In his column yesterday, Josh Marshall just hints at this, but a lot more is going to come out about the relationship of private intelligence and defense contractors and how the GOP has used them to carry out covert domestic political spying and all variety of dirty-tricks operations.
MORE below the fold . . .
The surveillance mechanism of privatized intel agencies, along with allied foreign intelligence operations inside the U.S., have been used for domestic partisan advantage and private gain. In return, GOP-allied contractors have been massively enriched by inflated defense and counter-terrorism spending. This is a criminal conspiracy that the FBI is only now beginning to break up after years of obstruction by the GOP. It's a criminal subversion of the political process that threatens the constitutional basis of the American republic.
The career CIA, DIA and FBI have known about this conspiracy for years, but have been muzzled and sidetracked by GOP flacks and hacks. This investigation, along with Plamegate and the OSP-AIPAC cases, show the good guys are fighting back.
Josh Marshall writes: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/...
"Wilkes has deep ties into the CIA. The focal point of those ties is to Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the man Porter Goss appointed to the #3 position at CIA when he took over the Agency last year. Remember, Wilkes' scam was getting corrupt contracts deep in the 'black' world of intelligence and defense appropriations, where there's little or no oversight. Foggo was in the contracting and procurement field at the CIA. So you can see how he and Wilkes, who have been friends since high school, had plenty to talk about.
"The CIA wasn't the only place Wilkes and his protege Wade plied their corrupt trade. There were also in the mix contracting on the Bush Pentagon's extra-constitutional spying operations. And I am told that senior appointees at the DOD knew about their corruption but overlooked it.
"Now, since the Cunningham scandal got under, and particularly of late, there's been a big tug of war between federal law enforcement and the CIA over whether to really go after Wilkes. Probably a little more specificity is in order there, folks at CIA in the orbit of Foggo and presumably Goss."
For more info on how the GOP has misused privatized intelligence agencies and allied foreign intelligence services for political gain, see:
MZM: Private One-Stop Shop for Domestic Dirty-Tricks
by leveymg [Subscribe]
Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 05:04:18 AM PDT
Corrupt MZM defense contractor doing its own oversight?.
It's the entrepreneurial offspring of the commercialization of intelligence. We now see private contractors bribing Congressmen, operating spy agencies, and staffing the commissions charged with investigating their own abuses. Behold, the one-stop shop for political dirty-tricks.
It has emerged in recent years amidst the mania for gov't outsourcing of counter-terrorism, particularly information technology services related to electronic surveillance. Private DoD and Homeland Security contractors have a vested interest in locating and amplifying "threats". This creates a monetary temptation for tailoring the intelligence product to match the expectations of government clients, including the outright falsification of intelligence.
Take, for instance, Wade Mitchell's MZM, a corrupt defense contracting firm tied in with the Cunningham bribery scandal, which recieved millions to develop surveillance technologies for the Pentagon's new domestic spy agencies. TPM Muckraker reports the following disturbing developments:
leveymg's diary :: ::
On background, it should be noted that Laura Rozen's War&Piece column of December 11, 2005, "Wade, Wilkes and Bad Intelligence?" identified Mitchell Wade's MZM defense contracting firm as a culprit in faulty intelligence generation that led to the invasion of Iraq. http://www.warandpiece.com/...
A source cited by Rozen identified MZM as the private contractor cited for support of an errant CIA Iraq WMD assessment used to justify the Bush Administration's argument for war. An MZM analysis erroneously concluded that aluminum tubes ordered by Saddam Hussein were intended for use in a clandestine nuclear fuel enrichment progam that didn't exist. Now, Rosen comes up with the extraordinary find that consultants working for MZM and other intelligence contractors staffed the Robb-Silberman Commission that investigated the faulty Iraq WMD findings.
ANNALS OF GOP SPYING: The Senate e-mail Hack & Leak
by leveymg [Subscribe]
Thu Mar 09, 2006 at 08:21:30 AM PDT
A response to today's Diary by "Daisy Cutter", Is Bush Spying on His Political Opponents? caught my eye. http://www.dailykos.com/....
"Wary" reminds us of an example of Republican political spying that was kept so quiet by the mass media that you probably never heard about it. In November 2003, GOP staff to Senator Hatch, then the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, intercepted and leaked the e-mails of Democratic members. For reasons that weren't made clear, Hatch gave up that powerful post and Arlen Specter took over the Chair.
