Thursday, February 8, 2007

Investigate the Press?

Gilbert Cranberg, a former editorial page editor of the Des Moines Register and Tribune calls for an independent inquiry to examine how the mainstream press covered the march to war and why major news organizations did not scrutinize the Bush administration's arguments (and rhetoric) for war. Good idea. Read about it here. And don't forget that a few journalists--no horn-blowing here--did take a skeptical view of the administration's case for war.

I'm at the Libby trial once again today. Ted Wells, Libby's attorney, is still trying to undermine Tim Russert's credibility--to little effect, so far. Wells plays word games. He repeats iffy points. He throws punches that don't connect--and then throws them again...and again. If I were a juror, I'd be irritated at the Libby side for flailing away and wasting time.

Posted by David Corn at February 8, 2007 11:56 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

I have often thought the real story, the biggest story of the last decade will be when the MSM (read: corporate media) actually bust themselves as political shills and operatives for profit.

I don't think an investigation will ever be enough. Unless the MSM is willing to expose themselves the story about the investigation itself will be under-reported, ignored, glossed over or countered by some kook that will speak in glowing terms of the failures over these many years.

Thanks for all of your work.


Saladin said...

Mr. Corn, you've been busy!

Micki said...

Just watched "The Hunting of the President" -- Joe Conason's and Gene Lyons' reporting includes media failures, failures which began long before bush's pass from the press on his illegal War of Choice on Iraq.

(BTW, the movie version of the book was ham-handed in its production techniques and choice of music, IMO. Good thing the video producers didn't screw with Conason's/Lyons' content.)

David B. Benson said...

Sidney Blumenthal, on, carries on about the Pentagon's planning for failure in Iraq.

In about a year...

Gerald said...

Investigate the Press! I love the idea but with 6 megacorporations controlling all of our media that will never happen. The Nazi Press is a bed partner of Hitler Bush and his Nazi cabal. They work together to carry out all kinds of deviant acts. Many of these acts are dispicable and contemptible deviant behavior.

kathleen said...

yes the MSM should be put under a microscope due to the complacency and the outright lying (Judy Miller) in the run-up to the war. David is right some (very few) David, Diane Rehm, I thought Matthews asked hard questions in the run up. And Matthews is asking the very hardest questions in regard to the repeated claims by the "cakewalk in Iraq " liars that are being repeated about Iran's "alleged" nuclear weapons program. Chris Matthews is asking more serious and hard driving questions about the Iran issue than Diane Rehms, David Corn and Amy Goodman. He is hammering away!

I know Matthews is not perfect.......but I listen and watch the media closely and he has been on top of the push to strike Iran. really asking the tough and oh so obvious questions.

At the Libby trial Wells is busy comparing apples to oranges...throwing more sand in the jurors eyes, throwing spaghettios on the wall...the bullshit just keeps going round and round.


kathleen said...

Is Fitzgerald going for their throats? (the truth) I have always thought so...

Here’s the Executive Order that gives the VP authority to declassify information. Was the DCI out of the loop? The DCI can object to declassification if it would out an ‘operative’ and the President makes the final decision. This must be how you get that Medal of Freedom…

Please note the following excerpts from that order:

Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations. (a) In no case shall information be classified in order to:

(1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;

(2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency


Sec. 3.3. Automatic Declassification. (a) Subject to paragraphs (b)-(e) of this section, on December 31, 2006, all classified records that (1) are more than 25 years old and (2) have been determined to have permanent historical value under title 44, United States Code, shall be automatically declassified whether or not the records have been reviewed. Subsequently, all classified records shall be automatically declassified on December 31 of the year that is 25 years from the date of its original classification, except as provided in paragraphs (b)-(e) of this section.

(b) An agency head may exempt from automatic declassification under paragraph (a) of this section specific information, the release of which could be expected to:

(1) reveal the identity of a confidential human source, or a human intelligence source, or reveal information about the application of an intelligence source or method OH YEAH!

kathleen said...

