May 14 2006
In the Washington Post article I discussed in this previous post, the one where the independent minded, maverick Mary McCarthy all of sudden decided not to alert Congress to problems but instead anonymously (thus losing the clout of her position) tell the media, the WaPo relied on anonymous friends to vouch for her strange behavior. But what the WaPo did not tell its readers the background of their named sources and their political leanings.
Fellow Clinton NSC traveller Steve Simon was used a source for the story vouching for Mary’s character. Being a character witness means one should assess the motives of such a person to come forward and support illegal exposure of classified information. Seems Simon, and his partner Daniel Benjamin, are Clinton NSC members who worked for Dick Clarke and who are writing books about how Bush failed to detect 9-11 (and of course they did not!). First there is this interview with Benjamin on their joint book at Campus Progress:
I spent three years as a foreign policy speechwriter for President Clinton, and I can tell you that it was linguistically inevitable that we were going to have a war on terror after 9/11 â€“ war is what American leaders declare when they want to show they are as serious as could be. That said, this struggle is one in which intelligence and law enforcement are the top tools for dealing with this enemy. There will be times when we need to use the military, but most of the time it is the wrong tool. Iraq, for example, shows how much damage using the military in the wrong circumstances can cause.
This is the same idiotic logic that brought us 9-11. It was lack of a good legal basis which caused Clinton to turn down apprehending Bin Laden. It was a legal and foreign policy fear that stayed our hand in taking him out with in Afghanistan. It was a legal barrier which caused the communications of Al Qaeda in the US to go unheeded and to be destroyed, as if the problem would go away if we just ignored the information we had.
Simon and Benjamin are from the “Surrender Iraq Before We Win” crowd. They have predicted for years, wrongly, we would lose Iraq and Al Qaeda would be strengthened:
Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon argue that the U.S. is losing the war on terror because the Bush administration treats terrorists as if they are state actors instead of the non-state actors. This, they say, leads to misguided military responses that lead to more terrorism.
Any surprise the NSC travellers are in cahoots with the well known CIA rogues like Pillar? Is it also any surprise Steve Simon has State Department ties?
Before joining the RAND Corporation in March 2003, Mr. Simon was Assistant Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies ((IISS) and Carol Dean Senior Fellow in U.S. Security Studies. He came to the IISS in November 1999, from the National Security Council staff at the White House, where he served for over 5 years as Senior Director for Transnational Threats. During this period he had coordination responsibilities for Near Eastern and South Asian security policy, peacekeeping operations, counter-terrorism, and budgeting for international programs. Mr. Simon came to the NSC from the State Department, where he had held an array of posts, including Director for Political-Military Plans and Policy and acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Security Affairs.
Enquiring minds (as opposed to the mind of a journalist) would wonder about what kind of group this IISS is. Here is there mission statement:
Provide, from an international perspective, to IISS members and the wider public, through publications and other activities, the best possible objective information on military and political developments relevant to the prospects, course, and consequences of conflict having an important military dimension.
Provide, to the same audience, and by similar means, the best possible analysis of the policies to be pursued by various governments and other actors to further and maintain international peace and security.
Convene government ministers, officials, international civil servants, independent analysts, business people and journalists in different formats, public and private, to advance understanding of political, military, technological, business, economic, environmental, social, religious and other trends that could have an impact on the prospects, course and consequences of conflict having an important military dimension.
Maintain, nurture and continually enlarge an international network of influential and knowledgeable individuals, corporate entities, governments and other bodies to ensure the effective dissemination of information, analysis and understanding of the subjects and activities addressed by the Institute’s work.
Aim, through these activities, to influence and promote the adoption of sound policies to maintain and further international peace and security and civilised international relations by all actors able to realise this aim.
Is anyone surprised Steve Simon authored a book with Richard Clarke (the man who was focused like a laser beam on electronic terrorism over the internet prior to 9-11 and the book would be prominent on the leftward fringe websites? So the WaPo tried to pawn off someone who is clearly as rabidly anti-Bush as the very people the Post reports McCarthy became embroiled with. And they don’t even report that to their readers? This is what most people call propaganda