Showing posts with label CIA qv Military Natl Security Intel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CIA qv Military Natl Security Intel. Show all posts

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stratfor: The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power

By George Friedman

Related Special Topic Pages

Crisis in South Ossetia
U.S. Weakness and Russia’s Window of Opportunity
The Russian Resurgence
Kosovo, Russia and the West

The Russian invasion of Georgia has not changed the balance of power in Eurasia. It simply announced that the balance of power had already shifted.

The United States has been absorbed in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as potential conflict with Iran and a destabilizing situation in Pakistan. It has no strategic ground forces in reserve and is in no position to intervene on the Russian periphery.

This, as we have argued, has opened a
window of opportunity for the Russians to reassert their influence in the former Soviet sphere. Moscow did not have to concern itself with the potential response of the United States or Europe; hence, the invasion did not shift the balance of power.

The balance of power had already shifted, and it was up to the Russians when to make this public.

They did that Aug. 8.

Let’s begin simply by reviewing the last few days.

On the night of Thursday, Aug. 7, forces of the Republic of
Georgia drove across the border of South Ossetia, a secessionist region of Georgia that has functioned as an independent entity since the fall of the Soviet Union. The forces drove on to the capital, Tskhinvali, which is close to the border. Georgian forces got bogged down while trying to take the city. In spite of heavy fighting, they never fully secured the city, nor the rest of South Ossetia.

On the morning of Aug. 8,
Russian forces entered South Ossetia, using armored and motorized infantry forces along with air power. South Ossetia was informally aligned with Russia, and Russia acted to prevent the region’s absorption by Georgia. Given the speed with which the Russians responded — within hours of the Georgian attack — the Russians were expecting the Georgian attack and were themselves at their jumping-off points. The counterattack was carefully planned and competently executed, and over the next 48 hours, the Russians succeeded in defeating the main Georgian force and forcing a retreat. By Sunday, Aug. 10, the Russians had consolidated their position in South Ossetia.

(click image to enlarge)

On Monday, the
Russians extended their offensive into Georgia proper, attacking on two axes. One was south from South Ossetia to the Georgian city of Gori. The other drive was from Abkhazia, another secessionist region of Georgia aligned with the Russians. This drive was designed to cut the road between the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and its ports. By this point, the Russians had bombed the military airfields at Marneuli and Vaziani and appeared to have disabled radars at the international airport in Tbilisi. These moves brought Russian forces to within 40 miles of the Georgian capital, while making outside reinforcement and resupply of Georgian forces extremely difficult should anyone wish to undertake it.

The Mystery Behind the Georgian Invasion

In this simple chronicle, there is something quite mysterious: Why did the Georgians choose to invade South Ossetia on Thursday night? There had been a great deal of shelling by the South Ossetians of Georgian villages for the previous three nights, but while possibly more intense than usual, artillery exchanges were routine. The Georgians might not have fought well, but they committed fairly substantial forces that must have taken at the very least several days to deploy and supply. Georgia’s move was deliberate.

United States is Georgia’s closest ally. It maintained about 130 military advisers in Georgia, along with civilian advisers, contractors involved in all aspects of the Georgian government and people doing business in Georgia. It is inconceivable that the Americans were unaware of Georgia’s mobilization and intentions. It is also inconceivable that the Americans were unaware that the Russians had deployed substantial forces on the South Ossetian frontier. U.S. technical intelligence, from satellite imagery and signals intelligence to unmanned aerial vehicles, could not miss the fact that thousands of Russian troops were moving to forward positions. The Russians clearly knew the Georgians were ready to move. How could the United States not be aware of the Russians? Indeed, given the posture of Russian troops, how could intelligence analysts have missed the possibility that the Russians had laid a trap, hoping for a Georgian invasion to justify its own counterattack?

It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against U.S. wishes. The Georgians rely on the United States, and they were in no position to defy it. This leaves two possibilities. The first is a massive breakdown in intelligence, in which the United States either was unaware of the existence of Russian forces, or knew of the Russian forces but — along with the Georgians — miscalculated Russia’s intentions. The second is that the United States, along with other countries, has viewed Russia through the prism of the 1990s, when the Russian military was in shambles and the Russian government was paralyzed. The United States has not seen
Russia make a decisive military move beyond its borders since the Afghan war of the 1970s-1980s. The Russians had systematically avoided such moves for years. The United States had assumed that the Russians would not risk the consequences of an invasion.

