The official letterhead used is obsolete and includes the wrong symbol for the presidency, as well as references to temporary state bodies - such as the Supreme Military Council and the Council for National Reconciliation - which are "incompatible with the dates of the alleged correspondence."

* The date of a Niger "ordonnance" cited in the alleged agreement is off by 26 years.

MARCH 19, 2003 Bush launches the American Blitz (pumps his hand gleefully as children die in their beds) against military and civilian targets in Iraq, softening up the Iraqi army and children for the US Army's and Marines' attack.


JULY 6, 2003 Seeing the horrors of war that his honest debunking report on Niger uranium should have prevented, Joseph Wilson writes an article in the New York Times, "What I Didn't Find in Africa." What he didn't find was uranium sales to Iraq. What he did find was that the copies you see were forgeries. The White House decides to discredit and punish Joseph Wilson. The cowards go after his wife.


JULY 14, 2003 Wilson's CIA wife is unmasked as neocon columnist Robert Novak publishes an article that says "two senior administration officials" (presumably Lewis Libby and Karl Rove) told him Wilson's wife, whom he identifies as Valerie Plame, is a [CIA] operative on weapons of mass destruction." Her cover as a WMD investigator is blown, her career ruined, and what started as the White House's dishonest search for WMD ended up with the White House sabotaging the CIA's legitimate WMD search.

JULY 14 AND 17, 2003 Mathew Cooper of Time writes that government officials have told him Wilson's wife is a CIA official monitoring WMD.

SEPTEMBER 29 TO 30 The US Department of Justice informs White House counsel Alberto Gonzales it is investigating the unmasking of an undercover CIA employee by administration officials.

DECEMBER 30, 2003 Patrick Fitzgerald, the US Attorney in Chicago, is named as special counsel to conduct a grand jury hearing in Washington to see if any crimes were committed in naming Plame.

MAY 21, 2004 Fitzgerald's grand jury asks Cooper and Time to give up evidence and documents. They refuse.

AUGUST 9, 2005 US District Judge Thomas Hogan finds Cooper and Time in contempt of court.

AUGUST 12-14, 2004 The grand jury summons Judith Miller, a war advocate and reporter for the New York Times who had talked to government officials about Plame. She joins Cooper in refusing to cooperate.

AUGUST 24, 2004 Cooper agrees to testify after Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby (later indicted), releases Cooper from a promise of confidentiality.


SEPTEMBER 13, 2004 The grand jury issues another subpoena to Cooper for further information, but Cooper and Time refuse to cooperate.

OCTOBER 2004 TO JUNE 2005 Miller, Cooper, Time, and the Times engage in legal wrangling that goes all the way to the US Supreme Court, to avoid giving evidence that they say violates freedom of the press and confidentiality agreements they had made.

MAY 2005 (LONDON) The London Sunday Times publishes the secret "Downing Street Memo." A national security aide to British Prime Minister Tony Blair had produced a memo based on a meeting between Blair and his top advisers on July 23, 2002 (described above), and someone had leaked the memo to the paper. The memo shows that what the British government knew was not what Bush had said (that Iraq bought uranium in Africa) but the opposite -- intelligence was "fixed" to justify a planned war.

JUNE 27, 2005 The Supreme Court refuses to hear the cases of the Time and New York Times reporters.

JULY 1, 2005 Time turns over Cooper's notes, emails, and other documents as Cooper and Miller refuse to reveal sources.

JULY 6, 2005 Judge Hogan sends Miller to jail for refusing to reveal her source (who eventually turns out to be Libby).

JULY 15, 2005 Karl Rove testifies to the grand jury that he learned Plame's identity from journalists and then discussed it with Cooper without using Plame's name.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2005 Miller is released from jail after agreeing to testify. She says her source (later revealed to be Libby) released her from her promise of confidentiality.

SEPTEMBER 30 TO OCTOBER 12 Miller testifies on three days to the grand jury. She turns over notes about a phone call with Libby that she suppossedly had neglected to mention before (obstruction of justice?).

OCTOBER 14, 2005 Rove testifies to Fitzgerald's grand jury for the fourth and final time.

OCTOBER 16, 2005 Miller reports on her testimony in her paper (the NYT) and says Libby told her Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA's Weapons, Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) unit. Libby was trying to cripple the very unit that should have been able to save us the "trouble" of going to war in Iraq.

OCTOBER 19, 2005 The AP reports that Karl Rove's grand jury testimony also implicated Libby as someone who told reporters Mrs. Plame-Wilson worked for the CIA. Libby has been set up to take the fall for others in the administration.

OCTOBER 25, 2005 The NYT implicates Dick Cheney by saying that he is the one who told Libby of Mrs. Plame's identity in the first place (June 2003, before the White House was out to get Joe Wilson and Plame).

OCTOBER 28, 2005 Fitzgerald announces that the grand jury has voted to indict Libby but not Rove.

NOVEMBER 2005 Other government officials and reporters COMPLICIT IN THE PLAME OUTING remain indicted.

NOVEMBER 2005 Important questions about WHO PROCURED THE NIGER FORGERIES FOR THE US, and how and why, remain unanswered.

Other big questions remain about WHO USED THEM TO START THE WAR and HOW AND WHY DID THEY DO IT. DID PRESIDENT BUSH LIE, deliberately and knowingly, to start the war? Should he be impeached and imprisoned? Is lying us into war to be his main legacy?

Also, what reporters and government officials have obstructed justice by impeding grand jury and FBI investigations? They need to be indicted. Libby is not the only one.

What other crimes have been committed, and by whom, in covering up the Niger forgeries?

What role have foreign states and agents played in connection with the Niger forgeries? Have Americans committed treason, espionage, or similar crimes in connection with the Niger forgeries? How can another war based on fixed intelligence be prevented?

Mission to Niger

Jul 14, 2003 - by Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- The CIA's decision to send retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson to Africa in February 2002 to investigate possible Iraqi purchases of uranium was made routinely at a low level without Director George Tenet's knowledge. Remarkably, this produced a political firestorm that has not yet subsided.

Wilson's report that an Iraqi purchase of uranium yellowcake from Niger was highly unlikely was regarded by the CIA as less than definitive, and it is doubtful Tenet ever saw it. Certainly, President Bush did not, prior to his 2003 State of the Union address, when he attributed reports of attempted uranium purchases to the British government. That the British relied on forged documents made Wilson's mission, nearly a year earlier, the basis of furious Democratic accusations of burying intelligence though the report was forgotten by the time the president spoke.

Reluctance at the White House to admit a mistake has led Democrats ever closer to saying the president lied the country into war. Even after a belated admission of error last Monday, finger-pointing between Bush administration agencies continued. Messages between Washington and the presidential entourage traveling in Africa hashed over the mission to Niger.

Wilson's mission was created after an early 2002 report by the Italian intelligence service about attempted uranium purchases from Niger, derived from forged documents prepared by what the CIA calls a "con man." This misinformation, peddled by Italian journalists, spread through the U.S. government. The White House, State Department and Pentagon, and not just Vice President Dick Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it.

That's where Joe Wilson came in. His first public notice had come in 1991 after 15 years as a Foreign Service officer when, as U.S. charge in Baghdad, he risked his life to shelter in the embassy some 800 Americans from Saddam Hussein's wrath. My partner Rowland Evans reported from the Iraqi capital in our column that Wilson showed "the stuff of heroism." President George H.W. Bush the next year named him ambassador to Gabon, and President Bill Clinton put him in charge of African affairs at the National Security Council until his retirement in 1998.

Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. "I will not answer any question about my wife," Wilson told me.

After eight days in the Niger capital of Niamey (where he once served), Wilson made an oral report in Langley that an Iraqi uranium purchase was "highly unlikely," though he also mentioned in passing that a 1988 Iraqi delegation tried to establish commercial contacts. CIA officials did not regard Wilson's intelligence as definitive, being based primarily on what the Niger officials told him and probably would have claimed under any circumstances. The CIA report of Wilson's briefing remains classified.

All this was forgotten until reporter Walter Pincus revealed in the Washington Post June 12 that an unnamed retired diplomat had given the CIA a negative report. Not until Wilson went public on July 6, however, did his finding ignite the firestorm.

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Wilson had taken a measured public position -- viewing weapons of mass destruction as a danger but considering military action as a last resort. He has seemed much more critical of the administration since revealing his role in Niger. In the Washington Post July 6, he talked about the Bush team "misrepresenting the facts," asking: "What else are they lying about?"

After the White House admitted error, Wilson declined all television and radio interviews. "The story was never me," he told me, "it was always the statement in (Bush's) speech." The story, actually, is whether the administration deliberately ignored Wilson's advice, and that requires scrutinizing the CIA summary of what their envoy reported. The Agency never before has declassified that kind of information, but the White House would like it to do just that now -- in its and in the public's interest. - townhall.com

"A Right-Wing Smear Is Gathering Steam.

Published July 22, 2004 in the Los Angeles Times By Joseph C. Wilson, IV

For the last two weeks, I have been subjected - along with my wife, Valerie Plame - to a partisan Republican smear campaign. In right-wing blogs and on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the National Review, I've been accused of being a liar and, worse, a traitor.

This is the latest chapter in a saga that began in 2002 when I was asked by the CIA to investigate a report that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase several hundred tons of uranium yellowcake from the West African country of Niger in order to reconstruct Iraq's nuclear weapons program.

I went to Niger, investigated and told the CIA that the report was unfounded. Then, in July 2003, I revealed some details of my investigation in a New York Times Op-Ed article. I did that because President Bush had used the Niger claim to support going to war in Iraq - to support his contention that we could not wait "for the smoking gun to become a mushroom cloud" - even though the administration knew that evidence for it was all but nonexistent. Shortly after that article was published, the attacks began: Administration sources leaked to the media that my wife was an undercover CIA operative - an unprecedented betrayal of national security and a possible felony.

In the last two weeks, since the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on intelligence failures, the smear attacks have intensified. Based on distortions in the report, they appear to have three purposes: to sow confusion; to distract attention from the fact that the White House used the Niger claim even after CIA Director George Tenet told Bush that "the reporting was weak"; and to protect whoever it was who told the press about Valerie.

The primary new charge from the Republicans is that I lied when I said Valerie had nothing to do with my being assigned to go to Niger. That's important to the administration because there's a criminal investigation underway, and if she did play a role, divulging her CIA status may be defendable. In fact, though the Senate committee cites a CIA source saying Valerie had a role in the assignment, it ignores what the agency told Newsday reporters as early as July 2003, long before I ever acknowledged Valerie's CIA employment.

"A senior intelligence officer," the reporters wrote, "confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked 'alongside' the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger.

"But he said she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. 'They [the officers who did ask Wilson to check the uranium story] were aware of who she was married to, which is not surprising,' he said. 'There are people elsewhere in government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason,' he said. 'I can't figure out what it could be.' " Last week, a CIA source repeated this to CNN and the Los Angeles Times.

On another front, my enemies claim I based my conclusions about the Niger claim on documents that the Senate report now suggests I couldn't have seen. But the truth is that I made it clear in the New York Times article that I had never seen the written documents concerning the alleged sale between Iraq and Niger. By then, however, as I wrote, news accounts had already "pointed out that the documents had glaring errors - they were signed, for example, by officials who were no longer in government - and were probably forged."

Finally, it has been suggested that my work for the CIA, rather than debunking the Niger claim, supported it. Although some analysts continued to believe that the Iraqis were interested in purchasing Niger uranium, that is a far cry from Bush's claim in the State of the Union: "British intelligence has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." My report said there was no evidence that such a thing occurred in Niger.

The attacks against me should not obscure the facts. The day after my article in the Times appeared in July 2003, the president's spokesman acknowledged that "the 16 words did not merit inclusion in the State of the Union address."

The Senate report makes clear that senior leadership of the CIA tried repeatedly to keep this unsubstantiated claim out of presidential addresses. Three months before the State of the Union, on Oct. 6, 2002, the CIA sent a fax to the White House stating that "the Africa story is overblown." Tenet testified that on that day he told the deputy national security advisor the "president should not be a fact witness on this issue" because "the reporting was weak."

The right-wing campaign against me and Valerie does not alter the reality that someone in the Bush administration exposed her identity and compromised national security. I believe it was a malicious act meant to keep others from crossing a vindictive administration.

Most important, when it comes to the Niger claim - and so many other claims underlying the decision to go to war in Iraq - it is the Bush administration, not Joe Wilson, who spoke the words that have cost us more than 900 lives and billions of dollars and have left our international reputation in tatters."

- boards.historychannel.com

White House Admits It Used Bad Intelligence

"The White House acknowledged for the first time today that President Bush was relying on incomplete and perhaps inaccurate information from American intelligence agencies when he declared, in his State of the Union speech, that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium from Africa," the New York Times reports. Monday evening after Bush had departed for Africa, White House officials issued a statement in spokesman Ari Fleischer's name that "made clear that they no longer stood behind Mr. Bush's statement" made in January's State of the Union address. As of yet, no one has taken responsibility for including in the speech the false claim about Iraq's attempt to acquire enriched uranium from Niger. The acknowledgment came after weeks of questions and contradictory answers in the US and UK about intelligence used by the Bush and Blair administrations to justify an invasion of Iraq." - Source: New York Times, July 8, 2003Pr watch

Lil' ole' Valarie Plame [ahem!]

July 27, 2005

Condoleezza Rice at the Center of the Plame Scandal

The Source Beyond Rove

Former NSC staffer

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

It was September 2002, and then-National Security Advisor, now-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was fastening on CNN perhaps the most memorable and frightening single link in the Bush regime's chain of lies propagandizing the war on Iraq. Behind her carefully planted one-liner with its grim imagery was the whole larger hoax about Saddam Hussein possessing or about to acquire weapons of mass destruction, a deception as blatant and inflammatory as claims of the Iraqi dictator's ties to Al Qaeda.

Fitzgerald continues probing -
Val P with an AK47...but surely she's a vulnerable little lady? er...

A federal grand jury continues probing whether anyone broke the law by leaking, to discredit Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent. Despite earlier White House denials, an e-mail from Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper to his bureau chief suggests that on July 11, 2003, Rove outed Valerie Plame Wilson. Here's the key excerpt, which Cooper said Rove gave him on super secret background: "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip." The trip refers to Wilson's journey to Niger to see if Iraq was trying to purchase yellowcake uranium.

Valerie Plame wasn't really under cover. But the CIA didn't hesitate to forward the leak allegation to the Justice Department for possible prosecution. She operated a front company based in Boston and sometimes traveled overseas posing as a private energy analyst, yet she also had a desk at CIA's Langley headquarters.

Some fellow agents who knew her as Val P. in training recall her proficiency with foreign languages and an AK-47, but she said her work as a spy was unknown to friends and neighbors.


New York Times reporter jailed

Time magazine reporter agrees to testify about sourcing

Note the Date: Thursday, July 7, 2005 Posted: 0322 GMT (1122 HKT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal judge ordered New York Times reporter Judith Miller jailed for contempt of court Wednesday for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's name. She was taken into custody immediately. Miller faces up to four months in jail, the length of time before the term of the federal grand jury in the case expires.

"We have to follow the law," U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said. "If she were given a pass today, then the next person could say as a matter of principle, 'I will not obey the law because of the abortion issue,' or the election of a president or whatever. They could claim the moral high ground, and then we could descend into anarchy."

Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, who also faced jail time, was spared confinement after agreeing to testify. Outside the courthouse, he defended his decision, saying the source had released him from confidentiality that day. "That source gave me a personal, unambiguous, uncoerced waiver to speak to the grand jury," Cooper told reporters.

He would not disclose the source.

excerpt from - CNN Report

Dr Kelly spooked? MET Alpha ? Judy Miller Intelligence too?

Miller, along with two other women was a close confidante of Kelly's. The second was Olivia Bosch, a long-time functionary of the CFR's sister organization in the U.K. the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA). The third was a U.S. Army intelligence agent named Mai Pederson. " - Jim Rarey

One military officer, who says that Miller sometimes "intimidated" Army soldiers by invoking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or Undersecretary Douglas Feith, was sharply critical of the note. "Essentially, she threatened them," the officer said, describing the threat as that "she would publish a negative story."

An Army officer, who regarded Miller's presence as "detrimental," said: "Judith was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the secretary of defense. There was nothing veiled about that threat," this person said, and MET Alpha "was allowed to bend the rules."

During the propaganda buildup for the invasion of Iraq, Judith Miller and the New York Times served as a key asset of the warfare state.

More than any other New York Times reporter, Judith Miller took the lead with stories claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Now, a few years later, she's facing heightened scrutiny in the aftermath of a pair of articles that appeared in the Times on Sunday -- a lengthy investigative piece about Miller plus her own first-person account of how she got entangled in the case of the Bush administration's "outing" of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent.

It now seems that Miller functioned with more accountability to U.S. military intelligence officials than to New York Times editors. Most of the way through her article, Miller slipped in this sentence: "During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment 'embedded' with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons." And, according to the same article, she ultimately told the grand jury that during a July 8, 2003, meeting with the vice president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, "I might have expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq." - more from Norman Solomon

Judy Miller stooge for the real insiders...
News Media as spy / propaganda agencies...
the Dr Kelly connection

In July of 2001, Steve Engelberg, then an editor at The New York Times, looked up to see Judy Miller standing at his desk. As Engelberg recalls, Miller had just learned from a source about an intercepted communication between two Al Qaeda members who were discussing how disappointed they were that the United States had never attempted to retaliate for the bombing of the USS Cole. Not to worry, one of them said, soon they were going to do something so big that the U.S. would have to retaliate.

Miller was naturally excited about the scoop and wanted the Times to go with the story. Engelberg, himself a veteran intelligence reporter, wasn't so sure. There had been a lot of chatter about potential attacks; how did they know this was anything other than big talk? Who were these guys? What country were they in? How had we gotten the intercept? Miller didn't have any answers and Engelberg didn't think they could publish without more context. Miller agreed to try and find out more, but in the end the story never ran.

Today, more than four years after 9/11, Engelberg, now managing editor of The Oregonian in Portland, still thinks about that story. "More than once I've wondered what would have happened if we'd run the piece?" he says. "A case can be made that it would have been alarmist and I just couldn't justify it, but you can't help but think maybe I made the wrong call."

For Engelberg, who served as Miller's editor at the Times for six years and co-authored the 2001 bestseller Germs with her about the rising threat of biological warfare, the story is the perfect Judy Miller anecdote. Where some investigative reporters are content to take months or even a year to dig out a story, Miller thought more in terms of a story a week. She was tenacious and tireless, journeying in late middle age across the rugged terrain of Afghanistan to report the paper's 2001 stories on Osama bin Laden that would win a Pulitzer. As the Times Cairo bureau chief in the early 1990s she warned of the rising tide of Islamic militantism in the region, eventually writing a groundbreaking book on the subject, God has Ninety-Nine Names. Later, she was among the first to chronicle the threat biological and chemical weapons in the hands of terrorists posed to the west.

But even when she was at her best, some people expressed concerns about her temperament and her methods. Perhaps the most revealing document to come out in the last few days wasn't Miller's 3,600 word summary of her grand jury testimony in the Valerie Plame leak case, but the memo of Craig Pyes, her reporting partner on the prize-winning bin Laden stories: "I do not trust her work, her judgment, or her conduct," Pyes wrote in an internal Times memo first reported Monday in The Washington Post. "She is an advocate, and her actions threaten the integrity of the enterprise, and of everyone who works with her." Later in the memo, Pyes goes on to say that Miller took "dictation from government sources" then tried to "stampede it into the paper." - The Judy Code By Douglas McCollam

The article above highlights how a distraction is made: Miller was not the ONLY journalist taking dictats from the US government...indeed the Corporate news Media are just another arm of the controlling political forces which dictate what information the public are allowed to see. This comes down from the owners of Media...[for instance General Electric, who make countless arms...also own NBC - a clear conflict of interest for the public] remember how Condoleezza Rice on CNN presented the Bush regime's chain of lies propagandizing the war on Iraq...CNN and other Media outlets were complicit...

It is no coincidence that Dr David Kelly was close to, & advised Miller on her book on Germ warfare...and it is a stunningly similar affair to the Hutton whitewash which saw the investigation into the 'suicide' of Dr Kelly, turn into an operation which sought to blame a few patsies in the BBC. This was a political process which had the aim of 'clearing the bad apples' from a compromsied news media outlet and thus allowing the new 'more accountable' version of the news take on the 'branding' of 'honesty' and 'public trust'...

