Friday, October 07, 2005

Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq, Afghanistan: BBC - Yahoo! News

Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq, Afghanistan: BBC - Yahoo! News: "Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq, Afghanistan: BBC Thu Oct 6, 6:05 PM ET

LONDON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush allegedly said God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, a new BBC documentary will reveal, according to details.

Bush made the claim when he met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and then foreign minister Nabil Shaath in June 2003, the ministers told the documentary series to be broadcast in Britain later this month.

The US leader also told them he had been ordered by God to create a Palestinian state, the ministers said.

Shaath, now the Palestinian information minister, said: " President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God.

'God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan'.'

"And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq...' And I did.

"'And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God I'm gonna do it'," said Shaath.

Abbas, who was also at the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, recalled how the president told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation.

"So I will get you a Palestinian state."

A BBC spokesman said the content of the programme had been put to the White House but it had refused to comment on a private conversation.

The three-part series, "Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs", charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from former US president Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999-2000 to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza strip.

The programme speaks to presidents and prime ministers, their generals and ministers, about what happened behind closed doors as the peace talks failed and the intifada grew.

The series is due to be screened in Britain on October 10, 17 and 24."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

OfficialWire: Bush Drinking Again

Bush Drinking Again

Pressures of Office and falling polls knock President off the wagon
by OfficialWire NewsDesk

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (OfficialWire) -- 09/23/05 -- According to the National Enquirer George W. Bush is sneaking shots behind his wife's back, while many of his staff know he's drinking again.

Enquirer reporters, Jennifer Luce and Don Gentile, quoting 'family sources' detail how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."

Bush claims to have given up the drink after his 40th birthday, but according to a Washington source "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him—but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months."

The result is he's taking drinks here and there, likely in private, to cope. "And now with the worst domestic crisis in his administration over Katrina, you pray his drinking doesn't go out of control."

Substance abuse is no stranger to Bush. During the 2000 presidential campaign, there were also persistent questions about past cocaine use. Eventually Bush denied using cocaine after 1992, then quickly extended the cocaine-free period back to 1974, when he was 28.

Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President, said: "I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great.

"I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Salena Zito Takes Cheap Shots at a Good Man -

Where's the za-za-za-ZOOM? - "Where's the za-za-za-ZOOM?

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By Salena Zito
Sunday, September 4, 2005

The power brokers of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party last winter unleashed upon the electorate their version of a demigod.
Seemingly out of nowhere came freshly minted state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr.

Billed as a savior who would peel a U.S. Senate seat from the hands of Rick Santorum, he was thrust into the spotlight as the most likely Democrat resurrecter in the country.

In theory it was a brilliant move. Casey, a Pennsylvania brand name, had just clinched a landslide victory for treasurer. He had the backing of the Beltway leadership, the nod from the "progressives" and over-the-top enthusiasm from his one-time nemesis, Ed Rendell.

Thus was born the perfect political triangulation.

But we all know there is no such thing as perfect; this is politics, not Walgreens.

Most of Bobby Casey's detractors have pointed to his obvious vulnerability -- he lacks a message. But there is a deeper problem: If he had a message, he'd lack the ability to deliver it.

Casey suffers from a fatal political flaw. He's dull. Al Gore dull. Joe Lieberman dull. And most of us can agree that the only thing that kept John Kerry from putting us all in a coma was anticipating what Teresa would say next.

It's quite different with Casey's opponent, Rick Santorum. Love him or hate him, he's a man who overachieves and gets results. Casey is well-liked by most but commands little respect let alone a political pulse.

Santorum cut his teeth winning tough battles. From his first gutsy run for Congress in 1990 -- taking down Doug Walgren -- to his campaign against Harris Wofford for the Senate, Santorum never has backed away from a challenge or controversy.

Santorum's positions may not always win a popularity poll but they always send a clear and concise message. No one ever has to question where Rick Santorum stands on an issue; he's the first to tell you.