FROM STEPHEN PARISH AT THE FIREDOGLAKE BLOG Although what I’m posting may appear to be off topic, I think that a very careful review of executive order 13292 should reveal that classified information cannot be instantly declassified by anyone. Furthermore, if my interpretation of the aforementioned executive order is correct, it can’t be used to justify revealing - as the executive order states - the identity of a confidential human source or a human intelligence source, nor can it be used to reveal information about the application of an intelligence source or method.

Those are indeed useful reminders. It is notable that they have not used “insta-declassification” as an escape hatch for the outing, only for the NIE leak. That would tend to argue Marcy’s theory that Cheney will use that as his final defense, unless (hope, hope, hope!) it’s his “You can’t handle the truth!” moment.

capt said...

Scooter Libby and the media debacle


Yet for years, while support for the war remained strong, the press was alternately cautious, misleading, and even contentious about covering the crucial story.

For instance, the press often described the Plame leak as a well-kept mystery that had journalists completely stumped. As late as July 12, 2005, ABC's Nightline reported that, "For two years, it's been unknown who told reporters the identity of Valerie Plame," which was just silly. First, it took me about three days in the fall of 2003 to figure out Libby was the likely culprit, and I had no heavyweight sources helping me. Second, here's a partial list of D.C. journalists who had personal, inside information about the case and could have unwrapped the Plame leak mystery, or at least advanced parts of the story in real time: syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak; NBC's Tim Russert, Andrea Mitchell, and David Gregory; MSNBC's Chris Matthews; Time's Matthew Cooper, along with Michael Duffy, John Dickerson, and Viveca Novak; The New York Times' Judith Miller, and The Washington Post's Bob Woodward.

They could have, but none of them did. Instead, at times there was an unspoken race away from the Bush scandal, a collective retreat that's likely unprecedented in modern-day Beltway journalism.


*****end of clip*****

Every single one of these corporate media shills should be ignored because they have proven time and again that they just say what they are told and do what the corporate masters want.


kathleen said...

Was Leopold right?
Maybe I am Santa Clause -
Sealed v. Sealed is still sealed.

capt said...

new thread

kathleen said...

Larissa staying on it...We will see if it is possible for the Inspector General of the Pentagon to fairly investigate the Office of Special Plans within the Pentagon since the Republican controlled congress did not!

Pentagon Inspector General to release investigation into secretive pre-war Iraq intelligence group Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: Wednesday February 7, 2007

Former Undersecretary Feith says he hasn’t seen report

Update: A source close to Senate Intelligence Committee says the Committee will now be receiving the classified version of the Pentagon's report on the Office of Special Plans Thursday evening, adding that the summary to be made public will be released Friday.
A long awaited Pentagon Inspector General's report into the Office of Special Plans and its activities surrounding pre-war intelligence in the lead up to the Iraq war has been completed, RAW STORY has learned.

According to sources close to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the classified version of the Pentagon IG's report will be released to committee members Friday. Two to three declassified pages may also be concurrently released to the public.

A Senate aide on the committee, while not commenting on particular questions regarding the IG's report, confirmed that a major focal point involves former Deputy Undersecretary for Defense Policy Douglas Feith – a keystone of the Administration's intelligence on Iraq and director of the notoriously secretive Pentagon Office of Special Plans from September 2002 to June 2003.

Feith announced his resignation in January 2005, a week after the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh accused him of working with Israeli officials to select potential targets for a preemptive Iran strike.

It remains unclear how objective the Inspector General's report will be, given that the Pentagon was tasked with investigating itself. It's also uncertain just how much light two to three declassified pages will shed on questions surrounding what many consider a rogue Pentagon intelligence unit created to feed the White House information favoring a case for war.

For his part, Feith says he has not been privy to the IG's findings.

I "haven't seen a copy of the IG report," Feith wrote in an email to RAW STORY in the early hours on Wednesday. "I requested a copy but the IG's office chose not to provide one."

Asked in a three point email about his thoughts on the Office of Special Plans, Feith – who now teaches at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service – responded, "I'll save my thoughts on question three for another time."

Repeated attempts to reach the IG's office in time for publication proved fruitless. In the past, the IG's office responded to questions by saying the IG was conducting a "review," not an "investigation."

