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A colleague at Homeland Security Today and, Ms. Vlahos is a woman after US/1's heart, on most subjects...

Fall of the House of Petraeus?

- Original - -

By Kelley B. Vlahos

 On November 12, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

It was in the middle of a breaking news story and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell sounded like she was going to cry. It had to do with CIA Director David Petraeus. She was ticking off his accomplishments one by one, the words “personal tragedy” ringing forebodingly like church bells over the satellite radio airwaves. 

Then-Gen. Petraeus with alleged mistress Paula Broadwell (AP)
For the love of Mike, was he in a coma? Dead? I needed to know. Something bad had certainly happened to David Petraeus, but it took a few more painful moments of this boilerplate obituary and Mitchell’s palpable grief to figure it out: the once “King David” had done something bad — an extra-marital affair! — for which he apparently took responsibility, and immediately resigned his post. 

First thought: Oh, snap! The Teflon general/CIA director gets out of another assignment just when it looks like the scheisse is about to hit the fan

Second thought: The scheisse has already hit — splattering across the folds of the fine green drapery from which a small figure sheepishly emerges. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” someone cries. But for the first time in America’s love affair with Petraeus, that might be asking too much. 

However prudish it might sound, it’s going to be very difficult for many Americans to reconcile our battle-weary soldiers and failed war with the unwanted visage of Petraeus in his tighty whities, leaping into bed with his biographer in some love nest carved out of the ISAF headquarters in Kabul (okay, so the papers say the affair with Paula Broadwell started after she spent a year following him around like Cameron Crowe and Led Zeppelin, but you get the picture). 

Like it or not, we are the land of the crooked moral compass: oversee the torture of innocent men, encourage sectarian cleansing and raze villages to get at a few militants — all good. Find out the Howdy Doody general is really a lyin’, cheatin’ louse of a husband, well, just stop the presses, let’s give this thing a closer look. That’s not to say Petraeus is finished — not yet — but there’s a lot of confusion where there is normally clarity, at least where his legendary perfection is concerned. 

This has caused no small degree of angina pectoris among the establishment media hive in Washington. Now we really get a sense of what it must’ve been like when the good people of Emerald City found out the Great and Powerful Oz was a just roly-poly phony with a tremendous, er, house organ — everyone wailing and blaming and bumping into one another bleary and cross-eyed. 

Minutes after Friday’s news, after the black clouds passed over the sun and the birds refused to sing, a parade of pundits guilelessly referred to Petraeus’s resignation as “terribly sad,” a “tragedy,” and I even heard a few blurt out “sacrifice,” as though now, beyond “King,” the adulterer has finally achieved Messiah, climbing up onto the cross to his ultimate martyrdom. 

This was milk-curdling enough. Then another limbo line of sycophantic press nearly broke their knees to cover his sin in past glories, reminding us of the man’s incredible “popularity” among the troops and with “inside players,” his heroism, his intellectual vigor and genius. This just might have eclipsed the media’s all-time record for gross pusillanimity. But that’s what you get when an entire press corps gorges on spoon-fed “canned peaches, heavy syrup,” for seven years, and then suddenly realizes it was rotten meat all along. 

Even U.S Senators were wandering around Dazed and Confused on Friday. Dianne Feinstein, acting like she just found out her favorite teen dream idol was really a hophead, talked about the news as being a “lightning bolt” to the system, and a “heartbreak.” 

“I would have stood up for him,” Feinstein declared, ever loyal. “I wanted him to continue.” 

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, always on point, issued a brief talisman of a statement for Petraeus, harking back to the good old days when Petraeus helped to sell the war on which McCain and other warhawks had staked their political lives. 

“General David Petraeus will stand in the ranks of America’s greatest military heroes,” he bloviated. “His inspirational leadership and his genius were directly responsible — after years of failure — for the success of the surge in Iraq.” Now, everyone pretty much knows that the so-called Surge was part of a massive public relations effort orchestrated by Petraeus to get the U.S out of Iraq with its face intact, but McCain apparently still believes his own fate and that of the Petraeus myth are forever, inextricably intertwined. 

As the dust continued to settle on Monday it was clear that Petraeus’s demise was going to be far from decisive. His followers on and off Capitol Hill have effectively connected his resignation to the upcoming Benghazi hearings, and all manner of conspiracy theories abound, the greatest being that somehow he was framed by the administration in order to keep him from testifying. This is such a popular theory that there have been calls to investigate the FBI for investigating Petraeus.

Others with an interest in keeping the real Petraeus firmly behind the curtain have questioned why he should have resigned at all (was that your voice cracking, Tom Ricks?) Still others suggest Petraeus is the victim, an earnest dolphin swimming in shark-infested waters, Paula Broadwell being the sexy siren whose call had him dashing blindly against the rocks. All of this seems to be having some impact on the public court of opinion: on Monday morning, I just happened to come across the super-smooth Soul Town DJ on SiriusXM waxing on the ex-general’s war credentials and the big scandal. “Something stinks,” he concluded simply before transitioning right into Wilson Pickett’s “Engine Number Nine.” No explanation. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary. For most Americans, I predict, the mere appearance of ambitious seduction and political skullduggery against the sterling knight will be enough to stave off a real backlash against him. 

Plus, having two Lance Armstrongs in one month’s time might be too much to handle, even for our famously cynical American sensibilities.

Of course there were plenty of us who tried, however futilely, to convince the world that the general was wearing no clothes (ouch). “Petraeus is a remarkable piece of fiction created and promoted by neocons in government, the media and academia. Think about it,” blasted Ret. Col. Doug Macgregor, in an email exchange with on Monday. He knew Petraeus at West Point and for the record, never once believed his walk-on-water shtick.
How does an officer with no personal experience of direct fire combat in Panama or Desert Storm become a division [commander] in 2003, a man who shamelessly reinforced whatever dumb idea his superior advanced regardless of its impact on soldiers, let alone the nation, a man who served repeatedly as a sycophantic aide de camp, military assistant and executive officer to four stars get so far?  How does the same man who balked at closing with and destroying the enemy in 2003 in front of Baghdad agree to sacrifice more than a thousand American lives and destroy thousands of others installing Iranian national power in Baghdad with a surge that many in and out of uniform warned against? Then, how does this same man repeat the self-defeating tactics one more time in Afghanistan? 
The answer is simple: Petraeus was always a useful fool in the Leninist sense for his political superiors — [Paul] Wolfowitz, [Donald] Rumsfeld, and [Bob] Gates. And that is precisely how history will judge him.
Maybe, maybe not. On a positive note, there’s a lot of discussion today about drawing that curtain back to reveal the real man behind it. Journalists are even admitting they were duped, sucked in with the rest of the courtiers and COINdinistas perpetuating the positive war narrative and the military idolatry (they call Petraeus “P4” which sounds too much like “PlayStation 4,” but in light of the affair, this might not be the best moniker — too many possible joystick references). Wired’s Spencer Ackerman probably offers the most poignant and honest lament in this regard, though Ackerman, really, was never one of the greatest offenders. 

Still, he suggests Petraeus and his staff were masters at handling the press, with effectively subtle methods that played upon reporters’ thirst for access and their unabashed awe (and sense of inferiority) amidst the military milieu, which led to unquestioning, positive coverage while insuring that these guardians of the Fourth Estate spent more time proving Petraeus was right instead of doggedly pursuing the opposite.

From Ackerman:
To be clear, none of this was the old quid-pro-quo of access for positive coverage. It worked more subtly than that: the more I interacted with his staff, the more persuasive their points seemed. Nor did I write anything I didn’t believe or couldn’t back up — but in retrospect, I was insufficiently critical …
Another irony that Petraeus’ downfall reveals is that some of us who egotistically thought our coverage of Petraeus
 and counterinsurgency was so sophisticated were perpetuating myths without fully realizing it.
Macgregor and others (Andrew Bacevich, Gian Gentile come to mind) warned from the start that Petraeus was bad news, a politically-driven, Type-A narcissist who fostered a delusional cult of himself at a time when the American people — and the military ranks — deserved truth, not spin, about the wars overseas. His now (in)famous “inner circle” not only included neoconservative think tankers, fawning scholars, court scribes and officer-

acolytes like the ill-fated Gen. Stanley McChrystal and John Nagl, but his future paramour Broadwell. All played some role in overstating the impact and brilliance of the Surge, and of the COIN (counterinsurgency) doctrine. Most importantly, by rising through the ranks and positioning carefully at the levers of power and academia and the influential Center for a New American Security, the “in-crowd” railroaded dissent and insulated the military from necessary scrutiny, first in Iraq, then in Afghanistan. 

David Petraeus and Don Draper
All of these roads of denial and delusion lead right back to David Petraeus, the Donald Draper of the Pentagon, the only general for which reporters would leap out like hell cats to defend him, and his war, at any sign of discord. Just ask Michael Hastings, who suffered not just one, but many vicious press attacks, including a swipe by Broadwell herself, over his takedown of Stanley McChrystal. The fact is, Broadwell became part of Petraeus’s unrivaled PR machine as she traveled with him for a year on the taxpayers’ dime (see: the razing of Tarok Kolache).
Some of the reporting on Monday indicated a softening of the facade. Members of Petraeus’s old staff (mostly unidentified, of course) suggested to The Washington Post that the introduction of Broadwell to the scene in 2009 might have been the bright scarlet red line that finally separated Petraeus from his carefully crafted reality. They said her welcome into the fold and coveted placement as Petraeus’s confidant, running partner and traveling companion raised a few eyebrows at the time (though their anonymous retrospectives seem petty and a bit of peevish, kind of like when Martin Landau gleefully tells his boss James Mason that Eva Marie Saint is two-timing him in Hitchcock’s “North-by-Northwest”). Others subtly suggest that when he left the Army in 2011, the suddenly needy Petraeus continued to play Dr. Higgins to Broadwell’s Liza Doolittle, getting a steaming fawning load of hagiography in return. But it would turn out to be at a bitter cost: no one now will take All In: The Education of David Petraeus very seriously, and his four stars will forever be tarnished by the whole affair.
But what does this whole thing say about the American public? Well, at first blush, I’d say we deserved every single second of this painful, tawdry realization. We’ve turned into such a pathetic plastic consumer culture that we bought a pathetic plastic story of a hero-general and then expected enormously great things from him. We looked away when Petraeus did not perform — even made excuses for him (it was all President Obama’s fault). 

Even after his admission that he cheated on his wife of 37 years with a married woman and mother of two young sons, we will make excuses because it will make us feel better about the suckers we’ve all become.