Contrast that with Casey, who ran for state auditor general because, in his own words, his dad did. He was re-elected seamlessly and in 2004 was elected state treasurer. Casey probably could run for any state row office and win it on filing day. These races are more about name ID than anything else.

Conversely, when Casey ran for governor, he flat-lined. He was directionless, issueless and defenseless. He allowed the labor unions to highjack his campaign and message while he sputtered pathetically on communicating a new direction for Pennsylvania. In the end, he had no defense for the mean-spirited personal attack ads that he ran against Rendell.

Democrats gravitated toward Casey for U.S. Senate because they learned they could not just be the party of Michael Moore and Ted Kennedy. Some of those "red voters" used to be true blue. In the Northeast and Midwest they are known as Reagan Democrats. In the South, they are Christians who vote their beliefs.

Casey cannot rescue a Mudville Party by engaging in the same mudslinging that he used against Rendell. The real problem this cycle for Casey and the Democratic Party is that their hero is well-known, liked and presentable, but still has no message. Couple that with a lackluster delivery and an all-star he never will be.

Voters want za-za-za-ZOOM. That is why they gravitate to personalities like Santorum and Rendell.

So forget the polls, analysts and talking heads. Watch the personalities of the candidates and listen to what they say about the issues. That will decide the outcome of next year's race.

For Bob Casey, spring training is about to end; it's time to see if he is ready to bat in the majors. But he'll need some political Viagra to perk up his decidedly za-za-za-less zoom.

Salena Zito, a political consultant who has worked for both Democrats and Republicans, lives in Mt. Lebanon. E-mail her at:"

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Former CIA Director Tenet Threatens Disclosures?

Former CIA Director Tenet Threatens Disclosures?: "With Carl Limbacher and Staff
For the story behind the story...

Friday, Sept. 2, 2005 11:00 a.m. EDT
Former CIA Director Tenet Threatens Disclosures?

Former CIA director George Tenet, said to be the target of what the Washington Times called "a scathing report by Inspector General John Helgerson” - may go public with embarrassing disclosures about the Bush administration and its actions leading up to Sept. 11, 2001.

The CIA report, prepared as the result of a 17-month investigation by a team of 11 CIA officials, blames Tenet and several top CIA officials for its failure pre-9/11 to deal with al-Qaida.

But former Reagan White House aide and intelligence expert John B. Roberts II, quoting an anonymous source close to Tenet, wrote in Thursday's Washington Times that the former chief spook has no intention of taking it lying down.

The report, delivered to Congress this week, recommends punitive sanctions against Tenet, former Deputy Director of Operations James L. Pavitt and former counter-terrorist center head J. Cofer Black.

Roberts writes, "George Tenet is not going to let himself become the fall guy for the September 11th intelligence failures, according to a former intelligence officer and a source friendly to Mr. Tenet.”

In retaliation, Roberts says that Tenet may turn the tables and put the blame on President Bush.

Tenet, he claims, has already written a fiery, 20-page, "tightly knitted rebuttal” to the Inspector General's report. But Tenet's response has been marked "classified," in contrast to usual CIA practice. Also unavailable to the public is the report itself.

Roberts says Tenet's decision to strike back could be very bad news for the President.

Wrote Roberts, "Mr. Tenet's decision to defend himself against the charges in the report poses a potential crisis for the White House.

"According to a former clandestine services officer, the former CIA director turned down a publisher's $4.5 million book offer because he didn't want to embarrass the White House by rehashing the failure to prevent September 11 and the flawed intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.”

Quoting a "knowledgeable source,” Roberts wrote that Tenet "had a ‘wink and a nod’ understanding with the White House that he wouldn't be scapegoated for intelligence failings.”

Roberts claims a "deal" was made between Tenet and Bush, one that was sealed with the President’s award of the Presidential Freedom Medal to the former CIA head.

In his rebuttal, Tenet, Roberts warns, "treads perilously close to affirming the account of Richard Clarke, the former NSC terrorism official who claimed the Bush administration's had delayed adopting a strategy against al-Qaida."

