Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #502 Curve Ball

Recorded March 13, 2005
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Taking its title from the intelligence code-name of an Iraqi defector who provided the US with bogus intelligence about Iraq’s WMD’s, this show examines the Iraq war and the “War on Terror” in the context of proxy war waged against the US by the Underground Reich. It turned out that the centerpiece of US intelligence on Iraqi WMD’s was a defector from Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. Purporting to have first hand knowledge of the mobile biowarfare labs that Saddam allegedly possessed, the defector (code-named “Curveball”) was at all times in the hands of German intelligence. The BND (German intelligence and the successor to the Gehlen spy outfit) rebuffed US attempts at interviewing Curveball in person. The US went to war over intelligence provided by a source to which they never had direct access! It is unclear whether German intelligence told the US about the doubts they allegedly had about the source. This program asks whether the US may have been duped into an invasion that will pit it against the Muslim populations of the world in a long, costly war that will ultimately result in this country’s demise. It is worth noting that such a gambit would not have required a great deal of skill. Luring the Bush administration into such an act would have been no more difficult than setting out a pot of honey in front of a hungry bear. It is also worth noting that Ahmed Chalabi (whose organization provided Curveball to the Germans) is a reputed Iranian spy. The Iranians may have helped the Germans lure the US into deposing their enemy Saddam. In addition, the program examines the possibility that the A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling ring may also be an example of the Underground Reich’s use of the Muslim population of the world as proxy warriors. Much of the program focuses on Osama bin Laden’s address just before the US elections of 2004, in which he compared Bush’s policies with his own goals and concluded that Bush was furthering his (bin Laden’s) aims.

Program Highlights Include: Examination of bin Laden’s goal of bankrupting the US economy and Bush’s actions that are accomplishing that goal; more information about the presence of Germans in the A.Q. Khan smuggling ring; a stunning proposal by US diplomatic officials that would provide for an alliance between the US and the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood (the parent organization of Al Qaeda); review of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Bank Al Taqwa and its links to the events of 9/11.

1. The broadcast begins with discussion of the individual from whom the program derives its title—the Iraqi turncoat code-named “Curveball.”
Curveball provided some of the key “information” which the U.S. used to justify the invasion of Iraq—the now thoroughly discredited story about Iraq’s mobile germ warfare labs. As it turns out, the CIA never had access to this individual. “The Bush administration’s prewar claims that Saddam Hussein had built a fleet of trucks and railroad cars to produce anthrax and other deadly germs were based chiefly on information from a now-discredited Iraqi defector code-named ‘Curveball,’ according to current and former intelligence officials.”

(“Iraqi Defector’s Tales Bolstered U.S. for War” by Bob Drogin and Greg Miller; Los Angeles Times; 3/28/2004; p. 1.)

2. As it turns out, Curveball was at all times in the hands of the BND—the German federal intelligence service and successor to the Gehlen spy outfit. Throughout the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Mr. Emory voiced his opinion that the Underground Reich was leading the U.S. into a trap, in which America would find itself in a long, draining war against the Muslim peoples of the “Earth Island.” The information presented here about Curveball dovetails nicely with Mr. Emory’s prewar analysis. “U.S. officials never had direct access to the defector and didn’t even know his real name until after the war. Instead, his story was provided by German agents, and his file was so thick with details that American officials thought it confirmed long-standing suspicions that the Iraqis had developed mobile germ factories to evade arms inspections.” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

3. “Curveball” turned out to be an appropriate moniker for this individual. His story was not only disinformation, but also disinformation that may have been deliberately fed to the U.S. by Ahmed Chalabi’s group. In light of allegations that Chalabi was connected to Iranian intelligence, one must wonder if Iran may also have been deliberately feeding Curveball’s b.s. to the U.S. This would not have required a great deal of guile on the part of the Germans and/or Iranians: it would have been like setting out a pot of honey in the path of a marauding, hungry bear. “Curveball’s story has since crumbled under doubts raised by the Germans and the scrutiny of U.S. weapons hunters, who have come to see his code name as particularly apt, given the problems that beset much of the prewar intelligence collection and analysis. U.N. weapons inspectors hypothesized that such trucks might exist, officials said. They then asked former exile leader Ahmed Chalabi, a bitter enemy of Hussein, to help search for intelligence supporting their theory.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

4. Curveball appeared right on time, providing the U.S. (through his German handlers) with just what they wanted to hear. “Soon after, a young chemical engineer emerged in a German refugee camp and claimed that he had been hired out of Baghdad University to design and build biological warfare trucks for the Iraqi army. Based largely on his account, President Bush and his aides repeatedly warned of the shadowy germ trucks, dubbed ‘Winnebagos of Death’ or ‘Hell on Wheels’ in news accounts, and they became a crucial part of the White House case for war, including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s dramatic presentation to the U.N. Security Council just weeks before the war.” (Idem.)

5. As it turned out, Curveball was the brother of one of Chalabi’s top aides. Again, Chalabi has been alleged to be a cat’s paw for Iranian intelligence. “Only later, U.S. officials said, did the CIA learn that the defector was the brother of one of Chalabi’s top aides, and begin to suspect that he might have been coached to provide false information. Partly because of that, some U.S. intelligence officials and congressional investigators fear that the CIA may have inadvertently conjured up and then chased a phantom weapons system. David Kay, who resigned in January as head of the CIA-led group created to find illicit weapons in Iraq, said that of all the intelligence failures in Iraq, the case of Curveball was particularly troubling. ‘This is the one that’s damning,’ he said. ‘This is the one that has the potential for causing the largest havoc in the sense that it really looks like a lack of due diligence and care in going forward.” (Idem.)

6. “Kay said in an interview that the defector ‘was absolutely at the heart of a matter of intense interest to us.’ But Curveball turned out to be an ‘out-and-out fabricator,’ he added. . . .” (Idem.)

7. “. . . U.S. and British intelligence officials have acknowledged since major combat ended in Iraq that lies or distortions by Iraqi opposition groups in exile contributed to numerous misjudgments about Iraq’s suspected weapons programs. Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress is blamed most often, but the rival Iraqi National Accord and various Kurdish groups also were responsible for sending dubious defectors to Western intelligence, officials say. . .” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

8. As noted here, the BND refused CIA requests to interview Curveball in person. Why?! ” . . . In this case, Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, known as the BND, repeatedly rejected CIA requests to meet Curveball, saying it needed to protect its source. But U.S. and German officials said the BND furnished its file on the defector to U.S. authorities and at times had him answer specific questions from U.S. intelligence. . . .” (Idem.)

