Feel the Tectonic Plates A-Rumblin...

CBS News | FBI Probes Pentagon Spy Case | August 27, 2004 22:15:19

News has leaked of a FBI investigation into an alleged Israeli spy inside the office of the Secretary of Defense. This person had ties to Wolfowitz and Feith, and was assigned to a "unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy." The official now works in Feith's office, where the stovepipe originated.

This person appears to almost certainly be a Harold Rhode, a longtime Pentagon staffer who was recently a liason between the Defense Department and Ahmed Chalabi. The evidence? The New York Times says it was one of two who met with Manucher Ghorbanifar in Paris, and Atrios links to a MSNBC article which gives the names Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin who met Ghorbanifar in Rome, but only Rhode went to Paris.

Now Josh Marshall said on MSNBC that this was about the forged Niger documents. I'm staggered by the implications here. Do you need me to spell this out?

Remember, Saddam was helping to sponsor suicide bombers in Israel. Israel would have a huge motivation for wanting America to invade Iraq. And there's a agent of theirs working in the one office where intelligence information is being shuttled to the White House outside of the normal vetting process. He couldn't get the forged documents there on his own, yet he knew the kind of information that the White House wanted to see.

Seymour Hersch has suggested from his legwork that the documents were forged in an attempt to sting the stovepipe. But it's clear that the documents then took a life of their own, setting up a lot of sympathetic reports in various European intelligence agencies before finally getting (back) into American hands. Perhaps Israel didn't forge the documents themselves, but knew they were coming, and knew how to play the ace they'd been given.

The story by itself is going to strain US-Israeli ties. If what I've speculated turns out to be true, things are going to be really bad quickly. This is not going to be pretty.

UPDATE: People over at DU and other places have the spy pegged as Larry Franklin. I can't say I disagree with them.

Josh Marshall finally has his big story coming out in the Washington Monthly soon. He says this is going to be an Iranian story in the end. It's a big complex story with a lot of players, no doubt.

Ben Barnes: I Got George Bush Into The National Guard

Video File from TPM

Ben Barnes, then Lt. Governor of Texas, got George Bush into the National Guard. I'm reprinting the transcript completely:

Let’s talk a minute about John Kerry and George Bush and I know them both. And I’m not name dropping to say I know ‘em both. I got a young man named George W. Bush in the National Guard when I was Lt. Gov. of Texas and I’m not necessarily proud of that. But I did it. And I got a lot of other people into the National Guard because I thought that was what people should do, when you're in office you helped a lot of rich people. And I walked through the Vietnam Memorial the other day and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been because it was the worst thing that I did was that I helped a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard and I’m very sorry about that and I’m very ashamed and I apologize to you as voters of Texas.
This is being picked up by Knight Ridder. Something tells me that Bush is going to be very sorry about throwing the dice on the Smear Boat campaign.

New MoveOn PAC Ads

MoveOn PAC

Yes, a PAC is different from a 527. Go see the ads - they are Republicans who voted for Bush in 2000 who are voting for Kerry this year. Outstanding.

US Olympic Committee Asks Bush To Pull Ad


Bush's political tie-in ad using the Olympics is illegal:

An act of Congress, last revised in 1999, grants the USOC exclusive rights to such terms as "Olympic," derivatives such as "Olympiad" and the five interlocking rings. It also specifically says the organization "shall be nonpolitical and may not promote the candidacy of an individual seeking public office."
Mr. Bush, we understand that while the nation was dealing with the "President above the law" nonsense in 1973, you were busy skipping out on your National Guard duty for whatever reason. However, ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking it. Pull the ad.

It All Depends On What Your Definition of "In" Is

Tennessean.com - AP

John O'Neill says that when he said he was "in" Cambodia, he only meant "on the border of," or "always 100 yards away from."

Which means he either lied to a sitting President or he's lying to us.

How Dumb Are The Illinois Republicans? This Dumb.

Jesus' General

The Illinois Republicans put Jack Ryan up against Barack Obama for the Senate. Ryan had to step down when it was revealed that he took his wife (Jeri Ryan of Star Trek: Voyager fame) to sex clubs in order to obtain audiences for their conjugation.

Then they put Alan Keyes up for the contest, who's nothing more than a laughingstock.

