By Larry C. Johnson
Wednesday 28 June 2006
Bullshit alert! After watching George Bush and Dick Cheney weep and wail over the "damage" done by the New York Times for reporting that financial data is being dumped into the CIA as part of an effort to find terrorist networks, I kept waiting for Darryl Hannah to pop up and say, "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night." Does George have Alzheimer's Disease? Has he forgotten that he used to love the New York Times? The only thing funnier is that most of the mainstream media is reporting the antics of these clowns as straight up news.
I guess Bush and Cheney decided that leaks to the New York Times were no longer kosher when their go to girl, Judith Miller, got canned. Of course, Judy wasn't the only member of the now "traitorous" New York Times to benefit from White House largesse. Doug Jehl published a piece on August 2, 2004, that exposed an Al Qaeda informant:
The unannounced capture of a figure from Al Qaeda in Pakistan several weeks ago led the Central Intelligence Agency to the rich lode of information that prompted the terror alert on Sunday, according to senior American officials.
The figure, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, was described by a Pakistani intelligence official as a 25-year-old computer engineer, arrested July 13, who had used and helped to operate a secret Qaeda communications system where information was transferred via coded messages.
A senior United States official would not confirm or deny that Mr. Khan had been the Qaeda figure whose capture led to the information. But the official said "documentary evidence" found after the capture had demonstrated in extraordinary detail that Qaeda members had for years conducted sophisticated and extensive reconnaissance of the financial institutions cited in the warnings on Sunday.
The White House also used the New York Times to spread lies about the state of Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Remember the September 8, 2002, piece by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller? They reported that:
More than a decade after Saddam Hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today.
In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped.
The diameter, thickness and other technical specifications of the aluminum tubes had persuaded American intelligence experts that they were meant for Iraq's nuclear program, officials said, and that the latest attempt to ship the material had taken place in recent months.
And who can forget that Vice President Cheney instructed his chief of staff, the intrepid Scooter Libby, to leak misleading portions of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times's Judith Miller. NPR's David Greene reported that:
Former vice presidential aide Lewis Libby, indicted for leaking a CIA agent's identity, has testified that any classified information he may have leaked to a reporter was authorized by President Bush through the vice president. The claim is included in court documents released Thursday.
Libby told a grand jury that classified information he may have leaked to a New York Times reporter was authorized for use by President Bush, acting through Vice President Dick Cheney. Lewis is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to the grand jury, which was investigating the leak of the agent's identity to the media.
We should also remember that the New York Times was not the only friendly outlet for planting "news." White House officials turned to Time Magazine and the Chicago Sun Times in shopping information about Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA officer. For this White House, leaking classified information that damages national security is okay as long as it can be used to save the President's political reputation.
President Bush crying about "leaks" to the New York Times is like listening to former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss complain about sexual promiscuity. Sorry George, we ain't buying your song and dance.
Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and US State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy Director), is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, ABC's Nightline, NBC's Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for publications, including Security Management Magazine, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security around the world.