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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Sunday, June 16, 2002
1:43 PM

In Outlook, intelligence analyst Dennis Pluchinsky accuses the press of treason for aiding and abetting the enemy:

I have been analyzing terrorism for the U.S. government for 25 years. My specialty is "threat analysis." ...

While the media have, over the past several weeks, written extensively on alleged intelligence "failures" surrounding the events of Sept. 11, I want to address the media's common-sense "failures." As a terrorism analyst, I am both appalled and confused by many of the post-9/11 articles published at home and abroad, in newspapers, news magazines and academic journals, as well as on the Internet.

Many of these articles have clearly identified for terrorist groups the country's vulnerabilities -- including our food supply, electrical grids, chemical plants, trucking industry, ports, borders, airports, special events and cruise ships. Some of these articles have been lengthy and have provided tactical details useful to terrorist groups. No terrorist group that I am aware of has the time and manpower to conduct this type of extensive research on a multitude of potential targets. Our news media, and certain think tankers and academicians, have done and continue to do the target vulnerability research for them.

He backs off the treason charge at the end of his column, because treason requires intent and "I know the media have not consciously and purposely aided al Qaeda."

But the press is guilty of stupidity and carelessness. Exhibit A: Today's Bob Woodward A1 story on classified plans to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

President Bush early this year signed an intelligence order directing the CIA to undertake a comprehensive, covert program to topple Saddam Hussein, including authority to use lethal force to capture the Iraqi president, according to informed sources.

The presidential order, an expansion of a previous presidential finding designed to oust Hussein, directs the CIA to use all available tools, including:

• Increased support to Iraqi opposition groups and forces inside and outside Iraq including money, weapons, equipment, training and intelligence information.

• Expanded efforts to collect intelligence within the Iraqi government, military, security service and overall population where pockets of intense anti-Hussein sentiment have been detected.

• Possible use of CIA and U.S. Special Forces teams, similar to those that have been successfully deployed in Afghanistan since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Such forces would be authorized to kill Hussein if they were acting in self-defense.

The administration has already allocated tens of millions of dollars to the covert program...

It's not news that Bush wants to take down Hussein, but in these matters every little bit helps; evil men live whether the 9mm round misses them by a mile or a millimeter.

Woodward has supplied Hussein with a general outline of the main lines of attack, as well as an update on the project's funding. You gotta hope this was intentionally leaked to Woodward, well sourced in the intelligence community, as a PsyOps campaign. If not, running this story is idiocy.

The war is once again distant. It is a war. Our enemies understand that and we don't.

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