"Put more crudely, the 63-year-old (Robert) Gates could become the target of pressure or even blackmail unless some of the troubling questions about his past are answered conclusively, not just cosmetically.that would be problematic. (update: Starroute in the comments wonders whether Gates and/or Boren are gay, and therefore subject to that sort of blackmail)
In the 1980s and 1990s, Gates benefited from half-hearted probes by the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch into these mysteries. The investigators – some of whom were Gates’s friends – acted as if their goal was more to sweep incriminating evidence under the rug than to expose the facts to public scrutiny.
While giving Gates another pass might work for Official Washington, which always has had a soft spot for the polite mild-mannered Gates, it won’t solve the potential for a problem if other countries have incriminating evidence about him. So, before the U.S. Senate waves Gates’s through – as happened in 1991 when he was confirmed as CIA director – it would make sense to resolve two issues in particular:--Did Gates participate in secret and possibly illegal contacts with Iranian leaders from the 1980 election campaign through the Iran-Contra scandal of 1986?Gates has denied allegations linking him to these operations, but evidence that has emerged since 1991 has buttressed claims about Gates’s involvement. Other new documents, such as papers recovered from Iraqi government files after the U.S. invasion in 2003, also could shed light on the mysteries.
--Did Gates oversee a clandestine pipeline of weapons and other military equipment to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq starting in 1982?
As difficult as it might be for Congress to run down some of these Iran-Iraq leads before voting on Gates’s nomination to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary, the risks to the United States would be much greater if hard evidence surfaces later showing that Gates did participate in these dubious schemes.
It could even be worse if U.S. adversaries are in a position to hold undisclosed evidence of Gates’s guilt over the Defense Secretary’s head."
* david corn:
"At the breakfast meeting with journalists, (harry) Reid also said:* The Senate intelligence committee will finish its so-called Phase II inquiry, which is supposed to evaluate how the Bush administration used the prewar intelligence to garner public support for the invasion of Iraq. A year ago, Reid closed down the Senate to protest the Republican delay in producing this report. "That will be completed now," he said. "It may not help us in the future, but it will give us the historical background of what got us into the war." He added, "We're going to get the answers to that out....We have been jerked around....And we're not going to take it anymore.""