USA/Iran/Nahost: Teheran im US-Visier // Auf dem Kriegspfad gegen den Iran // Umwerben, einkreisen, isolieren // THE COMING WARS

von G.Lange » Dienstag, 18. Januar 2005




Teheran im US-Visier
Brisante Enthüllung eines Pulitzer-Preisträgers:
US-Spezialeinheiten operieren bereits seit Sommer
vergangenen Jahres im Iran. Nächste Kriegsziele ausgespäht

Rainer Rupp

Seit Sommer vergangenen Jahres operieren Spezialeinheiten der US-
Streitkräfte verdeckt innerhalb des Iran. Sie sollen Anlagen des
iranischen Atom- und Raketenprogramms für einen möglichen Angriff
identifizieren. Iran ist »das nächste strategische Ziel« des US-
Krieges gegen den »Terror«. In seinen neuesten Enthüllungen beruft
sich der Journalist und Pulitzer-Preisträger Seymour Hersh auf
Informationen aus Kreisen der Streitkräfte und der Geheimdienste.
Veröffentlicht wurde sein Beitrag »Die kommenden Kriege« in The New
Yorker am Wochenende. Hersh hatte zuletzt mit der Öffentlichmachung
des Folterskandals von Abu Ghraib Aufsehen erregt.

Verunsichert reagierte ein Sprecher des Weißen Hauses. Auf den
Artikel von Hersh angesprochen, erklärte Dan Bartlett, der Beitrag
sei voller Ungenauigkeiten. »Und ich glaube auch nicht, daß einige
Schlüsse, die er gezogen hat, auf Tatsachen basieren.« Im Fernseh-
sender CNN hatte Bartlett zuvor noch betont, daß das Weiße Haus
im Konflikt um das iranische Atomprogramm eine militärische Lösung
»nie ausgeschlossen« habe.

Laut Hersh operieren die US-Spezialeinheiten auf der Grundlage von
Hinweisen pakistanischer Wissenschaftler und seien immer wieder über
die pakistanische und afghanische Grenze in den Iran eingedrungen.
Ziel des Pentagons sei es, Ziele für ein mögliches Bombardement
zu identifizieren. Die USA arbeiteten nach Absprache mit Pakistans
Präsident Pervez Musharraf eng mit pakistanischen Wissenschaftlern
zusammen, die zuvor mit den Iranern kooperiert hätten. Für diese
Unterstützung habe Washington Musharraf zugesichert, daß seine
Regierung nicht gestürzt werde.

Damit erhält auch die Erklärung des iranischen Geheimdienstministers
Ali Yunessi vom 22. Dezember 2004, wonach »zehn Atomspione«, die
»für CIA und Mossad« gearbeitet hätten, in »Teheran und Hormuzgan
(im Südiran)« verhaftet worden seien, einen neuen Stellenwert. Das
Pentagon »wolle in den Iran gehen und soviel militärische Infra-
struktur wie möglich zerstören«, zitiert Hersh einen US-Regierungs-
berater. Ihm sei immer wieder gesagt worden, daß »Iran das nächste
strategische Ziel« der Bush-Administration sei. Irak sei nur eine
Etappe im »Krieg gegen den Terrorismus«, wird ein »hochrangiger Ge-
heimdienstler« zitiert: »Die Bush-Regierung sieht dies als eine große
Kriegszone an. Als nächstes werden wir einen Iran-Krieg haben«.

Doch nicht allein Iran befindet sich im Visier der US-Regierung.
So hat US-Präsident George W. Bush nach Auskunft des Geheimdienst-
mitarbeiters persönlich mehrere Befehle abgesegnet, die geheimen
US-Kommandos verdeckte Operationen gegen vermutete terroristische
Ziele in mindestens zehn Ländern des Mittleren Ostens und Südasiens
erlauben. Die Verantwortung für diese Kommandos liege beim Pentagon.
US-Verteidigungsminister Donald Rumsfeld hat dabei offenbar freie
Hand: Durch den Umbau der US-Geheimdienste und die wachsende Rolle
des Pentagon können die Undercover-Missionen stattfinden, ohne daß
der Kongreß informiert werden muß.

junge Welt vom 18.01.2005
http://www.jungewelt.de/2005/01-18/001.php

* * *

Auf dem Kriegspfad gegen den Iran

Das Pentagon prüft verschiedene Optionen für einen Angriff auf
den Iran. Er soll, so wollen es die Falken, in Bushs neuer Amts-
zeit Wirklichkeit werden

VON BERND PICKERT

Die Vorbereitungen für einen Iranfeldzug als nächsten Schritt im
"Krieg gegen den Terror" sind in vollem Gang. Das schreibt der
profilierte investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh in der neuen
Ausgabe des New Yorker. Unter anderem gebe es seit Sommer 2004
geheime Operationen im Iran selbst.

Der Präsident und seine nationalen Sicherheitsberater hätten die
Kontrolle über die Geheimdienste und verdeckte Operationen in einem
Ausmaß unternommen, das seit der Zeit nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg
unerreicht sei, schreibt Hersh. Bush wolle diese Kontrolle benutzen,
um eine aggressive und ehrgeizige Agenda gegen die Mullahs im Iran
und andere Ziele im Krieg gegen den Terror umzusetzen. In rund zehn
Ländern des Nahen Ostens und Asiens würden derzeit geheime US-Opera-
tionen stattfinden, darunter Algerien, Sudan, Jemen, Syrien, Malaysia
und Tunesien. Anders als bei früheren vergleichbaren Operationen
laufen diese und zukünftige verdeckte Aktionen laut Hersh nicht mehr
unter der Leitung der CIA. Die wird im Zuge der gerade beschlossenen
Geheimdienstreform weiter geschwächt, die Führung des Pentagons
dagegen gestärkt. Einer der wichtigsten Unterschiede: Während CIA-
Operationen den Geheimdienstausschüssen des Kongresses mitgeteilt
werden mussten, gilt das - so jedenfalls die Auslegung des Pentagons -
für militärische Aktivitäten dieser Art nicht. "Das Pentagon fühlt
sich nicht verpflichtet, irgendetwas davon dem Kongress zu berichten",
zitiert Hersh einen anonymen früheren hohen Geheimdienstmitarbeiter.

Eine US-Kommandoeinheit sei dabei, so Hersh, jene pakistanischen
Wissenschaftler nach detaillierten Informationen zu befragen, die
laut Internationaler Atomenergiebehörde rund ein Jahrzehnt lang
Nukleartechnologie an Teheran weitergeleitet hätten. Pakistan habe
die Zusammenarbeit gegen die Zusicherung angeboten, dass die USA auf
die Überstellung von Abdul Qadeer Khan, den Vater der pakistanischen
Atombombe, verzichtet hätten. Diese US-Kommandoeinheit sei inzwischen
von Afghanistan aus in den Iran eingedrungen.

