Swanson interviewed karen kwiatowski:
KWIATKOWSKI: My understanding of the oath of office is that we are to abide by the laws of the land, and protect the Constitution. It is assumed that this means one's conduct must be generally honest. We also have the old Ten Commandments, and that annoying little rule about bearing false witness. A good prosecutor could probably make the case that these guys – Feith, Shulsky, Cheney, etc, broke several other laws. Speaking to the press on issues of national security and top levels of intelligence out of school or without specific authorization from the classifying authority is illegal. For example, if I as a Lt Col in the Air Force, or any member of the military or civil service had given either the press or any Congressmen or women any information that I described as Top Secret or Secret level intelligence, as did the OSP and OSP connected political appointees in 2002 and early 2003, we would have been charged with a crime, and successfully prosecuted. In that prosecution, our intent would have come into play, and this is critical as well. Why exactly were Feith and company lying, and conspiring to mislead Congress?
The neoconservatives have said "But we believed Chalabi, and we believed all this bad info about Iraq WMD capability." If they truly believed it, their planning for the invasion and the aftermath by the OSD would have been remarkably different, in about a hundred different ways. They say they believed Saddam was dangerous, yet we went in as if it would be a cakewalk. The neoconservative claim that they truly believed these dangers existed in Iraq is belied by their reluctance to support more troops initially, and by their decision to casually disregard border security, and to idiotically write off the Ba-ath Party infrastructure as superfluous to Iraq's post war recovery.
There is no doubt in my mind that what they were impeachable offenses. In fact, many in the military and civil service, and political appointees are fired for far less malfeasance and incompetence in protecting the nations' interests and security than admittedly has been done by Feith and his cohorts. SecDef Gates just "impeached" the Secretary of the Army Harvey and Major General Weightman over the treatment of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan vets at Walter Reed Hospital. There is no doubt in my mind that Feith, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as well as Abe Shulsky should have been (or in the case of Abe Shulsky, still in the Pentagon – be) formally impeached for incompetence, neglect of and disregard for national security, and reckless malfeasance in the conduct of their duties. Impeachment and prosecution for criminal misconduct while holding public office is certainly appropriate in these cases. I also recommend former prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega's new book (The United States vs. George W. Bush et al) that makes a powerful case that Feith and others are guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
SWANSON: What superiors to Feith bear responsibility?
KWIATKOWSKI: Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush. And the Congress, particularly those who voted (ignoring serious testimony of Feith's inappropriateness for that position) to confirm Feith as the Defense Under Secretary for Policy back in 2001.
SWANSON: What is the Iran Directorate?
KWIATKOWSKI: I have heard that it is much like what we knew as the expanded Iraq desk, the alternative nomenclature for the Office of Special Plans directed by Abe Shulsky in 2002 and 2003. Incidentally – the OSP, when formally separated from our spaces in late August 2002 was described to us by our boss Bill Luti (now at the National Security Council under Elliot Abrams) as the "expanded Iraq desk." However, within weeks, the two people working the Iran desk (Larry Franklin and Ladan Archin) were moved permanently into the OSP, indicating that in practical terms, Iraq and Iran policies were unified. I have heard Abe Shulsky runs the Iran office or Directorate today. Ladan Archin, a political appointee who worked with former Iran desk officer Larry Franklin, is reported to be working for Shulsky in the same capacity as she did in OSP in 2002. When observers note the similarities between the thoroughly discredited OSP and today's Iran Directorate under Shulsky, in terms of leadership, leakage of falsehoods and talking points designed to demonize Iran's government, and promote ideas of a Iranian threat to the United States, the "need" for the U.S. to foment "democracy" in Iran, and a warmongering agenda, they are on track. It's a real shame.
SWANSON: How does intelligence gathering on Iran compare to that on Iraq?
KWIATKOWSKI: This I don't know. Judging from what is coming out of the Pentagon, there may be some good news. Peter Pace, as well as many other active duty generals, seem to be trying to put the brakes on the hysterics coming from the political side of the Pentagon. They seem to be saying go slow, and seem to be somewhat willing to contradict the propaganda, to stray from the political appointed talking points that demand urgent war and destruction of Iran's current government, and its infrastructure. However, this hesitance on the part of military leadership may be overridden by the nature of our intelligence on Iran. In Iraq, we were great in technical intelligence, having bombed, overflew, tested defenses and sanctioned Iraq for a dozen years. But we had no reliable intel on the human side, and the politicized fantasies of Wolfowitz, Feith and Chalabi and others filled a gap that the CIA had little solid HUMINT to combat. Iran, on the other hand, is not a dictatorship, and it is a place we and the Europeans trade and do business. It is a country known for working with Israel and ourselves when it is profitable to do so (Iran-Contra, efforts to weaken Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and 1990s, and our own efforts supporting the Iranian terrorist group MEK to weaken the mullahs). Thus we have lots of HUMINT on Iran – and so we think that means we know something. But our HUMINT is incomplete, heavily skewed to those we deal with – the westernized, the religious wackos in the MEK, and political opportunist elements within Iran. What I am saying is we may know a lot less about Iran than we did about Iraq in 2002 – but we may be deluded on both the CIA side and the political fantasy side into thinking we understand Iran better, and hence won't repeat the mistake we made in deciding to invade Iraq.
SWANSON: If White House claims on Iranian nuclear program were true, would they be grounds for war?
KWIATKOWSKI: Most of the world understands that the White House is making false statements on Iran's capabilities and intentions. But even if those claims were true, our own track record is not only to not bomb or invade a country that is developing a potential for a nuclear weapon, but to assist them in proceeding openly and as safely as possible. Pakistan, India, even North Korea and our recent moves of assistance – this is how we usually react. There is only one country that we do not demand sign the NPT, only one country where we do not require transparency in their nuclear programs. That country is Israel. Thus – we have two functional models for dealing with Iran. We can treat them like we do Pakistan, India, Russia, China. North Korea, or France, or we can treat them like we do Israel. Either way is fine with me, and neither way requires attacking them and killing innocent people.
SWANSON: Do you believe the Air Force and Navy want to attack Iran, while the Army and Marines do not?
KWIATKOWSKI: I do, but I'd be delighted to be shown to be wrong here. My opinion is based on my twenty years in the Air Force, and how we are in the military. It is a big game, and there is indeed competition between the services. For budget and for glory. Plus, we can't buy new stuff unless we test and use up the old and current stuff. Everyone wins in the military industrial complex by pressing forward aggressively. So yes, I believe the Air Force and Navy are working hard to please the administration's desire to trample Arab and Persian countries by saying "We can do it!"
SWANSON: Reps. Kucinich and Conyers have suggested they would impeach Bush if he attacks Iran. Good idea? What about impeaching first to prevent it?
KWIATKOWSKI: Great idea. Impeach early and often. That's my advice. It can be done by the House so easily, for so little. Most senior members of the administration involved in our disastrous foreign policy and our incredibly stupid approach to fighting terrorism could be easily impeached for incompetence, wrongdoing, dishonesty, failure to honor the spirit and letter of the constitution and other laws, even in my view, traitorous acts, placing the interests of foreign countries above those of the United States. Some of these impeached officials would be easily removed from office by the Senate, and we would regain our honor as a nation by publicly recognizing their misbehavior.
SWANSON: Did you expect that the new Democratic majority would investigate the Iraq fraud?
KWIATKOWSKI: Not really. They should have done it in the first hundred hours, and started impeachment hearings, too. They did neither because those who devise our foreign policy in the Middle East politically own many Democrats and Republicans. Party affiliation is meaningless, as we have seen already.