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Wolfie’s Back?

Bmaz sent me Isikoff’s latest, which thankfully does more than report on events from his past as if they were news. It reports the frightening news that Condi’s about to appoint Paul Wolfowitz to an advisory position at State.

Nearly three years after Paul Wolfowitzresigned as deputy Defense secretary and six months after his stormydeparture as president of the World Bank—amid allegations that heimproperly awarded a raise to his girlfriend—he’s in line to return topublic service. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has offered Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the IraqWar, a position as chairman of the International Security AdvisoryBoard, a prestigious State Department panel, according to twodepartment sources who declined to be identified discussing personnelmatters. The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classifiedintelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMDissues and other matters. "We think he is well suited and will do anexcellent job," said one senior official.

They don’t yet have Wolfie listed on the website, so maybe there’s some time to embarrass Condi out of putting Wolfie in an advisory position again. I suggest we start an embarrassment campaign by focusing on two issues.

Condi, someone committed a security indiscretion to give Wolfie’s girlfriend a job at State. Are you sure you should repeat the mistake by giving Wolfie more access to classified information?

Remember that when people started complaining that Wolfie was giving Shaha Reza preferential treatment at the World Bank, his "solution" was to set her up at State? Remember Sidney Blumenthal’s description of how unusual Reza’s security clearance process was?

Riza was unhappy about leaving the sinecure at the World Bank. Butin 2006 Wolfowitz made a series of calls to his friends that landed hera job at a new think tank called Foundation for the Future that isfunded by the State Department. She was the sole employee, at least inthe beginning. The World Bank continued to pay her salary, which wasraised by $60,000 to $193,590 annually, more than the $183,500 paid toSecretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and all of it tax-free. Moreover,Wolfowitz got the State Department to agree that the ratings of herperformance would automatically be "outstanding." Wolfowitz insisted onthese terms himself and then misled the World Bank board about what hehad done.


Riza, who is not a U.S. citizen, had to receive a security clearancein order to work at the State Department. Who intervened? It is notunusual to have British or French midlevel officers at the departmenton exchange programs, but they receive security clearances based on theclearances they already have with their host governments. Granting aforeign national who is detailed from an international organization asecurity clearance, however, is extraordinary, even unprecedented. Sohow could this clearance have been granted?

State Department officials familiar with the details of this matterconfirmed to me that Shaha Ali Riza was detailed to the StateDepartment and had unescorted access while working for ElizabethCheney. Access to the building requires a national security clearanceor permanent escort by a person with such a clearance. But the StateDepartment has no record of having issued a national security clearanceto Riza.

So, after turning State Department into a scam to allow Wolfowitz to break ethical rules and expose US secrets to a foreign national with no apparent clearance, Condi now wants to use a State advisory board to give Wolfie clearance himself.

Condi, aren’t you a little ashamed at the way Wolfie used your agency the last time?

Condi, is it a coincidence that so many people responsible for gaming the intelligence to get us into Iraq are on your advisory board?

Isikoff helpfully points out that Wolfie’s not the only embarrassing name on the board.

other panel members include Robert Joseph, the former National SecurityCouncil official in charge of Iraq WMD intelligence, and ex-CIAdirector James Woolsey, both strong allies during the Iraq debate.

But Isikoff lets both these men off easy–way too easy. Bob Joseph is the guy who put the Niger claim into the SOTU, apparently pressuring Alan Foley to keep it in there after Foley objected. Condi is protecting Joseph (and he’s protecting Condi) by refusing to show up at Waxman’s committee to admit she knew the Niger claim was bunk before it went into the SOTU.

And Woolsey was personally responsible for introducing at least three of Chalabi’s INC exiles to DIA–and these just happened to be three of the ones who told the biggest lies to get us into war. Without Woolsey providing a way for the INC’s liars to bypass Valerie Wilson’s group, which vetted such exiles much more carefully, we might not have had the war.

As for Wolfowitz himself, he was responsible for lying us into war in several different ways. He famously promised that American soldiers would be greeted with flowers. He scoffed at those who suggested we’d need hundreds of thousands of troops for the invasion. And he set up Dougie Feith’s propaganda shop, the Office of Special Plans. And this is the guy she wants to advise her on WMDs?

Furthermore, it’s not like Wolfie’s actually a good risk to give a security clearance. We know Wolfowitz, believing the NIE and the January 24 excerpt of the NIE to be classified, leaked it to the WSJ on Scooter Libby’s orders. Is Wolfie going to leak this information to any neocon who instructs him to leak it?

In any case, I think Condi should be shamed into getting rid not just of Wolfowitz, but also the other two thugs who helped lie us into war.

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