Then a blogger called JC Christian wrote one of the prominent Republicans in the state in his spoof mode. JC Christian pretends to be a general who's very manly and not at all hetrosexually challenged, not even when perusing his extensive collection of gladiator movies at length. He's also quite the Republican, and so the good General gave the Republican quite a tonguelashing. He suggested getting rid of Keyes and recruiting Ted Nugent. How did he suggest getting rid of Keyes? Like this:

No time for private investigators. You have to do it yourselves--you broke it; you fix it. I'm thinking of a three way at a Cubs game. As for staging, the photos would look best with Sen. Syverson taking him from behind and Sen. Rauschenberger going down on him, but I guess that part is really up to you.
Well, Senator Syverson responded to the letter. Not in contempt, but as if the General had actually raised some points, which the good Senator hastened to clarify. He even suggested that if the General had floated his name, the search committee would have talked to him.

This may go down as the best prank letter in history. The General has already volunteered to run in Illinois and promises to use his extensive contacts (readership) to gain the funds necessary. If this numbskull responds back, I'm going to volunteer to raise funds in Tennessee.

al-Sistani Urges Peaceful March on Najaf


This would provide a perfect cover for al-Sadr's escape. It would flood the holy city with non-combatants, forcing a ceasefire.

It would, however, end the specter of the "abomination of desolation" that the Gospels spoke of. I'm not subscribing to any theory of Christian endtimes here, but only pointing out a useful paradigm. The Gospels report that Jesus warned about an "abomination of desolation" which would signal Christians to leave the holy city of Jerusalem. This is best identified with Jewish militants taking over the Temple complex in 70 CE. Rome had already surrounded the city - they allowed people to leave if they wished. Then they obliterated Herod's Temple.

The same flag should be a signal to us today. When militant religious fanatics take over a holy shrine, things are going to get ugly really quick. America doesn't have the option of the Roman solution here (and such a solution should be forsworn anyway). This may be the only way of getting al-Sadr out of the mosque without igniting a devestating civil war, although letting him get away only puts the al-Sadr problem on the back burner again. Better simmering on the back burner than boiling over on the front, for now.

And I shudder to think what might happen if Palestinian militants ever seized control of the Dome of the Rock. That's the best reason to establish a self-sufficient colony on Mars that I know of.

Bush Campaign Drafted Patterson Letter

Was just watching CNN. Jerry Patterson, the Texas Land Commissioner, is trying to deliver a letter to Senator Max Cleland, in which he and other vets are saying that the Kerry campaign "can't have it both ways."

This letter, by Patterson's explicit testimony, was drafted by the Bush Campaign for the vets to sign. I don't know the contents of it yet, and it may amount to nothing, but I wanted to make a record of it.

The chicanery continues. The standard that 527s should be held accountable to is one of truth. If a 527 lies and distorts the truth, they should be held accountable. The Smear Boat campaign is a primary example of this. 527s are not the problem - the problem is lies being given a veneer of credibility.

Also, Patterson repeated the idiocy that Bush thought he was getting rid of 527s when he signed McCain-Feingold. Is Bush really trying to claim that he didn't know what he was signing? Did he really think that he was closing that loophole? Is he that much of a chump?

UPDATE: Okay, got some background from CNN. Max Cleland today attempted to deliver a letter to President Bush in Crawford, in which he and other vets plead with Bush to specifically denounce the Smear Boat ads because of content. Evidently, not only were they rebuffed, but someone in the Bush campaign got together a few vets of their own to deliver a letter to Cleland. Patterson is trying to deliver that letter to Cleland.

The Kerry campaign will and has denounced ads from 527s that expressed objectionable content. Bush refuses to denounce specific ads, holding out to completely neuter 527s. The President wonders how much clearer he has to be, because he states that Kerry served honorably. This would help your clarity level, Mr. Bush; say this - "I denounce the Swift Boat Veterans ads that smear John Kerry's honorable service record."

If you want to go on and say, "Any ad from any organization that doesn't tell the truth is something we need to regulate in this country," then go right ahead. But don't have your attack dogs piss on John Kerry's legs and tell us it's raining. Your inability to denounce these specific ads is transparent.

Sidenote: Patterson hasn't spoken to Bush since the last campaign (2000). Evidently, Bush called him personally to thank him for agreeing to deliver the letter and asked about his newborn twins, something at which Patterson expressed mild surprise. How's that for legwork from the Bush campaign? That's the way Rove likes it.

