As MSNBC reporter David Shuster gave his latest report on the CIA leak case, I madly jotted down names of those from V.P. Cheney’s office under the most intense scrutiny, including John Hannah, WHIG member Mary Matalin and two names new to me in connection with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation — David Wurmser and Cathie Martin.

Who wants to bet that David Wurmser was one of Judy Miller’s best buds? Raw Story has also just revealed that Wurmser is the second flipper in the case, following John Hannah.

And Mrs. Martin? She’s married to Kevin Martin, the current head of the FCC, appointed by Bush in March of this year. (See “All Shook Up: Martin Remakes FCC.”) Mrs. Martin, who previously served as “vice president Dick Cheney’s chief spokesperson, is now a special assistant to the president on economic matters.” (Advanced Pipeline, via Nag) There’s much more about Cathie Martin below the fold, including an interview of her with Seymour Hersh on Cheney’s awareness of Joseph Wilson’s trip to Niger.

David Wurmser:

  • Update: See “As the Wurmser Turns (Second Aide Known to Have Flipped),” an excellent diary by jorndorff at Daily Kos.

  • RightWeb bio:

    • Office of the Vice President: Middle East Adviser

    • U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon: Board member

    • Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies: Former director
    • American Enterprise Institute: Former fellow

    Government Posts/Panels/Commissions

    • Office of the Vice-President: Middle East Adviser (2003-current) (1)

    • U.S. Department of State: Special Adviser to Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (2001-2003) (1)
    • U.S. Institute of Peace: Project Officer (1988-1994) (2)

    Note: RightWeb has much more on Wurmser.

  • According to Raw Story, Joseph Wilson suggested Wurmser as a possible source of the leak: “‘John Hannah and David Wurmser, mid-level political appointees in the vice-president’s office, have both been suggested as sources of the leak …Mid-level officials, however, do not leak information without the authority from a higher level,’ Wilson notes.”

  • “AMY GOODMAN: And Mike MALUF, the man who was working with Richard Perle?” [From her interview on November 6th, 2003, “As Occupation Worsens, White House Tries to Blame CIA For Rejecting Iraqi Offer on Eve of War.”]

    MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Mr. Maluf has lost his security clearance. He has been petitioning to try to get it back and this incident in his dealings with Mr. Hajj have been — have been cited as a reason for continuing to deny him his security clearance. Mr. MALUF did play a pretty important role in the run-up to the war in Iraq.-He and a colleague, then colleague of his, David Wurmser who has since gone on to work for vice president Dick Cheney, were the two people who were sort of culling through intelligence files, looking for evidence of Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations and that Intelligence became quite influential.-That analysis, the Maluf-Wurmser analysis became quite influential within the pentagon and was being cited by a lot of pentagon officials as evidence to make the case for war.-So you have sort of — You know, even cross agendas within Mr. Maluf that don’t quite add up here.-

  • [From Amy Goodman’s interview of former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman and Mother Jones reporter Robert Dreyfuss — who discuss George Tenet’s speech and examine the role of the Pentagon’s secretive Office of Special Plans in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq — on February 6, 2004, “CIA’s Tenet: Iraq Posed No Imminent Threat; Hunt for WMD Must Go On.”]

    ROBERT DREYFUSS: … So what happened is right after 9-11, they brought in a guy named David Wurmser who was the director of Middle East policy for the American Enterprise Institute [where] Richard Perle and Newt Gingrich and others hang their hats when they are not out causing mischief.

    And Wurmser and a colleague began trying to find ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda. This is immediately in the aftermath of the attack, so it was an explosive issue and they started producing evidence not only linking Iraq to Al Qaeda, which we now know was false and which the CIA all along believed was false. But they also started linking Iraq and Al Qaeda to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and trying to create a case that Iraq was a threat to the United States.

    This group officially took form in the late summer of 2002 as The Office of Special Plans. They brought in ideologues from their fraternity and then led by Abram Schultzski, [a] defense policy person.

    The important thing about all of these people is that none of them were intelligence experts. In fact, they purged and forced them to retirement, as my article details, people who in the Pentagon were long-time intelligence experts, long-time Middle East specialists and Iraq experts. And they brought in to replace them greater and greater numbers of people who were not capable of looking at the vast mounds of intelligence.

    You know, any intelligence conclusion, as Mel Goodman knows better than anyone, involves thousands or tens of thousands of bits of information and a lot of them are going to be contradictory. Some will be based on lies or, you know, misstatements, mistakes, error, all kinds of forged documents. And a professional intelligence analyst can look at that pile [and] reach, hopefully, something like a conclusion.

    What this group did was the exact opposite. They picked all of the information out of that mound which justified going to war. …

MORE below on Wurmser, and newly added info on Cathie Martin:

  • (Cont. from above interview with Robert Dreyfuss) They were constantly updated … by the Office of Special Plans and then fed directly into the policymakers — by the way, not who were fooled by this, but who were eagerly pressuring, looking, demanding, cajoling, “I need more, I need more information that we can throw out there” as red meat to try to get not just the American people to support the war, which I think they did by a certain plurality, but also members of congress who were fed this information, who were told, as Senator Nelson of Florida said, That there were UAV’s, unmanned aerial vehicles, that could strike the east coast of the United States carrying biological or chemical or even nuclear weapons. I mean, the kind of misinformation that was presented to the American people was given to congress in spades.