If this was the case, then it points to the central reality of this situation: The
Russians had changed dramatically, along with the balance of power in the region. They welcomed the opportunity to drive home the new reality, which was that they could invade Georgia and the United States and Europe could not respond. As for risk, they did not view the invasion as risky. Militarily, there was no counter. Economically, Russia is an energy exporter doing quite well — indeed, the Europeans need Russian energy even more than the Russians need to sell it to them. Politically, as we shall see, the Americans needed the Russians more than the Russians needed the Americans. Moscow’s calculus was that this was the moment to strike. The Russians had been building up to it for months, as we have discussed, and they struck.

The Western Encirclement of Russia

To understand Russian thinking, we need to look at two events. The first is the
Orange Revolution in Ukraine. From the U.S. and European point of view, the Orange Revolution represented a triumph of democracy and Western influence. From the Russian point of view, as Moscow made clear, the Orange Revolution was a CIA-funded intrusion into the internal affairs of Ukraine, designed to draw Ukraine into NATO and add to the encirclement of Russia. U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had promised the Russians that NATO would not expand into the former Soviet Union empire.

That promise had already been broken in 1998 by NATO’s expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic — and again in the 2004 expansion, which absorbed not only the rest of the former Soviet satellites in what is now Central Europe, but also the three Baltic states, which had been components of the Soviet Union.

The Russians had tolerated all that, but the discussion of including Ukraine in NATO represented a fundamental threat to Russia’s national security. It would have rendered Russia indefensible and threatened to destabilize the Russian Federation itself. When the United States went so far as to suggest that Georgia be included as well, bringing NATO deeper into the Caucasus, the Russian conclusion — publicly stated — was that the United States in particular intended to encircle and break Russia.

The second and lesser event was the decision by
Europe and the United States to back Kosovo’s separation from Serbia. The Russians were friendly with Serbia, but the deeper issue for Russia was this: The principle of Europe since World War II was that, to prevent conflict, national borders would not be changed. If that principle were violated in Kosovo, other border shifts — including demands by various regions for independence from Russia — might follow. The Russians publicly and privately asked that Kosovo not be given formal independence, but instead continue its informal autonomy, which was the same thing in practical terms. Russia’s requests were ignored.

From the Ukrainian experience, the Russians became convinced that the United States was engaged in a plan of strategic encirclement and strangulation of Russia. From the Kosovo experience, they concluded that the United States and Europe were not prepared to consider Russian wishes even in fairly minor affairs. That was the breaking point. If Russian desires could not be accommodated even in a minor matter like this, then clearly Russia and the West were in conflict. For the Russians, as we said, the question was how to respond. Having declined to respond in Kosovo, the Russians decided to respond where they had all the cards: in South Ossetia.

Moscow had two motives, the lesser of which was as a tit-for-tat over Kosovo. If Kosovo could be declared independent under Western sponsorship, then
South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia, could be declared independent under Russian sponsorship. Any objections from the United States and Europe would simply confirm their hypocrisy. This was important for internal Russian political reasons, but the second motive was far more important.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once said that the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical disaster. This didn’t mean that he wanted to retain the Soviet state; rather, it meant that the disintegration of the Soviet Union had created a situation in which Russian national security was threatened by Western interests. As an example, consider that during the Cold War, St. Petersburg was about 1,200 miles away from a NATO country. Today it is about 60 miles away from Estonia, a NATO member. The disintegration of the Soviet Union had left Russia surrounded by a group of countries hostile to Russian interests in various degrees and heavily influenced by the United States, Europe and, in some cases, China.

Resurrecting the Russian Sphere

Putin did not want to re-establish the Soviet Union, but he did want to re-establish the Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union region. To accomplish that, he had to do two things. First, he had to
re-establish the credibility of the Russian army as a fighting force, at least in the context of its region. Second, he had to establish that Western guarantees, including NATO membership, meant nothing in the face of Russian power. He did not want to confront NATO directly, but he did want to confront and defeat a power that was closely aligned with the United States, had U.S. support, aid and advisers and was widely seen as being under American protection. Georgia was the perfect choice.

invading Georgia as Russia did (competently if not brilliantly), Putin re-established the credibility of the Russian army. But far more importantly, by doing this Putin revealed an open secret: While the United States is tied down in the Middle East, American guarantees have no value. This lesson is not for American consumption. It is something that, from the Russian point of view, the Ukrainians, the Balts and the Central Asians need to digest. Indeed, it is a lesson Putin wants to transmit to Poland and the Czech Republic as well. The United States wants to place ballistic missile defense installations in those countries, and the Russians want them to understand that allowing this to happen increases their risk, not their security.