Current CIA Director Porter Goss is between a rock and a hard place, according to Roberts, who explains that Goss will be criticized for covering up if he does nothing. But if he follows the IG's recommendation to convene formal hearings as a prelude to sanctions, Tenet himself may go public to defend his reputation by damaging the President and his administration.

Roberts concludes: "The $4.5 million book offer may soon be back on the table, and this time Mr. Tenet might take it.”"

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Iraqi Jewish Archive Harold Rhode's and Judith Miller's Little Charity Project

The Iraqi Jewish Archive: "The Iraqi Jewish Archive
Preservation Report

October 2, 2003


Rare, historic and modern books, documents and parchment scrolls pertaining to the Iraqi Jewish community were found in the flooded basement of the Iraqi Intelligence (Mukhabahrat) headquarters in Baghdad in early May 2003. Upon removal from the basement, the wet materials (known as the Iraqi Jewish Archive) were packed into sacks and transported to a nearby location where they were partially dried. Dr. Harold Rhode, expert in Middle Eastern and Islamic Affairs, Department of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense, provided a general review and initial sorting of the contents during the retrieval process, after which the materials were placed in 27 metal trunks. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) arranged for the materials to be frozen, which served to stabilize the condition and eliminate further mold growth.

At the request of the Coalition Provisional Authority, conservators from the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) traveled to Baghdad June 20-23 to assess the condition of the materials and develop recommendations for their preservation. The following report outlines the preservation action plan and funding requirements for preserving this important collection.

Description of the Iraqi Jewish Archive

The Iraqi Jewish Archive contains 16th-20th century Jewish rare books, correspondence and document files, pamphlets, modern books, audio tape and parchment scrolls. Languages represented in the Archive include Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, Arabic and English (a few items).

The following descriptive information, provided by Hebraic and Arabic area study specialists at the Library of Congress, was gleaned from the photographs taken of the frozen materials in the open trunks. Once the materials are dried and have had the mold remediated it will be possible to provide a clearer and more detailed assessment of the contents.

∑ Hebraic materials. The Hebraica includes an eclectic mix of materials, ranging from holiday and daily prayer books, Bibles and commentaries, sections from a damaged Torah scroll, books on Jewish law, as well as children's Hebrew language and Bible primers. The printed books were published in a variety of places, including Baghdad, Warsaw, Livorno, and Venice, and most are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rare works include:

∑ the 'Ketubim' volume of the monumental Third Rabbinic Bible that was published in Venice by Giovanni di Gara in 1568; and

∑ what appears to be Abraham Brudo's 'Birkat Avraham,' which was published in Venice in 1696.

∑ Arabic materials. The Arabic materials include both hand-written and printed items pertaining to the Jewish community of Iraq, some produced by the Jewish community and others from official governmental sources. In addition, there are items that do not appear to have any connection to the Jewish community at all. The materials include:

∑ a handwritten document, dated September 5, 1966, which appears to be a request for names for a board of directors of the Jewish community;

∑ a school roster Madrasat Furnak (second part unclear) with both male and female names, which dates primarily to August-September 1966-67;

∑ a collection that includes the law of the Jewish community #77 for 1931 and the organization of the Jewish community #36 of 1931, published by the Jewish Charitable Organization in 1932;

∑ an official Iraqi report to the Minister of Interior (and various directorates) reporting on important events, dated 16/2/2000.

Condition of the Collection

In the haste necessary to quickly gather and secure the collection, materials were packed somewhat haphazardly and the booksπ text blocks and groups of documents were not aligned to conform to their original shapes. As a result, many gatherings of loose documents and bound text blocks are distorted, crumpled, and similarly damaged. Many boards are detached from their bindings, and it appears that during the weeks that the records were submerged under water the leather covering many books became detached with the result that bare binderπs board is now exposed. In addition, there are many loose pages and fragments that became disassociated from their original locations. The damage that resulted from handling and packing the wet materials likely can be remedied in most instances, though it will add more time to the project and it will not always be possible to eliminate the evidence of past damage.

