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July 9, 2003, The American Reporter, An AR Editorial, Sen. Carl Levin 'Bowels' 'Em Over, by Joe Shea, American Reporter Editor-in-Chief,

July 9, 2003, Vol. 21, No. 5,312 - The American Reporter, An AR Editorial, Sen. Carl Levin 'Bowels' 'Em Over, by Joe Shea, American Reporter Editor-in-Chief,
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Vol. 21, No. 5,312 - The American Reporter - December 1, 2015

by Joe Shea
American Reporter Editor-in-Chief
Hollywood, Calif.
July 9, 2003, An AR Editorial,


HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- As of July 9, 2003, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is chairing a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee investigation - and a cover-up, we suspect - of the origins of the lie about Iraq's search for uranium that was contained in the live, televised State of the Union speech President George W. Bush gave to a joint session of Congress in late January.

The White House admitted on July 7 that the information used by the President to gain support for the war against Iraq was not credible and should not have been used because it was based on forged documents. That admission only comes after we learned the lie was debunked by the intelligence community and by a U.S. Ambassador at least five months before the President's speech.

Frankly, we fear the Sen. Levin, a strong supporter of Israel, may prevent disclosures that would reveal the true nature of the President's lie. Israel's chief lobbyists for the war - Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and defense analyst Richard Perle - have not been implicated in the forgery so far, and we fear they may be at the core of the dirty secret that Sen. Levin has set out to hide.

As Israel's key spokesmen in the U.S. political establishment, these two men very much wanted the Iraq war, both on Israel's behalf and possibly - according to an article in The New Yorker - because it would also make money for a company Perle is associated with. When Israel made a big deal of saying it took no position on the war - which, had it not been fought, might have left them vulnerable to more Scud attacks by Saddam - the insiders laughed. But it was no joke.

You may not recall that Perle, a longtime Defense Dept. policy-maker, was embarassed into resigning as head of the influential Defense Policy Board when his business dealings with notorious Saudi arms broker Adnan Khashoggi were disclosed on March 17 in The New Yorker.  Perle had lunch with Khashoggi in January, reporter Seymour Hersh revealed; we think the take-out carton included a set of forged documents that probably originated in Israel.

Sen. Levin should take note of when these forged documents about an alleged Iraqi effort to purchase uranium from the small African nation of Niger appeared in the mix of lies, assertions and policy ideas that later formed the President's Jan. 27 speech. We suspect they went from Khashoggi to Perle at their lunch in January, to Wolfowitz, and from there to the CIA by one route, and to someone at the White House by another. Now, the bull is in Levin's court, if you'll pardon a modest pun.

The CIA dismissed the documents as fakes, but that same information came to the White House through another channel and was fleshed out in the President's speech to the nation in order to spur us all to war. What Sen. Levin wants us to believe is that the information all came through U.S. intelligence agencies, and that essentially, they dismissed it as fake while at the same time offering it to the resident for his speech.

But, as the New York Times reports today, National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton said Tuesday that "the documents alleging a transaction between Iraq and Niger were not the sole basis for the line in the president's State of the Union speech that referred to recent Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium from Africa."

According to the paper, at the time a "national intelligence estimate" - a wider, more inclusive document that is a fundamental assessment of a given issue and is provided to elected and appointed policy makers - noted "attempts by Iraq to acquire uranium from several countries" in Africa. "We now know that documents alleging a transaction between Iraq and Niger had been forge," Anton said. The other information was not solid enough to get used by the President, Anton explained - only the forgery made the grade.

Now, according to a letter released yesterday by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing, it is revealed that a Feb. 4 letter from the U.S. State Dept. to the International Atomic Energy Agency just seven days after the President's speech warned the IAEA - which had begun to look into the charge - that the information might be tainted. Waxman is the congressman who exposed the tobacco industry's lies about cancer - and a fervent supporter of Israel who represents the largely Jewish voters of Los Angeles' Westside.

The uranium lie is almost equal to the lie about an alleged attack on a U.S. patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin that President Johnson told a joint session of Congress in 1964, which started the Vietnam War. It is certainly the equal of the false report in the Hearst newspapers about the alleged attack on the U.S.S. Maine that started the Spanish-American War in 1898. President Johnson was at least honest enough to reveal in his published personal papers released earlier this year that he had suspected the Gulf of Tonkin attack never happened. Don't look for a similar admission in the George W. Bush Presidential Library, though.

But why the concern that Sen. Levin will cover up the chain of events that led to one of the most critical falsehoods in American history? Because, talking on July 8 to a female stand-in for CNN's Lou Dobbs - who, to her credit, seemed to be holding her nose as the senator talked - Levin flatly alleged that the information was known in the "bowels" of U.S. intelligence but not to the President well before the State of the Union speech. He twice referred to those "bowels," using that powerful noun to link documents and intelligence agencies with taboo topics and thus distract viewers from thinking about the White House, where the "solid" information actually emerged.

The problem, of course, is that Sen. Levin has yet to hold a single second of hearings on the uranium lie, and is already assigning blame, substantially damaging the President's support and potentially hurting his chances for re-election. Israel is not anxious to be a key player in this bathroom debacle. That's why a Michigan Democrat is supporting the President on an issue that could otherwise put Democrats in the White House (and probably will, anyway).

Yet, even Bill Keller, a pro-war writer in the New York Times who said in a June 20 OpEd that Wolfowitz led the attack on the CIA's supposed underestimate of Soviet strength in 1976, suggested in a column entitled "The Boys Who Cried Wolfowitz" that the Deputy Defense Secretary's "Team B" inserted the documents into the intelligence mix separately from the national intelligence estimate.

"Mr. Wolfowitz was part of a famous 1976 Team B that attacked the C.I.A. for underestimating the Soviet threat," Keller wrote. "These days the top leadership of the Defense Department is Team B. Mr. Wolfowitz and his associates have assembled their own trusted analysts to help them challenge the established intelligence consensus." We read that comment about information from "their own trusted analysts" as: "lies cooked up by Israeli disinformation experts." (Please note the colon.)

Keller continues, "While the C.I.A. may say that we have insufficient evidence to conclude that Saddam has reconstituted his nuclear program, Team B starts from the premise that it is just the kind of thing Saddam would do, and it is dangerous to assume he didn't. Then," Keller writes, "Team B dips into the raw intelligence and fishes out information that supports its case, tidbits that the A Team may have rejected as unreliable [emphasis added]. The Pentagon takes this ammo to an interagency review, where it is used to beat the A Team..." Keller's article ( appears to be an attempt to ameliorate the growing anger in America about the President's use of lies to justify a war that Israel wanted us to fight.

