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October 09, 2007


"BushCo denies they leaked the information--though in the same article they call for an investigation, suggesting they don't know who leaked it."

Needless to say, Junya and crew did not volunteer to make any stuff available for said "investigation". Stuff like Admin appointees, WH Staffers, Admin documents, WH phone call records, WH visit logs, etc.

And why not? Executive Privilege, doncha know? "The more we got to hide, the bigger Executive Privilege gets."

So, the War on Terror includes trolls, sockpuppets and lurkers on jihadi websites? And what a surprise, the jihadis are smart enough to figure this out on their own! Even if the trolls and sockpuppets don't use BOLD fonts. It's almost like the Freepers have been deputized by Bushco to get "on the case" with the jihadis, like the Minutemen. It's interesting to me that the same tactics are employed against TNH and other reliable websites that are used on Jihadis.

There's something pretty bizarre about this whole process and business of contracted intelligence gathering. How can the information that got out honestly be described as a 'leak' if it wasn't gathered by government intelligence agencies in the first place, especially considering that SITE's client list includes media corporations?

It all seems kind of bizarre.


When I read the article it seems to me that it was leaked on purpose...seems the Big Smurf House wants to run the show and all Terroist activities and not some underling company. See they want the pieces to fall how they want the pieces to fall in order to run the chessboard all on their lonesome. What cretins!

All I know is that if I were in the business of providing highly prized information, and my business model depended on people coming to me for those data bits, not sharing those bits, and not having my proprietary methods exposed, whether those bits were the latest al Qaeda video or the latest Harry Potter, I'd devise a means of individually marking every copy I released in advance, so that I'd know who gave a copy to whom.

It seems odd to me that Katz would give anything to a White House infamous for burning intelligence assets for political ends, without implementing such safeguards.

A partial history of WH leaks can be found here: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/4/11/113515/917

Plame, NIE (partial), leak of Israeli infiltration of Al Qaeda, leak of Pakistani info that might have impacted the London bombing are included. The Holy City charity (money laundering for AQ) - the one the Judy Miller is accused of tipping off, is not included.

I think everyone agrees that the WH leaks when they see a political gain. When someone disagrees they say," We'll investigate." , as they did with Plame (they said, but never did investigate, as TNH knows all too well), and as they are saying today. SITE has a fairly compeling trace of who had access to the video, which gives the conclusion that the WH leaked it to Fox News.

The video is suspect - not only the dyed beard, but both the audio and the visuals have doctored points.

More than one ObL tape has been suspected of being doctored, faked, spliced, whatever one wants to call it. The question then becomes; could/ would someone doctor up a tape and feed it to the SITE folks to hand to the WH to leak.

Sailmaker - exactly! Is SITE a knowing (or unknowing) cutout for the WH/Bushco? Something seems not quite right about a private company that was apparently not even fooling a moderated discussion group.

Ishmael, I agree that something does not quite seem right about the whole thing, but I do know that it points up that we should absolutely NOT trust this administration with any secrets!

It kind of makes me wonder what members of this administration might be selling on the black market for personal gain...


News on Darth's former employer from Corporate Counsel.net:

VP Cheney's '04 Testimony to the SEC's Enforcement Division

Last week, it was revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney gave testimony to the Enforcment Division back in 2004, as part of the Staff's investigation of Halliburton (where Cheney used to serve as CEO) over the accounting of cost overruns on several big projects back in '98.

The Staff's investigation is now closed after the company settled with the SEC two days after Cheney's testimony, paying a $7.5 million fine. (http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/33-8452.htm)

According to this WSJ article, Cheney didn't recall being told that Halliburton had booked millions of dollars in construction cost overruns as income, saying that the company's CFO was "probably" the person "whose general area of responsibility this fell into."

Yeah, probably. And the CEO shouldn't care about that type of thing...

The SEC released Mr. Cheney's testimony under a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Dow Jones Newswires

Sojourner - agreed on Bushco, there is no piece of information so sensitive that cannot or will not be used by them if they see political hay to be made. On the issue of the provenance of the OBL video, let's remember that this "leak" of the video was made just around the 9-11 anniversary, when there was no Osama video forthcoming from the usual sources at Al-Jazeera - and at a time of unrelenting bad news for Bushco, they needed the annual appearance of Osama to fly the terror flag yet again. If they will leak stovepiped intelligence to the NYT, and then have Big Time refer to the NYT article on MTP as supporting his case for war against Iraq, then it does not take a great deal of imagination to work the system in reverse, and have SITE "find" the video and then have the video leaked under the guise that it came from a "private company in the CT field", which seems to be little more than a glorified terrorist clipping service. I could be wrong of course - Larry Johnson has a diary over at DK where he denounces Bushco for leaking this, but no comment on SITE's competence, wherase Michael Scheuer, the CIA head of the OBL unit after 9-11, has stated that SITE exaggerates certain things. Hard to know whats going on here, but it smells.

