Monday, February 13, 2006

When Scandals Collide 

Our astute colleague Lukery Land (of Wot Is It Good 4?) has started a new blog, Disclose, Denny, about bribes, money laundering, and the mysterious relationship between Turkish lobbying groups and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (who is, after all, only an impeachment and a quail-hunting accident away from the presidency). Meanwhile, back at his usual crib, Lukery has been corresponding extensively with FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who has given him some interesting insights into Valerie Plame and her work for the CIA front company Brewster-Jennings. From a January e-mail:
Here are some more dots for you:

1. Judge Walton, my original judge (on State Secret Privilege) happened to be 'randomly' appointed to Libby/Plame case. More on Walton later (how he ended up with my case...).

2. Joe Wilson met his wife, Plame, at ATC (American Turkish Council) in 1997. Look up his book, it is there.

3. Brewster Jennings, Plame, dealt with ATC, ATA, and Turkey a lot. Her UC job took [her] to Turkey more than 4-5 times to Turkey between 1997 & 2001. This info has been printed on the front-page of main Turkish papers.

4. IAI, International Advisors Inc, owned & operated by Perle & Feith, was set up & registered as 'Agents for Turkey.'
Ms. Edmonds, of course, is under a DoJ gag order, and cannot directly explain the significance of the hints she is dropping here. Lukery speculates that the administration's outing of Plame may have been motivated by factors more complex than a simple desire to discredit Joseph Wilson:
the pattern seems quite clear - the first 3 scream that traitorgate and sibel-gate are the same story . . . and her final point is the conclusion - i.e. perle and feith outed brewster jennings in order to protect a drug and arms smuggling network through turkey, and sibel knows this because she listened to it all when she was translating the tapes from the ATC and elsewhere.
Lukery also points to The Washington Note, where Steve Clemons writes:
Someone with knowledge of the classified report that Joe Wilson "orally" filed after his now famed investigative trip to Niger shared with me that there were two notes in that report that had nothing to do with Iraq and its purported activities in Niger.

These two notes focused on Iran's interests and possible activities in Niger.

The question is "why would Iran be interested in Niger uranium when it has more than adequate domestic sources of uranium?"

The response that has come from various intelligence sources that I have consulted is that if Iran was trying to access external sources of uranium -- somewhere like Niger -- it is because those "secret efforts" would be outside the international intelligence monitoring of Iran's domestic mining operations.

I do not have the fully articulated "notes" from Joe Wilson's Niger report (in fact, I have just learned that those written "notes" were destroyed), but I have just learned that these Iran-Niger references appear in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on Joe Wilson's Niger trip.

What is fascinating is that one of the staffers of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence mistakenly recorded in the published report that Iraq -- rather than Iran -- attempted to purchase 400-500 tons of uranium. Wilson apparently made clear that it was Iran and not Iraq attempting to make such purchases.
And a commenter at Washington Note adds the (obviously unsubstantiated) detail that Plame's group was tracking Asher Karni, convicted of smuggling nuclear triggers into Pakistan via South Africa:
However, Plame's counter-proliferation network was tracking Karni and had an operative in South Africa who reported on this activity. This operative seems to have been compromised after Plame was outed.

In any event, with the work of Plame's group the Pakistani ISI intercepted and recovered the entire shipment of triggers, which are really electronic modules used for nuclear detonations.

The outing of Plame more and more seems like the work of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) and it seems as though Plame's group was getting too close for comfort to the true perpetrators of this nuclear proliferation.

These facts seem to point to the nuclear trigger episode as a "hurry up" attempt to provide Iran with incriminating evidence as a means to justify the attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
If you'd like to follow Lukery's correspondence with Sibel Edmonds from the beginning, start here.

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