Sunday, May 15, 2005

Film at 11! Bush administration manipulates intelligence to gain and hold power! 

A long post, but when we talk about how the Bush administration has politicized intelligence, there are a lot of dots to connect.

As always, the numbers tell the story:

''Have there been any Al Qaeda press conferences since the 5th of November?" former senator and 9/11 commissioner Bob Kerrey asked. ''None. How many were there leading up to the election? About one every week. My guess is that the number of threats has not gone down."
(via Globe)

But of course, we don't have to infer that the administration manipulates intelligence to win elections (and neither did Bob Kerrey; maybe he's still relying on the US press for news).

We know.

The "Downing Street Memo" tells us (back):

From the Times (of London, The Secret Downing Street Memo: C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. ... [T]he most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

(I've added some subtle highlighting to wake any "reporters" reading this from their Sunday Morning torpor; amazingly (or not), that darn liberal media seems to have concluded that "there's no story here," since everybody already knows Bush was lying...)

But let's follow Kerrey: Like him, you remember the terror alerts during the election? Like him, you find it odd that the alerts died down right after the coronation inaugural, isn't it? And don't you find it odd that the color coding so prominent then, in the news, in FUX logos, has been quietly put to rest? (back)

It looks like "fixing facts around the policy" using intelligence is the Bush modus operandi doesn't it? Their signature? "We create our own reality," right? Especially when the "policy" is that Bush must be elected, whatever it takes.

So, for that enterprising reporter who wishes to connect a few dots and help America join the reality-based community once more, here's an abstract of Corrente's coverage of the Bush administration's political uses of intelligence for its "gaslighting" operation during Election 2004 (and after).

(Gaslight is the 1944 movie where Charles Boyer drove Ingrid Bergman crazy by, among other things, making the gaslight flicker... The larger theme of the movie is that someone you trust is malevolently undermining your own ability to trust your own senses and ability to reason... "What flickering, dear?" (Interestingly, this meme does seem to be propagating; here; and here.)

07-08-2004 (Pakistanis told to produce high value targets before election) 08-03-2004 (Leadfoot and the twins actually in Manhattan for a terror alert!), 08-03-2004 (extremely non-political Ridge praises Bush's leadership on intelligence that led to the alert), 08-04-2004 (files that triggered alert written "in perfect English"), 08-04-2004 (Turns out the intel was from Pakistan, so the Pakistanis delivered), 08-06-2004 and 08-06-2004 (Bush blows an AQ mole), 08-07-2004 (the Times covers for him), 08-07-2004 (terror alert timeline), 08-08-2004 (Kevin Drum blames liberals for panicking Bush so he outed the mole), 08-09-2004 (flaming tourist helicopters of death at the New York Republican convention), 08-09-2004 (Condi says outing a mole is OK when you do it on background), 08-10-2004 (Condi tries to put the toothpaste back in the tube) 08-10-24 (TSA takes over NY helicopter security for Republican National Convention), 08-13-2004 (AQ-threatens-election meme propagated), 08-27-2004 (AQ-threatens-veterans-hospitals meme propagated) 08-28-2004 (Terror arrests in New York on the eve of the convention) (08-30-2004: Republican National Convention begins), 09-01-2004 (on to Teheran!) (09-01-2004: Republican National Convention ends), 09-16-2004 (alerts die down right as soon as the convention is over), 10-22-2004 (Condi on campaign trail despite AQ election threat) 10-23-2004 (Law enforcement: No evidence of AQ election threat) 10-27-2004 (Pakistani "streets run with blood" AQ video surfaces on Drudge, who questions authenticity, given hooded terrorist speaks with American accent), 10-28-2004 (Drudge tape moves to ABC, which doesn't know if it's authentic and releases it anyhow), 10-29-2004 (CIA can't verify authenticity of Drudge Tape), 01-20-2005 (Terror alert just in time for the inaugural), 01-25-2005 (Terror alert during inaugural proved false).

After the election, the gaslighting operation seems to have moved from Rove's office to the less "full throttle" Department of Changing The Subject: here, here, and here.

Not a very good intelligence record for Bush, is it? Bush outs a mole, none of the intelligence pans out, and all of it is immediately debunked.