This is a murky story in which everyone looks bad. Why is it that our pal Jodi isn't lurking around these parts, it is right up his alley.

SITE may have been foolish marketing its purportedly high-value data to the White House directly rather than via appropriate intel channels. But the incident exposes what a zoo the White House has become. Amibtions R US pols grab the data to profit from it without securing it or sorting out its provenance, sensitivity or value. Bunglers R US more likely.

This may, in part, be an outgrowth of end of tenure job and talent losses. More probably, however, it is a logical consequence of Dick Cheney and Fitz' investigation of Scooter Libby. That and subsequent Congressional investigations revealed that Cheney has virtually dismantled routine security procedures in the WH. He won't follow the rules, but not wanting to go to jail, he dismantles them and those who create and enforce them. Voila. No rules violations because none are in place.

It may keep Cheney and his cohort out of jail; it also leads to gross violations of law and practice regarding national security information, and the inevitable release of it with untold consequences. I guess the adults haven't come back to the White House just yet because Cheney's "man"-sized safes, off the cuff security classifications and declassifications, and brutal bureaucratic fighting are just a game to him.


Yup. That's what I was thinking...

I'm confused about exactly what "SITE" is? Is this another example of private contracting run amok: getting private companies to conduct foreign intelligence collection? Or was SITE "working" for someone other than the government?

So, the War on Terror includes trolls, sockpuppets and lurkers on jihadi websites? And what a surprise, the jihadis are smart enough to figure this out on their own! Even if the trolls and sockpuppets don't use BOLD fonts.

Posted by: Ishmael | October 09, 2007 at 18:53

Suddenly Jodi's farci doesn't seem so benign.

I see now that SITE is an "intelligence monitoring service" that provides information to subscribers in both the private and public sector. But still, was this particular video found as part of a retained search on behalf of the government (do we really need to pay private contractors, rather than the CIA, to troll on crazyjihadis.com?), and if so, why did SITE give it to the White House rather than send it directly to its various DoD or CIA subscribers?

private intelligence firm?

are you kidding me?

where the hell did these folks come from?

and they sell - what?

and they have capacity and access that nsa does not have?

that's just great.

it means that the entire bush/cheney data mining/eavesdropping effort was really just hocus-pocus and political propaganda.

but back to basics.

how does a "private" intel gathering organization tune-in to osama's chats, while nsa and mike mcconnell are still wrestling with the congress and insisting on carte blanche.

this is beyond weird.

and beyond incompetent.

while democrats in congress bend over to kiss mcconnell's ring (ass),

a private firm accesses bin laden's communications?

without benefit of all those supercomputers?

and all those lead-lined rooms at the pentagon?

without all that earnest work by cia and fbi?

WTF is going on?

ordinary folk haven't been taken for a ride by any chance, have they?

not to mention the democratic and republican retards controlling congress.

what comes to mind right now is -

aegean stables -

divert the potomac thru the capitol.

This does stink like yesterday's diapers, folded over Dick Cheney's butt-print.

Katz appears to be laundering the video the same way Novak laundered the outing of Valerie. She 'found' the video just like Bobaloo 'found' Armitage. This time, rather than outing a thorn in their side, they outed instead a useful 'Spectre of Terror' OBL video.

So, I'm gonna take a wild-assed-guess and say that Flatbacker Katz was part of Cheney's 'run-up' plan for Attacking Iran - along with the Minot nukes-on-the-loose story and the Bush-Blessed Israeli bombing attack in Syria. For whatever reason, the stampede to Attack Iran seems to have fizzled internally.

I'm going to compound my WAG and throw-in that Katz could have been 'watched' by the same people that seemed to be 'ahead of the game' and pulled the rug out from under the Attack Iran Agenda. Whoever 'they' might be were privy to the 'planned' discovery and transcription by Katz, and knew the 'handoff' to the White House was coming.

So, the 'watchers' put out their story early to show the IC had the video and a transcription of their own. Then Katz meets with the White House and hands over her copy of the video and her transcript, which the White House then releases on its own for political purposes.

My conclusion, if the wag is true, is that the Intelligence Community had the Video early, and told Bush and Cheney about it. But, the IC said in unison, we want to 'sit' on the Video and 'let' AQ release it without them realizing that 'we' are plugged into their network.

So, what did Bush and Cheney do? They said, 'Go fuck yourselves,' and arranged to launder it through Katz - it's got Cheney's Leaking-M.O. fingerprints all over it.