And then there is the racial angle. Tonight, Sen. Levin twice quoted "Leeza" - referring to National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice - as his source for the White House's ignorance of the truth. If Wolfowitz gave the forged documents to Rice or an underling of hers on the National Security Council, that will place the burden of failing to properly verify the President's information on a popular black woman who may be pushing Israel a little too to its liking towards a fair and relatively impartial solution to the deadly Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Note that the fall guy in the Waxman letter is also the State Dept., the province of a black man, Secretary of State Colin Powell. That letter would also help clear Wolfowitz, or at least get him out of the direct line of fire. And that would be as Leezy as it gets, to risk a second pun.

As they often do, elected officials who have failed miserably in their jobs of protecting American interests are once again blaming the intelligence agencies for the sins of politicians, knowing it is an easy way to hide the truth. We have little doubt that it will work once again for Sen. Levin, who peers so warmly at us over his spectacles as he sends the Big Lie off to a good start. We see a concerted effort by Israel's supporters to in Congress and the Senate to shift the blame away from Wolfowitz and Israel to Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, who because they are black are probably the most expendable members of President Bush's White House team.

Israel had the President spinning like a top just days after he criticized one of its attacks on Palestinians as "not helpful," and it needs him to spin the lies about Iraq their way, too. They should be more concerned about the growing ability of the American people to perceive that our politics and our public policy have been profoundly insulted by Israel's interference in our sovereign decisions. We remain firm supporters of Israel's right to exist and mindful of the hate spewed against it, but we must refuse to take up a cudgel of lies on its behalf. We believe Sen. Levin knows the real truth about the uranium lie deep in his own bowels and yet will allow it to fester there unsaid. Shame, shame on him.

Copyright 2015 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

March 17, 2003, The New Yorker, Annals of National Security; Lunch With the Chairman; Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?,

March 17, 2003, The New Yorker, Annals of National Security; Lunch With the Chairman; Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?, by Seymour M. Hersh

Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?

Issue of 2003-03-17
Posted 2003-03-10

At the peak of his deal-making activities, in the nineteen-seventies, the Saudi-born businessman Adnan Khashoggi brokered billions of dollars in arms and aircraft sales for the Saudi royal family, earning hundreds of millions in commissions and fees. Though never convicted of wrongdoing, he was repeatedly involved in disputes with federal prosecutors and with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in recent years he has been in litigation in Thailand and Los Angeles, among other places, concerning allegations of stock manipulation and fraud. During the Reagan Administration, Khashoggi was one of the middlemen between Oliver North, in the White House, and the mullahs in Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. Khashoggi subsequently claimed that he lost ten million dollars that he had put up to obtain embargoed weapons for Iran which were to be bartered (with Presidential approval) for American hostages. The scandals of those times seemed to feed off each other: a congressional investigation revealed that Khashoggi had borrowed much of the money for the weapons from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (B.C.C.I.), whose collapse, in 1991, defrauded thousands of depositors and led to years of inquiry and litigation.

Khashoggi is still brokering. In January of this year, he arranged a private lunch, in France, to bring together Harb Saleh al-Zuhair, a Saudi industrialist whose family fortune includes extensive holdings in construction, electronics, and engineering companies throughout the Middle East, and Richard N. Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who is one of the most outspoken and influential American advocates of war with Iraq.

The Defense Policy Board is a Defense Department advisory group composed primarily of highly respected former government officials, retired military officers, and academics. Its members, who serve without pay, include former national-security advisers, Secretaries of Defense, and heads of the C.I.A. The board meets several times a year at the Pentagon to review and assess the country’s strategic defense policies.

Perle is also a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P., which was registered in November, 2001, in Delaware. Trireme’s main business, according to a two-page letter that one of its representatives sent to Khashoggi last November, is to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense. The letter argued that the fear of terrorism would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

The letter mentioned the firm's government connections prominently: "Three of Trireme's Management Group members currently advise the U.S. Secretary of Defense by serving on the U.S. Defense Policy Board, and one of Trireme's principals, Richard Perle, is chairman of that Board." The two other policy-board members associated with Trireme are Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State (who is, in fact, only a member of Trireme's advisory group and is not involved in its management), and Gerald Hillman, an investor and a close business associate of Perle's who handles matters in Trireme's New York office. The letter said that forty-five million dollars had already been raised, including twenty million dollars from Boeing; the purpose, clearly, was to attract more investors, such as Khashoggi and Zuhair.

Perle served as a foreign-policy adviser in George W. Bush's Presidential campaign—he had been an Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan—but he chose not to take a senior position in the Administration. In mid-2001, however, he accepted an offer from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to chair the Defense Policy Board, a then obscure group that had been created by the Defense Department in 1985. Its members (there are around thirty of them) may be outside the government, but they have access to classified information and to senior policymakers, and give advice not only on strategic policy but also on such matters as weapons procurement. Most of the board's proceedings are confidential.

As chairman of the board, Perle is considered to be a special government employee and therefore subject to a federal Code of Conduct. Those rules bar a special employee from participating in an official capacity in any matter in which he has a financial interest. "One of the general rules is that you don't take advantage of your federal position to help yourself financially in any way," a former government attorney who helped formulate the Code of Conduct told me. The point, the attorney added, is to "protect government processes from actual or apparent conflicts."

Advisory groups like the Defense Policy Board enable knowledgeable people outside government to bring their skills and expertise to bear, in confidence, on key policy issues. Because such experts are often tied to the defense industry, however, there are inevitable conflicts. One board member told me that most members are active in finance and business, and on at least one occasion a member has left a meeting when a military or an intelligence product in which he has an active interest has come under discussion.

Four members of the Defense Policy Board told me that the board, which met most recently on February 27th and 28th, had not been informed of Perle's involvement in Trireme. One board member, upon being told of Trireme and Perle's meeting with Khashoggi, exclaimed, "Oh, get out of here. He's the chairman! If you had a story about me setting up a company for homeland security, and I've put people on the board with whom I'm doing that business, I'd be had"—a reference to Gerald Hillman, who had almost no senior policy or military experience in government before being offered a post on the policy board. "Seems to me this is at the edge of or off the ethical charts. I think it would stink to high heaven."

Hillman, a former McKinsey consultant, stunned at least one board member at the February meeting when he raised questions about the validity of Iraq's existing oil contracts. "Hillman said the old contracts are bad news; he said we should kick out the Russians and the French," the board member told me. "This was a serious conversation. We'd become the brokers. Then we'd be selling futures in the Iraqi oil company. I said to myself, 'Oh, man. Don't go down that road.'" Hillman denies making such statements at the meeting.