We do have a choice of course: close the curtain or keep it open. I just wish Jeff Huber were here to write about it. 

Follow Vlahos on Twitter @KelleyBVlahos.

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Susan Rice and the Senate’s blame game

A variety of insults have been deployed in opposition to Susan Rice’s likely nomination for secretary of state: She is not qualified; she’s too aggressive; she “misled” the public following the lethal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.

Upon closer examination, however, the real reason may be less complicated. She’s not a member of the most elite club in America, the U.S. Senate. Also, she appears to be President Obama’s first choice.
As anyone with a television knows, Rice has come under fire by the new, revised Tres Amigos — Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, plus Susan Collins of Maine. All have expressed concerns about Rice’s role in delivering the administration’s explanation following the Benghazi attack, which initially was blamed on street protests over an anti-Muhammad video but later was confirmed as a terrorist attack. 

While Collins, who previously supported Rice, says she still has unanswered questions, McCain — whose understanding of qualified women candidates is legendary — has promised to block Rice’s nomination. Graham, who most certainly will be “primaried” in the next election by South Carolinians who doubt his commitment to hard-right lunacy, followed suit, as did Ayotte.

Off somewhere letting her hair grow, Hillary Clinton knitted her brow and noted that Rice has been an excellent U.N. ambassador. Which is to say, she didn’t exactly go to the mat for her female colleague, who had the audacity to support Obama for president rather than the former first lady. 

In Ganglandia, it’s the New Kids vs. the Clinton Machine. How dare Rice, once a Clinton administration appointee, defect?

Clinton, a McCain buddy from their years together in the Senate, reportedly prefers another Senate pal, John Kerry, as her successor. So does McCain & Co. So, needless to say, does Kerry, whose chiseled jaw alone constitutes a diplomatic arsenal. There’s clearly no profit in Clinton, a likely presidential candidate in 2016, alienating allies and devaluing her own currency for Rice.

Even so, the opposition’s arguments are weak, chief among them that Rice isn’t qualified. This from McCain, whose vetting history includes about 80 minutes of conversation with Sarah Palin before selecting her as his running mate in 2008. McCain’s opinion about Rice’s qualifications is only slightly less compelling than his thoughts on Playtex vs. Spanx. 

For the record, Rice is a graduate of Stanford University and a Rhodes scholar, who served as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Even this is troubling to Collins, who said that the Benghazi attack “in many ways echoes the attacks on [U.S. embassies in Africa] in 1998 when Susan Rice was head of the African region.”

Given this logic, shouldn’t all eyes now be on Johnnie Carson? No, not the former “Tonight Show” host, Johnny Carson, but the current assistant secretary of African affairs. If Rice is somehow responsible for the 1998 attacks, shouldn’t Carson be scrutinized now for Benghazi? 

Everybody brave enough to enter the public arena gets a few free passes when they utter something short of brilliant, but most of the criticisms aimed at Rice seem ungrounded in reality. To blame Rice for representing the administration’s position as provided to her at the time is missing the target, which is properly the White House. 

Does Rice have an aggressive personality, as some have said? And does this pose a risk in nominating her? Yes and yes. She notoriously once flipped the bird to diplomat Richard Holbrooke during a State Department meeting.

Such an impulsive act is no recommendation, but is it emblematic or merely anecdotal? Aggression — and even occasional rudeness — is rarely considered a flaw in men. And even aggressive men learn to temper their impulses as circumstances warrant. Thank goodness Rice didn’t tell Holbrooke to go do that which one cannot do to oneself, as Dick Cheney once suggested to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy. Or, heaven forbid, insist that we invade another country based on bad intelligence, as another Rice, who became secretary of state, once did. 

The investigation into what transpired in Benghazi — bad things sometimes happen in dangerous places — is certainly appropriate. The administration’s incoherent handling of information deserves scrutiny. But Rice, barring something we don’t know, clearly has the qualifications for secretary of state.

And thoughtful Republicans might reconsider the image of white men ganging up on a highly qualified black woman as they ponder the reasons for their collapsing tent. The road to redemption ain’t thataway.



Muslim bombs Arizona Social Security office with IED, media blackout ensues

All too typical. "UPDATED: Iraqi refugee arrested for bombing Arizona Social Security office with IED, media silence ensues," by Patrick Poole at PJ Media, December 2:

UPDATED (8:25p EDT): I just spoke again with my contact in the FBI Phoenix field office (who is not authorized to speak on behalf of the FBI office) that it is highly unlikely that Aldosary will be charged with any terrorism offense. While they are internally treating it like a domestic terrorism investigation, including looking at if he had any help constructing the explosive device, the FBI is saying very little and and will prosecute this as a simple explosives and arson case because of “the political sensitivities involved”. 
Original Post: The typically quiet town of Casa Grande, Arizona was rocked by an explosion at the local Social Security Administration office early Friday morning by what appears to an improvised explosive device (IED). No one was hurt in the explosion, which occurred shortly before the office was scheduled to open. The explosion was reportedly heard and felt all over the area.
While the little town of Casa Grande and the nearby Phoenix area is talking about the incident, virtually no one else is. In fact, the only reason I was following the story is because I’m presently in the area and saw the initial reports on the explosion and continued to look into it .
Within 90 minutes of the explosion police had a suspect in custody. But you wouldn’t know it from reading the establishment media reports this past weekend. One reason might be the suspect is 47 year-old Abdullatif Aldosary of Coolidge, AZ, an Iraqi refugee.
On Friday, federal agents served a search warrant on his home. Aldosary has been on the radar of the Department of Homeland Security for at least the past couple of years.
Late Sunday afternoon, I confirmed with a source at the Phoenix FBI office that the case is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. The source said that Aldosary is expected to be charged with a host of federal and state explosives and arson charges. (See update above.)
On Saturday, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported:
An explosive device was detonated Friday morning by the back door of the U.S. Social Security Administration office, shaking downtown Casa Grande, but no one was injured. 
Federal agents, including those of the FBI, rushed to the scene. The FBI would not confirm whether anyone was in custody, but the Casa Grande Dispatch learned that a Coolidge resident, Abdullatif A. Aldosary, 47, was being questioned. The investigation involved agents’ going to his home at 4732 W. Lemon Ave., on the west side of Coolidge.
The device exploded at 8:24 a.m. at the federal office, 501 N. Marshall St. The back door and wall were charred and debris was thrown throughout the back parking lot, damaging a car parked nearby....
County recorder records show Aldosary bought the house on Aug. 12, 2008. According to court records, he was charged in September with assault and disorderly conduct. He also was charged in March 2008 with four counts of aggravated harassment at the request of the U.S. Homeland Security Department.
FBI, Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were at the scene collecting evidence throughout the day.
Another news report states that Aldosary served eight months in prison for that earlier aggravated harassment case.
Even though Aldosary’s identity was known to news agencies on Friday after his arrest, national and international media outlets, such as CNN and Reuters who published reports late Friday night, noted his arrest but not his identity. And none but local media have reported Aldosary’s name ever since.
Now imagine if a Tea Partier – or even someone who shared the same name as a Tea Partier – had fire bombed a federal facility less than a month after Barack Obama’s reelection. Anyone think it would be getting more media coverage?
Hmm, that's a tough one.


RETURN to the BlackNET Intellignce Channel - OPEN SOURCE; US/1; ATTN: HST/2

FBI Confirms Leak Probe on Al-Qaida Plot

May 16, 2012
Associated Press
by Pete Yost
WASHINGTON - FBI Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday the bureau has launched an investigation into who leaked information about an al-Qaida plot to place an explosive device aboard a U.S.-bound airline flight.

In an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mueller said a leak like this one threatens ongoing operations, "puts at risk the lives of sources, makes it much more difficult to recruit sources" and damages relationships with law enforcement partners from other countries.

The Associated Press and other news organizations revealed details of the plot this month. A double agent working with the CIA, Saudi intelligence agencies and the British intelligence agency MI6 turned the bomb over to the U.S. government. Mueller's comment to the Senate Judiciary Committee was the first on-the-record confirmation that a Justice Department leak probe is under way.

"We have initiated an investigation into this leak" and "will investigate thoroughly," said Mueller.

CONTINUE Reading Full Story HERE…

© Copyright 2012 Associated Press.

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

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CIA launches massive hunt for a mole within its ranks
Published: 10 May, 2012, 21:59
It is the job of the CIA to keep secrets. Like many federal bureaus, though, the US Central Intelligence Agency isn’t all that up to snuff when it comes to doing what they are supposed to.

The United States’ top spy chief, retired Lieutenant General James Clapper, is asking for an internal investigation of the CIA. Clapper’s official title is the director of national intelligence — and he doesn’t take it lightly. Now the uncovering of a clandestine CIA operation involving the installation of double agents inside the ranks of al-Qaeda by the mainstream media over the weekend has left Lt. Gen. Clapper demanding answers about a possible mole within the ranks of America’s supposedly top-secret spy agency.

According to sources speaking with Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity, Clapper has ordered an internal review of 16 intelligence agencies linked with the US CIA.

"It's an inquiry into whether or not there were any unauthorized disclosures of classified information," the senior intelligence official tells AFP.

The Associated Press has also confirmed the probe by way of a source also left unnamed.

On their part, the CIA has not formally acknowledged the existence of an investigation but a spokesperson for the agency says it is only expected given the latest news involving a double-agent in Yemen. The CIA has worked undercover with a spy that infiltrated al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, only for the media to report on the clandestine operation before it was disclosed that the US was instrumental in orchestrating the mission.

"The entire intelligence community should be concerned about recent unauthorized disclosures, and CIA will participate fully in the DNI's (director of national intelligence's) internal review," agency spokesman Todd Ebitz says of the investigation. 

Outside of the CIA’s Langley, VA headquarters, however, other top-ranked Washington elite are saying that something should be done as well. In Congress, leading lawmakers in DC have suggested that an investigation should be considered. Among those also asking for an investigation are Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"I don't think those leaks should have happened. There was an operation in progress and I think the leak is regarded as very serious," says Sen. Feinstein this week.

Republican Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tells CNN that he feels similarly.

"If something bad happens because it was leaked too early, that's a catastrophe and it's also a crime," says Rep. Rogers.

Those with their eyes closely glued to Capitol Hill might not be surprised by Rep. Rogers’ quote — the lawmaker has been in the news in recent months for his role in creating the Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act of 2011, or CISPA. When he submitted the bill, Rep. Rogers insisted that there is “urgent need to help our private sector better defend itself from” attack on America’s computer infrastructure. Now, however, he is asking for the government to not just go after journalists speaking freely on the Web, but those that are exposing the secrets of America’s enigmatic intelligence services.

