Rogue Element On the Loose in the Pentagon

As mentioneded in this thread, Another Israeli mole uncovered - Why does Israel feel it can spy on us with impunity?

Part of a two year long ‘FBI probe’ is a months old FBI investigation that was recently leaked and now Larry Franklin is being fingered as Israel’s “mole”. Apparently, some discussion among “Washington insiders” says that given the atmosphere in the Pentagon and its environs, Mr. Franklin may not have realized what he was doing was akin to espionage. If these insiders are to be believed, sharing top secret info with AIPAC personnel is such a routine event that Mr. Franklin may not have known he’d done wrong. Additionally, it’s been suggested by those inside and outside of the affair that the info that was leaked, though top secret, may have been available to Israel through legitimate channels. If it’s true that Mr. Franklin made a harmless mistake that’s only technically illegal, where’s the beef?

The more interesting contextual story is that Mr. Franklin appears to be part of a “rogue” element within the Pentagon that has been negotiating with Iranian “dissidents” not only behind the backs of the CIA and the State Dept but behind the back of the President himself. The goal of these negotiations being US backed regime change in Iran.

The meetings with representatives of the Pentagon’s ‘rogue element’ and the Iranian dissidents were arranged through Manucher Ghorbanifar and former contract employee of the infamous Office of Special Plans, Michael Ledeen. Manucher Ghorbanifar put Ledeen and the ‘rogue element’ in contact with the dissidents. (Coincidentally, one of the dissidents happens to be a former member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Pasdaran, just like Aras Habib Karim one time head of the Iraqi National Congress’ Information Collection Program, suppliers of Curveball and “deliberately misleading” pre-war intelligence on Iraq.)

Michael Ledeen, Larry Franklin along with Harold Rhode, former liaison between the DoD and the Iraqi National Congress, made unauthorized trips to talk with Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Iranian middleman in U.S. arms-for-hostage shipments to Iran in the mid-1980s. (Were the phantom Libyan hit squads stalking Reagan really one of Ghorbanifar’s bestselling stories?)

[SIZE=2][FONT=Georgia]“They (the Pentagon officials) were talking to him (Ghorbanifar) about stuff which they weren’t officially authorized to do,” said a senior administration official. “It was only accidentally that certain parts of our government [State, CIA and White House] learned about it.”
Pentagon hard-liners may be undercutting diplomacy with Iran
Fri, Aug. 08, 2003 Newsday

Franklin and Rhode made these trips while working for Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith of Office of Special Plans fame. Michael Ledeen was one of the contract employees of the Office of Special plans. They went to discuss regime change in Iran which is not US policy (yet).

Part of these discussions is said to have been Ghorbanifar’s story of the transfer of *highly enriched * uranium from Iraq to Iran. Mr. Ghorbanifar came to Mr. Ledeen with a story about a former Iraqi officer who had access to a cache of enriched uranium hidden by Hussein. This former Iraqi officer is supposed to have smuggled enriched uranium to Iran. Ledeen took this story to the Bush Admin in an effort to influence what is, as of yet, the unmade US foreign policy toward Iran. Mr. Ledeen is said to want our foreign policy for Iran to advocate US-backed regime change.

(Some may suppose that the rudimentary nature of the unfinished Iranian foreign policy directive underpins the phrasing of Mr. Ledeen’s stammering yet eloquent negative pregnant defense of Mr. Franklin- “But. but, but, THERE IS STILL NO IRAN POLICY.” The draft of this top-secret National Security Presidential Directive on the as of yet unmade Iran policy, is what Mr. Franklin is said to have passed on to the AIPAC members.)