Larry Noble, the executive director of the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research organization, said of Perle's Trireme involvement, "It's not illegal, but it presents an appearance of a conflict. It's enough to raise questions about the advice he's giving to the Pentagon and why people in business are dealing with him." Noble added, "The question is whether he's trading off his advisory-committee relationship. If it's a selling point for the firm he's involved with, that means he's a closer—the guy you bring in who doesn't have to talk about money, but he's the reason you're doing the deal."

Perle's association with Trireme was not his first exposure to the link between high finance and high-level politics. He was born in New York City, graduated from the University of Southern California in 1964, and spent a decade in Senate-staff jobs before leaving government in 1980, to work for a military-consulting firm. The next year, he was back in government, as Assistant Secretary of Defense. In 1983, he was the subject of a New York Times investigation into an allegation that he recommended that the Army buy weapons from an Israeli company from whose owners he had, two years earlier, accepted a fifty-thousand-dollar fee. Perle later acknowledged that he had accepted the fee, but vigorously denied any wrongdoing. He had not recused himself in the matter, he explained, because the fee was for work he had done before he took the Defense Department job. He added, "The ultimate issue, of course, was a question of procurement, and I am not a procurement officer." He was never officially accused of any ethical violations in the matter. Perle served in the Pentagon until 1987 and then became deeply involved in the lobbying and business worlds. Among other corporate commitments, he now serves as a director of a company doing business with the federal government: the Autonomy Corporation, a British firm that recently won a major federal contract in homeland security. When I asked him about that contract, Perle told me that there was no possible conflict, because the contract was obtained through competitive bidding, and "I never talked to anybody about it."

Under Perle's leadership, the policy board has become increasingly influential. He has used it as a bully pulpit, from which to advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the use of preĆ«mptive military action to combat terrorism. Perle had many allies for this approach, such as Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, but there was intense resistance throughout the bureaucracy—most notably at the State Department. PreĆ«mption has since emerged as the overriding idea behind the Administration's foreign policy. One former high-level intelligence official spoke with awe of Perle's ability to "radically change government policy" even though he is a private citizen. "It's an impressive achievement that an outsider can have so much influence, and has even been given an institutional base for his influence."

Perle's authority in the Bush Administration is buttressed by close association, politically and personally, with many important Administration figures, including Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is the Pentagon's third-ranking civilian official. In 1989, Feith created International Advisors Incorporated, a lobbying firm whose main client was the government of Turkey. The firm retained Perle as an adviser between 1989 and 1994. Feith got his current position, according to a former high-level Defense Department official, only after Perle personally intervened with Rumsfeld, who was skeptical about him. Feith was directly involved in the strategic planning and conduct of the military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan; he now runs various aspects of the planning of the Iraqi war and its aftermath. He and Perle share the same views on many foreign-policy issues. Both have been calling for Saddam Hussein's removal for years, long before September 11th. They also worked together, in 1996, to prepare a list of policy initiatives for Benjamin Netanyahu, shortly after his election as the Israeli Prime Minister. The suggestions included working toward regime change in Iraq. Feith and Perle were energetic supporters of Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial leader of the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congresss, and have struggled with officials at the State Department and the C.I.A. about the future of Iraq.

Perle has also been an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, and Americans who are in its pay. He has often publicly rebuked former American government officials who are connected to research centers and foundations that are funded by the Saudis, and told the National Review last summer, "I think it's a disgrace. They're the people who appear on television, they write op-ed pieces. The Saudis are a major source of the problem we face with terrorism. That would be far more obvious to people if it weren't for this community of former diplomats effectively working for this foreign government." In August, the Saudi government was dismayed when the Washington Post revealed that the Defense Policy Board had received a briefing on July 10th from a Rand Corporation analyst named Laurent Murawiec, who depicted Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, and recommended that the Bush Administration give the Saudi government an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its financial assets in the United States and its oil fields. Murawiec, it was later found, is a former editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, a magazine controlled by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., the perennial Presidential candidate, conspiracy theorist, and felon. According to Time, it was Perle himself who had invited Murawiec to make his presentation.

Perle's hostility to the politics of the Saudi government did not stop him from meeting with potential Saudi investors for Trireme. Khashoggi and Zuhair told me that they understood that one of Trireme's objectives was to seek the help of influential Saudis to win homeland-security contracts with the Saudi royal family for the businesses it financed. The profits for such contracts could be substantial. Saudi Arabia has spent nearly a billion dollars to survey and demarcate its eight-hundred-and-fifty-mile border with Yemen, and the second stage of that process will require billions more. Trireme apparently turned to Adnan Khashoggi for help.

Last month, I spoke with Khashoggi, who is sixty-seven and is recovering from open-heart surgery, at his penthouse apartment, overlooking the Mediterranean in Cannes. "I was the intermediary," he said. According to Khashoggi, he was first approached by a Trireme official named Christopher Harriman. Khashoggi said that Harriman, an American businessman whom he knew from his jet-set days, when both men were fixtures on the European social scene, sent him the Trireme pitch letter. (Harriman has not answered my calls.) Khashoggi explained that before Christmas he and Harb Zuhair, the Saudi industrialist, had met with Harriman and Gerald Hillman in Paris and had discussed the possibility of a large investment in Trireme.

Zuhair was interested in more than the financial side; he also wanted to share his views on war and peace with someone who had influence with the Bush Administration. Though a Saudi, he had been born in Iraq, and he hoped that a negotiated, "step by step" solution could be found to avoid war. Zuhair recalls telling Harriman and Hillman, "If we have peace, it would be easy to raise a hundred million. We will bring development to the region." Zuhair's hope, Khashoggi told me, was to combine opportunities for peace with opportunities for investment. According to Khashoggi, Hillman and Harriman said that such a meeting could be arranged. Perle emerged, by virtue of his position on the policy board, as a natural catch; he was "the hook," Khashoggi said, for obtaining the investment from Zuhair. Khashoggi said that he agreed to try to assemble potential investors for a private lunch with Perle.

The lunch took place on January 3rd at a seaside restaurant in Marseilles. (Perle has a vacation home in the South of France.) Those who attended the lunch differ about its purpose. According to both Khashoggi and Zuhair, there were two items on the agenda. The first was to give Zuhair a chance to propose a peaceful alternative to war with Iraq; Khashoggi said that he and Perle knew that such an alternative was far-fetched, but Zuhair had recently returned from a visit to Baghdad, and was eager to talk about it. The second, more important item, according to Khashoggi and Zuhair, was to pave the way for Zuhair to put together a group of ten Saudi businessmen who would invest ten million dollars each in Trireme.