The Russians knew the United States would denounce their attack. This actually plays into Russian hands. The more vocal senior leaders are, the greater the contrast with their inaction, and the Russians wanted to drive home the idea that American guarantees are empty talk.

The Russians also know something else that is of vital importance: For the United States, the Middle East is far more important than the Caucasus, and
Iran is particularly important. The United States wants the Russians to participate in sanctions against Iran. Even more importantly, they do not want the Russians to sell weapons to Iran, particularly the highly effective S-300 air defense system. Georgia is a marginal issue to the United States; Iran is a central issue. The Russians are in a position to pose serious problems for the United States not only in Iran, but also with weapons sales to other countries, like Syria.

Therefore, the United States has a problem — it either must reorient its strategy away from the Middle East and toward the Caucasus, or it has to seriously limit its response to Georgia to avoid a Russian counter in Iran. Even if the United States had an appetite for another war in Georgia at this time, it would have to calculate the Russian response in Iran — and possibly in Afghanistan (even though Moscow’s interests there are currently aligned with those of Washington).

In other words, the Russians have backed the Americans into a corner. The Europeans, who for the most part lack expeditionary militaries and are
dependent upon Russian energy exports, have even fewer options. If nothing else happens, the Russians will have demonstrated that they have resumed their role as a regional power. Russia is not a global power by any means, but a significant regional power with lots of nuclear weapons and an economy that isn’t all too shabby at the moment. It has also compelled every state on the Russian periphery to re-evaluate its position relative to Moscow. As for Georgia, the Russians appear ready to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Militarily, that is their option. That is all they wanted to demonstrate, and they have demonstrated it.

The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia’s public return to great power status. This is not something that just happened — it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase of Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. As we have written, this conflict created a window of opportunity. The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.

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20080812 Stratfor: The Russo Georgian War and the Balance of Power

Julia Child part of WWII era spy ring

Julia Child part of WWII era spy ring

Photo caption: It is not known as to whether or not Carrie Ann Knauer, pictured above interviewing Ms. Child in an undated photograph, followed in Ms. Child’s footsteps. She is indeed not only an excellent writer and cook - - but was she also once a secret agent? Kevin Dayhoff - File photo circa 2000.

Julia Child part of WWII era spy ring. Reports unsubstantiated that
Carrie Ann Knauer was also once a secret agent

August 13, 2008

As many folks who follow the news are aware, it was recently revealed that Julia Child was part of a WWII-era spy ring

As you can read in the Associated Press story: “Other notables identified in the files include John Hemingway, son of author Ernest Hemingway; Quentin and Kermit Roosevelt, sons of President Theodore Roosevelt, and Miles Copeland, father of Stewart Copeland, drummer for the band The Police.”

However it has not been confirmed as to whether or not Carroll County’s very own “Rachael Ray” was ever a spy. We all know
Carrie Ann Knauer’s work; she’s the prolific writer with the Carroll County Times who well known for her excellent coverage of Carroll County’s number one industry, agriculture, the environment and Carroll County’s number one love – food.

Did indeed, Ms. Knauer, pictured above interviewing Ms. Child in an undated photograph, follow in Ms. Child’s footsteps – and is indeed not only an excellent writer and cook - - but was also a secret agent.

Perhaps we’ll never know.

What is known is that Ms. Knauer first burst into the news media when she came to the
Carroll County Times in February 2002. Of course this coincides well with fact that Ms. Childs moved to a retirement community in Santa Barbara, California, in 2001…

We are also aware that Ms. Knauer has been known to disappear for periods of time in which her locational whereabouts are not disclosed

Hmmm, makes you wonder, now doesn’t it.

Documents: Julia Child part of WWII-era spy ring

Related Searches:
CIA Director William Casey
Office of Strategic Services
Kermit Roosevelt
military plans
Slideshow: International spy ring revealed

By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE and RANDY HERSCHAFT, Associated Press Writers Wed Aug 13, 11:10 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Famed chef Julia Child shared a secret with Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and Chicago White Sox catcher Moe Berg at a time when the Nazis threatened the world.

They served in an international spy ring managed by the Office of Strategic Services, an early version of the CIA created in World War II by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The full secret comes out Thursday, all of the names and previously classified files identifying nearly 24,000 spies who formed the first centralized intelligence effort by the United States. The National Archives, which this week released a list of the names found in the records, will make available for the first time all 750,000 pages identifying the vast spy network of military and civilian operatives.

