In a new article on Afterdowningstreet.org former Pentagon Offical Lt. Col Karen Kwaitkowski, whose been extremely outspoken on the subject of the Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans where the Iraq War was ginnied up, makes a series of statements that perhaps many of us would enjoy taking to heart.
There is no doubt in my mind that Feith, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as well as Abe Shulsky should have been (or in the case of Abe Shulsky, still in the Pentagon – be) formally impeached for incompetence, neglect of and disregard for national security, and reckless malfeasance in the conduct of their duties. Impeachment and prosecution for criminal misconduct while holding public office is certainly appropriate in these cases.
Kwiatkowski retired from the military in protest of the Iraq War as hostilities initiated. While there she worked in close proximity to those within the OSP and was able to observe how they functioned up close and personally. Especially Douglas Feith.
SWANSON: Did the operations led by Doug Feith gather intelligence?
KWIATKOWSKI: When I spoke to the DoD IG over a year ago (regarding the investigation that recently produced a report pronouncing the Feith operations as inappropriate), I tried to explain to the IG that what the Feith group and the Office of Special Plans was doing was information manipulation, not the production of what we legitimately call "intelligence." Intelligence is vetted, contextualized, and conservative. What Feith's OSP wanted, needed and produced was inflammatory bits of data, cherry-picked statements, and isolated observations by often shady characters, presented as if they were vetted, contextualized and conservative intelligence. Unlike intelligence, this effort was designed not to inform decision makers, but to shape a national conversation such that decisions already made by the administration (to topple Saddam and get bases in Iraq) could be pursued without political backlash. That's what Doug Feith and his folks did for Bush and Cheney in the Pentagon.
On the issue of whether Feith's stove-piping of unvetted intellegence data was criminal.... you betcha.
Kwiatkowski: A good prosecutor could probably make the case that these guys – Feith, Shulsky, Cheney, etc, broke several other laws. Speaking to the press on issues of national security and top levels of intelligence out of school or without specific authorization from the classifying authority is illegal. For example, if I as a Lt Col in the Air Force, or any member of the military or civil service had given either the press or any Congressmen or women any information that I described as Top Secret or Secret level intelligence, as did the OSP and OSP connected political appointees in 2002 and early 2003, we would have been charged with a crime, and successfully prosecuted. In that prosecution, our intent would have come into play, and this is critical as well. Why exactly were Feith and company lying, and conspiring to mislead Congress?
As many of us know the core of what Karen is describing here are the claims that Iraq still had an agressive program to develop and deploy chemical weapons according to one lone ex-pat Iraqi codenamed "Curveball". This information was passed to the CIA and found it's way into speaches by Colin Powell and President Bush prior to the war - however, neither Powell or DCI George Tenet were never informed that Don Rumsfeld's DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) had gone to Germany to check on Curveball's credibility and found that he had none.
This is about the claims from Ibn Sheik al-libi, a Ghost Detainee who after being tortured and also supported the claims that Iraq had links to Al-Qaeda - yet again the DIA considered him a liar - but CIA and the State Dept were never informed.
Instead these claims, along with the forged Niger documents about yellow-cake uranium and alimium tubes for centerfuges (two claims that were heavily critized by the State and Energy Depts) were paraded out as absolute proof of Saddam's mendacity.
In each case Doug Feith and the DIA stand at the center of the maelstrom.
Considering the wealth of first hand information that Kwiatkowski possesses regarding exactly how this War began you would think that she'd be a very strong candidate to speak to congress on the Senate's Phase II Intelligence investigation. You'd think....
SWANSON: Did you expect to be called to testify?
KWIATKOWSKI: I was not called for the Part II Senate Intelligence Subcommittee investigation, on the politicization of the Iraq intelligence. I had been called for a few hours with the staff of the committee for the Part I investigation in 2004, and yet what I have observed and written about mostly was indeed the politicization. So I don't expect to be called ever again. The only Congressmen I hear from are those who already understand it isn't about Republicans and Democrats, but rather the Constitution and what is right and wrong.
Hmm, I guess not. Maybe that might have something to do with Sen Roberts being too busy swinging from Cheney's Dick.
Frighteningly we now see some of the same intellgence skewing efforts we saw against Iraq being directed against Iran.
SWANSON: Reps. Kucinich and Conyers have suggested they would impeach Bush if he attacks Iran. Good idea? What about impeaching first to prevent it?
KWIATKOWSKI: Great idea. Impeach early and often. That's my advice. It can be done by the House so easily, for so little. Most senior members of the administration involved in our disastrous foreign policy and our incredibly stupid approach to fighting terrorism could be easily impeached for incompetence, wrongdoing, dishonesty, failure to honor the spirit and letter of the constitution and other laws, even in my view, traitorous acts, placing the interests of foreign countries above those of the United States. Some of these impeached officials would be easily removed from office by the Senate, and we would regain our honor as a nation by publicly recognizing their misbehavior.
Please note that Kwiatkowski isn't neccesarily recommending that we Impeach George Bush, although I suspect she supports that idea. She like John Dean is merely pointing out the truism that various administration officials can be impeached and removed by Congress.
Of those still in office, the most likely current candidate to be first up on the chopping block is Albert Gonzales for most recently thumbing his nose at Congressional Subpeonas and forcing out several U.S. Attorney's for political reasons.
Gonzales is they key-stone to the Bush Administration. His advice to ignore Geneva regarding terrorist detainees was tantamount to advising his client (the President) on how to get away with War Crimes!
It's only through his office that an Independant Counsel to investigate the many high crimes and misdemeanors of George W. Bush can be established and succesfully put forth the case to the American People and the Congress. With him in place, Bush is perfectly protected. Without him - the entire ball games shifts into a new court.
Kwiatkowski is absolutely correct - we should Impeach Gonzales, then Cheney, then Bush one by one - Early, Often and hopefully soon.