Earlier this week it was reported that, separate from the provisions included in CISPA, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation was seeking backdoor privileges to pry into online services such as Skype and Facebook in the name of national security. If approved, CISPA would offer similar provisions; what the FBI wants now, however, opens up a whole new war on the freedoms of Americans.

The AP notes that, if the reportedly new investigation involving a CIA mole can be confirmed, it will mark at least the seventh criminal case launched by the Obama administration involving the leaking of classified documents — something the president insisted on ending while running for office by offering protection for whistleblowers.

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

  Patent Office Weighs Patent Secrecy for “Economic Security”
April 27th, 2012 by Steven Aftergood

In response to congressional direction, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is considering whether to expand the scope of patent secrecy orders — which prohibit the publication of affected patent applications — in order to enhance “economic security” and to protect newly developed inventions against exploitation by foreign competitors.

Currently, patent secrecy orders are applied only to patent applications whose disclosure could be “detrimental to national security” as prescribed by the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951.  At the end of Fiscal Year 2011, there were 5,241 such national security secrecy orders in effect.

But now the Patent Office is weighing the possibility of expanding national security patent secrecy into the “economic security” domain.

“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is seeking comments as to whether the United States should identify and bar from publication and issuance certain patent applications as detrimental to the nation’s economic security,” according to a notice that was published in the Federal Register on April 20.

That would be a mistake, I wrote in my own comments submitted to the Patent Office yesterday.

Economic security — which could conceivably implicate all new inventions — is not analogous to the more limited domain of national security-related inventions, “so the use of secrecy orders is inappropriate to protect economic security,” I suggested.

Instead, the existing option for an applicant to request nonpublication of his or her patent application up to the point that the patent is issued is a superior alternative to a mandatory secrecy order, I wrote.  “The inventor is likely to be better qualified than any third party to assess the economic significance of the invention, and is also likely to be best motivated to protect his or her own financial interests.”

“The USPTO has not taken a position” on these questions, the Patent Office said in its April 20 notice, “nor is it predisposed to any particular views.”

A wish-list of how to make our world better.
By Charles Faddis
Senior Intelligence Editor, Former CIA operative, Host of The United States of Common Sense

Charles Faddis: Wheels Up, Rings Off  

Get Serious or Get Out of the Game

Let's start with this. You don't cashier an entire Secret Service advance team, as the President is about to arrive in country for a state visit and not endanger his security. That may make a good sound bite. It's not reality. 

Protecting the President of United States is not a matter of standing tall, wearing sunglasses and looking imposing. It's about having the professionalism, discipline and attention to detail to stand between the leader of the Free World and a host of complex, multi-faceted threats. It's about being alert, 24/7, trusting no one and never letting your guard down. 

Professional security details do not rely first and foremost on their ability to shoot their way out of a situation or to speed away from an ambush in a blaze of gunfire. They put their faith in hard advance work, which focuses on the details, analyzes the threats and prevents the principal they are guarding from ever ending up in a situation where his or her life is threatened. Routes are scouted, intelligence is gathered and plans are formulated for each unique operational area. 

As part of that sober, professional preparation professionals also safeguard information. Schedules are kept secret until the last minute. Communications are encrypted whenever possible and otherwise minimized. Pros know that the sharks are always circling and that a momentary lapse or indiscretion can cause a catastrophe. Pros trust no one. 

Pros, in other words, do not take time in the middle of key advance work for the President of the United States to hit a strip club, get blind drunk and end up passed out in a hotel room on foreign soil in the company of a woman they met only hours before and who is demonstratively available for hire to the highest bidder. 

Colombia is not a benign environment. It is home to two of the most dangerous terrorist organizations on Earth, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). The FARC has staged several major attacks inside Colombia in the last few months, one of which was a motorcycle bomb attack on a police barracks, which killed six and wounded 70. It has thousands of fighters under arms and enormous stockpiles of weapons and equipment. 

Both the FARC and ELN have known connections to major drug trafficking organizations inside Colombia. By virtue of those connections and their own involvement in drug trafficking these terrorist organizations have vast financial resources and extensive reach. Vast numbers of businesses in Colombia pay protection money to drug trafficking organizations and terrorist organizations in order to stay open. 

One of the major reasons that terrorist groups and criminal organizations continue to exert such influence in Colombia is the rampant corruption in the government. Drug trafficking is a highly lucrative business. It produces a lot of cash. And cash means many very bad people have the capacity to buy and sell Colombian judges, cops, intelligence officers and senior government officials.
All of this is, of course, in addition to the threats posed by foreign intelligence services virtually everywhere abroad. While most of these services are unlikely to want to physically harm the President of the United States, they are certain to wa
Pros trust no one.
nt to target his communications, his advisors and meetings he attends in an effort to gather key intelligence. 

Some of the techniques such organizations use are highly technical. Many of them are not. Maneuvering a security official into a situation where he can be compromised, plying him with liquor and other inducements in the hope it will loosen his lips, searching his belongings and his room while he is passed out: these are all age old, time honored techniques used by the Russians, the Chinese and many others. 

Several years ago I wrote a book about CIA called Beyond Repair. Among the points I made in that book was that the Agency had lost some of its elite status and begun to attract and to promote individuals who did not have the requisite dedication to duty. It was in danger, in other words, of becoming just another federal bureaucracy, bereft of the unique esprit de corps it once enjoyed. 

Similarly, the Secret Service agents caught up in the prostitution scandal in Columbia have apparently lost any sense of commitment to public service they may have once had. They not only compromised the image and integrity of the office of the President of the United States, but also violated every basic professional precept of individuals employed in the fields of security and intelligence. Nowhere was there any indication that they viewed themselves as servants of the people of the United States. Rather all evidence is that they treated their status as some sort of license to party and carouse at our expense.
Some of these individuals have already left the service. Many more, almost certainly, deserve to follow them out of the door. Activity of this kind, in the middle of a Presidential advance, does not occur on this scale unless a climate has been created to tolerate and encourage it. 

There needs to be swift, decisive action across the board in the Secret Service to make sure that this climate has been destroyed and the workforce as a whole has internalized the necessity for discipline and professionalism "Wheels up, rings off" may work for bored salesmen on their way to a convention in Vegas. It does not work for an outfit dedicated to keeping the most powerful man on the planet safe and secure. 

Charles Faddis

[redacted].com; US/1; ATTN: NSC/1; NSW//1; RT/66; HST/2; US/12; US/17; CID/2; H.Gness; Mil.COM/2                                                            

Pulitzers for Nothing...

[ed.note: …and the chicks for free…sorry, babeA sharp-elbowed woman scorned. But Member Judy Miller ain’t no regular Member  when it comes to winning Pulitzers, chasing terrorists, or snort-testing for Anthrax residue. And her coverage on this very subject has been impeccable, if lonely. She is precisely on target—again--and there can be NO Doubt as to her expertise on ALL subjects raised herein below. 

By 1983, Ms. Judy had becme the first female NYT Times' Cairo Bureau Chief, covering the entire Arab miasma. She interviewed US/1 (rather gruffly, he would late pout) for her 1990 book, co-authored with some other run-amok broad, entitled Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf:

“…the first comprehensive account of the Gulf crisis and biography of the man behind it. That, too, was a best-seller which sold over 600,000 copies and topped The Times Best Seller list during the 1991 Gulf war“ (Times Books, 1990)

She shared her last Pulitzer for her intrepid 2000-2001 investigation of OSAMA bin-unknown-to-the-intell-community LADEN (oops…US/1 just ‘spilled coffee on his notes;’ he still has your daddy’s bar ash-tray Ms. Judy) So US/1 will just have to crib, with credit, from one of journalism’s naughtiest broads ever (even naughtier than FRONTLINE’s first anchor, the dear, abruptly departed, trail-blazing ‘Golden Girl’--Ms. Jessica Savitch):

In 2002, Judith Miller was part of a small team that won a Pulitzer Prize for "explanatory journalism" for her January, 2001 series on Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. That same year, she won an Emmy for her work on a Nova/New York Times documentary based on articles for her book, "Germs." She was also part of the Times team that won the prestigious DuPont award that year for a series of programs on terrorism for PBS's "Frontline." (Bitch…bitch, poo..)

‘Nough said, the better. And she’s even done more time in the slam than the pussy-footing US/1 (though really good lawyers do help, sometimes. Her high-powered, and, unfortunately by Judy’s time, very EXPENSIVE attorney, Bob BENNETT, it turned out, had been US/1’s SOURCE for 26-years to that point. 

Bob Bennett's first internationally notorious client, CIA/DoD/State-sanctioned S. African arms smuggler Dr. Jerry BULL, would later claim that US/1's Pulitzer-nominated newspaper series and two-related documentaries had ‘put him in jail.’  

Ten years later, Dr. Bull was still furious--up to and including on the day in March 1990, when, outside his Brussels apartment, his former Israeli buddies fired five 7.65 mm caliber slugs into his upper back, neck and skull. 

That little MOSSAD 'targeted killing' tap-dance operation soon lead directly to the invasion of Iraq’s “19th Province” by Iraq's Republican Guards. The 19th Province, however, called “Kuwait” once again today, was completely rebuilt, at a cost of billions (some of it US military and intelligence funds), most of which was washed through the BIN LADEN SAUDI FAMILY CONSTRUCTION CONSORTIUM out of Jidda.

Dr. BULL never did get that pardon President G.H.W. Bush had just earlier been dangling--one too many White House winks, nods, and Israeli nudgestoo late.

Jerry Bull, whom US/1 knew personally and fairly well, deserved his pardon on the South African felony conviction. 

Certain officials at the Carter White House, CIA, NSC. State, DoD, and NSA at the time should be ashamed of themselves—they are the ones who should have been coping pleas. But US Customs and the Justice Department's AUSA investigation in Vermont got shut down by the NSA and the Carter White House.

Just ask Judy’s Scooter Libby criminal-trial attorney.

And at the time of his assassination, Dr. Bull had been diligently arming Iran’s enemy, Saddam Hussein, again, on ‘our’ behalf.

Go figure.

One can only speculate that the BlackNET’s Founding corporate counsel, Judge Stan Sporkin, is perhaps an even better attorney than Judy’s.

Sorry Bob.

[Play recorded sound of 'knocking wood' while humming' ...and the chicks aren't free...']
Though under a strict judicial gag, Judy was apparently caught winking at US/1 during her then world-famous federal court testimony in January 2006.

