Bmaz sent me Isikoff's latest, which thankfully does more than report on events from his past as if they were news. It reports the frightening news that Condi's about to appoint Paul Wolfowitz to an advisory position at State.
Nearly three years after Paul Wolfowitz resigned as deputy Defense secretary and six months after his stormy departure as president of the World Bank—amid allegations that he improperly awarded a raise to his girlfriend—he's in line to return to public service. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has offered Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq War, a position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, a prestigious State Department panel, according to two department sources who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters. The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classified intelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD issues and other matters. "We think he is well suited and will do an excellent job," said one senior official.
They don't yet have Wolfie listed on the website, so maybe there's some time to embarrass Condi out of putting Wolfie in an advisory position again. I suggest we start an embarrassment campaign by focusing on two issues.
Condi, someone committed a security indiscretion to give Wolfie's girlfriend a job at State. Are you sure you should repeat the mistake by giving Wolfie more access to classified information?
Remember that when people started complaining that Wolfie was giving Shaha Reza preferential treatment at the World Bank, his "solution" was to set her up at State? Remember Sidney Blumenthal's description of how unusual Reza's security clearance process was?
Riza was unhappy about leaving the sinecure at the World Bank. But in 2006 Wolfowitz made a series of calls to his friends that landed her a job at a new think tank called Foundation for the Future that is funded by the State Department. She was the sole employee, at least in the beginning. The World Bank continued to pay her salary, which was raised by $60,000 to $193,590 annually, more than the $183,500 paid to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and all of it tax-free. Moreover, Wolfowitz got the State Department to agree that the ratings of her performance would automatically be "outstanding." Wolfowitz insisted on these terms himself and then misled the World Bank board about what he had done.
Riza, who is not a U.S. citizen, had to receive a security clearance in order to work at the State Department. Who intervened? It is not unusual to have British or French midlevel officers at the department on exchange programs, but they receive security clearances based on the clearances they already have with their host governments. Granting a foreign national who is detailed from an international organization a security clearance, however, is extraordinary, even unprecedented. So how could this clearance have been granted?
State Department officials familiar with the details of this matter confirmed to me that Shaha Ali Riza was detailed to the State Department and had unescorted access while working for Elizabeth Cheney. Access to the building requires a national security clearance or permanent escort by a person with such a clearance. But the State Department has no record of having issued a national security clearance to Riza.
So, after turning State Department into a scam to allow Wolfowitz to break ethical rules and expose US secrets to a foreign national with no apparent clearance, Condi now wants to use a State advisory board to give Wolfie clearance himself.
Condi, aren't you a little ashamed at the way Wolfie used your agency the last time?
Condi, is it a coincidence that so many people responsible for gaming the intelligence to get us into Iraq are on your advisory board?
Isikoff helpfully points out that Wolfie's not the only embarrassing name on the board.
other panel members include Robert Joseph, the former National Security Council official in charge of Iraq WMD intelligence, and ex-CIA director James Woolsey, both strong allies during the Iraq debate.
But Isikoff lets both these men off easy--way too easy. Bob Joseph is the guy who put the Niger claim into the SOTU, apparently pressuring Alan Foley to keep it in there after Foley objected. Condi is protecting Joseph (and he's protecting Condi) by refusing to show up at Waxman's committee to admit she knew the Niger claim was bunk before it went into the SOTU.
And Woolsey was personally responsible for introducing at least three of Chalabi's INC exiles to DIA--and these just happened to be three of the ones who told the biggest lies to get us into war. Without Woolsey providing a way for the INC's liars to bypass Valerie Wilson's group, which vetted such exiles much more carefully, we might not have had the war.
As for Wolfowitz himself, he was responsible for lying us into war in several different ways. He famously promised that American soldiers would be greeted with flowers. He scoffed at those who suggested we'd need hundreds of thousands of troops for the invasion. And he set up Dougie Feith's propaganda shop, the Office of Special Plans. And this is the guy she wants to advise her on WMDs?
Furthermore, it's not like Wolfie's actually a good risk to give a security clearance. We know Wolfowitz, believing the NIE and the January 24 excerpt of the NIE to be classified, leaked it to the WSJ on Scooter Libby's orders. Is Wolfie going to leak this information to any neocon who instructs him to leak it?
In any case, I think Condi should be shamed into getting rid not just of Wolfowitz, but also the other two thugs who helped lie us into war.