9. One of the key questions concerns whether the BND communicated their doubts about Curveball before the March 20th invasion date. ” . . . One focus of the ongoing investigations is whether the CIA should have known Curveball was not credible. A former U.S. official who has reviewed the classified file said the BND warned the CIA last spring [2003] that it had ‘various problems with the source.’ Die Zeit, a German newsweekly, first reported the warning last August. The official said the BND sent the warning after Powell first described the biowarfare trucks in detail to the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5, 5003. It’s unclear whether the German warning arrived before the war began on March 20 last year.” (Idem.)

10. Read the next paragraph carefully: it appears that the Germans were passing disinformation to a U.S. intelligence establishment that very much wanted to hear just what the Germans were telling them. ” ‘You can imagine the consternation it kicked off,’ the official said. ‘It suggested that what [the Germans had] been passing to us was false. They were backing away.’ Mark Mansfield, a CIA spokesman, declined to comment Friday on that charge or questions about the case. An official at BND headquarters in Berlin, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also declined to answer questions. ‘We believed that Iraq had these mobile biological facilities,’ the official said.. . .” (Idem.)

11. Others from the Chalabi camp were providing disinformation on the mobile biowarfare labs. ” . . . Kay said the debriefing files on the pair [of Iraqi defectors supporting Curveball’s allegations] showed that they never had direct contact with the biowarfare trucks. ‘None of them claimed to have seen them,’ he said. ‘They said they were aware of the mobile program. They had heard there was a mobile program.’ CIA files showed that another Iraqi defector, an engineer who had worked with Curveball, specifically denied that they had worked on such facilities, Kay said. Powell did not cite that defector.” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

12. Others in Chalabi’s camp buttressed Curveball’s claims. “The CIA acknowledged last month that a fourth defector whom Powell cited at the U.N., a former major in Iraq’s intelligence service, had lied when he said that Baghdad had built mobile research laboratories to test biological agents. The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency twice debriefed that defector in early 2002 and reported his claims. But it then concluded that he did not have firsthand information and probably was coached by Chalabi’s exile group. . . .” (Idem.)

13. It appears that Curveball was thrown in the CIA’s direction by a Chalabi outfit that had long been pitching batting practice to the weapons inspectors. ” . . . The inspectors long had relied on intelligence from sympathetic governments and dissident groups. Chalabi had lobbied Washington for years to overthrow Hussein and claimed that he had spies inside the Baghdad regime. In December 1997, Ritter said, he and his deputy, a former British army major attached to the U.N. team, flew to London to ask Chalabi for help. They met for three hours over dinner at Chalabi’s Mayfair residence with the influential Iraqi exile and Ahmed Allawi, who headed intelligence operations for the Iraqi National Congress.” (Ibid.; p. 7.)

14. ” ‘Chalabi outlined what he could do for us,’ Ritter recalled. ‘His intelligence guy outlined their sources and said he had people inside the government. They told us they had the run of Iraq. Just tell them what we needed. So we outlined the gaps in our understanding of the Iraqi program, including the mobile bioweapons labs. Basically, we gave them a shopping list.’ ‘They began feeding us information,’ Ritter said. ‘We got hand-drawn maps, handwritten statements and other stuff flowing in. At first blush, it looked good. But nothing panned out. Most of it just regurgitated what we’d given them. And the data that was new never checked out.'” (Ibid.; pp. 7-8.)

15. The precise circumstances surrounding Curveball’s appearance in Germany in 1998 remain mysterious. “Haider Musawi, an INC media liaison in Baghdad, said in a telephone interview Saturday that he could not confirm the meetings had occurred. Asked about INC ties to Curveball, he replied, ‘I really can’t think of such a defector.’ U.S. officials say Curveball apparently showed up in Germany in 1998, but it is unclear how he got there. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s.] [The Times] was unable to ascertain Curveball’s real name or his current location. What is clear is that by 2000, Curveball had provided a vast array of convincing detail about the illicit program he claimed to manage. . . . ‘We didn’t find anything.'” (Ibid.; p. 8.)

16. ” . . . During the summer, Kay’s investigators visited Curveball’s parents and brother in Baghdad, as well as his former work sites. They determined that he was last in his class at the University of Baghdad, not first as he had claimed. They learned he had been fired from his job and jailed for embezzlement before he fled Iraq. ‘He was wrong about so much,’ Kay recalled. ‘Physical descriptions he gave for buildings and sites simply didn’t match reality. Things started to fall apart.’ Chalabi now a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, retains strong support in the White House. He was a guest of First Lady Laura Bush at the president’s State of the Union address last January, and his organization still receives several hundred thousand dollars a month from the Pentagon to help collect intelligence in Iraq. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 9.)

17. Next, the broadcast sets forth the allegations about Chalabi’s having ties to Iranian intelligence. With a Shiite majority that was actively suppressed by Saddam Hussein, Iraq would have made a tempting target to the Iranians. They might well have decided to do what they could to precipitate a U.S. invasion of Iraq, it’s old enemy. “Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi leader accused by the CIA of passing US secrets to Tehran, claimed to have close links with Iranian intelligence seven years ago, according to a former UN weapons inspector. Scott Ritter, who before the war insisted that Saddam Hussein did not have significant weapons stocks, made the claim to Andrew Cockburn, a Washington-based journalist and the author of a biography of the ousted Iraqi dictator.”
(“Iraqi Accused by CIA Made Claim in 1997, Says Former Inspector” by Julian Borger; The Guardian; 5/26/2004; p. 1.)

18. ” ‘When I met [Mr. Chalabi] in December 1997 he said he had tremendous connections with Iranian intelligence,’ Mr. Ritter said, according to an article by Mr. Cockburn published today in the Guardian. ‘He said that some of his best intelligence came from the Iranians and offered to set up a meeting for me with the head of Iranian intelligence.’ Mr. Chalabi has repeatedly denied passing secrets to the Iranians and has denounced the allegations made by US intelligence officials as a CIA ‘smear.’ He also denied providing false information about weapons of mass destruction to the US. . . .” (Idem.)

