|This article appears in the December 5, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Cheney Faction Lashes Out
by Jeffrey Steinberg
Against LaRouche Exposés
According to a well-placed Washington source, in October of this year, a series of heated, closed-door debates took place in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. The subject: whether or not to launch a public smear campaign against Democratic Party Presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, over LaRouche's year-long campaign to expose the Vice President as the leader of the neo-conservative war party inside the Bush Administration, responsible for the disastrous Iraq war and schemes for a string of future, similar senseless military engagements, all aimed at promoting a unilateral American imperium.
While some Cheney political aides opposed getting into such a flight-forward confrontation with LaRouche, some of the office hotheads, including the Vice President himself, as well as his chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby, reportedly insisted that the LaRouche exposes could not go unchallenged, according to the source.
Now, with the publication, on Nov. 24, of a scurrilous attack on LaRouche by neo-con scribbler Kenneth R. Timmerman, in the Moonie-owned Insight magazine, it is clear that Cheney and company have launched a dirty tricks effort against the Democratic Presidential candidate.
Parallel Dirty Tricks in Europe
In Europe, a similar Cheney-led smear campaign is underway against LaRouche, emanating out of England, and spreading into Germany and elsewhere. The ostensible subject of the European slander is the suicide death of a young British man, following his participation in a Schiller Institute youth conference in Germany. Despite a thorough investigation into the incident by both German and British authorities, the smears have persisted, confusing many in Europe. The publication of the Insight attack on LaRouche now confirms that the British media slanders of LaRouche are part of the same Cheney-led dirty tricks effort, to subvert LaRouche's Presidential campaign in the United States.
A 'Rogue Intelligence Cabal'
The Nov. 24 Insight piece, accompanied by a photograph of Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith and Pentagon Office of Special Plans (OSP) head William Luti, accused Lyndon LaRouche of being the architect of a campaign to expose the OSP as a "rogue intelligence cabal," behind the unjustified and unwarranted Iraq war. Timmerman, whose attack on LaRouche is also being promoted by neo-con propagandist Frank Gaffney, through his Center for Security Policy website, lamented, "All this silliness could become deadly serious if Senate Democrats get their way, led by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI)."
Rockefeller has launched an SSCI probe into the OSP, and, in an Oct. 1 letter to Feith, demanded answers to a series of questions. A subsequent Oct. 30 letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, co-signed by Rockefeller and intelligence panel chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), gave the Pentagon 24 hours to produce the material and supply witnesses.
In fact, on Oct. 27, Feith did submit a memo to the SSCI, with a top-secret annex, detailing "proof" that Saddam Hussein had been behind the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terror attacks on New York and Washington. The Feith annex was also leaked to the neo-con Weekly Standard, which published lengthy excerpts from the classified document on Nov. 14, proclaiming "Case Closed"i.e., that Dick Cheney's lying assertions that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 were now "proven."
Actual intelligence experts made mincemeat out of the Weekly Standard's effort to defend Cheney by regurgitating the Saddam-ran-Osama bin Laden fairytale. Former Defense Intelligence Agency Mideast head, Col. Pat Lang, debated Weekly Standard author Stephen Hayes on CNN on Nov. 20, and exposed the Feith memo as a cherry-picked collection of raw and uncorroborated intelligence reports. Former CIA officer Larry Johnson told The Hill on Nov. 19, "If anybody doubted that there was such a thing as intelligence with a [predetermined] purpose, this is a case study. Just because someone says something and it gets 'classified' stamped on it, doesn't necessarily mean it's true."
The leaking of the Feith annex to the neo-con media occurred simultaneously with the theft of Democratic Party staff memos from the Senate intelligence panel and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sources say that both the thefts and the leaking of the pilfered staff memos to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and right-wing radio gadfly Sean Hannity, were all aimed at bullying Democrats into a defensive postureallowing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to shut down the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee altogether, on the grounds that the Democrats were playing "partisan politics" with the national security of the United States in the midst of the "war on terror."
Several Senate sources have confirmed that Frist's unprecedented Nov. 14 shutdown of the SSCI's probe came under direct orders from the Vice President.
However, the whole scheme backfired, as Rockefeller refused to be cowed, and, instead, forced a criminal probe into the leaks and the thefts.
On Nov. 21, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Pickle seized four computer servers at the Senate Judiciary Committee office, to determine how the theft of the staff memos, addressed to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) took place. Both the CIA and the SSCI have demanded a similar probe by the Department of Justice into the Feith memo leak, and the theft of a staff memo to Senator Rockefeller.
The stench of Watergate is in the air, and this time, the prime target is not the President, but Vice President Dick Cheney.
It was against the backdrop of this accelerating fight over the fate of Vice President Cheney that the Timmerman piece was published in Insight magazine.
After going through a defense of the legitimacy of the Pentagon OSP, and revealing that he had been given direct access to their office and the visitors sign-in logs, Timmerman posed the question:
"So how did a legitimate and effective Iraq planning office get painted as a dire 'cabal?' As incredible as it may seem, it began with conspiracy-theorist Lyndon LaRouche, a self-styled Democratic Party presidential aspirant who claimed in March that a 'cabal' of pro-Israel conservatives he called the 'Children of Satan' were running a rogue intelligence operation at the Pentagon. Their mission: fabricate intelligence and drag the Untied States into a needless war, all at Israel's bidding. It was all very dark, murky and conspiratorial. If responsible journalists had been doing their job, the story never would have crept from the LaRouche Website into the light."
Timmerman lashed out, "Instead, like a virus jumping from animals to humans, the story erupted in a May 6 article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker." From there, Timmerman ranted, the LaRouche materialincluding the role of the late Leo Strauss, the intellectual guru of the neo-consfound its way into the pages of the Guardian, Time, and scores of other "mainstream" publications.
The end-result: According to Timmerman, "Luti's office now stands accused by Sens. Rockefeller and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) of illegally organizing clandestine intelligence operations overseas." Among the allegations cited by Timmerman, and blamed, ultimately on LaRouche: That Luti's OSP coordinated its intelligence operations with a "rump unit" in the Office of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; and that OSP personnel conducted unauthorized meetings overseas with Iranians.
An unnamed Administration official was quoted by Timmerman, "This is Church Committee stuff," a reference to the late 1970s Senate probe of CIA and FBI misdeeds.
The misdeeds, once again, are definitely there. OSP was set up at the Pentagon, in part, to come up with "off-the-reservation" unvetted intelligence to promote a war that Cheney and company had already decided on launching. Ostensibly run by Luti and Feith, the unit, in fact, was steered by Libby, on behalf of Dick Cheney, according to eyewitness accounts.
CIA Director George Tenet has reportedly told several Congressmen and Senators that he is convinced the Pentagon was engaged in unauthorized covert operations, that first require Presidential Findings.
These are serious crimesfar beyond the scope of the original Watergate scandal. Attacking Lyndon LaRouche for his persistent campaign to expose Cheney et al. is not going to change that one iota.