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Stoned: Bamford errata

Along with his letter to the editor of Rolling Stone that I posted below in “Stoned,” Michael Ledeen notes the following errors in James Bamford’s Rolling Stone fantasia:

BAMFORD: “[I]n December, a plane carrying Ledeen traveled to Rome with two other members of Feith’s secret Pentagon unit: Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, a protege of Ledeen who has been called the ‘theoretician of the neocon movement.’”

THEY WERE CERTAINLY NOT ON MY FLIGHTS IN EITHER DIRECTION.

ONLY AN IGNORAMUS WOULD CALL HAROLD A PROTEGE OF MINE, IF ANYTHING, IT IS THE OTHER WAY ‘ROUND.

BAMFORD: “Only two months earlier, Pollari had informed the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein had obtained uranium from West Africa—-a key piece of false intelligence that Bush used to justify the invasion of Iraq.”

ITALIAN INTELLIGENCE NEVER SAID ANY SUCH THING. AND BUSH USED BRITISH INTELLIGENCE, NOT ITALIAN, IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION. THIS IS PART OF THE JOE WILSON SCAM.

BAMFORD: “The men then turned their attention to their larger goal: regime change in Iran. Ghorbanifar suggested funding the overthrow of the Iranian government using hundreds of millions of dollars in cash supposedly hidden by Saddam Hussein. He even hinted that Saddam was hiding in Iran.”

WHAT A DOLT! SADDAM WAS IN POWER, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT DECEMBER 2001 HERE. THIS IS JUST AN INVENTION.

BAMFORD: “Ledeen, Franklin and Rhode were taking a page from Feith’s playbook on Iraq: They needed a front group of exiles and dissidents to call for the overthrow of Iran. According to sources familiar with the meeting, the Americans discussed joining forces with the Mujahedin-e Khalq, an anti-Iranian guerrilla army operating out of Iraq.”

IT NEVER CAME UP SO FAR AS I KNOW. I DID GO TO THE BATHROOM FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT I WAS PRESENT 99 percent OF THE TIME.

BAMFORD: “There was only one small problem: The MEK had been certified by the State Department as a terrorist organization. In fact, the White House was in the midst of negotiations with Tehran, which was offering to extradite five members of Al Qaeda thought to be of high intelligence value in return for Washington’s promise to drop all support for the MEK.

“Ledeen denies any dealings with the group. ‘I wouldn’t get within a hundred miles of the MEK,’ he says. ‘They have no following, no legitimacy.’ But neoconservatives were eager to undermine any deal that involved cooperating with Iran. To the neocons, the value of the MEK as a weapon against Tehran greatly outweighed any benefit that might be derived from interrogating the Al Qaeda operatives—even though they might provide intelligence on future terrorist attacks, as well as clues to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.”

AND SO? NO EVIDENCE AT ALL THAT THERE WAS EVER ANYTHING TO DO WITH MEK. AND I DON’T THINK THERE EVER WAS. THIS TOO IS A TOTAL RED HERRING. SHEER INNUENDO.

Anyone familiar with Bamford’s work knows he has a bugaboo about Israel. In his books Bamford has been an influential purveyor of the assertion that Israel deliberately attacked and sunk the USS Liberty during the Six Day War in 1967. See, for example, CAMERA’s “Bamford bashes Israel.” Michael Oren has, to my mind, persuasively refuted this calumny in his recent history of the war and in his Azure article “The USS Liberty: Case closed.” Dr. Ledeen adds a note regarding Bamford’s animus against Israel and Bamford’s attack on former Defense Department official Larry Franklin, who pled guilty to violating section 793 of the Espionage Act by passing classified information about Iran to AIPAC:

FURTHER THOUGHTS, NOT HAVING TO DO WITH ME. BAMFORD DOESN’T LIKE ISRAEL AT ALL, WE KNEW THAT. SOME OF THE THINGS HE SAYS ABOUT LARRY FRANKLIN AND HAROLD RHODE ARE OUTRAGEOUS….THE JUDGE WENT OUT OF HIS WAY TO STATE THAT IT IS CLEAR FRANKLIN ALWAYS ACTED IN A PATRIOTIC WAY.

The Washington Post article on Franklin’s sentencing quotes Judge Ellis’s comments on Franklin to which Dr. Ledeen alludes.

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