They were soldiers, actors, historians, lawyers, athletes, professors, reporters. But for several years during World War II, they were known simply as the OSS. They studied military plans, created propaganda, infiltrated enemy ranks and stirred resistance among foreign troops.


Other notables identified in the files include John Hemingway, son of author Ernest Hemingway; Quentin and Kermit Roosevelt, sons of President Theodore Roosevelt, and Miles Copeland, father of Stewart Copeland, drummer for the band The Police.

Read the entire article here:
Julia Child part of WWII-era spy ring
20080813 Julia Child part of WWII era spy ring

Thursday, May 29, 2008

20080528 Ex Press Aide Writes Bush Misled US on Iraq by Michael D. Shear Washington Post

Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled U.S. on Iraq

By Michael D. Shear Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, May 28, 2008; A01

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated "political propaganda campaign" led by President Bush and aimed at "manipulating sources of public opinion" and "downplaying the major reason for going to war."

McClellan includes the charges in a 341-page book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," that delivers a harsh look at the White House and the man he served for close to a decade. He describes Bush as demonstrating a "lack of inquisitiveness," says the White House operated in "permanent campaign" mode, and admits to having been deceived by some in the president's inner circle about the leak of a CIA operative's name.

The book, coming from a man who was a tight-lipped defender of administration aides and policy, is certain to give fuel to critics of the administration, and McClellan has harsh words for many of his past colleagues. He accuses former White House adviser Karl Rove of misleading him about his role in the CIA case. He describes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as being deft at deflecting blame, and he calls Vice President Cheney "the magic man" who steered policy behind the scenes while leaving no fingerprints.

McClellan stops short of saying that Bush purposely lied about his reasons for invading Iraq, writing that he and his subordinates were not "employing out-and-out deception" to make their case for war in 2002.

But in a chapter titled "Selling the War," he alleges that the administration repeatedly shaded the truth and that Bush "managed the crisis in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option."

Read the entire article here: Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled U.S. on Iraq

Friday, January 4, 2008

20080104 Wall Street: Journal Criminalizing the CIA

Wall Street: Journal Criminalizing the CIA

I could not agree more… “So here we go again, ringing up CIA agents who thought they were acting in good faith to keep the country safe… But why should any future agent take any risks to gather information, or pursue an enemy, if he thinks he is likely to have to answer to some future prosecutor for his every action?”

Criminalizing the CIA

January 4, 2008; Page A10

REVIEW & OUTLOOK by The Wall Street Journal

When news broke that the CIA had destroyed videotapes of a couple of early terrorist interrogations, Democrats in Congress demanded a criminal investigation. Now that Attorney General Michael Mukasey is obliging, they still aren't satisfied. So here we go again, ringing up CIA agents who thought they were acting in good faith to keep the country safe.

On Wednesday Mr. Mukasey assigned prosecutor John Durham, a 25-year Justice Department veteran, to investigate if CIA agents committed a crime when they destroyed the tapes in 2005 under orders from the then-head of the covert Directorate of Operations. But that isn't enough for John Conyers (D., Mich.), who wants a full-blown "special counsel" to wade into the CIA's covert-ops division and deliver a public excavation…


The interrogations also took place at a time -- starting in 2002 -- when some Members of Congress were regularly briefed on the CIA practices, including "waterboarding." Among those briefed were Jay Rockefeller IV and Nancy Pelosi, neither of whom saw fit to object to the methods. We are now in a different political place, and in a different election year, and these same Democrats want to join the left in accusing the Bush Administration of "torture" and a cover-up.

The Bush Administration is already on its way out, so the real damage here may be to our ability to gather future intelligence no matter who is President…


One of the stock criticisms of the CIA after 9/11 is that the agency played it too safe in pursuing al Qaeda. But why should any future agent take any risks to gather information, or pursue an enemy, if he thinks he is likely to have to answer to some future prosecutor for his every action?

As for the tapes, no doubt the agency now wishes they had never been made, much less destroyed. But the irony is that their destruction might well have saved the U.S. from the embarrassment of having them leaked to the world and turned into a propaganda victory for our enemies…


Yet instead, we are now unleashing prosecutors against agents who on the evidence so far were acting not to pursue some political agenda but to defend the nation against its most ruthless enemies. We hope Mr. Durham understands the difference, and that we don't cripple the very spooks we need to fight the war on terror.

Read the entire opinion here: Criminalizing the CIA


Sunday, October 7, 2007

20071006 Scrappleface: CIA May Threaten Detainees with Senate Hearings

Scott Ott – Scrappleface: CIA May Threaten Detainees with Senate Hearings

by Scott Ott (2007-10-06)

According a newly-leaked top-secret document published in The New York Times ‘Classified’ section today, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has employed controversial methods to extract information from terror suspects, including threats to put the detainee in front of a Senate committee for further interrogation.