And, just like with Valerie, Bush and Cheney may have been only too willing to compromise National Security to achieve Political ends. This time, Smirky and Shooter may have 'outed' our entire Intelligence Community's ability to covertly 'look' into AQ electronically.

No matter whether the video was 'authentic' or not, Katz may be another red-flag marking another Betrayal of Trust by BushCo.

Let's see if the story has legs...

"Why is everybody always picking on me?"
-- Chuck, aka ...

Radiofree, your theory seems on point to me.

It also occurs to me that if Cheney and Co. knew the video were about to be debunked, that it's a fake, that they may want someone to blame.

In other words, if someone is going to be barking, let's give them a wrong tree to bark up.

I dunno, wierd story indeed, could just be Katz grandstanding as well.

What ever happened to the good ol' days of a competently corrupt govererment. Washington reminds me of the sad c-level circus that used to come to my small town as a kid. Faded tents and not even very good at being a circus.

I first heard of Rita Katz when she wrote (under Anonymous) her book Terrorist Hunter. Not sure what to make of the current story about the leaked (fake?) video of OBL by the WH at the expense of her SITE project. I agree something smells fishy both at SITE and WH.

In any case, Katz seemed sincerely eager to help government agents track down terrorist financing in the wake of 9/11. She helped the Customs Department in Operation Greenquest, until (according to Katz), Customs raided the SAAR network in 2002 and FBI took over. At the time the book came out it was inspiring that a mere civilian could interpret public information (Islamic foundations & charities brochures, arabic newspapers) and make dramatic connections and conclusions. She seemed sincerely frustrated when she and Greenquest investigators became targets of government surveillance after Greenquest was shut down.


The cast of characters listed in the above site is beyond my ability to skim right now. It might help any of you more versed in these groups to sort out Katz's actual vs. embellished accomplishments.

BTW, does anyone know why Katz split from Steve Emerson's group? Presumably they shared same outlook: find the terrorists, but what was the significant differences that pushed them apart?

The leak played on Fox news first. So you know WH leaked.
also note that day was Larry Craig day. The cables were playing non-stop Craig that day. Osama tape flushed that story out.

Isn't it odd that (under the guise of ineptitude or "nobody's really minding the store") that the WH manages to screw up nearly every attempt to monitor or infiltrate or capture Osama/Al Qaeda? You'd almost think they didn't want OBL to be caught. And why would that be? Because the Saudi royals have been financing them with the blessing of Darth Cheney? And why would that be? Because the neocons needed a new perpetual enemy for the new perpetual war that's aimed at keeping them in power? I'm just saying...

The Post story was interesting, but it also reeked of spin and reportorial credulity. It raised far more questions than it answered. The basic story, that SITE had information that it shared directly and exclusively with the White House, makes no sense at all.

Then there's this (from the Schachtman link?): "But another poster responded that SITE might be providing a valuable service." It's the shifting alliances and symbiosis among the players--amateurs and pros included--that gives me the creeps. Lives are at stake, principles are shredded, the truth becomes unrecognizable, yet everybody is making money by building an interdependent network of threats and countermeasures.

Maybe they had to fake the tape because, although they needed a new one to distract from Craig and the nukes at Barksdale, they also know Osama isn't going to make any more new ones: he's dead.
Just my WAG.

I don't mean to give bad guys any ideas, as unlikely as that may be. Anti-terror agencies should think of everything, and they may have, but just in case I'll say what came to mind.

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are such showboats that they don't get as crafty as some terror and criminal executives have been. Their successors, or even persuasive junior executives in their organization, might be more creative. Since video releases are such a big deal, and there's a race to get them broadcast and spun, why not create multiple versions of a video, with carefully noted variations, and then see which version turns up where? Some intelligence about the intelligence-gatherers might be obtained by that methodology, and a storm of confusion would follow each video-release blitz. Would a leaked, scooped version be the definitive version? The methodology could also be used to announce various planned operations proximate or identical in time, some or all of which would be bogus.

There are so many fishy things about this story that it's hard to know where to start, but let's start with this: Fred Fielding? You get a copy of the latest Osama video and you send it to Fielding? The White House Counsel? On what planet does that make any sense? Has anybody asked Ms. Katz why she sent it to Fielding? Did she think it was subject to a claim of executive privilege? Was the WH a client? [I guess I need to go spend some quality time with the fed spending database...]

Teaeopy: "Since [bin Laden] video releases are such a big deal, and there's a race to get them broadcast and spun, why not create multiple versions of a video, with carefully noted variations, and then see which version turns up where? Some intelligence about the intelligence-gatherers might be obtained by [Al Quaeda using] that methodology, and a storm of confusion would follow each video-release blitz."