19. In FTR#412, Mr. Emory presented information suggesting that the Bush administration was deliberately working to subvert the U.S. economy. Osama bin Laden has been working in a similar direction. Recall that it has long been Mr. Emory’s view that the Underground Reich is pulling the strings of the Bush administration, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. In that context, it is interesting to examine a speech Osama bin Laden released [via videotape] just before the U.S. presidential election. In this speech, bin Laden hints fairly directly that Bush is following his agenda. Again, it is Mr. Emory’s view that both the Bush administration and Al Qaeda are serving as puppets of the Underground Reich. “Osama bin Laden boasted that the invasion of Iraq has bogged down the United States in a hopeless war that advances al Qaeda’s recruitment goals and bin Laden’s aim of bankrupting the U.S. economy, according to a translation of the full text of the terrorist leader’s remarks on a videotape that surfaced last week. ‘The thinkers and perceptive ones from among the Americans warned Bush before the war’ about the dangers of invading Iraq, bin Laden said on the tape, according to a U.S. government transcript released yesterday. ‘But the darkness of the black gold [oil] blurred his vision. . . . The war went ahead, the death toll rose, the American economy bled, and Bush became embroiled in the swamps of Iraq that threatened his future. . . .'”
(“Bin Laden Lauds Costs of War to U.S.” by John Mintz; Washington Post; 11/1/2004; p. 1.)

20. ” . . . On the tape, the Saudi millionaire brags that he is succeeding beyond his dreams in destabilizing the U.S. economy and bankrupting the U.S. government, asserting that President Bush is easily manipulated into taking military and security steps that harm American interests. The results of the U.S. war in Iraq, he said, ‘have been by the grace of Allah, positive and enormous, and have by all standards exceeded all expectations. The policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations—whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction—has helped al Qaeda to achieve these enormous results,’ bin Laden said. ‘And so it has appeared to some analysts and diplomats that the White House and we are playing as one team toward the economic goals of the United States, even if the intentions differ.‘ [Italics are Mr. Emory’s].” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

21. It is essential to note that bin Laden’s boasts would be empty, but for the insane tax cuts that the Bush administration has implemented. Bin Laden’s forces would not have succeeded in the ongoing bankrupting of the U.S., were it not for the Bush administration’s fiscal policies. ” . . . Bin Laden also suggested that the huge sums of money Washington spends on homeland security and the military serve his agenda of weakening the U.S. economy. All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration,’ bin Laden said. ‘All that we have to do is to send two mujaheddin to the farthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written ‘al Qaeda’ in order to make the generals race there, to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses, without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.’ He added: ‘We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.'” (Ibid.; pp. 2-3.)

22. Again, note that it is Bush’s insane economic policies, in combination with bin Laden’s tactics that are bankrupting the United Staes. “He noted remarks by counterterrorism experts that al Qaeda’s expenses in attacking America are a tiny fraction of the cost of Washington’s counterterrorism efforts. ‘Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million [U.S.] dollars . . . besides the loss of a huge number of jobs. ‘As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record, astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars. Even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the mujaheddin recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan.'” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

23. During the run-up to the Iraq war, Mr. Emory produced a number of programs advancing his working hypothesis that the Underground Reich was manipulating the Muslim populations of the “Earth Island” (the Arabs in particular) in order to serve as proxy warriors against the U.S., Britain and Israel. (For more about this, see FTR#’s 394, 395, 396, 404, 413, 450.) In this context, the program presents more information about the German links to (and origins of) the A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling ring that provided Pakistan, Libya, Iran and North Korea with much of their nuclear capability. This should be viewed against the recent saber-rattling between the U.S. and Iran. Is this another example of the U.S. being lured into a proxy war situation? “Recent advances in an international investigation into the nuclear smuggling network centered on Abdul-Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist, have boosted hopes of uncovering the truth about Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Khan has admitted helping the nuclear programs of Iran, Libya and North Korea over more than 15 years—but there are big gaps in investigators’ understanding of what was supplied and to whom. . . .”

(“Fresh Clues on Smuggling Network Could Help Lift Lid on Tehran’s Secret Nuclear Programme” by Stephen Fidler; The Financial Times; 3/12/2005; p. 1.)

24. “Investigators have known for more than a year that early contacts were made between Iran and the network in 1987. But the significance of the document was that it showed the network offered to provide Iran with the wherewithal to manufacture and cast uranium metal, an ability Iran would need only if building a nuclear weapon. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

25. For more about the German link to the nuclear smuggling ring, see FTR#’s 336, 395, 450.) “Nuclear analysts said the document might have encouraged Pakistan’s first public admission this week that the network supplied Iran with centrifuges, ruling out that it supplied other, even more incriminating, technologies. The document emerged out of a 1987 meeting in Dubai, attended by three Iranian officials, Mr. Tahir and his uncle, a man named Mohamed Farouq, western diplomats said. As many as three Europeans may have attended, including possibly a German engineer, now dead, called Heinz Mebus. . . .” (Idem.)

26. Just as the U.S. was lured into the Iraqi invasion under the auspices of bad intelligence and some fundamental illusions about the nature of the Middle East, so, too it may be in the process of being lured into a friendly relationship with the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood. An ally of the Third Reich, the Brotherhood is explicitly fascist. Like a number of neo-fascist movements (including the Italian Alleanza Nationale and the German NPD) the Brotherhood is attempting to use democratic means to achieve power, where it is deemed feasible. This should not lure the U.S. into a false sense of security, however. Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was quite explicit about the Nazis’ willingness to use democratic means to achieve power, as well as their unwillingness to allow others to use democratic means to remove them from power. It would be prudent to view the Brotherhood’s democratic pretensions in light of Goebbels’ remarks. Bearing in mind Mr. Emory’s views on Underground Reich manipulation of the Bush administration and the Muslim Brotherhood, it is interesting to consider the article that follows. It may be that the Bush administration’s attempts at fostering democracy in the Middle East may result in the ascension of Islamofascist governments in those countries.

27. ” . . . Some federal agents worry that the Muslim Brotherhood has dangerous links to terrorism. But some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials believe its influence offers an opportunity for political engagement that could help isolate violent jihadists. ‘It is the preeminent movement in the Muslim world,’ said Graham E. Fuller, a former CIA official specializing in the Middle East. ‘It’s something we can work with.’ Demonizing the Brotherhood ‘would be foolhardy in the extreme,’ he warned.”