The British MI6 establishes Operation Mass Appeal, a British intelligence mission "designed to exaggerate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction" in order to shape public opinion. The operation plants stories in the US, British, and foreign media from the 1990s through 2003. Intelligence used by Mass Appeal is said to be "single source data of dubious quality." - MI6 ran 'dubious' Iraq campaign

The White House Iraq Group

had a job to make the case that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and biochemical weapons.

"There were a number of occasions when White House officials or Vice President [Cheney's] staffers, or others, wanted to push the envelope on things," an ex-intelligence official said. "The agency would say, 'We just don't have the intelligence to substantiate that.'" When Wilson was sent by his wife to Africa to research the claims, he showed the documents claiming Saddam tried to buy the uranium were forgeries.

"People in the Iraq group then got very frustrated. It was a side show," said a source familiar with WHIG.

Besides Rove and Libby, the group included senior White House aides Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James Wilkinson, Nicholas Calio, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley. WHIG also was doing more than just public relations, said a second former intel officer.

"They were funneling information to [New York Times reporter] Judy Miller. Judy was a charter member," the source said. - taken from this

We also see from The Judy Code By Douglas McCollam that Miller might have had knowledge of an imminent attack on America pre 911 - Did she & and Dr Kelly have knowledge that it would be an inside job by the military industrial complex? Is this the reason for the subterfuge and distractions? Is this why Dr Kelly was murdered...? Let's see that Quote from Bush again...

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
- President George W. Bush, 1/28/2003

Bush was quoting a statement by the British, "There is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Iraq has no active civilian nuclear power programme or nuclear power plants and therefore has no legitimate reason to acquire uranium." This quotes came from a document issued by Number 10 Downing Street titled, "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: The assessment of the British Government". This document has since become more widely known as the "Dodgy Dossier" following exposure that it was written from plagiarized student thesis papers. In one case, information in the Dodgy Dossier was 12 years old, dating from before the UN sanctions on Iraq, hopelessly outdated and obsolete, but included because it portrayed Iraq as heavily armed with banned weapons. Prime Minister Tony Blair has since apologized for this document.

- what really happened

Bushes 'Brain': Rove has his own 'Brains' too:

The telephone conversation between Mr. Rove and Mr. Cooper is one of two conversations in a one-week period in July 2003 that the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has focused on. The second was between Mr. Rove and Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist, as Mr. Novak was preparing a column in which he named the C.I.A. officer.

Mr. Fitzgerald has focused on whether in the identification of the officer, Valerie Wilson, there was a deliberate effort to retaliate against her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, for his criticism of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq. In an Op-Ed article in The New York Times on July 6, 2003, Mr. Wilson, a former diplomat, wrote that when he traveled to Niger in 2002 as a government emissary, he found little evidence to support a claim made by Mr. Bush a year later that Iraq had tried to acquire nuclear fuel there.

On July 14, 2003, Mr. Novak wrote that Mr. Wilson had been sent to Africa by his wife, who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Fitzgerald is examining whether anyone in the government violated a law making it a crime to disclose the name of a covert officer deliberately. - mediachannel

Report Shows Rove May Have Lied to FBI, A Felony

On July 12, 2003, two days before Novak wrote his column, a Washington Post reporter was told by an administration official that the White House had not paid attention to the former ambassador's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction. Plame's name was never mentioned and the purpose of the disclosure did not appear to be to generate an article, but rather to undermine Wilson's report.

That source was Karl Rove and the unidentified reporter was Walter Pincus who covers the White House.

Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper's emails show that Rove gave Cooper the same exact information about Plame that he gave to the Post. Moreover, Rove called several other reporters that week in July 2003 and reportedly said that Wilson's wife was "fair game" because Novak had already blew her undercover status by identifying her in his column.

A few months later, on Oct. 7, 2003, President Bush and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, said during a press conference that the White House ruled out three administration officials-Rove, Libby and Elliot Abrams, a senior official on the National Security Council, as sources of the leak-a day before FBI questioned the three of them-based on questions McClellan said he asked the men.

A day later Rove told FBI investigators that he spoke to journalists about Plame for the first time after Novak's column was published-a lie, it appears-based on Time reporter Matthew Cooper's emails, the contents of which were reported by Newsweek earlier this month.

That same day in October 2003, in an unusual move, Bush said he doubted that a Justice Department investigation would ever turn up the source of the leak, suggesting that it was a waste of time for lawmakers to question the administration and for reporters to follow up on the story.

"I mean this is a town full of people who like to leak information," Bush told reporters following a meeting with Cabinet members on Oct. 7, 2003. "And I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration, and there's lots of senior officials. I don't have any idea."

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, responded to the president's statement in an Oct. 10, 2003, interview with the New York Times.

"If the president says, 'I don't know if we're going to find this person,' what kind of a statement is that for the president of the United States to make?'' Lautenberg asked. "Would he say that about a bank-robbery investigation?"

- scoop.co.nz

Top White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby discussed their contacts with reporters about an undercover CIA officer in the days before her identity was published, the first known intersection between two central figures in the criminal leak investigation.

Rove told grand jurors it was possible he first heard in the White House that Valerie Plame, wife of Bush administration Joseph Wilson, worked for the CIA from Libby's recounting of a conversation with a journalist, according to people familiar with his testimony. - huffingtonpost.com

One of the most bizarre revelations (which could come right out of a bad Hollywood screenplay) in Miller's piece in the New York Times today is this one:

"Mr. Fitzgerald also focused on the letter's closing lines. 'Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning,' Mr. Libby wrote. 'They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them.'

In answer, I told the grand jury about my last encounter with Mr. Libby. It came in August 2003, shortly after I attended a conference on national security issues held in Aspen, Colo. After the conference, I traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyo. At a rodeo one afternoon, a man in jeans, a cowboy hat and sunglasses approached me. He asked me how the Aspen conference had gone. I had no idea who he was.

'Judy," he said. "It's Scooter Libby.'" - Wayne Madsen

Where did the documents come from?

The initial claims Iraq was seeking raw uranium in the west African state of Niger aroused the interest of vice-president Cheney, who asked for more investigation. At a meeting of CIA and other officials, a CIA officer working under cover in the office that dealt with nuclear proliferation, Valerie Plame, suggested her husband, James Wilson, a former ambassador to several African states, enjoyed good contacts in Niger and could make a preliminary inquiry. He did so, and returned concluding that the claims were untrue. In July 2003, he wrote an article for The New York Times making his mission -- and his disbelief -- public.

But by then Elisabetta Burba, a journalist for the Italian magazine Panorama (owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi) had been contacted by a "security consultant" named Rocco Martoni, offering to sell documents that "proved" Iraq was obtaining uranium in Niger for $10,000. Rather than pay the money, Burba's editor passed photocopies of the documents to the U.S. Embassy, which forwarded them to Washington, where the forgery was later detected. Signatures were false, and the government ministers and officials who had signed them were no longer in office on the dates on which the documents were supposedly written.

Nonetheless, the forged documents appeared, on the face of it, to shore up the case for war, and to discredit Wilson. The origin of the forgeries is therefore of real importance, and any link between the forgeries and Bush administration aides would be highly damaging and almost certainly criminal.

The letterheads and official seals that appeared to authenticate the documents apparently came from a burglary at the Niger Embassy in Rome in 2001. At this point, the facts start dribbling away into conspiracy theories that involve membership of shadowy Masonic lodges, Iranian go-betweens, right-wing cabals inside Italian Intelligence and so on. It is not yet known how far Fitzgerald, in his two years of inquiries, has fished in these murky waters.

There is one line of inquiry with an American connection that Fitzgerald would have found it difficult to ignore. This is the claim that a mid-ranking Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, held talks with some Italian intelligence and defense officials in Rome in late 2001. Franklin has since been arrested on charges of passing classified information to staff of the pro-Israel lobby group, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Franklin has reportedly reached a plea bargain with his prosecutor, Paul McNulty, and it would be odd if McNulty and Fitzgerald had not conferred to see if their inquiries connected. - khilafah.com

read that again: Elisabetta Burba, a journalist for the Italian magazine Panorama (owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi) had been contacted by a "security consultant" named Rocco Martoni, offering to sell documents that "proved" Iraq was obtaining uranium in Niger for $10,000.

So now we not only have British Dodgy dossiers, Operation Mass appeal via UK spinmeisters [BBC vs No 10 via Dr Kelly]... The White House Iraq Group, via The New York Times & CNN , we have Italian PM Berlusconis Media house fingerprints all over this too...

Who did the forgery? was it a similar deal to Francesco Pazienza? - a friend of Roves Brain: Michael Ledeen. He used to work as an adviser to Italian intelligence during the GLADIO years...

In 1980 [Ledeen] entered into a collaboration with Francesco Pazienza, an agent of the Italian secret service (SISMI) and a member of Rome's extreme right-wing Masonic Lodge, P2 (Propaganda Due), headed by the fascist Licio Gelli. In an Italian criminal court in 1985, Pazienza was judged guilty of political manipulation, forgery, and the protection of criminals and terrorists, among other offenses. Indeed, according to the findings of the court, Pazienza falsified information about the Bologna bombing in order to divert attention away from the real (right-wing) terrorists who had staged the attack.

[Herman and O'Sullivan's The "Terrorism" Industry] -more on the USA & NATO secret warfare

Italian PM - Sivio Berlusconi - was head of Group 17- P2's media section tasked with influencing public opinion and with P-2's help moved into the television business , his companies now dominate the Italian media and have been instrumental in his election success in a coalition with the 'National Alliance' a split from the old Fascist part . The Media in Italy continues to link the modern radical left with the 'days of lead', with i.e. the terrorism of the 70's. - Italy: The stratergy of tension


Milan court hears request to charge Berlusconi with fraud

28/10/2005 - A judge was conducting a closed-door hearing in Milan today on a request by prosecutors to indict Premier Silvio Berlusconi on charges of false accounting, tax fraud and embezzlement.

One of Berlusconi's lawyers, Nicolo Ghedini, said no decision by the judge was expected to be made today in the preliminary hearing.

Berlusconi has denied the accusations, which stem from a four-year probe of the purchase of TV rights by his media empire.

Prosecutors in April formally asked that trial be ordered for Berlusconi. They have alleged that Berlusconi-owned broadcaster Mediaset purchased TV rights for US movies before 1999 through two offshore companies and falsely declared the purchase costs to Italian tax authorities to lower the tax bill.

Indictment has also been sought in the case for 12 others.

The case is one of several probes against the billionaire business magnate. In several cases, Berlusconi has been either acquitted or the charges have been dropped because the statute of limitations expired. - IOL

Politically useful Rendition?

Francesco Pazienza languishing in an Italian Jail; Is this a cover story for the US to protect the forger of the Niger [and other] documents?

Starting from June 20, 2005, Francesco Pazienza was on hunger strike because of what he believed was a fake extradition from the US - On June 20, 2005 Francesco Pazienza D. is in the prison of Livorno (Leghorn, Italy) an all out hunger strike that he will interrupt only when the U.S. Department of justice will decide to give an answer, whatever it may be, to the legal questions submitted concerning the violations committed by the Government of Italy over the extradition procedure that render his present detention status as totally illegitimate. - bellaciao.org

Presently Dr. Francesco Pazienza firmly believes that he is no more a person legally detained in a prison of a democratic Country but a kidnapped person by a State where does not exist the Rule of Law.

- more

Karl Rove's foreign-policy advisor, Michael Ledeen, proclaimed "the rightness of the fascist cause" in 1972. In 1984 he got George Bush Sr to appoint Iranian arms merchant and Iranian/Israeli double-agent Manucher Ghorbanifar as a middleman in the scandalous Iran-Contra affair. Ledeen has been a fixture in Washington and Israel ever since, advocating a modern version of the Crusades against Islamic nations. Based on what he has said and written, I believe Ledeen is insane.

Michael Ledeen, Rove's "brain," is one of the leading advocates for a US attack on Iran. The Washington Post quoted Ledeen as saying that Rove told him,

"Anytime you have a good idea, tell me."


Take your pick:

According to Italian sources, an Italian parliamentary report on the Niger documents claims that the Niger documents were forged by the trio of Michael Ledeen (Karl Rove's chief foreign policy adviser) and former CIA Rome station chiefs Alan Wolf (since deceased) and Duane Clarridge. A non-redacted version of that report was reportedly delivered to Fitzgerald as part of his overall investigation of the Bush White House. A copy was also delivered to US Attorney for Eastern Virginia Paul McNulty for his continuing investigation of Israeli and AIPAC espionage at the Pentagon.
- Wayne Madsen

Italy's intelligence chief met with Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley just a month before the Niger forgeries first surfaced. - much more

Italy's spy chief denies role in fake Iraq dossier

Thu Nov 3, 2005 By Phil Stewart ROME (Reuters) - Italy's spy chief Nicolo Pollari firmly denied on Thursday passing bogus documents to the United States before the Iraq invasion that purported to show Baghdad had sought uranium from Niger.

But it was not clear whether his Sismi military intelligence agency had warned allies about the forgeries.

Lawmakers emerging from the closed-door parliamentary session with Pollari said that the so-called Niger dossier was being peddled by an ex-Sismi collaborator, who has been investigated by Italian magistrates. Sen. Massimo Brutti initially told reporters that Sismi had warned the United States about the bogus documents around the same time as U.S. President George W. Bush gave his 2003 State of the Union address, making the case for war.

"At around that time, they (Sismi) said that the dossier did not correspond to the truth," Brutti said. He later backtracked, telling Reuters that since Sismi never had the documents, it could not comment on their merit. Bush had mentioned in his speech that Iraq had sought African uranium, but he cited British intelligence -- not Italian -- as the source of his information. Brutti said he believed that Britain had another source for its intelligence, beyond the Niger documents.

The head of the parliamentary oversight committee, Enzo Bianco, declined to comment on the issue. An assistant said he would need to first review a transcript of the 5-hour-long testimony to see whether Sismi had warned allies.

The Niger case is being closely followed in Italy following reports by left-leaning newspaper La Repubblica which directly accused Sismi of passing-off the forgeries to help bolster claims about Iraq's pre-war nuclear ambitions. U.S. officials have said in the past that the information was partly traced back to Italian intelligence sources, and the FBI is investigating the origin of the forged documents.

Bianco said Pollari had been in contact with the FBI regarding the probe.

La Repubblica suggested Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may have leaned on Sismi to provide evidence to U.S. hawks ahead of the war, claims that Berlusconi has repeatedly denied. Senior Berlusconi aide Gianni Letta also spoke before the oversight committee, and, according to Bianco, denied any government role in the Niger dossier.

The Niger issue has attracted renewed attention as U.S. special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald wraps up his investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. As part of his investigation, Fitzgerald has asked witnesses about the Niger report.

Bush's 2003 uranium claim fueled criticism from Plame's husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, that the administration twisted intelligence to bolster its case for war. Wilson based his criticism in part on a CIA-sponsored mission he made to Africa in 2002 to check out reports that Iraq sought uranium from Niger. Wilson said the report was unsubstantiated, and later accused the White House of leaking his wife's identity in retaliation


Libby and Cheney links to global weapons smuggling cartel resulted in exposure of Brewster Jennings and Associates non official cover (NOC) network [Valerie Plames cover]. CIA Leakgate also tied to AIPAC probe. CIA sources familiar with the Brewster Jennings and Associates NOC operation that worked for some ten years to counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons claim that the operation's cover was partially blown because of its success at removing Soviet era nuclear weaponry and materials such as high grade plutonium from the international weapons smuggling market.

Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was once the lawyer for Marc Rich, the Swiss-based American fugitive who was pardoned by President Clinton and is linked to a number of Russian and Ukrainian organized crime figures who have exiled themselves to Israel to avoid prosecution. - Wayne Madsen

Isreal connection? Franklin a Spy

Pentagon analyst admits leaks

ISN SECURITY WATCH (06/10/05) - Former US Defense Department analyst Lawrence Franklin has admitted to passing classified information to an Israeli embassy official and two members of a pro-Israel lobby group, signaling his intention in court to cooperate in the prosecution of the lobbyists.

Under the terms of a plea bargain, Franklin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy charges involving the disclosure of classified information and a charge of unlawful retention of national defense information due to his unauthorized possession of classified documents in his West Virginia home.

In return, Franklin will be allowed to serve his time in a minimum-security detention camp, and his wife will receive a "survivor's benefit". He is also likely to face less prison time than the 25 years stipulated for the offenses to which he has pleaded guilty.

Franklin disclosed classified defense information in a series of meetings between 2002 and 2004 with Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, senior officials in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby group. He also said he had passed defense secrets to an Israeli diplomat. The former defense analyst told the court that he had become frustrated at government policy and had hoped that Rosen and Weissman would be able to use AIPAC contacts in the National Security Council (NSC) to influence a policy change. It is thought that Franklin was upset at the Bush administration's policy positions on Iran. "I asked them to use this information and to get it back channeled to the NSC," Franklin told the court. - isn.ethz.ch

Page 24 Paragraph numbered 7of the AIPAC Spy Ring Indictment

This is in reference to a meeting between FRANKLIN (Larry Franklin) and FO-3 (Naor Gilon) at the Pentagon Officers Athletic Club. The woman referenced is Judith Miller. Miller is a reporter for the New York Times who is as I write held in a Federal Facility in contempt of court. She wrote many now discredited stories on WMDs for the Times. The Charitable work was The Iraqi Jewish Archive which Judith Miller and Harold Rhode cooperated on with Ahmad Chalabi.

I have reason to believe that the conversation between Larry Franklin and Naor Gilon about Judith Miller included a reference to Valerie Plame. This case becomes a time bomb if it is revealed that Mossad had a part in the outing of CIA agent Plame. - source

Flashback: Pentagon's Feith Again at Center of Disaster

by Jim Lobe

It was his office, for example, that created shortly after 9/11 the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans (OSP) which re-assessed 12 years of raw intelligence and the Arab press, to find evidence of ties between the regime of former Iraq President Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

The OSP then ''stovepiped'' that information, unvetted by professional intelligence analysts, straight to Vice President Dick Cheney's office for use by the White House.

Similarly, it was Feith's office, along with the Defense Policy Group (DPG) whose members Feith appointed, that served as the point of entry and influence for Iraqi National Congress (INC) chief Ahmed Chalabi and his ''defectors'' who provided phony intelligence about Hussein's vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

It was Feith's office that was charged with planning the post-war occupation and reconstruction process, and, in so doing, effectively excluded input from Iraqi experts from the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and even from the Iraqi-American community, who had participated in a mammoth project that anticipated most of the problems occupation authorities have since encountered.

And it was Feith's office that also housed the future undersecretary for intelligence, Stephen Cambone, who facilitated the transfer of Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp that houses suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners, to Abu Ghraib prison in the interests of extracting more intelligence from detainees there about the fast-growing insurgency in Iraq. Common Dreams

Guess who turns up again: Neo-con fascist Micheal Ledeen & Ahmed Chalabi

The investigation of Franklin is now shining a bright light on a shadowy struggle within the Bush administration over the direction of U.S. policy toward Iran. In particular, the FBI is looking with renewed interest at an unauthorized back-channel between Iranian dissidents and advisers in Feith's office, which more senior administration officials first tried in vain to shut down and then later attempted to cover up.


The first meeting occurred in Rome in December, 2001. It included Franklin, Rhode, and another American, the neoconservative writer and operative Michael Ledeen, who organized the meeting. (According to UPI, Ledeen was then working for Feith as a consultant.)

Also in attendance was Ghorbanifar and a number of other Iranians. One of the Iranians, according to two sources familiar with the meeting, was a former senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who claimed to have information about dissident ranks within the Iranian security services. The Washington Monthly has also learned from U.S. government sources that Nicolo Pollari, the head of Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, attended the meetings, as did the Italian Minister of Defense Antonio Martino, who is well-known in neoconservative circles in Washington. - Iran contra II

Note: within the timeframe of these indictments we see Saddam Husseins showtrial as a diversion, further we see a kidnapping of Guardian Journalist Rory Carrol, who is then released as part of 'a deal' made by: Ahmed Chalabi -

Guardian correspondent Rory Carrol Kidnapped on opening day of Saddam Husseins trial - He also wrote on Simon Manns involvement with Mercenary units set up by agents connected to Thatcher / Pinochet / Bush / Riggs Bank / MI6 / SAS & South African ex-Military... on trial for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the oil-rich government of Equatorial Guinea. These Companies, such as 'Executive Outcomes' 'Stevedoring' 'CACI' & 'Erynis' also have contracts in Iraq. These Private Troops have been suspected of taking part in Black-ops kidnappings such as that of fellow Journalist Guliana Segrena...'Erynis' is a Chalabi linked company

He [Carrol] said he did not know who was responsible for snatching him. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi was present when he was released after a day and a half in darkness. "I don't know who took me," Carroll said. "I was released about an hour ago. I'm fine. I was treated reasonably well," he added. "I spent the last 36 hours in the dark. I was released into the hands of Dr. Chalabi."