Zu Hershs Angaben passt ein Bericht des Magazins Atlantic Monthly von
Ende 2004 über Pentagon-Simulationen eines dreistufigen Angriffes auf
den Iran, beginnend mit Operationen gegen vermutete Atomanlagen. Die
iranische Regierung hatte im Dezember betont, sie sei auf militärische
Angriffe gegen ihre Atomanlagen bestens vorbereitet. Und bereits im
August vergangenen Jahres hatte sie die Verhaftung einer Reihe von
Personen gemeldet, denen Spionage für ausländische Regierungen vorge-
worfen wurde, namentlich die USA und Israel. "Mehr als zehn Atomspione
wurden im laufenden Jahr verhaftet", zitierte die amtliche iranische
Nachrichtenagentur Irna damals den iranischen Geheimdienstminister.

Tatsächlich haben die USA laut Hershs Bericht auch die geheimdienst-
liche Zusammenarbeit mit Israel verstärkt. Nachdem die israelische
Luftwaffe 1981 den irakischen Atomreaktor bei Osirak kurz vor der
Fertigstellung bombardiert hatte, hatte Iran seine Nuklearanlagen
verlegt, um außerhalb der Reichweite der israelischen F-16-Bomber
zu gelangen. Inzwischen allerdings verfügt Israel über Möglichkeiten,
die Flugzeuge in der Luft aufzutanken, und über U-Boote, von denen
aus Marschflugkörper gestartet werden können.

Auch die seit langem vorliegenden Pläne für eine US-Invasion in den
Iran werden laut Hersh derzeit überarbeitet, haben sich doch die
strategischen Bedingungen inzwischen stark verändert: War früher
ausschließlich der Seeweg für Landungsoperationen denkbar, so gibt
es inzwischen mit Afghanistan und Irak gleich zwei Nachbarländer
mit starker US-amerikanischer Militärpräsenz, zuzüglich den Militär-
stützpunkten in den zentralasiatischen Republiken, die sich seit
dem Afghanistankrieg dort festgesetzt haben.

Hersh berichtet über verschiedene Optionen, was den Zeitplan für
Aktionen gegen den Iran angeht - sicher erscheint nur, dass die
Falken im Pentagon in jedem Fall Bushs zweite Amtszeit nutzen wollen.
Die europäischen Initiativen, die Teheraner Regierung durch Ver-
handlungen und Angebote zum Aufgeben ihres Atomprogramms zu bewegen,
sollten dabei schlicht ausgebremst werden. Dazu reicht zum Teil
bereits, dass Washington einfach nicht mitmacht. Denn natürlich
können die drei EU-Länder Frankreich, Großbritannien und Deutschland
kaum glaubwürdig verhandeln, wenn sie keine Garantie anbieten können,
dass Israel und die USA auf militärische Aktionen verzichten, falls
Iran sich kooperationsbereit zeigt. So kann der Verhandlungsprozess
fast nur scheitern. Der UN-Sicherheitsrat wäre durch mögliche Vetos
Chinas und Russlands nicht handlungsfähig - und so könnten die USA
sich schnell darauf zurückziehen, dass zur Eindämmung der vom Iran
ausgehenden atomaren Gefahr nur die militärische Lösung bleibt. Die
scheint ohnehin beschlossene Sache, denn den Neokonservativen geht
es nur vordergründig um Atomwaffen: Auf die Frage, was das Ziel
für den Iran sei, sagte Richard Perle, der einflussreiche ehemalige
Berater im Verteidigungsministerium, schon im Juni 2003 im taz-
Interview: Regimewechsel.

taz, vom 18.1.2005,
http://www.taz.de/pt/2005/01/18/a0199.nf/text

* * *

STRATEGIEN DER USA GEGEN DIE ATOMMACHT IRAN
Umwerben, einkreisen, isolieren

Hinter den Attentaten im Irak sieht das Verteidigungsministerium in
Bagdad die Regierungen der Nachbarstaaten Iran und Syrien. Solche
Anschuldigungen fügen sich in die Pläne, die in der Bush-Administra-
tion gegen den "Schurkenstaat" Iran entwickelt wurden. Die neokonser-
vativen Strategen im Pentagon wollen nicht nur - wie die meisten EU-
Staaten - die atomare Aufrüstung Teherans stoppen. Langfristig ver-
folgen sie immer noch den Plan, das Regime dort zu Fall zu bringen.

Von WALID CHARARA *

IN ihrem Feldzug gegen den Terrorismus hat sich die US-Regierung
unter George W. Bush die Neugestaltung des Nahen Ostens auf ihre
Fahne geschrieben.(1) Dass die Besetzung des Irak bislang ein
gewaltiger Fehlschlag ist, scheint diesem Plan keinen Abbruch zu
tun. Nun konzentriert man sich auf den Iran; und die vorgelegten
"Beweise" für die Bedrohung, die angeblich von der Islamischen
Republik ausgeht, gleichen den einstigen Vorwürfen gegen das Regime
von Saddam Hussein aufs Haar: Herstellung von Massenvernichtungs-
waffen, Unterstützung des Terrorismus, Verbindungen zu al-Qaida.

Im Unterschied zu den gestürzten Machthabern im Irak hat der Iran
tatsächlich ein Atomprogramm betrieben, in dessen Rahmen auch die
Erzeugung von waffenfähigem Uran möglich war. Dies führen die USA
nun als Beleg für die kriegerischen Absichten Teherans ins Feld.
Condoleezza Rice, die derzeitige Sicherheitsberaterin und künftige
Außenministerin von Präsident Bush, hat seit langem angekündigt,
Washington werde alles tun, um den Iran zur Aufgabe seiner nuklearen
Projekte zu zwingen.

Eine ähnliche Position nimmt Israel ein. Meir Dagan, Chef des Aus-
landsgeheimdienstes Mossad, erklärte das iranische Atomprogramm zur
"größten Bedrohung für die Existenz des Staates Israel seit seiner
Gründung". Anfang 2003, vor dem Einmarsch in den Irak, hatte der
israelische Generalstab darauf gedrängt, den Iran zum Hauptfeind zu
erklären. Janes Defense Weekly berichtete schon im Juni 2002, dass
Israel Pläne für einen "Präventivschlag" gegen iranische Forschungs-
zentren und Nukleareinrichtungen in der Schublade habe und lediglich
auf grünes Licht aus Washington warte. (2)

Damals verweigerten die USA ihre Zustimmung, doch inzwischen gelten
andere Bedingungen. Auch wenn im Augenblick die Zügelung der nuklearen
Ambitionen des Iran Vorrang hat - langfristig bleibt das Hauptziel
der US-Politik in der Region das gleiche wie 1979: das Ende der Isla-
mischen Republik.

