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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bush Makes Smokescreens For Congress

Negroponte and Miers resignations are related to Executive Branch impeachable legal issues; and the transition of covert operations out of the CIA to DoD and State Department.

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Bush Throws More Chairs Over Titanic Rails

The recurring problem has been the President. The President was not hearing the right answers from Negorponte; we judge Negroponte was fired. No specific event or incident warranted the removal; nor does there appear to be any specific new program in the State Department.

State appears to have elevated an emerging program, and Negroponte has been demoted. The State Department program appears to be part of the transition effort of covert operations from the intelligence community to non-intelligence-focused areas. DoD and State appear to be taking on more covert operations.

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The leadership, already connected with war crimes, has little else to fear. The US government has transferred and continued the illegal activity, but in new areas.

The media strategy is linked with the White House rewriting of history. Contrary to reality, the White House is asserting that the US was not using military force to impose democracy.

More personnel changes means the Senate is focused and delayed from timely reviewing issues. It takes time for newly assigned personnel to respond. Negroponte ma be an undesirable choice, but given the lack of details on what he will be doing, there’s little to believe anyone knows enough to offer an alternative, especially when the job appears to have been tailor made.

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One problem has been the poor coordination within DoD of best practices related to fighting insurgents. Valid ideas and concerns are well developed, but insufficiently cross flowed. It’s been four years after the 2003 invasion and the President has gotten around to believing someone else may have a communication problem.

Bush’s habit has been to take personnel out one mess and throw them into the middle of another. Given the lack of details on who doing the job before Negroponte arrived, the manufactured job appears to be related to a transition of effort out of the intelligence community, and related to direct oversight of transferred CIA activities under the DoD-State Department umbrella.

In the new position Negroponte will have responsibilities commensurate with his skills: Less than what the intelligence director was able to provide. The tasks assigned will intelligence director were daunting. In his new position, he will have less oversight, and be able to accomplish some things the President would not like as much visibility. Despite the ISG report suggesting Syria and Iraq should be engaged, Negroponte appears linked with efforts to discredit Syria and provide media messages to a new contractor assigned to him. They appear to be providing media messages that will substantially distract attention when the President needs to; or when the House and Senate need other distractions.

DoJ Staff counsel have been coordinating with the departments to determine the range of issues Congressional Staffers are asking, and forming draft responses to detailed questions from Members of Congress. Their aim is to coordinated the responses and ensure the legal issues are fully coordinated to best position the President and staff should impeachment, war crimes, and other serious Geneva issues arise. They’ve been practicing responses to draft questions.

By using Negroponte in the New Position, the President can accomplish in Iraq things that he could not do through the CIA. Specifically, the President will be able to outsource retaliation, plant evidence, and feed incorrect information about Iran and Syria through non-Western media, and have those reports through Al Jezeera reported as if true. The issue and focus changes from the Executive to whether the reports about irrelevant events are or are not true.

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The personnel changes are linked with the Bush legal issues, and the consolidation of covert operations outside the CIA under DoD and State. The goal is to shield the covert operations from the Congressional oversight in the Intelligence Community, and hide the activities in different departments including DHS, DoD, and the State Department.

Negroponte and Miers moves appear linked with the unfolding Bush legal defense strategy. DoJ Counsel have sought assistance from non-government counsel. Although names are floating inside DoJ as to a possible successor, a possible replacement for Miers is a former Congressional House counsel with expertise in public corruption and a former US prosecutor.

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Transferring personnel from legally troubled departments is not new. Rice, Libby, Gonzalez, Rumsfeld, Miers, and Hayden have been linked with alleged illegal activity while working directly or indirectly for the White House on the classified NSA activity which started prior to Sept 2001.

Emerging are the transfers of personnel including Negroponte and Hayden out of intelligence into covert operations in non-intelligence departments. Recall Gates was asked about working with the State Department to get civilians to support DoD activities. Congress does not appear to have the oversight expertise to watch the emerging illegal activities; cover operations, when they are transferred outside the intelligence community, are more difficult to monitor, especially when Congressional staff assigned to those committees have little expertise in overseeing covert operations.

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The transfers keep the Senate occupied, and distracted from overseeing the departments. As long as the GOP can convince Pelosi and Conyers to do nothing about impeachment, the President is assured of meaningless oversight.