- Irish journalist freed in Iraq, wants to stay

Sadr City residents freed Carroll??? er...

On Thursday, Rory Carroll, 33, the Baghdad correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian was released unharmed in Sadr City, a day after being kidnapped there by unidentified gunmen. A group of Sadr City residents reportedly raided the area where he was being held by criminals and freed him. ABC News

are these the same Iraqi 'militia / citizens'
that helped to topple the Saddam statue?

The U.S. Troops have now confirmed "competitors": Private Miltary Contractors. British Company Erinys, is yet another company, who employed 10.000 Iraqis, to protect the oil pipelines.

Erinys is in reality bankrolled at its inception by Nour USA Ltd., which was incorporated in the United States last May. A Nour's founder was Ahmed Chalabi friend and business associate, Abul Huda Farouki. Within days of the award last August, Nour became a joint venture partner with Erinys and the contract was amended to include Nour.

Newsday wrote, that another founding partner and director of Erinys Iraq is Faisal Daghistani, the son of Tamara Daghistani, for years one of Chalabi's most trusted confidants. She was a key player in the creation of his exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, which received millions of dollars in U.S. funds to help destabilize the Saddam Hussein regime before the coalition invasion last year.

The firm's counsel in Baghdad is Chalabi's nephew Salem Chalabi. Erinys recently also awarded a $10-million contract for helicopter surveillance of the pipelines to Florida-based AirScan Inc. Airscan also protects African oil fields.

AirScan, run by Walter Holloway, was formed in 1984 by former U.S. air commandos, the Air Force version of Special Forces. Its first and longest lasting contract has been to provide airborne surveillance security for U.S. Air Force launches at Cape Canaveral in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. AirScan also has contracts in the war zones of Colombia and Angola, where it guards oil pipelines for U.S. companies, and is part of the U.S. anti-drug operation, Plan Colombia.

One of AirScan's fleet of Cessna 337s was lost in undisclosed circumstances in Angola in July 2001, while conducting a nighttime surveillance mission in the Cabinda enclave. The company admitted the loss of the aircraft to the Voice of America. - Ewing 2001

Corpwatch article: Guarding the Oil Underworld in Iraq

Rove to quit if indicted

should be arrested along with Bush, Cheney and the rest of the nutsos

Sunday 16th October, 2005 (UPI)

Karl Rove plans to resign as President Bush's senior adviser if he is indicted in the CIA leak case.

Time Magazine reports White House officials say Rove and I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff -- both at the center of the federal investigation -- will resign to minimize damage to the administration.

Both Rove and Libby have testified before a grand jury investigating who leaked the name of CIA agent Valerie Wilson -- also known by her maiden name Valerie Plame -- to the press.

Former ambassador Joseph Wilson was an outspoken critic of Bush's assertions on Saddam Hussein's quest for weapons of mass destruction. He says the leak of his wife's name was an attack on him.

Rove talked to Time Magazine writer Matthew Cooper about Plame. He failed to tell federal investigators about the conversation initially. Rove has testified four times before a federal grand jury looking into the matter.

Libby had numerous conversations with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, but says he didn't mention Plame as a CIA agent.

Miller said she doesn't remember who told her Plame's name, but she said Libby told her Wilson's wife worked for a CIA unit. - Big News Network.com

Cheney the source - to go too?

As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.

In grand jury sessions, including with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Fitzgerald has pressed witnesses on what Cheney may have known about the effort to push back against ex-diplomat and Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV, including the leak of his wife's position at the CIA, Miller and others said. But Fitzgerald has focused more on the role of Cheney's top aides, including Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, lawyers involved in the case said. - huffington post

Sparked by [the] Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"It's certainly an interesting but I still think highly doubtful scenario," said a Bush insider. "And if that should happen," added the official, "there will undoubtedly be those who believe the whole thing was orchestrated - another brilliant Machiavellian move by the VP." - huffington post

Scooter Libby Indicted: resigns

October 28, 2005 -- BREAKING NEWS ..... Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted today on five criminal counts by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the CIA leak case. Libby who resigned after the indictments were announced, was charged with one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of making false statements, and two counts of perjury. Fitzgerald will speak at a press conference at the Justice Department where it may be announced whether he sought and received an extension for the current Grand Jury and requested a new Grand Jury to investigate other criminal matters discovered during the course of the CIA leak investigation. -

Wayne Madsen

Democrats close Senate doors in Iraq protest

By Vicki Allen WASHINGTON (Reuters) Nov 2, 2005 - Democrats accusing the ruling Republicans of stalling tactics imposed a rare closed session of the Senate on Tuesday to force the majority to complete a probe on whether the Bush administration misused intelligence before the Iraq war.

Republicans, angered that the maneuver was sprung on them without warning, dismissed it as a stunt but agreed to form a bipartisan task force to report by November 14 on how the Intelligence Committee was progressing with its investigation.

Senate Republican leaders were livid about the tactic, which drew public attention back to Iraq as President George W. Bush faced the fall-out from an indictment of a senior aide related to the handling of pre-war intelligence.

"The United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership," Majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said. "Never have I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution."

But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said what he called Republican stalling on the issue had been "a slap in the face for the American people."

Sen. John Rockefeller of West Virginia, top Intelligence Committee Democrat, said, "My colleagues and I have tried for two years to do our oversight work, and for two years we have been undermined, avoided, put off, and vilified by the other side."

Democrats invoked a little used rule to temporarily shut down television cameras in the chamber, clear galleries of reporters, tourists and other onlookers, force removal of staff members and recording devices and stop work on legislation.


After 2-1/2 hours of negotiations on the shuttered Senate floor, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said work could be wrapped up next week on "phase two" of his committee's investigation of intelligence lapses before the Iraq war -- whether the administration twisted intelligence findings to justify the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Roberts, a Kansas Republican, called the Democrats' move a "cheap shot" and "a stunt." He said there already was an agreement on the committee to devote time to finish the investigation's second phase.

His committee has produced a report on the first part of its investigation into lapses on intelligence on Iraq weapons, none of which were found despite many U.S. and foreign reports saying they were a major threat.

The committee has not finished a follow-up on whether the administration exaggerated or misused the reports to justify going to war in March, 2003.

Reid said the indictment last week of Lewis Libby, who was Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, "provides a window into what this is really about: how the administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions."

Libby was indicted on Friday for obstructing justice, perjury and lying after a probe into the public identification of a CIA operative whose diplomat husband was a critic of the Bush administration's case for the war in Iraq..

Reid said the Republican-led Congress did nothing to keep a check on the Bush administration. "This Republican Senate does no oversight. None. None. It is all part of a plan. They obstruct, they take orders from the White House," Reid said. - news.yahoo.com/

Transcript Senator Harry Reid

SEN. HARRY REID: America deserves better than this. They also deserve a searching and comprehensive investigation into how the Bush administration brought this country to war. Key questions that need to be answered include:

- How did the Bush administration assemble its case for war against Iraq? We heard what Colonel Wilkerson said.

- Who did the Bush administration officials listen to and who did they ignore?

- How did the senior administration officials manipulate or manufacture intelligence presented to the Congress and the American people?

- What was the role of the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, a group of senior White House officials tasked with marketing the war and taking down its critics? We know what Colonel Wilkerson says.

- How did the administration coordinate its efforts to attack individuals who dared to challenge the administration's assertions? We know what happened to them - I listed a few.

- Why has this administration failed to provide Congress with the documents that would shed light on their misconduct and the misstatements?

Unfortunately, the Senate committee that should be taking the lead in providing these answers is not. Despite the fact that the chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee publicly committed to examine these questions more than a year and a half ago, he has chosen not to keep that commitment. Despite the fact that he restated the commitment earlier this year on national television, he has still done nothing. …

Mr. President, enough time has gone by. I demand on behalf of the American people that we understand why these investigations aren't being conducted, and in accordance with Rule 21, I now move that Senate go into closed session.

SEN. DICK DURBIN: Mr. President, I second the motion.

PRESIDING OFFICER: The motion has been made to go into closed session, and it has been seconded. The motion having been made and seconded, the Senate will go into closed session. The chair, pursuant to Rule 21, now directs the sergeant at arms to clear all galleries, close all doors of the Senate chamber, and exclude from the chamber and its immediate corridors all employees and officials of this Senate who under the rule are not eligible to attend this closed session and are not sworn to secrecy. The question is nondebatable.

- via Katherine Yurica

Watch video

More intriguing is that Reid says that they

did not know that there was no 911 connection to Iraq:
did not know that Iraq had no WMDs


How do we know?




PSYOPS: Open letter to Patrick Fitzgerald
from one-time James Bath (Dubya's Texas Air National Guard and partner) business associate:
on Wayne Madsens website

Charles W.(Bill) White
P.O. Box 130241, Houston, Texas 77219

November 1, 2005

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Special Counsel
Bond Federal Building
1400 New York Ave. NW, 9th floor
Washington, D.C. 20530

Re: Open Letter

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

I am writing to advise you that I have evidence that debunks Bush administration claims that your indictment of Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff is evidence that the outing of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame was not a conspiracy, but rather an isolated incident carried out by a rouge administration official. I am living proof that both Bush administrations have a sordid history of launching brutal attacks against uncorrupt Americans when the Bushes believe that their political ambitions are in jeopardy. Based on my experience, I can assure you that what the Bush administration did in the Wilson/Plame matter amounts to little more than "business as usual".

As your investigation into the CIA agent outing matter so aptly demonstrates, the Bush Administration routinely employs its intelligence agencies' 3-Ds tactic to cover up when neutral parties stumble upon their dealings. They "Deny" involvement even when confronted with incontrovertible evidence, they attempt to "Discredit" the source of the truthful information, and finally, they attempt to "Divert" attention to some unrelated matter. They hide their activities behind the smoke screen of "national security" whenever an outsider gets too close while access, money and self-serving leaking are used to intimidate and control the news media.

I became a target of this methodology when I stumbled upon illegal dealings between the Bush family, the Saudis and the Israelis in the mid to late 1980's. My former business partner, CIA cutout and W. Bush crony James R. Bath got himself in hot water when he misappropriated over a half million dollars from the Bin Laden family, for whom he served as trustee. Discovery in the litigation threatened to unearth bank records showing the laundering of Bin Laden money through Houston banks, the funneling of funds to Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, and Bath's diversion of Bin Laden money to W. Bush. Politically influenced members of both the Federal and State judiciary who were trying these cases never compelled production of the incriminating banking records or permitted the cases to go to trial. Instead, the compromised judges disposed of the cases by awarding Bath and Bush's bank "death penalty" sanctions and striking my pleadings. I lost my income, my business, my home, my family and nearly all of my personal property because I steadfastly refused to participate in the cover-up. The Harris County District Attorney's office was unwilling to go after the Bushes or the Saudis while FBI, Comptroller of the Currency, and FINCEN investigations were stopped dead in their tracks by Bush political appointees.

Time Magazine reported on one facet of this story in its October 1990 article reporting accusations that W. Bush engaged in insider trading when he dumped his Harken Energy stock just before the price nosedived. The Manhattan District Attorney's office followed up Time's investigation by bringing charges against Saudi banker Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz (National Commercial Bank) in the BCCI banking scandal matter. Still, the full story has never been told. Opportunistic judges, who were all-too-willing to ingratiate themselves with the Bush family, covered up for them while complicit lawyers have been rewarded by Bush administration appointments to judgeships and prestigious, career-enhancing positions within governmental agencies.

There is no telling how many others have been the victims of the two Bush Administrations' abuse. While the President blithely dismisses his conduct as "just politics", the unsavory conduct routinely engaged in by he and his staff is making a mockery of our Constitution, diminishing the stature of the United States as the world's "good-guy" and threatening the legitimacy of the rule of law in America. The ability of our Country to survive the damage done by the Bush administration may well depend upon the outcome of your investigation. I sincerely hope that the Office of Special Counsel will be able to rid the Bush White house of each and every occupant who routinely engages in malicious character assassination and stand ready to provide you with any and all evidence in my possession that you deem relevant to your investigation.

Yours truly,

Bill White


BinLaden trust agreement

Time Magazine article

BinMahfouz indictment

Cc: Office of the Manhattan District Attorney

It's Miller time!

Miller resigns from New York Times

By Paul J. Gough NEW YORK - Nov. 10, 2005 - Reporter Judith Miller, who spent 84 days in jail earlier this year after refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury investigating the CIA leak case and became a lightning rod for controversy, resigned Wednesday from the New York Times.

In a memo to staff Wednesday afternoon, executive editor Bill Keller announced Miller's retirement after 28 years at the newspaper as both an editor and a reporter. It capped a weeks-long controversy that boiled over after Keller and the Times criticized her role in the CIA leak case and her relationship with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

The announcement had been expected as negotiations between Miller and the Times had been ongoing over the past two weeks concerning the terms of her departure. The Times rid itself of Miller, who it acknowledged even before the CIA leak case was a divisive figure in the newsroom.

Miller spent 84 days in jail over the summer after she refused to disclose what she knew about the leak, which led to the identification of an undercover CIA agent whose husband had been a critic of the war in Iraq. Miller, who never wrote a story about the agent, Valerie Plame, was among a number of journalists subpoenaed by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, but the only one to be jailed.

One of the strongest supporters of the issues of confidential sources that the Miller case raised was CNN's Lou Dobbs, who featured a "Judith Miller Watch" on his daily newscast to keep the issue alive.

In an interview Wednesday afternoon with The Hollywood Reporter, Dobbs said he respected Miller's principled stand to refuse to disclose a confidential source.

"I still believe firmly that prosecutors should not be sending journalists to jail, and furthermore, I credit Judith Miller with having the courage to uphold a basic tenet of our craft in not disclosing her sources through the special prosecutor's coercion," Dobbs said.

Dobbs, who was the first to interview Miller after her release from prison, isn't friends with Miller. He's only had limited contact with her and he said that he hasn't talked to her since the interview. He said he was "utterly astonished" about the great conflicts wracking the New York Times over the case. "We all knew that it was a bad case going in. There is no surprise about that. But the principle is still important," Dobbs said.

Miller was able to wrest several concessions from the Times, including a letter to be published Thursday about her reasons for leaving. According to a New York Times article about the letter, Miller said she was quitting partly because some of her colleagues were upset about her decisions in the case. She also regretted not being able to pursue answers to questions about the reporting of Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction. It was Miller's reporting that lent legitimacy to the Bush administration's contentions of Saddam Hussein's attempts to build nuclear weapons.

Those contentions have since been disproven.

Another term of the deal was the release of a letter by Keller to Miller, where the Times executive editor said he didn't mean to imply any improper relationship when he said Miller had become "entangled" with Libby. Keller also said that he still questioned whether Miller misled her editor in discussions of the story, though he noted that the editor didn't feel he was misled.

"She displayed fierce determination and personal courage both in pursuit of the news and in resisting assaults on the freedom of news organizations to report," Keller wrote in the memo to Times staff. "We wish her well in the next phase of her career." - hollywoodreporter.com

Who forged the document - er... Al Queda??? Mr Libi??? er
[That's Libby... i think you'll find...!!! and Cheney, Ledeen, Chalabi, Miller etc]

Smoking Gun on Manipulation of Iraq Intelligence?
'NY Times' Cites New Document

By E&P Staff - Published: November 05, 2005 - NEW YORK

Ever since the Democrats briefly closed the U.S. Senate from view earlier this week, to protest alleged Republican foot-dragging in probing Bush administration pre-war manipulation of intelligence, the press has been asking: So what new evidence do the Democrats have in this matter?

Tomorrow, in its print edition, The New York Times starts to answer the question, with reporter Douglas Jehl disclosing the contents of a newly declassified memo apparently passed to him by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

It shows that an al-Qaeda official held by the Americans was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the basis for its claims that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to this Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002.

It declared that it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for al-Qaeda's work with illicit weapons, Jehl reports.

"The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi's credibility," Jehl writes. "Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi's information as ‘credible' evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.

"Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that ‘we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.'"

A White House spokeswoman said she had no immediate comment on the D.I.A. report, according to the Times.

"Mr. Libi was not alone among intelligence sources later determined to have been fabricating accounts," Jehl continues. "Among others, an Iraqi exile whose code name was Curveball was the primary source for what proved to be false information about Iraq and mobile biological weapons labs. And American military officials cultivated ties with Ahmad Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile group, who has been accused of feeding the Pentagon misleading information in urging war."

Libi is in custody, apparently at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he was sent in 2003.

According to Jehl, Secretary of State Colin Powell relied heavily on Libi for his speech to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, saying that he was tracing "the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al Qaeda." - mediainfo.com

Iraq intell report nixed

Harman wants House inquiry into pre-war Iraq intelligence

South Bay Democrat complains the Republicans are refusing to investigate reports of information gathering flaws.

By Toby Eckert Copley News Service WASHINGTON -- November 12, 2005

South Bay Rep. Jane Harman, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, criticized committee Republicans on Thursday for halting an investigation into intelligence claims used to justify the Iraq war. In unusually blunt language for the normally bipartisan panel, Harman accused Republicans, who control the committee, of reneging on a June 2003 agreement to study the "quality and objectivity" of pre-war intelligence. The investigation was stopped after the disclosure of an interim report that was critical of the Bush administration's intelligence claims, she said.

"I just think that this issue is too important," said Harman, D-El Segundo. "We've been trying to get it done for 2½ years and I felt we had to mark the spot."

The dispute mirrors a recent spat in the Senate. Last week, Democrats forced the Senate Intelligence Committee to renew a wide-ranging look at whether the Bush administration distorted intelligence about Iraqi weapons and ties to terrorism to win support for the war.

Citing the Senate action, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said there was no need for the House panel to resume its Iraq intelligence probe. Instead, it will review leaks of classified information, including one that disclosed the existence of secret CIA prisons abroad. Interest in the intelligence used to justify the Iraq war has intensified since the indictment last month of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. He has been charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements in an investigation of the unmasking of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had publicly disputed the truth of a key claim President Bush made about Iraq's attempt to acquire materials for a nuclear weapon. No nuclear, chemical or biological weapons have been found since the invasion, though Bush cited them as the primary justification for the war.

The House Intelligence Committee interviewed Wilson before he went public with his claims.

Harman noted that in June 2003, she and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, R-Fla., outlined a process for reviewing pre-war intelligence. It included committee hearings, interviews with intelligence analysts and allowing other House members to review intelligence that had been provided to the committee. After reviewing 19 volumes of classified information, the committee produced an interim report, in the form of a letter to then-CIA Director George Tenet, that said intelligence agencies had used outdated and uncertain information to conclude that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorist groups. The Bush administration disputed the findings and, Harman said, "shortly thereafter, the Republican majority shut down the inquiry and prevented (Democratic) staff ... from meeting with administration officials whom they deemed critical for this inquiry."

Bush named Goss director of the CIA after Tenet resigned in June 2004. Harman said that, last week, she gave Hoekstra a one-page plan for how the committee could finish its investigation.

"The (Republican) majority now seems likely to reject our proposal, preferring to curtail oversight over one of the worst intelligence failures in American history," Harman said in a written statement. "The main responsibility of our committee is to conduct oversight, and this action undermines the credibility of the committee."

The White House struck back at critics of the Iraq intelligence. "Our statements about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein were based on the aggregation of intelligence from a number of sources and represented the collective view of the intelligence community," said National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. "Those judgments were shared by Republicans and Democrats alike."

The plan Harman presented said the 2003 investigation found an intelligence analyst "who complained of political pressure" and that the issue should be studied, along with the treatment of competing views within the Bush administration about Iraq's threat; how intelligence officials viewed public statements by Bush, Cheney and Tenet about the threat; and the drafting of presentations like former Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations on Iraq.

Senate Democrats were able to force the issue by invoking a rule that allowed them to take the Senate into closed session, which drew attention to their complaints that Republicans were delaying an Iraq intelligence probe. House Democrats have little leverage under that chamber's rules.

"The House and the Senate are very different creatures," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an independent research group. "The capacity for individual senators to make things happen is much greater than the capacity of individual House members."