Die Feindschaft gegen den Iran gehört seit einem Vierteljahrhundert -
in schwankender Intensität - zu den Konstanten der US-Außenpolitik.
Daran konnte auch die merkliche Veränderung in der Haltung der ira-
nischen Führung nichts ändern. Seit Anfang der 1990er-Jahre bemühte
sich Teheran um die Normalisierung der Beziehungen zu den Nachbar-
staaten in der Region - vor allem zu Saudi-Arabien - und um den Aus-
bau politischer und wirtschaftlicher Kontakte zur Europäischen Union,
zu Russland, China und Indien. Internationale Experten haben diese
Anstrengungen wiederholt gewürdigt. Emmanuel Todd etwa konstatierte
vor zwei Jahren, dass der Iran "sich eindeutig auf dem Weg der innen-
und außenpolitischen Befriedung befindet". (3)

Erstaunlicherweise hat sich die Islamische Republik in manchen außen-
politischen Fragen den Positionen der USA angenähert und dabei sogar
Grenzen überschritten, die zuvor als unantastbar galten. So unter-
stützte Teheran 2001 den US-amerikanischen Feldzug gegen Afghanistan,
und auch 2003 zeigte sich die iranische Regierung ausgesprochen
kooperativ: Schiitische Organisationen im Irak wurden mobilisiert,
um den US-Einmarsch zu unterstützen. An der iranfeindlichen Haltung
der USA konnten diese deutlichen Gesten nicht viel ändern. Zu stark
war der Einfluss neokonservativer Berater um Verteidigungsminister
Donald Rumsfeld. Vor wie nach der Irakinvasion betonten die USA immer
wieder, das "demokratische Beispiel" müsse nun rasch auch im Iran
Schule machen und zum Sturz des Regimes führen.

Heute versuchen die USA, diesen Plänen durch eine Politik der
Einkreisung Nachdruck zu verleihen: Sie verstärken ihre militärische
Präsenz in den Nachbarstaaten. Zugleich versuchen sie, den politische
Einfluss der Islamischen Republik außerhalb ihres Territoriums zu
beschneiden und das Land außenpolitisch zu isolieren. Damit verfolgen
sie letztlich eine Strategie der direkten und indirekten Destabili-
sierung des Regimes in Teheran.

Für die Hartnäckigkeit der Regierung Bush in dieser Frage gibt
es - hinter dem ideologischen Rauchvorhang des neuen demokratischen
Messianismus - zwei handfeste Gründe. Der eine ist die geostrate-
gische Bedeutung des Iran: Ein unabhängiger und wirtschaftlich
bedeutender Staat mit 70 Millionen Einwohnern, der Militärabkommen
mit Russland und China geschlossen hat und eine Rolle als Regional-
macht beansprucht, muss den USA wie die letzte Bastion gegen ihre
dauerhafte Vormachtstellung im Nahen Osten erscheinen. Als Atommacht
wäre der Iran ein attraktiver Partner für Europa, China, Russland
und Indien - für Mächte also, die in den Analysen des Pentagons
bereits als künftige "gleichrangige Konkurrenten" der USA ausgewiesen
werden.

Zudem tritt Teheran als der letzte regionale Verbündete von Staaten
und Organisationen auf, die nach wie vor den Kampf gegen Israel
führen. Libanon und Syrien, die Hisbollah und einige palästinensische
Gruppen haben alle regionale und internationale Rückendeckung ver-
loren und würden ohne Beistand aus dem Iran gegen die Militärmacht
Israel praktisch auf verlorenem Posten stehen.

In der gegenwärtigen Situation findet der Iran Gründe genug, auf
Atomwaffen zu setzen. Die Lage ist zunehmend brisant, und man ist
entschlossen, das Land zur "heiligen Erde" zu erklären, die es um
jeden Preis gegen Angriffe der USA oder Israels zu verteidigen gilt.
Nach Ansicht mancher Experten geht es dabei allein um nukleare
Abschreckung. "Es kann ja nicht um einen Angriff gehen", meint zum
Beispiel der amerikanische Publizist Michael Mann. "Wer es wagt,
Raketen gegen die USA zu starten, hat sein Todesurteil unter-
schrieben. Eine Bedrohung Amerikas können diese Waffen also keines-
falls darstellen. Aber auch die üblichen Anlässe für Konflikte
zwischen Nachbarstaaten können den Einsatz von Atomwaffen nicht
rechtfertigen, schon weil der radioaktive Fallout über beiden
Konfliktparteien niedergehen würde. Dennoch versuchen alle Länder,
die einen Angriff der USA oder eines übermächtigen Nachbarn fürchten,
mit allen Mitteln, in den Besitz von Atomwaffen zu gelangen, und
berufen sich auf die Legitimität der Selbstverteidigung." (4)

In der Absicht, den Eintritt des Iran in den Kreis der Atommächte
zu verhindern, ist sich Europa mit den USA einig - eine strategische
Allianz, die an das Bündnis gegen den Irak von 1990, nach dem
Einmarsch in Kuwait, erinnert. Damals wie heute ging es darum, die
Entstehung einer islamischen Regionalmacht zu verhindern, die sich
gegen Israel stellt und das bestehende Kräfteverhältnis zuungunsten
des jüdischen Staates verändern könnte. Trotz solcher gemeinsamer
Interessen besteht Uneinigkeit über die aktuellen Ziele der Politik.
Die Europäer wären bereit, die Beziehungen zum Iran zu normalisieren,
wenn Teheran das militärische Atomprogramm aufgäbe. Die USA sähen
ein solches Einlenken nur als Ermutigung für die "internationale
Gemeinschaft", den Druck auf den Iran zu verstärken und das Regime
zu stürzen.

Um die iranischen Pläne zur atomaren Bewaffnung zu vereiteln, scheint
es derzeit nur zwei Möglichkeiten zu geben: Entweder man verstärkt
die diplomatischen Bemühungen, um Teheran zum Verzicht zu bewegen,
oder man setzt militärische Mittel ein, um die Atomanlagen zu zer-
stören. Dass in Tel Aviv und Washington keine grundsätzlichen Bedenken
gegen eine gewaltsame Lösung bestehen, hat sich bereits 1980 bei der
Bombardierung des iranischen Atomreaktors Osirak durch die israelische
Luftwaffe gezeigt. Heute allerdings stehen einer solchen Aktion sowohl
aus technischen wie aus militärisch-politischen Gründen Hindernisse
entgegen, die den Einsatz von Gewalt wenig wahrscheinlich machen.