"It was normal for us to see Perle," Khashoggi told me. "We in the Middle East are accustomed to politicians who use their offices for whatever business they want. I organized the lunch for the purpose of Harb Zuhair to put his language to Perle. Perle politely listened, and the lunch was over." Zuhair, in a telephone conversation with me, recalled that Perle had made it clear at the lunch that "he was above the money. He said he was more involved in politics, and the business is through the company"—Trireme. Perle, throughout the lunch, "stuck to his idea that 'we have to get rid of Saddam,'" Zuhair said. As of early March, to the knowledge of Zuhair, no Saudi money had yet been invested in Trireme.

In my first telephone conversation with Gerald Hillman, in mid-February, before I knew of the involvement of Khashoggi and Zuhair, he assured me that Trireme had "nothing to do" with the Saudis. "I don't know what you can do with them," he said. "What we saw on September 11th was a grotesque manifestation of their ideology. Americans believe that the Saudis are supporting terrorism. We have no investment from them, or with them." (Last week, he acknowledged that he had met with Khashoggi and Zuhair, but said that the meeting had been arranged by Harriman and that he hadn't known that Zuhair would be there.) Perle, he insisted in February, "is not a financial creature. He doesn't have any desire for financial gain.'

Perle, in a series of telephone interviews, acknowledged that he had met with two Saudis at the lunch in Marseilles, but he did not divulge their identities. (At that time, I still didn't know who they were.) "There were two Saudis there," he said. "But there was no discussion of Trireme. It was never mentioned and never discussed." He firmly stated, "The lunch was not about money. It just would never have occurred to me to discuss investments, given the circumstances." Perle added that one of the Saudis had information that Saddam was ready to surrender. "His message was a plea to negotiate with Saddam."

When I asked Perle whether the Saudi businessmen at the lunch were being considered as possible investors in Trireme, he replied, "I don't want Saudis as such, but the fund is open to any investor, and our European partners said that, through investment banks, they had had Saudis as investors." Both Perle and Hillman stated categorically that there were currently no Saudi investments.

Khashoggi professes to be amused by the activities of Perle and Hillman as members of the policy board. As Khashoggi saw it, Trireme's business potential depended on a war in Iraq taking place. "If there is no war," he told me, "why is there a need for security? If there is a war, of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent." He commented, "You Americans blind yourself with your high integrity and your democratic morality against peddling influence, but they were peddling influence."

When Perle's lunch with Khashoggi and Zuhair, and his connection to Trireme, became known to a few ranking members of the Saudi royal family, they reacted with anger and astonishment. The meeting in Marseilles left Perle, one of the kingdom's most vehement critics, exposed to a ferocious counterattack.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who has served as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States for twenty years, told me that he had got wind of Perle's involvement with Trireme and the lunch in Marseilles. Bandar, who is in his early fifties, is a prominent member of the royal family (his father is the defense minister). He said that he was told that the contacts between Perle and Trireme and the Saudis were purely business, on all sides. After the 1991 Gulf War, Bandar told me, Perle had been involved in an unsuccessful attempt to sell security systems to the Saudi government, "and this company does security systems." (Perle confirmed that he had been on the board of a company that attempted to make such a sale but said he was not directly involved in the project.)

"There is a split personality to Perle," Bandar said. "Here he is, on the one hand, trying to make a hundred-million-dollar deal, and, on the other hand, there were elements of the appearance of blackmail—'If we get in business, he'll back off on Saudi Arabia'—as I have been informed by participants in the meeting."

As for Perle's meeting with Khashoggi and Zuhair, and the assertion that its purpose was to discuss politics, Bandar said, "There has to be deniability, and a cover story—a possible peace initiative in Iraq—is needed. I believe the Iraqi events are irrelevant. A business meeting took place."

Zuhair, however, was apparently convinced that, thanks to his discussions with Trireme, he would have a chance to enter into a serious discussion with Perle about peace. A few days after the meeting in Paris, Hillman had sent Khashoggi a twelve-point memorandum, dated December 26, 2002, setting the conditions that Iraq would have to meet. "It is my belief," the memorandum stated, "that if the United States obtained the following results it would not go to war against Iraq." Saddam would have to admit that "Iraq has developed, and possesses, weapons of mass destruction." He then would be allowed to resign and leave Iraq immediately, with his sons and some of his ministers.

Hillman sent Khashoggi a second memorandum a week later, the day before the lunch with Perle in Marseilles. "Following our recent discussions," it said, "we have been thinking about an immediate test to ascertain that Iraq is sincere in its desire to surrender." Five more steps were outlined, and an ambitious final request was made: that Khashoggi and Zuhair arrange a meeting with Prince Nawaf Abdul Aziz, the Saudi intelligence chief, "so that we can assist in Washington."

Both Khashoggi and Zuhair were skeptical of the memorandums. Zuhair found them "absurd," and Khashoggi told me that he thought they were amusing, and almost silly. "This was their thinking?" he recalled asking himself. "There was nothing to react to. While Harb was lobbying for Iraq, they were lobbying for Perle."

In my initial conversation with Hillman, he said, "Richard had nothing to do with the writing of those letters. I informed him of it afterward, and he never said one word, even after I sent them to him. I thought my ideas were pretty clear, but I didn't think Saddam would resign and I didn't think he'd go into exile. I'm positive Richard does not believe that any of those things would happen." Hillman said that he had drafted the memorandums with the help of his daughter, a college student. Perle, for his part, told me, "I didn't write them and didn't supply any content to them. I didn't know about them until after they were drafted."

The views set forth in the memorandums were, indeed, very different from those held by Perle, who has said publicly that Saddam will leave office only if he is forced out, and from those of his fellow hard-liners in the Bush Administration. Given Perle's importance in American decision-making, and the risks of relying on a deal-maker with Adnan Khashoggi's history, questions remain about Hillman's drafting of such an amateurish peace proposal for Zuhair. Prince Bandar's assertion—that the talk of peace was merely a pretext for some hard selling—is difficult to dismiss.