After the collection was removed from the water, approximately three weeks elapsed before the collection was frozen, which resulted in varying degrees of mold growth. This may result in some permanent staining, though it does not appear that in most cases the mold was sufficiently advanced that the paper was severely affected or weakened. The books and documents also have numerous rust stains, as a result of contact with the interior of the metal trunk as well as the rusty metal components of the mechanical binders (similar to ring binders) that were used to hold loose documents together.

Overall the collection is in moderate to poor condition. While some pamphlets, books, and document files appear to be intact and complete, many others exist as fragments with loose and/or missing components. There is much physical distortion that can likely be remedied via conservation treatment. Most inks and media appear to be in stable condition -- legible with no evidence of feathering or bleeding -- despite their long period of submersion in water. The exceptions are the inks on the scroll fragments, where there is evidence that ink has bled. The text, however, is still legible.

Preservation Action Plan

The following action plan outlines the steps needed to ensure the collectionπs preservation so it can be made available for future generations. Careful decisions will be required to select treatment options that will minimize costs, yet support the needs for preservation and future use. Further information regarding the preservation steps is provided in Appendix A.

4 Dry the collection to stabilize the condition and halt further damage. (Freeze-drying is complete)

∑ Remediate for mold to allow personnel to be able to handle the materials.

∑ Determine the contents of the collection, and its historical, archival and curatorial importance.

∑ Determine the conservation and reformatting needs of the items within the collection, based on curatorial/archival and preservation assessments.

∑ Conserve individual items deemed to have artifactual importance.

∑ Conserve to the degree necessary to permit handling and/or duplication of items deemed to have research but not artifactual significance

∑ House the collection so it can be stored properly and used in the future.

∑ Microfilm materials as appropriate

∑ Develop an exhibition

Due to the lack of trained personnel and technical resources presently available in Iraq, as well as the costs and time that would be required to establish the necessary infrastructure and staffing for conserving the collection, the collection has been transferred to the United States to undergo the preservation work in an expeditious, technically qualified and cost efficient manner.

Project Goals and Expectations

On an item by item basis it will be necessary to determine how much treatment should be given to each particular item, based on its relative value, importance, future use and availability of funding. In most cases conservation treatment will not eliminate the evidence of the damage that has occurred, including staining, bleeding inks and distortion. In some cases the improvement will be minimal and in other cases the item will be significantly improved. Overall it is expected that the majority of the collection can be treated so the items will be useable, though given the damage that has been sustained and the number of fragments and detached leaves, some items may be incomplete following treatment.

Project Plan

As Custodian for the Iraqi Jewish Archive, the Coalition Provisional Authority is responsible for ensuring the protection and final disposition of the documents pending election of a sovereign Iraqi government and for fund-raising to support the project fully with non-governmental funds.

The US National Archives and Records Administration will provide the leadership in executing the preservation project and in identifying the subject matter experts who can provide the historical and language knowledge required for assessing the contents and curatorial needs of the Archive. NARA is well equipped to provide leadership and technical oversight and guidance to assure preservation of the Iraqi Jewish Archive. Archival and preservation staff can assure that preservation tasks are carried out in conformance with existing international standards. Under the Economy Act, funds that are donated to other agencies can be transferred to NARA to support the necessary preservation work, which can be carried out under NARA direction. NARA is also well positioned to provide the necessary physical security for the collection.

Resource Requirements

Due to the inaccessibility of the records in their frozen state, as yet there is insufficient information to determine the full cost for completing this project. Before a complete preservation assessment and cost analysis can be developed, vacuum freeze drying, inventory, mold remediation, curatorial assessment and conservation condition assessment must be completed. These first steps are expected to cost $450,000-725,000. For the purposes of providing a general understanding of the costs involved in undertaking the full preservation project, a rough budget estimate for the project as a whole was developed: $1,525,000- $3,000,000. It is important to emphasize that there are still numerous elements that will need to be determined and analyzed before finalizing the budget.