Either way, the Pentagon has told the Senate Intelligence Committee to expect the report Friday.

Phase II of the Intelligence Committee's own investigation will likely be completed sometime this spring or summer.

Investigating pre-war Iraq intelligence
The Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Iraq intelligence failures was to be done in two phases. Phase I, which focused exclusively on the failures of the Central Intelligence Agency, was released in July 2004. However, Phase II, which looked into the Office of Special Plans, its members, and Bush Administration officials, remains largely incomplete.

The Phase II investigation was delayed in large part because the Pentagon specifically refused to address Feith's role and the Office's activities, stonewalling the Senate's efforts.

Even with a then-Republican Chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Defense Department attorneys were unwilling to cooperate. Instead of issuing subpoenas, however, Roberts asked the Pentagon Inspector General to conduct his own investigation.

The Pentagon's IG agreed to review the prewar intelligence activities relating to the Office of Special Plans, as well as Feith's particular role, in November 2005. One of two senators who requested the inquiry, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), said the probe sought to ascertain whether Feith "provided a separate channel of intelligence, unbeknownst to the CIA, to the White House."

The Office of Special Plans
The report on the secretive Office of Special Plans and its coterie of controversial players is perhaps the most awaited section of the Phase II report.

Led by Feith, the group's members also included Larry Franklin, who pleaded guilty to leaking classified documents regarding Iran to a Washington-based Israeli lobby in 2005; prominent neoconservative and Iran-Contra intermediary Michael Ledeen; and Middle East expert Harold Rhode, who purportedly sought to purge the Pentagon of anyone opposing the group's hawkish Iraq agenda.

Another prominent member was Ahmed Chalabi, who headed up the Iraqi National Congress – an Iraq opposition group created by the Rendon Group, a defense contractor for the U.S. military, after the first Gulf War.

Although he was wanted for embezzlement in Jordan and a suspected Iranian spy, the Administration presented Chalabi as a credible anti-Saddam leader. Chalabi was later found to be a primary source of bogus intelligence provided to the Pentagon and U.S. reporters, including Judith Miller, then writing for The New York Times.

The Office of Special Plans was created by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. On an organizational level, Feith ran the operation, which then purportedly "cooked" and filtered intelligence that favored an Iraq invasion. More specifically, the OSP was tasked with finding intelligence that fit the administration's anti-Iraq policy and was treated as a favored and separate intelligence channel by the Office of the Vice President.

While the US intelligence community struggled to check a hawkish Executive Branch set on going to war, the OSP funneled questionable information directly to the White House, bypassing standard channels and operational procedures and deploying its own "off book teams" into the region without notifying special forces already on the ground.

A history of espionage allegations
Compounding concerns over a self-investigating Defense Department are a history of confessed and alleged espionage by members of the OSP.

A previous investigation by RAW STORY revealed an apparent "revolving door policy" at the Pentagon which allowed officials whose clearances had been revoked to return to powerful positions in US government.

Feith's access to classified information and any possible wrongdoing can likely be laid at the feet of more senior officials in the Bush Administration – namely former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – who would have been forced to overrule Pentagon background checks to reissue Feith's clearances after he was booted from the National Security Council for espionage allegations in the mid-1980s.

According to the Washington Post, Feith faced questioning in 2004 on allegations that he or other officials may have passed classified information to an Iraqi politician or a pro-Israeli lobby group.

Asked if he was still under investigation by the FBI or if he was cleared, Feith responded, "Still? There never was such an investigation."

Iran specialist Larry Franklin – who worked directly under Feith – pleaded guilty in 2005 to conspiracy to pass classified information to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israeli lobby group, and illegal possession of national defense information. Feith has not been charged or accused of wrongdoing in the case.

In 1978, former Rumsfeld Deputy Paul Wolfowitz was investigated for allegedly passing a classified document on proposed US weapons sales to Israel through the same pro-Israeli lobby. The inquiry was later dropped. Wolfowitz now serves as president of the World Bank.

Wolfowitz, who at the time was working for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, was brought into that position by conservative political adviser Richard Perle, who was also questioned in connection with the Franklin case. A Bush appointee, Perle most recently served as chairman of the Pentagon Defense Policy Board but resigned his chairmanship after the Franklin case broke.

