Get out your beltway dictionaries. It's time to translate Feith-based intelligence from Pentagonese to plain English. A long delayed three year internal Pentagon review has determined that Douglas Feith orchestrated the deliberate and systematic corruption of pre-war intelligence. As a consequence, the Pentagon's inspector general has rendered the verdict that Feith's conduct was 'inappropriate' but 'authorized' and 'legal.'
An indignant Feith was quick to take exception to the Inspector's finding. He defended his record of falsifying intelligence as 'good government.' The unrepentant Likudnik was quoted as saying "I disagree with the inspector general's opinions here mainly because, if heeded, they would discourage policy officials from asking tough questions about the quality of CIA work." Even in Pentagonese -- that spells Chutzpah.
Never mind that Feith's doctored intelligence was used to coerce the American public into supporting the invasion of a country that posed no threat to the United States. Four years on, the occupation of our Iraqi colony continues to claim a hundred souls a day at a cost of two billion dollars a week. Regardless, by Pentagon standards, there was nothing 'illegal' about the conspiracy to bamboozle a traumatized post-911 America into believing that Iraq was responsible for the atrocities at the World Trade Center.
Let's begin with the inspector general's assessment of Feith's 'inappropriate' activities. "The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaeda relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers. While such actions were not illegal or unauthorized, the actions were, in our opinion, inappropriate given that the intelligence assessments were intelligence products and did not clearly show the various with the consensus of the Intelligence Community. This condition occurred because of an expanded role and mission of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from policy formulation to alternative intelligence analysis and dissemination. As a result, the Office of the Undersecretary for Defense Policy did not provide 'the most accurate analysis of intelligence' to senior decision-makers."
Only Washington can make a crime of this magnitude sound like a clerical error.
Here is a simple translation. Feith set up a rogue operation in the Pentagon -- the Office of Special Plans -- to debunk the CIA's determination that Iraq had nothing to do with the atrocities of 9/11. The OSP cooked up "alternative intelligence" to make a case that Saddam had a "mature symbiotic relationship" with Osama Bin Laden. The OSP also concocted and then leaked WMD canards to their neo-con pals in high media places. But it was all authorized. End of story.
Just for the record, federal law specifically prohibits intelligence operatives from waging a propaganda campaign against American citizens. So, regardless of who authorized Feith and the OSP to cherry pick intelligence, there was nothing legal about misleading the American public to make a case for war. The Pentagon might be entitled to its own dictionary but we still operate the republic with a single set of law books that apply to one and all.
Besides, who exactly authorized 'the expansion of the role and mission of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy' -- an expansion that gave Feith and his OSP crew a license to manufacture and disseminate lies to market a brutal conflict that never had to happen? Was it Paul Wolfowitz -- Feith's immediate supervisor? Or did Feith get his marching orders directly from Donald Rumsfeld -- his only other superior at the Department of Defense? More likely, the canard assembly line at the OSP was established on the strength of a White House edict. Only Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Bush were legally entitled to authorize Feith to set up and fund the OSP.
Let's be very clear. Cheney had no authority to order the Department of Defense to do anything without Bush's explicit approval. Of course, there remains the question of exactly how much power Cheney usurped from George Bush. If it turns out that the OSP was 'authorized' by Cheney -- the President of Vice and Torture -- then Feith's criminal activities were neither legal nor authorized.
Is it even plausible that Wolfowitz would give Feith a green light to tamper with intelligence without getting clearance from Rumsfeld? Does that explain the timing of Rumsfeld's resignation -- a few minutes after he realized that Senator Carl Levin would be the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee? It's worth remembering that it took an inquiry by Levin to force the OSP-Feith investigation.
When all was said and done, the whole Feith affair faded from the news very quickly and for very good reasons. The MSM lads will tell you that the public is uninterested in who corrupted intelligence. After all, Americans have their priorities and their attention was focused on Anna Nicole's early demise.
