Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Democrats Subvert War Intelligence
insight mag ^ | J. Michael Waller

Posted on 12/23/2003 4:37:04 PM PST by Burlem

Investigative Report Democrats Subvert War Intelligence Posted Dec. 22, 2003

By J. Michael Waller

Mellon, above, is using his position as Democrat staff chief on the Senate intelligence panel to undermine the leadership of Rumsfeld, Feith and Bolton.

It's one of the unsolved political mysteries of 2003: Exactly who drew up the plan for Democrats to abuse the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) as a stealth weapon to undermine and discredit President George W. Bush and the U.S. war effort in Iraq?

The plot, authored by aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), vice chairman of the committee, has poisoned the working atmosphere of a crucial legislative panel in a time of war, Senate sources say. It centered on duping the panel's Republican chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, into approving probes that in actuality would be fishing expeditions inside the State Department and Pentagon. The authors hoped to dig up and hype "improper or questionable conduct by administration officials." According to a staff memo, the committee then would release the information during the course of the "investigation," with Democrats providing their "additional views" that would, "among other things, castigate the majority [Republicans] for seeking to limit the scope of the inquiry."

In other words, they would manufacture and denounce a cover-up where none existed. The Democrats then would drag the issue through the 2004 presidential campaign by creating an independent commission to investigate, according to the memo.

The plan, made public by Fox News on Nov. 6, went like this: "Prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation at any time - but we can only do so once. The best time to do so will probably be [in 2004]."

Even before the memo was written, Rockefeller's staff already was off on its own, well outside the traditional bipartisan channels. According to the memo, the "FBI Niger investigation" of reports that Saddam Hussein's regime had tried to buy uranium from West Africa "was done solely at the request of the vice chairman."

The plan wrecked more than two-and-a-half decades of unique bipartisanship on the SSCI, whose job is to oversee the CIA and the rest of the nation's intelligence services. In fact the SSCI, according to the Wall Street Journal after the revelation, was "one of the last redoubts of peaceful coexistence in Congress." But that bipartisanship ended last year when Democrats demanded that the committee staff be split. Instead of reporting directly to the chairman, it now was bifurcated, with Republicans answering to the GOP chairman and Democrats working for the Democratic vice chairman. Roberts didn't like the change, warning at the time that the Democrats wanted to divide the committee into "partisan camps." But the Republicans caved and the staff director of the Democrats, Christopher Mellon, built his own autonomous apparatus.

Insight has pieced together how the Democrats' fishing expedition worked. According to insiders, Mellon, a former Clinton administration official, is part of a network of liberal operatives within the Pentagon and CIA who reportedly are seeking to discredit and politically disable some of the nation's most important architects of the war on terrorism and their efforts to keep weapons of mass destruction from falling into terrorist hands. Mellon already was a SSCI staffer when the Clinton administration tapped him to work as a deputy to the assistant secretary of defense for C3I (command, control, communications and intelligence), where he was responsible for security and information operations. In the C3I office, where he held a civilian rank equivalent to a three-star general, Mellon worked on intelligence-policy issues, or in the words of a former colleague, Cheryl J. Roby, "things like personnel, training and recruiting for intelligence." The office is under the purview of the undersecretary of defense for policy, a post now held by conservative Douglas J. Feith.

Clinton-era personnel reforms allowed officials of his administration to burrow into vital Pentagon posts as careerists, administration officials say, where they have been maneuvering to keep Bush loyalists out of key positions and/or undermine their authority while pushing their own political agendas that run contrary to those of the president. This network, Insight has discovered, extends to the Pentagon's outer reaches such as the National Defense University and far-flung academic and influential policy think tanks, or "CINC tanks," serving the commanders ("CINCs") of the U.S. military theaters around the world [see "Clinton Undead Haunting Pentagon," June 17, 2002].

Senate and Department of Defense (DoD) colleagues say Mellon has a beef against Feith and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, under whom he served briefly until the new Bush administration made its full transition into office. Intelligence sources say he tried to keep conservatives out of key Pentagon posts and to undermine tough antiterrorism policies after 9/11. Back at the SSCI, Mellon's chief targets for criticism have been Feith and his like-minded State Department colleague, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, who holds the nonproliferation portfolio. Both Feith and Bolton are strong supporters of President Bush's advocacy of "regime change" for rogue states and are considered to be among the most faithful advocates in the administration of his personal policy positions.

