On Wednesday at 2:30, the Senate Foreign Relations committee will consider the nomination for the new head of the State Department Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism– the office with responsibility for "counterterrorism cooperation with foreign governments and participates in the development, coordination, and implementation of American counterterrorism policy."
The nominee? Dell L Dailey, currently the Director of the Center for Special Operations – the command responsible for "global operations and actionable intelligence" related to "high value targets."
Lt General Dailey was also the man in charge of Special Ops for the war in Afghanistan.
So Dailey, who has effectively been running the administration's Black Ops – including the program of extraordinary renditions – is now in line to take over the role at the State Department of overseeing and "improving" counterterrorism.
Dailey is also mentioned by Rumsfeld in an interview with Bob Woodward as "one or two of his key people" with whom "This President spent, you know, just enormous numbers of hours." deciding to invade Iraq.
Let's look a bit closer at Dailey: William Arkin wrote in the Washington Post when the nomination was announced that Dailey:
is hardly a household figure, is famous in the world of "black" ops. He has been at the forefront of the "war" against terrorism since Sept. 11, commanding the special operations effort from Oman during the Afghanistan war and shepherding through the creation of the current global counter-terrorism war plan while in charge of operations at Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa.
Arkin, who covers security issues for WaPo, argues that this nomination is part of a troubling trend to appoint military officers to positions previously held by civilians and notes that this undermines the civilian oversight of military actions.
But even more troubling is Dailey's military role. In an article, New Rules for the War on Terrorism, published in November, 2005, Arkin described the establisment of The Center for Special Operations at SOCOM by Donald Rumsfeld as:
the nerve center to coordinate global operations and actionable intelligence, particularly against "high value targets."
Arkin goes on to explain that this new Center assigns:
SOCOM the responsibility for "operational preparation of the environment," a symbolic change in language from the previously used phrase "operational preparation of the battlefield." The State Department argued that those parts of the world where military forces weren't predominant were not "battlefields."
Operational preparation of the environment includes the use of SOCOM's independent and clandestine intelligence collectors — the so-called Gray Fox and other special mission units — who would conduct surveillance and "prepare" for attacks on high value targets, renditions, and assaults, called "direct action" missions.
The director of the Center is Lt. Gen. Dell L. Dailey, the commander of Joint Special Operations Command from 2001 to May 2003. Dailey was the overall clandestine special operations commander after 9/11, operating from Oman and then from Afghanistan as Commander, Task Force Sword (later called TF-11). … Dailey is considered one of the administration's primo shadow warriors.
A Senate source informed me that the vote on this nomination is scheduled for the end of the month. While tomorrow's hearing is not drawing much attention and the nomination seems to be pretty under the radar. But starting with tomorrow's hearing, it seems like this one is worth a call from each of us to ask that the Democratic members of the committee to oppose putting "Mr Rendition" in the role of "improving" counterterrorism.
(the photo is taken from a special ops recruiting ad – it is not, as far as I know, Lt. Gen. Dailey!)