Initially Mr. Ledeen went to the Pentagon with Ghorbanifar’s story about the uranium, but the Pentagon sent him to the CIA. Mr. Ledeen was probably disappointed with the reception the tale of Iraqi uranium shipments to Iran received. The CIA was unwilling to meet with Ghorbanifar.
Mr. Ledeen feels that the CIA let the facts that Ghorbanifar failed lie detector tests, previously provided false information, is the subject of two ‘burn notices’ as “an intelligence fabricator and a nuisance”, and is known “to peddle false information for financial gain,” influence them too strongly in assessing the credibility Mr. Ghorbanifar’s story.
Depending on exactly who Mr. Ledeen has had the pleasure of knowing, his assessment of Mr. Ghorbanifar’s character may be somewhat different than the CIA’s. He described Ghorbanifar as “one of the most honest, educated, honorable men I have ever known.”
All the CIA was willing to do was meet with individuals who were said to be the source of Ghorbanifar’s information. The CIA was not impressed with the answers provided by the source of the claims. The CIA asked for a sample of the enriched uranium. None was made available. Describing the CIA’s investigation of the enriched uranium Ledeen says, “The CIA dropped the ball.”

After one of these meetings Mr. Rhode sent a letter home to Pentagon officials that included these lines:

“…made contact with Iranian intelligence officers who anticipate possible regime change in Iran and want to establish contact with the United States government.”
“A sizable financial interest is required”
CIA investigated tip on WMD from previously discredited source
Oct. 14, 2003 Knight Ridder Newspapers
Not necessarily the work of a ‘rogue element’.

Rumor is that USG protocol requires meetings between foreign intelligence agents and members of the USG be cleared with the CIA. And as Dr. Josh and his co-authors pointed out, not only were the meetings not cleared with the CIA, in early 2002, Stephen J. Hadley “sent word to the officials in Feith’s office and to Ledeen to cease all such activities.”
‘Such activities’ continued however. There was a meeting mid 2002. Hadley again told them to cease and desist. There was another meeting just months after that, then again a couple months after that one, and then again in mid 2003.
The ‘element’ in the Pentagon met with members of a foreign intelligence agency in violation USG protocols for such things, and continued to do so even after twice being told to stop by George W. Bush’s Deputy National Security Adviser.
Mr. Ghorbanifar claims he “has had fifty meetings with Michael Ledeen since September 11th” and given him “4,000 to 5,000 pages of sensitive documents.”

The conventional wisdom seems to be that the CIA would’ve objected to the meetings because it meant dealing with Ghorbanifar, and the State Dept would’ve objected because a meeting between American defense department officials and Iranian dissidents anticipating possible regime change in Iran may’ve antagonized Iran and hampered diplomatic efforts.

Speculation is that the ‘rogue element’ hoped the meetings between Iranian dissidents and American defense department officials would “antagonize Iran so that they get frustrated and then by their reactions harden US policy against them.”

Some interesting things about Mr. Ghorbanifar. Albert Hakim a member of Savak, the Iranian secret police force formed with the guidance of American and Israeli intelligence officers. In 1985 he was “sometimes described as an advisor to Iran’s Prime Minister.” And, according to Oliver North, he was “an agent of…at least one of, if not more, of [Israel’s] security services.”

Reports from the histories of some key players in the ‘rogue element’:

“At least three former CIA officials told UPI that in 1998 Rhode had his clearances suspended, based on allegations he had given classified information to Israel.
…the Pentagon…downgraded [Michael] **Ledeen’s ** security clearances… in the mid-1980s, after an earlier boss, Noel Koch, the Principal Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, had urged the FBI to begin a probe of Ledeen… for passing classified materials to a foreign country, believed to be Israel.
Ledeen "was carried in Agency files as an agent of influence of a foreign government: Israel,”…
…March 1983, Feith, then a Middle East analyst on the National Security Council, was fired by Judge William Clark…because Feith "had been the object of an inquiry into whether he had provided classified material to an official of the Israeli Embassy in Washington" and that the FBI “had opened an inquiry.”
FBI probes DOD office
August 29, 2004 UPI

So, what we have here is a group of US DoD employees who’ve managed to get themselves suspected of helping Israel a little more than should. They’ve gone behind the backs of the CIA, State Dept and the White House to wheel and deal with an intelligence fabricator and nuisance who’s linked to one (or more) of Israel’s security services.
One of the reasons these DoD employees were wheeling and dealing with a known peddler of false information was to acquire information. After one of the meetings, made possible by the (former**?**) agent of “at least one” Israeli security service, one of these DoD employees calls home and asks for money, a “sizable financial interest”.
The FBI seems to have good reason to be concerned about what’s going on here.