According to an FBI wiretap, Perle discussed classified information with the Israeli embassy when he was a foreign policy aide for Senator Henry M. Jackson in 1970; in 1978, the New York Times reported that he inappropriately accepted classified data from a CIA official, again as Jackson's aide.

Larisa Alexandrovna is the Managing Investigative News Editor for Raw Story and regularly reports on intelligence and national security matters. She can be reached at

Related Raw Story articles:

Senate Intelligence chairman quietly 'fixed' intelligence, and diverted blame from White House over Iraq

Senate Intelligence Committee stalling pre-war intelligence report

Denials mark Ledeen's account of past and present scandal



kathleen said...


Pentagon: Pre-war intelligence was legitimate Mike Sheehan
Published: Thursday February 8, 2007

The Pentagon has determined that its oft-criticized pre-war intelligence was "legitimate," the Associated Press reports.

"Some of the Pentagon's prewar intelligence work, including a contention that the CIA underplayed the likelihood of al-Qaida connections to Saddam Hussein, was inappropriate but not illegal, a Defense Department investigation has concluded," writes Robert Burns for the AP.

A report will be given to Congress tomorrow in which a DOD official "clears former Pentagon policy chief Douglas J. Feith of allegations by some Democrats of illegal activities - specifically that he misled Congress about the basis of the administration's assertions on the threat posed by Iraq," Burns states.

A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where the findings by Thomas Gimble, acting Pentagon inspector general, will be received by members of the committee.

RAW STORY has extensive investigative analysis of the Iraq pre-war intelligence, and the role of Feith, here.

Excerpts from the AP article, available in full here, follow...

The committee's chairman, Carl Levin, D-Mich., has been a leading critic of Feith's role in prewar intelligence activities and has accused him of deceiving Congress. Levin has asserted that President Bush took the country to war in Iraq based in part on intelligence assessments - some shaped by Feith's office - that were off base and did not fully reflect the views of the intelligence community.

The 2004 report from the Sept. 11 Commission found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror organization before the U.S. invasion.

Asked to comment on the IG's findings, Feith said in a telephone interview that he had not seen the report but was pleased to hear that it concluded his office's activities were neither illegal nor unauthorized. He took strong issue, however, with the IG's finding that some activities had been "inappropriate."

"The policy office has been smeared for years by allegations that its pre-Iraq-war work was somehow unlawful' orunauthorized' and that some information it gave to congressional committees was deceptive or misleading," Feith said.


The deception was far-reaching. When Thomas Gimble, the acting inspector general of the Pentagon, was asked in 2005 during a congressional hearing by Christopher Shays (R-CT), chair of the House government reform subcommittee, why the Pentagon had no audit team in Iraq to look for fraud, Gimble facilely replied that such a team was “not needed” because Congress had set up the special inspector general unit to do that. He didn’t mention that the president had barred the special inspector general from investigating Pentagon scandals.

kathleen said...

I have also spent a fair amount of time with people who have served in this "war of choice" and they know they were sent to Iraq based on LIES>

And you Micheal "faster please, creative destruction, noble lie" Ledeen consider American soldiers cannon fodder for Israel.

Those Who Serve
Our latest generation of fighters.

By Michael Ledeen

I’ve spent a lot of time of late with military people, and I am reminded of Tocqueville’s observation that the best Americans generally do not go into politics or the academy; they go into business or the law or religion, and, in times of war, the armed forces.

Military people are not happy with the media or with the American public. Many of them say, I think quite accurately, that most Americans view them — the soldiers — as an annoyance. The people just want this Iraq thing to go away, they are tired of it, they are depressed by it, and they have tuned it out. Not that this undermines morale on the battlefield, mind you. Our fighters have a much better appreciation of the stakes than most of the scribblers and chatters; they have seen the terrorists at work, they know that if we fail in the Middle East, terrorism will get an enormous boost. They know that they, or their younger siblings, will have to fight again, closer to home or down home. So they do everything they are permitted to do on today’s battlefields.