In-kind contributions: NARA will cover overhead costs for administrative functions, lab use, storage and utilities as an in-kind contribution to the project. The US Military provided the courier and transport for the collection to come to the United States.

∑ Courier transport to freeze dry facility in the US US Military (In-kind)

∑ Commerical vacuum freeze drying, security,

transport to NARA $100,000 - 100,000

∑ Mold remediation $200,000 - 400,000

∑ Inventory, Curatorial and Conservation Assessment $150,000 - 225,000

Subtotal for First Steps $ 450,000 - $725,000

∑ Conservation Treatment $500,000 - 1,000,000

∑ Rehousing $25,000 - 25,000

∑ Microfilming/Reformatting $300,000 - 700,000

∑ Project Oversight $200,000 - 500,000

∑ Supplies and equipment $ 50,000 - 50,000

∑ Lab facilities, long term storage with security,

utilities at NARA, general oversight NARA (In-kind)

Total Preservation Budget Estimate $1,525,000- $3,000,000

Exhibition To be Determined

Preservation Action Plan Appendix A

4 Freezing for Stabilization (Completed)
Freezing the water and mold-damaged Iraqi Jewish Archive has been accomplished. This important first preservation step has served to stabilize the material and inhibit additional mold growth that will flourish under conditions of high temperature and high relative humidity. If not frozen, wet organic materials--including paper, leather, and parchment--provide a perfect host for mold, and water sensitive or soluble inks will continue to feather and bleed.

4 Drying the Collection (Vacuum freeze drying is completed)
Vacuum freeze-drying is the technique recommended for drying the wet paper material in this collection. This drying method results in the least amount of distortion to records and also minimizes the feathering and bleeding of water soluble inks and other media. Materials must be in a frozen state when entering a vacuum freeze-drying chamber and remain frozen throughout the drying process. The vacuum freeze-drying process causes frozen water to sublimate to a vapor without passing through a potentially reactive liquid stage. The parchment scrolls and fragments that are especially vulnerable to shrinkage if dried incorrectly need to be individually air dried under restraint by trained conservators.

It is important to note that the books and other materials that exhibit physical distortion as a result of being submerged under water and then being packed quickly in trunks will retain their distorted shapes at the conclusion of the drying process. Subsequent conservation treatment will be necessary to return materials to their original shapes and formats, to the degree that this is possible.

∑ Inventory

At the earliest stage possible, an inventory will be undertaken to be able to maintain accountability for the materials during the preservation process and thereafter.

∑ Mold Remediation
Exposure to mold and microorganisms is a documented health hazard that can cause respiratory irritation or more severe reactions, depending on the individual, the type of mold present, and the duration of exposure. After the collection is dried, the mold will be rendered inactive, if maintained in an appropriate temperature and relative humidity environment. However, the mold residue will need to be mechanically removed in order for the collection to receive conservation treatment and ultimately to be studied and handled by researchers and others.

For paper-based and other porous materials, mold remediation is essentially controlled surface cleaning using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter, which minimizes the possibility of mold spores and debris from becoming airborne. To prevent contamination of other collection materials, the work is carried out in a fume hood with trained personnel wearing protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, and respirators. If the mold damage is severe, the mold can greatly weaken and essentially digest the paper; in other cases the mold can cause sheets of paper to block or stick together. In archival contexts, where information is more important than cosmetic improvement, staining from mold is usually not removed or reduced since techniques to minimize stains can also weaken paper.

Mold remediation should be carried out after the Iraqi Jewish Archive is dry, by qualified personnel in a conservation facility outfitted with the appropriate equipment and environmental controls. The work will need to be managed so that original order of the files and any associations that now exist by proximity in a given trunk between fragments, detached leaves, and text blocks are not lost. Maintaining these intellectual links during mold remediation will expedite the conservation treatment phase of the project.