These meetings between DoD personel and Iranian dissidents who are aniticpating regime change in Iran endangered the chances for the success of ongoing diplomatic endeavors regarding Iran. This may have been the intention of this ‘rogue element’ in the Pentagon.
The FBI seems to have good reason to be concerned about what’s going on here too.

The diplomatic negotiations with Iran that were disrupted by the Pentagon’s rogue element involved swapping Iran’s al Qaeda detainees for ending US support for the Hussein’s actual international terrorist organization, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq.

If it hadn’t been for these fucktards, Abu Zarqawi (and possibly one or more of his legs) might be in US custody (again.)

“The purpose of the meeting with Ghorbanifar was to undermine a pending deal that the White House had been negotiating with the Iranian government. At the time, Iran had considered turning over five al-Qaida operatives in exchange for Washington dropping its support for Mujahadeen Khalq, an Iraq-based rebel Iranian group listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department.”
Who is Larry Franklin?
Aug. 28, 2004 Jerusalem Post.[/FONT][/SIZE]
© 2004 News Junkies Unanimous w/ permission

Pitchforks and torches anyone?

Am I the only guy who read the title as “Rogue Elephants”?
I was thinking: “DAMN! Al Quida is getting bold!

All those fonts give me a headache.

Albert Hakim said Ghorbanifar was a member of Savak, the Iranian secret police force formed with the guidance of American and Israeli intelligence officers.


Lemme get this straight. Kirstie Alley, a rogue elephant, is loose in the Pentagon?

That’s not nice.

The Pentagon does have extra-heavy duty strength construction and could probably support the weight of an elephant.

Ledeen indicts himself with that endorsement. Because according to Ghorbanifar’s interview with Laura Rozen:

And yet we have Ledeen saying here:

But really, what’s a lie or two, or fifty, between friends

He was out of the loop. Sure he met with Ghorbanifar, but that was just for canasta. They never talked about whether or not Ghorby was still meeting with the DoD guys Ledeen hooked him up with.

And another thing (via Laura Rozen):

Today, we learn from the Boston Globe’s Brian Bender that there is yet a third investigation, also from the Hill, by the House Judiciary committee, of the activities of Feith’s office. And this one, now in the preliminary stages, focuses not just on the DoD-Ghorbanifar Iran back channel we reported on, but also on whether yet another official in Feith’s office, Michael Maloof, was involved in a back channel whose purpose was to destabilize Syria:

But investigators for the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is closely scrutinizing the office as part of a formal probe of pre-Iraq War intelligence-gathering, and Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, who are conducting a preliminary probe, say that the full picture of the office’s activities may include more than meets the eye. They are seeking additional documents and interviews from policy officials.

After months of delay, the investigators said, they are getting cooperation from Feith and his staff.

More about this from The Globe/Bender piece:

Another Near East policy official, F. Michael Maloof, was stripped of his security clearance a year ago after the FBI linked him to a Lebanese-American businessman under investigation by the FBI for weapons trafficking. A handgun registered to Maloof was found in the possession of Imad el Hage, a suspected arms dealer.

Investigators are seeking to learn whether Maloof’s alleged contacts with Hage and a hard-line former Lebanese general, Michel Aoun, may have been part of a back-channel effort to destabilize Syria, which has occupied Lebanon for nearly two decades.

"People are concerned about covert action being conducted by a policy office with no legal mandate to do so," said one Democratic official involved in the Judiciary Committee inquiry. "If the Senate and House intelligence committees in their review only look at the Chalabi relationship but don’t look at the office’s role in what was in effect covert action to explore regime change in the entire arc of the Middle East, then their inquiry will be a joke."

The official said he is trying to determine if some of the office’s activities may have been prohibited by the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, which holds that all activity to undermine a foreign government must be approved by the president in a specific document approving such activity.