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The State Department, as a proxy for the CIA, could use the civil war as cover to target uncooperative Iraqi civilians. Negroponte’s experience with Battalion 316 appears relevant to the US efforts to blame violence on the insurgents, hiding the US connection to the activities. The size of the Baghdad embassy with the US troop presence suggests the center of covert operations has shifted from the CIA to the emerging DoD-State Department cooperative agreements.


The personnel changes keep the Senate occupied, and set the stage for external distractions as war crimes evidence is introduced. The President hopes to stifle the House and Senate from reviewing information, manipulate them to delay action. With enough delays, the President will be able to rewrite history and argue there isn’t enough time to review any legal issues.

Negroponte is most likely going to be assigned direct oversight of covert operations transitioned from CIA, and put under the DoD-State Department umbrella. Its most likely personnel will be sent into Syria as refugees; and into Iran to make contact with the opposition forces. The goal will be to blame the State Department-DoD problems in Syria and Iran on the government, and undermine popular support for the Syrian-Iranian opposition to the US efforts in Iraq; and undermine regional support for the Palestinians.

___ How many operations does Negroponte plan to run out of the State Department to blame the Palestinians for Israeli abuses?

Many. Even if Negroponte were to run operations, the operations are not likely to be clean, nor well executed. Central America and the Middle East are different animals. The goal appears to be to achieve the same as the abuses in Abu Ghraib, but to blame someone else for the US retaliation against Iraqis.

___ Does Negroponte have the right background from the Battalion 316 days to do the same in Iraq?

Yes. Negroponte hares Cheney and Addington’s view that the law must be ignored, especially when fighting a fabricated enemy.

___ How will the media messages from the Lincoln Group and SAIC be used to distract attention from sensitive questions Members of Congress should be asking?

The contracts have been drafted. SAIC is well aware of the FOIA requests, and AEI appears to be well positioned to provide suggestions on how specific issues can be suppressed, rewritten, and hidden. We can expect to see more repetitive non-sense to reshape the new realty.

___ How will Turkish frustration with the EU entrance criteria be leveraged to create more distractions for Congress?

Successfully. The Kurds in Turkey can be mobilized to distract attention and create the impression that the US cannot afford to leave. The internal Iraqi tensions [read “civil war” ] spread beyond what Pelosi and Ried have suggested are merely internal Iraqi problems.

___ Will the Congress be in a position to question the merits of the US meddling in Iran, or the unsustainable student opposition to the Iranian President?

No. Given enough misquotes in the AP headlines, Congress can be inspired to support another illegal invasion against a phony target, regardless the lack of troops for Iraq or Iran. Congress will need to explain, in the apparent lack of troops for Iraq, why combat operations can be credibly supported against Iran. The argument is irrelevant: DoD has no credible plans or basis to justify combat operations in Iran. The goal is to distract Congressional attention from the illegal activity that was once in the intelligence community and has been transitioned to DoD. The President is not likely to stop illegal activity especially since he believes he can successfully delay the House from impeaching him.

___ After the US personnel in Pakistan are shifted to Iraq, does the President hope to hide the evidence of agreements to do nothing about the Taliban or Indian involvement in Afghanistan?

Yes. Iran openly offered to cooperate with the US. The US has failed to focus on the other players, other than the Taliban, who are exploiting the situation in Afghanistan: Pakistan’s rival India.

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As the US publicly prepares to withdraw, the US hopes to take advantage of the turmoil to position itself to thwart Russian, Syrian, and Iranian public standing and prestige. Although the US cannot credibly point to a plan it is openly implementing to solve the problems, the US hopes to spread as much blame as it can to non-US connected entities.

If the US cannot win, it will make it difficult for other players to fill the power vacuum. What the US cannot control it hopes to severely weaken, discredit, and undermine. The US fails to realize this abuse of power inspires an already emboldened enemy. The US is not willing to graciously depart a disaster, but hopes to create more smokescreens.

The problem is the President, and the refusal of Congress to end this non-sense. It doesn’t matter how many chairs Bush throws over the rail, the Titanic is taking on water. The President has no plan but to put himself last in the accountability line. DoJ staff knows he’s going to lose, but they plan to minimize the losses, and point to the meaningless precedent of the House Ethics Committee as legal cover for inaction.