But like his old former mentor, Santo Trafficante before him, US/1 claims the “1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments;” and states for the record that to the best of his recollection, Your Honor, he still can’t recall… 

US/1 would also like to state for record, should he ever come up again for anotheer Pulitzer, [play sound of ‘knocking on wood…’ again], the AP award was at least slightly justified…really…ya know? Seriously. 

As mentioned somewhat in passing by Judge Judy, below, the Pulitzer Prize Committee judges did NOT credit AP’s headline-grabbing allegation, that such surveillance was possibly “illegal.” 

But the AP’s NYPD Pulitzer-winning stories were, at least in US/1’s view, a worthy spot-light of sunshine on a very dark, constitutionally slippery slope--precisely the kind of 5-boroughs plus New Jersey, journalistic bitch-slapping AP dealt the NYPD in their Pulitzer series... and otherwise… 

Though the Pulitzers have always been a bit of a big-chain, big-city newspaper-'High-politics' cluster-f**k, at least in US/1’s limited experience, way back in 1980 (he was still in junior high school, and just before Ms. Judy and Ms. Patricia had even graduated from elementary school…speaking of pizza…Spanks to you both. (US/1)]

Judith Miller

Pulitzers for Nothing

by Judith Miller
City Journal
April 18, 2012

The Pulitzer Prizes made more than their usual share of news this year. The literary and publishing world erupted in fury on Monday when the committee announced that, for the first time in 35 years, it had not selected a winner for fiction. "Perhaps it is the end of the world," MTV Books tweeted, only half in jest. Newspapers and other mainstream publications were also stunned by the awarding of the coveted prizes to reporters for the Huffington Post and Politico, two online outlets—signs of the altered media scene.
But this year's awards were anomalous for a more important reason: the Pulitzer jury's decision to bestow its prize for investigative journalism on four Associated Press reporters for a year-long series of articles that allegedly revealed what the news agency called "wholesale surveillance of places where Muslims eat, shop, work and pray" by the New York Police Department as part of its counterterrorism program. The AP's own story on the prize credited its four reporters—Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan, and Chris Hawley—with revealing that Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had built "an aggressive domestic intelligence program after the Sept. 11 attacks that put Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups under scrutiny."
In more than 30 articles, the AP claimed to have "documented" that police "systematically spied on Muslim neighborhoods, listened in on sermons, infiltrated colleges, and photographed law-abiding residents." The NYPD, the agency asserted breathlessly, had spied on "individuals and groups" even when there was "no evidence they were linked to terrorism or crime." The department had built its program with aid from the Central Intelligence Agency, whose former chief of operations had helped design and implement it, along with a former senior CIA operative. The subtext was that the NYPD's monitoring was illegal, unconstitutional, and unnecessary—an infringement on Muslims' civil rights and an outrageous example of religious and ethnic profiling.
But the series itself failed to document such illegality or over-the-top conduct. Moreover, the department's assertions that its surveillance efforts were legal and its explanations about how the program worked were invariably given short shrift, buried in the AP's flurries of unsupported allegations. Never mind that the series failed to find a single individual whose professional or religious life had been harmed by the police department's efforts to protect the city and its residents from another catastrophic terrorist attack. Of course the threat of terrorism is no excuse to run roughshod over civil liberties, and questions should be asked about how the NYPD's program has been implemented and overseen. But the AP articles offer no evidence that the NYPD's efforts to understand communities in which terrorists are more likely to hide and recruit have violated anyone's civil rights.
Attorney General Eric Holder has abetted the AP in what the New York Post calls its "year-long, non-stop hit-job" on the NYPD. Holder said that he was "troubled" by the news agencies' allegations—but he wasn't troubled enough to pick up the phone and discuss the program with Commissioner Kelly or Mayor Mike Bloomberg, both of whom have adamantly defended the program and the department's conduct. A Department of Justice "review" of the NYPD program prompted by 34 congressional requests is apparently turning up little. Ditto the CIA's internal inquiry, prompted in part by the AP's constant requests for comment on its own stories. The CIA review concluded that the agency hadn't broken any laws and hadn't engaged in domestic spying. Its sole criticism was that the agency had failed to supervise adequately an officer assigned to the NYPD. Shocking!
Say one thing for the Pulitzer jury: its timing was exquisite. As its prizes were announced, the trial of three homegrown Muslim militants accused of trying to carry out the most serious assault on the city since 9/11 got under way in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn. On Monday, one of the confessed terrorists, Zarein Ahmedzay, testified that the three young men, all former classmates at a high school in Queens, had considered bombing movie theaters, Grand Central Terminal, and Times Square before deciding in 2009 on a suicide mission in the subway. On Tuesday, Najibullah Zazi, the plot's mastermind, told the court that he had grown to believe that the force behind 9/11 was "America itself." The third member of the group—Adis Medunjanin, the only one to deny the charges—says that he didn't want to carry out a suicide mission in the subway; he only wanted to defend innocent Muslims from American soldiers fighting abroad. Medunjanin, who attended Queens College, had been active in the Muslim Student Association, by the way—one of the organizations that the AP criticized the NYPD for monitoring.
Even the Pulitzer panel could not bring itself to echo the AP's baseless suggestions of NYPD illegality. In its citation, it credited the AP with "spotlighting" the NYPD's "spying program," noting that it had resulted in "congressional calls for a federal investigation, and a debate over the proper role of domestic intelligence gathering." That's not the way most New Yorkers see it. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed overwhelming support for both the NYPD's efforts—which have helped thwart 14 terrorist plots against the city, police say—and its methods. The poll shows that 58 percent of New Yorkers disagree with the AP's claim that the NYPD "has unfairly targeted Muslims." Over 80 percent call the NYPD "effective in combating terrorism."
Most New Yorkers saw the AP campaign for what it was: manufactured news that played to left-wing stereotypes about police and law enforcement excesses. And as the New York Post suggested, the prize says more about the state of mainstream journalism than about the NYPD. Fortunately, New Yorkers don't depend on either the AP or the Pulitzer jury to keep their city safe.

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]


Why are we subverting the Constitution in the name of security?

By Thomas Drake, Published: August 25, 2011

The Justice Department’s high-profile Espionage Act case against me collapsed on July 15, with all 10 felony charges dropped, when I was sentenced to community service after entering into a plea agreement for a minor misdemeanor. During the sentencing hearing, the judge clearly set the tone for holding the executive branch of our government accountable. He expounded on the judicial branch’s role as final arbiter of the law, while noting that the basis for the American Revolution was British tyranny in the colonial era.
Over more than a year, my case became a disturbing illustration of “off the books,” irresponsible government behavior that is increasingly alien to the Constitution. The government’s penchant since Sept. 11, 2001, for operating in secrecy and hiding behind an executive branch “state secrets” doctrine has damaged our long-term national security and national character. It has, by sacrificing Americans’ general welfare and civil liberties, given rise to a persistent military-industrial-intelligence­-con­gressional surveillance complex.
From 2001 through 2008, I was a senior executive at the National Security Agency. Shortly after Sept. 11, I heard more than rumblings about secret electronic eavesdropping and data mining against Americans that bypassed the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — the exclusive means in the law for conducting such activity, with severe criminal sanctions when violated. Such shortcuts were not necessary. Lawful alternatives — using the best of Americans’ ingenuity and innovation — existed that would have also vastly improved our intelligence capability against legitimate threats. A highly innovative intelligence data collection, processing and analysis system called ThinThread was operationally ready and had built-in safeguards to comply with the Fourth Amendment. But this revolutionary system was rejected by the NSA while much higher-cost work on the multibillion-dollar flagship Trailblazer program proceeded.
While at the NSA I became a material witness and whistleblower for two Sept. 11 congressional investigations starting in late 2001 and through the summer of 2002, and then for a multi-year audit by the Defense Department inspector general of the failed Trailblazer program and the ThinThread alternative from 2003 until 2005 — after a Defense Department hotline complaint was made by three former NSA employees and a House intelligence committee staffer in September 2002.
I raised the gravest of concerns through all the proper channels, reporting massive contract fraud, management malfeasance and illegalities conducted by the NSA, including critical intelligence information and analysis that was never reported or shared by the NSA. Had this vital and actionable intelligence been properly analyzed and disseminated by the NSA, it could have led to the capture of the Sept. 11 hijackers and prevented the attacks.
I followed all the rules for reporting such activity until it conflicted with the primacy of my oath to defend the Constitution. I then made a fateful choice to exercise my fundamental First Amendment rights and went to a journalist with unclassified information about which the public had a right to know.
Rather than address its own corruption, ineptitude and illegal actions, the government made me a target of a multi-year, multimillion-dollar federal criminal “leak” investigation as part of a vicious campaign against whistleblowers that started under President George W. Bush and is coming to full fruition under President Obama.
To the government, I was a traitor and enemy of the state. As an American, however, I could not stand by and become an accessory to the willful subversion of our Constitution and our freedoms.
It is a basic precept when taking the oath to defend the Constitution as a government employee and providing for the common defense that you do not sell out intelligence or national security to the highest bidder, or keep our nation’s decision makers in the dark, or turn information into a political tool and, driven by self-interest, use it to hammer whistleblowers.
Such egregious behavior sends a chilling message about what the government can and will do to those who speak truth to power — a direct form of political repression and censorship.
Once exposed, these unconstitutional detours are justified by vague and undefined claims of “national security,” aided and abetted by officials’ shameless fear-mongering while they cover up their own actions and keep them secret from the public.
The real consequence of such behavior by our government is also chilling: It weakens our national security and keeps the public less informed, while wasting billions of dollars enriching any number of contractors that are profiteering at the expense of our security and common defense.
Before the war on terrorism, our country recognized the importance of free speech and privacy. If we sacrifice these basic liberties, according to the false dichotomy that such is required for security, then we transform ourselves from an oasis of freedom into a police state that crucifies its citizens when they step out of line or speak up against government wrongdoing. These are the hallmarks of despotism, not democracy. Is this the country we want to keep?
Thomas Drake, a former senior executive at the National Security Agency, received the 2011 Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize.
                                                          CONTINUE READING Full Story HERE...


10 years after 9/11, al-Qaeda is down but not out

By David Ignatius, Published: August 23, 2011

Government officials refer to it blandly as the “SSE,” or Sensitive Site Exploitation. That’s their oblique term for the extraordinary cache of evidence that was carried away from Osama bin Laden’s compound the night the al-Qaeda leader was killed.