In addition to fact that this tawdry incident of political spying was all but ignored by most papers, there is a very familiar side to the story -- Robert Novak picked up the story, and spun it in his November 29, 2003 column.
There is a persistent M.O. to these GOP dirty-tricks. Plamegate wasn't the first hack and leak attack, and since passage of Patriot-2 gives the White House even more power to conduct warrantless surveillance, it likely won't be the last.
MORE Below . . . leveymg's diary :: ::
In considering extension of the Patriot Act, the GOP argued that there is little or no evidence of illegal political spying on U.S. Citizens, except warrantless NSA surveillance on "a few thousand" Muslims suspected of communicating with al-Qaeda abroad. The Bush Administration and the GOP Congressional leadership said, trust us, our hands are clean. There was practically no challenge to that heard, and the law was renewed with even more leeway for unwarranted domestic spying by the White House. But, Republicans DID conduct political eavesdropping, and the target was Senate Democrats.
In November 2003, a Republican staffer in Chairman Hatch's office illegally intercepted the communications of Democratic Senators -- thousands of them, including strategy memos -- and selectively leaked them. Robert Novak, still a force to be reckoned with in pre-Fitzgerald Washington, spun the story on its head. To read Bob's column, the Democrats had set up a "Plummer's unit", and this Democratic plot had forced the release of confidential GOP e-mails. Does anyone else see a pattern here?
Here's how the matter was reported by AP in one of the few accounts that appeared at the time:
GOP Lobbyists Spiked Terror Report
by leveymg [Subscribe] [Edit Diary]
Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 10:33:29 AM PDT
GOP lobbyists working for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia behind censorship of the 9/11 Commission report
Rawstory carried a link yesterday to reports that lobbyists working on behalf of Pakistan had persuaded the 9/11 Commission to drop key references to the link between that country's military and intelligence services with the network that financed al-Qaeda. Newspapers in India and Pakistan published these reports earlier this week.(see, *links below)
If true, this would NOT be the first time the 9/11 Commission deleted information embarrassing to countries accused of harboring and financing terrorists. At the time of the publication of the Commission's report in 2004, the panel was widely criticized for the 27-page gap that was redacted from the public version. That section reportedly dealt with Saudi funding sources for the 9/11 attack. According to the new reports, similar types of information about Pakistani links to the hijacking were omitted from the final report.
leveymg's diary :: ::
The articles that have appeared in recent days accuse unnamed members of the Commission or its staff of bowing to lobbyists working for Parvez Musharrif regime.
If these reports are confirmed, it may prompt a reexamination of the files related to 9/11 and would force an official inquiry into the work of the Commissioners, who have been under question for their refusal to incorporate any reference to a Pentagon surveillance program codenamed Able Danger. Officers assigned to that DoD project claim they identified at least four of the 9/11 hijackers months before the attacks occurred. Commission Co-Chairs Lee Hamilton and Tom Keane defended the decision to omit reference to that program, dismissing the Able Danger findings as "historically insignificant."
The covert funding and technology flows to Pakistan's nuclear program, and its international proliferation under A..Q. Khan, are particularly sensitive issues to both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. had that nuclear program under surveillance for decades, and during that time, certain American policy-makers appear to have acted in complicity with some aspects of the program. It has been widely known within U.S. intelligence that the same international financial network that funded Khan's nuclear proliferation was also a funding source for al-Qaeda.
(*LINKS - http://www.telegraphindia.com/.... ; http://www.thefridaytimes.com/ (story available on string at another site, do edit-find for Did Pakistan Influence 9/11 Report : http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/.... )
THE ABRAMOFF FACTOR
These articles come at time that the work of Washington lobbyists is under close scrutiny. Jack Abramoff and associates have been indicted for running a vast scheme to funnel illegal contributions -- a considerable portion of which is foreign sourced -- to leading GOP lawmakers in order to influence votes, and allegations of influence peddling within the Bush White House. A similar scandal involving defense contractors and Republican Congressman has resulted in the conviction of California Congressmen Randall Cunningham.
