Straussian Governance Conspiracy Inside the Pentagon
One of the reasons I left was my sense that they were using the intelligence from the CIA and other agencies only when it fit their agenda. They didn't like the intelligence they were getting, and so they brought in people to write the stuff. They were so crazed and so far out and so difficult to reason with — to the point of being bizarre. Dogmatic, as if they were on a mission from God. If it doesn't fit their theory, they don't want to accept it.
— Former CIA official interviewed by Seymour Hersh, for New Yorker, May 20 0336
I'd love to be the historian who writes the story of how this small group of eight or nine people made the case [for war] and won.
— W. Patrick Lang, former chief of Middle East intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)37
The first groundbreaking story about the Office of Special Plans (OSP), and the neoconservative operatives within it, was provided by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker.38 Additional information that confirmed OSP activities was revealed in interviews with Lt. Colonel Kwiatkowski, a former Pentagon employee and author of this book's epilogue. These individuals exposed how a small clique of neoconservative ideologues, along with an Iraqi exile group previously discredited by the CIA, conspired to provide most of the fraudulent "intelligence data" that the executive branch publicized during the lead-up to the war. According to Hersh, proponents of Straussian ideology were placed in key positions within the ad hoc "intelligence units" that prepared information specifically for the president and vice president in their efforts to prepare the public for war.39
Evidently during 2001-2002 the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and CIA were not providing Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld with intelligence information that would justify invading Iraq. Our intelligence agencies surmised that Iraq's previous WMD program was dormant, and in 1998 they determined that Saddam Hussein had no ties to Al Qaeda.40 Undeterred, in the summer of 2002 Rumsfeld set up two unofficial and autonomous intelligence units within the Pentagon. The smaller "cell" was a two-man operation with an impressive sounding name, Counter-Terrorism Evaluation Group, or CTEG.41 Rumsfeld assigned Douglas Feith, the third-highest-ranking civilian in the Department of Defense, to set it up. Feith staffed this cell with two staunch neoconservatives, David Wurmser and F. Michael Maloof, for the somewhat ambiguous purposes of reviewing "the vast amount of existing intelligence on terrorist networks, think through how various terrorist organizations relate to each other, and how they relate to different groups that support them."42
Former intelligence professionals claimed that this secretive unit, operating from a secure room on the third floor of the Pentagon, ultimately succeeded in circumventing the CIA and DIA by briefing the White House directly on dubious reports of a "relationship" between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. According to investigative journalists Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, the CTEG was successfully used "to disparage, undermine, and contradict the CIA's reporting, which was far more cautious and nuanced than Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith wanted."43 [emphasis added]
The neoconservative operatives in this obscure intelligence cell collaborated with the other Rumsfeld-inspired intelligence unit within the Pentagon, known as the Orwellian-sounding Office of Special Plans (OSP). According to former Pentagon employees who observed OSP activities, its sole purpose was to promote the Iraq War by creating a worst-case scenario regarding Iraq's supposed "vast" and "reconstituted" WMD program. The head of this unit was William "Bill" Luti, who earned his PhD under Leo Strauss. Not surprisingly, Luti is an acknowledged disciple of Straussian theory.44
Based on what was witnessed and was revealed during 2003-2004, the purpose of these two "intelligence units" was to bypass the CIA and DIA, and provide "faith-based intelligence" to Cheney and Bush. In a twist of bizarre humor, members of the OSP accurately referred to themselves as the "cabal."45 Figure 4.1 adapted from Mother Jones magazine illustrates how these two units bypassed the CIA and DIA, while the Iraqi National Congress (INC) simultaneously fed deceptive information to former secretary of state Powell on Iraq's supposed WMD program.
Since the Roman Empire, people have long suffered when leaders espoused a governing philosophy that political order is stable only if the people are united by fear of an external threat. Straussian governance philosophy requires people to be united under fear and hatred. The goals of the OSP and CTEG, apparently, were to demonstrate a broad external threat — even if such a threat had to be invented. Luti and members of the OSP vigorously pursued this challenge during the autumn of 2002 and succeeded brilliantly. To date, no professional intelligence analysts in the CIA, DIA, MI5, or MI6 have provided
The Lie Factory
credible evidence linking Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, or to the 9/11 attacks.47, 48
The main rationales for the Iraq War were woven into a propaganda campaign developed by an unprecedented US government conspiracy, perpetrated by two relatively small intelligence cells, as well as a few discredited Iraqi exiles in the INC. Further, this campaign was facilitated by far-right news sources such as the Weekly Standard, National Review, the Wall Street Journal's editorials, and Fox News. Much of the disinformation propagated before the war was discernibly deceptive, but now the evidence of a Pentagon-based conspiracy is simply irrefutable.
The British people were also subjected to an impressive propaganda campaign, but with a slightly narrower focus that suggested Iraq had simply not disarmed and minus the claims of a "relationship" between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Immediately after the Iraq War began, the British press revealed a clandestine intelligence unit, Operation Rockingham, remarkably similar to the Pentagon's OSP. According to former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, Operation Rockingham "cherry-picked" information about WMD for Prime Minister Blair and "only put forward a small percentage of the facts when most were ambiguous or noted no WMD It became part of an effort to maintain a public mindset that Iraq was not in compliance with the inspections. They had to sustain the allegation that Iraq still had WMD [when] UNSCOM was showing the opposite."49 [emphasis added]
Like the OSP, this unit acted as the interface with MI5, MI6, GCHQ, and Defence Intelligence. As such they effectively passed on dubious information to the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in an effort to create a worst-case scenario — using, for example, the infamous claim of Iraq's capability to launch a WMD attack "within 45 minutes."
While Downing Street has not addressed the issue of the secretive Operation Rockingham, one British Intelligence official told the Sunday Herald, "I'd like to know if troops were sacrificed because we kept hyping up weapons of mass destruction."50 Like the Pentagon's OSP unit, Operation Rockingham successfully frightened the people into compliance and "to the bidding" of their leader, Prime Minister Blair.
Continue reading here: Straussian Necessity of an External Threat Mushroom Clouds to Inspire the Vulgar Many
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