taken from Laura Rosen’s War and Peace. Just about the time I think it there is no room for anything else to show up…here we are with yet another bad thing this administration is doing!!! God, will it ever stop????!!!!
July 16, 2005
Ripples from the latest Seymour Hersh article, not even published yet:
The article cites unidentified former military and intelligence officials who said the administration went ahead with covert election activities in Iraq that “were conducted by retired C.I.A. officers and other non-government personnel, and used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress.” But it does not provide details and says, “the methods and the scope of the covert effort have been hard to discern.”
Representative Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, issued a statement saying that she could not discuss classified information, noting: “Congress was consulted about the administration’s posture in the Iraqi election. I was personally consulted. But if the administration did what is alleged, that would be a violation of the covert action requirements, and that would be deeply troubling.”
Despite the denials by some Bush administration officials on Saturday, others who took part in or were briefed on the discussion said they could not rule out the possibility that the United States and its allies might have provided secret aid to augment the broad overt support provided to Iraqi candidates and parties by the State Department, through organizations like the International Democratic Institute.
They said they were basing their comments primarily on the intensity of discussions within the administration about the potential adverse consequences of a victory by Iraqi parties hostile to the United States.
Officials and former officials familiar with the debate inside the White House last year said that after considerable debate, the president’s national security team recommended that he sign a secret, formal authorization for covert action to influence the election, called a “finding.” They said that Mr. Bush either had already signed it or was about to when objections were raised in Congress. Ultimately, he rescinded the decision, the officials said.
Among those who discussed the matter in interviews on Saturday were a dozen current and former government officials from Congress, the State Department, intelligence agencies and the Bush administration. They included some who said they had supported the idea of a covert plan to influence the Iraqi elections, and some who had opposed it…
The current and former officials interviewed Saturday amplified how Mr. Bush had initially approved the plan, and how the White House met objections as it notified Congressional leaders, as required by law.
I haven’t seen the Hersh report yet upon which this NYT article is based, but the discussion of a draft presidential directive on Iranian-backed forces in Iraq of course brings to mind the FBI investigation of Pentagon Iran analyst Larry Franklin. Franklin has been alleged to have leaked classified information on Iranian activities in Iraq in an effort to get AIPAC’s support in trying to persuade the White House to sign off on what sounds like an earlier incarnation of this directive.
Posted by Laura at 11:06 PM