Technisch gesehen ist es kaum möglich, sämtliche iranischen Atoman-
lagen zu zerstören, da sie überall im Land verteilt sind. Politisch-
militärisch ist davon auszugehen, dass der Iran auf einen US-ameri-
kanischen oder einen israelischen Angriff mit Gegenschlägen reagieren
würde - entweder mit seinen Langstreckenraketen, die Israel erreichen
können, oder indem er die libanesische Hisbollah zu Attacken aus
dem Südlibanon aufruft. In jedem Fall wäre die Folge ein regionaler
Konflikt, in den zumindest Syrien und der Libanon involviert würden.
Zudem verfügt Teheran über genügend Einfluss auf die schiitische
Bevölkerung im Irak und in Afghanistan, um dort Offensiven gegen die
US-amerikanischen Besatzungstruppen zu starten.

Offensichtlich muss man sich also auf diplomatische und wirtschaft-
liche Druckmittel verlassen. Als flankierende Maßnahme ist es unver-
zichtbar, das Regime in Teheran von seinen Verbündeten in der Region
zu isolieren, um es anfälliger für Druck von außen zu machen und um
sich selbst die militärische Option offen zu halten. Die USA haben
sich zu diesem Zweck eine Dreifrontenstrategie ausgedacht. An der
syrisch-libanesischen Front erhöhen sie, unterstützt durch Frankreich,
den Druck auf Damaskus. Ein erstes Resultat war die UN-Sicherheits-
rats-Resolution 1559, mit der Syrien aufgefordert wird, seine Truppen
aus dem Libanon abzuziehen und für die Entwaffnung der palästinen-
sischen und libanesischen Hisbollah sowie den Abzug der libanesischen
Armee von der Grenze zu Israel zu sorgen.

Die eigentliche Botschaft lautet: Wenn Syrien seine Allianz mit dem
Iran nicht aufkündigt und auf Distanz zu der von Teheran gestützten
Hisbollah geht, wird es zum Rückzug aus dem Libanon gezwungen. Mit
der Resolution 1559 soll vor allem ein Signal für die gesamte Region
gesetzt werden. Das erklärt im Übrigen auch die überraschende Haltung
Frankreichs in dieser Angelegenheit, die für die Pariser Nahostpolitik
eigentlich untypisch ist. Über die Libanonpolitik und Handelsfragen
gab es zwar schon seit langem Streit zwischen Paris und Damaskus,
und hinzu kommen die persönlichen Verbindungen von Präsident Jacques
Chirac zum libanesischen Expremier Rafik Hariri (der inzwischen
gegen Syrien Front macht). Doch die derzeitige französische Position
bedeutet eine Kurskorrektur, die sich nicht aus diesen Differenzen,
sondern nur daraus erklären lässt, dass man gemeinsam mit den USA
die syrisch-iranische Allianz zerschlagen will.

Eine weitere Front gegen den iranischen Einfluss haben die USA
im Irak eröffnet. Der Feldzug, den britische und US-amerikanische
Truppen ab April 2004 gegen die Milizen des Imams Muktada al-Sadr
führten, sollte nicht nur dessen Widerstand gegen die Besatzung
beenden. Es ging auch darum, eine von Teheran gestützte politische
Kraft auszuschalten. Die guten Beziehungen der USA zu anderen
Fraktionen der irakischen Schiiten, der Dawa-Partei oder dem
Obersten Rat der Islamischen Revolution (die beide in der Über-
gangsregierung unter Präsident Allawi vertreten sind) sind Ausdruck
der "Teile und herrsche"-Strategie Washingtons: Man beteiligt einige
Fraktionen an der Macht und erhöht damit den Druck auf die notorisch
proiranischen Gruppen.

Außerdem erhielten 4.000 Kämpfer der "Iranischen Volksmudschaheddin"
- die offiziell auf der US-Liste terroristischer Organisationen
stehen - im Irak politisches Asyl. Offenbar hat man mit ihnen Frieden
geschlossen, um sie gegen den Iran einsetzen zu können. Einige MKO-
Mitglieder haben bereits Enthüllungen über die geheimen Nuklearpro-
gramme des Iran zu Protokoll gegeben. In ähnlicher Weise hatten die
US-Geheimdienste vor dem Einmarsch den Irakischen Nationalkongress
unter Ahmed Chalabi für ihre Zwecke eingespannt.

Die dritte antiiranische Front verläuft in Afghanistan. Unter dem
Vorwand, die Stellung staatlicher Institutionen gegen die regionalen
Kriegsherren zu stärken, wurde Präsident Hamid Karsai als Verbündeter
der USA ermutigt, den legendären Mudschaheddin-Führer Ismail Khan in
Herat zu entmachten, der seit je gute Beziehungen zum Iran pflegt.
Ismail Khan ist allerdings nicht der einzige Verbündete des Iran in
der Region. Teheran unterhält auch beste Verbindungen zu verschiedenen
Gruppierungen der einstigen Nordallianz. So leicht werden die USA den
Einfluss des Iran also nicht zurückdrängen können.

Noch ist es zwischen Teheran und Washington nicht zum offenen Konflikt
gekommen. Doch die US-Regierung hat das Projekt der Umgestaltung
des Nahen Ostens nicht aufgegeben. Das bedeutet Kollisionskurs gegen
den Iran und zwangsläufig weitere Interessenkonflikte mit wichtigen
Staaten der Region. Sollten die USA stur auf Konfrontation setzen,
werden sie einen regionalen Konflikt auslösen, der den gesamten Nahen
Osten in Brand setzen könnte.

deutsch von Edgar Peinelt

* Journalist, Autor (gemeinsam mit Frédéric Domont) von:
"Hezbollah. Un mouvement islamo-nationaliste", Paris
(Fayard) 2004.

Fußnoten:

1. Siehe Gilbert Achcar, "Les masques de la politique américaine",
Manière de voir No. 78, Dezember 2004.
2. Siehe auch The Times (London), 28. Juni 2002.
3. Emmanuel Todd, "Après l'empire", Paris (Gallimard) 2002, S. 9.
4. Michael Mann, "Die ohnmächtige Supermacht",
Frankfurt a. M.; New York (Campus) 2003.

Le Monde diplomatique, Januar 2005

* * *

THE COMING WARS

by SEYMOUR M. HERSH

What the Pentagon can now do in secret.

Issue of 2005-01-24 and 31
Posted 2005-01-17

George W. Bush's reelection was not his only victory last fall. The
President and his national-security advisers have consolidated control
over the military and intelligence communities' strategic analyses and
covert operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-
Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and
ambitious agenda for using that control--against the mullahs in Iran
and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism--during his second
term. The C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will
increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties
to the Pentagon put it, as "facilitators" of policy emanating from
President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well
under way.

Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush
Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal
in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the
region. Bush's reelection is regarded within the Administration as
evidence of America's support for his decision to go to war. It has
reaffirmed the position of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon's
civilian leadership who advocated the invasion, including Paul
Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Douglas Feith,
the Under-secretary for Policy. According to a former high-level
intelligence official, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with
the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them,
in essence, that the naysayers had been heard and the American
people did not accept their message. Rumsfeld added that America was
committed to staying in Iraq and that there would be no second-
guessing.

"This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign.
The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone," the
former high-level intelligence official told me. "Next, we're going
to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys,
wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah--we've got
four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on
terrorism."

Bush and Cheney may have set the policy, but it is Rumsfeld who
has directed its implementation and has absorbed much of the public
criticism when things went wrong--whether it was prisoner abuse in
Abu Ghraib or lack of sufficient armor plating for G.I.s' vehicles
in Iraq. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called
for Rumsfeld's dismissal, and he is not widely admired inside the
military. Nonetheless, his reappointment as Defense Secretary was
never in doubt.

Rumsfeld will become even more important during the second term. In
interviews with past and present intelligence and military officials,
I was told that the agenda had been determined before the Presidential
election, and much of it would be Rumsfeld's responsibility. The
war on terrorism would be expanded, and effectively placed under the
Pentagon's control. The President has signed a series of findings and
executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special
Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist
targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

The President's decision enables Rumsfeld to run the operations off
the books--free from legal restrictions imposed on the C.I.A. Under
current law, all C.I.A. covert activities overseas must be authorized
by a Presidential finding and reported to the Senate and House
intelligence committees. (The laws were enacted after a series of
scandals in the nineteen-seventies involving C.I.A. domestic spying
and attempted assassinations of foreign leaders.) "The Pentagon
doesn't feel obligated to report any of this to Congress," the
former high-level intelligence official said. "They don't even call
it 'covert ops'--it's too close to the C.I.A. phrase. In their view,
it's `black reconnaissance.' They're not even going to tell the
cincs"--the regional American military commanders-in-chief. (The
Defense Department and the White House did not respond to requests
for comment on this story.)

In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic
target was Iran. "Everyone is saying, `You can't be serious about
targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,'" the former intelligence official
told me. "But they say, 'We've got some lessons learned--not
militarily, but how we did it politically. We're not going to rely
on agency pissants.' No loose ends, and that's why the C.I.A. is
out of there."

For more than a year, France, Germany, Britain, and other countries
in the European Union have seen preventing Iran from getting a nuclear
weapon as a race against time--and against the Bush Administration.
They have been negotiating with the Iranian leadership to give up
its nuclear-weapons ambitions in exchange for economic aid and trade
benefits. Iran has agreed to temporarily halt its enrichment programs,
which generate fuel for nuclear power plants but also could produce
weapons-grade fissile material. (Iran claims that such facilities are
legal under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or N.P.T., to which
it is a signator, and that it has no intention of building a bomb.)
But the goal of the current round of talks, which began in December
in Brussels, is to persuade Tehran to go further, and dismantle its
machinery. Iran insists, in return, that it needs to see some concrete
benefits from the Europeans--oil-production technology, heavy-
industrial equipment, and perhaps even permission to purchase a fleet
of Airbuses. (Iran has been denied access to technology and many goods
owing to sanctions.)

The Europeans have been urging the Bush Administration to join in
these negotiations. The Administration has refused to do so. The
civilian leadership in the Pentagon has argued that no diplomatic
progress on the Iranian nuclear threat will take place unless there
is a credible threat of military action. "The neocons say negotiations
are a bad deal," a senior official of the International Atomic Energy
Agency (I.A.E.A.) told me. "And the only thing the Iranians understand
is pressure. And that they also need to be whacked."

The core problem is that Iran has successfully hidden the extent
of its nuclear program, and its progress. Many Western intelligence
agencies, including those of the United States, believe that Iran is
at least three to five years away from a capability to independently
produce nuclear warheads--although its work on a missile-delivery
system is far more advanced. Iran is also widely believed by Western
intelligence agencies and the I.A.E.A. to have serious technical
problems with its weapons system, most notably in the production of
the hexafluoride gas needed to fabricate nuclear warheads.

A retired senior C.I.A. official, one of many who left the agency
recently, told me that he was familiar with the assessments, and
confirmed that Iran is known to be having major difficulties in its
weapons work. He also acknowledged that the agency's timetable for a
nuclear Iran matches the European estimates--assuming that Iran gets
no outside help. "The big wild card for us is that you don't know
who is capable of filling in the missing parts for them," the recently
retired official said. "North Korea? Pakistan? We don't know what
parts are missing."

One Western diplomat told me that the Europeans believed they were
in what he called a "lose-lose position" as long as the United States
refuses to get involved. "France, Germany, and the U.K. cannot succeed
alone, and everybody knows it," the diplomat said. "If the U.S. stays
outside, we don't have enough leverage, and our effort will collapse."
The alternative would be to go to the Security Council, but any
resolution imposing sanctions would likely be vetoed by China or
Russia, and then "the United Nations will be blamed and the Americans
will say, `The only solution is to bomb.'"

A European Ambassador noted that President Bush is scheduled to visit
Europe in February, and that there has been public talk from the White
House about improving the President's relationship with America's E.U.
allies. In that context, the Ambassador told me, "I'm puzzled by the
fact that the United States is not helping us in our program. How can
Washington maintain its stance without seriously taking into account
the weapons issue?"

The Israeli government is, not surprisingly, skeptical of the European
approach. Silvan Shalom, the Foreign Minister, said in an interview
last week in Jerusalem,with another New Yorker journalist, "I don't
like what's happening. We were encouraged at first when the Europeans
got involved. For a long time, they thought it was just Israel's
problem. But then they saw that the [Iranian] missiles themselves
were longer range and could reach all of Europe, and they became very
concerned. Their attitude has been to use the carrot and the stick--
but all we see so far is the carrot." He added, "If they can't comply,
Israel cannot live with Iran having a nuclear bomb."

In a recent essay, Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert who is the deputy
director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (and a
supporter of the Administration), articulated the view that force, or
the threat of it, was a vital bargaining tool with Iran. Clawson wrote
that if Europe wanted cooperation with the Bush Administration it
"would do well to remind Iran that the military option remains on
the table." He added that the argument that the European negotiations
hinged on Washington looked like "a preemptive excuse for the likely
breakdown of the E.U.-Iranian talks." In a subsequent conversation
with me, Clawson suggested that, if some kind of military action
was inevitable, "it would be much more in Israel's interest--and
Washington's--to take covert action. The style of this Administration
is to use overwhelming force--'shock and awe.' But we get only one
bite of the apple."

