mad in pursuit: greed & arrogance

2004 political season

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9.3.04 Feith Office: Watch This Story Unfold

When I started hearing spy stories coming out of Douglas Feith's office at the Pentagon, I said to myself Ha! This is not about some lonely loser trying to make a few bucks by passing papers to Israel. Feith is a notorious neocon hawk, with complex ties to Israel (who sees Iran as their #1 enemy) and to the discredited nogoodnik Chalabi. I tried to write about this, but I couldn't get the threads to weave together.

But the reporters are beginning to see the larger picture. From Knight-Ridder:

Officials at the State Department, the CIA and other U.S. government agencies long have suspected that the Pentagon has pursued its own Middle East policy, aimed at overthrowing hostile regimes.

"Policy officials in the Pentagon repeatedly bypassed the normal interagency process, and there are questions about whether they also may have tried to mobilize Israel's political influence in Washington to lobby for some of their proposals, especially on Iraq and Iran," one of the administration officials said.

The Washington Post is also beginning to connect the dots.

Initially, news reports revealed that the FBI was investigating whether Lawrence A. Franklin -- a mid-level analyst specializing in Middle East issues in the Pentagon office of Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy -- had passed a draft presidential directive on Iran to AIPAC, and whether the group had passed the information to Israel. AIPAC is an influential lobbying group with close ties to the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The FBI probe is actually much broader, according to senior U.S. officials, and has been underway for at least two years. Several sources familiar with the case say the probe now extends to other Pentagon personnel who have a particular interest in assisting both Israel and Chalabi, the former Iraqi dissident who was long a Pentagon favorite but who has fallen out of favor with the U.S. government.


There appears to be at least two common threads in the multi-faceted investigation. First, the FBI is investigating whether the same people passed highly classified information to two disparate allies -- Chalabi and a pro-Israel lobbying group. Second, at least some of the intelligence in both instances included sensitive information about Iran.

This story should be watched carefully. It is secretive, backroom conniving like this that is characteristic of the Bush administration. Pentagon slides info under the door to Israel, who in turn lobbies Congress or the White House, as an ally, for us to get tougher with Iran. Then we will find ourselves again on the slippery slope to war. No, no, no.





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