(“In Search of Friends Among the Foes: U.S. Hopes to Work with Diverse Group” by John Mintz and Douglas Farah; The Washington Post; 9/11/2004; p. A01.)

28. “The Brotherhood’s history and the challenges it poses to U.S. officials illustrate the complexity of the political front in the campaign against terrorism three years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. FBI agents and financial investigators probe the group for terrorist ties and legal violations, while diplomats simultaneously discuss strategies for co-opting at least its moderate wings. In both sectors of the U.S. government, the Brotherhood often remains a mystery. The Brotherhood—of al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, as it is know in Arabic—is a sprawling and secretive society with followers in more than 70 countries. It is dedicated to creating an Islamic civilization that harks back to the caliphates of the 7th and 7th centuries, one that would segregate women from public life and scorn nonbelievers.” (Idem.)

29. “In some nations—Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Sudan—the Brotherhood has fomented Islamic revolution. In the Palestinian territories, the Brotherhood created the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, which has become known for its suicide bombings of Israelis. Yet is also a sophisticated and diverse organization that appeals to many Muslims worldwide and sometimes advocates peaceful persuasion, not violent revolt. Some of its supporters went on to help found al Qaeda, while others launched one of the largest college student groups in the United States. For decades the Brotherhood enjoyed the support of the government of Saudi Arabia and its oil billions, which helped the group expand in the United States.” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

30. It is disturbing to note that the Brotherhood is a dominant force in the American Islamic community: “Past and present Muslim Brotherhood supporters make up the U.S. Islamic community’s most organized force. They run hundreds of mosques and dozens of businesses engaging in ventures such as real estate development and banking. They also helped set up some of the leading American Islamic organizations that defend the rights of Muslims, promote Muslim civic activism and seek to spread Islam. For years, federal agents paid little heed to the Brotherhood, but after Sept. 11, they noticed that many leads went back to the Brotherhood. ‘We see some sort of nexus, direct or indirect, to the Brotherhood, in ongoing cases,’ said Dennis Lormel, until recently a top FBI counterterrorism official. The architect of the Sept. 11 strikes, Khalid Sheik Mohamed, told U.S. interrogators that he was drawn to violent jihad after joining the Brotherhood in Kuwait at age 16 and attending its desert youth camps, according to the report released in July by the national commission that investigated the attacks.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

31. The article refers to Bank Al Taqwa: “Brotherhood radicals in Germany and Spain are suspected of organizing logistical support for the al Qaeda cell that carried out the attacks. Western governments subsequently shut down a huge banking network in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Bahamas that was set up by a leading Brotherhood figure, citing its numerous financial ties to al Qaeda and other terrorists. The founder, Youssef Nada, denies wrongdoing.” (Idem.)

32. The story also touches on the March 20, 2002 Operation Green Quest raids. Note that there are significant evidentiary tributaries running between the Brotherhood, Bank Al Taqwa, the GOP and the targets of the Operation Green Quest raids. “In March 2002, federal agents in Northern Virginia raided a cluster of Muslim think tanks, companies and foundations run mostly by men who sympathized with the Brotherhood in Iraq and elsewhere in the 1960’s. No charges have resulted, but U.S. officials stated in court earlier this year that they are pursuing terrorist financing allegations. Members of the group, known for their relative political moderation, say they ended Brotherhood ties years ago and deny wrongdoing. In a 42-count indictment in July, the government alleged that an Islamic charity, the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, funneled $12.4 million to a designated terrorist group, Hamas. The indictment said the Holy Land Foundation was ‘deeply involved with a network of Muslim Brotherhood organizations dedicated to furthering the Islamic fundamentalist agenda espoused by Hamas.’ The Holy Land Foundation denies wrongdoing. . . .” (Idem.)


10 comments for “FTR #502 Curve Ball”

  1. Heh, it turns out that Mitt Romney’s convention speech was the first GOP speech since 1952 not to include any mention of war. While that might seem like a good sign that we’ve entered an era of peace and prosperity, it’s not.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 31, 2012, 1:50 pm
  2. AAAAND here we go. They couldn’t even wait until October 2. Ladies and Gents, your October Surprise:

    Monday, Oct 1, 2012 08:30 AM CDT
    GOP’s October surprise?
    Source reveals “Jimmy Carter Strategy” to make Obama seem weak on defense in campaign’s final month

    By Craig Unger

    According to a highly reliable source, as Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama prepare for the first presidential debate Wednesday night, top Republican operatives are primed to unleash a new two-pronged offensive that will attack Obama as weak on national security, and will be based, in part, on new intelligence information regarding the attacks in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on Sept. 11.

    The source, who has firsthand knowledge of private, high-level conversations in the Romney camp that took place in Washington, D.C., last week, said that at various times the GOP strategists referred to their new operation as the Jimmy Carter Strategy or the October Surprise.

    He added that they planned to release what they hoped would be “a bombshell” that would make Libya and Obama’s foreign policy a major issue in the campaign. “My understanding is that they have come up with evidence that the Obama administration had positive intelligence that there was going to be a terrorist attack on the intelligence.”

    The source described the Republicans as chortling with glee that the Obama administration “definitely had intel” about the attack before it happened. “Intelligence can be graded in different ways,” he added, “and sometimes A and B don’t get connected. But [the Romney campaign] will try to paint it to look like Obama had advance knowledge of the attack and is weak on terrorism.”

    He said they were jubilant about their new strategy and said they intended to portray Obama as a helpless, Jimmy Carter-like president and to equate the tragedy in Libya with President Carter’s failed attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran in 1980. “They are so excited about it,” he said. “Over and over again they talked about how it would be just like Jimmy Carter’s failed raid. They feel it is going to give them a last-minute landslide in the election.”

    The source, however, said he was dubious about the tactic. “To me, it is indicative that they have lost touch with a huge portion of the electorate,” he said.

    UPDATE (11:45 am EST): A Sunday, September 30 Wall Street Journal article by Romney himself suggests that the Karl Rove faction of Romney’s camp, led by neoconservative foreign policy adviser Dan Senor may have won out. “These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere ‘bumps in the road.’ “ Romney wrote. “They are major issues that put our security at risk. Yet amid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them.”