∑ Curatorial and Conservation Assessment
Since conservation treatment is even more time-consuming and expensive than mold remediation, it is normally reserved for materials of known value and research interest. The curatorial/archival assessment of the content and relative values of items in the collection will need to be carried out by subject matter experts with the relevant historical, archival/curatorial and language expertise. Treatment strategies will be developed based on this assessment. For materials that should be microfilmed, it may be possible to minimize the need for extensive conservation treatment and instead focus on stabilizing the materials for filming and assuring that a legible microfilm copy can be achieved. Selected items in the Archive that have high intrinsic or artifactual values that would warrant more complete treatment.

The conservation assessment is a collaboration that merges curatorial perspectives with conservation information on the physical and chemical condition of the collection and available treatment options. This assessment will focus on the content, research importance, scarcity, uniqueness, and value of the collection items. Curatorial review and recommendations will form the basis for developing conservation treatment options.

The National Archives and Records Administration will provide physical security and conservation oversight during the curatorial review.

∑ Conservation Treatment
Conservation treatment will be required to ensure that the Iraqi Jewish Archive is in sufficiently stable condition to permit anticipated handling and use as well as microfilming when that is desired. Specific treatments selected will depend on the format, condition, and value of individual items in the collection and could range from stabilization through full treatment. As appropriate, the following treatment steps will be performed:

ÿ surface cleaning or aqueous bathing (to reduce staining),

ÿ deacidification (to deposit alkaline salts in the paper to extend its usable life), humidification and flattening (to minimize distortions and creases in paper and text blocks),

ÿ mending and filling losses in paper, and

ÿ rebinding and re-casing bound volumes (to replace damaged or detached boards).

Whenever possible, treatment steps will be minimized by using protective housings and enclosures. For example, weak or damaged paper sheets will be placed in stable plastic sleeves to avoid extensive mending, and bound volumes will be placed in protective boxes to avoid the need for rebinding. Of the materials examined, the Torah scroll fragments have the most critical and complex treatment needs and will require separate handling and treatment. Overall, appropriate housing of the collection will be achieved as one of the end products of conservation treatment, which will enhance the ultimate secure and safe storage and handling of the materials.

∑ Microfilming/Reformatting
Microfilming is an important preservation tool that is used to reduce or eliminate handling of fragile original records. It also provides a mechanism for enhancing research access by students and scholars by making copies of the film widely available. To meet long term preservation requirements, collections to be microfilmed must be adequately arranged and described. In addition, international standards must be followed in selecting film stock, processing the film, and in creating preservation master and duplicating copies, which must be stored under specified environmental conditions. Other reformatting methodologies may be utilized as appropriate.

Photographs Appendix B

Removing the Iraqi Jewish Archive materials from the flooded Mukhabahrat basement. May 2003

Photos by Harold Rhode

Books and documents after removal from the Mukhabarat basement. May 2003

A Torah scroll laid out for partial drying.

The sacks were used to transport the materials from the basement.

Photos by Harold Rhode

Frozen books and documents in the Iraqi Jewish Archive

Photos by Doris Hamburg

Assessing the condition of the Iraqi Jewish Archive June 2003

Iraqi Jewish Archive in trunks in the freezer truck

Photos by Doris Hamburg
This document is published on the website of the
Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries
with the kind permission of the authors and
The National Archives & Records Administration.

The Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries published the following in July 2003:
Pictures of Damaged Libraries in Iraq.
The photographs presented here document damage to libraries in Iraq during and after the war in April 2003. Most of them are provided by Nabil al-Tikriti, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. They were taken during his trip to Baghdad on 25-31 May 2003. They accompany his report: Iraq Manuscript Collections, Archives, & Libraries: Situation Report, dated 8 June 2003. The remaining photographs were taken by McGuire Gibson, Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. He was a member of the UNESCO team which visited Baghdad in May 2003.

And see also:

Library of Congress Mission To Baghdad. Report on the National Library and the House of Manuscripts, October 27-November 3, 2003"

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - “I just got off the phone with Karl Rove, who said your wife was fair game.”