In 2002, shortly after he took control over Perfect Wave, LLC, a CA defense contractor, Wade hired Alexander Associates, a Georgetown lobbying firm, run by Ed Buckham, Jack Abramoff's former former lobbying partner and former Chief of Staff to GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10454543/
During the mid-1990s, Buckham and Abramoff had been lobbying partners at Preston Gates & Ellis, a large Seattle-based firm, before Buckham took over Alexander Associates and Abramoff became the chief lobbyist of a key Republican lawfirm, Greenberg Traurig. According to The Washington Post, however, Buckham and Abramoff continued to work closely together, sharing clients and staff, while acting as a funding and influence peddling conduit for key GOP lawmakers: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/09/AR2006010901996.html
"Buckham's firm employed DeLay's wife, Christine, for four years. It also benefited by working closely with Abramoff. Abramoff's plea agreement mentioned his close ties to Tony C. Rudy, one of Buckham's colleagues at ASG, identified in the court papers as 'Staffer A.'
"Rudy, a former DeLay aide, worked for Abramoff before joining ASG. According to the plea document, a political consulting firm run by Rudy's wife allegedly received $50,000 in exchange for official actions Rudy took while working for DeLay.
"The firm's collapse also coincides with DeLay's announcement that he will not attempt to regain his former post as House majority leader. DeLay has been indicted on money-laundering charges in his home state and, by House rule, had to give up his leadership position, at least temporarily.
"The end of DeLay's leadership role was a major blow to the lobbying firm. Former DeLay associates have said that ASG and Buckham were key gatekeepers for DeLay with outsiders including lobbyists and their corporate clients.
ASG, based in Georgetown, lobbies for an A-list of about 70 companies and organizations, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Microsoft, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. ASG ranked No. 21 on National Journal's 2005 lobbying list with $8 million in revenue, a 34 percent jump over the previous year.
Financial disclosure forms show that ASG employed Christine DeLay from 1998 to 2002. Lobby filings also show that Buckham hired Julie Doolittle, wife of Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.), to do bookkeeping for a nonprofit group he created called the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council. A year ago, Julie Doolittle and her firm received a subpoena from the grand jury investigating Abramoff, according to her lawyer.
Former lobbying associates have said that Abramoff shared some high-paying clients with ASG, including Malaysian interests, the Mississippi Choctaw Indian tribe and online gambling firms. Federal investigators have questioned some former Abramoff associates about whether those referrals were related to Christine DeLay's employment there, sources said.
The Post reported in November that a federal task force was investigating Abramoff's connections to ASG . . ."
In addition to acting as a conduit for corrupt defense contractors, Abramoff was the registered lobbyist for Pakistan. In 1997, he is alleged to have arranged the travel of a Congressional delegation to Pakistan without informing the members of his relationship with the government of that country. Pakistan had retained the services of Abramoff's lobbying group, Preston Gates & Ellis in 1995, after Congress imposed human rights sanctions and stopped arm shipments during the period of increasing tensions leading up to the first test explosions of Pakistan's nuclear weapons in May, 1998.
According to a New York Times, the trip to Pakistan arranged by Abramoff was sponsored by the National Security Caucus Foundation, a group that claimed to have very prominent figures on its Board, including former Secretaries of State, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger. When the scandal broke, both promptly disclaimed any knowledge of the foundation and the junket
Abramoff's NSA and Domestic Spying Scandal
by leveymg [Subscribe] [Edit Diary]
Wed Jan 25, 2006 at 10:25:59 AM PDT
The National Security Scandals of Jack Abramoff - Part II
(Pt. 1, http://www.dailykos.com/...)
While Jack Abramoff's scandalous rip-off of Indian tribes is well know, his role as a GOP fixer for NSA and CIA contractors has gone virtually under the radar screen. Abramoff's lobbying activities raise serious questions about the role of his corporate and foreign clients in compromising highly sensitive NSA and Capitol Hill communications networks, in domestic spying and in other illegal national security-related activities.
leveymg's diary :: ::
We now learn that Abramoff is at the center of a much wider web of criminal activity involving private-sector NSA contractors and GOP lawmakers. Abramoff served as a conduit between the NSA and private companies that have become the focus of multiple criminal prosecutions and national security investigations, including the abuse of prisoners abroad, and alledged spying on Capitol Hill lawmakers by Abramoff clients.