Pike said he believes that a probe of pre-war intelligence would show "there was more than enough blame to go around," from poor work by intelligence analysts to distortion by administration officials eager to invade Iraq. - dailybreeze.com

What gives???
With all that smoke - there's no fire???
Meanwhile The Bush Junta just carries on regardless

Bush Disputes Charges of Intelligence Misuse in War

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush disputed allegations by Democrats that the White House twisted or misused prewar intelligence to justify the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

``It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how the war began,'' Bush told military families at an Army depot near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania today. ``More than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to remove Saddam Hussein from power.'' ``Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war,'' Bush said in a Veterans Day speech. ``These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgment related to Iraq's weapons programs,'' he said.

Bush went on the offensive after weeks of charges by Democrats including Senators John Rockefeller of West Virginia and John Kerry of Massachusetts that the White House overstated or manipulated intelligence. Presidents almost always mark Veterans Day with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. This year Bush left that ceremonial duty to Vice President Dick Cheney and chose to defend himself in a speech to military families at Tobyhanna Army Depot in the Pocono mountains in northeast Pennsylvania.

Justifications for War

In a wide-ranging speech that lasted almost 40 minutes, the president spelled out the struggle for influence between U.S.- led forces and what he called ``radical Islamists'' whose random bombings show ``cold-blooded contempt for human life.'' Iraq, he said, is ``the central front in our war against the terrorists.''

Questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence and whether Bush misled the nation on the threat posed by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein have arisen because none of the president's three main justifications for the war turned out to be true.

United Nations weapons inspectors found no evidence that Hussein possessed or was trying to obtain chemical or biological weapons, and the bipartisan Sept. 11 Commission concluded there were no prewar links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Investigators also found no evidence that Hussein was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.

Senator Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a statement that Bush was using the Veterans Day speech ``as a campaign-like attempt to rebuild his own credibility by tearing down those who seek the truth about the clear manipulation of intelligence'' that led to war.


In a year marked by conflict and declining job approval ratings, one bright spot for Bush has been on the issue of terrorism. Americans give him better marks for handling that issue than any other. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll published yesterday, respondents gave Bush and Republicans a nine-point edge over Democrats with regard to which party is best equipped to handle terrorism. Republicans trailed Democrats in the survey on a number of other issues ranging from Social Security and education to tax policy. Still, the survey put Bush's job approval at 38 percent, the lowest of his presidency in that poll. While Bush describes Iraq as the focal point in the war on terror, other surveys show the war may be the biggest reason his approval rating is plummeting.

A Nov. 4 Washington Post/ABC News poll gave the president a job approval rating of 39 percent, his lowest in that survey, which also showed that almost two-thirds of those questioned disapprove of his handling of Iraq. And six in 10 said they now believe invading Iraq was wrong -- a seven-point increase in two months.

Warning to Syria

In his speech, Bush also warned that Syria must stop trying to destabilize the government of Lebanon, and should cooperate with the investigation into the murder of a former Lebanese prime minister.

``The government of Syria must stop trying to intimidate and destabilize Lebanon,'' the president said. ``The government of Syria must stop exporting violence and start importing democracy.'' the president said.

Bush said incidents like Wednesday's hotel attacks in Jordan prove that terrorists, including those operating in Iraq, must be stopped before they are allowed to spread their violence to the U.S. or other nations.

The attacks on three hotels in Amman on Nov. 9 ``can seem like random acts of madness'' but in fact are efforts to end Western influence in the Middle East, Bush said. ``We must stop them before their crimes can multiply.''

Constant Theme

Bush has turned repeatedly to the war on terror in recent weeks; today's Veterans Day speech was the third time in less than a month he has addressed what he calls America's most important mission. In recent weeks, Bush has been under fire for an investigation into the leaking of a CIA agent's name and the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers.

U.S. military deaths in Iraq number 2,052 as of yesterday, according to the Pentagon. Meantime, the steady barrage of bombings sparked fresh debate over the benefits of a war that's now in its 32nd month.

Political Progress

Amid an increasing call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops - - 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Kerry yesterday called for 20,000 troops to be sent home in the first phase of a withdrawal -- Bush has steadfastly refused to put a timetable on when U.S. soldiers could begin returning home. There is political progress in Iraq. After two decades of dictatorship, the war-ravaged nation moved toward establishing a federal government after voters approved a new constitution Oct. 15 by a 4-to-1 margin. The next step is voting on a new parliament Dec. 15.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $361 billion since Sept. 11, 2001 for military operations, reconstruction and other expenses, the Congressional Research Service said in an Oct. 3 report. Spending includes money for the current 2006 fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1.

``The terrorists' goal is to overthrow a rising democracy, claim a strategic country as a haven for terror, destabilize the Middle East, and strike America and other free nations with increasing violence,'' Bush said. ``Our goal is to defeat the terrorists and their allies at the heart of their power, so we will defeat the enemy in Iraq.''


Bush Resurrects False Claim That Congress Had “Same Intelligence” On Iraq

In his speech today, President Bush claimed that members of Congress who voted for the 2002 Iraq war resolution “had access to the same intelligence” as his administration. This is patently false.

Nevermind that much of the intelligence offered to the public and to Congress was inaccurate and misleading, or that according to the Downing Street memo and other documents, such intelligence was likely intentionally “fixed.” It is simply not true to state that Congress received the “same intelligence” as the White House:

FACT — Dissent From White House Claims on Iraq Nuclear Program Consistently Withheld from Congress:

[S]everal Congressional and intelligence officials with access to the 15 assessments [of intel suggesting aluminum tubes showed Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program] said not one of them informed senior policy makers of the Energy Department’s dissent. They described a series of reports, some with ominous titles, that failed to convey either the existence or the substance of the intensifying debate.” [NYT, 10/3/04]

FACT — Sen. Kerrey: Bush “Has Much More Access” to Intel Than Congress:

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE), ex-Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman: “The president has much more access to intelligence than members of Congress does. Ask any member of Congress. Ask a Republican member of Congress, do you get the same access to intelligence that the president does? Look at these aluminum tube stories that came out the president delivered to the Congress — ‘We believe these would be used for centrifuges.’ — didn’t deliver to Congress the full range of objections from the Department of Energy experts, nuclear weapons experts, that said it’s unlikely they were for centrifuges, more likely that they were for rockets, which was a pre-existing use. The president has much more access to intelligence than any member of Congress.” [10/7/04]

FACT — Rockefeller: PDBs, CIA Intel Withheld From Senate:

Ranking minority member on the Senate Intelligence Committee Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): “[P]eople say, ‘Well, you know, you all had the same intelligence that the White House had.’ And I’m here to tell you that is nowhere near the truth. We not only don’t have, nor probably should we have, the Presidential Daily Brief. We don’t have the constant people who are working on intelligence who are very close to him. They don’t release their — an administration which tends not to release — not just the White House, but the CIA, DOD [Department of Defense], others — they control information. There’s a lot of intelligence that we don’t get that they have.” [11/04/05]

FACT — War Supporter Ken Pollack: White House Engaged in “Creative Omission” of Iraq Intel:

In the eyes of Kenneth Pollack, “a Clinton-era National Security Council member and strong supporter of regime change in Iraq,” “the Administration consistently engaged in ‘creative omission,’ overstating the imminence of the Iraqi threat, even though it had evidence to the contrary. ‘The President is responsible for serving the entire nation,’ Pollack writes. ‘Only the Administration has access to all the information available to various agencies of the US government - and withholding or downplaying some of that information for its own purposes is a betrayal of that responsibility.’” [Christian Science Monitor, 1/14/04]

FACT — White House Had Exclusive Access to “Unique” Intel Sources:

“The claim that the White House and Congress saw the ’same intelligence’ on Iraq is further undermined by the Bush administration’s use of outside intelligence channels. For more than year prior to the war, the administration received intelligence assessments and analysis on Iraq directly from the Department of Defense’s Office of Special Plans (OSP), run by then-undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas J. Feith, and the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a group of Iraqi exiles led by Ahmed Chalabi.” [MediaMatters, 11/8/05]


Report: Senior Official Told Woodward About Plame

Source Wasn't Libby, Woodward Says

November 15, 2005 WASHINGTON -- Washington Post editor Bob Woodward testified that a senior Bush administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame about a month before her identity was publicly exposed, the Post acknowledged Wednesday.

Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating the leak of Plame's identity, that the official talked to him about Plame in mid-June 2003, the Post said. Woodward and editors at the Post refused to identify the official other than to say it was not I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.

Libby was indicted last month on one charge of obstruction of justice and two counts each of false statement and perjury in connection with Fitzgerald's investigation.

Plame's husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had criticized U.S. intelligence efforts before the Iraq war. On June 23, Libby told New York Times reporter Judith Miller that Wilson's wife might work at the CIA. Robert Novak, in a column published July 14, identified Plame, as a CIA operative.

Woodward's testimony in a two-hour deposition Monday would mean that another White House official told a reporter about Plame before Libby revealed her identity to Miller. A spokesman for White House adviser Karl Rove told the Post that Rove did not discuss Plame with Woodward.

William Jeffress Jr., one of Libby's lawyers, told the Post that Woodward's testimony raises questions about his client's indictment. "Will Mr. Fitzgerald now say he was wrong to say on TV that Scooter Libby was the first official to give this information to a reporter?" Jeffress said.

Woodward, famous for his investigation with Carl Bernstein of the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, is now assistant managing editor of the Post. In October, he was dismissive of the outing of Plame, telling CNN's Larry King that the damage from her exposure was "quite minimal." - 10news.com

Bob Woodward: A Military intelligence damage limitation operation

The staunchly conservative Bob Woodward grew up in Wheaton, Illinois. A good student at Yale, he was ultimately one of fifteen seniors "tapped" for one of that university's secret societies, Book and Snake, a cut below the more infamous Skull and Bones, but the top of the second-tier fraternities.

Woodward had his first journalistic experience working for the Banner, a Yale publication. In his 1965 yearbook he was referred to as a "Banner mogul." Havill writes, Certainly, with the CIA encouraged to recruit on the Yale campus, particularly among history majors and secret societies, it is more than reasonable to assume Bob may have been one of those approached by the agency, or by a military intelligence unit, especially after four years of naval ROTC training.

Although it would answer a lot of questions that have been raised about Bob Woodward, at this point one can only speculate as to whether he was offered the chance to become a "double-wallet guy," as CIA agents who have two identities are dubbed. It would certainly be understandable if he decided not to adhere to the straight and accepted the submerged patriotic glamour and extra funds that such a relationship would provide. It would also explain the comments of Pulitzer Prize-winning author J. Anthony Lukas, when he wrote in 1989 that Bob Woodward was "temperamentally secretive, loathe to volunteer information about himself," or the Washingtonian's remarks in 1987: "He is secretive about everything." As Esquire magazine put it, summing up in its 1992 article on Bob, "What is he hiding?"

- webcom.com

Media Matters for America has identified numerous instances in which Woodward -- without disclosing his involvement in the Plame affair -- criticized Fitzgerald's investigation and questioned whether an actual crime had been committed. Woodward's comments, some of which are inconsistent, raise questions about his conduct.

Wash. Post's Woodward's misleading, disingenuous statements on Plame investigation

Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information

According to sources with firsthand knowledge, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.

By Murray Waas, National Journal - Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.


The new disclosure that Libby has claimed that the vice president and others in the White House had authorized him to release information to make the case to go to war, and later to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence, is significant for several reasons. First, it significantly adds to a mounting body of information that Cheney played a central and personal role in directing efforts to counter claims by Wilson and other administration critics that the Bush administration had misused intelligence information to go to war with Iraq.

Second, it raises additional questions about Libby's motives in concealing his role in leaking Plame's name to the press, if he was in fact more broadly authorized by Cheney and others to rebut former Ambassador Wilson's charges. The federal grand jury indictment of Libby alleges that he had lied to the FBI and the federal grand jury by claiming that when he provided information to reporters about Plame's CIA employment, he was only passing along what he understood to be unverified gossip that he had heard from other journalists.

Instead, the indictment charges that Libby had in fact learned of Plame's CIA status from at least four government officials, Cheney among them, and from classified documents. Indeed, much of Libby's earliest and most detailed information regarding Plame's CIA employment came directly from the vice president, according to information in Libby's grand jury indictment. "On or about June 12, 2003," the indictment stated, "Libby was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division."

Libby testified that Cheney told him about Plame "in an off sort of, curiosity sort of, fashion," according to other information recently unsealed in federal court. Not long after that date, Libby, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and a third administration official began to tell reporters that Plame had worked at the CIA, and that she had been responsible for sending her husband to Niger.

Finally, the new information indicates that Libby is likely to pursue a defense during his trial that he was broadly "authorized" by Cheney and other "superiors" to defend the Bush administration in making the case to go to war. Libby does not, however, appear to be claiming that he was acting specifically on Cheney's behalf in disclosing information about Plame to the press.

Libby's legal strategy in asserting that Cheney and other Bush administration officials authorized activities related to the underlying allegations of criminal conduct leveled against him, without approving of or encouraging him to engage in the specific misconduct, is reminiscent of the defense strategy used by Oliver North, who was a National Security Council official in the Reagan administration.

North, a Marine lieutenant colonel assigned to the National Security Council, implemented the Reagan administration's efforts to covertly send arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages held in the Middle East, and to covertly fund and provide military assistance to the Nicaraguan Contras at a time when federal law prohibited such activities. Later, it was discovered that North and other Reagan administration officials had diverted funds they had received from the Iranian arms sales to covertly fund the Contras. - national journal

CIA says Libby defense could disrupt intelligence

Tue Mar 7, 2006 - By Andy Sullivan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA would have a hard time advising President George W. Bush on security threats if a judge forced it to provide material sought by a former vice presidential aide accused of perjury, the agency said in a court filing made public on Tuesday.

CIA officials would need up to nine months to dig up classified information sought by Lewis "Scooter" Libby as part of his defense against perjury charges, the CIA said.

"The job would divert their precious time and effort away from their primary task: preparing breaking intelligence for the president's immediate attention," CIA information review officer Marilyn Dorn wrote.

Libby is charged with lying to the FBI and a grand jury during an investigation into who disclosed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to news reporters in 2003 after her husband accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Libby sought access to nearly a year's worth of intelligence briefs to prove he was preoccupied with national-security matters at the time and thus could not accurately remember his conversations with reporters and government officials.

Only those officials who prepare the reports have enough security clearance to handle the task, Dorn said, and the task could take months because information would have to be reassembled from many different sources.

Even a more narrowly targeted request proposed by the judge would require three months to assemble, she said.

In a response filed later on Tuesday, Libby's lawyers said a judge might conclude the agency was engaged in "unjustified foot-dragging."

Nevertheless, they said they were willing to narrow their request to the briefs Libby saw during the weeks he discussed Wilson with reporters and officials, and the days when he was queried by investigators, roughly 46 days in all.

They also scaled back the range of documents they wished to see and proposed limits on where they could view the material. The lawyers said they need to see the documents to refresh Libby's memory and mount a convincing defense.

"Mr. Libby needs what the Supreme Court calls the 'persuasive power of the concrete and particular' to convince the jury that in a welter of more urgent matters, he confused or forgot snippets of conversation concerning Ms. Wilson," they wrote.

Libby is scheduled to stand trial in January 2007.

- reuters.com

Judge Says Libby Can See Bush Briefings

By TONI LOCY Associated Press Writer March 10, 2006 - WASHINGTON - A federal judge ordered the CIA on Friday to turn over highly classified intelligence briefings to Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide to use in preparing the aide's defense against perjury charges. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton rejected CIA warnings that the nation's security would be imperiled if the presidential-level documents were disclosed to lawyers for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff.

The judge said the CIA can either delete highly classified portions from the briefing material and provide what amounts to a "table of contents" of what Libby and Cheney received six days a week. Or, Walton said, the CIA can produce "topic overviews" of the matters covered in the briefings. The judge also ordered the CIA to give Libby an index of the topics covered in follow-up questions that the former White House aide asked intelligence officers who conducted the briefings.

"The court has painstakingly endeavored to ensure that the defendant is provided with information he truly needs to prepare his defense," Walton wrote in a 25-page ruling.

In seeking CIA input late last month, Walton appeared to have been trying to broker a compromise between defense attorneys and prosecutors to avoid a lengthy court battle with the Bush administration over the briefing material. The judge's order indicates he is ready for such a fight. He set a schedule for the Bush administration to file any objections by March 24.

The ruling is a partial victory for Libby, who is charged with lying in the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

But Walton noted in his ruling that most of what he ordered Libby to receive probably won't be revealed to a jury. Any classified evidence that Libby wants to use must be approved by the judge after a secret vetting process established by Congress to ensure protection of government secrets.

Libby, 55, was charged last October with lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury about how he learned and when he subsequently told reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame. He faces trial in January 2007 on five counts of perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice.

Plame's identity as a CIA operative was published in July 2003 by columnist Robert Novak after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the administration of twisting intelligence about Iraq's efforts to buy uranium "yellowcake" in Niger. The year before, the CIA had sent Wilson to Niger to determine the accuracy of the uranium reports.

Libby's lawyers originally wanted nearly a year of the President's Daily Brief, a summary of some of the government's most sensitive intelligence gathered on threats to the United States.

The lawyers want to use the briefings as the cornerstone of Libby's defense: to show that the former top White House aide had more important matters on his mind and could have easily forgotten or remembered incorrectly "snippets" of conversations he had about CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald opposed giving Libby any of the briefings and accused the defense of trying to derail the case by "greymail," a process where former government officials have forced dismissals of their cases because they threatened to reveal the nation's secrets at their trials.

"Neither party has it exactly right," Walton wrote.

Libby needs to know the gist of the intelligence briefings to put on a "preoccupation defense," the judge said. But, he said, the former White House aide should be able to refresh his memory by reviewing generalized versions of the intelligence briefings. "It is inconceivable that the defendant's memory of matters of significance to him have totally vanished," Walton wrote.

The judge also rejected Fitzgerald's arguments that the intelligence briefings belong to the vice president's office and the CIA, two agencies that were not part of the investigation. Walton said "there can be little doubt" that when Fitzgerald has asked either agency for help in his probe, there has been "a rather free flow" of information. "These entities have contributed significantly to the investigation and without their contribution it is unlikely that the indictment in this case could have been secured," the judge wrote. - source

Magazine: Bradlee Knows Woodward's Source on Plame

By Jim VandeHei - Tuesday, March 14, 2006; A02

Vanity Fair is reporting that former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee says it is reasonable to assume former State Department official Richard L. Armitage is likely the source who revealed CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward.

In an article to be published in the magazine today, Bradlee is quoted as saying: "That Armitage is the likely source is a fair assumption." Armitage was deputy secretary of state in President Bush's first term.

In an interview yesterday, Bradlee said he does know the identity of Woodward's source and does not recall making that precise statement to a Vanity Fair reporter. He said he has no interest in unmasking the official who first told Woodward about Plame in June 2003.

"I don't think I said it," Bradlee said. "I know who his source is, and I don't want to get into it. . . . I have not told a soul who it is."

The identity of Woodward's source emerged as one of the big mysteries of the CIA case after he disclosed last year that a government official with no ax to grind had told him about Plame, an undercover operative, a month before her name was revealed by columnist Robert D. Novak. Since then, guessing Woodward's source has been a Washington parlor game.

Plame is at the center of an investigation by a special prosecutor into whether White House officials knowingly disclosed her name to the media to discredit allegations made by her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, that the administration twisted intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war. The probe has resulted in charges of perjury, making false statements and obstructing justice against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff.

Beth Kseniak, spokeswoman for Vanity Fair, said the reporter who wrote the story, Marie Brenner, was traveling in India and was unavailable for comment.

Bradlee, currently Post vice president at large, said he learned the source's name from someone other than Woodward. Woodward said he did not reveal the source to his friend and former boss.

"He is not in the management loop on this," Woodward said. "Maybe he was alerted from somebody else, if he in fact did learn" the source's name.

Woodward and Bradlee refused to disclose the source's name. Armitage did not return phone calls requesting comment.

Bradlee's brief comments about the source are included in a lengthy article about the Plame case. Bradlee is the longtime Post editor who rose to prominence when his reporting team of Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate story. Woodward and Bradlee refused for many years to reveal the identity of Deep Throat, a key source.

Bradlee defended Woodward after the journalist disclosed in November that a senior Bush administration official had told him about Plame and her CIA ties a month before her identity was revealed.

At the time, Woodward was criticized by Leonard Downie Jr., The Post's executive editor, and others for not telling the newspaper about his knowledge of Plame until after Libby was indicted.

