A reader asks: "When are you going to admit you were wrong?" We've received a number of such inquiries (not all quite so polite) about our position on the war in Iraq, particularly from readers who were disappointed in our prewar stance.
-- Washington Post editorial (Iraq in Review 10/12/2003)
Frankly, I would love to get a peek at the "not so polite" letters being sent to the Washington Post and other media monopolies. If you care to read the rest of their inane apologia, go ahead. But the long and short of it is that the Post still maintains that they did not deliberately mislead their readers. What we have here is a failure to communicate the basic truth. Not just about Iraq, but about the Washington Post, and about the lavish quarters they assign to their in-house war party and about their passion for using anonymous senior officials to leak neo-con war party agendas.
Consider the latest felony leak that exposed the identity of a CIA agent. Working on a tip from two senior administration officials, Robert Novak wrote his infamous article identifying Ambassador Wilson's wife as a CIA operative. A few months later, a scandal gone cold was resurrected. Apparently, it had taken two months for Tenant to get a clear message from some very angry rank and file spooks.
Not long after Tenant made his move, a front-page story in Novak's very own Washington Post, contained another leak from yet another "senior administration official." In the leak business, timing is everything. This particular unidentified official had the odious task of leaking on the leakers. Is there no honor among leakers?
This third leaker reported that the two anonymous "Novak" felons had exposed the CIA agent to five or six other journalists. That adds up to three leakers and six of the monopoly media lads. None of the six anonymous journalists have yet to surface. Although Andrea Mitchell of NBC has been mentioned.
Which brings us to the OSP, a special intelligence unit created by Wolfowitz. Jim Lobe has concluded that the "The CIA's exclusion from this network could help explain why Cheney and his National Security Adviser, Lewis Libby, a long time associate of Wolfowitz, frequently visited the agency in what analysts widely regarded as pressure to conform to OSP assessments." Karen Kwiatkowski, a recently retired ASAF lieutenant colonel, also reveals in her expose that the OSP regularly leaked their intelligence 'findings' to their Likudnik media operatives. Her list of media operatives included Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post.
Perhaps the most damning result of any investigation into the deliberate OSP "ntelligence failures" will be the discovery of excessive reliance on sources like Ahmed Chalabi's National Congress (INC).
It was all a "circular" intelligence scam. First you concoct intelligence using operatives like Chalabi and the INC. Next you discover the intoxicating concoction on the menu at Chalabi's place. Using his recipe you dismiss the findings of the CIA and DIA as too timid and unworthy of master chefs. You than selectively practice the art of the leak by contacting fellow travelers like Murdoch's minions at FOX to come over for a taste of Chalabi's soup de jour. For good measure, Charles Krauthammer and Judith Miller also get invited for the main course. Last, for a final coup de grace, Judith Miller's WMD stories are put on the OSP lunchroom menu as a new item made of fresh leaks.
For a full account of the OSP scam, you should read "The Spies who Pushed for War" (by Julian Borger, The Guardian, July 17, 2003).
The Post, along with the Times and the Wall Street Journal, had full concrete knowledge of the OSP intelligence scam. In fact, many of their reporters took an active part in leaking OSP 'findings' or in originating OSP 'intelligence'.
But events outpaced the worst case scenarios of the OSP. Their post-war plan was a joke, the hallucination of an ugly Likudnik mind. And there was a serious glitch in the OSP backup plan to pin all the "intelligence failures" on Chalabi. The yellow cake uranium scam did not originate from Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.
When the CIA dispatched Ambassador Wilson to Niger to investigate if there was any substance to the story. He reported back that it was a crude fraud. The mainstream intelligence community concurred, except that the OSP conveniently "forgot" the CIA's finding. Wilson got irked when Bush used the famous sixteen yellow cake words in a speech to the nation. He wrote a critical article challenging the President and Bush was forced to eat all sixteen words.
Tenet gallantly came forward and took the blame for this intelligence "failure". Like Chalabi, he also volunteered for a public flogging and the honor of administering the ceremonial lashes went to Condi Rice. Because her lashes where less than gentle, Tenet demanded that Condi also volunteer for a flogging. In Condi's case, the ceremonial lashes where administered by an unidentified senior administration official.