Yesterday, we reported that Verizon (dba Qwest Wireless), is the focus of an NSA contracting scandal and a little-noticed trial of executives for cooking company books. Attorneys for Qwest's CEO, Joseph Nacchio, raised knowledge of classified government contracts anticipated by Qwest in 2001 as "one of the key elements to his defense." http://www.democraticunderground.com/.... ; also, see, http://today.reuters.com/....
That trial reveals something far more important about the corruption scandal that is gripping top GOP lawmakers. Abramoff and his associates manueuvered his clients -- including now bankrupt Enron, Global Crossing and Tyco International -- into federal contracts that gave them leverage over strategic U.S. markets, a role in framing foreign policy options, or unprecedented private-sector access to operating classified government data networks. This has resulted in the gravest constitutional crisis since Watergate, as well as a massive damage to U.S. national security.
The 2001 Contract to Privatize NSA's Surveillance Systems
In 2001 Verizon, along with CACI (a defense contractor shepherded by Abramoff that heavily contributed to the GOP), was awarded part of a multi-billion dollar NSA contract to privatize the NSA's information technology systems, capabilities that were then used by the Bush Administration to carry out illegal domestic spying. This massive privatization of NSA was managed by its Director at the time, Gen. Michael Hayden. As part of that ten-year program, code-named Project Groundbreaker, NSA surveillance systems continue to be developed, operated and maintained by private sector IT companies. See, http://lists.jammed.com/....
When asked point-blank recently whether the data being funneled into this privatized surveillance system was being used for domestic partisan purposes, Gen. Hayden refused to answer. At a question and answer session following an address at the National Press Club on January 23, 2006, Hayden was asked whether the Bush Administration was wiretapping its domestic political enemies. When Hayden dodged the question, the questioner repeated, "No, I asked, are you targeting us and people who politically oppose the Bush government, the Bush administration? Not a fishing net, but are you targeting specifically political opponents of the Bush administration?" Hayden looked at the questioner, and after a silence called on a different questioner. (Hayden National Press Club remarks, 1/23/06)http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2006/01/hayden012306.html
As is normally the case with matters involving covert operations that become embarassingly public, there are at least three layers to the NSA and CIA spy scandals, all of which prominently feature General Michael Hayden in various roles.
These cover stories are meant to mask the offensive odor of political espionage being conducted by GOP-allied contractors who have been privatizing NSA and CIA operations during the past six years, which coincides with Gen. Hayden's watch at NSA and the tenure of the Bush Administration.
The outer layer of the onion is the lie repeated by Administration spokesmen to the public -- essentially a denial that the NSA is spying on anyone other than al-Qaeda's international communications. The second cover story is the one which is available through open sources to better-informed consumers, such as intelligence beat journalists, bloggers, and middle-level intelligence community personnel -- that acknowledges the obvious fact that, as the Robb-Silberman Commission termed it, a "gross failure" of intelligence system occurred related to pre-Iraq war intelligence, and that certain, limited number of private contractors and officials (MZM and the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center) were the source of massive and pervasive "errors".
The middle cover story has some sex appeal, a scandal involving hookers and Congressmen and a corrupt defense-intel contractor, and the sudden resignation of the CIA's Nos. 1 and 3. The gist of that middle cover story is best captured by an old, inside pages story with a bland headline in The Washington Post, in this case by Walter Pincus, "Intelligence Center, Contractor MZM on Cozy Terms"; Sunday, July 17, 2005; Page A07; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/16/AR2005071601018.html?nav=rss_nation, which portrays Gen. Hayden leading an emergency inter-agency investigation and repair effort. Finally, we come to the heart of the matter.
The inescapable fact -- and this is the "inner-secret" -- is that Hayden has been in charge of the transformation of NSA from a government spy agency tasked with monitoring threats from foreign states that uses technology provided by the private sector into a publicly-funded, privately operated domestic spy conglomerate whose primary mission is to suck up every byte of electronic data produced by every U.S. citizen so that it can analyzed by private corporations using highly classified proprietary algorithms that nobody except their owners, who are virtually uniformly GOP supporters, understand and utilize. After all that has happened to NSA on his watch since 2000, we are now supposed to just simply trust him to be neutral and objective as he similarly takes over and transforms the human intelligence side at CIA. No.
2006. Mark G. Levey