Secrets and Leaks - - "Secrets and Leaks

By (Page 2 of 3)
Updated: 8:56 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2003
Irked by Wilson’s public charges, administration officials promptly set about undermining Wilson’s credibility. Unnamed administration officials told reporters that Wilson was a Democrat, a Sen. John Kerry contributor and supporter. The administration aides leaked that Wilson’s mission had not been authorized at the top, by CIA Director George Tenet, but rather by some midlevel bureaucrats. Then someone—the mysterious leaker or leakers at the heart of the story—went a step further. According to columnist Robert Novak, “two senior administration officials” told him that the idea of sending Wilson to Africa came from his wife—Valerie Plame, “an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.”

Story continues below ↓


Novak is the perfect receptacle for such a leak. An old-time Washington insider known for his gruff manner, black suits, conservative leanings and love of Washington intrigue, Novak has been jokingly called “the Prince of Darkness.” At first, Novak told reporters from Newsday, “I didn’t dig it out, it was given to me.” But after the story blew up, Novak played down the leak, saying that Plame’s CIA identity was revealed to him “in passing,” and that he thought she was an analyst, not an undercover agent. Before printing her name, he checked with a CIA spokesman, who made only mild objections, according to Novak.

Plame was, in fact, an NOC (“nonofficial cover”)—a deep-cover agent posing as an energy consultant as she traveled abroad. Exposing her was not a trivial matter. It ended Plame’s career as a secret agent, blew the cover of her energy business and put every foreigner she had ever dealt with at risk. Identifying an undercover agent is a federal offense.

At the time, a few reporters and lawmakers raised a fuss. Newsday reporters Timothy Phelps and Knut Royce quoted an indignant Wilson as saying, “It’s a shot across the bow to these people, that if you talk we’ll take your family and drag them through the mud as well.” Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia called the disclosure of Plame’s identity “vile” and a “highly dishonorable thing to do.” But most news organizations ignored the story, and it seemed to fade away.Leak investigations often lumber slowly along before petering out. Government lawyers have to fill out forms asserting that the information was true and damaging to national security. It was only two weeks ago that the CIA finally got around to formally asking the Justice Department to investigate the leak blowing Plame’s cover.

The facts remain murky but tantalizing to students of the Washington game. Ambassador Wilson, a shaggy-haired, camera-friendly presence, has been meeting the press on a regular basis. Showing a New York Times reporter photographs of his striking blond wife (his third; he is 53, she is 40; they met at a Washington party), he compared her to a real-life Jennifer Garner, the actress who plays an undercover agent in the TV show “Alias.” Wilson has repeatedly suggested that the chief culprit was the White House’s political director, Karl Rove. “It’s of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs,” Wilson said at a public forum about Iraqi intelligence failures on Aug. 21. “And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words.”



Wilson’s comments clearly implied that he knew that Rove was the leaker, but last week Wilson backtracked, saying only that he knew that Rove had “condoned” the leak. Whoever initially leaked Plame’s name, the White House clearly had a hand in fanning the flames. Wilson told NEWSWEEK that in the days after the Novak story appeared, he got calls from several well-connected Washington reporters. One was NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell. She told NEWSWEEK that she said to Wilson: “I heard in the White House that people were touting the Novak column and that that was the real story.” The next day Wilson got a call from Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC show “Hardball.” According to a source close to Wilson, Matthews said, “I just got off the phone with Karl Rove, who said your wife was fair game.” (Matthews told NEWSWEEK: “I’m not going to talk about off-the-record conversations.”)"

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bush Expands Intel Chief's Power Over FBI - Yahoo! News

Bush Expands Intel Chief's Power Over FBI - Yahoo! News: "Bush Expands Intel Chief's Power Over FBI By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 17 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush granted the new national intelligence chief expanded power over the FBI on Wednesday and ordered dozens of other spy agency changes as the White House heeded a presidential commission that condemned the intelligence community for failures in Iraq and elsewhere.