If true, it means that U.S. agents may be using a technique “tantamount to torture,” an unnamed source told the Times.

“I’ve seen those Senate hearings on TV,” the source said. “I’d rather be waterboarded, slapped about the head and assaulted with high-volume Britney Spears music while confined to a meat locker.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

20070702 Grant of Executive Clemency for Libby by President Bush

Grant of Executive Clemency for Libby by President Bush

July 2nd, 2007




Home > News & Policies > Proclamation Archives

Statement by the President On Executive Clemency for Lewis Libby

Hat Tip:

WHEREAS Lewis Libby was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the case United States v. Libby, Crim. No. 05-394 (RBW), for which a sentence of 30 months' imprisonment, 2 years' supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and a special assessment of $400 was imposed on June 22, 2007;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, pursuant to my powers under Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, do hereby commute the prison terms imposed by the sentence upon the said Lewis Libby to expire immediately, leaving intact and in effect the two-year term of supervised release, with all its conditions, and all other components of the sentence.

IN WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand and seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


For additional information:

On “Soundtrack” click on: Plame Wilson Novak Libby CIA Leak Case

Timeline: CIA Leak Case: Follow the twists and turns in the CIA leak investigation that resulted in Libby's conviction — and in a sentence commutation from President Bush.

Read Libby's appeal denial (pdf file)

Libby becomes inmate No. 28301-016

Libby seeks delay of prison term

Read Bush's full statement on Libby

Libby denied request to remain free on bond

Bush spares Libby from 2 1/2-year prison term

The latest on Bush commuting Libby


Bush Decision on Libby Draws Fire

Wilson: Commuting Libby's Sentence Is 'Corrupt'

President's Move on Libby Risks Fallout

Comment: Bush had nothing to lose over Libby

Timeline: 'Scooter' Libby trial

Libby suffers new court defeat

July 2, 2007: Libby Won't Go to Prison; Fine, Probation Remain

June 5, 2007: Libby Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years in CIA Leak Case

March 6, 2007: Lewis 'Scooter' Libby Found Guilty of Lying

Feb. 20, 2007: Final Arguments Made in Libby Perjury Case

July 2, 2007: The Trial of Lewis Libby

Feb. 8, 2007: Prosecution Rests Case in Libby Trial

Jan. 16, 2007: Jury Selection to Begin in Libby Trial

20070702 Full text of Bush statement on Libby decision

Full text of Bush statement on Libby decision

July 2nd, 2007

References: Grant of Executive Clemency

Statement by the President On Executive Clemency for Lewis Libby

Read president's text on commuting ex-White House aide's prison sentence

Hat Tip:

July 2, 2007

President Bush's released a statement Monday sparing former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term. The following is the full text of the document.

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby's request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice. As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.

I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby's appeals have been exhausted. But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision.

From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department. Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated.

After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.

This case has generated significant commentary and debate. Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak. Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.

Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable. They say that had Mr. Libby only told the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place.

Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.

Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.

I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.

The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby's case is an appropriate exercise of this power.


For additional information:

On “Soundtrack” click on: Plame Wilson Novak Libby CIA Leak Case

Timeline: CIA Leak Case: Follow the twists and turns in the CIA leak investigation that resulted in Libby's conviction — and in a sentence commutation from President Bush.

Read Libby's appeal denial (pdf file)

Libby becomes inmate No. 28301-016

Libby seeks delay of prison term

Read Bush's full statement on Libby

Libby denied request to remain free on bond

Bush spares Libby from 2 1/2-year prison term

The latest on Bush commuting Libby


Bush Decision on Libby Draws Fire

Wilson: Commuting Libby's Sentence Is 'Corrupt'

President's Move on Libby Risks Fallout

Comment: Bush had nothing to lose over Libby

Timeline: 'Scooter' Libby trial

Libby suffers new court defeat

July 2, 2007: Libby Won't Go to Prison; Fine, Probation Remain

June 5, 2007: Libby Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years in CIA Leak Case

March 6, 2007: Lewis 'Scooter' Libby Found Guilty of Lying

Feb. 20, 2007: Final Arguments Made in Libby Perjury Case

July 2, 2007: The Trial of Lewis Libby

Feb. 8, 2007: Prosecution Rests Case in Libby Trial

Jan. 16, 2007: Jury Selection to Begin in Libby Trial

Monday, June 25, 2007

20070625 CyberAlert


Media Resarch Center

A usually-daily report, edited by Brent H. Baker, CyberAlert is distributed by the Media Research Center, the leader since 1987 in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.