    Coming just days before the presidential debates, which most observers thought would be focused on the state of the economy, Romney’s article strongly suggests he may well turn the subject to Libya.

    THIS is our October Surpise?! They’ve “come up with evidence”? Perhaps this is just the Early October Surprise and there’s something more later because this seems atypically inept for something with Rove’s backing. The implicit stance on all of this is that Romney would have had a “stronger” response or something. And what would that be? Another war? Because that’s exactly what Americans want. I realize that Rove loves the whole “attack them on their greatest strength” tactic and wants to neutralize the boost Obama gets from the death of bin Laden and it’s true that Karl doesn’t have much to work with when Mittens is the candidate but still…this whole scheme just sounds unusually lame. Is there more to this or is Karl losing his touch?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 1, 2012, 2:54 pm
  3. Posted by Terry | October 2, 2012, 5:18 am
  4. Now that we’ve learned that Benghazi is worse than Watergate, bigger than 9/11, possibly God’s Wrath, and overall the biggest scandal in American history Darth Vader felt the need to chime in too:

    Talking Points Memo
    Cheney Slams Obama Over Benghazi: We Were ‘Ready To Go On 9/11’ (VIDEO)
    Tom Kludt 11:24 AM EDT, Tuesday May 14, 2013

    Continuing his intense criticism of President Barack Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday said that the security failures in Benghazi, Libya were a stark contrast to America’s readiness on Sept. 11, 2001.

    “In my past experience when we got into these situations — especially after 9/11 — we were always there, locked and loaded, ready to go on 9/11,” Cheney told Fox News Channel commentator Sean Hannity in a phone interview. “We have specially-trained units that practice this sort of thing all the time. They are very good at it and they are chomping at the bit to go.”

    Cheney wondered why American forces weren’t “deployed and ready to go to take action in any of those areas in the Middle East or North Africa.”

    “It makes no sense,” Cheney said.

    Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served under Cheney, mocked the notion that the U.S. could have implemented a swift response to the attack in Benghazi, saying Sunday that the suggestion reveals a “cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.”

    In Cheney’s defense, he wasn’t kidding about the Bush administration being “ready to go on 9/11”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 14, 2013, 1:13 pm
  5. @Pterrafractyl–

    As you undoubtedly recall, I predicted this grim circus as the Arab Spring was unfolding.

    People still haven’t figured out that that was an “op” by the GOP/Underground Reich element of the U.S. intelligence system.


    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 14, 2013, 2:33 pm
  6. Regarding the possible NATO strike on the Syrian government for alleged use of chemical weapons, it’s worth recalling that the Russian government madea very similar claim about the use of sarin gas by the rebel forces near Damascus back in March. It’s also worth recalling how little credibility the US has on the world stage right now on these types of matters with the Snowden Affair still dripping away and the memory of the Iraq War WMD-lies still etched in our collective psyches. So if there doesn’t end up being some pretty compelling evidence that this was, indeed, an attack by the Assad regime it’s hard to see how this doesn’t end up becoming perceived as a staged NATO intervention by a large swathe of the global audience. The fog of war and moral clarity are sort of incompatible.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 26, 2013, 7:25 pm
  7. @Pterrafractyl–

    Indeed! If Obama doesn’t react, then he looks weak, not enforcing the “line” that shouldn’t get crossed.

    If he does order military action, then the whole Middle East quicksand in which we are sinking becomes that much more lethal.

    There was a good piece in the New York Times a couple of days ago about the Syrian rebels, who kidnapped a photographer.

    Taliban, Al Qaeda knock-offs.

    And very, very sophisticated. I wouldn’t believe a word any of those groups said, nor would I put it past them to stage some sort of provocation.

    I noted in my series about the so-called Arab Spring that Lee Harvey Obama would end up getting destroyed through this.

    Good piece in today’s New York Times about the Egyptian people accusing the U.S. of a pro-Brotherhood conspiracy.

    Imagine that! The U.S. supporting the Muslim Brotherhood!

    Note that, in FTR #749, John Loftus concurred that the Arab Spring “was us”–a U.S. intelligence operation.

    I said as much.

    As with Syria, Obama would be damned if he did and damned if he didn’t in Egypt.

    Sort of an Underground Reich coin flip–heads they win and tails you lose.

    Certainly, there was a military coup in Egypt, although he can’t admit it or court the certainty of a mandatory cut-off of U.S. military aid.

    As is, he is being blamed by the Brotherhood for not backing “democracy” and by the opposition for not backing them.

    No way would I want to be President!

    As this doomsday scenario unfolds, no one should lose sight of the fact that the President does not control foreign or national security policy.

    The 50th anniversary of JFK’s objective lesson in such affairs informs us of the dynamic.



    Posted by Dave Emory | August 26, 2013, 9:28 pm
  8. Adding to the mystery of the Syrian gas attack, just days before the attack, UN weapons inspectors were arriving in Khan al-Asar, near Allepo, to investigate the two alleged attacks that took place on March 19th, when the government and rebels both claimed attacks by the other side using sarin. It’s never a good time to use chemical weapons, but the timing of this latest attack seems incredibly bad:

    U.N. Chemical-Weapons Experts Arrive in Syria: Are They on a Fool’s Errand?
    By Aryn Baker / Beirut @arynebaker Aug. 19, 2013

    After a six-month delay, U.N. chemical-weapons experts have finally arrived in Syria to find out what exactly happened in Khan al-Asal, near the city of Aleppo, on March 19, when 31 people died in what appears to have been a chemical-weapon attack. The investigative team will stay for at least a week, visiting Khan al-Asal as well as two other sites, which are thought to have been hit by similar attacks, though for security reasons their locations have not been revealed.

    In Khan al-Asal, the government claimed that “terrorists” — its blanket term for antiregime rebels — had fired a “missile containing a chemical substance” at the village in retaliation for residents’ support of the government, and asked for a U.N. investigation. The rebels accused the government of attacking its own people in order to smear the opposition and echoed the call for an impartial investigation. The investigation team, including weapons experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has been on standby since April, waiting on negotiations about the kind of access Damascus is willing to permit. Investigators may finally be in Syria, but they are unlikely to reach the kind of closure that the victims’ families, the government, the rebels or even the international community seek.