With the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks a few weeks away, it’s possible to use this evidence to sketch a vivid portrait of al-Qaeda, drawing on material contained in more than 100 computer storage devices, including thumb drives, DVDs and CDs, and more than a dozen computers or hard drives — all collected during the May 2 raid.

U.S. officials say three strong themes emerge from their reading of the files, most of which were communications between bin Laden and his top deputy Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. Indeed, because the Libyan-born Atiyah (who’s known to analysts by his first name) was the boss’s key link with the outside, officials see him as more important than bin Laden’s nominal successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Here are the highlights:

●Bin Laden retained until his death a passion to launch a significant attack against the United States, ideally linked to the 10th anniversary of 9/11. He and Atiyah communicated often about who might carry out such a strike, with Atiyah proposing names and bin Laden rejecting them. Bin Laden was still looking for a history-changing attack on big, economically important targets — one that would match, if not outdo, the impact of 9/11. Zawahiri, by contrast, favored an opportunistic strategy of smaller strikes.

●Bin Laden was a hands-on chief executive, with a role in operations planning and personnel decisions, rather than the detached senior leader that U.S. analysts had hypothesized. Zawahiri, whom the analysts had imagined as the day-to-day leader, was actually quite isolated — and remains so, despite a dozen communications this year. Zawahiri suffers from mistrust between his Egyptian faction of al-Qaeda and other operatives, such as Atiyah.

●Bin Laden was suffering badly from drone attacks on al-Qaeda’s base in the tribal areas of Pakistan. He called this the “intelligence war,” and said it was “the only weapon that’s hurting us.” His cadres complained that they couldn’t train in the tribal areas, couldn’t communicate, couldn’t travel easily and couldn’t draw new recruits to what amounted to a free-fire zone. Bin Laden discussed moving al-Qaeda’s base to another location, but he never took action.

Analysts did not find in the material any smoking gun to suggest Pakistani government complicity in bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. And it’s clear he was paranoid about being found and killed: He ordered his subordinates to restrict movements to help preserve what remained of al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Fear of being discovered was a subject of regular conversation between bin Laden, Atiyah, Zawahiri and others.

Bin Laden also worried that al-Qaeda’s status among Muslims was dwindling, and that the West had at least partially succeeded in distancing al-Qaeda’s message from core Islamic values. Concerned about this eroding base, bin Laden counseled affiliates in North Africa and Yemen to hold back on their efforts to develop a local Islamic extremist state in favor of attacking the United States and its interests.

This fear that al-Qaeda’s extreme tactics were burning too hot and alienating Muslims was also the theme of a remarkable message that Atiyah sent in 2005 to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the murderous chief of al-Qaeda in Iraq. In this document, made public five years ago by the United States, Atiyah warned that fomenting Sunni-Shiite violence (which was Zarqawi’s trademark) was potentially ruinous.

The al-Qaeda that emerges from these documents is a badly battered and disoriented group. The June 3 death of Ilyas Kashmiri in a drone attack illustrates the organization’s continuing vulnerability. Kashmiri was a ruthless operator who planned the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and was plotting deadly attacks on Europe last winter that were stopped only because of aggressive counterterrorism work. (Security services from Europe and Turkey arrested about 20 of Kashmiri’s operatives before they could carry out the attacks.)

When top U.S. officials summarize their view of al-Qaeda now, in the run-up to the 9/11 anniversary, they describe an organization that is down but certainly not out. They don’t know of any specific plots targeting the United States, 10 years on. But they’re looking, pulsing every channel they know. They recognize that it’s what we still don’t know about al-Qaeda that’s most dangerous.


[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

by Judith Miller
Fox News
August 18, 2011

President Obama's explicit call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down – must have sparked consternation in at least three Middle Eastern capitals today – within the presidential palace in Damascus, the headquarters of Hezbollah in Beirut, and among the mullahs of Teheran.
Several hours after President Obama announced a fifth round of sanctions on Assad's regime and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed Obama in demanding that Assad stop slaughtering his people and "get out of the way," the official website of the Syrian government made no mention of their declarations. It continued featuring articles about the joys of shopping in Damascus and an upcoming desert festival in the ancient city of Palmyra.
The Iranians were also initially silent about Syria, the Islamic republic's most important Arab ally and neighbor. So, too, was Hezbollah, or the "Party of God," the Iranian-allied Shiite militants who dominate Lebanon's fractious government and whose arms shipments depend on transit routes from Iran thru neighboring Syria.
But the real address of the Obama administration's belated announcement is the Syrian opposition. Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton stress that it is, as the president said, "up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders." Syrian regime opponents have repeatedly told Washington, Obama and Clinton said, that they do not want foreign military intervention in their struggle to oust their ophthalmologist dictator, who has already killed more than 2,000 unarmed civilian protesters in cities throughout Syria. Others say the toll is far higher. Ammar Abdulhamid, a prominent Syrian opposition figure, estimates that as of last week, the regime had killed 2,675 people, including 158 children, and detained 16,000. Another 4,382 people are missing, he says.
So a key test of the impact of Obama's declaration is likely to come this Friday and in ensuing weeks: will Syrians continue risking death and injury by pouring out in the streets to demand Assad's ouster? Will they continue to challenge Assad peacefully? Will the "Local Coordination Councils," regime opponents who have been rallying support and keeping track of the cost of the mayhem, be able to form a coherent political opposition?
Even prior to today's declaration from Washington, Assad had been battling the toughest challenge to his regime since he inherited power from his even more brutal father, Hafez, 11 years ago. But rather than step aside or yield to calls for political reform, he has sent an army dominated by his minority religious clan, the Alawites, to brutally suppress the revolts -- killing, arresting, and torturing unarmed protesters and using his diplomats abroad to intimidate their families, as documented by an excellent article this week in The Wall Street Journal.
Another key focus will be Turkey, whose foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, recently visited Damascus to give his neighbor, and Turkey's largest trading partner, 14 more days to implement reform.
Mr. Davutoglu is the father of the Turkish foreign policy known as "zero problems with neighbors," which has centered on using Turkey's growing leadership role in the Middle East to become indispensible to America by improving relations with Iran and Syria and helping to broker Arab-Israeli peace talks. But this policy has been upended by Assad's brutality and Turkey's inability to persuade Assad to accommodate his critics.
So Obama, argues Tony Badran, a veteran Middle East watcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, decided he had to call openly for regime change, while Turkey has continued "to hold out hope for a reform program led by Assad, precisely… to preserve its own influence as an intermediary between Iran, Syria, and Washington." Washington must now put extra pressure on Ankara to hold Assad accountable for his regime's crimes.
What else can be done? That is unclear.
Nor is it clear who would take power in Syria in the unlikely event that Assad decides to step down.
But many veteran diplomats in the region think that Washington's declaration, though it has put the United States on the "right side of history," as administration officials are fond of saying, will have little direct impact on the ground in Damascus. Assad, one veteran Arab diplomat notes, has no reason to relinquish power and every reason to try to hang on. A United Nations panel in Geneva announced today, for instance, that it would refer the Syrian regime to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to investigate reports of the regime's war crimes.
The White House is now also likely to step up efforts to delegitimize the Syrian regime through sanctions and other forms of international disapproval.
The sanctions announced Thursday bar Americans from engaging in any financial transactions with Damascus, and especially with Syria's oil industry. It is urging the European Union, which buys about 90 percent of Syria's oil exports, to stop importing, and take other steps to strangle the regime financially.
Finally, argues David Schenker, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the administration must continue trying to persuade Russia to stop selling arms to the Syrian regime. That will not be easy, says Schenker. Yesterday, a leading Russian arms exporting organization said it would continue making such sales. The diplomatic road ahead seems laden with such land mines.

US/26; US/1
 NEWS MEDIA UPDATE   Virginia · August 4, 2011 · Reporter's privilege

Judge explains decision to quash Risen subpoena


New York Times reporter James Risen will not need to reveal his confidential source in the leak trial of a former CIA officer because the U.S. government failed to show a compelling interest in his testimony and an inability to find the information elsewhere, a federal judge said in an opinion made public Wednesday.

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“A criminal trial subpoena is not a free pass for the government to rifle through a reporter’s notebook,” U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Va., said in her opinion. “The government must establish that there is a compelling interest for the journalist’s testimony, and that there are no other means for obtaining the equivalent of that testimony.”

Brinkema last Friday largely quashed the trial subpoena against Risen, allowing him to keep his source secret and only testify as to the accuracy of his reporting. The opinion explaining the rationale for her decision was not immediately made available because it first had to undergo a declassification process. The New York Times first posted the opinion online Wednesday evening.

The opinion thoroughly discusses the standard for federal courts to determine whether to quash a subpoena to a journalist. Under a First Amendment-based qualified reporter’s privilege to refuse to disclose confidential sources and other information obtained during the newsgathering process, courts must balance the reporter’s need to protect a source against a prosecutor’s need to establish his case, Brinkema said.

The U.S. government issued the trial subpoena to Risen in May seeking his testimony against Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA employee who allegedly disclosed top-secret information about a botched intelligence operation in Iran. Risen purportedly published some of that information in his 2006 book “State of War.” Prosecutors wanted Risen to identify his source for the information.

Brinkema rejected the government's contention that the Constitution does not shield a journalist from compelled disclosure of information, and instead adopted and applied a three-part balancing test established in 1986 by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond (4th Cir.), the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over trial courts in Virginia. While Brinkema said Risen’s testimony is indeed relevant, she found that government attorneys failed to show equivalent information could not be presented through alternative means and failed to prove they had a compelling interest in the information.

Brinkema noted the government has numerous telephone records, email messages, computer files and other testimony that “strongly indicates that Sterling was Risen’s source.”

The government argued it could not use the testimony of a former intelligence official who was reportedly told by Risen that Sterling was the source because it would be inadmissible hearsay evidence, testimony about what a person not appearing in court told the testifying witness. However, Brinkema found that, while such testimony may typically be considered hearsay, the official’s testimony would be admissible under an exception to the hearsay rule because Risen would be unavailable and the information would go against Risen’s penal interest because the receipt of classified information without authorization is a federal felony.

Despite Brinkema's statement that Risen’s alleged unauthorized receipt of classified information is a crime, no journalist has been prosecuted for merely receiving classified information. Moreover, courts have found that recipients have a First Amendment defense to the charge in some contexts.

In addition to its failure to demonstrate that it could not obtain the desired information through any other means, the government did not show that Risen’s testimony is necessary for its case, but instead merely claimed it would “simplify the trial and clarify matters for the jury," Brinkema said.