But a great political record! After all, the gaslighting operation got him, sorry, Him, elected, right? So, we can expect plenty more gaslighting! In fact, Krugman is onto it, and Reggie Jackson-like, actually calls his shot!

UPDATE I forgot. Speaking of making the intelligence agencies an arm of the Bush political operation, and just in case you're not sensing a pattern here, remember l'affaire Bolton? The Republicans have successfully propagated the idea that Bolton's (admittedly unstable) temperament is the issue. It isn't. This is the issue:

Democrats also sought information about whether Bolton tried to snoop on other government officials. The nation's No. 2 intelligence official, Deputy National Intelligence Director Gen. Michael Hayden, briefed leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday about Bolton's pursuit of names or other details about U.S. officials whose communications were intercepted by the NSA.

Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. - chairman and ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee - refused to make any comment after the approximately two-hour session. They would not say whether they will share details of the briefing with Senate colleagues.

Sen. Joe Biden, the Foreign Relations Committee's senior Democrat, sought unsuccessfully to be included in the Hayden briefing, much of which dealt with classified information.

"You have to know what to ask. They don't know the details of the case," Biden said Tuesday.
(Miami Herald

So Bolton, the Under-Assistant Associate Secretary of Something-Or-Other at State—the only one Saint Colin gave a personal minder—gets to see NSA intercepts, and a US Senator can't? WTF?

The worst-case scenario—Pshaw! How often do they come true?!—would be that Bush administration officials are routinely using NSA Echelon intercepts to spy on domestic political opponents.

And, oddly, when the administration had scrambled jets to intercept a fucking Cessnalight plane (back, Bush wasn't (we are told) informed. However, as a Kossack dug up, Bush was riding his bike in Patuxent Park right next to Fort Mead, the NSA's home. So, was Bush making a run for Unka Karl, picking up the latest hot stuff on Harry Reid? (Note that standard practice with NSA intercepts is to hand carry them to be read and not retained. This makes some sort of meet necessary. Hence Bush's bike ride.)

Please refer all comments containing the words "tinfoil hat" to The Department of No! They Would Never Do That!

UPDATE Added the material about Pakistan being requested to deliver in time for the election, and delivering. It't not like they haven't done that before, and it's not like it hasn't been noticed (except by that darn liberal media). Of course, the Pakistanis were playing both ends against the middle, then and now:

Let's recap: The Pakistani special forces squad arrested Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Al Qaeda's third in command, on March 1, 2003, a few hours before informing the Americans that Pakistan would not back a resolution in favor of the war in Iraq.

They arrested Yasser Jazeeri, another key Al Qaeda operative, in March 2003, a few months before Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf visited Camp David, where he was promised foreign aid to the unprecedented tune of $3 billion.

In March 2002, they collared Abu Zubeida, Al Qaeda operations chief, and they did this during a big U.S. congressional debate on the question of foreign aid to Pakistan...

Months later, on Sept. 11, the Pakistanis chose the first anniversary of the destruction of the twin towers in Manhattan to announce the arrest of Ramzi Binalshib — one of the conceivers and coordinators of the 9/11 attacks — in a residential neighborhood in Karachi where he had been living almost openly.

It is as if the Pakistani powers that be have had, ever since Al Qaeda's retreat from Afghanistan and their withdrawal into Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, a precise idea of where the chiefs of Al Qaeda could be found. It is as if Pakistan's formidable intelligence service, the ISI, had not only localized but kept these public enemies of the U.S. — and theoretically of Pakistan — under observation, handy for periodic culling.

It is as if these people were bargaining chips, with the Pakistanis drawing from their reserves of terrorists and cashing them in one by one, depending on the needs of their relationship with the great American "friend."

I hope that when, in order to break the "axis of evil," the Americans ally themselves with one of the regimes that has at its disposal both weapons of mass destruction and the ideology capable of putting them into action, they are fully aware that they're playing with fire. And that they're playing the craziest, most paradoxical and — if they're not careful — most dangerous diplomatic poker game in contemporary history.
(via Bernard Henri-Levi, LA Times)

Of course, I have complete confidence in Inerrant Boy's ability to play high stakes poker with the Pakistanis. Wouldn't anyone?

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