Larry C. Johnson: Republican Chutzpah on Iran
Republican Chutzpah on Iran
By Larry C. Johnson
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 26 August 2006
Chutzpah is a Yiddish term that means "unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity." Got to love Yiddish. No other term captures what the Republican staff members of the House Intelligence Committee accomplished yesterday with the release of a partisan report on Iran. According to the Washington Post account:
A key House committee issued a stinging critique of US intelligence on Iran yesterday, charging that the CIA and other agencies lack "the ability to acquire essential information necessary to make judgments" on Tehran's nuclear program, its intentions or even its ties to terrorism.
Gee whiz, "lack of essential information?" Like what? Nuclear weapons? Which brings me to Valerie Plame.
When Valerie's identity was exposed by Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and others in the Bush administration in the summer of 2003, she was doing undercover work to monitor, detect, and interdict nuclear technology going to Iran. Larisa Alexandrovna broke the story on Raw Story in February 2006. David Shuster confirmed the report on Hardball on 2 May 2006:
While the heart of the CIA leak investigation is the Bush administration's aggressive defense of the WMD case for war in Iraq, there is new evidence now the defense may have undermined intelligence efforts on Iran. The key player in the CIA leak story is Valerie Wilson, a CIA operative whose identity was outed by White House officials. As MSNBC first reported yesterday, Wilson was not just undercover but, according to intelligence sources, was part of an effort three years ago to monitor the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran.
So, the Republicans want to whine about inadequate intelligence on Iran's nuclear program while holding fundraisers for Scooter Libby, one of the men implicated in the leak of Valerie's classified identity? Excuse me? The leak did more than ruin Val's ability to continue working as an undercover CIA officer. The leak destroyed a US intelligence program to collect information about Iran's efforts to get nuclear weapons material.
What is particularly galling about this is how Peter Hoekstra has played politics with intelligence all along. In a letter to the White House earlier this year complaining about the possible appointment of Stephen Kappes as the Deputy Director of the CIA, Hoekstra said:
I am convinced that this politicization was under way well before Porter Goss became the Director. In fact, I have long been convinced that a strong and well-positioned group within the Agency intentionally undermined the administration and its policies. This argument is supported by the Ambassador Wilson/Valerie Plame events, as well as by the string of unauthorized disclosures from an organization that prides itself with being able to keep secrets.
Instead of mounting an investigation to determine who exposed Mrs. Wilson and the intelligence operation she worked on, Hoekstra attacks CIA officers for being political hacks. Mr. Hoekstra, people who live in glass houses shouldn't chuck stones.
We now see a new effort by the Republicans to bully the intelligence community into identifying an imminent threat that does not exist. Iran has been a threat for 26 years. As reported in the Washington Post and New York Times, the intelligence community does not believe Iran is anywhere near to developing or deploying a nuclear weapon.
Peter Hoekstra wants to use his position as head of the Intelligence Committee to bully analysts and scare Americans. Meanwhile, he has sat idle as the Republican White House destroyed a viable intelligence operation to keep tabs on Iran's nuclear ambitions. That, my friends, is pure Chutzpah. Mazeltov.
Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG
Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm
that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed
by terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked
previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and US State
Department's Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy
Director), is a recognized expert in the fields of
terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management.
Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety
of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public
Radio, ABC's Nightline, NBC's Today Show, the New York
Times, CNN, Fox News and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored
several articles for publications including Security
Management Magazine, the New York Times and The Los Angeles
Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security