In the course of writing a book on Bush, Woodward said, he had discovered mention of Plame in his notes just as the grand jury in the leak case was expiring last October. Woodward contacted prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald and later testified under oath about his conversations with the source, whom he has refused to name publicly.

Woodward's testimony changed key elements in the chronology Fitzgerald laid out in his investigation and announced when indicting Libby. It made Woodward's source -- not Libby -- the first known government official to disclose Plame's CIA employment to a reporter. Woodward has said he does not recall ever discussing Plame with Libby.

It also apparently made Woodward the first reporter to learn about Plame from a government source. Libby's legal team has cited Woodward's testimony as evidence that there are holes in Fitzgerald's version of events and hinted it might call the reporter to testify at the trial.

The identity of Woodward's source is one of several mysteries that remain in the leak case. Lawyers involved in the case have suggested Woodward's source and Novak's source are the same person. Novak has refused to discuss the source for his column but suggested in a speech in December that he and Woodward shared the source. Novak and his lawyer declined to comment yesterday.

Fitzgerald has not concluded his investigation, but people involved in the case said he has not shown interest in Woodward or his source since Woodward testified last year.

Fitzgerald has not closed the investigation of whether White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove provided false statements about his role in the disclosure of Plame's identity, according to lawyers in the case. - washingtonpost.com

Is Karl Rove stabbing Cheney in the back?

There are intriguing signs of George Bush trying to distance himself from Dick Cheney as the investigation into who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame homes in on members of the vice-president's close circle. Leaking the name of a covert CIA officer is illegal under US law and an investigation has been going on for some time under Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into who was responsible. Karl Rove, the president's special adviser, reportedly "tipped off" Fitzgerald on the location of 250 emails that had mysteriously gone missing from the vice-president's office.

We now know that Plame's name was leaked to a succession of US journalists, most famously Judith Miller, late of the New York Times, and the great Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, in an attempt to smear Plame's husband Joseph Wilson. The former US ambassador had criticized Bush over claims, ironically true, that the British believed Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium ore from Niger.

Cheney's former chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted on five counts of obstruction and false statements made to Fitzgerald's investigation last October. His lawyers have since been trying to tie up the investigation in red tape by demanding access to classified CIA documents they say will show their client is innocent.

Libby is not the only Cheney confidant said to be implicated in the case. The Sunday Times reported last November that Stephen Hadley, National Security Adviser, was the source who leaked Plame's name to Woodward. Hadley owes his career to Cheney's patronage during the administration of George Bush senior.

Rove was initially thought to be one of those in the frame but according to the New York Times he is now "increasingly certain" that he will not be indicted, although that may not save his skin as Republican congressmen, desperate to improve the party's declining standing ahead of this year's mid-term elections, are equally desperate to give the administration an extreme makeover (their pressure has now led to the resignation of Bush's other close aide Andrew Card, his chief of staff). Now the US internet newspaper Raw Story is reporting that it was Rove who told Fitzgerald where to find the emails Cheney's office didn't want the special investigator to see.

It was a combination of the Downing St Memos - with their evidence of both the "fixing" of the intelligence and the sheer incompetence of the coalition's preparations for the aftermath of war - together with the increaisng evidence on the ground in Iraq itself, that began the slide in the president's ratings - now at an all time low. So it is interesting to see the New York Times, which contrived to ignore the original memos, coming up with one of its own that is far less revealing. Sadly it is the same memo previously reported in the paperback edition of the Philippe Sands book Lawless World and contains nothing of any interest that is new.

The memo is from David Manning, then Blair's foreign policy adviser and the author of one of the key Downing St Memos. It is essentially the minutes of a meeting between Bush and Tony Blair at the White House in January 2003, The most interesting thing for British readers at this time would have been the questions over legality but what the New York Times reports does not add to the Sands version, indeed he has much more and given his expertise in international law I am sure he didn't miss anything in that regard.

But since the New York Times has seen all five pages of the memo it would be nice to be able to read the text to make up our own minds. Perhaps the New York Times has some more revelations to report? If they have I can't imagine what it might be, given that their initial report seems to contain nothing new. So if there isn't more to come why not put the text on the internet? Come on guys, TimesOnline published the text of the Downing St Memo, and got a huge hike in its ratings as a result. Why not put the text on the New York Times website so we can all see it? - mick smith

Papers: Cheney Aide Says Bush OK'd Leak

Apr 06 12:57 PM US/Eastern By PETE YOST - Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide told prosecutors President Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.

Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him to pass on information and that it was Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers say. According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame's CIA identity.

But the disclosure in documents filed Wednesday means that the president and the vice president put Libby in play as a secret provider of information to reporters about prewar intelligence on Iraq. The authorization came as the Bush administration faced mounting criticism about its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the main reason the president and his aides had given for going to war.

Libby's participation in a critical conversation with Miller on July 8, 2003 "occurred only after the vice president advised defendant that the president specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the National Intelligence Estimate," the papers by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald stated. The filing did not specify the "certain information."

"Defendant testified that the circumstances of his conversation with reporter Miller _ getting approval from the president through the vice president to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval _ were unique in his recollection," the papers added.

Libby is asking for voluminous amounts of classified information from the government in order to defend himself against five counts of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI in the Plame affair. He is accused of making false statements about how he learned of Plame's CIA employment and what he told reporters about it.

Her CIA status was publicly disclosed eight days after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass destruction. In 2002, Wilson had been dispatched to Africa by the CIA to check out intelligence that Iraq had an agreement to acquire uranium yellowcake from Niger, and Wilson had concluded that there was no such arrangement.

Libby says he needs extensive classified files from the government to demonstrate that Plame's CIA connection was a peripheral matter that he never focused on, and that the role of Wilson's wife was a small piece in a building public controversy over the failure to find WMD in Iraq.

Fitzgerald said in the new court filing that Libby's requests for information go too far and the prosecutor cited Libby's own statements to investigators in an attempt to limit the amount of information the government must turn over to Cheney's former chief of staff for his criminal defense.

According to Miller's grand jury testimony, Libby told her about Plame's CIA status in the July 8, 2003 conversation that took place shortly after the White House aide _ according to the new court filing _ was authorized by Bush through Cheney to disclose sensitive intelligence about Iraq and WMD contained in a National Intelligence Estimate.

The court filing was first disclosed by The New York Sun. - breitbart.com

forgers African? NATO sources?
Murdoch Paper, Michael Smith is the prime No10 UK dossier 'leaker'

'Forgers' of key Iraq war contract named

Michael Smith The Sunday Times - April 09, 2006

TWO employees of the Niger embassy in Rome were responsible for the forgery of a notorious set of documents used to help justify the Iraq war, an official investigation has allegedly found.

According to Nato sources, the investigation has evidence that Niger's consul and its ambassador's personal assistant faked a contract to show Saddam Hussein had bought uranium ore from the impoverished west African country.

The documents, which emerged in 2002, were used in a US State Department fact sheet on Iraq's weapons programme to build the case for war. They were denounced as forgeries by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shortly before the 2003 invasion.

The revelation spawned a series of conspiracy theories, most alleging that the British, Italians, or even Dick Cheney, the American vice-president, had had a hand in forging them to back the case for war.

The story was still reverberating around Washington last week with claims that President George W Bush had authorised the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent whose husband cast doubt on the Niger link.

According to the sources, an official investigation believes Adam Maiga Zakariaou, the consul, and Laura Montini, the ambassador's assistant, known as La Signora, forged the papers for money.

They allegedly concocted their scheme as reports reached western intelligence agencies, including MI6, that Saddam Hussein had been trying to buy uranium ore, known as yellowcake, from Niger. The agencies had no evidence he had succeeded. The pair are alleged to have copied a real contract to look like an agreement with Iraq under which Niger would supply Saddam with 500 tons of yellowcake.

The story of the fake deal had begun with a meeting in a Rome bar in February 2000 set up by Antonio Nucera, an officer in the Sismi, the Italian intelligence agency, between two of his former agents, Rocco Martino and Montini.

However, unknown to the Sismi, Martino, a former policeman turned spy, had been working for the French intelligence service, the DGSE, since 1996. He was controlled by the DGSE head of station in Brussels, who paid him a retainer of between £1,050 and £1,400 a month.

"Nucera asked if I was interested in meeting a person who worked in an African embassy and who had been able to supply [Nucera with] documents and information, including the embassy's cipher," Martino told an investigating magistrate during an Italian inquiry.

Montini is understood to have agreed to work for Martino, who paid her £350 a month as a "sub-agent".

In the spring of 2000, she handed him a document relating to a visit to Niger by Wissam al-Zahawie, the Iraqi ambassador to the Vatican. Martino passed it to his French handler. The French, who were watching for an attempt by Saddam to obtain uranium from Niger, showed great interest and told Martino they wanted more information. Martino asked Montini if she could get a copy of a contract for Niger to supply Iraq with uranium.

"Martino told me that if he was able to obtain a copy of a contract then he would have earned a lot of money from an unspecified 'intelligence' organisation," she told the magistrate. The lure of the money was apparently too much. "She was [the ambassador's] trusted personal assistant. The consul Zakariaou . . . needed money. He would help her forge the documents," the Nato sources claim.

Martino passed the contract to his French handlers, but they spotted it was a fake and refused to pay.

Some time in 2002, however, they obtained another apparently incriminating document, the source said. This was a letter purporting to be from al-Zahawie relating to a visit to Niger in 1999 to discuss the possible supply of uranium. This did not constitute evidence that Niger had agreed to supply yellowcake but it did indicate Saddam was trying to obtain it. The letter, deemed "credible" by the Butler inquiry into Iraq intelligence, appears to be the evidence that led to Bush's claim in January 2003 that the British had "learnt that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa".

The French passed copies to MI6 with caveats to protect their source. The British could tell the CIA Iraq had tried to obtain yellowcake from Niger but not about the actual letter. In the autumn of 2002, Martino passed the documents allegedly faked by Zakariaou and Montini to an Italian journalist. She then took them to the American embassy and they were passed on to Washington.

After the IAEA had dismissed the forged documents, the Americans disowned all the Iraq-Niger uranium claims. But the latest allegations are unlikely to end the row. This springs from the mission of Joseph Wilson, a former American ambassador, who was sent to Niger to check the uranium claims. Wilson dismissed the possibility of Iraq obtaining uranium and publicly attacked Bush's claims. The White House retaliated, with officials briefing journalists that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent. Naming an undercover agent is illegal in America.

Last week, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former aide to Cheney, told the inquiry into the leak that the vice-president ordered the briefings and that Bush had authorised them.

Zakariaou, now a Niger representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, said: "If you really want the truth you must look somewhere else. You should deepen your inquiries elsewhere."

Neocon ruse

neo-con media outlets repeat 'African' source of forger

Wayne Madsen reports -- April 9, 2006 -- The Sunday Times of London, a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication, is running a report today that states that the infamous Niger yellowcake uranium documents used by the Bush administration to justify the attack on Iraq were forged by Niger's consul in Rome, Adam Maiga Zakariaou, and the Nigerien ambassador's personal secretary, Laura Montini, code named La Signora and said to be an agent of the Italian SISMI intelligence service. The Times spins the story that Zakariaou and Montini forged the documents for money, thus diverting attention from the obvious political reasons behind the forgery.

The Times' report also repeats the allegation, denied by ex-French DGSE intelligence agents like Alain Chouet and Jacques Nadal, that ex-SISMI middleman Rocco Martino, the person who passed on the documents to an unnamed "intelligence organization," was actually an agent for French intelligence. This allegation, like the recent one about the forgeries being the work of a Nigerien diplomat, have been repeated in several well-known neo-con media outlets, including neo-con web sites. It is also a clear attempt by the neo-cons, who never miss a chance to display their racist colors, to blame the forgeries on a black African. It was this same mindset that was used by the neo-cons, including George W. Bush, to suggest that Saddam Hussein was conspiring with Africans to obtain a nuclear weapon. And it is the same "plantation mindset," egged on by the neo-con commentators, authors, pundits, that pervades the Republicans on Capitol Hill who treat some African American members of Congress as hired help who are supposed to identify themselves before gaining admittance to the "white clubhouse." In the neo-con playbook, black and brown people are bad, Muslims are evil, whites of two of the three Abrahamic tradition religious sects are good. It's that simple and don't dare disagree with it.

The disinformation being pumped out by the neo-cons is no surprise to Cold War-era U.S. intelligence agents who tracked similar Soviet disinformation campaigns -- some involving the very same characters involved in the current neo-con disinformation antics. Leonid Shabarshin, the head of the First Chief Directorate (Foreign Intelligence) of the KGB, stated that the purpose of the Soviet disinformation program was to compromise political figures and organs of the press.

Today's neo-cons learned well from their one-time Soviet colleagues -- active and ex-KGB agents who emigrated to Israel and the United States during the 1970s and 80s and who subsequently penetrated the Mossad, the Pentagon, and neo-con think tanks in the United States, Britain, Italy, and other countries. These disinformation specialists continue to ply their trade in purveying lies and train other up-and-comers in the same art in pursuit of the neo-con cause.

Forged documents like the Niger "yellowcake" papers are the norm, not the exception, in an Africa rife with forged documents and international criminal cartels involved in uranium, diamond, gold, weapons, and currency smuggling

During the recent American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting in Washington, a similar disinformation campaign began. Several neo-con outlets reported that two colleagues of outed CIA covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson listed her non official cover firm, Brewster Jennings and Associates, on their on-line resumes. This was clearly an attempt to once again spin the falsehood that "everyone knew" Plame's covert status, as well as the mission of her cover company. It was no coincidence that the AIPAC meeting brought together most of the key members of Scooter Libby's Defense Fund, which has an interest in downplaying the damage caused by the Plame/Brewster Jennings revelations.

WMR reported on the disinformation background to the Niger and the less-reported Congolese forgeries last October:

The neo-cons who are behind the Niger forgeries that were used as justification for the war in Iraq have been aided by former KGB officers who honed their African forgery trade during the Cold War. A number of these KGB officers are now Israeli citizens who are working closely with a special activities unit in Ariel Sharon's office. The former KGB agents, having left the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s when a neo-con cell first nested in Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson's office and then migrated to the Pentagon under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, now work for Likud and specialize in creating forgeries, especially those attributed to African countries. These Israeli former KGB agents work closely with neocon units in Rome, Washington, and London. The State Department once maintained a full-time office dedicated to proving Soviet generated documents as forgeries. The documents were always easy to detect since the forgeries were crude and the information contained within them was capricious.

Some of these KGB agents now work for the neo-cons in Israel and the United States.

The Congo forgeries were overshadowed by the Niger forgeries

Although the focus is on the Niger forgeries, there was another case in which forgeries "proving" Iraq's nuclear ambitions were shopped by the neocons. It received little or no attention.

In July 2002, documents on CIA letterhead were "discovered" in a Nairobi hotel room. They described attempts by Mai Mai guerrillas in Bukavu in the DRC to negotiate the sale of uranium to Saddam Hussein's government. The discovery of the documents in Nairobi came after Wilson, CIA weapons of mass destruction experts -- including Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame Wilson -- the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the US ambassador to Niger, and the US European Command in Stuttgart concluded that there was no evidence to support the allegation that Iraq was shopping for nuclear materials in Africa -- a charge later leveled by President Bush in his January 2003 State of the Union address.

The "discovery" of the CIA documents -- clearly forgeries like the Niger documents -- were leaked to the press, including Le Soir in Belgium. Their leak was followed by the release of a British government dossier describing Iraq's attempts to obtain uranium in Africa. The DRC government later produced photocopies of original false Bukavu documents -- on which the bogus CIA documents were based -- offering Iraq (or any other high bidder) 9 kilograms of "superior quality" uranium from Mai Mai units in the eastern DRC. U.S. intelligence sources maintain that the Nairobi and Bukavu documents were crude forgeries produced after then-Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner III met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali on January 15, 2002. The plan was to blame the DRC for providing uranium to Iraq in an attempt to destabilize Kabila and justify the continued presence of Rwandan troops in eastern DRC. Iraq's complicity in obtaining uranium in DRC would then be bolstered by the Niger "evidence" lending credence to Saddam's nuclear "ambitions."

Kansteiner was assisted in the operation by his deputy, Charles Snyder, a former US Special Forces officer who was involved in covert operations in Sierra Leone and is tied to the neo-conservative elements within the Pentagon. Kagame relies heavily on Israeli and Pentagon security advisers in his eastern Congo military operations.

Former KGB disinformation and forgery experts have also been behind illegal forgery operations tied to the Russian-Israeli Mafia's weapons, diamond, gold, platinum, uranium, and plutonium smuggling operations in other African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Mozambique, Liberia, Congo (Brazzaville), and Benin.


Washington Post Praises Bush Leak, Mangles Facts

This morning, the Washington Post published an editorial — entitled “A Good Leak” — vigorously defending President Bush's decision to authorize a leak of classified information as part of a political effort to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Apparently, it isn't a very strong case because, in order to make their point, the editors had to mangle the facts –

CLAIM: Wilson said Cheney sent him to Africa "Mr. Libby’s motive in allegedly disclosing her name to reporters, Mr. Fitzgerald said, was to disprove yet another false assertion, that Mr. Wilson had been dispatched to Niger by Mr. Cheney." [Washington Post, 4/9/06]


Wilson never said that Cheney sent him, only that the vice president's office had questions about an intelligence report that referred to the sale of uranium yellowcake to Iraq from Niger. Wilson, in his New York Times article, said CIA officials were informed of Cheney's questions. [Bloomberg, 7/14/05]

CLAIM: There is no evidence of a White House effort to punish Wilson. "Mr. Wilson subsequently claimed that the White House set out to punish him for his supposed whistle-blowing by deliberately blowing the cover of his wife, Valerie Plame, who he said was an undercover CIA operative…After more than 2 1/2 years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald has reported no evidence to support Mr. Wilson’s charge." [Washington Post, 4/9/06]


Moreover, given that there is evidence that other White House officials with whom defendant spoke prior to July14, 2003 discussed Wilson's wife's employment with the press both prior to, and after, July 14, 2003 - which evidence has been shared with defendant - it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to "punish" Wilson. [Fitzgerald filing, pg. 29-30]

CLAIM: There was nothing unusual about Bush’s conduct. "Vice President Cheney initially chose to be secretive, ordering his chief of staff at the time, I. Lewis Libby, to leak the information to a favorite New York Times reporter…There was nothing illegal or even particularly unusual about that." [Washington Post, 4/9/06]


Defendant testified that this July 8th meeting was the only time he recalled in his government experience when he disclosed a document to a reporter that was effectively declassified by virtue of the President’s authorization that it be declassified.” [Fitzgerald filing, pg. 23]

CLAIM: Wilson’s op-ed has been discredited; his report supported White House claims. “The material that Mr. Bush ordered declassified established, as have several subsequent investigations, that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.” [Washington Post, 4/9/06]


Two-year old assertions by former ambassador Joseph Wilson regarding Iraq and uranium, which lie at the heart of the controversy over who at the White House identified a covert U.S. operative, have held up in the face of attacks by supporters of presidential adviser Karl Rove…[T]he Senate panel conclusions didn’t discredit Wilson. The committee concluded that the Niger intelligence information wasn’t solid enough to be included in the State of the Union speech. It added that Wilson’s report didn’t change the minds of analysts on either side of the issue… [Bloomberg, 7/14/05]


er..some leaks are good [propaganda]

White House Says Some Leaks Are Good

McClellan, Press Spar on Disclosure of Iraq Intelligence

Analysis - By JOHN COCHRAN April 7, 2006 - -

Scott McClellan wanted to talk about promising economic figures and the immigration bill on Capitol Hill. So when he walked into the White House briefing room, he read a statement of the points he wanted to make. The White House press secretary was all too aware that might be his last chance to talk about the issues the administration wants to push.

Then McClellan took questions, knowing the onslaught that would come and that they'd have nothing to do with the economy or immigration. It would be about "Topic A" in Washington this week: court documents alleging that President Bush authorized a leak to a New York Times reporter about previously classified material on Saddam Hussein's nuclear intentions. In the documents former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby said Vice President Dick Cheney told him the president had given the green light.

Twenty-four hours after the story broke, one very big question had already been answered. Had the president violated the law protecting the nation's most sensitive secrets? No. The president has the authority to declassify material. So, once he authorized the leak, it became declassified material. But some big questions remained. Was the president, a fierce critic of leaks, a hypocrite? Had he leaked material for political reasons?

McClellan was ready as the questions came, one after another after another. He has a reputation for discipline behind the podium, never going beyond the point his superiors have instructed him to go. That often infuriates reporters, but that's OK with McClellan and his boss, President Bush.