“If making the trial more efficient or simpler were sufficient to satisfy the . . . compelling interest factor [of the balancing test], there would hardly be a qualified reporter’s privilege,” Brinkema said.

The judge also rejected the government’s claim that Risen could testify to details of his interactions with his confidential source without revealing the source's identity, including information about where and when the disclosure took place.

“Courts have long held that the reporter’s privilege is not narrowly limited to protecting the reporter from disclosing the names of confidential sources, but also extends to information that could lead to discovery of a source’s identity,” she said.

This was the third subpoena the U.S. Department of Justice issued to Risen and the second Brinkema quashed. The government issued him a grand jury subpoena in 2008, which expired when the grand jury's term ended before he had to testify. Brinkema quashed a renewed grand jury subpoena last November, holding that the government’s need for the information was outweighed by Risen’s interest in keeping his sources confidential.

"State of War" details a highly flawed and mismanaged operation in Iran and is one of many instances in which Risen has brought government wrongdoing to the public’s attention, according to Risen's motion to quash the subpoena.

Sterling worked for the CIA from May 1993 until he was fired in January 2002. 

Prosecutors allege Sterling, who is black, leaked information to Risen because Sterling had a grudge against the CIA and believed the agency discriminated against him because of his race.

Clara Hogan, 3:51 pm · ----------------------------------------------------|

US/1; ATTN: NL/1                                                    Member CONTRIBUTION

Obama begins to wind-down the costly war in Afghanistan

(Final in a series)

  • By Kimberly Dvorak,
  • 23 June 2011
  • San Diego County Political Buzz Examiner

For antiwar groups, the President’s address to the nation was somewhat welcome news; the ever-increasing unpopularity of the war opened the door to common sense. On the other hand, critics called Obama’s speech a road map for insurgents to plan their takeover of the Afghan government.

The dilemma for commanders on the ground centers on the classification of the 10-year war. A mission change is in the works and military leaders will now shift the counterinsurgency strategy to a more stealthy counter-terrorism position.

Afghanistan’s corrupt government, lack of infrastructure and tribal tendencies have met a predictable ending- a U.S. troop departure, a small victory toppling the Taliban and killing Osama bin Laden.

General David Petraeus outlined the requirements for a successful counterinsurgency strategy in a 2006 military handbook. “As the counterinsurgent gains success, offensive and defensive operations become more in balance and eventually diminish in importance compared to stability operations.”

It has been five years since Petraeus wrote the Manual on Counterinsurgency and Afghanistan remains in the hands of corrupt leaders who provide economic and security failures for its people. Afghan President Hamid Karzai continues to swindle the American people by requesting billions of dollars for nation building; however, there has been little progress with building infrastructure in the past 10 years.

According to the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, the foreign aid dispensed to Afghanistan amounted to $320 million each month and the monthly military tab is approximately $10 billion. Other money earmarked for the corrupt Karzai government is a $19 billion slush fund that is included in the U.S. aid package, most of it coming under the Obama Administration for its counterinsurgency approach.

America’s love affair with exporting democracy has sent the nation into an economic abyss. In the case of Afghanistan, a 2003/04, a plan hatched by Army Lt. COL Anthony Shaffer could have saved taxpayers billions of dollars. His book entitled “Operation Dark Heart,” reported that Pakistan officials were meddling in the Afghan War and were not friends of the U.S. “They were playing both sides of the war efforts,” COL Shaffer said. Had COL Shaffer’s intelligence of the Afghan War effort been heeded by military leaders at the top, U.S. troops could have shifted their tactics and avoided a troop surge.

Evidence that the Department of Defense did not want COL Shaffer’s 2003/04 plan to find its way into civilian ranks came in the form of the heavily-redacted book “Operation Dark Heart.” The tell-all book chronicled gritty details regarding Pakistan’s and U.S. complicity with insurgents.

Many lawmakers as well as, Johnny Come Lately politicians, are arguing that the Afghan War’s focus should be on Pakistan’s unsavory alliance with the Taliban and al Qaeda. By focusing on terrorist organizations, the U.S. can unleash special op teams, and reduce the number of boots on the ground.

“There cannot be a gradual drawdown of troops without a change in mission objectives,” said Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA), a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “Successfully implementing a counterinsurgency strategy is near impossible without enough Marines and soldiers to see it through.  On the other hand, counterterrorism operations linked to a more simplified set of objectives is sustainable with a significantly smaller force size.”

Hunter continues to explain that a drawdown is on the horizon, and the military must narrow its objectives in Afghanistan.  “These objectives should consist of making sure the enemy cannot get back on its feet, strengthening the Afghan military and stabilizing Pakistan.  We can do all of this with a much smaller footprint, utilizing special operations forces, intelligence gathering capability and air assets.”

Hunter contends the situation on the ground has changed and, “what might have seemed like a good strategy years or even months ago is not showing the level of success that justifies continuing the mission with such a large troop presence. The time has come for a change in strategy that begins with a departure from nation-building and counterinsurgency operations - the centerpiece of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan since Mr. Obama took office.”

Corruption fuels instability 

Afghanistan’s corruption is legendary. The war-torn tribal nation provides fertile fields for training terrorists and growing poppies, is home to al Qaeda, and is where the 9/11 plotters hatched their terrorist attack on America. But sadly, in the worst kept secret in Central Asia, the U.S. condones and encourages the growing of poppies (the base ingredient for heroin) paying billions to Taliban insurgents and warlords for convoy protection. We do so, not to keep the poor farmers happy, but to line the pockets of the Taliban, warlords, and the Karzai government. In other words, Americans are fighting and dying protecting the poppy fields.

“More declared cash flies out of Kabul each year than the Afghan government collects in tax and customs revenue nationwide. It’s not like they grow money on trees here,” said one U.S. official investigating the corruption and Taliban. “A lot of this looks like our tax dollars being stolen. And opium (poppies), of course.”

President Hamid Karzai sees the money changing hands differently. “Making money is fine and taking money out of the country is fine. The relatives of government officials can do this, starting with my brothers. But there’s a possibility of corruption.”

If this is true why does America/NATO continue to send billions of dollars to such a corrupt country? This scenario implies the American government chose its political elites poorly and the continuation of business as usual will only leave disenfranchised Afghan civilians inflamed at the U.S.

According to separate Congressional and Senate reports, the American government pays more than $2 billion for Host Nation Trucking (HNT) or in layman’s terms, private security firms that protect U.S. military convoys and materials in dangerous tribal areas.

A report titled “Warlord, Inc., Extortion and Corruption along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan” was published by Congressman John Tierney (D-MA) in June of last year. The report detailed the billions of dollars spent to protect U.S. military supply convoys in Afghanistan- the majority of the money is paid by the DOD through defense contractors and finds its way into the hands of Taliban leaders and warlords.

The Senate Armed Services Committee also sent staffers to investigate the “convoy protection” issue. Their report titled, “Inquiry into the Role and Oversight of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan” concluded the U.S. pays trucking contractors billions of dollars a year, much of it ends up in the hands of local warlords.

Two U.S. administrations have now promised a “hearts and minds” and "nation building" campaigns and to date both have subverted the ability to impose a military solution. This role is fraught with disappointments since it implies that the U.S. and allied forces will provide the Afghan people with an effective government, root out corruption, create a westernized Afghan military, value women’s rights and ensure fair elections.

It has been 10 years since America waded into the Middle East Wars, and the ability to achieve victory continues to be nothing more than a pipe dream.

CONTINUE READING Full Story and MORE here...
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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

Vs.2; JAG/2; US/1; ATTN: JAG/1; JAG/5; TSP/2; RT/66

BKNT--FOX News Douchebag: Valerie Plame 'Inadvertently Outed"

[ed.note: “Inadvertently outed?” A two-year $30+Million independent counsel investigation, two federal grand juries, a major federal trial, one felony conviction, and a Presidential Cemency were inadertent? Yikes.

Although, ‘technically,’ it was Colin POWELL butt-boy, ASECSTATE Richard ARMITAGE, claimed unoath, apparently, that his LEAK to the late columnist Robert NOVAK was indeed ‘inadvertent.’

US/1 prays nothing ‘inadvertent’ like that every happens to him. The Corporate Counsel for MindBENDER, Inc., publisher of the BlackNET Intelligence Channel, the Hon. Stanley Sporkin, (U.S. Dist., Ret.), was one of the principle authors the Foreign Intelligence Identiies Protection Act (1982) under which Lewis ‘Scooter’ LIBBY was originally investigated, and predicted at that time that LIBBY would not down on a FIIPA count, but an Obstruction of Justice charge. He was prescient, as usual.]


Keep this 'moderate' Muslim in jail

Norquist' Islamist Buddy Almoudi to be RELEASED from Prison For Qaddafi-inspired  Saudi Hit?

Posted: July 20, 2011
WorldNET Daily - 1:00 am Eastern

© 2011  

The feds want to cut the 23-year prison sentence of a Hamas-linked one-time leading U.S. "moderate" Muslim. He may shortly be released from federal prison, and as an American citizen, he can stay in this country. 

Islamic supremacist Abdurahman Alamoudi is Grover Norquist's good buddy and partner. He has been in jail since 2003, after pleading guilty to illegal dealings with Libya and to being paid over $500,000 (in cash) by Libyan officials as part of an al-Qaida assassination plot against the Saudi king (a longtime target of Islamic jihadists for his Islamic laxity and alliance with the U.S.). 

Now, federal prosecutors are asking a judge to cut Alamoudi's prison term. According to the Associated Press, "the documents explaining why prosecutors want to cut Alamoudi's sentence are under seal, but such reductions are allowed only when a defendant provides substantial assistance to the government." What kind of assistance? Who determined its value? Who is behind this? His release could be connected to the Obama administration's plan to open up talks with the Muslim Brotherhood, as a gesture to show the Brotherhood Obama's good will. 

Back in 2009, Insight magazine wrote that "Norquist was Alamoudi's most influential Washington facilitator," who "introduced Alamoudi to Washington GOP power circles." Alamoudi "ran, directed, founded or funded at least 15 Muslim political-action and charitable groups" which "helped inch the image of U.S.-based Islamists toward the political mainstream and induced politicians to embrace his organizations," including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. 

"Alamoudi and other Muslim leaders met with Bush in Austin in July [2000], offering to support his bid for the White House in exchange for Bush's commitment to repeal certain antiterrorist laws." 