The 2,434th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996

6:15am EDT, Monday June 25, 2007 (Vol. Twelve; No. 107)

1. NBC: 'Ugly Emotions' on Illegal Immigration 'Fanned' by Limbaugh On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, reporter John Yang distorted Pat Buchanan's point about the level of crime committed by illegal immigrants as he impugned Rush Limbaugh for helping to "fan" such "ugly emotions." Previewing the expected Senate vote Tuesday on whether to revive the immigration bill, Yang asserted that "the outcome is uncertain, largely because of the heated debate over how to treat people illegally in the country." Yang charged: "On NBC's Meet the Press today, that debate turned ugly." Viewers then saw a soundbite from Buchanan: "Many of them are child molesters or drunk drivers, they're rapists, they're robbers, they've got a variety of crimes but they commit a felony by being here." After a clip of Democratic Congressman Luis Guttierrez, on the same show, condemning Buchanan for casting "aspersions" and reasonably insisting that "the vast, overwhelming majority of immigrants that come here to this country come here to work hard, sweat, toil, and make our country a better place," Yang, presumably referring back to Buchanan, alleged: "Those emotions are being fanned by conservative radio talk show hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh." Yang played an audio clip of Limbaugh: "They want low-skilled, uneducated, cheap labor in the country -- because that's their next class of victims."

2. ABC's Marlantes: Bush Policies Worse than Illegal CIA of Past On ABC's World News Sunday, during a story about the release of classified information regarding the CIA's "cloak and dagger" past in the 1960s and 1970s, correspondent Liz Marlantes suggested that the Bush administration engages in abuses that are worse than the illegal activities detailed in the documents: "But this all comes when the CIA is under fire for an alleged array of current abuses, including the use of secret prisons and torture. Some say the activities of the past may look mild by comparison."

3. NYT Movie Critic Praises 'Sicko,' Frets Lack of 'Social Welfare' New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott called Michael Moore "a credit to the Republic" after Fahrenheit 9-11 and now thinks Sicko is his "funniest," "most broadly appealing" film yet. In Friday's paper, Scott again defended (in a markedly defensive manner) dubious left-wing documentarian Moore in his glowing review of Sicko, Moore's new documentary on the U.S. health care system. Scott empathized with Moore's bewilderment over why the U.S. is now more like Western European nations: "He wants us to be more like everybody else. When he plaintively asks, 'Who are we?,' he is not really wondering why our traditions of neighborliness and generosity have not found political expression in an expansive system of social welfare. He is insisting that such a system should exist, and also, rather ingeniously, daring his critics to explain why it shouldn't."

Check Out the MRC's Blog

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Monday, May 21, 2007

20070520 Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates College of William and Mary Graduation Exercises Remarks

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates College of William and Mary Graduation Exercises Remarks

College of William and Mary May 20, 2007

Courtesy of Joseph McClain, Director of Research Communications, The College of William & Mary and U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Duty Officer

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Thank you, President Nichol. Members of the faculty, parents, distinguished guests. Justice O’Connor—Chancellor—a pleasure to see you. Justice O’Connor administered my oath of office as Director of Central Intelligence in 1991 and, more recently, as President Nichol has mentioned, we served on the Baker-Hamilton Commission last year—although my tenure on the group was rather abruptly interrupted.

Speaking of which, in terms of my timing in taking on the responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense, it reminds me of a story told long ago by Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, who spoke of having seen a bull that charged a locomotive. He said, “You know that was the bravest bull I ever saw, but I can’t say much for his judgment.”

Dr. Kelso and Secretary Coleman, your recognition here today is well-deserved.

To the members of the Class of 2007: Congratulations. I am truly honored—and flattered—to be your graduation speaker.

I presided over 39 commencement ceremonies as president of Texas A&M, yet, today is the first commencement speech I have ever given. I thank all of you for the extraordinary privilege of letting it be at my alma mater.

To the parents: you must be welling up with pride at the achievements of your children. Having put two children through college, I know there are many sighs of relief as well, and you are probably already planning how to spend your newly re-acquired disposable income. Forget it. Trust me on this. If you think you’ve written your last check to your son or daughter, dream on. The National Bank of Mom and Dad is still open for business.