    To begin with, the team’s objective is only to determine whether or not chemical weapons were used, not how and not by whom. Even under the best circumstances — unfettered access, immediately following the attack — the findings were likely to be disappointing. Who wouldn’t want to be able to point a finger when it comes to the deployment of a weapon that is universally abhorred? Six months on, the circumstances are significantly less than ideal — physical traces of the agents are likely to have disappeared by now, forcing investigators to depend on available medical records and interviews with survivors, both of which are vulnerable to manipulation.

    Early accounts of the attack suggested chlorine gas, but subsequent reports from Western intelligence agencies, based on interviews with victims that were smuggled out by rebels, indicated nerve agents like sarin, the gas used by members of Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo to attack commuters in Tokyo in 1995. But after six months and a hot summer, neither substance will remain, Zanders says. Chlorine would have dissipated immediately. Sarin, which evaporates at the same rate of water, can leave a distinct chemical signature as it breaks down, a reliable indication of its onetime presence in the area. That said, it would be impossible to ascertain whether evidence of such trace elements points to a weaponized form of sarin or simply an explosion at a toxic chemical depot. Forensic experts investigating the Tokyo attack were able to find traces of sarin gas at an Australian farm owned by the Japanese cult 18 months later, but they couldn’t confirm whether it came from a lab experiment or large-scale production.

    Whatever the results of this limited investigation, things are unlikely to substantially change in Syria as a result. A year ago U.S. President Barack Obama warned that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be a “redline” for U.S. intervention. But like the meaning of coup in regards to the Egyptian military’s role in the country’s current crisis, the deployment of such an accusation will be calibrated to suit political imperatives.

    Even if it were somehow proved that the regime had used chemical weapons in a limited manner six months ago, as some intelligence agencies attest, would Obama really be willing to up the ante in a war that has already proved to be a redline for the American public? “As long as they keep body count at a certain level, we won’t do anything,” an American intelligence admitted to Foreign Policy in a recent interview. And what if the investigation were to point to the possibility that rebel fighters deployed chemical weapons? Former CIA second-in-command Michael Morell has already expressed fears of Syria’s vast arsenal of chemical weapons falling into rebels’ hands as one reason to go slowly in the pursuit of regime change. The Syrian government’s weapons, he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “are going to be up for grabs and up for sale” like they were in Libya, with potentially disastrous results. The U.N. investigation into chemical-weapons use in Syria sets an important precedent, but it’s unlikely to answer the big questions. If anything, it will only pose more difficult ones.

    Here’s an earlier report on those March 19th attacks:

    Syria’s Civil War: The Mystery Behind a Deadly Chemical Attack
    By Aryn Baker @arynebakerApril 01, 2013

    Reports on bombings in Syria these days have become routine. But when Mohammad Sabbagh, an industrialist from Aleppo, heard about the attack near his hometown on March 19, the details stopped him cold. Survivors and witnesses of what was being described by the government news agency as a chemical attack said they smelled something like chlorine. And as the owner of Syria’s only chlorine-gas manufacturing plant, Sabbagh knew that if chlorine was involved, it most likely came from his factory.

    The attack killed 31 people, including 10 soldiers, and wounded scores more. In the immediate aftermath, the Syrian government and the opposition traded accusations. The government claimed that “terrorists,” its term for the rebels that have been fighting the regime for two years, had fired a “missile containing a chemical substance” at the village of Khan al-Asal in retaliation for their support of the government. Kasem Saad Eddine, spokesperson for the opposition military council of Aleppo, accused the government of attacking its own people in order to smear the opposition. “The regime is trying to hide its crime by accusing the FSA,” he tells TIME, referring to the Free Syrian Army, the loose confederation of rebel groups fighting the government. Eddine also accused the Syrian government of launching a second chemical attack near Damascus, causing an unspecified number of casualties. Whatever the case, the attack at Khan al-Asal marks a chilling evolution in a war that has already taken 70,000 lives and disrupted, perhaps permanently, millions more. If it turns out that the government has used chemical weapons, international demands for armed intervention will increase. If the rebels used them, the escalation in tactics indicates that the war is about to become even bloodier.

    The U.N. has acquiesced to a Syrian government request to send an investigation team to Khan al-Asal; it is expected to arrive on site this week. The team will be headed by Ake Sellstrom, a veteran chemical-weapons inspector from Sweden who was instrumental in investigating and dismantling Iraq’s chemical- and biological-weapons programs in the 1990s. It is not yet clear if the U.N. team will investigate other accusations of chemical-weapons use in Syria, nor is it clear how much access it will have. The final details for the trip will be worked out in the coming days. The team’s mandate is limited to a technical investigation, which means it will only be able to ascertain whether or not chemical weapons were used, not who used them — a frustrating outcome for those seeking clarity. Nevertheless, the findings could be a strong indication of who might have been behind the attacks. The Syrian government is believed to possess one of the biggest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world, including nerve agents Sarin and VX, as well as mustard gas, though it has repeatedly said it would never use such weapons against its own people. The opposition, though it also says it would never use chemical weapons, does have access to at least one item that could be used in a chemical attack: Sabbagh’s chlorine gas.

    In August rebel forces took Sabbagh’s factory by force, as part of a sweep that also netted them an electricity station and a military airport about 30 km from Aleppo. Sabbagh, who has since fled Aleppo for Beirut, says his factory is now occupied by Jabhat al-Nusra, a militant group with strong ties to al-Qaeda that has been designated a terrorist group by the U.S. He knows this because his site manager has struck a deal with the rebels — they supply 200 L of fuel a day to keep the generator running so that the valves of his $25 million factory don’t freeze up. The factory isn’t operational anymore, but this way at least, says Sabbagh, it might be one day in the future. In the meantime, he has no idea what has happened, if anything, to the 400 or so steel barrels of chlorine gas he had stored in the compound. The yellow tanks, which hold one ton of gas each, are used for purifying municipal water supplies. “No one can know for certain, but if it turns out chlorine gas was used in the attack, then the first possibility is that it was mine. There is no other factory in Syria that can make this gas, and now it is under opposition control,” he says.

    To Faris al-Shehabi, head of the Aleppo Chamber of Industry and a strong government supporter, it was obvious from Day One that the rebels had their eyes on the gas. “Why else would they capture a factory in the middle of nowhere? For the sniper positions?” he asks sarcastically while meeting TIME in Beirut, where he is traveling for business. “We warned back then that chemical components were in the hands of terrorists, but no one listened.”

