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SPRING 2007  · DECEMBER 2006 · JULY-AUG 2006 · APRIL--MAY 2006 · FEBRUARY 2006
In the Shadows · The Brute · The War on Terror · Black Beaches · War · Images from Lebanon · The Neocons · Iran and Lebanon · Regime of Injustice · Where's Osama? · GATS · Lamont v Lieberman · Words of Hope · Open Letter to Bush

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The Arrogance of the Neocons

by Joe Trento 


Charlotte, North Carolina – Intelligence retirees are angry and they are talking. They point out that the U.S. is now losing the war on terror as Al Qaeda makes major inroads in Africa. In Lebanon the appearance of Shi’a-supplied weapons has raised the prospect of a vast Iranian-backed Shi’a crusade against Saudi-backed Sunnis.  The regional experts—who Cheney and Bush stopped listening to as they drank the neo-con Kool Aid—believe al Qaeda in Iraq is nothing but a stalking horse for the Saudi-backed Sunnis in a religious war that has been building for hundreds of years. All that was needed to ignite it was a superpower ignorant enough of the region’s history to step in the muck. George Bush was tailor-made for this historic tragedy. His divine sense of the world, combined with an appalling lack of information and curiosity, has set the Middle East ablaze and created a fertile recruiting ground for bin Laden.


According to the Washington Post, Bill Kristol and his neo-con compatriots are urging the Bush Administration to answer Iran, North Korea and the new Islamic threats in Somalia with an Iraq-like “robust response” while simultaneously praising the President for hanging tough in Iraq. These buffoons consider Iraq a success. At $500 billion and counting and thousands of human lives, I am not certain how many more of these successes we can handle.  The neo-cons seem not to notice that the Taliban (with the help of our “allies” in Pakistan) and Al Qaeda are attacking at will in Afghanistan. They seem to ignore the fact that bin Laden has a new warm and fuzzy Islamic regime in Somalia, thanks largely to a level of on-the-ground incompetence by the CIA that rivals the WMD disaster in Iraq and the Bay of Pigs planning for sheer stupidity.


Then there is Iran. Like North Korea we take no military action because we fear the response. The United States is in such a weakened military state we cannot deal with real dangers. North Korea has nuclear weapons and Iran will have them and we are doing nothing but offering incentives. If a Republican consultant like Karl Rove were to do a political ad about such policy foisted on Americans by a Democrat, you can imagine what it would sound like. When it comes to Iran and North Korea, George Bush makes Mike Dukakis look like George Patton.


In the meantime the administration has shut down ALEC STATION, the joint CIA-FBI bin Laden intelligence unit. During the Clinton Administration, ALEC STATION was engaged in getting our friends around the world to help us arrest bin Laden and his pals. Then the CIA began renditions and lost the goodwill of countries that had been cooperating with the effort. When George Bush took office, the White House ordered the CIA to withhold information from the FBI’s ALEC STATION team—including information that the CIA was relying on Saudi Intelligence for everything it knew about Al Qaeda meetings, such as the 9-11 planning session in Malaysia in January 2000.


The White House in this case, as in so many others, was prompted by an obsessive concern with protecting Saudi sensibilities. The administration’s refusal to hold the Saudis accountable for 9-11 continues to haunt our country. According to a top FBI veteran of ALEC STATION, the CIA stopped the FBI from seeing NSA intercepts of Al Qaeda message traffic in the Spring of 2001. This reporter is convinced that the shuttering of ALEC STATION has far darker meaning then shifting resources in the hunt of bin Laden. I believe this administration and the CIA are trying to make certain no one gets to the real history of how CIA undermining of the FBI’s work on bin Laden contributed to the 9-11 attacks. Our refusal to respond appropriately to the attacks—planned by Saudis and launched with Saudi money—remains at the root of the tragedy that engulfs us.


Copyright © 2003-2006 Public Education Center, Inc. All rights reserved. This essay is herein reprinted with the author's permission.


Joe Trento has spent more than 35 years as an investigative journalist, working with both print and broadcast outlets and writing extensively on national security issues. Before joining the National Security News Service in 1991, Trento worked for CNN's  Special Assignment Unit, the Wilmington News Journal, and prominent journalist Jack Anderson. Trento has received six Pulitzer nominations and is the author of five books, the most recent of which is The Secret History of the CIA. He regularly publishes a blog at


Posted  August 05, 2006

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