Top White House anti-terror boss resigns
The top National Security Council official in the war on terror resigned this week for what a NSC spokesman said were personal reasons, but intelligence sources say the move reflects concern that the looming war with Iraq is hurting the fight against terrorism.
Rand Beers would not comment for this article, but he and several sources close to him are emphatic that the resignation was not a protest against an invasion of Iraq. But the same sources, and other current and former intelligence officials, described a broad consensus in the anti-terrorism and intelligence community that an invasion of Iraq would divert critical resources from the war on terror.
Beers has served as the NSC's senior director for counter-terrorism only since August. The White House said Wednesday that he officially remains on the job and has yet to set a departure date.
"Hardly a surprise," said one former intelligence official. "We have sacrificed a war on terror for a war with Iraq. I don't blame Randy at all. This just reflects the widespread thought that the war on terror is being set aside for the war with Iraq at the expense of our military and intel resources and the relationships with our allies."...
The article goes on to quote James Bamford, author of two books about the National Security agency, The Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets:
"This is a very intriguing decision (by Beers). There is a predominant belief in the intelligence community that an invasion of Iraq will cause more terrorism than it will prevent. There is also a tremendous amount of embarrassment by intelligence professionals that there have been so many lies out of the administration -- by the president, (Vice President Dick) Cheney and (Secretary of State Colin) Powell -- over Iraq."
And there's this:
"If it was your job to prevent terror attacks, would you be happy about an action that many see as unnecessary, that is almost guaranteed to cause more terror in the short-term?" said one official. "I know I'm not (happy)."