There are many military and diplomatic experts who dispute the
notion that military action, on whatever scale, is the right
approach. Shahram Chubin, an Iranian scholar who is the director
of research at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, told me,
"It's a fantasy to think that there's a good American or Israeli
military option in Iran." He went on, "The Israeli view is that
this is an international problem. `You do it,' they say to the
West. 'Otherwise, our Air Force will take care of it.'" In 1981,
the Israeli Air Force destroyed Iraq's Osirak reactor, setting its
nuclear program back several years. But the situation now is both
more complex and more dangerous, Chubin said. The Osirak bombing
"drove the Iranian nuclear-weapons program underground, to hardened,
dispersed sites," he said. "You can't be sure after an attack that
you'll get away with it. The U.S. and Israel would not be certain
whether all the sites had been hit, or how quickly they'd be rebuilt.
Meanwhile, they'd be waiting for an Iranian counter-attack that could
be military or terrorist or diplomatic. Iran has long-range missiles
and ties to Hezbollah, which has drones--you can't begin to think of
what they'd do in response."

Chubin added that Iran could also renounce the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty. "It's better to have them cheating
within the system," he said. "Otherwise, as victims, Iran will
walk away from the treaty and inspections while the rest of the
world watches the N.P.T. unravel before their eyes."

The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions
inside Iran at least since last summer. Much of the focus is on the
accumulation of intelligence and targeting information on Iranian
nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and suspected.
The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more,
such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-
term commando raids. "The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into
Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible,"
the government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon told me.

Some of the missions involve extraordinary cooperation. For example,
the former high-level intelligence official told me that an American
commando task force has been set up in South Asia and is now working
closely with a group of Pakistani scientists and technicians who had
dealt with Iranian counterparts. (In 2003, the I.A.E.A. disclosed
that Iran had been secretly receiving nuclear technology from Pakistan
for more than a decade, and had withheld that information from
inspectors.) The American task force, aided by the information from
Pakistan, has been penetrating eastern Iran from Afghanistan in a
hunt for underground installations. The task-force members, or their
locally recruited agents, secreted remote detection devices--known as
sniffers--capable of sampling the atmosphere for radioactive emissions
and other evidence of nuclear-enrichment programs.

Getting such evidence is a pressing concern for the Bush
Administration. The former high-level intelligence official told
me, "They don't want to make any W.M.D. intelligence mistakes,
as in Iraq. The Republicans can't have two of those. There's no
education in the second kick of a mule." The official added that
the government of Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani President, has
won a high price for its cooperation--American assurance that
Pakistan will not have to hand over A. Q. Khan, known as the
father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, to the I.A.E.A. or to any other
international authorities for questioning. For two decades, Khan
has been linked to a vast consortium of nuclear-black-market
activities. Last year, Musharraf professed to be shocked when Khan,
in the face of overwhelming evidence, "confessed" to his activities.
A few days later, Musharraf pardoned him, and so far he has refused
to allow the I.A.E.A. or American intelligence to interview him.
Khan is now said to be living under house arrest in a villa in
Islamabad. "It's a deal--a trade-off," the former high-level
intelligence official explained. "`Tell us what you know about Iran
and we will let your A. Q. Khan guys go.' It's the neoconservatives'
version of short-term gain at long-term cost. They want to prove
that Bush is the anti-terrorism guy who can handle Iran and the
nuclear threat, against the long-term goal of eliminating the black
market for nuclear proliferation."

The agreement comes at a time when Musharraf, according to a former
high-level Pakistani diplomat, has authorized the expansion of
Pakistan's nuclear-weapons arsenal. "Pakistan still needs parts
and supplies, and needs to buy them in the clandestine market," the
former diplomat said. "The U.S. has done nothing to stop it."

There has also been close, and largely unacknowledged, cooperation
with Israel. The government consultant with ties to the Pentagon said
that the Defense Department civilians, under the leadership of Douglas
Feith, have been working with Israeli planners and consultants to
develop and refine potential nuclear, chemical-weapons, and missile
targets inside Iran. (After Osirak, Iran situated many of its nuclear
sites in remote areas of the east, in an attempt to keep them out
of striking range of other countries, especially Israel. Distance
no longer lends such protection, however: Israel has acquired three
submarines capable of launching cruise missiles and has equipped some
of its aircraft with additional fuel tanks, putting Israeli F-16I
fighters within the range of most Iranian targets.)

"They believe that about three-quarters of the potential targets can
be destroyed from the air, and a quarter are too close to population
centers, or buried too deep, to be targeted," the consultant said.
Inevitably, he added, some suspicious sites need to be checked out by
American or Israeli commando teams--in on-the-ground surveillance--
before being targeted.

The Pentagon's contingency plans for a broader invasion of Iran
are also being updated. Strategists at the headquarters of the
U.S. Central Command, in Tampa, Florida, have been asked to revise
the military's war plan, providing for a maximum ground and air
invasion of Iran. Updating the plan makes sense, whether or not the
Administration intends to act, because the geopolitics of the region
have changed dramatically in the last three years. Previously, an
American invasion force would have had to enter Iran by sea, by way
of the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Oman; now troops could move in on
the ground, from Afghanistan or Iraq. Commando units and other assets
could be introduced through new bases in the Central Asian republics.

It is possible that some of the American officials who talk about the
need to eliminate Iran's nuclear infrastructure are doing so as part
of a propaganda campaign aimed at pressuring Iran to give up its
weapons planning. If so, the signals are not always clear. President
Bush, who after 9/11 famously depicted Iran as a member of the "axis
of evil," is now publicly emphasizing the need for diplomacy to run
its course. "We don't have much leverage with the Iranians right now,"
the President said at a news conference late last year. "Diplomacy
must be the first choice, and always the first choice of an
administration trying to solve an issue of . . . nuclear armament.
And we'll continue to press on diplomacy."

In my interviews over the past two months, I was given a much harsher
view. The hawks in the Administration believe that it will soon become
clear that the Europeans' negotiated approach cannot succeed, and that
at that time the Administration will act. "We're not dealing with a
set of National Security Council option papers here," the former high-
level intelligence official told me. "They've already passed that
wicket. It's not if we're going to do anything against Iran. They're
doing it."

The immediate goals of the attacks would be to destroy, or at least
temporarily derail, Iran's ability to go nuclear. But there are other,
equally purposeful, motives at work. The government consultant told
me that the hawks in the Pentagon, in private discussions, have been
urging a limited attack on Iran because they believe it could lead to
a toppling of the religious leadership. "Within the soul of Iran there
is a struggle between secular nationalists and reformers, on the one
hand, and, on the other hand, the fundamentalist Islamic movement,"
the consultant told me. "The minute the aura of invincibility which
the mullahs enjoy is shattered, and with it the ability to hoodwink
the West, the Iranian regime will collapse"--like the former Communist
regimes in Romania, East Germany, and the Soviet Union. Rumsfeld and
Wolfowitz share that belief, he said.

