Apr 26 2006
Major Update: I never noticed this March 2003 article before which claims that it was the VIPS who leaked the Niger forgeries to the IAEA (from the VIPS link below).
The leak to IAEA came from a 25-member group of former CIA analysts and agents who call themselves the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). One could probably think of a better name for their group, but maybe after working for the CIA the name is a description of the effect of working for the CIA. After 27 years of service, former CIA agent Ray McGovern comments on the documents, â€œItâ€™s been cooked to a recipe, and the recipe is high policy.â€ He went on to say, â€œIt goes against the whole ethic of secrecy and going through channels, and going to the (inspector general).
McGovern apparently did not deny the claim his grouped leaked the CIA information. This should be evidence of a serious crime if true. The Niger Forgeries were in the posession of Valerie Plame’s section of the CIA for many months, hidden away in a safe. Then at some point they were brought out of ‘hiding’ and given to State. I believe it was after the IAEA had them (not sure). But what is clear is this was US intelligence leaked to a foreign organization. How can ex-CIA agents be admitting they leaked intelligence to a foreign agency and get away with it?
Another name in the article: Senator Jay Rockefeller.
Addendum: Now I am thinking this could be shady reporting. The quotes in the article above from McGovern are in this AP article from the same period. Still, I would wonder about the claim the VIPS gave the intel to the IAEA – given this article also calls on the CIA to leak. And check out Mark Coffey’s analysis on the legality of ex-CIA discussions with the press. Fascinating.
Update: Ray McGovern (leader of the ex-CIA member group VIPS) is in the news again today, claiming the US is guilty of war crimes, all wrapped up in the cloth of a deeply religous believer in Jesus Christ. – end update
*** Welcome Powerline readers (and yes, Powerline has been on this story for a long, long time). Coincidentally, Michael Ledeen has an article up hinting that Nixon Waterloo (Watergate) was a CIA action against a President they did not like (with tongue apparently planted in cheek) ***
If I was the paranoid kind, I would think ex-CIA agents and NSC members are trying to instigate a bloodless coup d’etat. I am not there yet. But with McCarthy’s firing as the first publicized peron caught (or should we say confessing) to discussing classified matters with reporters without authorization (is that accurately worded so McCarthy lawyer Cobb can’t pull a clinton-esque spin job?) it is interesting to see who is coming out and about in the media.
We saw ex-CIA member Ray McGovern of the rabid leftwing group VIPS on PBS, we read ex-NSC member Rand Beers (number 5 on the Clinton NSC council connected to NSC members Wilson and McCarthy and Bergler – The Scandalers) vouching for McCarthy’s, we saw John Kerry (who had Wilson, Beers and Begler on his presidential campaign) equivocating about good leaks, and of course we had ex-CIA agent crazy Larry Johnson everwhere.
So am I surprised more ex-CIA folks are hitting the media circuit in their final attempt to take out George Bush (somehow missing the point he is a lame duck for the next three years, never to face election again)? Not really. But they seem to be everwhere. I was reading Seixon’s post on the CBS 60 Minutes story about the Niger Forgeries (it’s like Dan Rather never left!) when I noticed the story is a replay of the story Joe Wilson tried to pawn off on the country back in 2003:
We turn to CBSâ€™ 60 Minutes report from Sunday where former CIA official Tyler Drumheller, who was head of covert operations in Europe, tells it just like CBS wants to hear it â€“ the case of the White House cherry-picking intelligence to support the war against Iraq.
Seems we always need to do 6 degrees to the VIPS, the Clinton NSC and John Kerry’s campaign when we see these stories. Drumheller (check out this frightening picture) of a man hiding the fact that Niger was not the country of concern in the intelligence on uranium, but Niger did meet with an Iraqi trade delegation in 1999 (the same year Wilson took his first trip to the African nation for the CIA at the request of his wife Valerie).
But I do not have the energy to repeat facts missed by the fact challenged antique media. I want to play 6-degrees. So, when was the name Drumheller mentioned in regards to Niger before?
It seems when conspiracy theorists on the left were trying to connect the Niger Forgeries in Joe Wilson’s leaks to the media to people in the US (not knowing Wilson could never have known about the forgeries when going to Niger in February 2002 because they would not show up until Sept of that year and get lost in a safe in Valeries area).
This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted by Ian Masters with Vincent Cannistaro [sic], the former CIA head of counterterrorism operations and intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan, which aired on the Los Angeles public radio KPFK on April 3, 2005.
Well, in this case, the Germans had told the CIAâ€™s head of the European desk on the operations side, Tyler Drumheller, who I spoke to, but he wasnâ€™t comfortable going on the radio.