Alamoudi's influence was huge. He positioned a Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), to approve Muslim chaplains for the U.S. military and prison system. ISNA still has that privilege. 

Meanwhile, "canceled checks obtained by Insight show Alamoudi provided seed money to start a GOP-oriented Muslim group called the Islamic Institute, which Norquist originally chaired. Alamoudi gave the Islamic Institute a $10,000 loan and a gift of another $10,000. The founding director of the Islamic Institute was Khaled Saffuri, a Palestinian Muslim who had previously been active in Islamic groups in Bosnia. Alamoudi reportedly also gave $50,000 to the lobbying group Janus-Merritt Strategies, which Norquist co-founded. 

In 2008, journalist Paul Sperry wrote that Norquist had a "wicked project to dress Islamists up as patriotic Republicans so they can infiltrate the government." Norquist sponsored Kamal Nawash's unsuccessful bid to become Republican Party leader in Virginia; Nawash was Alamoudi's attorney. 

Norquist also aided previous failed political runs by Nawash – including Nawash's 2003 Virginia state Senate bid, to which Saffuri gave money. Norquist also aided Faisal Gill's failed run for the Virginia state legislature in 2007. Gill, like Nawash, was an associate of Alamoudi. During his run, he took $3,000 in contributions from the pro-jihad Safa group. 

Alamoudi was an open supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. In 2000, Alamoudi said at a rally, "I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas. Anybody support Hamas here? ... Hear that, Bill Clinton? We are all supporters of Hamas. I wished they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah." Alamoudi was at that time head of the now-defunct "moderate" group known as American Muslim Council (AMC), and he was active in other Muslim groups in the U.S. that showed sympathy to or support for jihadists. 

A 2004 article by Daniel Pipes reveals that "Alamoudi's Palm Pilot, seized at the time of his arrest, contained contact information for seven men designated as global terrorists by U.S. authorities. Also, law enforcement found an unsigned Arabic-language document in Alamoudi's office with ideas for Hamas to undertake 'operations against the Israelis to delay the peace process.'

And Alamoudi has at least indirect links to Osama bin Laden through the Taibah International Aid Association, a U.S. non-profit where he served along with Abdullah A. bin Laden, Osama's nephew." 

Yet so confident was Norquist in his subversive influence in the Bush White House that the New York Times reported in 2006 that "Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a strategist close to the White House, warned that Republicans could squander what the party had gained if lawmakers did not embrace a more welcoming vision of America."

Tell that to the ummah. 

Why does the Republican Party tolerate the subversive Norquist? And is Norquist behind the push to cut Alamoudi's sentence? I don't care how much dirty money he greases the corruptible with. Norquist fiercely opposed the Patriot Act. He fiercely supports Obama's desire to close Gitmo. He supports trying the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammad in civilian court. He supports transferring Gitmo detainees to Thomson, Ill. He supports open borders. He openly aligns with Muslim Brotherhood groups, under the guise of outreach and inclusiveness. 

Republicans must shun this security-undermining infiltrator. Our next president (and every elected official) must never engage in "outreach" efforts when the price is our national security and sovereignty. 

And Abdurahman Alamoudi should stay in prison where he belongs.

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

VS/2; US/1; ATTN:

DOJ casts serious doubt on its own claims about the anthrax attack

Ever since the FBI claimed (for a second time) that it had discovered in 2008 the identity of the anthrax attacker -- the recently-deceased-by-suicide Army researcher Bruce Ivins -- it was glaringly obvious, as I documented many times, that the case against him was exceedingly weak, unpersuasive and full of gaping logical, scientific, and evidentiary holes.  So dubious are the FBI's claims that serious doubt has been raised and independent investigations demanded not by marginalized websites devoted to questioning all government claims, but rather, by the nation's most mainstream, establishment venues, ones that instinctively believe and defend such claims -- including the editorial pages of the nation's largest newspapers, leading scientific journals, the nation's preeminent science officials, and key politicians from both parties (led by those whose districts, or offices, were most affected by the attacks).  To get a sense for the breadth and depth of the establishment skepticism about Ivins' guilt, just click on some of those links.

Since that initial wave of doubt, the FBI's case against Ivins has continuously deteriorated even further.  In February of this year, a panel of the National Academy of Sciences released its findings solely regarding the bureau's alleged scientific evidence (independent investigations of the full case against Ivins have been successfully blocked by the Obama administration), and found -- as The New York Times put it -- that "the bureau overstated the strength of genetic analysis linking the mailed anthrax to a supply kept by" Ivins; the Washington Post headline summarized the impact of those findings: "Anthrax report casts doubt on scientific evidence in FBI case against Bruce Ivins." 

But the biggest blow yet to the FBI's case has just occurred as the result of an amazing discovery by PBS' Frontline, which is working on a documentary about the case with McClatchy and ProPublica:

The Justice Department has called into question a key pillar of the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins. . . . On July 15 [], Justice Department lawyers acknowledged in court papers that the sealed area in Ivins' lab -- the so-called hot suite -- did not contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that floated through congressional buildings and post offices in the fall of 2001.

The government said it continues to believe that Ivins was "more likely than not" the killer. But the filing in a Florida court did not explain where or how Ivins could have made the powder, saying only that the lab "did not have the specialized equipment’" in Ivins' secure lab "that would be required to prepare the dried spore preparations that were used in the letters."

The government's statements deepen the questions about the case against Ivins, who killed himself before he was charged with a crime. Searches of his car and home in 2007 found no anthrax spores, and the FBI's eight-year, $100 million investigation never proved he mailed the letters or identified another location where he might have secretly dried the anthrax into an easily inhaled powder. . . .

In excerpts from one of more than a dozen depositions made public in the case last week, the current chief of of the Bacteriology Division at the Army laboratory, Patricia Worsham, said it lacked the facilities in 2001 to make the kind of spores in the letters.

Two of the five letters, those sent to Democratic U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Thomas Daschle of South Dakota, were especially deadly, because they were so buoyant as to float with the slightest wisp of air.

Worsham said that the lab's equipment for drying the spores, a machine the size of a refrigerator, was not in containment.

"If someone had used that to dry down that preparation, I would have expected that area to be very, very contaminated, and we had non-immunized personnel in that area, and I would have expected some of them to become ill," she said.

In its statement of facts, the government lawyers also said that producing the volume of anthrax in the letters would have required 2.8 to 53 liters of the solution used to grow the spores or 463 to 1,250 Petri dishes. Colleagues of Ivins at the lab have asserted that he couldn't have grown all that anthrax without their noticing it.

That Ivins lacked the means, ability and equipment to produce the sophisticated strain of anthrax used in the attacks -- especially to do so without detection and leaving ample traces -- has long been one of the many arguments as to why it is so unlikely that he was the culprit (or at least the sole culprit).  That the DOJ itself -- in order to defend against a lawsuit brought by an anthrax victim alleging that Fort Detrick was negligent -- would admit that Ivins lacked the means to commit this crime in his lab, particularly without detection, is extraordinary.  Just like the NAS findings that cast doubt on the FBI's genetic analysis (once deemed to be the strongest part of the case even by skeptics), this admission further guts the government's claim to have solved this case.

It should be unnecessary to explain why the anthrax attack was so significant, and why discovering the perpetrators with confidence is so vital.  As I've argued before, the anthrax attack was at least as important as (if not more important than) the 9/11 attack in creating a climate of fear in the U.S. that spawned the next decade's War on Civil Liberties and Terror and posture of Endless War; multiple government officials used ABC News' Brian Ross to convince the nation that Saddam was likely behind those attacks (as but one example, The Washington Post's Richard Cohen, in 2008, cited the anthrax attacks as his primary reason for supporting the attack on Iraq; in October, 2001, John McCain said on David Letterman's program that there is evidence linking Iraq to the anthrax attack).  Even if one believes the FBI's case, it means that one of the most significant Terrorist attacks in American history was launched from within the U.S. military.  As Alan Pearson -- Director of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation -- put it:  

If Ivins was indeed responsible for the attacks, did he have any assistance? Did anyone else at the Army lab or elsewhere have any knowledge of his activities prior to, during, or shortly after the anthrax attacks? . . . It appears increasingly likely that the only significant bioterrorism attack in history may have originated from right within the biodefense program of our own country.  The implications for our understanding of the bioterrorism threat and for our entire biodefense strategy and enterprise are potentially profound.

Indeed, Cohen claimed that "a high government official" told him shortly after the 9/11 attack to carry cipro as an antidote against anthrax.  The Editors of Nature added: "This case is too important to be brushed under the carpet. The anthrax attacks killed five people, infected several others, paralysed the United States with fear and shaped the nation's bioterrorism policy." 

But, of course, in the U.S., the nation's most powerful political and financial factions -- especially those who control the National Security State -- are immune from meaningful scrutiny and investigation.  As a result, President Obama -- in what I think is one his most indefensible acts -- actually threatened to veto the entire intelligence authorization bill if it included a proposed bipartisan amendment (passed by the House) that would have mandated an independent inquiry into the FBI's anthrax investigation.  Democratic Rep. Rush Holt, whose New Jersey district was the site where the letters were allegedly mailed and one of the bill's sponsors, said at the time he was appalled that "an Administration that has pledged to be transparent and accountable would seek to block any review of the investigation in this matter."

Indeed, the veto threat issued by the Obama White House was refreshingly (albeit unintentionally) candid about why it was so eager to block any independent inquiry: "The commencement of a fresh investigation would undermine public confidence in the criminal investigation and unfairly cast doubt on its conclusions."  That would happen only if the FBI's claims could not withstanding independent, critical scrutiny.  But -- as is even more apparent now than ever -- the White House is fully aware that it cannot.  In a rational, non-corrupt environment, that would be a reason to insist upon -- not take extraordinary steps to block -- an independent investigation into one of the most consequential crimes ever committed on U.S. soil.  But that, manifestly, is not the world in which we live, and thus -- despite continuously mounting evidence that we do not know anywhere close to the full story of who perpetrated this attack -- the country's political leadership continues to stonewall any efforts to find out.


[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]


Larry Flynt: Rupert Murdoch went too far

By Larry Flynt, Published: July 15

One of the few values Rupert Murdoch and I share is the importance of a free press.

I’m sure we would both agree that it is an unimpeachable right, especially in a day and age when few pure freedoms still exist in this country. We recognize that, if we lose free expression in the media, we will have lost everything. And, perhaps most important, we understand that in the quest to protect this freedom, boundaries must be pushed.