Hillman's proposals, meanwhile, took on an unlikely life of their own. A month after the lunch, the proposals made their way to Al Hayat, a Saudi-owned newspaper published in London. If Perle had ever intended to dissociate himself from them, he did not succeed. The newspaper, in a dispatch headlined "WASHINGTON OFFERS TO AVERT WAR IN RETURN FOR AN INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT TO EXILE SADDAM," characterized Hillman's memorandums as "American" documents and said that the new proposals bore Perle's imprimatur. The paper said that Perle and others had attended a series of "secret meetings" in an effort to avoid the pending war with Iraq, and "a scenario was discussed whereby Saddam Hussein would personally admit that his country was attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction and he would agree to stop trying to acquire these weapons while he awaits exile."

A few days later, the Beirut daily Al Safir published Arabic translations of the memorandums themselves, attributing them to Richard Perle. The proposals were said to have been submitted by Perle, and to "outline Washington's future visions of Iraq." Perle's lunch with two Saudi businessmen was now elevated by Al Safir to a series of "recent American-Saudi negotiations" in which "the American side was represented by Richard Perle." The newspaper added, "Publishing these documents is important because they shed light on the story of how war could have been avoided." The documents, of course, did nothing of the kind.

When Perle was asked whether his dealings with Trireme might present the appearance of a conflict of interest, he said that anyone who saw such a conflict would be thinking "maliciously." But Perle, in crisscrossing between the public and the private sectors, has put himself in a difficult position—one not uncommon to public men. He is credited with being the intellectual force behind a war that not everyone wants and that many suspect, however unfairly, of being driven by American business interests. There is no question that Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war. In doing so, he has given ammunition not only to the Saudis but to his other ideological opponents as well.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

April 10, 2004, New York Times, August '01 Brief Is Said To Warn of Attack Plans, by Eric Lichtblau and David E. Sanger,

April 10, 2004, New York Times, August '01 Brief Is Said To Warn of Attack Plans, by Eric Lichtblau and David E. Sanger,

President Bush was told more than a month before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that supporters of Osama bin Laden planned an attack within the United States with explosives and wanted to hijack airplanes, a government official said Friday.

The warning came in a secret briefing that Mr. Bush received at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Aug. 6, 2001. A report by a joint Congressional committee last year alluded to a "closely held intelligence report" that month about the threat of an attack by Al Qaeda, and the official confirmed an account by The Associated Press on Friday saying that the report was in fact part of the president's briefing in Crawford.

The disclosure appears to contradict the White House's repeated assertions that the briefing the president received about the Qaeda threat was ''historical'' in nature and that the White House had little reason to suspect a Qaeda attack within American borders.

Members of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks have asked the White House to make the Aug. 6 briefing memorandum public. The A.P. account of it was attributed to ''several people who have seen the memo.'' The White House has said that nothing in it pointed specifically to the kind of attacks that actually took place a month later.

The Congressional report last year, citing efforts by Al Qaeda operatives beginning in 1997 to attack American soil, said that operatives appeared to have a support structure in the United States and that intelligence officials had ''uncorroborated information" that Mr. bin Laden ''wanted to hijack airplanes" to gain the release of imprisoned extremists. It also said that intelligence officials received information in May 2001, three months earlier, that indicated "a group of bin Laden supporters was planning attacks in the United States with explosives."

Also on Friday, the White House offered evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation received instructions more than two months before the Sept. 11 attacks to increase its scrutiny of terrorist suspects inside the United States. But it is unclear what action, if any, the bureau took in response.

The disclosure appeared to signal an effort by the White House to distance itself from the F.B.I. in the debate over whether the Bush administration did enough in the summer of 2001 to deter a possible terrorist attack in the United States in the face of increased warnings.

A classified memorandum, sent around July 4, 2001, to Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, from the counterterrorism group run by Richard A. Clarke, described a series of steps it said the White House had taken to put the nation on heightened terrorist alert. Among the steps, the memorandum said, "all 56 F.B.I. field offices were also tasked in late June to go to increased surveillance and contact with informants related to known or suspected terrorists in the United States."

Parts of the White House memorandum were provided to The New York Times on Friday by a White House official seeking to bolster the public account provided a day before by Ms. Rice, who portrayed an administration aggressively working to deter a domestic terror attack.

But law enforcement officials said Friday that they believed that Ms. Rice's testimony before the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks -- including her account of scores of F.B.I. investigations under way that summer into suspected Qaeda cells operating in the United States -- overstated the scope, thrust and intensity of activities by the F.B.I. within American borders.

Agents at that time were focused mainly on the threat of overseas attacks, law enforcement officials said. The F.B.I. was investigating numerous cases that involved international terrorism and may have had tangential connections to Al Qaeda, but one official said that despite Ms. Rice's account, the investigations were focused more overseas and ''were not sleeper cell investigations."

The finger-pointing will probably increase next week when numerous current and former senior law enforcement officials, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, testify before the Sept. 11 commission. In an unusual pre-emptive strike, Mr. Ashcroft's chief spokesman on Friday accused some Democrats on the commission of having ''political axes to grind'' in attacking the attorney general, who oversees the F.B.I., and unfairly blaming him for law enforcement failures.

A similar accusation against the commission was also leveled by Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican with ties to the White House, in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday.

''Sadly, the commission's public hearings have allowed those with political axes to grind, like Richard Clarke, to play shamelessly to the partisan gallery of liberal special interests seeking to bring down the president,'' Mr. McConnell said.

The charges and countercharges underscored the political challenge that the investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks has become for President Bush as he mounts his re-election bid. The White House sought this week to defuse the situation by allowing Ms. Rice to testify before the Sept. 11 commission after months of resistance. But her appearance served to raise new questions about the administration's efforts to deter an attack.

The White House on Friday put off a decision on declassifying the document at the center of the debate -- the Aug. 6 briefing, titled ''Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." But the administration appeared ready to release at least portions of the document publicly in the coming days.

The memo from Mr. Clarke's group in July 2001 about F.B.I. activities adds another piece of evidence to the document trail, but it is unlikely to resolve the questions over whether the administration did enough to deter an attack.

White House officials, who spent several weeks attacking Mr. Clarke's credibility, said Friday that they believed the memo from his counterterrorism group was an accurate reflection of steps the White House took to deter an attack. But they questioned whether the F.B.I. executed the instructions to intensify its scrutiny of terrorist suspects and contacts in the United States.

In April 2001, the F.B.I. did send out a classified memo to its field offices directing agents to "check with their sources on any information they had relative to terrorism,'' said a senior law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity. But with the level of threat warnings increasing markedly over the next several months, there is no indication that any directive went out in the late June period that was described in the memo from Mr. Clarke's office.