On this day, McClellan did not bother to deny the claim that the president had approved the leak. Instead, he argued there was nothing wrong about it. And he implied there was nothing really new about the story. After all, he said, he announced back on July 18, 2003, that information from the intelligence report had been declassified. But when making that announcement almost three years ago McClellan said: "It was officially declassified today." That was 10 days after Libby had shared the Iraq information with Times reporter Judith Miller. McClellan now dismisses the 10-day discrepancy as meaningless, that what he meant three years ago was that July 18 was the day it was released publicly.

But what about the hypocrisy factor? McClellan was reminded that the president has said, "I've constantly expressed my displeasure with leaks." And here is where McClellan summed up the administration's defense: "The president believes the leaking of classified information is a very serious matter. And I think that's why it's important to draw a distinction here. Declassifying information and providing it to the public when it is in the public interest is one thing. But leaking classified information that could compromise our national security is something that is very serious, and there's a distinction." McClellan said nothing revealed to Judith Miller compromised sources or methods that could be harmful to national security.

The question then becomes this: Was the president leaking in the national interest or in his own political interest? The obvious answer is that it is very hard to separate the two. But McClellan tried. He noted that in the summer of 2003 many accusations flew around that President Bush had "manipulated or misused intelligence. That was flat out false." The administration, he said, decided it was in the public's interest to build its confidence in the reasons for going to war.

Of course, building confidence back in 2003 could also help the president and his poll ratings. What was Bush's real motivation? Different people have different opinions on this. Unfortunately for the president, the leak controversy comes at a time when his popularity has hit some new lows. An AP-Ipsos poll puts his job approval rating at 36 percent, his lowest ever in that poll. Only 35 percent approve of his handling of Iraq. Questions about Bush's reasons for leaking will do nothing to raise his numbers. Splitting hairs over the reasons for the leak is also unlikely to do much for what was once a strong point: public confidence in his candor and truthfulness. One Republican consultant said Friday: "Bush is a far better man than Bill Clinton, but unfortunately, this will sound to people like something you would expect from Clinton."

When Friday's contentious press briefing finally ended, Scott McClellan, a genuinely courteous man, thanked the press corps and wished them a good weekend. With that, he ducked into his office, clearly relieved that the weekend was finally here. TGIF. - ABC News

The leaker in chief

Bush acknowledges declassifying Iraq intelligence

Apr 10, 12:57 PM (ET) By Steve Holland - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush acknowledged on Monday he ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq to respond to critics who alleged he manipulated intelligence to justify the war.

Bush offered his first comment on a prosecutor's disclosure last week that he authorized Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to declassify Iraq intelligence.

The disclosure prompted a firestorm of criticism from Democrats who charged Bush was a hypocrite who denounces leaks of information while becoming the "leaker-in-chief." A Republican ally, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, urged Bush on Sunday to "tell the American people exactly what happened."

At issue is the administration's release in July 2003 of parts of an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that alleged Iraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and was trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

Bush said he declassified parts of the document to answer questions raised about why the United States invaded Iraq.

"I wanted people to see what some of those statements were based on. I wanted people to see the truth. I thought it made sense for people to see the truth. That's why I declassified the document," he said.

Bush, answering questions from an audience after a speech in Washington, would not comment on the allegation that he authorized Libby to release the information to reporters.

But a senior administration official said Bush did not designate Libby or anyone else to release the information, trying to distance Bush from any tactical decisions made on how to release the information.

The White House release of the parts of the National Intelligence Estimate came in response to charges from former ambassador Joe Wilson that Bush had manipulated intelligence to justify the war. Wilson later accused the White House of leaking the identity of his wife, who was then a CIA officer, Valerie Plame, to retaliate against him.

Libby is accused of obstruction of justice and perjury in an investigation designed to discover who leaked Plame's name.

White House officials have stressed that Bush was well within his legal authority to declassify the document. The new controversy erupted as Bush seeks to rebound from weak poll numbers and tries to bolster sagging American support for the Iraq war. Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" that Bush owed "a specific explanation to the American people" of what happened.

"The president has the authority to declassify information. So in a technical sense, if he looked at it, he could say this is declassified, and make a disclosure of it," he said.

Wilson, speaking on ABC's "This Week," called on Bush to release transcripts of his and Cheney's testimony to the prosecutor. "It seems to me it is long past time for the White House to come clean on all of this," he said. - Reuters

The leaker in chief

The Leaker in Chief?

Court filings indicate that Libby, right, Cheney's former chief of staff, told a grand jury that Bush, center, had authorized him to leak intelligence information

Is he a CEO who stays above the fray? Or did he give the go-ahead to strike back at critics over prewar intel? A presidential mystery.

By Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas Newsweek April 17, 2006 issue -

George W. Bush likes to be seen as a man who dwells above the pettiness of political warfare. He has said he doesn't read the newspapers and shrugs off media criticism as carping of the chattering classes. Especially since 9/11, he has said that he looks to a higher power for guidance. He once threatened to stop sharing information with Capitol Hill if lawmakers didn't put a stop to leaking. "There are too many leaks of classified information," he told reporters in September 2003, "and if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is."

Last week a video clip of Bush making that statement became cable-TV wallpaper.

Bush, it appeared, was not above the old leaking game after all. The president who, as a younger man, once played the role of loyalty enforcer in his father's White House had not forgotten how to play hardball. According to a filing from the prosecutor in the Valerie Plame leak investigation, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, who has been indicted for lying in the case, told a grand jury that President Bush specifically authorized him to leak from an intelligence document on WMD in Iraq. The leak, according to Libby's testimony, was intended to rebut the allegations of an administration critic, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was disputing administration claims that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had been trying to buy uranium from the African country of Niger.

Democrats jumped on the news, calling Bush a hypocrite. Republicans on Capitol Hill worried that the attacks on Bush's integrity would further sink his poll ratings and hurt the GOP in November. "Leaker in chief is something that could stick," said a senior GOP aide, who declined to be named for fear of angering the president. The White House has not denied the central thrust of Libby's claim. But by late last weekend, the White House was scrambling to distance Bush from the leak, putting out the word that the president had not been involved in tactical decisions-like who should leak, or picking which reporter to leak to. The White House may just be spinning-or the reaction could portend a rift between Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who seemed to be giving Libby his marching orders.

Legally, Bush did nothing wrong. The president can declassify a document any time he wants. Indeed, a sanitized version of the document in question-a National Intelligence Estimate compiled by the CIA and other agencies-was formally declassified and made public only 10 days after some of its contents were leaked by Libby to New York Times reporter Judith Miller in July 2003. But the administration was unquestionably playing games with reporters, whether or not the president was directly involved.

For instance, on July 11, seven days before key portions of the NIE were released, reporters badgered the then national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice to allow them to see some of the NIE, which had been used by the administration to make the case for war with Congress. "We don't want to try to get into kind of selective declassification," said Rice, though she added, "We're looking at what can be made available."

What Rice did not say was that just a few days before, Libby, who was Cheney's chief of staff and national-security adviser, had been doing some highly selective leaking to Miller over breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington. (A spokesman for Rice said she had no comment because of the ongoing investigation.) Miller later wrote in The New York Times that Libby appeared "agitated" about an article Ambassador Wilson had published two days earlier on the Times's op-ed page. Wilson had disputed one of the more sensational claims made in Bush's State of the Union address in January-that Iraq was seeking yellowcake uranium from Africa for its nuclear-weapons program. Wilson wrote that, as a former diplomat with African experience, he had been asked by the CIA to travel to Niger to check out the claim, and found no evidence to support it.

At his meeting with Miller, Libby asked to be identified only as a "former Hill staffer"-a position he had not held for several years. Libby proceeded to rip into Wilson as a minor figure whose report about African uranium had never been seen by the White House. He went on to tell Miller that a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate had "firmly concluded that Iraq was seeking uranium." He also made a passing reference to Wilson's wife, who was working at the time on WMD at the CIA. At one point, wrote Miller in her notes (later subpoenaed by the prosecutor in the leak investigation), Libby seemed to be "reading from a piece of paper he pulled from his pocket."

It is not clear how much Libby might have been freelancing and how much he was working under orders. According to the filing by the prosecutor, Libby told the grand jury that he had been authorized by Cheney to disclose the "key judgments" of the NIE. Libby further testified that Cheney told him he had "consulted" with Bush. A lawyer familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, told NEWSWEEK that the "president declassified the information and authorized and directed the vice president to get it out." But Bush "didn't get into how it would be done. He was not involved in selecting Scooter Libby or Judy Miller." Bush made the decision to put out the NIE material in late June, when the press was beginning to raise questions about the WMD but before Wilson published his op-ed piece. (Bush once harrumphed that he would fire whoever had outed Plame. No one is accusing Bush of leaking Plame's name, but he started the ball rolling that ended up with her exposure.)

Judging from Miller's account of her breakfast with Libby, the vice president's man went well beyond the "key judgments" of the NIE. The reference that Saddam was prospecting in Africa for uranium was inserted in the NIE's back pages, along with a dissent from intelligence analysts at the State Department who were "highly dubious" about the report. A former U.S. intelligence official who declined to speak for the record due to the sensitivity of the matter told news-week that the NIE staff, writing under strict time pressures, adopted a "kitchen sink" approach, throwing in all sorts of reports that had not been fully vetted.

The dissenting opinions were included in the declassified NIE released to the press on July 18, 2003. But Libby said nothing about them to Miller when he was leaking to her on July 8. Cheney's role in this operation remains murky, as does the precise role played by Bush (both men were questioned by the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald-Bush at the White House, Cheney at an unknown location-but not under oath). The filing by Fitzgerald ties Cheney more directly to Libby's leak than any evidence so far. It says Libby testified that after Wilson's op-ed appeared on July 6, Cheney questioned whether Wilson's trip to Africa was legitimate, or "whether it was a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," Valerie Plame, a CIA operative then working in the agency's counterproliferation division of the directorate of operations.

Libby has been charged with lying to a grand jury and to the Feds about when and from whom he learned Plame's identity. The theory was that Libby was trying to intimidate or get back at Wilson by exposing his wife's undercover role. Libby has argued all along that he was so preoccupied with important national-security matters, he barely noticed that Wilson's wife was involved, and later forgot that he had mentioned anything about her to reporters when he was questioned by investigators in the leak probe. To defend himself, Libby may now want to call both Cheney and Bush as witnesses at his trial. That is not likely to endear him to the president-the one man who has the power not only to declassify secrets but also to pardon convicted felons. - msnbc.msn.com

Staff Overhaul Continues at White House


The overhaul of the White House staff continued today as Scott McClellan stepped down as the president's chief spokesman and Karl Rove gave up his portfolio as senior policy coordinator to concentrate more on politics and November's midterm Congressional elections.

Mr. Rove has been Mr. Bush's senior political adviser since his campaign for governor in Texas. Just over a year ago, he was promoted to deputy chief of staff in charge of policy development.

Mr. Rove will remain a deputy chief of staff and chief policy aide, as well as senior adviser, but the role of policy coordinator will be given to Joel Kaplan, now the deputy budget director, according to a White House official.

Speculation about Mr. Rove has been a staple in Washington for months, as Mr. Bush's declining poll numbers have been matched by rising nervousness among Congressional Republicans up for re-election in November.

Last month, just before Mr. Bush announced that Joshua B. Bolten, the budget director, would replace Andrew H. Card Jr. as White House chief of staff, Mr. Rove told associates that he believed he had fought off calls to bring in new high-level political advisers.

The change in portfolio announced today may reduce Mr. Rove's overall stature at the White House, but it appears to leave him in charge of political strategy for the fall elections.

In making staff changes so far, Mr. Bush has not reached outside of his inner circle, despite loud calls from many Republicans for new faces to shake up what has been a White House notable for its continuity.

Perhaps reflecting the perception of an exhausted second-term staff, when Mr. Bolten officially took over as chief of staff on Monday, he made it clear that he intended to "re-energize" White House operations, telling high-level officials that any of them who planned to leave later in the year should do it now, according to Mr. McClellan's account at the time.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bush named Rob Portman, the trade representative, as his new budget director and suggested strongly that more turnover was in the works following Mr. Bolten's arrival as chief of staff.

"My instructions to Josh Bolten was that I expect him to design the White House structure so that it will function, so that he can do his job," Mr. Bush said on Tuesday. "And of course he will bring different recommendations to me as to who should be here and who should not be here."

Mr. Rove and Mr. McClellan, along with Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, have been central figures in recent speculation about personnel changes.

Mr. McClellan made the announcement about his departure on the White House lawn standing side by side with Mr. Bush just before they were to leave on a trip to Alabama. "I have given it my all, sir, and I have given you my all, sir, and I will continue to do so as we transition to a new press secretary," he told Mr. Bush.

"It's going to be hard to replace Scott," Mr. Bush said, "but nevertheless, he made the decision and I accepted it." Mr. Bush praised Mr. McClellan, who he said "handled his assignment with class, integrity."

Mr. McClellan became press secretary in June 2003, replacing Ari Fleisher. His relationship with the White House press corps had become increasingly contentious in recent months. As the administration's point person with the media - and its second most visible figure after Mr. Bush, thanks to televised daily briefings - Mr. McClellan became a lightning rod for complaints by the press corps about the adequacy of information provided by the White House.

Those tensions first boiled over last year when it was revealed that Mr. Rove had been involved in the the disclosure of the identity of Valerie Wilson, an undercover operative for the Central Intelligence Agency, despite earlier public denials by Mr McClellan.

More recently, Mr. McClellan was yelled at, during a briefing, by an NBC correspondent, David Gregory, who was frustrated by how little information was being made available after Vice President Dick Cheney shot a hunting partner. Mr. Gregory later apologized to Mr. McClellan.

"I don't know whether or not the press corps realizes this, but his is a challenging assignment dealing with you all on a regular basis," Mr. Bush said today.

Speculation about possible replacements for Mr. McClellan had focused Tuesday on Tony Snow, a commentator for Fox News and a former speechwriter for the president's father. Officials have spoken with Mr. Snow to see if he would be interested in the job, said two people with knowledge of the discussion who were granted anonymity so they could speak freely about a matter the White House did not want to be publicly known.

One of them said Mr. Snow had been contacted very recently about the job, and both said they did not believe Mr. Snow was the only person the White House was considering. Other potential successors who have been mentioned by Republicans include Rob Nichols, the former Treasury spokesman, and Victoria Clarke, the former Pentagon spokeswoman.

Rove stripped of direct policy duties

By Edward Alden, Caroline Daniel and Holly Yeager in Washington - Published: April 19 2006

President George W. Bush continued his overhaul of White House staff yesterday, accepting the resignation of Scott McClellan, his press secretary, and stripping Karl Rove, his chief political strategist, of any direct policy responsibilities.

The moves are part of a reshuffle aimed at reviving Mr Bush’s second term and helping the Republican party right its fortunes before November’s mid-term elections, in which Republican control of Congress could be threatened.

Frank Luntz, a Republican political consultant, said: "Finally, the White House has recognised what everyone else knew for months now - things needed to change."

He said a new White House spokesman, as well as elevated roles for Josh Bolten, Mr Bush’s new chief of staff, and Rob Portman, named to replace him as head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), marked a new focus on the importance of communications. "If this administration wants to save its Republican allies, it will continue to focus on message delivery."

The moves - creating a more dominant chief of staff, with clearer lines of reporting authority - are a clear indicator of the leading role that Mr Bolten, who took his new job on Monday, intends to play in the White House.

While Mr Rove will remain one of three deputies to Mr Bolten and stay in charge of political strategy, the policy responsibilities he acquired after guiding Mr Bush’s 2004 re-election will be taken over by Joel Kaplan, the former deputy to Mr Bolten at the OMB.

The redefinition of Mr Rove’s role can be read either as a savvy political move to focus Republican attention on the forthcoming elections, or a slap on the wrist for a man who remains under investigation in the Valerie Plame leak case and has been blamed in part for Mr Bush’s falling popularity.

Democrats embraced the second interpretation. "After having his hand in nearly every bad Bush policy decision and nearly every scandal that has consumed the Bush White House, it is not surprising that Karl Rove was demoted this morning," said Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr McClellan has been the public face of the White House for nearly three years, joking and sparring daily with the White House press corps. But the relationship has become increasingly fractious, with some reporters accusing him of misleading them over the Plame investigation and the prewar intelligence on Iraq.

While Mr Bush yesterday characterised the resignation as a personal decision, Mr McClellan had earlier this year told other White House officials that he did not have plans to leave. That in part had led Trent Duffy, former deputy spokesman, to resign.

Insiders said that the resignation was forced by Mr Bolten as part of his push to bring in a new team and re-makethe public face of the White House. - ft.com

A summary of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on "Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction" was released on July 18, 2003, ten days after President Bush allegedly authorized the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to share similar information with New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

What the President Leaked

Authorized Leak or Declassification?

The Documents Behind the Bush Administration's Intelligence
Disclosure on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction

For more information contact:
Thomas Blanton - 202/994-7000

For more information
CIA Whites Out Controversial Estimate on Iraq Weapons
July 9, 2004

Washington D.C., 7 April 2006 - Only 14 of the full 93 pages of the National Intelligence Estimate that President Bush authorized Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to disclose to New York Times reporter Judith Miller has actually been officially declassified, according to a posting today on the Web site of the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

The estimate has apparently been released in four forms:

  • one, a white paper that purportedly represented the substance of the estimate but actually left out most of the dissents and caveats;
  • second, an abstract that Mr. Libby apparently used to brief New York Times reporter Judith Miller on July 8, 2003;
  • third, the July 18, 2003, release by the White House of the "key judgments" section and parts of the dissents;
  • and fourth, a Freedom of Information Act release to the National Security Archive on June 1, 2004, that included two additional pages but left the vast majority of the estimate whited out.

The July 18, 2003, "key judgments" document was declassified and released by the Bush administration just ten days after President Bush authorized Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to disclose similar information to Miller, according to Libby's testimony before a grand jury.

"The ship of state is the only vessel that leaks from the top," commented Thomas Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive.

Also included in today's posting is the October 2002 unclassified presentation on "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs," with the seal of the Director of Central Intelligence on the cover, and a version of the NIE released by the CIA on June 1, 2004, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive. The document was almost completely redacted by CIA censors. All of the text except for the two title pages and the two pages listing National Intelligence Council members had previously been disclosed in the July 2003 release.


National Intelligence Estimate - CIA declassification release
Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction
October 2002, Top Secret
Source: CIA declassification release under FOIA, June 1, 2004

National Intelligence Estimate - White House declassification release
Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction
October 2002, Top Secret (Extract)
Source: White House, July 18, 2003

National Intelligence Estimate - CIA Unclassified version
Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs
October 2002, Unclassified
Source: CIA public release, October 2002

White House advisor Karl Rove and his wife Darby, left, arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005 for President Bush's inaugural. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Rove makes fifth grand jury appearance

posted by: Sara Gandy Web Producer 9news.com Created: 4/26/2006 WASHINGTON (AP) -

Top White House aide Karl Rove arrived at the federal courthouse Wednesday for his fifth grand jury appearance in the Valerie Plame affair.

Escorted by his lawyer Robert D. Luskin, Rove went into the building for a closed-door session with the panel and Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is heading up the inquiry into who leaked Plame's status as a CIA officer to the news media in 2003.

Among other things the prosecutor is investigating why Rove originally failed to disclose to prosecutors that he had talked to Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper about the CIA status of Plame.

The undercover CIA officer was outed days after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar intelligence on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons have been found in Iraq.

Earlier Wednesday, Rove consulted with his private lawyers in preparation of his afternoon grand jury appearance. People familiar with the case, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, said Rove was to answer questions about evidence that has emerged since his last grand jury appearance last fall.

That new evidence includes information that Rove's attorney had conversations with Time magazine reporter Viveca Novak during a critical time in the case.

Months before Rove acknowledged speaking to Cooper about the CIA status of Plame, Novak told Rove's lawyer the White House aide might have disclosed Plame's CIA work to Cooper.

Fitzgerald has told Rove's legal team recently that he has not made any decision on whether to charge the presidential aide and Rove hasn't received a target notification that would indicate he is likely to be indicted, the people said.

His grand jury appearance comes a week after Rove, the architect of Bush's election victories, gave up his policy duties at the White House as part of an administration remake to return him to a fulltime focus on politics.

Wednesday's session is believed to be only the second time Fitzgerald has met with the grand jury which is examining questions left unanswered in the Plame affair. The only other time Fitzgerald was seen going before the new panel was Dec. 7.