You can't really blame the MSM crowd for their reluctance to follow up on the Pentagon's report. Wasn't it the combined efforts of the OSP and the mass media barons that gave urgency to the task of bombing Iraq into the stone ages? How many young American soldiers went into battle in the firm belief that they were righteously avenging the slaughter of 9/11? Even senior officers were astounded when they failed to locate the phantom WMD stockpiles promised by Feith and his neo-con cabal.
The 'journalists' who toil for the military-industrial-infotainment complex aren't about to expose their role in the Feith affair. There is no arguing that the lords of the press played a pivotal role in disseminating the garbage produced by the OSP. Feith's mission could not have been accomplished without the active collaboration of the cabal of Judith Miller clones at the New York Times. At the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, no effort was spared in the quest to spread the WMD canards to all four corners of the republic.
Feith's deadly brew had to be force fed to the nation by the Murdoch-rats at FOX. This unilateral war of aggression was vigorously championed in Wolf Blitzer's 'war room' which has since been converted into the 'situation room.' Maybe the CNN folks fail to see the irony that we got ourselves into this 'situation' in large part because they surrendered their 'war room' to the neo-con cabal. The net result of this media juggernaut was the suppression of any dissent that challenged the pre-war talking points provided by the administration and reinforced by Feith's 'alternative intelligence.'
Not surprisingly, Bush didn't even bother to make a public statement about the Feith affair. And the MSM folks were kind enough not to bother him with pesky questions.
Which leaves us no other alternatives but to do their work for them?
Mister President, were you ignorant enough to actually believe that Saddam had a "mature symbiotic relationship" with Osama Bin Laden? Did Douglas Feith fool you or did you authorize him to fool us? Now that you know all about Feith's mischief, would you have gone to war if you had relied on the consensus views of the mainstream intelligence community? Do you think Feith acted on his own initiative? Was he part of a conspiracy that included other members of your administration? Were you responsible for coordinating that conspiracy?
One can infer from the report that Feith's illicit conduct was authorized by Paul Wolfowitz? Was Rumsfeld unaware of the boiler room operation in the basement of the Pentagon that was tasked with disrupting the normal flow of credible intelligence? Was Cheney involved? Is that why the Vice President got bent out of shape and started the smear campaign against Valerie Plame and Ambassador Joseph Wilson? Were Libby and Rove ordered to do what was necessary to cover up for Feith's Office of Special Plans -- the original source of the fictional yellow cake uranium?
Did you authorize Cheney or Rumsfeld to participate in a conspiracy to defraud the American people and lead them into a disastrous war of choice? Did your neo-con praetorian guards take you for a ride or did you order them to launch the campaign of deception that has resulted in the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history? Mister President, were you the leader of this conspiracy or are you just an innocent fool? In either case, have you considered early retirement and where do you want us to mail your last check?
Not a single Senator or MSM charlatan dared to air these questions. Still, our impertinent president was gracious enough to give them a partial answer.
A few days later, he showed up at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) -- the outfit that lent him the talented Douglas Feith. As usual, the decider-in-chief was 'appreciating' something or the other. After six years of serial blunders attributed to his neo-con advisers, he gave the AEI crowd a personal assessment of the performance of their 'scholars.'
This is how he acknowledged the work of Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney. "I appreciate the chance to come and share some thoughts with the men and women of AEI. I admire AEI a lot -- I'm sure you know that. After all, I have been consistently borrowing some of your best people. More than 20 AEI scholars have worked in my administration. A few have returned to the fold -- you'll have to wait two more years to get another one to return to the fold. Dick Cheney is occupied. He sends his best." Translation from Pentagonese: "I applaud Douglas Feith and the neo-cons for the valuable contribution they made to the campaign of deception that allowed me the imperial luxury of invading Iraq. Do you have another Feith to lend me because I'm coasting on a wing and a prayer and I have this inappropriate itch to fly on and bomb Iran?"
Articles by Ahmed Amr