Yes, I considered that too, and Al Quaeda has probably taken such actions in the past. But the fact that they took the network down so quickly suggests that it was a panicked response. In other words, if they had been looking for a leak and discovered it, one would think they'd spend more time debating whether to exploit it or how quickly they could close it without revealing the cause - that they had discovered and were aware of the surveillance.

So I think in this case, it was not an attempt at counter-intelligence by Al Quaeda. It *could* be, but the fact pattern suggests otherwise.

No clue what's happening here, but radiofreewill and Friar Wm make especially intriguing points.
Something's odd in this story.
No idea where the truth lies, but the facts don't add up.

Not just the facts. The story itself doesn't add.

Why would Katz complain to the Post, any more than why give video to Fielding?
And why has the Post run it for 2 days?

Does someone wish to shine a spotlight on the provenance of OBL videos?
Or, in the openfire skirmishes within the security institutions, is there an attempt to set up a faction for discrediting?
Is Katz's real complaint about the govt supplanting the Greenquest investigations, which may have become inopportune for some within the security fold? Remembering the old press guideline that every story needs a current "hook".

A squirrely story about shadow players in a pathologically hidden government sends us sniffing for games, petty or grand. Which games this time? Who are the players? Are they signalling to us or to each other?

It's been bugging me for a while, this story about Rita Katz, because I just *knew* I'd heard about her operations before. For some reason I was thinking it was on a "This American Life" episode, but no luck. I'm pretty sure this lengthy profile in the New Yorker, May 29, 2006, is what I was thinking of.

Worth reading.

dalloway I agree with your statement

What I find intriging about this thread is the layers of suspicion, overlaid with layers of suspicion.

A lot of automatic knee jerking going on all the time.

... what does it mean? really mean? who is behind it? really behind it? really way behind it?...


thanks for the cite.

Daloway and PJ, I think you are both right.

I've long thought a deal was cut with the House of Saud to let OBL get away at Tora Bora.

And let's not forget OBL has tremedous value to this administration.

So, they let him get away, either a deal, or about shit pants that the rangers were about to grab him in Tora Bora --

-- Then the SOB has the audacity to die on his own!!

I wonder how many makeup artists are grifting on the Dick Cheney neocon cut-out fund?

In my previous comment I did not suggest that al-Qaeda manipulated the most recent video releases for counter-intelligence purposes; I don't believe that happened. I was thinking about possibilities for the future, possibly the not very distant future. The political and media circus that the video releases attract, which includes the White House's feeding of source material to favored media, might inspire the creative terrorist organization to look for ways to manipulate the attention. Any counter-intelligence that the organization might obtain could be useful for confounding and embarrassing terrorist-hunters and for planning future publicity or even specific threats.

I don't hold, as some do, that an al-Qaeda video should absolutely never be aired, but government agencies, corporate press, and even bloggers who are considering airing such a video should think carefully about who's playing whom.

Leaders-to-be of al-Qaeda and affiliated or imitative organizations are likely to be more tech-savvy and more tactics-savvy than the old guard. Should the new leaders throw off old strictures that don't countenance lying about sacred missions and abandoning Muslim names, the possibilities to exploit a circus atmosphere will be even more abundant. A lot of terror can be created with or without committing promised violent acts. As Bruce Schneier often exhorts us, we should refuse to be terrorized. We should also expect our elected officials and their appointees to refrain from feeding terror and refrain from giving opportunities to organizations bent on terrorizing us.

Damn. Where's David Mamet when we need him?
This is one strange 'House of Cards'.

This story is very confusing to me. I feel we're missing a famous emptywheel timeline.

Still, it does appear dalloway is right, Cheney & Co appear to have killed the site to protect ObL and/or his cohorts because they are valuable as an 'evil empire' of the moment.

This might be the doorway into the heart of the White House corruption. The Congress should immediately look into it with as much help from sympathetic bloggers as is possible.

I'v been trying to get a take on SITE since they produced tapes with AQ in iraq threats against sweden. Threats made supposedly by omar al-baghdadi a guy the US military says is either dead or a hoax.

Since they only talk with clients and the press it's impossible to say anything about there methods and how professional they are. One guy i e-mailed at st.andrews i scottland called them basically amateurs with and ideological agenda something Mike Sheuer seems to be doing in the new yorker piece on rita katz.

What I find intriging about this thread is the layers of suspicion, overlaid with layers of suspicion. A lot of automatic knee jerking going on all the time. ... what does it mean? really mean? who is behind it? really behind it? really way behind it?...
Posted by: Jodi | October 10, 2007 at 17:32

Such a bold assertion Shit Stain. And here I was thinking you don't bother to read the posts or comments.

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