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Treason: "Firing Squad" for the New York Times?

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June 28, 2006

The Right Wing has gone hog-ass wild over the New York Times' "shocking" report that the Bush Administration is actually tracking terrorists' money transfers. Oh my!

The fruitcakes are in flames! "Stand them in front of a firing squad or put them in prison for the rest of their lives," says one pinhead on Fox TV.

For what? The stunning news that the government is hunting the source of al-Qaeda's cash? "Osama! You must stop using your ATM card! Condi Rice is reading our bank statements!"

Somehow, I suspect bin Laden already assumes his checkbook is getting perused.

It is worth noting that the fanatic screeching for a "firing squad" is a guy who claims to be a former CIA agent. No one can confirm his claim of course, but this character, Wayne Simmons, has made his career blabbering away juicy intelligence secrets to sell himself as an "expert," stuff far racier than the Times' weak report. Well, hypocrisy never stood in the way of the Foxes in the news house.

You want to talk "treason"? OK, let's talk treason. How about Dick Cheney telling his creepy little hitman 'Scooter' Libby to reveal information that led to the naming of a CIA agent? Mr. Simmons, do you have room in your firing squad schedule for the Vice-President?

And no one on Fox complained when the Times, under the by-line of Judith Miller, revealed the secret "intelligence" information that Saddam was building a bomb.

Yes, let's talk treason. How about this: Before the 9/11 attack, George Bush's intelligence chieftains BLOCKED the CIA's investigation of the funding of al-Qaeda and terror.

The "Back-Off" Directive

On November 9, 2001, BBC Television Centre in London received a call from a phone booth just outside Washington. The call to our Newsnight team was part of a complex pre-arranged dance coordinated with the National Security News Service, a conduit for unhappy spooks at the CIA and FBI to unburden themselves of disturbing information and documents.

The top-level U.S. intelligence agent on the line had much to be unhappy and disturbed about: what he called a "back-off" directive.

This call to BBC came two months after the attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Towers. His fellow agents, he said, were now released to hunt bad guys. That was good news. The bad news was that, before September 11, in those weeks just after George W. Bush took office, CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) personnel were told to "back off" certain targets of investigations begun by Bill Clinton.

The agent said, "There were particular investigations that were effectively killed."

Which ones? His reply was none too comforting: Khan Labs.

On February 11, 2004, President Bush, at an emergency press briefing, expressed his shock -- shock! -- at having learned that Dr. A. Q. Khan of Pakistan was running a flea market in fissionable material. But, we knew that from the agent's call -- nearly three years earlier. As the intelligence insider told us, the Khan investigation died because the CIA was not allowed to follow down the money trail ... to Saudi Arabia.

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Greg Palast's investigative reports appear in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and on BBC Television. His latest film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on how Donald Trump stole the 2016 election, is available on Amazon. Palast is Patron of the Trinity (more...)
 
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