The way in which we push those boundaries, however, is where we differ. I test limits by publishing controversial material and paying people who are willing to step forward and expose political hypocrisy. Murdoch’s minions, on the other hand, pushed limits by allegedly engaging in unethical or criminal activity: phone hacking, bribery, coercing criminal behavior and betraying the trust of their readership. If News Corp.’s reported wrongdoings are true, what Murdoch’s company has been up to does not just brush against boundaries — it blows right past them.

One cannot live off the liberty and benefits of a free press while ignoring the privacy of the people. People such as Murdoch and I, as heads of publishing conglomerates, have a responsibility to maintain and respect this boundary. 

While Murdoch may understand the significance of what we do under the umbrella of free speech, he may fail to recognize the liability attached to publication. Simply put, he publishes what he wants, apparently regardless of how he gets information and heedless of the responsibility associated with the power he wields.

Murdoch’s enterprises have consistently published stories about people who did not give permission to have their private lives dissected in the media — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. News Corp. employees allegedly hired known criminals to obtain private information about former British prime minister Gordon Brown when his infant son was given a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. News Corp. employees allegedly hired investigators who hacked into the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the July 7, 2005, bombings in London. And News Corp. employees allegedly paid police officers for illegally obtained information about the queen. Meanwhile, Roger Ailes, chief of Murdoch’s Fox News, runs a well-oiled propaganda machine.

So it only seems fair that Murdoch was forced to close the News of the World tabloid, that he has had to abandon his bid for British Sky Broadcasting and that his reputation, not stellar to begin with, is forever tarnished.

No matter how offensive or distasteful some people may find Hustler magazine and my other publications, no one has appeared unwillingly in their pages. I do not create sensationalism at the expense of people living private lives. Yes, I have offered money to those willing to expose hypocritical politicians — one of those offers, in 1998, resulted in the resignation of Bob Livingston, a Republican congressman from Louisiana who voted to impeach President Bill Clinton despite his own extramarital affairs. I focus not on those who are innocent, but rather on those who practice the opposite of what they very publicly preach. This may be considered an extreme or controversial practice in getting a story, but it is far from criminal.

On a daily basis, and in ways that the general public does not even recognize, our right to privacy is disappearing rapidly. Our political leaders allow companies such as Google and Facebook to continually infringe on this right. 

Both of those companies serve as data mines, selling information about their users. Facebook, behind a mask of individual privacy settings, has almost single-handedly killed privacy; founder Mark Zuckerberg has actually stated, according to reports, that he doesn’t believe in privacy. The government needs to get back to its roots: protecting the privacy of its citizens while encouraging the individual freedoms on which this country was founded.

Freedom of the press and the right to privacy do not have to be combatants. The people have tasked members of the news media with the duty and the responsibility to provide information. As publishers, we must find the boundary, push it, but refuse to cross it — never selling out our readers and never publishing what we cannot verify.

If the allegations are true, Murdoch did not just cross the line — he erased it. By doing so, he has placed all of us who enjoy freedom of the press at grave risk. Only when our readership trusts us to provide material acquired honestly can a free press continue to be a driving force in preserving our democracy. If Murdoch refuses to take his responsibility as a publisher seriously, he threatens not only Americans’ right to privacy, but also our basic freedoms.

After the Watergate scandal, a new generation of reporters striving for raw, honest journalism was born. Now, Murdoch’s actions have sent us in the opposite direction. Will his alleged machinations further degrade what little faith people have in what they read in their newspapers? The print industry is already suffering economically, and any more deterioration brings newspapers and magazines closer to extinction.

Members of the news media walk a fine line between fully leveraging freedom of the press and respecting their responsibilities to the public. It is a difficult balancing act. Murdoch seems to have fallen off the tightrope. Let’s just hope he doesn’t take all of us down with him.

Larry Flynt is the chief executive and owner of Larry Flynt Publications and Flynt Management Group, and the publisher of Hustler magazine.


 [Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]


The general and the journalists

By William Scott Malone | April 30, 2004

[ed.note: NO DOUBT the most disgraceful, literally hurtful, and truly damaging ‘leak,’ if you could really call it that, of the current Century, at least as far as American foreign policy is concerned, is hardly WikiLEAKI's latest cable disclosures.

No. That honor still still belongs to the Abu Ghraib Prison photo expose back in the day--2004. The true story behind same, as in most adventures in investigative journalism, is both more mundane, and even more ‘shocking’ (to borrow another cliché)]

CBS 60 Minutes II’s Wednesday report alleging Iraqi POW abuse by U.S. forces has spawned headlines around the world. Six US military personnel now face court martial and the Army brigadier general in charge was suspended from duty. But in a little noted announcement at the end of the program, Dan Rather, amongst other things, the Managing Editor of CBS News, made a statement that was perhaps even more extraordinary:

“Two weeks ago, 60 Minutes II received an appeal from the Defense Department, and eventually from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, to delay this broadcast – given the danger and tension on the ground in Iraq. 60 Minutes II decided to honor that request, while pressing for the Defense Department to add its perspective to the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison. This week, with the photos beginning to circulate elsewhere, and with other journalists about to publish their versions of the story, the Defense Department agreed to cooperate in our report.”

In many ways, this part of the story is much more intriguing. It is a tale of “high-politics” between significant members of the media and significant officials at the Pentagon.

Originally scheduled to air on April 14, the 60 Minutes II piece was bumped for various reasons, including phones calls to CBS from the Pentagon, according to sources at CBS and elsewhere. The producers used the time to do additional research and reporting.

When the next air date slot rolled around, Wednesday, April 21, the phones began to ring even more loudly at Black Rock, CBS’ New York City headquarters building. Things had been going dreadfully in Iraq that week, and the military’s top brass was very concerned about the effect the story would have on US troop morale.

The CBS story was in essence about how ill-trained Reservists and National Guard soldiers who, while serving as prison guards in the notorious, over-crowded Abu Ghraib prison, were asked by superiors to “prepare” the Iraqi prisoners for interrogation.

Being Americans, they also managed to take candid snapshots of some of their efforts – appalling ‘trophy photos’ – an episode eerily reminiscent of some very candid photos I uncovered during an investigation of the 1991 Navy Tailhook scandal. The Iraqi POW photos soon came to the attention of sharp-eyed CBS news staffers and Army authorities, who then launched an official court martial investigation.

The exclusive, shocking pictures showed both men and women in US military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners, some stacked in a pyramid. Other photos show male prisoners positioned to simulate sex with each other. In many of the pictures, the Americans appear to be laughing or giving the camera a thumbs-up.

It was a blockbuster of a story, but it was missing one of the 60 Minutes trademark elements – identifiable “bad guys” – in this case, the civilian and military intelligence interrogators who had requested these “preparation” techniques, and the higher-ranking officers who had allowed untrained prison guards to participate.

On the other hand, CBS had at least one of the military guards willing to defend himself on the record.“We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain rules and regulations,” Staff Sgt. Chip Frederick told Rather. “And it just wasn’t happening.”

Frederick also told the CBS anchorman that Americans of all stripes had come through the prison: “We had military intelligence, we had all kinds of other government agencies, FBI, CIA ... All those that I didn’t even know or recognize.”

Frederick’s civilian attorney Gary Myers also attempted to put his client’s position in perspective for CBS. “The elixir of power, the elixir of believing that you’re helping the CIA, for God’s sake, when you’re from a small town in Virginia, that’s intoxicating,” Myers said on camera. “And so, good guys sometimes do things believing that they are being of assistance and helping a just cause. ... And helping people they view as important.”

According to one source, CBS, in an effort to put some names, if not faces, to these seemingly invisible interrogators, approached veteran, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative legend, Seymour Hersh. CBS hoped Hersh’s stellar collection of intelligence and military sources could further identify some of the higher ups. It turned out he was working along similar lines himself.

But when Gen. Richard Myers – the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. – calls, attention is paid. Rather, as the Managing Editor of CBS News agreed to not run the segment on April 21.

Shortly afterward, when Hersh learned about Myers’ call to Rather, he was outraged, according to two knowledgeable sources. By Monday, April 26th, “he was fit to be tied,” as one source put it. It was, after all, precisely this kind military ‘cover-up’ that lead to his ground-breaking expose of the now infamous My Lai massacre in 1968.

Hersh told me Thursday that he had no comment about the entire affair. Hersh’s venue these days is the prestigious New Yorker magazine, but it is a weekly. Executives at CBS, sources report, are now anxiously awaiting his next New Yorker article to be posted on Sunday,May 2nd.

Retired Marine Lt. Colonel Roger Charles, the associate producer and investigator on the segment, also declined to discuss the matter. “I don’t talk about the internal workings of CBS News,” he told me Thursday from New York.

But it was Rather’s rather disingenuous statement at the end of the segment that set many tongues wagging. As Rather explained it, “with other journalists about to publish their versions of the story, the Defense Department agreed to cooperate in our report.” Perhaps true enough on its face, but it was CBS News who had approached Hersh about the story in the first place.

In essence, Rather and crew played it rather well, pointing to “other journalists” as the cause for Gen. Myers to relent not only on his “appeal [for a] delay,” as Rather carefully phrased it, but to provide the anchorman with an exclusive satellite interview with the deputy coalition commander, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmit about the abuse allegations in Baghdad.

Most attempts to impose such media secrecy, at least since the days of Vietnam and Watergate, generally don’t work anyway, several veteran reporters and special operators point out.

“If you have the story, you should publish,” said one grizzled, trench-warrior journalist about the CBS decision. Preferring to remain anonymous in this intramural media squabble, he does believe that CBS was “very wise to own up to it.”

CBS has declined to comment on this story.

“We will be paid back for this. These people at some point will be let out,” retired Marine Lt. Colonel and Middle East operator Bill Cowan told CBS. “Their families are gonna know. Their friends are gonna know.”

Journalistic high politics extraordinaire perhaps, but no doubt a downside awaits.

Scott Malone is a multiple Emmy and Peabody award-winning investigative journalist who is currently the editor of and its counter-terrorism newsletter, “BlackNET Intelligence.”  


WikiLeaks has ‘insurance files’ on News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, Assange claims...
PLUS++:Introducing, to paraphrase the immortal words of the late Eric Blair: double good plus plus…
BlackNET ’s next copycat idea: A “Blog”

           DOUBLE PLUS PLUS GOOD?                                
                      ++   _____  = The Red Pill or Blue?




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NEW - Muslim who financed Times Square jihad bomber pleads guilty


BlackNET Member James Bamford: Inside the NSA's Largest Secret Domestic Spy Center