That summer saw a string of alerts by the F.B.I. and other government agencies about the heightened possibility of a terrorist attack, but most counterterrorism officials believed an attack would come in Saudi Arabia, Israel or elsewhere. Many also were worried about a July 4 attack and were relieved when that date passed uneventfully.

For months, the F.B.I. had been consumed by internal problems of its own, including the arrest of an agent, Robert P. Hanssen, on espionage charges, the disappearance of documents in the Oklahoma City bombing case and the fallout over the Wen Ho Lee spy case. Moreover, the bureau was going through a transition in leadership, with its longtime director, Louis J. Freeh, retiring in June 2001. He was replaced by an acting director, Thomas J. Pickard, until the current director, Robert S. Mueller III, took over in September, just days before the deadly hijackings. All three men will testify at next week's commission hearings and are expected to face sharp questioning about whether the F.B.I. did enough to prevent an attack in the weeks and months before Sept. 11.

At this week's appearance by Ms. Rice, several commissioners sharply questioned whether the F.B.I. and the Justice Department had done enough to act on intelligence warnings about an attack.

"We have done thousands of interviews here at the 9/11 commission," said Timothy J. Roemer, a Democratic member of the panel. ''We have gone through literally millions of pieces of paper. To date, we have found nobody -- nobody at the F.B.I. who knows anything about a tasking of field offices" to identify the domestic threat.

The apparent miscommunication will probably be a central focus of the commission's hearing next week. Scrutiny is expected to focus in part on communication breakdowns between the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. that allowed two of the 19 hijackers to live openly in San Diego despite intelligence about their terrorist ties.

Another Democratic panel member, Jamie S. Gorelick, said at Thursday's hearing that Mr. Ashcroft was briefed in the summer of 2001 about terrorist threats "but there is no evidence of any activity by him."

Such criticism led Mark Corallo, Mr. Ashcroft's chief spokesman at the Justice Department, to say Friday that ''some people on the commission are seeking to score political points" by unfairly attacking Mr. Ashcroft's actions before Sept. 11.

"Some have political axes to grind'' against Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Corallo said in an interview, naming Ms. Gorelick, who was the deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration; Mr. Roemer, a former congressman from Indiana, and Richard Ben-Veniste, the former Watergate prosecutor.

While insisting that he was not speaking personally for Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Corallo said he was offended by Ms. Gorelick's remarks in particular. Offering a detailed preview of Mr. Ashcroft's testimony next week, he said the attorney general was briefed repeatedly by the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. on threats posed by Al Qaeda and was told that the threats were directed at targets overseas. "He was not briefed that there was any threat to the United States," Mr. Corallo said. ''He kept asking if there was any action he needed to take, and he was constantly told no, you're doing everything you need to do."

Several commission officials denied in interviews that there was any attempt to treat Mr. Ashcroft unfairly. Al Felzenberg, a spokesman for panel, said that Mr. Ashcroft would be warmly received.

Ms. Gorelick said she was surprised by Mr. Corallo's comments and puzzled by assertions that the attorney general had no knowledge of a domestic terrorist threat in 2001.

"This appears to be a debate within the administration," she said. ''On the one hand, you have Dr. Rice saying that the domestic threat was being handled by the Justice Department and F.B.I., and on the other hand, you have the Justice Department saying that there did not appear to be a domestic threat to address. And that is a difference in view that we have to continue to explore."

The commission also heard testimony Friday morning behind closed doors from former Vice President Al Gore.

Former President Bill Clinton appeared before the panel in closed session on Thursday, but a Democratic commission member took issue Friday with Mr. Clinton's assertion that that there was not enough intelligence linking Al Qaeda to the 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole to justify a military attack on the terrorist organization.

''I think he did have enough proof to take action," Bob Kerrey, the former senator from Nebraska, said on ABC's 'Good Morning America.'

Philip Shenon, Adam Nagourney and James Risen contributed reporting for this article.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

December 11, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 1: Carl Cameron Investigates,

December 11, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 1: Carl Cameron Investigates,
December 12, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 2: Carl Cameron Investigates,
December 13, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 3: Carl Cameron Investigates,
December 14, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 4: Carl Cameron Investigates,

December 11, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 1: Carl Cameron Investigates,,2933,40684,00.html

Carl Cameron
Monday, December 14, 2001

This partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, Dec. 11, was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.
Part 1 of 4

BRIT HUME, HOST: It has been more than 16 years since a civilian working for the Navy was charged with passing secrets to Israel. Jonathan Pollard pled guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage and is serving a life sentence. At first, Israeli leaders claimed Pollard was part of a rogue operation, but later took responsibility for his work.
Now Fox News has learned some U.S. investigators believe that there are Israelis again very much engaged in spying in and on the U.S., who may have known things they didn't tell us before Sept. 11. Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron has details in the first of a four-part series.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Since Sept. 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new patriot anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations. A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States.
There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that they Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are "tie-ins." But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, "evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information."
Fox News has learned that one group of Israelis, spotted in North Carolina recently, is suspected of keeping an apartment in California to spy on a group of Arabs who the United States is also investigating for links to terrorism. Numerous classified documents obtained by Fox News indicate that even prior to Sept. 11, as many as 140 other Israelis had been detained or arrested in a secretive and sprawling investigation into suspected espionage by Israelis in the United States.
Investigators from numerous government agencies are part of a working group that's been compiling evidence since the mid '90s. These documents detail hundreds of incidents in cities and towns across the country that investigators say, "may well be an organized intelligence gathering activity."
The first part of the investigation focuses on Israelis who say they are art students from the University of Jerusalem and Bazala Academy. They repeatedly made contact with U.S. government personnel, the report says, by saying they wanted to sell cheap art or handiwork.
Documents say they, "targeted and penetrated military bases." The DEA, FBI and dozens of government facilities, and even secret offices and unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel. The majority of those questioned, "stated they served in military intelligence, electronic surveillance intercept and or explosive ordinance units."
Another part of the investigation has resulted in the detention and arrests of dozens of Israelis at American mall kiosks, where they've been selling toys called Puzzle Car and Zoom Copter. Investigators suspect a front.
Shortly after The New York Times and Washington Post reported the Israeli detentions last months, the carts began vanishing. Zoom Copter's Web page says, "We are aware of the situation caused by thousands of mall carts being closed at the last minute. This in no way reflects the quality of the toy or its salability. The problem lies in the operators' business policies."
Why would Israelis spy in and on the U.S.? A general accounting office investigation referred to Israel as country A and said, "According to a U.S. intelligence agency, the government of country A conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the U.S. of any U.S. ally."
A defense intelligence report said Israel has a voracious appetite for information and said, "the Israelis are motivated by strong survival instincts which dictate every possible facet of their political and economical policies. It aggressively collects military and industrial technology and the U.S. is a high priority target."
The document concludes: "Israel possesses the resources and technical capability to achieve its collection objectives."
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy here in Washington issued a denial saying that any suggestion that Israelis are spying in or on the U.S. is "simply not true." There are other things to consider. And in the days ahead, we'll take a look at the U.S. phone system and law enforcement's methods for wiretaps. And an investigation that both have been compromised by our friends overseas.
HUME: Carl, what about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?
CAMERON: It's very explosive information, obviously, and there's a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected — none of it necessarily conclusive. It's more when they put it all together. A bigger question, they say, is how could they not have know? Almost a direct quote.
HUME: Going into the fact that they were spying on some Arabs, right?
CAMERON: Correct.
HUME: All right, Carl, thanks very much.
December 12, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 2: Carl Cameron Investigates,,2933,40747,00.html