Compare The Military Records of John Kerry and George Bush Yourself


An invaluable service from Marty Heldt: all the links to the publicly available military service documents from both presidential candidates, all on one page.

Just look at that page - which of these men deserves contempt for his service and which praise? It's not even close. Shame on the Smear Boat Vets.

Bush's Nominee to CIA Backed Massive Intelligence Budget Slashes


Porter Goss, Bush's handpicked successor to George Tenet, would have cut intelligence personnel by 20% between 1996 and 2000.

Bush is slamming John Kerry for advocating cuts in the intelligence budget, but the proposals co-sponsored by Goss would have slashed the budget even further. So according to Bush's rhetoric, his own people are being even more irresponsible with the nation's intelligence gathering than Kerry.

This is nonsense, of course, and undercuts Bush's criticism of Kerry. It's not irresponsible to look for ways to cut the budget. It's not irresponsible to find a more efficient and cheaper way of getting the job done.

And it would seem that lying about Kerry's record is the most efficient way Bush has of campaigning this year.

Bush Criticizes Anti-Kerry Television Ad? Not Hardly


What Bush did is what Bush has consistently done since the ad began to air: change the subject to getting rid of 527s altogether.

He's criticizing the ad because it comes from a 527, not because the ad is flagrantly biased and full of lies. That's an important distinction that major media outlets could pay attention to, yet they didn't.

Meanwhile, his campaign supporters continue to use rhetoric designed to take full advantage of the smear campaign. Mark Racicot talked about Kerry being "wild-eyed" about these ads, and wondered about the "steady hand on the ship of state," a clear allusion to the Swiftboat campaign.

Karl Rove knows that Democratic-aligned 527s have raised far more money than Republican ones. The Smear Boat campaign has allowed them to plug the issue of banning 527s, something that can only hurt Kerry, not Bush.

Without the coverfire of 527s, Kerry would be forced to spend his campaign funds to defend himself, while Bush continues to raise money on his protracted "primary" season. At the close of the Republican national convention, Bush will get his $75 million from public funding, while Kerry's campaign resources are drained away fighting these lies. That's what all of this is really about. Bush doesn't care for the subject of Kerry's war record at all, but weakening Kerry's campaign chest to outspend him from September through November? That's the real pie Bush is angling for.

The President has been called upon time and again to condemn these ads based on their content, not their organization's exempt status. To date, he has refused to do so, out of sheer political ambition. The President ought to be ashamed.

Bush's Moral Cowardice

Talking Points Memo

Josh hits it right on the head: George Bush's moral cowardice is the core principle of his life and his presidency. This is a must read.

Did Kerry Violate UCMJ In 1971?

A new meme is taking hold in the world of Bush blogs. It's being fueled by Instapundit, but I found out about it over at Baldilocks, the blog of an ex-Air Force reservist who's been very critical of the AWOL Bush "thing", as she puts it.

Here's the scoop: In 1971, John Kerry met with North Vietnamese officials, something he reported to a Congressional committee. At the time of the meeting, he was in the Naval Reserves (his service continued until 1978). Was this a punishable offense under UCMJ, namely, meeting with the enemy?

According to the UCMJ, members of a reserve component are under the UCMJ's jurisdiction only when attending inactive-duty training. The UCMJ doesn't apply, then. It doesn't make this meeting a wise thing to do, but it wasn't illegal, and it certainly wasn't giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

I linked to Baldilock's initial post, but you can follow through to the next post where she says she was wrong. But then she updates that post to say she was wrong about being wrong. I think she'll get it right soon, though. She's hung up right now on a distinction between regular Reserves and Standby Reserves.

From what I gather, it's harder to call Standby Reserves into active duty. Congress has to have declared war before Standbys are called. Regular reservists can be flipped into active duty on the President's go-ahead. Kerry transferred from active duty to the Reserves as an inactive member (he was planning on running for Congress). Two and a half years later, he transferred to Standby Reserves when his regular Reserve time expired, where he stayed for six years. In both classifications, Kerry was an inactive member.

So another smear about Kerry's service is proven to be untrue. I guess that surprises no one on this side of the aisle...

Bush to Blame Democratic Party for Protestors in New York

NY Times

Absolutely ludicrous, of course. Anybody defending the Democratic Party on talk shows should pop up a picture of the Miami-Dade protestors with their names and connections to prominent Republican congresspeople. They should then tell Sean Hannity to get a similar picture from New York or stuff it.