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May 25, 2007
ABC: Another opening, another show
Just as Broadway can make money only by endless revivals of old favorites, Brian Ross seems to have an entourage of sources who can always be counted on to provide leaks of national security matters.
This week it's the leak of reported covert operations against Iran's despotic mullahs. Earlier his cast of characters was advancing Saddam's interests. Investigative blogger Fedora, who posts at Free Republic, noted:
Active in encouraging speculation against Berlusconi and Blair were former US intelligence agents linked to VIPS who shuttled between the US and European media. Former CIA agent Vince Cannistraro, who in retirement had gone to work as a security advisor for the Vatican and an intelligence consultant for ABC News (where Morton Halperin's son Mark Halperin served as Political Director) had been serving since the Clinton administration as a frequent source for US correspondents of Britain's Guardian, which was also quoting Valerie Plame's former CIA colleague Larry Johnson (later of VIPS) by September 2002. Cannistraro also served as a source for the Italian media. Although during the Clinton administration various articles had quoted Cannistraro linking Iraq to Al Qaeda, from about September 2002 on Cannistraro began telling US and European reporters that there was no evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He also began complaining, as he expressed it to the Guardian on October 9, 2002, "Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements and there's a lot of unhappiness about it in intelligence, especially among analysts at the CIA." Cannistraro elaborated to the Washington Post on October 25, 2002, "they are undertaking a campaign to get George Tenet. . .fired because they can't get him to say what they want on Iraq." Later Cannistraro would claim that Saddam Hussein used him to make peace overtures to the US via Iraqi agent Tahir Habbush in December 2002, when Hussein was reportedly sending similar messages through channels such as former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter--an antiwar propagandist financed by Iraqi agent Shakir Al-Khafaji--to sympathetic world leaders such as Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Nelson Mandela. Meanwhile as Cannistraro was serving as Saddam Hussein's courier and discrediting Bush's war effort in the European media, the German TV show Panorama broadcast a similar message from VIPS' Ray McGovern and David MacMichael, along with Bob Baer and former UN weapons inspector David Albright, in an episode which aired March 6, 2003, a day before Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, headquartered in Vienna, Austria) first publicized the Niger forgeries. Later Germany's ZDF Television, which been airing interviews about the forgeries with ElBaradei, Baer, and Seymour Hersh, supplied a video of the Niger forgeries to ABC News for a July 15, 2003 show which quoted Cannistraro blaming the forgeries on Italian intelligence: "The Italians, as a NATO ally, thought they had some valuable information that played into current NATO requirements as well as U.S. and U.K. requirements about Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and they passed it on."71
On the same day Kennedy made his statement, a second delegation of US Democratic Congressmen arrived in Iraq, consisting of Kucinich's antiwar coalition ally McDermott, Michigan Congressman and former Democratic Whip David Bonior, and California Congressman Mike Thompson. . .During the trip, McDermott spoke live from Baghdad to ABC's This Week on September 29 to comment on a statement he had previously made, "The President of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war."
On February 15, 2003, Levin, Rockefeller, and their Intelligence Committee colleagues left for their secret fact-finding mission abroad, returning February 27.179 Less than a week later, Levin and Joseph Wilson appeared together with the French ambassador Jean-David Levitte present on ABC's Nightline on March 4, 2003--the same day the US was first informed that the information French intelligence had provided on November 22 had been based on the Niger forgeries.
[Note 71:] Brian Ross, "Intelligence Scam: Flawed Uranium Intelligence Came From Forged Documents Sold to Italians", ABCNews.com, July 15, 2003, http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/uranium030715_docs.html, cached at http://web.archive.org/web/20030801154848/http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/uranium030715_docs.html; Brian Ross, "Forged Iraq Documents Were Full of Flaws: Forged Documents Detailing Uranium Sale Were Full of Errors", July 16, 2003, ABCNews.com, http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=129574&page=1; Brian Ross and Chris Vlasto, "Possible Deal Aborted? Claim: U.S. Government Spurned Peace Talks Before the War With Iraq", ABC News, November 5, 2003, archived at Information Clearing House, |