    The investigation, when it starts, will be hobbled by the passage of time. According to a chemical-weapons expert familiar with such inquiries, who spoke on condition of anonymity over the telephone, the investigating team will examine soil, air and oil samples taken from the blast site. It is unclear whether the team will have access to survivors (who probably bear little traces of the chemicals so long after the attack) or to autopsy reports. But initial assessments based upon body counts, photos and video footage taken at the hospital after the attack seem to rule out nerve agents or mustard gas. “Looking at the death rate relative to the number of people exposed, it couldn’t have been a weaponized nerve agent,” says the expert. “And mustard gas rubs off on whoever touches it, but you don’t see the medical personnel taking additional protective measure when they treat the patients. So it’s pretty likely it was something else.”

    A doctor who treated victims immediately after the attack, and who asked not to be identified, said few of the patients had visible wounds. Most suffered from severe cramps, vomiting, headaches and troubled breathing. Those who died did so right after breathing the gas, he says. “Our staff are not used to dealing with such cases, it was the first time we treated something like it.” Several hours after the attack, two doctors returned to the blast site to warn people away. The smell, described as “rotting garbage,” was still there.

    As unlikely a deliberate use by the Syrian government of a nerve gas might be, especially considering the near certainty of an international reaction, few believe that the opposition has the wherewithal to make even crude chemical weapons. “It’s a question of capabilities,” says Greg Thielmann, a chemical-weapons expert at the Washington-based Arms Control Association. “Even if they had chemicals, where would they get access to a delivery system?” More likely, he says, the mass poisonings were a “side effect of a high explosive device that released a chemical in the vicinity.”

    And here’s a timeline that makes it pretty clear how unclear this situation is:

    Chemical weapons, developments in Syria
    August 22, 2013 11:47

    Below are events that have led to charges by the Syrian opposition that government troops unleashed chemical weapons on civilians near Damascus this week.


    – July 23: The Syrian regime acknowledges for the first time that it has a chemical weapons stockpile and threatens to use it in case of a Western military intervention, but never against its own people.

    – August 20: US President Barack Obama says the United States would regard any recourse by Damascus to its deadly arsenal as crossing a “red line”.

    – December 3: NATO warns Syria against using chemical weapons, as a US official says that Syria has begun mixing chemicals that could be used to make sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent.

    – December 24: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says it would be “political suicide” for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons against the armed opposition, and says he does not believe he would.


    – January 30: The Israeli air force hammers a military complex near Damascus suspected of holding chemical agents, saying it fears their transfer to Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, according to a US official.

    – March 19: The government and rebel forces accuse each other of using chemical weapons for the first time.

    – March 20: Obama warns the Damascus regime any use of chemical weapons against civilians would be a “game-changer”.

    – April 8: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says a UN inspection team is in nearby Cyprus and ready to deploy. Syria rejects the mission as proposed by Ban.

    – April 25: The White House says that Syria has probably used chemical weapons against rebel forces on a “small scale,” while emphasising that US spy agencies are still not 100 percent sure.

    – May 10: US Secretary of State John Kerry says there is “strong evidence” that the regime has used chemical weapons against rebels.

    – May 18: Assad denies that his forces have used chemical weapons.

    – June 4: UN investigators say they have “reasonable grounds” to believe that both sides in Syria have employed chemical weapons, on four occasions. France says it “is clear” that Assad’s regime is using sarin gas.

    – June 13: The White House says a “red line” has been crossed and accuses the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons.

    – June 14: The Kremlin says the US accusations are “unconvincing”. Damascus calls them “lies”. Britain says it agrees with the US assessment. NATO says Damascus must let the UN investigate.

    – July 9: Russia’s ambassador to the UN says Moscow has proof that rebels used sarin gas in the northern town of Khan al-Assal on March 19. The White House says it has seen no such proof.

    – July 23-24: Two senior UN chemicals weapons experts hold talks in Damascus.

    -August 14: UN announces the Syrian government has formally accepted “the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct” of an inspection mission.

    It says the inspectors led by Swedish arms expert Aake Sellstroem will investigate three sites of alleged chemical attacks for a period of at least two weeks.

    – August 18: UN inspectors arrive in Damascus.

    – August 21: The Syrian opposition accuses the regime of killing more than 1,300 people with chemical weapons near Damascus, and posts grim video images to the Internet. The government denies using chemical weapons.

    – August 22: The international community and human rights organisations call on UN experts in Syria to probe the charges of a chemical weapons attack on civilians.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 27, 2013, 11:10 am
  9. @Dave: Ted Cruz just gave a great example of the double bind the Obama Adminstration is going to find itself in when negotiating with Congress:
    According to Cruz, “…the only justifiable reason for U.S. military forces to be engaged is to protect our national security and sadly, that has been the missing variable from this administration’s approach from the beginning as they allowed Assad to slaughter over 100,000 of his people”:

    Ted Cruz: Don’t Intervene In Syria
    Igor Bobic 3:32 PM EDT, Tuesday August 27, 2013

    Count Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as a dove on Syria.

    The Lone Star State conservative said Monday that America shouldn’t intervene in Syria in the wake of a deadly chemical weapons attack in the country last week.

    “The United States Armed Forces doesn’t exist to be a policeman for the world and I certainly hope the reaction isn’t lobbing some cruise missiles in to disagree with Assad’s murderous actions,” Cruz said on Fox News.

    “The focus should be the only justifiable reason for U.S. military forces to be engaged is to protect our national security and sadly, that has been the missing variable from this administration’s approach from the beginning as they allowed Assad to slaughter over 100,000 of his people,” he added.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 27, 2013, 12:37 pm
  10. It’s worth noting that when George W. Bush said he wasn’t concerned about how history will judge him, he was speaking for himself. Others are filled with plenty of concern

    TPM Livewire
    Federal Appeals Judge Compares People Who Say Bush Lied To Rise Of Nazis

    By Brendan James
    Published February 9, 2015, 10:40 AM EST

    A federal appeals judge wrote in a column published on Sunday that people who accuse former President George W. Bush of lying about the Iraq War are peddling myths like those that led to the rise of Hitler.