    So that the end result of this was almost like a phalanx, a cadre of people inside the Pentagon with, you know, with friends and other agencies and then here’s poor George Tenet, who’s really just an inflated congressional staffer. I mean, he is not an intelligence analyst himself. I think Mel Goodman knows more about intelligence than George Tenet could learn in the next 20 years.

  • AMY GOODMAN: Ray McGovern, you have referred before to the people during the first George Bush administration, President George H.W. Bush, and when he was Vice President, saying that some of the people in charge now–and maybe you could tell us who they are–that you all, including the President, then Vice President, George H.W. Bush, referred to them as the “crazys”? [From her interview of Ray McGovern and Sibel Edmonds on July 24, 2004, “Fmr. CIA Analyst and FBI Whistleblower Dissect Final 9/11 Commission Report.”]

    RAY MCGOVERN: Yeah, well it was commonly known that these “crazys” existed, mostly in the defense department, but they were kept at sort of mid-senior levels where they couldn’t do much harm. We’re talking about Wolfowitz. We’re talking about Fife. We’re talking about Scooter Libby, who works for the Vice President. We’re talking about Cheney, in a way; Wurmser, who is now with the Vice President; John Bolten at state. All of these folks were sort of around in these days. Some of them were also working for the Israeli government, interestingly enough. But they were kept at arm’s length from the policymaking apparatus.

    AMY GOODMAN: Did Vice President George H.W. Bush refer to them as the “crazys”?

    RAY MCGOVERN: Well, Amy, I’m not going to divulge what happened in the presidential daily briefings sessions because those are sacrosanct and I wouldn’t want to impede the access of my colleagues to that kind of one on one relationship. Suffice it to say. …

I’m going to keep working on this and adding material.

Cathie Martin (sometimes spelled as Kathy):

  • The source said that the commission was “under pressure from the White House” to consummate the Global Crossing license transfer, and added that the pressure most likely came from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.

    However, Kathy Martin, a spokesperson for the Vice President, said neither Cheney nor anyone connected with his office had anything to do with the FCC’s measure. “Everyone here stayed completely away” from the commission’s Global Crossing decision, she told TPR. [From “Administration Said To Pressure FCC On Global Crossing,” Oct. 15, 2003, Find Articles.]

  • Seymour Hersh interviewed Cathie Martin for The New Yorker on October 10, 2003:

    The intelligence report was quickly stovepiped to those officials who had an intense interest in building the case against Iraq, including Vice-President Dick Cheney. “The Vice-President saw a piece of intelligence reporting that Niger was attempting to buy uranium,” Cathie Martin, the spokeswoman for Cheney, told me. Sometime after he first saw it, Cheney brought it up at his regularly scheduled daily briefing from the C.I.A., Martin said. “He asked the briefer a question. The briefer came back a day or two later and said, ‘We do have a report, but there’s a lack of details.’” The Vice-President was further told that it was known that Iraq had acquired uranium ore from Niger in the early nineteen-eighties but that that material had been placed in secure storage by the I.A.E.A., which was monitoring it. “End of story,” Martin added. “That’s all we know.” According to a former high-level C.I.A. official, however, Cheney was dissatisfied with the initial response, and asked the agency to review the matter once again. It was the beginning of what turned out to be a year-long tug-of-war between the C.I.A. and the Vice-President’s office.

    As the campaign against Iraq intensified, a former aide to Cheney told me, the Vice-President’s office, run by his chief of staff, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, became increasingly secretive when it came to intelligence about Iraq’s W.M.D.s. As with Wolfowitz and Bolton, there was a reluctance to let the military and civilian analysts on the staff vet intelligence.

    “It was an unbelievably closed and small group,” the former aide told me. Intelligence procedures were far more open during the Clinton Administration, he said, and professional staff members had been far more involved in assessing and evaluating the most sensitive data. “There’s so much intelligence out there that it’s easy to pick and choose your case,” the former aide told me. “It opens things up to cherry-picking.” (“Some reporting is sufficiently sensitive that it is restricted only to the very top officials of the government—as it should be,” Cathie Martin said. And any restrictions, she added, emanate from C.I.A. security requirements.)

  • More from Hersh:

    Wilson told me he was informed at the time that the mission had come about because the Vice-President’s office was interested in the Italian intelligence report. Before his departure, he was summoned to a meeting at the C.I.A. with a group of government experts on Iraq, Niger, and uranium. He was shown no documents but was told, he said, that the C.I.A. “was responding to a report that was recently received of a purported memorandum of agreement”—between Iraq and Niger—“that our boys had gotten.” He added, “It was never clear to me, or to the people who were briefing me, whether our guys had actually seen the agreement, or the purported text of an agreement.” Wilson’s trip to Niger, which lasted eight days, produced nothing. He learned that any memorandum of understanding to sell yellowcake would have required the signatures of Niger’s Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister of Mines. “I saw everybody out there,” Wilson said, and no one had signed such a document. “If a document purporting to be about the sale contained those signatures, it would not be authentic.” Wilson also learned that there was no uranium available to sell: it had all been pre-sold to Niger’s Japanese and European consortium partners.

    Wilson returned to Washington and made his report. It was circulated, he said, but “I heard nothing about what the Vice-President’s office thought about it.” (In response, Cathie Martin said, “The Vice-President doesn’t know Joe Wilson and did not know about his trip until he read about it in the press.” The first press accounts appeared fifteen months after Wilson’s trip.)

And — please — if you can, do some sleuthing of your own.

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