Thursday, January 27, 2005

For the Record: The smear campaign against Sy Hersh

First Came the Report

Seymour Hersh, New Yorker 1/17/05
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 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.

And then The smear campaign reposnse, simultaneously attacking Mr. Hersh's Credibility AND patriotism

Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence Di Rita Jan 17,2005
Mr. Hersh’s article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed.
Mr. Hersh’s source(s) feed him with rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made.

Tony Blankley January 19, 2005
I am not an expert on these federal code sections, but a common sense reading of their language would suggest, at the least, that federal prosecutors should review the information disclosed by Mr. Hersh to determine whether or not his conduct falls within the proscribed conduct of the{ espionage} statute.

David Frum National Review Online January 17,2005
Read Seymour Hersh’s latest piece in the New Yorker with a yellow marker in hand. Can you count how many vital national security secrets – secrets that could potentially get US personnel killed – have been betrayed in just this one article by serving and former agents of the Central Intelligence Agency or by serving or senior and former military officers?

Michael Leeden, National Review Online January 21, 2005
I have usually ignored Hersh's articles and books over the years, because there were so many errors in them that I could never figure out what, if anything, was true. Better to ignore him altogether than get sucked into a morass of confusion. The Coming Wars" was classic Hersh incoherence, almost from the beginning…. Prior to publication, senior Defense Department officials told Hersh that he was dead wrong on several counts — something he might have mentioned, unpleasant though it is. …So much in the Hersh piece,…is ridiculous.

Richard Perle, The Charlie Rose Show 1/19/05
"It was a typical Sy Hersh piece. That is to say it was full of inaccuracy."

But then the wheels came off as major news organiziations were able to confirm the story:

Global Politician 1/19/05
ANALYSIS: Hersh's Report Largely Accurate

Washington Post Jan 22, 2005
The Pentagon, expanding into the CIA's historic bailiwick, has created a new espionage arm and is reinterpreting U.S. law to give Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld broad authority over clandestine operations abroad, according to interviews with participants and documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Military and civilian participants said in interviews that the new unit has been operating in secret for two years -- in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places they declined to name.

New York Times Jan 24, 2005
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 - The Pentagon has created battlefield intelligence units that for the first time have been assigned to work directly with Special Operations forces on secret counterterrorism missions, tasks that had been largely the province of the Central Intelligence Agency, senior Defense Department officials said Sunday.
The teams, which officials say have been operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries for about two years,

And the Pentagon then About faced and claimed that what they really menat is that Hersh was right, and that the Pentagon in fact HAD such units aand they simply couldn;t understand what all the fuss was about:

Lawrence DiRita 1/23/05
It is accurate and should not be surprising that the Department of Defense is attempting to improve its long-standing human intelligence capability.

No apology for Labeling MR. Hersh a terrorist, traitor, liar or spy seems forthcoming from all those opinionated pundits however......


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