DoD civilians loyal to the president have complained for more than two years about Mellon, both while he was at the Pentagon and at his new perch in the Senate. Upon his return to the SSCI, bipartisan staff cooperation broke down almost completely. "The parties aren't talking to one another," according to a committee source. After the memo became public, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) ordered an end to cooperation with the Democrats on the Iraq investigations.

Mellon's public record doesn't indicate any hard-core partisan leanings, showing instead a bipartisanship as a sometime floater on the liberal Republican side. Federal Election Commission records show he donated $1,000 to the George H.W. Bush re-election campaign in 1993 and $1,000 to the Republican National Committee in 1992. In his first tour on the Senate intelligence committee, he served as an appointee of the late liberal Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) when George Tenet, a Democrat who now is director of the CIA, was committee staff director. Mellon then took the C3I post at the Pentagon when William Cohen, the liberal Republican senator from Maine, became secretary of defense for Clinton.

So what might have motivated Mellon to become involved in the memo scandal to politicize the intelligence committee against the current president? Mellon did not return Insight calls for comment.

Asked whether Mellon wrote the plan, Rockefeller's spokeswoman Wendy Morigi did not attempt to exonerate the staff director. "The senator has not stated who the author of that memo is," Morigi said, "and I don't think he intends to." She spoke with Rockefeller and then called Insight again to say Sen. Rockefeller would not comment.

In any case Rockefeller, a strong liberal who had enjoyed a reputation of bipartisanship on committee matters, surprised colleagues when he allowed the Democrats on the committee staff

to use the supersecret body as a political weapon. Sources with firsthand knowledge say that Rockefeller broke the committee's bipartisan custom of requesting information from government agencies over the signatures of the chairman, representing the majority party, and the vice chairman, representing the minority.

"Rockefeller sent out his own request for information - the first time a request to the administration for information was not signed by both the chairman and vice chairman of the committee," according to a source involved with the requests. The source says the requests were worded in ways designed to elicit specific answers of a sensitive nature. When the senior Pentagon and State Department officials answered the requests, Democrats on the intelligence committee "leaked it, though some of it was top secret," the source said without citing examples.

When the targeted officials caught on to the game, Senate Democrats led by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), a scrappy SSCI member, denounced them for failure to provide Democrat senators with information about the war. They publicly acted outraged at what they alleged was a certain deception and demanded even more information, telling the press that top Bush officials were forcing the CIA and other intelligence agencies to skew intelligence analysis to fit a preconceived conclusion.

Some Democrats see through this political warfare and are troubled by it. Keeping the SSCI and its House counterpart nonpartisan, wrote former senator Robert Kerrey (D-Neb.) in the New York Post in the midst of the memo controversy, "is vital for the nation's security because much of what is done to collect, process and disseminate intelligence needed by civilian and military leaders is done under conditions of rigorously regulated secrecy." Kerrey is a former vice chairman of the committee.

"Of all the committees, this is the one single committee that should unquestionably be above partisan politics," said an angry Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.). "The information it deals with should never, never be distorted, compromised or politicized in any shape, form or fashion. For it involves the lives of our soldiers and our citizens. Its actions should always be above reproach; its words never politicized."

Rockefeller defended his staff and the outrageous document itself, calling it a "private memo that nobody saw except me and the staff people that wrote it for me." He rebuffed calls from Frist, Miller and others that the staffers responsible be exposed, let alone fired, and instead accused Republicans of stealing the document from his aides' computers. "Mr. Rockefeller refuses to denounce the memo, which he says was unauthorized and written by staffers. If that's the case, at the very least some heads ought to roll," declared the Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Firing Mellon as the staff director for the culprits, the Journal said, would be "a good place to start."

Miller went even further: "I have often said that the process in Washington is so politicized and polarized that it can't even be put aside when we're at war. Never has that been proved more true than the highly partisan and perhaps treasonous memo prepared for the Democrats on the intelligence committee."

