The Valerie Plame case is, by journalistic standards, ancient history, and naturally any follow-up on a once-important story is considered bad form. Yet there is an interesting and rather scary new twist to the narrative. It turns out that Scooter Libby and friends weren’t the first to "out" CIA agent Plame, whose alleged employer, a company known as Brewster Jennings, was really a cover for a CIA unit investigating nuclear proliferation issues.
The London Times reveals that a former top U.S. State Department official tipped off Turkish agents about Brewster Jennings’ CIA connection, according to Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator assigned to produce English-language transcripts of intercepted conversations of Turkish targets in this case recordings of Turkish embassy officials and a top State Department official discussing, among other things, Brewster Jennings’ relationship to the CIA.
As the Times reports, the recordings were made "between the summer and autumn of 2001. At that time, foreign agents were actively attempting to acquire the West’s nuclear secrets and technology. Among the buyers were Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s intelligence agency, which was working with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the ‘father of the Islamic bomb,’ who in turn was selling nuclear technology to rogue states such as Libya."
Plame and her unit were onto a black market nuclear network, run as a cooperative effort by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan, Turkey, and Israel. Accordingly, the Turks were lured into hiring Brewster-Jennings as "consultants," but when the high U.S. official learned of this, says Edmonds, he "contacted one of the foreign targets and said you need to stay away from Brewster Jennings because they are a cover for the government. The target immediately followed up by calling several people to warn them about Brewster Jennings. At least one of them was at the ATC [American Turkish Council]. This person also called an ISI person to warn them."
The Israeli connection is what’s interesting about this covert operation, because it involves U.S. citizens, high government officials who have been part of an ongoing investigation that dates back to at least 1999, the earliest year mentioned in the AIPAC indictment. As Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay of McClatchy News Service reported in 2004:
"Several U.S. officials and law-enforcement sources said yesterday that the scope of the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities appeared to go well beyond the [Larry] Franklin matter.
"FBI agents have briefed top White House, Pentagon, and State Department officials on the probe. Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which also touch [Douglas] Feith’s office.
"They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.
"’The whole ball of wax’ was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry.”
The whole ball of wax is a pretty tall order, but surely a major part of it is this nuclear black market business that Edmonds has clear evidence of. Edmonds has been subjected to an unprecedented gag order, imposed by a judge in the name of preserving "state secrets" yet what is being preserved, apparently, aren’t state secrets at all but the knowledge that our nuclear secrets are being stolen and sold to the highest bidder with the active collaboration of high U.S. government officials. A whole gallery of top figures has been fingered by Edmonds, who hasn’t mentioned any names yet has managed to identify the guilty parties by posting their photos on a Web site associated with her case.
The lack of coverage of this amazing and quite frightening story in the U.S. media is easily explained: anything having to do with the activities of Israeli intelligence in this country is sure to sink beneath the radar, although the London Times and a good number of international news outlets have picked up the details. What isn’t so easily explained is the cover-up of criminal activities, including treason, by our very own Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Times, seeking corroboration of Edmonds’ story, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, asking for a particular document:
"One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file."
Who is protecting what I called this treasonous camarilla from prosecution and why have successive investigations into a number of activities by the same cabal of government officials been closed down, repeatedly, over the years?
As Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark point out in their new book, Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy, the network associated with Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan continues to operate in Europe, the Gulf, and Southeast Asia through a series of front companies. They cite a study produced by the BND, Germany’s intelligence agency, that found Pakistan is procuring nuclear-related materials and technology far in excess of its needs, leading experts to suspect they’re funneling their nuclear assets into a global black market operation. The chilling conclusion of the authors ought to send shivers down your spine:
"Most alarming was the finding that hundreds of thousands of components amassed by Khan had vanished since he had been put out of operation. In other words, Pakistan has continued to sell nuclear weapons technology (to clients known and unknown) even as Musharraf denies it which means either that the sales are being carried out with his secret blessing or that he is no more in control of Pakistan’s nuclear program than he is of the bands of jihadis in his country."
The Pakistanis think they are above reproach, at least publicly, by the U.S. authorities, and this strange immunity may have lethal consequences for us all:
"In 2001, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, had proof that Osama bin Laden had received in person two retired Pakistani nuclear scientists at his secret HQ in Afghanistan. Both had become Islamist radicals in retirement.
"According to the son of one of them, bin Laden told them he had succeeded in acquiring highly enriched uranium from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and he wanted their help to turn it into a bomb. Amazed, they explained that while they could help with the science of fissile materials, they were not weapons designers.
"Soon afterwards, a secret army audit discovered evidence that 40 canisters of highly enriched uranium (HEU), the feedstuff for a nuclear bomb, were missing from the Kahuta enrichment labs outside Islamabad after A.Q. Khan retired. Dr. Muhammad Shafiq ur-Rehman, an insider who is the son of one of Khan’s former key aides, revealed: ‘They could only account for 80 out of a supposed 120 canisters.’"
Okay, so let’s see where this brings us: an underground network of spies and corrupt public officials is selling nuclear secrets worldwide, and al-Qaeda may very well have gotten its hands on enough lethal materials to make roughly 1,000 "dirty" bombs. Not only that, but the public officials and Washington insiders connected to this network are being protected from prosecution. The case files that document their treason have been withheld, and possibly destroyed.
Our brain-dead media, our kept pundits, and the "mainstream" outlets that determine if and when a news story is "legitimate" have systematically ignored the allegations of Sibel Edmonds, in spite of numerous endorsements of her credibility from two respected U.S. senators, the FBI’s Office of the Inspector General, and numerous current and former FBI agents who share her frustration with the shameless cover-up of this important case. It is absolutely outrageous that not a single major news organization in the U.S. has bothered to examine the charges made by Edmonds especially when it is known that Islamist groups are still planning attacks on Western targets.
None Dare Call It Treason was the title of a ubiquitous right-wing screed of the 1960s, remembered more for its high camp value than for anything the author had to say, but I’ve always wanted to use it as the title of a column. Now that I’ve managed to do it, it doesn’t seem half as funny anymore.
Is it really time to consider moving to, say, a Pacific atoll and waiting out the catastrophe looming just down the road a bit? I never thought I’d say that, being temperamentally and ideologically opposed to "dropping out," but one wonders, in the face of such a massive cover-up of this appalling danger to our immediate safety, if that isn’t the only alternative.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
I am very pleased to announce the publication of a new edition of my first book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, by ISI Books. Originally published in 1993 by the Center for Libertarian Studies, the third edition includes a new introduction by Georgetown political scientist George W. Carey, Patrick J. Buchanan’s introduction to the second edition, and new critical essays on the text by Scott Richert, executive editor of Chronicles, and David Gordon, senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Due to a scheduling conflict, I won’ be speaking at the Jeffers Association conference being held this month, as previously announced. My piece in The American Conservative on Robinson Jeffers, the California poet and staunch anti-interventionist, is here.