William Arkin is a former Army intelligence analyst and consultant, who has written extensively about military affairs, including columns in the Washington Post, and has recently published the book: Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World.

Someone is out to get him.

A purported Defense Intelligence Agency cable, leaked to the Washington Times, states: “preliminary reporting . . . indicates possible US citizen William Arkin received monthly stipend for period 1994-1998 to report on quote United Nations Special Commission activities unquote. Entry in SSO [special security organization] ledger captured in Baghdad, no additional information.”

In other words, the cable accuses Arkin of having been an intelligence asset in Saddam Hussein’s employ.

Howard Kurtz reports:

Arkin said he did look into the U.N. operation known as UNSCOM, but as a consultant to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. “Someone who put this together obviously tried to make it plausible enough to do harm and endanger me,” he said. Arkin found, and U.S. officials later confirmed, that the Clinton administration had eavesdropped on Iraqi communications through equipment carried by UNSCOM weapons inspectors.

The purported cable also says that “CIA exploitation of Source 8230 from Office of President SH confirms Arkin traveled to Baghdad February 1998 and November 1998 to provide information about UNSCOM plans and to discuss Desert Fox targeting,” a reference to the 1998 U.S. bombing of Iraq. Arkin said he did not visit Iraq in 1998.

At the Defense Department, spokesman Bryan Whitman said: “The Pentagon has looked into this and does not believe the document to be authentic.” Larry DiRita, the department’s chief spokesman, added that “we certainly appreciated the fact that the journalist who had it in his possession took the time to seek a better understanding of it before filing a story on it.”

Arkin cited several technical reasons why the cable is fake, mainly having to do with military addresses and abbreviations, and a reference to “proctor canular procedures.” Canular, he discovered through a Google translation service, means hoax in French.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Arkin said: “I am extremely concerned that someone familiar with Defense Department classified reporting has forged this document and given it to the press in the hope that it would be reported as genuine. Such an action raises deeply troubling questions about the integrity of the department’s processes and raises the possibility of an organized effort to intimidate me as a journalist.”
Washington Post

Despite the fact that the Pentagon has someone using its resources to intimidate an American journalist, the Pentagon is remarkably unconcerned:

The prospects of an internal investigation to find the culprit are “not likely”, DeRita said, “it is probably not possible to determine the source of such a matter, and I am unaware of any involvement in it by someone inside the department that would warrant a further look.”

I encourage everyone to raise hell about this. This is an even more brazen stonewall than the administration’s ostensible approach to the Valerie Plame affair. At least Bush pretended to want answers to who leaked Plame’s name:

BUSH: Listen, I know of nobody — I don’t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.

And again I repeat, you know, Washington is a town where there’s all kinds of allegations. You’ve heard much of the allegations. And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it. And that would be people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information — outside the administration. And we can clarify this thing very quickly if people who have got solid evidence would come forward and speak out. And I would hope they would.

Now they are not even pretending.

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