Sunday, August 29, 2004

Sunday Supplement

Because some things can't wait until Wednesday...

As the story about the Israeli mole in the Defense Department, now generally acknowledged to be Iran anylyst Larry Franklin, unfolds, Josh Marshall, Laura Rozen and Paul Glastris offer more information about the wider scandals coming out of the office of Franklin's boss, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, the number three man at DoD, in a piece for the Washington Monthly.
Franklin, along with another colleague from Feith's office, a polyglot Middle East expert named Harold Rhode, were the two officials involved in the back-channel, which involved on-going meetings and contacts with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and other Iranian exiles, dissidents and government officials. Ghorbanifar is a storied figure who played a key role in embroiling the Reagan administration in the Iran-Contra affair. The meetings were both a conduit for intelligence about Iran and Iraq and part of a bitter administration power-struggle pitting officials at DoD who have been pushing for a hard-line policy of "regime change" in Iran, against other officials at the State Department and the CIA who have been counseling a more cautious approach.
It's quite a cast of characters. There's Ghorbanifar of Iran-Contra fame, our on again, off again man in Iraq, Ahmed Chaliabi, Franklin, of course, and Michael Ledeen, also connected to Iran-Contra and more recently noteworty as the father of Simone Ledeen, who joined the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and found herself in charge, without apparent qualifications, of the country's $13 billion budget.

The story is still emerging, but the range of interelated scandals and investigations is already Byzantine in its complexity. Digby, for instance, finds that...
...many interconnecting webs seem to lead to and through the forged Niger documents, Chalabi, "Clean Break" and Valerie Plame. It's got the earmarks of a John LeCarre novel and if it weren't so incredibly dangerous it would be amusing.
That, I suspect, barely scratches the surface.

The real subject of our Scorecard interest, though, is Doug Feith himself. His apparently intimate connections to almost everything that has gone wrong with Bushco defense and foreign policy simply boggles. Why does this man still have a job?

For that matter, why does his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, still have a job? Is his supervision of Feith part of the "superb" performance George Bush is so appreciative of?

If Rummy has known about the corruption, deception and espionage that seems to be standard operating procedure in Feith's office, criminal liability may well ensue. If he hasn't known about the activities of one of his chief deputies, his incompetence is manifest.

And with Feith reporting to Rumsfeld, and Rumsfeld accountable only to Bush, there are no more than two (and possibly fewer) degrees of separation between this den of un-American - indeed, anti-American - activity and the White House.

The explosive potential of this story can't be overestimated. Stay tuned...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home