Tuesday, October 03, 2006

cheney hearts ghorbanifar

* laura:
"The July 10, 2001 Tenet/Black/Rice meeting. Apparently neither Cofer Black nor George Tenet told the 9/11 commission about the meeting with Rice, but Black told at least two other people about it in the days and weeks afterwards and his frustration coming out of it that, in his opinion, Rice was allegedly unresponsive and didn't appear interested in the subject of bin Laden. One of these accounts is coming out in yet another book."

* laura:
"According to Bob Woodward's new book, one US official who has been pushing Iran contra figure Manucher Ghorbanifar's information is none other than the vice president. I've written about it here.

This from Bob Woodward’s State of Denial:
In Iraq, [chief Iraq weapons inspector] David Kay had a call from Scooter Libby.

“The vice president wants to know if you’ve looked at this area,” Libby said. “We have indications -- and here are the geocoordinates -- that something is buried there.”

Kay went to the mapping and imagery experts on his team. They pulled up the satellite and other surveillance photos of the location. It was in the middle of Lebanon.

“That’s where we’re going next,” joked one of the imagery experts.

At another point Kay got a cable from the CIA that the vice president wanted him to send someone to Switzerland to meet with an Iranian named Manucher Ghorbanifar.

“I recognize this one,” Kay said when he saw the cable. “This one I’m not going to do.”

Ghorbanifar had been the Iranian middleman in the Reagan administration’s disastrous secret arms-for-hostages deals in the Iran contra scandal. Though he had been a CIA source in the 1970s, the agency had terminated him in 1983 and the next year issued a formal “burn notice” warning that Ghorbanifar was a “talented fabricator.”

This time, Kay read, Ghorbanifar claimed to have an Iranian source who knew all about Iraqi nuclear weapons, but who wanted $2 million in advance, and who would not talk directly to the U.S., only through Ghorbanifar.

Kay discovered the latest Ghorbanifar stunt involved Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former NSC colleague of Oliver North who had been involved with Ghorbanifar in the Iran-contra days.

Kay sent a cable to the CIA saying, “Unless you give me direct instructions to talk to him, I will not have any member of the [Iraq Survey Group] talk to this guy. The guy is a known fabricator-peddler, and it will ruin someone. If the [Director of Central Intelligence] wants to send me direct instructions to do it, I will of course do it. But it’s got to be direct.”

The idea was dropped. Cheney was acting as a kind of super-investigator, trying to ferret out the elusive WMD, Kay concluded…(pp. 259-260).
So Cheney was wired into the network pushing Ghorbanifar’s information? And went along with Ghorbanifar's demand for $2 million advance payment for his information? Has the Senate Select Intelligence committee followed up on this? A close reading of the above indicates there's not only a CIA cable to Kay conveying the vice president's request that Kay meet with Ghorbanifar, but also Kay’s cable back to the CIA refusing to do so without a direct order from DCI Tenet. That’s a document the committee ought to be interested in getting ahold of."
That's outrageous. Why were Libby and Cheney looking at raw data? I wonder if this was the only occasion they gave Kay co-ordinates - the Lebanon thing sounds a bit suspicious. And why were they sending people to Ghorba? They didnt even use a cut-out. Perhaps Plame was onto some of these shenanigans.


Simon said...

Xymphora from a while back (Sunday, August 03, 2003):

It appears that what Kay is doing is creating a virtual Iraqi weapons program. He seems to be building an inventory of what scientists Iraq had and what they were trained to do, and what strategic assets Iraq had. He then determines what type of program he would institute if he were put in charge by Saddam of building a workable program for the production of weapons of mass destruction.

lukery said...

simon - apolgies in advance for my stupidity - is that just an FYI? or did you have a point?

i love this from Kay: "“THIS one I’m not going to do.”" (per woodward) - anything else, sure!

Simon said...


Equal apologies if I wasn't being clear - but I think the above (and the post I linked to) suggests David Kay was working outside of the strict limits of what the ISG was supposed to be doing. He was setting up theoretical goals and then trying to prove them to be true, rather than examining the available evidence to find the existing truth. Scott Ritter's book shows he was playing the same game, at least whilst he was still an alpha-male hawk.

Were they working from their own volition here, or were they being directed from above? The post above (Laura on Bob) seems to suggest that DK was being directly directed by DC through SL, and at some point he (DK) realised he was being sold a pup and that he was indeed engaged in a chase for some mythical wild geese. He wasn't buying it, therefore he packed it in, handing the reins over (in the first instance) completely to RB.