I guess I am supposed to give you some advice on how to succeed. I could quote the billionaire J. Paul Getty, who offered advice on how to get rich. He said, “Rise early, work late, strike oil.” Or, Alfred Hitchcock, who said, “There’s nothing to winning really. That is if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever.

Well, instead of those messages, my only words of advice for success today comes from two great women. First, opera star Beverly Sills, who said, “There are no short cuts to anyplace worth going.” And second, from Katharine Hepburn, who wrote: “Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.”

In all those 39 commencements at Texas A&M, I learned the importance of brevity for a speaker. George Bernard Shaw once told a speaker he had 15 minutes. The speaker asked, “How can I possibly tell them all I know in 15 minutes? Shaw replied, “I advise you to speak very slowly.” I will speak quickly, because, to paraphrase President Lincoln, I have no doubt you will little note nor long remember what is said here.

I arrived at William & Mary in 1961 at age 17, intending to become a medical doctor. My first year was pure pre-med: biology, chemistry, calculus and so on. I soon switched from pre-med to history. I used to say “God only knows how many lives have been saved by my becoming Director of CIA instead of a doctor.”

When reflecting on my experience here I feel gratitude for many things:

To William & Mary for being a top-tier school that someone like me could actually afford to attend—even as an out-of-state student. By the way, hold on to your hats, parents: Out of state tuition then was $361 a semester.

Gratitude for the personal care and attention from a superb faculty and staff—a manifestation of this university’s commitment to undergraduate education that continues to this day;

Gratitude to those in the greater Williamsburg community, who opened their hearts and their homes to a 17-year-old far from his own home; and

Gratitude for one more thing. During my Freshman year I got a ‘D’ in calculus. When my father called from Kansas to ask how such a thing was possible, I had to admit, “Dad, the ‘D’ was a gift.” So, I’m grateful to that math professor too.

What William & Mary gave me, above all else, was a calling to serve—a sense of duty to community and country that this college has sought to instill in each generation of students for more than 300 years. It is a calling rooted in the history and traditions of this institution.

Many a night, late, I’d walk down Duke of Gloucester Street from the Wren Building to the Capitol. On those walks, in the dark, I felt the spirit of the patriots who created a free and independent country, who helped birth it right here in Williamsburg. It was on those walks that I made my commitment to public service.

I also was encouraged to make that commitment by the then-president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, who said to we young Americans in the early 1960s, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”

We are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine this country could have gotten off to a more challenging start. It began as a business venture of a group of London merchants with a royal patent. The journalist Richard Brookhiser recently compared it to Congress today granting Wal-Mart and GE a charter to colonize Mars.

Brookhiser wrote, “Its leaders were always fighting. Leaders who were incompetent or unpopularsometimes the most competent were the least popularwere deposed on the spot,” He continues, “The typical 17th Century account of Jamestown argues that everything would have gone well if everyone besides the author had not done wrong.” Sounds like today’s memoirs by former government officials.

Jamestown saw the New World’s first representative assembly—the institutional expression of the concept that people should have a say in how they were governed, and having that say brought with it certain obligations: a duty to participate, a duty to contribute, a duty to serve the greater good.

It is these four-hundred-year-old obligations that I want to address for the next few minutes. When talking about American democracy, we hear a great deal about freedoms, and rights, and, more recently, about the entitlements of citizenship. We hear a good deal less about the duties and responsibilities of being an American.

Young Americans are as decent, generous, and compassionate as we’ve ever seen in this country—an impression reinforced by my four and a half years of experience as President of Texas A&M, by the response of college students across America—and especially here at William & Mary—to the tragedy at Virginia Tech, and even more powerfully reinforced by almost six months as Secretary of Defense.

That is what makes it puzzling that so many young people who are public-minded when it comes to their campus and community tend to be uninterested in— if not distrustful of—our political processes. Nor is there much enthusiasm for participating in government, either as a candidate or for a career.

While volunteering for a good cause is important, it is not enough. This country will only survive and progress as a democracy if its citizens—young and old alike—take an active role in its political life as well.

Seventy percent of eligible voters in this country cast a ballot in the election of 1964. The voting age was then 21. During the year I graduated, 1965, the first major American combat units arrived in Vietnam, and with them, many 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds. In recognition of that disparity, years later the voting age would be lowered to 18 by constitutional amendment.

Sad to say, that precious franchise, purchased and preserved by the blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans your age and younger from 1776 to today, has not been adequately appreciated or exercised by your generation.

In 2004, with our nation embroiled in two difficult and controversial wars, the voting percentage was only 42 percent for those aged 18 to 24.