"The idea that an American attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would
produce a popular uprising is extremely illinformed," said Flynt
Leverett, a Middle East scholar who worked on the National Security
Council in the Bush Administration. "You have to understand that the
nuclear ambition in Iran is supported across the political spectrum,
and Iranians will perceive attacks on these sites as attacks on their
ambitions to be a major regional player and a modern nation that's
technologically sophisticated." Leverett, who is now a senior
fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, at the Brookings
Institution, warned that an American attack, if it takes place, "will
produce an Iranian backlash against the United States and a rallying
around the regime."

Rumsfeld planned and lobbied for more than two years before getting
Presidential authority, in a series of findings and executive orders,
to use military commandos for covert operations. One of his first
steps was bureaucratic: to shift control of an undercover unit, known
then as the Gray Fox (it has recently been given a new code name),
from the Army to the Special Operations Command (socom), in Tampa.
Gray Fox was formally assigned to socom in July, 2002, at the
instigation of Rumsfeld's office, which meant that the undercover
unit would have a single commander for administration and operational
deployment. Then, last fall, Rumsfeld's ability to deploy the
commandos expanded. According to a Pentagon consultant, an Execute
Order on the Global War on Terrorism (referred to throughout the
government as gwot) was issued at Rumsfeld's direction. The order
specifically authorized the military "to find and finish" terrorist
targets, the consultant said. It included a target list that cited
Al Qaeda network members, Al Qaeda senior leadership, and other high-
value targets. The consultant said that the order had been cleared
throughout the national-security bureaucracy in Washington.

In late November, 2004, the Times reported that Bush had set up an
interagency group to study whether it "would best serve the nation"
to give the Pentagon complete control over the C.I.A.'s own élite
paramilitary unit, which has operated covertly in trouble spots
around the world for decades. The panel's conclusions, due in
February, are foregone, in the view of many former C.I.A. officers.
"It seems like it's going to happen," Howard Hart, who was chief of
the C.I.A.'s Paramilitary Operations Division before retiring in
1991, told me.

There was other evidence of Pentagon encroachment. Two former C.I.A.
clandestine officers, Vince Cannistraro and Philip Giraldi, who
publish Intelligence Brief, a newsletter for their business clients,
reported last month on the existence of a broad counter-terrorism
Presidential finding that permitted the Pentagon "to operate
unilaterally in a number of countries where there is a perception of
a clear and evident terrorist threat. . . . A number of the countries
are friendly to the U.S. and are major trading partners. Most have
been cooperating in the war on terrorism." The two former officers
listed some of the countries--Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Syria,
and Malaysia. (I was subsequently told by the former high-level
intelligence official that Tunisia is also on the list.)

Giraldi, who served three years in military intelligence before
joining the C.I.A., said that he was troubled by the military's
expanded covert assignment. "I don't think they can handle the
cover," he told me. "They've got to have a different mind-set.
They've got to handle new roles and get into foreign cultures and
learn how other people think. If you're going into a village and
shooting people, it doesn't matter," Giraldi added. "But if you're
running operations that involve finesse and sensitivity, the military
can't do it. Which is why these kind of operations were always run
out of the agency." I was told that many Special Operations officers
also have serious misgivings.

Rumsfeld and two of his key deputies, Stephen Cambone, the Under-
secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and Army Lieutenant General
William G. (Jerry) Boykin, will be part of the chain of command for
the new commando operations. Relevant members of the House and Senate
intelligence committees have been briefed on the Defense Department's
expanded role in covert affairs, a Pentagon adviser assured me, but
he did not know how extensive the briefings had been.

"I'm conflicted about the idea of operating without congressional
oversight," the Pentagon adviser said. "But I've been told that
there will be oversight down to the specific operation." A second
Pentagon adviser agreed, with a significant caveat. "There are
reporting requirements," he said. "But to execute the finding we
don't have to go back and say, `We're going here and there.' No
nitty-gritty detail and no micromanagement."

The legal questions about the Pentagon's right to conduct covert
operations without informing Congress have not been resolved. "It's
a very, very gray area," said Jeffrey H. Smith, a West Point graduate
who served as the C.I.A.'s general counsel in the mid-nineteen-
nineties. "Congress believes it voted to include all such covert
activities carried out by the armed forces. The military says,
'No, the things we're doing are not intelligence actions under the
statute but necessary military steps authorized by the President, as
Commander-in-Chief, to "prepare the battlefield."'" Referring to his
days at the C.I.A., Smith added, "We were always careful not to use
the armed forces in a covert action without a Presidential finding.
The Bush Administration has taken a much more aggressive stance."

In his conversation with me, Smith emphasized that he was unaware
of the military's current plans for expanding covert action. But he
said, "Congress has always worried that the Pentagon is going to get
us involved in some military misadventure that nobody knows about."

Under Rumsfeld's new approach, I was told, U.S. military operatives
would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen
seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons
systems. In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local
citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or
terrorists. This could potentially involve organizing and carrying
out combat operations, or even terrorist activities. Some operations
will likely take place in nations in which there is an American
diplomatic mission, with an Ambassador and a C.I.A. station chief,
the Pentagon consultant said. The Ambassador and the station chief
would not necessarily have a need to know, under the Pentagon's
current interpretation of its reporting requirement.

The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what
it calls "action teams" in the target countries overseas which can be
used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. "Do you remember
the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?" the former high-level
intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs
that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. "We founded
them and we financed them," he said. "The objective now is to recruit
locals in any area we want. And we aren't going to tell Congress
about it." A former military officer, who has knowledge of the
Pentagon's commando capabilities, said, "We're going to be riding with
the bad boys."

One of the rationales for such tactics was spelled out in a series
of articles by John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis
at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, California, and
a consultant on terrorism for the rand corporation. "It takes a
network to fight a network," Arquilla wrote in a recent article
in the San Francisco Chronicle:

When conventional military operations and bombing failed to defeat
the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya in the 1950s, the British formed
teams of friendly Kikuyu tribesmen who went about pretending to be
terrorists. These "pseudo gangs," as they were called, swiftly threw
the Mau Mau on the defensive, either by befriending and then ambushing
bands of fighters or by guiding bombers to the terrorists' camps.
What worked in Kenya a half-century ago has a wonderful chance of
undermining trust and recruitment among today's terror networks.
Forming new pseudo gangs should not be difficult.

"If a confused young man from Marin County can join up with Al
Qaeda," Arquilla wrote, referring to John Walker Lindh, the twenty-
year-old Californian who was seized in Afghanistan, "think what
professional operatives might do."