An earlier grand jury expired Oct. 28, the day it handed up an indictment against Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI. Libby is scheduled to go on trial next January.

Rove's legal problems stem from the fact that it was not until more than a year into Fitzgerald's criminal investigation that the White House adviser told the prosecutor about his contact with Cooper regarding Plame.

Rove says he had forgotten the Cooper conversation, which occurred several days before Plame's identity was revealed by conservative columnist Robert Novak.

Rove and Novak, who is not related to Viveca Novak, also had discussed the CIA status of Wilson's wife.

Other unfinished business in the probe focuses on the source who provided Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward information about Plame, whose CIA identity was leaked to Novak in July 2003.

Plame's identity was exposed eight days after her husband alleged that the U.S. government had manipulated prewar intelligence to exaggerate an Iraqi nuclear threat.

Woodward says his source, who he has not publicly identified, provided the information about Wilson's wife, several weeks before Novak learned of Plame's identity. The Post reporter, who never wrote a story, was interviewed by Fitzgerald late last year.

Plame working to oust Iran WMD program?
Ousting her allowed Neocons their future anti-Iran war-rhetoric

Outed CIA officer was working on Iran, intelligence sources say

Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: February 13, 2006

The unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson by White House officials in 2003 caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad, RAW STORY has learned.

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program.

While many have speculated that Plame was involved in monitoring the nuclear proliferation black market, specifically the proliferation activities of Pakistan's nuclear "father," A.Q. Khan, intelligence sources say that her team provided only minimal support in that area, focusing almost entirely on Iran.

Plame declined to comment through her husband, Joseph Wilson.

Valerie Plame first became a household name when her identity was disclosed by conservative columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. The column came only a week after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, had written an op-ed for the New York Times asserting that White House officials twisted pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Her outing was seen as political retaliation for Wilson's criticism of the Administration's claim that Iraq sought uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapons program.

Her case has drawn international attention and resulted in the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is leading the probe, is still pursuing Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Advisor to President Bush, Karl Rove. His investigation remains open.

The damages

Intelligence sources would not identify the specifics of Plame's work. They did, however, tell RAW STORY that her outing resulted in "severe" damage to her team and significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation.

Plame's team, they added, would have come in contact with A.Q. Khan's network in the course of her work on Iran.

While Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss has not submitted a formal damage assessment to Congressional oversight committees, the CIA's Directorate of Operations did conduct a serious and aggressive investigation, sources say.

Intelligence sources familiar with the damage assessment say that what is called a "counter intelligence assessment to agency operations" was conducted on the orders of the CIA's then-Deputy Director of the Directorate of Operations, James Pavitt.

Former CIA counterintelligence officer Larry Johnson believes that such an assessment would have had to be done for the CIA to have referred the case to the Justice Department.

"An exposure like that required an immediate operational and counter intelligence damage assessment," Johnson said. "That was done. The results were written up but not in a form for submission to anyone outside of CIA."

One former counterintelligence official described the CIA's reasons for not seeking Congressional assistance on the matter as follows: "[The CIA Leadership] made a conscious decision not to do a formal inquiry because they knew it might become public," the source said. "They referred it [to the Justice Department] instead because they believed a criminal investigation was needed."

The source described the findings of the assessment as showing "significant damage to operational equities."

Another counterintelligence official, also wishing to remain anonymous due to the nature of the subject matter, described "operational equities" as including both people and agency operations that involve the "cover mechanism," "front companies," and other CIA officers and assets.

Three intelligence officers confirmed that other CIA non-official cover officers were compromised, but did not indicate the number of people operating under non-official cover that were affected or the way in which these individuals were impaired. None of the sources would say whether there were American or foreign casualties as a result of the leak.

Several intelligence officials described the damage in terms of how long it would take for the agency to recover. According to their own assessment, the CIA would be impaired for up to "ten years" in its capacity to adequately monitor nuclear proliferation on the level of efficiency and accuracy it had prior to the White House leak of Plame Wilson's identity.

A.Q. Khan

While Plame's work did not specifically focus on the A.Q. Khan ring, named after Pakistani scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the network and its impact on nuclear proliferation and the region should not be minimized, primarily because the Khan network was the major supplier of WMD technology for Iran.

Dr. Khan instituted the proliferation market during the 1980s and supplied many countries in the Middle East and elsewhere with uranium enrichment technology, including Libya, Iran and North Korea. Enriched uranium is used to make weaponized nuclear devices.

The United States forced the Pakistan government to dismiss Khan for his proliferation activities in March of 2001, but he remains largely free and acts as an adviser to the Pakistani government.

According to intelligence expert John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org, U.S. officials were not aware of the extent of the proliferation until around the time of Khan's dismissal.

"It slowly dawned on them that the collaboration between Pakistan, North Korea and Iran was an ongoing and serious problem," Pike said. "It was starting to sink in on them that it was one program doing business in three locations and that anything one of these countries had they all had."

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistan became the United States' chief regional ally in the war on terror.

The revelation that Iran was the focal point of Plame's work raises new questions as to possible other motivating factors in the White House's decision to reveal the identity of a CIA officer working on tracking a WMD supply network to Iran, particularly when the very topic of Iran's possible WMD capability is of such concern to the Administration.

Related Raw Story articles by Larisa Alexandrovna

Spurious Attempt to Tie Iran/Iraq/Uranium Ledeen and Panorama Phase II Stalled Phase II and Feith OSP Runs off books missions/wmd political problem Senate Intel Chair Quietly Fixes Intel

Related update: The Washington Note reports that Wilson's Niger report contained elements about Iran. More here.

Plame working to oust Iran WMD program?

MSNBC confirms: Outed CIA agent was working on Iran

05/01/2006 @ 5:55 pm

Filed by RAW STORY

On Chris Matthews' Hardball Monday evening, just moments ago, MSNBC correspondent David Shuster confirmed what RAW STORY first reported in February: that outed CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was working on Iran at the time she was outed (Watch the video of Shuster's report here).

RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna broke the story earlier this year, which went unnoticed by the mainstream media (Read our full story).

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.


MSNBC transcript follows (we apologize for the caps; they were in the original).


Matthews: Ever since the White House/CIA leak scandal erupted, the nation has seen photographs here and there of Valerie Wilson, the CIA operative whose identity was blown. Now, thanks to a black tie event Saturday night, we have some video. Hardball correspondent David Shuster brings it to us and has the latest on the CIA leak case.

(David Shuster)



Wilson: "Well the CIA I think has responded first by asking the Justice Department to open an investigation and my judgment the leak of national security information is a betrayal a minimum of one's security clearance and certainly of the public trust and I for one can't understand how Mr. Rove remains on the payroll of the US Government."








President George W. Bush: "the Iranians should not have a nuclear weapon, the capacity to make a nuclear weapon, or the knowledge as to how to make a nuclear weapon. And now that we've got the goal in mind, we're working on the tactics."


Madeleine Albright: "The world is in total turmoil right now. Worst I've ever seen it. (reporter) How do we get out of it? Whats the number one issue as far as whats related to that turmoil? (Albright) Iraq. (reporter) What do we do about it? (Albright walks away)



War-mongering & profiteering

All very cozy: Arrogant Fuhrer Bush Lampoons Self at Press Corp Dinner

Associated Press reports that President Bush and a look-alike, sound-alike sidekick poked fun at the president and fellow politicians at the White House Correspondents' Association

"Ladies and gentlemen, I feel chipper tonight. I survived the White House shake-up," the president said.

But impersonator Steve Bridges stole many of the best lines. Vice President Dick Cheney and his hunting accident were targets of his humor on a couple of occasions. A Who's Who of power and celebrity in the audience - invited by media organizations to their dinner tables - drew much attention. Joining ABC were former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, the CIA officer at the heart of a leak investigation that has reached deep into the White House.

The 24 trillion dollar question: Why would Bush betray the identity of a CIA agent whos organisation was involed in hiding the Khan Network ...why did Bush choose to expose her?

business as usual: Iran is useful:


Just like Iraq before it [Saddam was an asset of the CIA], The US [see Bush snr] secretly supplied knowledge to Iran [have they also done this in North Korea?]

see: Dr Kelly spooked by CIA's Plame and others

spot the puppet!
AQ Khan case deals blow to nuclear black market

Thursday, February 05, 2004 Pakistan Daily Times AP release VIENNA:

The nuclear black market that supplied Iran, Libya and North Korea is small, tightly knit and appears to have been badly hurt by the exposure of its reputed head, the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme, diplomats and weapons experts said.

They describe the network that circumvented international controls to sell blueprints, hardware and know-how to countries running covert nuclear programmes as involving people closely dependent on one another.

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, who founded Pakistan's nuclear programme, is emerging as the head of the ring believed to have been the main supplier through middlemen over three continents. Pakistani government officials have revealed that Dr Khan acknowledged transferring nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. In some cases, he smuggled centrifuges and other sophisticated equipment to those countries on chartered planes, one of the officials said Tuesday.

The sales, during the late 1980s and in the early and mid-1990s, were motivated by "personal greed and ambition," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official added that the black market dealings were not authorised by the Pakistani government. European diplomats also said it appeared unlikely President Pervez Musharraf sanctioned the deals. But with Dr Khan's closeness to previous governments, senior civilian and military officials before Mr Musharraf's takeover in 1999 likely knew of some of the dealings, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity in interviews Monday and this past week.

They described Dr Khan as the head of an operation likely involved in supplying both North Korea and Iran with uranium-enrichment technology and hardware in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Libya was also a customer, receiving an array of nuclear-related equipment and know-how that included blueprints of a nuclear bomb handed over to US and British intelligence officials late last month, they said. Middlemen responsible for meshing supply and demand were located in European capitals, Asia and the Middle East, they said, typically working with Iranian, Libyan and North Korean diplomats stationed abroad. These would identify their country's needs and the intermediaries would then procure the orders, often ordering sensitive parts from manufacturers unaware of the end destination or purpose of what they were selling, they said. Most of those companies were in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other West European countries with the technological expertise to make finely machined centrifuge parts and other components.

Hundreds of millions of dollars changed hands over the past 15 years, in deals as easy to hide as a floppy disk storing sensitive drawings, or as bulky as thousands of centrifuge parts for nuclear enrichment, a key part of building a weapon, the diplomats said. A key beneficiary appears to be Dr Khan, whose salary as a civil servant cannot account for what Pakistani newspapers say are far-flung real estate holdings and other assets worth millions of dollars.

Dr Khan, who has not spoken publicly about the charges but has been prevented from leaving Pakistan, has denied during interrogations with investigators that he made the transfers for personal gain. Pakistani authorities began investigating Dr Khan and key associates on information from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency that some Pakistani nuclear scientists helped Iran and Libya get centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi revealed - and renounced - his weapons and programmes of mass destruction in December. Iran continues to maintain it has no nuclear weapons ambitions, but IAEA officials said Tehran has cooperated in revealing the sources of its centrifuges.

US officials also suspect Pakistan bartered nuclear secrets in exchange for North Korean missile technology, a charge Pakistan denies. American officials believe North Korea already has one or two nuclear bombs and could make several more within months. North Korea has never confirmed or denied having atomic weapons. While he has not been linked to the nuclear network headed by Khan, the case of Asher Karni, an Israeli businessman awaiting trial in the United States, offers a window on how those suspected of nuclear smuggling cover their tracks. Court records allege Mr Karni used a series of front companies and misleading shipping documents to buy detonation devices, whose possible uses include setting off nuclear weapons, from a Massachusetts company, then had them sent through New Jersey to South Africa and on to the United Arab Emirates and later to Pakistan. The fact that Mr Khan is now sidelined has, in combination with the world focus on interdiction and monitoring countries under suspicion, probably crippled the supply chain, the diplomats said. David Albright, a former Iraq nuclear weapons inspector, agreed. "There are still remnants, and that has to be watched, but this is a major victory for nonproliferation," he said. -AP

How CIA "protected" A.Q. Khan

Hasan Suroor - hindu.com - Aug 10, 2005

He was caught stealing designs from a Dutch uranium plant. Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers in a radio programme says the CIA saved Khan from going to prison.

LONDON: In a disclosure that is likely to embarrass American authorities, the former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers has revealed how the CIA protected the controversial Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and saved him from going to prison after he was caught stealing secret designs from a Dutch uranium plant in 1975.

Mr. Lubbers, who was Minister of Economic Affairs at the time, told a Dutch radio station on Tuesday that because of pressure from the CIA no action was taken against Dr. Khan and he was quietly allowed to return to Pakistan.

"Copying secret designs"

In a 35-minute programme on Radio Argos, which describes itself as the Dutch equivalent of the BBC, Mr. Lubbers said that Dr. Khan was then working for a company called FDO and his job allowed him access to the British-German-Dutch uranium enrichment facility, Urenco, in Almelo in the Netherlands. On one of his visits, he was allegedly found "copying" and taking away secret designs from Urenco. According to Mr. Lubbers, Dr. Khan was banned from entering Urenco and the matter was reported to the police but, surprisingly, the case was dropped and he was allowed to leave the country. He said he learnt later that the CIA told the Dutch authorities not to arrest him as they wanted to follow him in order to find out more about his activities relating to Pakistan's secret nuclear programme.

Hushed up

Mr. Lubbers also said that the information was kept away from the country's Parliament, and the "scandal" became public only in 1979 thanks to a Dutch TV programme. Legal proceedings were launched against Dr. Khan and he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment in absentia.

In 1985, Dr. Khan appealed against the judgement and the court ordered a retrial on grounds that proper procedures were not followed in the original trial. But, according to Mr. Lubbers, Dr. Khan was not put on trial a second time - again because of pressure from the CIA.

"A mistake"

Mr. Lubbers, who was Prime Minister then, was asked in the programme why his Government succumbed to CIA pressure. He admitted that, looking back, he believed it was a mistake but said at that time the political climate in Europe was such because of the Cold War "you had to listen to the Americans."

Gerard Legebeke, editor-in-chief of the programme in which Mr Lubbers was interviewed, told The Hindu that this was the first time such a senior Dutch political leader [Mr. Lubbers was Prime Minister for 12 years] had talked publicly about the CIA's role in protecting Dr. Khan at a time when American and European secret services were on his trail for smuggling nuclear material to build an atomic bomb for Pakistan.

He said that Dr. Khan, who had a Dutch wife, continued to "slip in and out of Holland illegally" and the secret services including the CIA knew about it.

Is Plame responsible for helping WMD proliferation?

flashback: In a televised confession Khan insisted he acted without authorization in selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, saying the proliferation took place between 1989 and 2000. Khan has been pardoned by President General Pervez Musharraf, and Pakistan has refused to hand him over to the US or the UN nuclear watchdog agency for questioning.

now consider: Bush has a NAZI past -

Documents in The National Archives and Library of Congress reveal that Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, served as a business partner of and U.S. banking operative for the financial architect of the Nazi war machine from 1926 until 1942, when Congress took aggressive action against Bush and his "enemy national" partners.

The documents also show that Bush and his colleagues, according to reports from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and FBI, tried to conceal their financial alliance with German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, a steel and coal baron who, beginning in the mid-1920s, personally funded Adolf Hitler's rise to power by the subversion of democratic principle and German law.

Furthermore, the declassified records demonstrate that Bush and his associates, who included E. Roland Harriman, younger brother of American icon W. Averell Harriman, and George Herbert Walker, President Bush's maternal great-grandfather, continued their dealings with the German industrial baron for nearly eight months after the U.S. entered the war.

John Buchanan [backed up]

Is the US setting Isreal up for a confrontation with or annihalation by Iran?

Retired Pakistani general says he told Iran to hit Israel in event of any attack

AP , ISLAMABAD Sunday, May 14, 2006,Page 4 - taipeitimes.com

Pakistan's former army chief says Iranian officials came to him for advice on heading off an attack on their nuclear facilities, and he in effect advised them to take a hostage -- Israel.

Retired General Mirza Aslam Beg said he suggested their government "make it clear that if anything happens to Iran, if anyone attacks it -- it doesn't matter who it is or how it is attacked -- that Iran's answer will be to hit Israel; the only target will be Israel."

Since Beg spoke of the encounter, echoes of his thinking have been heard in Iran, though whether they result directly from his advice isn't known.

Mohammed Ebrahim Dehghani, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, was quoted last week as saying that if "America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel."

The threat was disavowed the following day by Brigadier General Alireza Afshar, deputy to the chief of Iran's military staff, who said that it was Dehghani's "personal view and has no validity as far as the Iranian military officials are concerned."

"Make it clear that if anything happens to Iran, if anyone attacks it ... that Iran's answer will be to hit Israel; the only target will be Israel." Mirza Aslam Beg, retired Pakistani general

And on Tuesday, Israel's vice premier, Shimon Peres, warned that "Those who threaten to destroy are in danger of being destroyed."


In the interview that took place several weeks before these threats were exchanged, Beg said a delegation from the Iranian Embassy in Pakistan had come to his office in January, seeking advice as Western pressure mounted on Iran to abandon its nuclear effort. Beg said he offered lessons learned from his experience dealing with India's nuclear threat.

He said he told the Iranians, whom he did not identify, that Pakistan had suspected India of collaborating with Israel in planning an attack on its nuclear facilities. By then, Pakistan had the bomb too.

But both countries had adopted a strategy of ambiguity, he said, and Pakistan sent an emissary to India to warn that no matter who attacked it, Pakistan would retaliate against India.

"We told India frankly that this is the threat we perceive and this is the action we are taking and the action we will take. It was a real deterrent," he recalled telling the Iranians.

He said he also advised them to "attempt to degrade the defense systems of Israel," harass it through the Hamas government of the Palestinian Authority and the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, and put second-strike nuclear weapons on submarines.

Although analysts are divided on how soon Iran might have nuclear weapons, Beg said he is sure Iran has had enough time to develop them.

But he insists the Pakistani government didn't help, even though he says former prime minister Benazir Bhutto once told him the Iranians offered more than US$4 billion for the technology.

Ephraim Asculai, a former senior official with the Israel Atomic Agency Commission, said he didn't think Beg's remarks reflected official Pakistani policy. Asculai said he believed Iran learned more from Iraq than from Pakistan, recalling that as soon as the 1991 Gulf War broke out, Saddam Hussein fired missiles at Israel, even though it wasn't in the US-led coalition fighting Iraq.

Beg became army chief of staff in 1988, a year after Pakistan confirmed CIA estimates that it had nuclear weapons capability. He served until 1991 and now runs his own think tank. He speaks freely and in detail about the nuclear issue, but many critical blank spots remain and the subject remains one of great sensitivity, clouded by revelations in 2004 that A.Q. Khan, who pioneered Pakistan's nuclear bomb, sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The bigger picture has also changed radically. Pakistan is now a US ally in the war on terrorism, and Asculai said "Pakistani government officials have often suggested that they would be willing to have ties with Israel under certain conditions."

In the interview, Beg detailed nearly 20 years of Iranian approaches to obtain conventional arms and then technology for nuclear weapons. He described an Iranian visit in 1990, when he was army chief of staff. "They didn't want the technology. They asked: `Can we have a bomb?' My answer was: By all means you can have it but you must make it yourself. Nobody gave it to us," Beg said.

The US imposed sanctions on Pakistan in 1990, suspecting it was developing a nuclear bomb. In 1998, confirmation came with Pakistan's first nuclear weapons tests.

Although Beg insisted his government never gave Iran nuclear weapons, Pakistan now acknowledges that Khan sold Iran centrifuges to produce weapons-grade uranium, though without his government's knowledge.


In a televised confession Khan insisted he acted without authorization in selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, saying the proliferation took place between 1989 and 2000. Khan has been pardoned by President General Pervez Musharraf, and Pakistan has refused to hand him over to the US or the UN nuclear watchdog agency for questioning. According to Beg, Iran first sent emissaries to Pakistan in the latter years of its 1980-88 war with Iraq with a shopping list worth billions of dollars, mostly for spare parts for its air force.

It offered in return to underwrite the development plan of General Zia-ul Haq, then Pakistan's ruler.

"General Zia did not agree," he said.

Much of what Beg says cannot be independently confirmed, and the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Beg's version of events.

what do Pakistan get in return for its War on Terror complicity?

Dr Khan probe a 'closed chapter': FO hails APHC-Singh meeting

By Qudssia Akhlaque - ISLAMABAD, May 2 -2006: www.dawn.com

The Foreign Office on Tuesday declared that investigations into the Dr A.Q. Khan affair were over and as far as Pakistan was concerned the chapter was closed. "As far as we are concerned this chapter is closed," Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam stated in response to a question at a weekly news briefing.

