Several high-profile FBI investigations, in which
substantial progress has been made, may well have been put on hold by the Bush
administration for political reasons. That is, it has been alleged to me that
the White House may have leaned on the FBI – not to drop the investigations
but to postpone some key arrests until after the November elections.
The first such case is the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's
identity as a covert CIA agent to the press as a way to undermine the credibility
of her husband, Joe Wilson, who had gone public about his warnings to the administration
that the story about the Iraqi purchase of uranium from Niger was bogus.
Warning: The text below will use the word "neoconservative." In my lexicon,
a neoconservative is a person from a social group that typically voted Democrat
before 1968 but now votes Republican. Neoconservatives include all the white
southern Christian denominations, such as the Southern Baptists, that emigrated
from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party as a result of the Nixon strategy,
as well as the Reagan Democrats (largely working-class Catholics) and Jewish
Americans who trod the same path. Neoconservatives tend to be far-right Zionists
in the Jabotinsky tradition, whether they are Jews or Christian Zionists, and
they are associated with a desire to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from
the West Bank or at least to so circumscribe their existence there as to render
them nonentities. The latest neoconservative to enlist in the cause is Zell
Miller, and he typifies the anger, recklessness and disregard for open, democratic
values that characterize the movement.
Neoconservatives have gained allies for themselves from some right-wing "realists,"
such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, to the extent that it may well be that
the latter two have been converted to the neoconservative ideology, which is
distinctive because of its historical origins on the right of the old Democratic
Party, and in some cases on the far left (Christopher Hitchens is another example).
Some have attempted to argue that the very term "neoconservative" is a code
word for derogatory attitudes toward Jews. This argument is mere special pleading
and a playing of the race cared, however, insofar as only a tiny percentage
of American Jews are neoconservatives, and only a tiny percentage of neoconservatives
are Jews. The neoconservative movement is an example of what social scientists
cleavages, which are multiple loyalties and identities typical of complex urban
We now know that the Niger story involved the forgery of documents by a man
with ties to Italian military intelligence, and that, moreover, Italian military
intelligence has ties to Michael Ledeen, Harold Rhode and Lawrence Franklin,
pro-Likud neoconservatives, two of whom had high-level positions in the Pentagon
and all three of whom were tightly networked with the American Enterprise Institute.
Franklin (a neoconservative Catholic) is being investigated for spying on the
U.S. for Israel. The nexus of Italian military intelligence, the office of Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and the neoconservatives in the Pentagon suggests
a network of conspiracy aimed at dragging the U.S. into wars against Iraq and
Iran. The Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq after the war was in some
significant part staffed by young people who had initially applied to work at
the American Enterprise Institute as interns.
Joe Wilson was sent to Niger by the CIA in response to a request by Dick Cheney
that they investigate the story of the Iraq uranium purchases, and he came to
the (correct) conclusion that the whole idea was implausible given the structure
of the industry in Niger, which was heavily under the control of European companies.
The neoconservatives around Dick Cheney, including Scooter
Libby and John Hannah, were highly committed to the Niger uranium story
as a casus belli against Iraq, and were furious when Wilson revealed that he
had shown it false in spring of 2002. They were convinced that the CIA was behind
this strike at their credibility, and that Valerie Plame had been the one who
managed to get Wilson sent. That is, in their paranoid world, Wilson's honest
reportage of the facts was a CIA plot against the Iraq War and perhaps against
the neoconservatives around Cheney and in the Pentagon.
It has been being leaked for many months now that the FBI believes the leak
came from persons in Cheney's
John Hannah and/or Scooter Libby. The FBI could well be ready to move in
the case. But I have been told that it has orders from the White House to back
off until later this fall.
There has likewise been no arrest of Franklin, though one was expected by
now. This is not, as the neoconservatives and their supporters in the press
are beginning to allege, because the case against Franklin is weak. Rumors are
flying in Washington that the FBI found a whole cache of classified documents
in his house. If this is true, it was illegal for him to keep them there. We
know that the evidence against Franklin was so airtight that Franklin was turned
by the FBI, and was attempting to gather incriminating evidence against other
neoconservatives on their behalf. At some point the FBI as a courtesy let Franklin's
boss, Douglas Feith, know of their investigation, and apparently soon after
the story was leaked to the press.
Is it possible that Franklin hasn't been charged yet not because the case
is weak, but because the White House does not want to anger the powerful AIPAC
lobbying organization just before an election, and does not want to risk alienating
neoconservative voters in swing states like Florida? Indeed, isn't it likely
that the Franklin investigation was leaked to the press by persons in the Pentagon
who feared they were under investigation, and who knew very well that such a
story leaked in late August before the election would get the investigation
squelched or much delayed?