With in a week, the whole nasty Plame affair had been put to rest.
The Wilson story could very well have ended up as a single footnote in this saga of war and deception. Hans Blix and many others had already taken more serious swipes at the administration. But the White House neo-cons, arrogant as ever and addicted to a doctrine of revenge, decided to get even with Wilson. They chose Plame as the vessel of their vengeance. The first blow in the smear campaign against the Wilsons found a willing publisher in The Washington Post.
This time the neo-cons had gone too far. If only because men like Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV don't take kindly to some neo-con Likudnik operative assaulting the career of their beloved AK-47 wielding Jane Bond wives.
So, the Wilson clan took up arms and a whole bunch of livid former intelligence agents joined the fray. An unmarked line in the Beltway swamps had been crossed. And we are no where near the final chapter.
In this national security scandal, all roads lead to the Washington Post Company, The Great Monopoly Leak Machine. It is still the home of Bob "Watergate" Woodward. It is also the central repository, which contains the identity of the original two leakers and the leaker who leaked on the leakers and the other monopoly media operatives who were leaked upon.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Watergate scandal, Woodward reminded the public that "Nixon was willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies." He went on to brag about how the Post "can still aggressively investigate anyone or anything with no holds barred." How about a little investigation of the relationship between The Post and the OSP?
Where is Bob Woodward when you need him to do some heavy lifting? Well, he still hangs his hat at The Washington Post. It must be his back or his backbone. They are the first to show the signs of age.
In any case, it should come as no surprise that the New York Times would rush to the rescue of one of its rivals, all in the name of protecting sources. Sulzberger's lads came up with this bit of chicanery: "As members of a profession that relies heavily on the willingness of government officials to defy their bosses and give the public vital information, we oppose "leak investigations" in principle." (NY Times editorial on 10/3/2003).
Novak and other Beltway "journalists" should consider defying their bosses, like the Times editorial suggests. This is hardly the time to hide behind the First Amendment and their "mission statement." Besides, it was Wilson who had the guts and took the risks to defy his bosses, not the criminals who exposed Valerie Plame.
Let us not soon forget that these media monopolies, with a full deck of Likudnik neo-con pundits, along with their "anonymous" government sources, combined forces in a joint operation to market this war. They most recently used their First Amendment rights to warp the public perception of the reasons for the war against Iraq. Thanks to the "integrity" of their journalism, the majority of Americans continue to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They also believe the canard that Iraq was actively marketing these non-existent weapons at discounted prices to Bin Laden. These media tycoons had young American soldiers going to battle with pictures of the WTC in flames, believing that Saddam was behind 911.
As things now stand, there is nothing in the law that prevents Novak from revealing the name of these criminal elements who continue to hold senior positions in the Bush administration. It should be obvious that they are still capable of inflicting further damage to national security.
Out the leakers, Novak. On receipt of the leak, you had a moral and legal obligation to expose these felons and protect Valerie Plame. Instead, you chose to expose Plame and you continue to protect the identity of two senior administration officials involved in an act of treason.
Defy your bosses and Plame the leakers, Novak. Help lead the Luddite revolt against the Beltway Monopoly Leak Machine.
Ahmed Amr, an Arab-American media analyst, has just spent a year touring the Middle East and gathering material for a book. He currently works out of his sparse digs in Alexandria. He encourages the reproduction and distribution of this article. This article can be published at will, edited for brevity, edited for spelling, altered in logical flow. Feel free to improve the writing style. The author's ego is a personal problem he needs to deal with. If you choose to add to it, please take credit for your improvements. If the improvements are not minor, please consider publishing it under your own name, your cat's name or a nom de plume. If you don't know what a nom de plume is, don't fret. Publish it under your cat's other name. The title can also be changed at will. He can be reached at: Montraj@aol.com
Other Articles by Ahmed Amr
Miller is No Martyr and Sulzberger is No Saint