    Laurence H. Silberman, a federal appellate judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the idea the Bush administration “lied us into Iraq” has gone from “antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.”

    “[I]t is one thing to assert, then or now, that the Iraq war was ill-advised,” he wrote. “It is quite another to make the horrendous charge that President Bush lied to or deceived the American people about the threat from Saddam.”

    “I am reminded of a similarly baseless accusation that helped the Nazis come to power in Germany: that the German army had not really lost World War I, that the soldiers instead had been ‘stabbed in the back’ by politicians,” he wrote.

    While it’s hard to know what words to use to describe Judge Laurence Silberman’s argument, the word ‘big’ might come to mind. Still, it’s pretty clear that Silberman has some fond feelings about the Bush II administration so it will be interesting to see if he shares any more of them while Jeb Bush prepares for his 2016 run. Silberman no doubt has a lot more fond feelings to share about the Bushes:

    The partisan “mastermind” in charge of Bush’s intel probe
    Whenever there’s a vast right-wing conspiracy, Judge Laurence Silberman keeps turning up.
    Michelle Goldberg
    Tuesday, Feb 10, 2004 8:06 PM UTC

    Judge Laurence Silberman, George Bush’s nominee to co-chair the commission investigating U.S. intelligence on Iraq, knows quite a bit about the murky intersection between facts and ideology. The senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has been near the febrile center of the largest political scandals of the past two decades, from the rumored “October surprise” of 1980 and the Iran-contra trials to the character assassination of Anita Hill and the impeachment of President Clinton. Whenever right-wing conspiracies swing into action, Silberman is there.

    A veteran of the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan administrations who is close to Vice President Dick Cheney, Silberman has a reputation as a fierce ideologue who doesn’t let his judicial responsibilities get in the way of his Republican activism. David Brock, the repentant former right-wing journalist and Silberman protégé, describes his former mentor as “an extreme partisan” who seems to relish “the political wars.” Kevin Phillips,, the former Nixon staffer who authored the recent “The Bush Dynasty,” said on NPR on Monday, “In the past, Silberman has been more involved with coverups in the Middle East than with any attempts to unravel them.” Ralph Neas, president of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, calls him “the most partisan and most political federal judge in the country” and says his appointment is “stunning and disgraceful.”

    Silberman’s panel, which is supposed to investigate U.S. intelligence on Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Afghanistan, won’t report its findings until March 2005, long after the presidential election. Silberman will be balanced on it by other more moderate or more independent figures, including co-chair Charles Robb, a former Democratic senator and Virginia governor; Republican Sen. John McCain; and Judge Patricia Wald, Silberman’s colleague on D.C. Circuit Court, a woman he is said to hate.

    Yet Silberman’s place at the head of the commission has already raised doubts about its credibility, given that Silberman has often behaved as if his paramount role as a federal judge is to protect Republicans, persecute Democrats and slander anyone who disagrees.

    “My guess is that he’s on there for protection,” says Neas. “To protect the president at all costs and to do what he’s done in the past with respect to protecting Republican presidents from scrutiny. I think he envisions himself as a mastermind behind many right-wing initiatives, whether it’s helping guide Clarence Thomas through the confirmation hearings or helping guide David Brock through all the anti-Clinton initiatives.”

    Besides his commitment to Republican power, Silberman is known for his temper. Several years ago, he told colleague Abner Mikva, “If you were 10 years younger, I’d be tempted to punch you in the nose.”

    “He’s very volatile,” says Brock, whose 2002 book, “Blinded by the Right,” was a mea culpa for his career as a conservative operative. “He has certainly made derisive comments about many journalists and about his colleagues on the bench. Those comments were intemperate.”

    Of course, given his own admitted transgressions, Brock himself might not be considered a reliable source. Still, as a report on Silberman from the Alliance for Justice, a liberal group working “to promote a fair and independent judiciary,” points out, Silberman has never sought to disprove or deny any of Brock’s charges that he worked behind the scenes to bring down Republican foes like Hill and Clinton. Similarly, the report says, “None of Silberman’s friends and allies — those in a position to refute Brock’s charges and with an interest in doing so — have yet challenged a single claim he made.”

    Silberman’s sojourn in the world of political scandal began during the run-up to the 1980 presidential election when, as a member of Ronald Reagan’s campaign staff, he, along with Robert C. McFarlane, a former staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Richard V. Allen, Reagan’s chief foreign policy representative, met with a man claiming to be an Iranian government emissary. The Iranian offered to delay the release of the 52 American hostages being held in Tehran until after the election — thus contributing to Carter’s defeat — in exchange for arms.

    A controversy continues to rage over whether the Reagan team made a bargain with the Iranians, as alleged by Gary Sick, a former National Security Council aide in the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations who now teaches at Columbia University. Yet no one denies that the meeting Silberman was at took place, and although Silberman has said the Iranian’s offer was immediately rejected, none of the three Reagan operatives ever told the Carter administration what had happened. McFarlane, Allen and Silberman have all since insisted that they don’t know the name of the Iranian man they met with.

    After working for Reagan’s election, Silberman was rewarded with an appointment to the D.C. Court of Appeals, the second most powerful court in the country. After the Iran-contra scandal, he was part of a three-judge panel that voted 2-to-1 to reverse Oliver North’s felony conviction. Voting with him was David Sentelle, a protégé of Jesse Helms who according to Brock named his daughter “Reagan” after the president who put him on the bench.

    In his book “Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up,” Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, a Republican who served as deputy attorney general during the Dwight Eisenhower administration, described Silberman as “aggressively hostile” during oral arguments. Walsh wrote that he regretted not moving to disqualify him.

    The year after he ruled North innocent, Silberman joined in the right-wing campaign to defame Anita Hill, who had accused Clarence Thomas, George H.W. Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court, of sexual harassment. It was during the attack on Hill that the Silbermans took Brock under their wing.

    For Silberman’s critics, naming him to get to the bottom of one of the most divisive political controversies of our time is even more egregious than Bush’s attempt to put Henry Kissinger in charge of the 9/11 investigation.

    “Even the word ‘chutzpah’ does not describe this appointment of Silberman,” Phillips said. “This is not bravado, but arrogance.”

    “Even the word ‘chutzpah’ does not describe this appointment of Silberman,” Phillips said. “This is not bravado, but arrogance.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 9, 2015, 6:10 pm

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