Interesting that Drumheller’s name is mentioned in a Cannistraro interview. Of course Cannistraro is also ex-CIA. But not really, this was part of the plan to use the Wilson article to discuss the Niger Forgeries. Here is Cannistraro making his claim about who forged the documents (on paper with names interestingly from the time Wilson was in Niger in 1999 – names that were only national leaders in Niger for 9 MONTHS after a coup d’etat and before democratic elections):
Cannistraro: In many cases, the information was fabricated. Information, for example, about an alleged attempt by Saddam Hussein to acquire nuclear material, uranium, from Niger. This, we know now, was all based on fabricated documents. But itâ€™s not clear yet â€” either from this report, or from any other report â€” who fabricated the documents.
The documents were fabricated by supporters of the policy in the United States. The policy being that you had to invade Iraq in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein, and you had to do it soon to avoid the catastrophe that would be produced by Saddam Husseinâ€™s use of alleged weapons of mass destruction.
So Cannistraro claims war mongerers in the US forged the documents (which is a really silly claim on the face of it). And Ian Masters has drunk the Kool Aid big time:
Masters: Well, Ambassador Wilson publicly refuted the claims â€” particularly the 16 words in the Presidentâ€™s State of the Union address that the Iraqis were trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Niger. That document, I understand, was fabricated.
Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows Wilson did no such thing, but that was the story that was supposed to hit the media and propel Kerry into the Oval Office. The Wilsons blew the whole thing by messing up the timing of events. Is it any surprise Drumheller is mentioned heavily in James Risen book exposing the NSA program, the CIA torture claims, etc? Risen seems to have direct material from Drumheller:
When it came to Iraq, Tenet, CIA insiders tell Risen, appeared to make his position clear — he would go along with what hard-liners wanted.
Another time, Tenet ignored the warnings of Tyler Drumheller, who headed the CIA’s European spy operations and had learned from German intelligence that a key CIA source on Iraqi WMD, an Iraqi exile who went by the code name Curveball, was mentally unstable, unreliable and not to be trusted. In the days before former Secretary of State Colin Powell made his famous presentation on Iraqi weapons to the United Nations, Drumheller tried frantically to excise all of Curveball’s information from Powell’s speech. As late as the night before Powell’s presentation, he spoke to Tenet on the phone and warned of problems with Curveball. But Tenet ignored Drumheller, and the Curveball data made it into Powell’s speech.
So Drumheller apparently has talked to Risen about his dealings with Tenet on this same irrelevant Niger story. Well following ex-CIA agent Drumheller to ex-CIA agent Cannistaro, we come to ex-CIA agent Philip Geraldi, who works for Cannistraro Associates and who fingers Micheal Ledeen as the source of the Niger Forgeries! Seems Vince Cannistraro knew at one time how to contact Osam Bin Laden:
He [Cannistraro] currently works as a consultant on intelligence and terrorism for ABC World News with Peter Jennings, and arranged the 1998 ABC interview with Usama bin Laden through his contacts in Saudi Arabia.
What is really interesting is Cannistraro is marketing an ‘intelligence brief‘ with some really detailed intel, sufficient to tip of terrorists:
US and British law enforcement are now closely monitoring a London-based group that is known to be in touch with al Qaeda and may have information about future al Qaeda operations. The group in London is allegedly linked to some Americans who are being surveilled by the FBI. At present, no solid threat information has been developed but the London-based element has discussed the possibility of a â€œdirty bombâ€ operation in the US, infiltrated through Canada.
Well, now we all know about the group and the fact they are being monitored. I have heard about making a buck selling national secrets, but this takes the cake! So what about Philip? He is also running a PR campaign under the guise of The American Conservative, and more potential state secrets:
In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheneyâ€™s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option.
Philip also get’s a leak from Mary McCarthy’s CIA Office of Inspector General to ‘leak’:
A CIA internal review of the agencyâ€™s performance prior to 9/11 is harshly critical of former CIA Director George Tenet, former Director of Operations James Pavitt, and the former chief of the Counterterrorist Center, Cofer Black, for not doing everything possible to confront terrorism. Pavitt, who was reluctant to take on risky missions against bin Laden encouraged by the National Security Council during the second term of President Bill Clinton, is particularly criticized. The report, completed by CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, is especially acerbic regarding the failure of the agency to stop two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, as they entered the United States.
Does the CIA keep ANY secrets anymore? So we have Drumheller, Carrastraro, Geraldi and back to McCarthy’s area in the CIA. Not to mention ties to Wilson, et al. Ties to James Risen. What is interesting is all these folks could look like independent sources to the lazy, casual eye of someone like Mary Mapes and Dan Rather.