A few pilot covert operations were conducted last year, one Pentagon
adviser told me, and a terrorist cell in Algeria was "rolled up" with
American help. The adviser was referring, apparently, to the capture
of Ammari Saifi, known as Abderrezak le Para, the head of a North
African terrorist network affiliated with Al Qaeda. But at the end
of the year there was no agreement within the Defense Department
about the rules of engagement. "The issue is approval for the final
authority," the former high-level intelligence official said. "Who
gets to say 'Get this' or 'Do this'?"

A retired four-star general said, "The basic concept has always been
solid, but how do you insure that the people doing it operate within
the concept of the law? This is pushing the edge of the envelope."
The general added, "It's the oversight. And you're not going to get
Warner"--John Warner, of Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee--"and those guys to exercise oversight. This whole
thing goes to the Fourth Deck." He was referring to the floor in the
Pentagon where Rumsfeld and Cambone have their offices.

"It's a finesse to give power to Rumsfeld--giving him the right to act
swiftly, decisively, and lethally," the first Pentagon adviser told
me. "It's a global free-fire zone."

The Pentagon has tried to work around the limits on covert activities
before. In the early nineteen-eighties, a covert Army unit was set up
and authorized to operate overseas with minimal oversight. The results
were disastrous. The Special Operations program was initially known
as Intelligence Support Activity, or I.S.A., and was administered from
a base near Washington (as was, later, Gray Fox). It was established
soon after the failed rescue, in April, 1980, of the American hostages
in Iran, who were being held by revolutionary students after the
Islamic overthrow of the Shah's regime. At first, the unit was kept
secret from many of the senior generals and civilian leaders in the
Pentagon, as well as from many members of Congress. It was eventually
deployed in the Reagan Administration's war against the Sandinista
government, in Nicaragua. It was heavily committed to supporting
the Contras. By the mid-eighties, however, the I.S.A.'s operations
had been curtailed, and several of its senior officers were
courtmartialled following a series of financial scandals, some
involving arms deals. The affair was known as "the Yellow Fruit
scandal," after the code name given to one of the I.S.A.'s cover
organizations--and in many ways the group's procedures laid the
groundwork for the Iran-Contra scandal.

Despite the controversy surrounding Yellow Fruit, the I.S.A. was
kept intact as an undercover unit by the Army. "But we put so many
restrictions on it," the second Pentagon adviser said. "In I.S.A.,
if you wanted to travel fifty miles you had to get a special order.
And there were certain areas, such as Lebanon, where they could not
go." The adviser acknowledged that the current operations are similar
to those two decades earlier, with similar risks--and, as he saw it,
similar reasons for taking the risks. "What drove them then, in terms
of Yellow Fruit, was that they had no intelligence on Iran," the
adviser told me. "They had no knowledge of Tehran and no people on
the ground who could prepare the battle space."

Rumsfeld's decision to revive this approach stemmed, once again, from
a failure of intelligence in the Middle East, the adviser said. The
Administration believed that the C.I.A. was unable, or unwilling, to
provide the military with the information it needed to effectively
challenge stateless terrorism. "One of the big challenges was that
we didn't have Humint"--human intelligence--"collection capabilities
in areas where terrorists existed," the adviser told me. "Because
the C.I.A. claimed to have such a hold on Humint, the way to get
around them, rather than take them on, was to claim that the agency
didn't do Humint to support Special Forces operations overseas. The
C.I.A. fought it." Referring to Rumsfeld's new authority for covert
operations, the first Pentagon adviser told me, "It's not empowering
military intelligence. It's emasculating the C.I.A."

A former senior C.I.A. officer depicted the agency's eclipse as
predictable. "For years, the agency bent over backward to integrate
and coordinate with the Pentagon," the former officer said. "We
just caved and caved and got what we deserved. It is a fact of life
today that the Pentagon is a five-hundred-pound gorilla and the
C.I.A. director is a chimpanzee."

There was pressure from the White House, too. A former C.I.A.
clandestine-services officer told me that, in the months after the
resignation of the agency's director George Tenet, in June, 2004,
the White House began "coming down critically" on analysts in the
C.I.A.'s Directorate of Intelligence (D.I.) and demanded "to see
more support for the Administration's political position." Porter
Goss, Tenet's successor, engaged in what the recently retired C.I.A.
official described as a "political purge" in the D.I. Among the
targets were a few senior analysts who were known to write dissenting
papers that had been forwarded to the White House. The recently
retired C.I.A. official said, "The White House carefully reviewed the
political analyses of the D.I. so they could sort out the apostates
from the true believers." Some senior analysts in the D.I. have turned
in their resignations--quietly, and without revealing the extent of
the disarray.

The White House solidified its control over intelligence last month,
when it forced last-minute changes in the intelligence-reform bill.
The legislation, based substantially on recommendations of the 9/11
Commission, originally gave broad powers, including authority over
intelligence spending, to a new national-intelligence director. (The
Pentagon controls roughly eighty per cent of the intelligence budget.)
A reform bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 96-2. Before the House
voted, however, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld balked. The White House
publicly supported the legislation, but House Speaker Dennis Hastert
refused to bring a House version of the bill to the floor for a
vote--ostensibly in defiance of the President, though it was widely
understood in Congress that Hastert had been delegated to stall the
bill. After intense White House and Pentagon lobbying, the legislation
was rewritten. The bill that Congress approved sharply reduced the new
director's power, in the name of permitting the Secretary of Defense
to maintain his "statutory responsibilities." Fred Kaplan, in the
online magazine Slate, described the real issues behind Hastert's
action, quoting a congressional aide who expressed amazement as White
House lobbyists bashed the Senate bill and came up "with all sorts of
ludicrous reasons why it was unacceptable."

"Rummy's plan was to get a compromise in the bill in which the
Pentagon keeps its marbles and the C.I.A. loses theirs," the former
high-level intelligence official told me. "Then all the pieces of
the puzzle fall in place. He gets authority for covert action
that is not attributable, the ability to directly task national-
intelligence assets"--including the many intelligence satellites
that constantly orbit the world.

"Rumsfeld will no longer have to refer anything through the
government's intelligence wringer," the former official went on.
"The intelligence system was designed to put competing agencies
in competition. What's missing will be the dynamic tension that
insures everyone's priorities--in the C.I.A., the D.O.D., the
F.B.I., and even the Department of Homeland Security--are discussed.
The most insidious implication of the new system is that Rumsfeld
no longer has to tell people what he's doing so they can ask, 'Why
are you doing this?' or `What are your priorities?' Now he can keep
all of the mattress mice out of it."

January 17, 2005
http://www.newyorker.com/printable/?fact/050124fa_fact

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