But almost as soon as the details were unveiled, the White House was defending itself against suggestions that the moves were simply adding more bureaucracy without making changes that could have prevented misjudgments like those made on Iraq.

"It's an unfair characterization to say it's simply a restructuring," said Bush's homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, who led the 90-day review of the recommendations from the president's commission on weapons of mass destruction. "It's a fundamental strengthening of our intelligence capabilities."

The White House said it endorsed 70 of the 74 recommendations from the commission, which was led by Republican Judge Laurence Silberman and former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb and conducted a yearlong review of the 15 intelligence agencies. Bush formed the commission under pressure after the top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq resigned and started a firestorm of controversy over the accuracy of the prewar Iraq intelligence.

In its scathing 600-page report released in March, the commission called the spy community "dead wrong on almost all of its prewar judgments" about Iraq's weapons.

Robb called the White House's broad acceptance of the commission's proposals "truly extraordinary."

Among the most significant changes the White House offered Wednesday, the Justice Department will be directed — with congressional approval — to consolidate its counterterrorism, espionage and intelligence units under one new assistant attorney general for national security.

The White House ordered the creation of a National Security Service inside the FBI. And Bush sought to strengthen the hand of the new national intelligence director over the FBI, giving him expanded budget and management powers over the bureau.

In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union said the FBI's new security service would lead to an "erosion of constitutional protections against law enforcement actions."

But Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said, "Every law enforcement official within the FBI is going to remain under the supervision of the FBI director and, ultimately, the attorney general."

The White House will also have the national intelligence director, John Negroponte, establish a National Counter-Proliferation Center that will coordinate the U.S. government's collection and analysis of intelligence on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons — a task now performed by many national security agencies.

Negroponte's top deputy, Gen. Michael Hayden, said the center would only have 50 to 100 employees, thereby avoiding some insiders' worries of "brain drain" as new offices tap into existing ones.

A number of Bush administration critics welcomed the reforms. President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, called the changes to Negroponte's authority over the Justice Department and the counterproliferation center "very positive."

"All of this is moving boxes to some degree," said Berger. "I do think that in this case organization is important. ... The real test is how it is implemented."

While the White House portrayed the changes as a near universal endorsement of the commission's recommendations, some suggestions were not completely followed.

For instance, the commission said Negroponte should not be part of the president's morning intelligence briefing. But Hayden said he or Negroponte still attend the secretive daily sessions.

In other moves, the White House also:

_Issued an executive order allowing the freezing of any financial assets in the United States of citizens, companies or organizations involved in the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The order designates eight organizations in Iran, North Korea and Syria.

_Created a new national coordinator for human intelligence, or classic spycraft, who would guide clandestine activities of the entire intelligence community.

_Asked Congress to reform its oversight of the intelligence community, a controversial proposal that could provoke turf wars and other difficulties on Capitol Hill.

Hayden acknowledged that some of the changes, such as those aimed at improving intelligence analysis, will take years to institute. However, he said others, including the human intelligence chief, could be implemented within two months.

House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., and the panel's top Democrat, California Rep. Jane Harman (news, bio, voting record), praised the White House's moves as steps that will help ensure policy-makers get "accurate, timely and actionable intelligence."

Yet, in an interview, Harman said the issues still require "sustained attention" to ensure that Negroponte isn't "forever fending off turf attacks."

The White House said three of the commission's recommendations require further study, including one that would have called for accountability reviews within three intelligence offices under fire for mistakes in the prewar Iraq intelligence. Hayden noted the recommendation focused on organizational accountability and said reviews were under way.

Another recommendation, regarding the management of covert action, was rejected and remains classified.

Following the advice of blue-ribbon panels, numerous changes have been made to the intelligence community since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Many were contained in a sweeping intelligence reform law passed by Congress in December.

"I think we now know what the shape of the animal is going to be," Berger said, "and we have to make sure that the animal is ready to hunt.""