The "Franklin-Stove" Scandal: The Story So Far...

Juan Cole spells out the scope of the Franklin spy scandal, and uggabugga's got the info in graphical form.

Douglas Feith's office, the Near East/South Asia directorate (NESA), became a lie factory, funneling cherry-picked intelligence into Vice President Cheney's office, via the Pentagon's "Office of Special Plans". Libby "Scooter" Lewis was the contact in Cheney's office. Seymour Hersh labeled the OSP a stovepipe.

In effect, NESA was converted by Douglas Feith and associates into an group dedicated to bringing this nation into war with Iraq.

Now we know that Larry Franklin, a desk officer in NESA, is an Israeli spy, who recently slipped a classified draft directive about US policy toward Iran to a pro-Israeli lobbying group, which gave it to Israel. Larry Franklin is, by the way, a former attache at the US embassy in Israel.

We also know that Franklin and Harold Rhode met several times with Iranians who are seeking to overthrow the Iranian government in Rome. The Italian intelligence agency SISMI attended these meetings.

SIMSI has proven to be the organization that distributed accounts of, copies of, and finally the actual forgeries themselves. The documents are ostensibly about Iraq's attempt to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger, but they implicate Iran as well in an unlikely Iraq-Iran alliance.

SIMSI used these documents to create a lot of sympathetic noise among European intelligence agencies about a Iraq-Niger uranium discussion, then slipped the documents to the USA. When Joseph Wilson went public with his damning trip that confirmed no such discussions had happened, his wife, a deep cover CIA operative, was burned by Vice President Cheney's office - and it appears certain that Scooter Lewis, the stovepipe's contact person in Cheney's office, will be implicated in this felony.

So let's get this straight: the Bush Administration was hoodwinked into using the US military as unpaid agents of Israel's foreign policy. They were blind to a spy in the Department of Defense, because that spy was telling them what they wanted to hear. When their bypass of intelligence protocols may have been exposed, they elected to damage our intelligence gathering capability even further, committing a felony in the process.

And they did all of this while enjoying the approval ratings given to Bush after 9/11.

America can do better.