The Georgia Democrat measured his words, continuing: "If what has happened here is not treason, it is its first cousin. The ones responsible - be they staff or elected or both - should be dealt with quickly and severely, sending a lesson to all that this kind of action will not be tolerated, ignored or excused."

Chairman Roberts sees a danger to the nation through such politics: "If we give in to the temptation to exploit our good offices for political gain, we cannot expect our intelligence professionals to entrust us with our nation's most sensitive information. You can be sure that foreign intelligence services will stop cooperating with our intelligence agencies the first time they see their secrets appear in our media."

Kerrey, once a shining star among Senate Democrats, wrote, "The production of a memo by an employee of a Democratic member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is an example of the destructive side of partisan politics. That it probably emerged as a consequence of an increasingly partisan environment in Washington and may have been provoked by equally destructive Republican acts is neither a comfort nor a defensible rationalization."

Senate Majority Leader Frist called for the culprits to come forward and apologize, angrily announcing he would suspend cooperation on the Iraq investigation. That wasn't enough for Sen. Miller, who demanded, "Heads should roll!"

J. Michael Waller is a senior writer for Insight magazine.

For more, read text of the Democrats' "treason" memo.

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: 2004memo; intelcommittee; jayrockefeller; nationalsecurity; partisanship
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021 next last
Have any of you heard this on so called mainstream news sources?
1 posted on 12/23/2003 4:37:05 PM PST by Burlem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Burlem
In old days they will call this treason, and in my opinion this is what it is! Wonder if liberal media would even make a snip about this?
2 posted on 12/23/2003 4:42:54 PM PST by matrix2225
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
TYpically Dumpocratic (TM pending) move.
3 posted on 12/23/2003 4:46:05 PM PST by Always Right
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Always Right
Dumpocrapic...can't even spell my own word.
4 posted on 12/23/2003 4:46:41 PM PST by Always Right
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
One has to wonder how many similar memos are being circulated which haven't seen the light of day yet.
5 posted on 12/23/2003 4:48:49 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
All I have are here:
MemoGate- sedition, slander-- or something worse?
Various FR links | 11-06-03 | The Heavy Equipment Guy

6 posted on 12/23/2003 4:52:49 PM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the TrackBall into the Sunset...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
I have not heard this of course, it has been buried. All we heard was about the terrible criminal in the republican party who leaked this to the media. This should be on all of the media, but don't hold your breath.
7 posted on 12/23/2003 4:54:10 PM PST by ladyinred (If all the world's a stage, I want to operate the trap door!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
What a disturbing post. When will Hannity start referring to this as what it is: TREASON
8 posted on 12/23/2003 4:56:12 PM PST by yooper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Click Here to Expose MemoGate Once and for All: The Nuclear Option
9 posted on 12/23/2003 4:59:55 PM PST by jmstein7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
Have any of you heard this on so called mainstream news sources

Only on the SEAN HANNITY radio show and ONCE on Fox I predicted several weeks back when this story broke, it would NOT go anywhere because the culprits are Democrats.........prediction correct.....a no brainer!

10 posted on 12/23/2003 5:00:46 PM PST by PISANO (God Bless our Troops........They will not TIRE - They will not FALTER - They will not FAIL!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
INTREP - LEst we forget
11 posted on 12/23/2003 5:11:05 PM PST by LiteKeeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: matrix2225
As you probably read, Senator Zell Miller agrees with you.
He said" If this is not treason, it is its 1st cousin". I am sorry that this conservative democrat will no longer be in congress. how sad.
12 posted on 12/23/2003 5:11:33 PM PST by Burlem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
Great article - thanks for posting!
13 posted on 12/23/2003 5:12:13 PM PST by Ben Hecks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
Senator Zell Miller is a fine man and man with dignity. As you have said, he will be missed by many, either republicans or democrats, after all he knows what is right and wrong and he knows how to vote for it. Marry Christmas
14 posted on 12/23/2003 5:29:45 PM PST by matrix2225
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
Treason by the Dimpcraps and they should be hung for that crime. For the Republicans, more weak wristed stupidity. In the meantime, our men and women in the military have become pawns in a deadly game of political cutthroat.
15 posted on 12/23/2003 5:41:53 PM PST by caisson71
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
"According to insiders, Mellon, a former Clinton administration official, is part of a network of liberal operatives within the Pentagon and CIA who reportedly are seeking to discredit and politically disable some of the nation's most important architects of the war on terrorism and their efforts to keep weapons of mass destruction from falling into terrorist hands."

