Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CSIS Smart Power Lecture: Hank Crumpton

Henry “Hank” Crumpton is probably Bourbon and Lawndarts's idol. Crumpton ran the CIA's Afghan program in the wake of September 11, this same program brought the friggin' heat to the Taliban and AQ within weeks of the attacks. Bin Laden's head would be impaled on a fencepost at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue if President Bush had listen to Crumpton when we were angling for the kill at Tora Bora.

Needless to say, when Hank Crumpton speaks, I listen.

He gave a speech at CSIS last week. Check out the transcript, video, or mp3.

Globalization we understand; we read about it all of the time – lots of great examples, but it’s not only globalization; it’s not only at a regional level, in Southeast Asia or Central Asia, or NATO – it’s not only the national level, but importantly it’s at a local level. Late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil, he said all politics is local. Well, I promise you, all counterterrorism is local. In the future of war, it will increasingly be the case.
Preach brotha...

I met with Ahmed Shah Massoud. He was the late leader of the northern alliance. He was assassinated just a couple of days before 9/11. Al Qaeda knew hew as an important ally with the United States and they wanted to take him out of the picture. But this was a couple of years before that; I had a discussion with him. It was in the
hinterlands of Central Asia – had a long talk about a variety of different things that we were working on together.

At the end of the conversation he asked me a question that I will never forget. He
said, your country – I have great respect for the United States, but I wonder, your country – you care more about al Qaeda and bin Laden, or do you care more about the people of Afghanistan. That was a pretty good question. And I gave him the best answer I could, which was, well, I’m from the CIA and my mission is a singular focus, and you’re talking to no one else in the U.S. government, so we care less about the people of Afghanistan.

And he smiled and nodded a very sad smile, but he knew the answer. He was
going to determine if I had the gumption to tell him the truth. But he was also I think teaching me a lesson, that you got to do both; you’ve got to find the enemy; you have to engage; and you have to engage in some cases without mercy, without hesitation. But if you don’t understand that environment and if you don’t care about the people, the job is not finished. And when we think of conflict in the future, it’s going to be exceedingly complex. It’s going to require that hard power, that critical 10 percent. But all that does is buy us space and time for that 90 percent that has to come in, that whole array of instruments. But how do we think about it? How do we organize ourselves? How do we fund ourselves?
Pearls of wisdom from the Lion of the Panjshir himself!

Your second question regarding the name, the war on – the global war on terrorism. I don’t like that name too much.

Economic Indicators

Think America's economy is in the can? Try buying a round of beers in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia to our Boer readership)! Thanks to Jess for the pic.

Found in Translation

"There is one evil I dread, and that is, their spies.”
- George Washington, March 24, 1776.

Found in Translation: FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets, by Philip Giraldi. The American Conservative, January 28, 2008.

Her allegations are not insignificant. Edmonds claims that Marc Grossman—ambassador to Turkey from 1994-97 and undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2001-05—was a person of interest to the FBI and had his phone tapped by the Bureau in 2001 and 2002. In the third-highest position at State, Grossman wielded considerable power personally and within the Washington bureaucracy. He had access to classified information of the highest sensitivity from the CIA, NSA, and Pentagon, in addition to his own State Department. On one occasion, Grossman was reportedly recorded making arrangements to pick up a cash bribe of $15,000 from an ATC contact. The FBI also intercepted related phone conversations between the Turkish Embassy and the Pakistani Embassy that revealed sensitive U.S. government information was being sold to the highest bidder. Grossman, who emphatically denies Edmonds’s charges, is currently vice chairman of the Cohen Group, founded by Clinton defense secretary William Cohen, where he reportedly earns a seven-figure salary, much of it coming from representing Turkey.

After 9/11, Grossman reportedly intervened with the FBI to halt the interrogation of four Turkish and Pakistani operatives. According to Edmonds, Grossman was called by a Turkish contact who told him that the men had to be released before they told what they knew. Grossman said that he would take care of it and, per Edmonds, the men were released and allowed to leave the country.

Edmonds states that FBI phone taps from late 2001 reveal that Grossman tipped off his Turkish contact regarding the CIA weapons proliferation cover unit Brewster Jennings, which was being used by Valerie Plame, and that the Turk then informed the Pakistani intelligence service representative in Washington. It is to be assumed that the information was then passed on to the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network.

Monday, January 21, 2008

FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft

Follow up to the Sunday Times article from two weeks ago that I posted on:
FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft. The Sunday Times, January 20, 2008.

Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office.

She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.
And then it gets really spicy:

The anonymous letter names a high-level government official who was allegedly secretly recorded speaking to an official at the Turkish embassy between August and December 2001.

It claims the government official warned a Turkish member of the network that they should not deal with a company called Brewster Jennings because it was a CIA front company investigating the nuclear black market. The official’s warning came two years before Brewster Jennings was publicly outed when one of its staff, Valerie Plame, was revealed to be a CIA agent in a case that became a cause célèbre in the US.

The letter also makes reference to wiretaps of Turkish “targets” talking to ISI intelligence agents at the Pakistani embassy in Washington and recordings of “operatives” at the ATC.

Note that Marc Grossman was central in the Libby trial. BTW, guess where Valerie Plame first met her husband Ambassador Joesph Wilson? Big high five if you guessed at an American Turkish Council party.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sibel Edmonds, For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

Well sir, treason season started early this year....
- Kent Brockman, The Simpsons

I have posted before about the case of Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI Turkish translator subject to a gag order under the State Secrets Privilege. It now appears she has broken that gag, revealing some of her story to The Sunday Times of London:

For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.

Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office.

She approached The Sunday Times last month after reading about an Al-Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.

Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.

I know a lot about this case. This story could end up a political scandal on scale with Watergate, or it could not get any legs in the US media and die-off. Needless to say if these revelations are proven true, it marks a sad day for our nation. The following are my comments are parts of the article:

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.

The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims.

The name of this official is also known to Bourbon and Lawndarts, who unlike The Sunday Times of London is not subject to the UK's notorious libel laws. The official in question is Marc Grossman, who was the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2001 to 2005, a former ambassador to Turkey, and is currently the Vice President of The Cohen Group.

She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.

If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,” she said.

The Sunday Times again does not name names, and again B&L has names. Starting with the household names Richard Perle and Douglas J. Feith come right off the bat.

The Pakistani operation was led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief.

Intercepted communications showed Ahmad and his colleagues stationed in Washington were in constant contact with attach's in the Turkish embassy.

Intelligence analysts say that members of the ISI were close to Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11. Indeed, Ahmad was accused of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.

The results of the espionage were almost certainly passed to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist.

More specifically Mahmoud gave the $100k to Omar Saeed Sheikh a British born militant who once attended the London School of Economics. Omar Sheikh sent the money to Atta to finance the rest of the operation, then right before 9/11 Atta sent the remainder back to Omar. Sheikh worked with AQ, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Those last two groups are Kashmir related organizations that wage terrorist attacks against India. Sheikh is known to have contacts with the ISI, and was involved in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

By the way, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad was is Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001, he had met with Marc Grossman a few day before.

In summer 2000, Edmonds says the FBI monitored one of the agents as he met two Saudi Arabian businessmen in Detroit to sell nuclear information that had been stolen from an air force base in Alabama. She overheard the agent saying: “We have a package and we’re going to sell it for $250,000.”

It's Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL. Air Force Major Douglas Dickerson is likely the source of the stolen information. To bring this full circle, Malek Can Dickerson - the Major's wife - was also an FBI Turkish linguist with Sibel. The Dickerson's tried to recruit Sibel and her husband into the network on December 2, 2001.