Carl Cameron

Part 2 of 4
BRIT HUME, HOST: Last time we reported on the approximately 60 Israelis who had been detained in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorism investigation.  Carl Cameron reported that U.S. investigators suspect that some of these Israelis were spying on Arabs in this country, and may have turned up information on the planned terrorist attacks back in September that was not passed on. 
Tonight, in the second of four reports on spying by Israelis in the U.S., we learn about an Israeli-based private communications company, for whom a half-dozen of those 60 detained suspects worked. American investigators fear information generated by this firm may have fallen into the wrong hands and had the effect of impeded the Sept. 11 terror inquiry. Here's Carl Cameron's second report.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Fox News has learned that some American terrorist investigators fear certain suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks may have managed to stay ahead of them, by knowing who and when investigators are calling on the telephone.  How?
By obtaining and analyzing data that's generated every time someone in the U.S. makes a call. 
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What city and state, please?
CAMERON:  Here's how the system works. Most directory assistance calls, and virtually all call records and billing in the U.S. are done for the phone companies by Amdocs Ltd., an Israeli-based private elecommunications company. 
Amdocs has contracts with the 25 biggest phone companies in America, and more worldwide.  The White House and other secure government phone lines are protected, but it is virtually impossible to make a call on normal phones without generating an Amdocs record of it. 
In recent years, the FBI and other government agencies have investigated Amdocs more than once.  The firm has repeatedly and adamantly denied any security breaches or wrongdoing.  But sources tell Fox News that in 1999, the super secret national security agency, headquartered in northern Maryland, issued what's called a Top Secret sensitive compartmentalized information report, TS/SCI, warning that records of calls in the United States were getting into foreign hands – in Israel, in particular.
Investigators don't believe calls are being listened to, but the data about who is calling whom and when is plenty valuable in itself.  An internal Amdocs memo to senior company executives suggests just how Amdocs generated call records could be used.  “Widespread data mining techniques and algorithms.... combining both the properties of the customer  (e.g., credit rating) and properties of the specific ‘behavior….’” Specific behavior, such as who the customers are calling. 
The Amdocs memo says the system should be used to prevent phone fraud.   But U.S. counterintelligence analysts say it could also be used to spy through the phone system.  Fox News has learned that the N.S.A has held numerous classified conferences to warn the F.B.I. and C.I.A. how Amdocs records could be used.  At one NSA briefing, a diagram by the Argon national lab was used to show that if the phone records are not secure, major security breaches are possible. 
Another briefing document said, "It has become increasingly apparent that systems and networks are vulnerable.…Such crimes always involve unauthorized persons, or persons who exceed their authorization...citing on exploitable vulnerabilities."
Those vulnerabilities are growing, because according to another briefing, the U.S. relies too much on foreign companies like Amdocs for high-tech equipment and software.  "Many factors have led to increased dependence on code developed overseas.... We buy rather than train or develop solutions."
U.S. intelligence does not believe the Israeli government is involved in a misuse of information, and Amdocs insists that its data is secure. What U.S. government officials are worried about, however, is the possibility that Amdocs data could get into the wrong hands, particularly organized crime.  And that would not be the first thing that such a thing has happened.  Fox News has documents of a 1997 drug trafficking case in Los Angeles, in which telephone information, the type that Amdocs collects, was used to "completely compromise the communications of the FBI, the Secret Service, the DEO and the LAPD."
We'll have that and a lot more in the days ahead – Brit.
HUME:  Carl, I want to take you back to your report last night on those 60 Israelis who were detained in the anti-terror investigation, and the suspicion that some investigators have that they may have picked up information on the 9/11 attacks ahead of time and not passed it on. 
There was a report, you'll recall, that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, did indeed send representatives to the U.S. to warn, just before 9/11, that a major terrorist attack was imminent.  How does that leave room for the lack of a warning?
CAMERON:  I remember the report, Brit. We did it first internationally right here on your show on the 14th.  What investigators are saying is that that warning from the Mossad was nonspecific and general, and they believe that it may have had something to do with the desire to protect what are called sources and methods in the intelligence community.  The suspicion being, perhaps those sources and methods were taking place right here in the United States.
The question came up in select intelligence committee on Capitol Hill today.  They intend to look into what we reported last night, and specifically that possibility – Brit.
HUME:  So in other words, the problem wasn't lack of a warning, the problem was lack of useful details?
CAMERON:  Quantity of information. 
HUME:  All right, Carl, thank you very much.

December 13, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 3: Carl Cameron Investigates,,2933,40824,00.html,2933,40824,00.html