The spokesperson asserted that the government had conducted thorough investigations into the affair and shared the information and conclusions with the International Atomic Energy Agency besides other countries, including the US. "Our cooperation has been appreciated both by the IAEA and the United States," she maintained.

In reply to a query, Ms Aslam said the Americans had not asked any questions about scientist Dr Mohammad Farooq, who was released last week. When asked if his release marked the end of Pakistan's investigations into the affair, she said: "I would presume that with Dr Farooq's release there is a closure to that."

The spokesperson said there was no question of giving the US direct access to any Pakistani scientist, saying: "We have repeatedly emphasised that, whatever information is required, questions can be forwarded to the government of Pakistan and we would get the answers. We would do the investigations and transmit this information."


Responding to a question, Ms Aslam said the government had no intention of designating the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its affiliate organisation as terrorist entities as done by the US. However, Pakistan would be legally bound to take action if they were placed on United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee's consolidated list, she said.

She said the US had approached the UNSC for designation of the organisations as terrorist outfits and for putting them on the committee's list.

"We do not put any of our entities on the terrorist list if the action is taken under the US domestic law," she said in reply to a question.


On All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders' planned meeting with the Indian prime minister, the spokesperson said: "This is part of the trilateral engagement in which Kashmiri leaders are meeting amongst themselves and the leaders of Pakistan and India, and we welcome it."

She said Pakistan had emphasised all along that it was important to involve the Kashmiri leaders in the peace process or at least have their association with the process.

She said the killing of 34 Hindus in Doda was unfortuunate, adding: "It is a terrorist act and we condemn it." She was confident that the incident would not have any impact on the peace process.

When asked about some lobbies in the Indian establishment wanting to derail the peace process, Ms Aslam replied: "I understand that the Indian government and Indian occupied Kashmir's administration would be carrying out investigations… I'm not in the business of conspiracy theories."

"As far as we know, China did not intervene during the Kargil conflict," she said when asked about an Indian army genera's claim in this regard.


Ms Aslam, who participated in the inaugural session of Pakistan-US strategic dialogue in Washington last week, said various aspects of the bilateral relationship were reviewed during the meeting and both sides agreed to deepen and broaden it.

She said the foreign secretary and his US counterpart had decided that the working groups on different subjects would meet over the next two months. This, she said, would follow another round of talks between the foreign secretary and US Under-Secretary Nicholas Burns. "We expect progress once the working groups meet," she said.

In reply to a question, she said the issue of mining and fencing parts of the Afghanistan border was discussed during the meeting.

She underlined that cross-border movement was taking place from both ends, saying people from Afghanistan were also coming into Pakistan and creating trouble here.

"While we are doing all we can, we expect the other side to also initiate action and if they want they can mine the border to deter this movement," she stated.

She said the Pakistan-Afghanistan-US joint military exercises that started on Tuesday were aimed at promoting coordination among the three countries.


Responding to a question regarding Pakistan's readiness to open its airspace and airfields to Dutch aircraft active in Afghanistan, she emphasised that such cooperation would not be part of any military operations in the neighbouring country.

Pointing to the fact that the Netherlands was deploying additional troops in Afghanistan under the Nato-Isaf command, the spokesperson said Pakistan had been providing logistic support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the International Security Assistance Force in their security operations in Afghanistan.

She underlined that Pakistani facilities were not meant for military action in Afghanistan but as a transit point, adding that Isaf had been using part of the base in Karachi for its forward mounting operations to lift their supplies.

"If we have similar cooperation with the Netherlands it is in that context," she said, adding that Dutch troops in Afghanistan were in any case not involved in military operations but were there to provide security cover.

The spokesperson told a questioner that the government had no confirmation of reports that India would be stationing 12 MiG aircraft at a base in Tajikistan. However, she said Pakistan was aware of the fact that India was helping Tajikistan develop an airfield.


Responding to question regarding disappointment expressed by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on the role of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Ms Aslam said that did not mean a change in the country's policy. "We want Saarc to be an effective and vibrant organisation and if progress in the context of Saarc is slow, naturally there is disappointment." She maintained that Pakistan was working with other countries to make Saarc successful.

She said Pakistan was heartened by the interest shown by a number of countries in the region and outside it to join the organisation as observers. "That shows that Saarc as an organisation is gaining credibility."

In reply to a question, she said: "The Saarc Charter says that political disputes cannot be discussed but, realistically, if Saarc were to do that perhaps it would help the member states to discuss a number of issues at this forum, which is important to all the countries." She recalled that the Forum of Eminent Persons formed to look into ways of making Saarc more effective had recommended that the association should be able to discuss political disputes and help member countries resolve them.


The spokesperson said the defence agreement signed with the United Arab Emirates last week would increase, promote and deepen cooperation in the field between the two countries. She said the agreement would cover joint military training and exercises, research, exchange of information, security in defence policy coordination and defence procurement. It would pave way for more systematic exchanges between the two military establishments, she said.


Replying to a question, Ms Aslam said Pakistan and Iran were ready to develop a gas pipeline bilaterally as well. She said Pakistan was looking at both bilateral and trilateral tracks. If for some reason India was unable to join, the pipeline could be built from Iran to Pakistan, she said, adding: "However, we would be very happy if India is still part of this project." "We have no indication that India is not part of this gas pipeline anymore," she said.

Rove / Abramoff?

Abramoff Visits in White House Logs Are Linked to Rove and a Budget Aide

By PHILIP SHENON WASHINGTON, May 10 2006 - nytimes.com/ Newly disclosed White House visitor logs involving the lobbyist Jack Abramoff refer to a 2001 visit in which Mr. Abramoff talked with Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, about hiring two people for jobs at the Interior Department, a Bush administration official said Wednesday night.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the Justice Department's continuing investigation of Mr. Abramoff's illegal lobbying, said that neither person got a job at the Interior Department, an agency of special interest to Mr. Abramoff because of his multimillion lobbying work on behalf of Indian tribe gambling operations.

The administration official said there was nothing improper about the March 2001 meeting with Mr. Rove, whose ties to Mr. Abramoff have come under review by federal investigators in recent months.

The official said the visitor logs also referred to a 2004 meeting in which Mr. Abramoff talked with an official at the Office of Management and Budget to discuss his hopes of buying the Old Post Office building in Washington from the federal government.

The proposed purchase, which never occurred, is a focus of criminal charges brought against another former White House budget official, David F. Safavian. Mr. Safavian faces trial this month on charges of lying about his relationship to Mr. Abramoff, who pleaded guilty in January to charges of seeking to corrupt public officials.

The administration official's comments came several hours after the Secret Service made the visitor logs public in a settlement of a freedom-of-information lawsuit filed by a private legal group.

The release of the two pages of visitor logs appeared to raise as many questions as it answered, since White House spokesmen declined to explain why the logs did not refer to a number of other White House visits by Mr. Abramoff that they had previously acknowledged.

The two logs referred only to meetings in March 2001 and January 2004 but did not identify the White House officials that Mr. Abramoff met, nor the purpose of the visits.

A White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, said she could offer no explanation of why the records released Wednesday did not reflect all of the visits by Mr. Abramoff that the White House had previously acknowledged. Asked if officials might have approved Mr. Abramoff's entry without requiring him to register at White House security posts, Ms. Healy declined comment. "I have nothing for you on that," she said.

Two other administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of rules that generally bar them from speaking to reporters, said the White House had decided that the settlement of the lawsuit did not require other, more complete visitor logs to be made public.

They said the more complete logs, known within the White House as Waves records, an acronym for the Workers Appointments and Visitors Entry System, would have identified the other visits by Mr. Abramoff.

The conservative group that sought the logs in the lawsuit, Judicial Watch, which has often championed open-government causes, suggested that it might return to court. The group's president, Tom Fitton, said the White House had decided to "cherry-pick the information."

Rove indicted?

Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators

By Jason Leopold t r u t h o u t | Report Saturday 13 May 2006

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than half a day Friday at the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm representing Karl Rove.

During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning.

Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, did not return a call for comment. Sources said Fitzgerald was in Washington, DC, Friday and met with Luskin for about 15 hours to go over the charges against Rove, which include perjury and lying to investigators about how and when Rove discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative and whether he shared that information with reporters, sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said.

It was still unknown Saturday whether Fitzgerald charged Rove with a more serious obstruction of justice charge. Sources close to the case said Friday that it appeared very likely that an obstruction charge against Rove would be included with charges of perjury and lying to investigators.

An announcement by Fitzgerald is expected to come this week, sources close to the case said. However, the day and time is unknown. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the special prosecutor was unavailable for comment. In the past, Samborn said he could not comment on the case.

The grand jury hearing evidence in the Plame Wilson case met Friday on other matters while Fitzgerald spent the entire day at Luskin's office. The meeting was a closely guarded secret and seems to have taken place without the knowledge of the media.

As TruthOut reported Friday evening, Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.

Details of Rove's discussions with the president and Bolten have spread through the corridors of the White House, where low-level staffers and senior officials were trying to determine how the indictment would impact an administration that has been mired in a number of high-profile political scandals for nearly a year, said a half-dozen White House aides and two senior officials who work at the Republican National Committee.

Speaking on condition of anonymity Friday night, sources confirmed Rove's indictment was imminent. These individuals requested anonymity saying they were not authorized to speak publicly about Rove's situation. A spokesman in the White House press office said they would not comment on "wildly speculative rumors."

Rove's announcement to President Bush and Bolten comes more than a month after he alerted the new chief of staff to a meeting his attorney had with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in which Fitzgerald told Luskin that his case against Rove would soon be coming to a close and that he was leaning toward charging Rove with perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators, according to sources close to the investigation.

A few weeks after he spoke with Fitzgerald, Luskin arranged for Rove to return to the grand jury for a fifth time to testify in hopes of fending off an indictment related to Rove's role in the CIA leak, sources said.

That meeting was followed almost immediately by an announcement by newly-appointed White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten of changes in the responsibilities of some White House officials, including Rove, who was stripped of his policy duties and would no longer hold the title of deputy White House chief of staff.

The White House said Rove would focus on the November elections and his change in status in no way reflected his fifth appearance before the grand jury or the possibility of an indictment.

But since Rove testified two weeks ago, the White House has been coordinating a response to what is sure to be the biggest political scandal it has faced thus far: the loss of a key political operative who has been instrumental in shaping White House policy on a wide range of domestic issues.

Rove testified that he first found out about Plame Wilson from reading a newspaper report in July 2003 and only after the story was published did he share damaging information about her CIA status with other reporters.

However, evidence has surfaced during the course of the two-year-old investigation that shows Rove spoke with at least two reporters about Plame Wilson prior to the publication of the column.

The explanation Rove provided to the grand jury - that he was dealing with more urgent White House matters and therefore forgot - has not convinced Fitzgerald that Rove has been entirely truthful in his testimony and resulted in the indictment.

Some White House staffers said it's the uncertainty of Rove's status in the leak case that has made it difficult for the administration's domestic policy agenda and that the announcement of an indictment and Rove's subsequent resignation, while serious, would allow the administration to move forward on a wide range of issues.

"We need to start fresh and we can't do that with the uncertainty of Karl's case hanging over our heads," said one White House aide. "There's no doubt that it will be front page news if and when (an indictment) happens. But eventually it will become old news quickly. The key issue here is that the president or Mr. Bolten respond to the charges immediately, make a statement and then move on to other important policy issues and keep that as the main focus going forward."

Cheney in deep doo doo?

CIA Leak Court Filing Focuses on Cheney

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer 14th May 2006 - WASHINGTON - news.yahoo.com

In a new court filing, the prosecutor in the CIA leak case revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney made handwritten references to CIA officer Valerie Plame - albeit not by name - before her identity was publicly exposed.

The new court filing is the second in little more than a month by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald mentioning Cheney as being closely focused with his then-chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, on Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, who is married to Plame.

With the two court filings, Fitzgerald has pointed to an important role for the vice president in the weeks leading up to the leaking of Plame's identity.

In the latest court filing late Friday, Fitzgerald said he intends to introduce at Libby's trial in January a copy of Wilson's op-ed article in The New York Times "bearing handwritten notations by the vice president." The article was published on July 6, 2003, eight days before Plame's identity was exposed by conservative columnist Bob Novak.

The notations "support the proposition that publication of the Wilson Op Ed acutely focused the attention of the vice president and the defendant - his chief of staff - on Mr. Wilson, on the assertions made in the article and on responding to those assertions."

The article containing Cheney's notes "reflects the contemporaneous reaction of the vice president to Mr. Wilson's Op Ed article," the prosecutor said. "This is relevant to establishing some of the facts that were viewed as important by the defendant's immediate superior, including whether Mr. Wilson's wife had 'sent him on a junket,' the filing states.

The reference is to the fact that the CIA sent Wilson on a trip to Africa in 2002 to check out a report that Iraq had made attempts to acquire uranium yellowcake from Niger.

Wilson concluded that it was highly doubtful an agreement to purchase uranium had been made.

The Bush administration used the intelligence on supposed efforts by Iraq to acquire uranium from Africa to bolster its case for going to war.

After the invasion, with the Bush White House under pressure because no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, Wilson wrote the op ed piece for The Times. In it, he accused the Bush administration of exaggerating prewar intelligence to exaggerate an Iraqi threat from weapons of mass destruction.

Defending the administration against Wilson's accusations, Libby and presidential adviser Karl Rove promoted the idea that Wilson's wife, Plame, had sent him on the trip to Africa. Administration critics have said such a move was an attempt to undercut Wilson's credibility.

Berlusconi in deep doo doo?

Italian Pay-off From Niger Forgery?

By Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere, New America Media Posted on May 15, 2006, Alternet

Italian journalists and parliamentary investigators are hot on the trail of how pre-Iraq War Italian forged documents were delivered to the White House alleging that Saddam Hussein had obtained yellowcake uranium ore from Niger.

New links implicating Italian companies and individuals with then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi now raise the question of whether Berlusconi received a payback as part of the deal -- namely, a Pentagon contract to build the U.S. president's special fleet of helicopters.

The yellowcake story in the United States has long been linked to the ongoing investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Plame's diplomat husband Joe Wilson had probed the Niger connection and concluded that the Bush administration was twisting intelligence reports to fit its case for war.

Two people -- Carlo Rossella and Giovanni Castellaneta -- are at the center of Italian inquiries into the transfer of the yellowcake dossier from the SISMI, the Italian intelligence agency, to the White House.

According to the influential Rome-based La Repubblica, Carlo Rossella -- at the time editor-in-chief of Berlusconi's Panorama, one of Italy's largest weeklies -- delivered the dossier in the autumn of 2002 to the U.S. Embassy in Rome. Rossella's actions were puzzling because its top investigative reporter, Elisabetta Burba, was in the midst of discounting the file as a gross falsification.

Besides directing Panorama, Rossella -- once a foreign policy advisor to Berlusconi -- had been considered a candidate to direct RAI, Italy's state broadcasting system.

A more direct connection to Berlusconi is Giovanni Castellaneta, current Italian ambassador to the United States and Berlusconi's former national security adviser.

According to La Repubblica, Nicola Pollari, the head of SISMI, tried to dispel the CIA's misgivings about the authenticity of the yellowcake papers and failed. Castellaneta then arranged for Pollari to bypass the CIA and meet directly with then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley, Rice's chief deputy and currently national security advisor. The meeting took place on Sept. 9, 2002, in the White House, and has been confirmed by White House officials.

It was after this meeting that the story of the yellowcake uranium ore from Niger took off. In late September, CIA director George Tenet and Secretary of State Colin Powell cited the attempted yellowcake purchase from Niger in separate classified hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In advance of President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address, Hadley asked for the CIA's approval to include the Niger claim in the president's speech. Even though the CIA had explicitly excised the claim from a prior address given by the president and now repeated its misgivings to Hadley, Bush ended up saying in his speech that, "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Bush attributed this intelligence to the British government. No mention was made of any connections between the Italian and American governments.

What did the Berlusconi government get in return for providing the Bush administration with a convenient "smoking gun" to attack Iraq? At the end of the yellowcake trail may be the prestigious contract an Italian firm won to manufacture Marine One -- the fleet of presidential helicopters. In January 2005, the U.S. Navy awarded the contract for the construction of 23 new Marine One helicopters to AgustaWestland. Marketing itself as an Anglo-Italian firm, AgustaWestland is wholly owned by Finmeccanica, Italy's largest defense conglomerate.

The choice of AgustaWestland for Marine One surprised most industry observers because U.S.-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. was the heavy favorite. Sikorsky patented the first helicopter design in 1939 and built virtually every president's helicopter since 1957. President Eisenhower regularly flew in a Sikorsky to his Gettysburg farm, and the Sikorsky that Nixon boarded when he resigned from the White House is now being restored for permanent display at the Nixon Library.

Not only did Sikorsky lose, but it lost to a foreign firm that has no problems selling its helicopters to the United States' adversaries. (See side bar, "Choppers for Sale, to Everyone")

As with the yellowcake dossier, the key figure in the Marine One contract is Gianni Castellaneta. When the Pentagon put the Marine One contract out for bid, Castellaneta was deputy chair of Finmeccanica and national security advisor to Prime Minister Berlusconi. By the time the contract was awarded, Castellaneta had been appointed Italy's ambassador to the United States.

Castellaneta proudly told U.S. Italia Weekly, "At noon President Bush received me for the official delivery of credentials. He didn't make me wait a single day. An exceptional courtesy."

Castellaneta's role in obtaining the Marine One contract has never been examined before, but according to Affari Italiani, Italy's first online daily, and disarmo.org, an Italian arms control advocacy group, Castellaneta has long managed the most sensitive dossiers in U.S.-Italian bilateral relations.

When Ambassador Castellaneta was asked about his role, the embassy press officer, Luca Ferrari said, "In his capacity as ambassador, representing all of Italy in the United States, the ambassador does not care to speak any more about Finmeccanica."

"Castellaneta's double role as ambassador and corporate businessman has come under scrutiny at various junctures," says Carlo Bonini, an Italian journalist who has extensively investigated the yellowcake affair. "His duality has inspired animated debate in the Italian Parliament, but due to the absolute majority of seats held by Berlusconi, the matter could never be fully discussed."

With center-left opposition leader Romano Prodi taking the helm of Italy's new government, the newly reconfigured Parliament is expected to open a probe into the "Yellowcake One" affair. For Italians, the main question is whether Berlusconi personally profited from the helicopter deal. For Americans, the question is whether the Bush administration paid the Italians back for providing the false intelligence that helped justify launching the war in Iraq.

Vatican links to the Iraq set-up?

Blair meets John Paull II & George W Bush and Chief Justice Roberts Leave the Red Mass with Pope Ratzinger.... Behind them you'll see Laura Bush and Condoleeza Rice.. is it still tradition for the Pope to issue a crusade?

Berlusconi = P2 [Masonic - vatican lodge]

BCCI scandal

Vatican links

The Vatican Bank was Banco Ambrosiano's main share-holder. Paul Marcinkus, head of the Vatican Bank from 1971 to 1989, was indicted in Italy in 1982 as an accessory in the $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, one of the major post-war financial scandals.

Banco Ambrosiano was accused of money laundering activities for the mafia and Propaganda Due (aka "P2"), an outlawed masonic lodge, led by neofascist Licio Gelli. P2 and its headmaster Licio Gelli worked with Gladio, the secret NATO anticommunist paramilitary organizations.

[ Gladio deliberately set up insider terror attacks on their own population...in order to justify tighter security and scapegoat any militant Socialists or Anarchists as communist / terrorist threats for political and finacial gain. Ring any bells?]

Marcinkus never came to trial in Italy, where courts ruled that as a Vatican employee he was immune from prosecution. He lived in retirement in Sun City, Arizona (US) until his death on February 21, 2006.

The Vatican Bank refused to admit legal responsibility for the Ambrosiano's downfall but did acknowledge "moral involvement", and paid $241m (£169m) to creditors. As of 2006, investigations are continuing concerning the murder of Ambrosiano's chairman, Roberto Calvi, which, according to Ernest Backes, former #3 of Clearstream, may have been linked to the death of Gérard Soisson, who used to work for Clearstream, a "bank of banks" which practices financial clearing. - source

Blair = [a rumoured Mason] further see connections to Mr B via fully paid holidays elitist hobnobbing, & Catholic conversion & David Mills, a British corporate lawyer & longtime partner of Tessa Jowell [Blairite MP] - worked for Berlusconi and PERJURED himself in court to receive £200,000



Captain Wardrobes

Down with Murder inc.