Friday, June 10, 2005


Perhaps you saw this story in yesterday's New York Times about a new book published by Regnery:

In a new book, a Republican congressman denounces the Central Intelligence Agency, accusing it of "gross incompetence" for dismissing an Iranian expatriate who he says offered critical information about terrorist threats, the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and Iran's nuclear weapons program.

...[Representative Curt] Weldon's allegations have infuriated C.I.A. officials, including a veteran case officer who said he had met with the congressman's source four times in Paris.

"He's never given us any information that was the slightest bit credible," said Bill Murray, the C.I.A. station chief in Paris when he met Mr. Weldon's source, an elderly Iranian who once served in the government of the shah of Iran. "This guy was a waste of my time and resources."...

Mr. Murray said he had come to believe that most or all of the information being passed on by the man Mr. Weldon called "Ali" originated with another Iranian exile, Manucher Ghorbanifar, who had been identified by the C.I.A. as a "known fabricator" since he served as an arms deal middleman in the Iran-contra affair....

Now, in Weldon's defense, along comes James Woolsey, the former CIA director, speaking on Fox News:

WOOLSEY: ... I have read the manuscript of Congressman Weldon's book and I wrote a forward [sic] for it. Ali had some other allegations that are very interesting about bin Laden working with the Iranians and being present from time to time in Iran that are rather detailed, and they track very closely with what is in a new book by Ken Timmerman called "Countdown to Crisis." Both the Weldon book and the Timmerman book begin with the word countdown. And they both have the themes that the Iranians may be up to a good deal more in the terrorism area against the United States and may have worked together from time to time, not only with Al Qaeda, but with the Iraqis.

James Woolsey? You mean this James Woolsey?

Former CIA Director James Woolsey ... expresses skepticism that Timothy McVeigh, executed for the Oklahoma City bombing, and his accomplice Terry Nichols, sentenced to life in prison and awaiting further trial on murder charges, could have planned and executed this monstrous crime all by themselves.

Woolsey believes the work of persistent investigators, reporter Jayna Davis and Middle East expert Laurie Mylroie, are onto something, as many clues in their separate probes point ominously toward Baghdad.

"[W]hen the full stories of these two incidents [Oklahoma City and the first Trade Center bombing] are finally told,” he told the Journal, "those who permitted the investigations to stop short will owe big explanations to these two brave women. And the nation will owe them a debt of gratitude.” ...

You mean this James Woolsey?

WOOLSEY: ... We know that in the late '90s and up until recently, there have been a lot of high-level contacts between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, particularly Iraqi intelligence. We know through the Czechs — and they've said publicly that the lead bomber of September 11, Mohammed Atta, met on at least one occasion, when he traveled to Prague on brief visits, he met with al-Ani, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer who was stationed in Prague.

We know that at Salman Pak, on the southern edge of Baghdad, five different eyewitnesses — three Iraqi defectors and two American U.N. Inspectors — have said — and now there are aerial photographs to show it — a Boeing 707 that was used for training of hijackers, including non-Iraqi hijackers trained very secretly to take over airplanes with knives.

... I think Iraq is very much at the heart of the problems of the Mid East today, and Saddam Hussein's regime, really, in my judgment, needs to be put in the crosshairs.

So Woolsey's batting .000 this century. Does that mean we shouldn't believe he's right about Weldon's book?

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