Carl Cameron

Part 3 of 4

BRIT HUME, HOST:  Last time we reported on an Israeli-based company called Amdocs Ltd. that generates the computerized records and billing data for nearly every phone call made in America.  As Carl Cameron reported, U.S. investigators digging into the 9/11 terrorist attacks fear that suspects may have been tipped off to what they were doing by information leaking out of Amdocs. 
In tonight's report, we learn that the concern about phone security extends to another company, founded in Israel, that provides the technology that the U.S. government uses for electronic eavesdropping.  Here is Carl Cameron's third report. 
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  The company is Comverse Infosys, a subsidiary of an Israeli-run private telecommunications firm, with offices throughout the U.S.  It provides wiretapping equipment for law enforcement.  Here's how wiretapping works in the U.S.
Every time you make a call, it passes through the nation's elaborate network of switchers and routers run by the phone companies.  Custom computers and software, made by companies like Comverse, are tied into that network to intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls, and at the same time transmit them to investigators. 
The manufacturers have continuing access to the computers so they can service them and keep them free of glitches.  This process was authorized by the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA.   Senior government officials have now told Fox News that while CALEA made wiretapping easier, it has led to a system that is seriously vulnerable to compromise, and may have undermined the whole wiretapping system.
Indeed, Fox News has learned that Attorney General John Ashcroft and  FBI Director Robert Mueller were both warned Oct. 18 in a hand-delivered letter from 15 local, state and federal law enforcement  officials, who complained that "law enforcement's current  electronic surveillance capabilities are less effective today than they  were at the time CALEA was enacted."
Congress insists the equipment it installs is secure.  But the  complaint about this system is that the wiretap computer programs made by  Comverse have, in effect, a back door through which wiretaps themselves can  be intercepted by unauthorized parties.
Adding to the suspicions is the fact that in Israel, Comverse works  closely with the Israeli government, and under special programs, gets  reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by  the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade.  But investigators within the  DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest  Israeli spying through Comverse is considered career suicide. 
And sources say that while various F.B.I. inquiries into Comverse have  been conducted over the years, they've been halted before the actual  equipment has ever been thoroughly tested for leaks.  A 1999 F.C.C.  document indicates several government agencies expressed deep concerns that  too many unauthorized non-law enforcement personnel can access the wiretap  system.  And the FBI's own nondescript office in Chantilly, Virginia that  actually oversees the CALEA wiretapping program, is among the most agitated  about the threat. 
But there is a bitter turf war internally at F.B.I.  It is the FBI's  office in Quantico, Virginia, that has jurisdiction over awarding contracts  and buying intercept equipment.  And for years, they've thrown much of the  business to Comverse.  A handful of former U.S. law enforcement officials  involved in awarding Comverse government contracts over the years now work  for the company. 
Numerous sources say some of those individuals were asked to leave  government service under what knowledgeable sources call "troublesome  circumstances" that remain under administrative review within the Justice  Department. 
And what troubles investigators most, particularly in New York, in the  counter terrorism investigation of the World Trade Center attack, is that on  a number of cases, suspects that they had sought to wiretap and survey  immediately changed their telecommunications processes.  They started  acting much differently as soon as those supposedly secret wiretaps went  into place – Brit.
HUME:  Carl, is there any reason to suspect in this instance that the  Israeli government is involved?
CAMERON:  No, there's not.  But there are growing instincts in an  awful lot of law enforcement officials in a variety of agencies who suspect  that it had begun compiling evidence, and a highly classified investigation  into that possibility – Brit.
HUME:  All right, Carl.  Thanks very much.

December 14, 2001, FOX News, Special Report with Brit Hume, Part 4: Carl Cameron Investigates,,2933,40981,00.html Dead

Carl Cameron

Part 4 of 4
TONY SNOW, HOST:  This week, senior correspondent Carl Cameron has reported on a longstanding government espionage investigation.  Federal officials this year have arrested or detained nearly 200 Israeli citizens suspected of belonging to an "organized intelligence-gathering operation."   The Bush administration has deported most of those arrested after Sept. 11, although some are in custody under the new anti-terrorism law.
Cameron also investigates the possibility that an Israeli firm generated billing data that could be used for intelligence purpose, and describes concerns that the federal government's own wiretapping system may be vulnerable.  Tonight, in part four of the series, we'll learn about the probable roots of the probe: a drug case that went bad four years ago in L.A. 
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Los Angeles, 1997, a major local, state and federal drug investigating sours.  The suspects:  Israeli organized crime with operations in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Canada, Israel and Egypt.  The allegations: cocaine and ecstasy trafficking, and sophisticated white-collar credit card and computer fraud. 
The problem: according to classified law enforcement documents obtained by Fox News, the bad guys had the cops’ beepers, cell phones, even home phones under surveillance.  Some who did get caught admitted to having hundreds of numbers and using them to avoid arrest.
"This compromised law enforcement communications between LAPD detectives and other assigned law enforcement officers working various aspects of the case.  The organization discovered communications between organized crime intelligence division detectives, the FBI and the Secret Service."
Shock spread from the DEA to the FBI in Washington, and then the CIA.   An investigation of the problem, according to law enforcement documents, concluded, "The organization has apparent extensive access to database systems to identify pertinent personal and biographical information."
When investigators tried to find out where the information might have come from, they looked at Amdocs, a publicly traded firm based in Israel.   Amdocs generates billing data for virtually every call in America, and they do credit checks.  The company denies any leaks, but investigators still fear that the firm's data is getting into the wrong hands. 
When investigators checked their own wiretapping system for leaks, they grew concerned about potential vulnerabilities in the computers that intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls.  A main contractor is Comverse Infosys, which works closely with the Israeli government, and under a special grant program, is reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by Israel's Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Asked this week about another sprawling investigation and the detention of 60 Israeli since Sept. 11, the Bush administration treated the questions like hot potatoes. 
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I would just refer you to the Department of Justice with that.  I'm not familiar with the report.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE:  I'm aware that some Israeli citizens have been detained.  With respect to why they're being detained and the other aspects of your question – whether it's because they're in intelligence services, or what they were doing – I will defer to the Department of Justice and the FBI to answer that.
CAMERON:  Beyond the 60 apprehended or detained, and many deported since Sept. 11, another group of 140 Israeli individuals have been arrested and detained in this year in what government documents describe as  "an organized intelligence gathering operation," designed to "penetrate government facilities."  Most of those individuals said they had served in the Israeli military, which is compulsory there. 
But they also had, most of them, intelligence expertise, and either worked for Amdocs or other companies in Israel that specialize in wiretapping.  Earlier this week, the Israeli embassy in Washington denied any spying against or in the United States – Tony.
SNOW:  Carl, we've heard the comments from Ari Fleischer and Colin Powell.  What are officials saying behind the scenes?
CAMERON:  Well, there's real pandemonium described at the FBI,  the DEA and the INS.  A lot of these problems have been well known to some  investigators, many of who have contributed to the reporting on this  story.  And what they say is happening is supervisors and management are  now going back and collecting much of the information, because there's  tremendous pressure from the top levels of all of those agencies to find  out exactly what's going on. 
At the DEA and the FBI already a variety of administration reviews are  under way, in addition to the investigation of the phenomenon.  They want  to find out how it is all this has come out, as well as be very careful  because of the explosive nature and very political ramifications of the  story itself – Tony.
SNOW:  All right, Carl, thanks. 

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