Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Exclusive: DIA targets DOD unit

Exclusive: DIA targets DOD unit - (United Press International): "Exclusive: DIA targets DOD unit

By Richard Sale
UPI Intelligence Correspondent

The Defense Intelligence Agency is accelerating its investigation of a two-man Pentagon intelligence team -- the Counter-Terrorism Evaluation Group -- which was tasked to establish links between then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden, according to current and former senior Pentagon officials.

The investigation is trying to determine if the two-man unit leaked sensitive CIA and Pentagon intercepts to the U.S.-funded Iraqi National Congress, which passed them on to the government of Iran, Pentagon and U.S. intelligence officials said.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said in a recent "Meet the Press" broadcast that the Senate Select Committee was looking into possible "illegal intelligence operations" conducted by the unit without congressional oversight, which is against the law, according to a well-placed congressional staffer.

Former DIA chief of Mideast operations, Pat Lang, agreed: "That unit had meetings with senior White House officials without the CIA or the Senate being aware of them. That is not legal. There has to be oversight."

Lang and another U.S. intelligence official told United Press International that the two men had gone to the White House several times to brief officials without notifying CIA analysts because the agency analysts differed in their conclusions.

The officials briefed included White House staffers Stephen Hadley, deputy national security adviser, and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Richard Cheney, according to congressional staffers.

"It's inaccurate DIA is conducting an investigation," said Don Black, chief of public affairs for the DIA. However, White House and other Pentagon spokesmen declined to comment on the allegations.

The smaller DIA investigation is sharing information with an ongoing

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigation, these sources said.

The Pentagon team, established just after Sept. 11, 2001, by undersecretary for policy, Doug Feith, consisted of two men: Michael Maloof, a former journalist, who during the Reagan administration, worked closely as an investigator with then Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle on matters of Western-technology transfers to the Soviet Eastern bloc, and David Wurmser, a former Middle East expert at the American Enterprise Institute and former State Department official, according to several Pentagon sources.

While in the new unit, Wurmser's colleague, Maloof, retained close ties with Perle, then chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory group, these sources said.

Wurmser also was connected with Perle, they said.

Neither Wurmser nor Maloof were intelligence professionals, according to Lang.

Several Pentagon officials said that the Maloof-Wurmser investigation is expected to widen to include scrutiny of "senior people" in the Pentagon's Near East South Asia office, which housed its own intelligence unit, the Office of Special Plans, according to one former senior Pentagon source.

The OSP office was headed by former Navy Capt. Bill Luti, according to this official.

Congressional documents noted that Luti switched to the Pentagon from Cheney's staff.

According to these sources, Luti was made deputy undersecretary and reported directly to Feith.

Another prominent official of the NESA office was Harold Rhode who often dealt directly with Iraqi exile and former Pentagon favorite Ahmed Chalabi. U.S. intelligence officials have alleged Chalabi passed "extremely critical U.S. intelligence" to the government of Iran.

Chalabi has strongly denied the charge in several public statements.

The NESA-OSP office was located on the fourth floor of the Pentagon, D ring,

7th corridor, according to retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who was a staffer in the office from June 2002 through March 2003.

Kwiatkowski said Luti was a "name-dropper," who often referred to deadlines and assignments coming from "Scooter," a nickname for Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

Federal law enforcement officials told UPI that Libby was a suspect in the FBI investigation attempting to determine who leaked the name of a serving CIA agent, Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to the Washington press corps.

When intelligence preparations for a coming war with Iraq were speeded up in

August 2002, the office of NESA was greatly expanded and the Office of

Special Plans, renamed the "Iraq desk," relocated to a new Pentagon office on the fifth floor, A ring, 6th corridor, Kwiatkowski said.

In September or October 2002, Luti's title was changed so that he would report to Feith, bypassing Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman who was in charge of international security affairs, according to several sources.

Congressional sources commented that Rodman, a Kissinger protégé, was regarded as "not a true believer" by the hard-liners headed by Cheney and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

Another figure of interest to DIA investigators is reported be Lt. Col. William Bruner, an active-duty colonel, who was liaison of OSP to Chalabi, Pentagon officials said.

Congressional staffers added that Bruner, a former staffer for then Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, had been hired by Luti.

One of these sources said, Bruner "arranged OSP meetings in D.C., outside the Pentagon, with Iraqi 'defectors' and expatriates whom Chalabi produced as intelligence sources."

According to a congressional document, "It is possible that such off-campus debriefings were simply designed to keep the sources closely held within DOD, and that DIA was aware of them, but (we) understand the procedure was designed to exclude DIA, as well as CIA from these sessions."

None of the individuals named here has yet been charged with any wrongdoing, Pentagon officials emphasized."

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home