Ed Muskie, former senator and Secretary of State, once said that “you have the God given right to kick the government around.” And it starts with voting, and becoming involved in campaigns. If you think that too many politicians are feckless and corrupt, then go out and help elect different ones. Or go out and run yourself. But you must participate, or else the decisions that affect your life and the future of our country will be made for you—and without you.

So vote. And volunteer. But also consider doing something else: dedicating at least part of your life in service to our country.

I entered public life more than 40 years ago, and no one is more familiar with the hassles, frustrations and sacrifices of public service than I am. Government is, by design of the Founding Fathers, slow, unwieldy and almost comically inefficient. Will Rogers used to say: “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

These frustrations are inherent in a system of checks and balances, of divisions and limitations of power. Our Founding Fathers did not have efficiency as their primary goal. They designed a system intended to sustain and protect liberty for the ages. Getting things done in government is not easy, but it’s not supposed to be.

I last spoke at William & Mary on Charter Day in 1998. Since then our country has gone through September 11 with subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We learned once again that the fundamental nature of man has not changed, that evil people and forces will always be with us, and must be dealt with through courage and strength.

Serving the nation has taken on a whole new meaning and required a whole new level of risk and sacrifice—with hundreds of thousands of young Americans in uniform who have stepped forward to put their lives on the line for their country. These past few months I’ve met many of those men and women—in places like Fallujah and Tallil in Iraq and Bagram and Forward Operating Base Tillman in Afghanistan—and at Walter Reed as well. Seeing what they do every day, and the spirit and good humor with which they do it, is an inspiration. The dangers they face, and the dangers our country faces, make it all the more important that this kind of service be honored, supported, and encouraged.

The ranks of these patriots include the graduates of William & Mary’s ROTC program, and the cadets in this Class of 2007, who I’d like to address directly. You could have chosen a different path—something easier, or safer, or better compensated—but you chose to serve. You have my deepest admiration and respect—as Secretary of Defense, but mostly as a fellow American.

You are part of a tradition of voluntary military service dating back to George Washington’s Continental Army. That tradition today includes General David McKiernan, William & Mary Class of 1972, who led the initial ground force in Iraq and now commands all Army troops in Europe. It also is a tradition not without profound loss and heartache.

Some of you may know the story of Ryan McGlothlin, William & Mary Class of 2001: a high school valedictorian, Phi Beta Kappa here, and Ph.D. candidate at Stanford. After being turned down by the Army for medical reasons, he persisted and joined the Marines and was deployed to Iraq in 2005. He was killed leading a platoon of riflemen near the Syrian border.

Ryan’s story attracted media attention because of his academic credentials and family connections. That someone like him would consider the military surprised some people. When Ryan first told his parents about joining the Marines, they asked if there was some other way to contribute. He replied that the privileged of this country bore an equal responsibility to rise to its defense.

It is precisely during these trying times that America needs its best and brightest young people, from all walks of life, to step forward and commit to public service. Because while the obligations of citizenship in any democracy are considerable, they are even more profound, and more demanding, as citizens of a nation with America’s global challenges and responsibilities—and America’s values and aspirations.

During the war of the American Revolution, Abigail Adams wrote the following to her son, John Quincy Adams: “These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station that great characters are formed. . . . Great necessities call out great virtues.”

You graduate in a time of “great necessities.” Therein lies your challenge and your opportunity.

A final thought. As a nation, we have, over more than two centuries, made our share of mistakes. From time to time, we have strayed from our values; and, on occasion, we have become arrogant in our dealings with others. But we have always corrected our course. And that is why today, as throughout our history, this country remains the world’s most powerful force for good—the ultimate protector of what Vaclav Havel once called “civilization’s thin veneer.” A nation Abraham Lincoln described as mankind’s last, best hope.”

If, in the 21st century, America is to be a force for good in the world—for freedom, the rule of law, and the inherent value of each and every person; if America is to continue to be a beacon for all who are oppressed; if America is to exercise global leadership consistent with our better angels, then the most able and idealistic of your generation must step forward and accept the burden and the duty of public service. I promise you that you will also find joy and satisfaction and fulfillment.

I earlier quoted a letter from Abigail Adams to her son, John Quincy. I will close with a quote from a letter John Adams sent to one of their other sons, Thomas Boylston Adams. And he wrote: “Public business, my son, must always be done by somebody. It will be done by somebody or another. If wise men decline it, others will not; if honest men refuse it, others will not.”

Will the wise and the honest among you come help us serve the American people?

Congratulations and Godspeed.