Round 'em up and put 'em against a wall for target practice.

16 posted on 12/23/2003 6:12:27 PM PST by Abcdefg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
WHew!...Wonder how long the republicans will consent to be dumped on like this... who knows maybe they like it....
17 posted on 12/23/2003 6:27:10 PM PST by hosepipe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: matrix2225
Senator Miller ALSO has a "Quality," Apparently UNKNOWN to Contemporary Democrats, "Known As" "Dignity!!"

There is LITTLE DOUBT that the "Political Machinations" of the 'Dems are TANTAMOUNT to TREASON!

The PROBLEM IS, can we Repudiate the 'Dems for Their Obvious Treason, or Must We Ignore "treason" to Continue our Mortal Combat with the Psychotic Muslims??

Sadly, I Think that we MUST "Continue our Fight" with the "Islamic Psychopaths" DESPITE "Sabotage from 'Within'" from "Politically Motivated" Anti-American Forces.

Fortunately, the "American People" are FAR WISER than the FOOLS who have "Drunk the CoolAid" that America is "The Bad GUY!!"

"Islam" is "on The Block;" Unless this "So-Called Religion" PROVES that IT is "Benign," "The West" has NO RECOURSE but to "Cancel It's Ticket!!"

We Have YET to hear a "Certified Muslim Cleric" UNCONDITIONALLY DENOUNCE 9/11! Until "Islam" FORMALLY DENOUNCES 9/11, we--in "the West" MUST ASSUME that "Islam" SANCTIONED "9/11!!"

It is now "Time" for "Islam" to "Declare Itself!!"

SO FAR, "Islam" has equivocated.

FRANKLY & HONESTLY, MOST of "US" would be "Just as GLAD" if "Islam" were FORCED to "WORSHIP" Radioactive Gas!!

SADLY, I believe that the "Followers of Islam" simply CANNOT UNDERSTAND the level of RAGE their "Martyrs" have created.

"Islam" exists because Americans are a Forgiving People--SLOW to anger.

BUT we are Growing Impatient with the Intractable, Ignorant "Mullahs!!"

The FOOLS don't seem to understand that "Islam"--as a Culture/religion--is on "Life-Support!"

"The WEST" is on "Hair-Trigger" to DESTROY ALL of "Islam!"

Afganistan & Iraq are merely an "Opening Gambit!!"

The "Damn Fools" of "Al-Queda," --"In The Name of ISLAM"-- have "Unleashed the WhirlWind;" "Islam" will be "swept Away, a 'Minor Annoyance'" when "The West" is Threatened!!

WHY do "Religious Zealots" SO OVERESTIMATE Their "Influence??"

"Radical Islam" is about to be CRUSHED & HUMILIATED; WHY would the FOOLS who "Wish to be Martyrs" ADD to "Radical Islam's" Humiliation??


18 posted on 12/23/2003 7:33:03 PM PST by Doc On The Bay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
In my opinion... TREASON became part of the Democrat power grab when the CLINTON'S took control of the party.The 900 FBI files were not just Republican files... Hillary has all the dirt she needs to keep anyone in the 'RAT party who might waver in line.

...AND ... don't be so naive that you fail to realize the files of many influential members of the all important 4th estate (major media)were involved as well.

You don't think it was only you?

19 posted on 12/23/2003 7:33:18 PM PST by Bob Eimiller (Kennedy..Kerry..Leahy...Pelosi..Kucinich.."Catholics" who Promote Partial Birth Abortion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Burlem
Seems to me that we need a patriotism detector at the front door of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence more than we need metal detectors at airports?????
20 posted on 12/23/2003 7:38:52 PM PST by eeriegeno
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson