The Name is Bergen. . .Peter Bergen

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bergen bin laden.jpg
My friend and New America Foundation colleague Peter Bergen will always be remembered as the guy who found Osama bin Laden and arranged a famous CNN interview of him when the CIA couldn’t find him. Bergen has written two important books about bin Laden and al Qaeda titled Holy War, Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden and The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda’s Leader.
While Peter was born in Minneapolis, he has a British accent more distinctive than many Brits and comes off as some kind of grunge-era 007 with very hip musical tastes. Most of the world knows Bergen as CNN’s terrorism analyst, particularly when anything bin Laden-esque surfaces.
That’s why I found it amusing that today in the New York Times Book Review, Chris Suellentrop notes that Patrick Buchanan refers twice to Bergen in his new book as Peter Burger.

This is not to say, however, that the book is awful. Buchanan can write, and he knows how to provoke. His foreign policy prescriptions — withdraw from NATO, abandon our commitments to Taiwan and South Korea and pretty much everywhere else in the world — are not likely to be adopted by the nominee of either major party in 2008, but he presents them forcefully and often persuasively.
They deserve a wider hearing in American politics than they are currently given, if only to challenge the adherents of the prevailing orthodoxy to question their assumptions (although it doesn’t bolster Buchanan’s bona fides as a terrorism expert when he twice refers to Peter Bergen, the author of “Holy War Inc.” and “The Osama bin Laden I Know,” as Peter “Burger”).

The name is Bergen. . .Peter Bergen.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

8 comments on “The Name is Bergen. . .Peter Bergen

  1. rubberheavysoul says:

    “While Peter was born in Minneapolis, he has a British accent more distinctive than many Brits and comes off as some kind of grunge-era 007 with very hip musical tastes.”
    Well c’mon – don’t leave us in suspense. What kind of music does he like? Given Bergen’s travels I’m sure that he has come across some interesting tunes.

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  2. karenk says:

    Buchanan’s website opens with “Right from the beginning” HA! What an ass. I never could tolerate his line-once someone tries to claim they’re more moral than everyone else, they lose me. Opposite-Peter Bergen-intelligent, successful, but also strikes me as kind and unassuming…a pretty cool guy,considering the serious nature of his work.

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  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    January 28, 2008
    None Dare Call It Treason
    Who is stealing our nuclear secrets – and why are they being shielded by the authorities?
    by Justin Raimondo
    The Valerie Plame case is, by journalistic standards, ancient history, and naturally any follow-up on a once-important story is considered bad form. Yet there is an interesting – and rather scary – new twist to the narrative. It turns out that Scooter Libby and friends weren’t the first to “out” CIA agent Plame, whose alleged employer, a company known as Brewster Jennings, was really a cover for a CIA unit investigating nuclear proliferation issues.
    The London Times reveals that a former top U.S. State Department official tipped off Turkish agents about Brewster Jennings’ CIA connection, according to Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator assigned to produce English-language transcripts of intercepted conversations of Turkish targets – in this case recordings of Turkish embassy officials and a top State Department official discussing, among other things, Brewster Jennings’ relationship to the CIA.
    As the Times reports, the recordings were made “between the summer and autumn of 2001. At that time, foreign agents were actively attempting to acquire the West’s nuclear secrets and technology. Among the buyers were Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s intelligence agency, which was working with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the ‘father of the Islamic bomb,’ who in turn was selling nuclear technology to rogue states such as Libya.”
    Plame and her unit were onto a black market nuclear network, run as a cooperative effort by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan, Turkey, and Israel. Accordingly, the Turks were lured into hiring Brewster-Jennings as “consultants,” but when the high U.S. official learned of this, says Edmonds, he “contacted one of the foreign targets and said … you need to stay away from Brewster Jennings because they are a cover for the government. The target … immediately followed up by calling several people to warn them about Brewster Jennings. At least one of them was at the ATC [American Turkish Council]. This person also called an ISI person to warn them.”
    The Israeli connection is what’s interesting about this covert operation, because it involves U.S. citizens, high government officials who have been part of an ongoing investigation that dates back to at least 1999, the earliest year mentioned in the AIPAC indictment. As Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay of McClatchy News Service reported in 2004:
    “Several U.S. officials and law-enforcement sources said yesterday that the scope of the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities appeared to go well beyond the [Larry] Franklin matter.
    “FBI agents have briefed top White House, Pentagon, and State Department officials on the probe. Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which also touch [Douglas] Feith’s office.
    “They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.
    “‘The whole ball of wax’ was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry.”
    The whole ball of wax is a pretty tall order, but surely a major part of it is this nuclear black market business that Edmonds has clear evidence of. Edmonds has been subjected to an unprecedented gag order, imposed by a judge in the name of preserving “state secrets” – yet what is being preserved, apparently, aren’t state secrets at all but the knowledge that our nuclear secrets are being stolen and sold to the highest bidder with the active collaboration of high U.S. government officials. A whole gallery of top figures has been fingered by Edmonds, who hasn’t mentioned any names yet has managed to identify the guilty parties by posting their photos on a Web site associated with her case.
    The lack of coverage of this amazing – and quite frightening – story in the U.S. media is easily explained: anything having to do with the activities of Israeli intelligence in this country is sure to sink beneath the radar, although the London Times and a good number of international news outlets have picked up the details. What isn’t so easily explained is the cover-up of criminal activities, including treason, by our very own Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Times, seeking corroboration of Edmonds’ story, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, asking for a particular document:
    “One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.”
    Who is protecting what I called this treasonous camarilla from prosecution – and why have successive investigations into a number of activities by the same cabal of government officials been closed down, repeatedly, over the years?
    As Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark point out in their new book, Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy, the network associated with Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan continues to operate in Europe, the Gulf, and Southeast Asia through a series of front companies. They cite a study produced by the BND, Germany’s intelligence agency, that found Pakistan is procuring nuclear-related materials and technology far in excess of its needs, leading experts to suspect they’re funneling their nuclear assets into a global black market operation. The chilling conclusion of the authors ought to send shivers down your spine:
    “Most alarming was the finding that hundreds of thousands of components amassed by Khan had vanished since he had been put out of operation. In other words, Pakistan has continued to sell nuclear weapons technology (to clients known and unknown) even as Musharraf denies it – which means either that the sales are being carried out with his secret blessing or that he is no more in control of Pakistan’s nuclear program than he is of the bands of jihadis in his country.”
    The Pakistanis think they are above reproach, at least publicly, by the U.S. authorities, and this strange immunity may have lethal consequences for us all:
    “In 2001, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, had proof that Osama bin Laden had received in person two retired Pakistani nuclear scientists at his secret HQ in Afghanistan. Both had become Islamist radicals in retirement.
    “According to the son of one of them, bin Laden told them he had succeeded in acquiring highly enriched uranium from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and he wanted their help to turn it into a bomb. Amazed, they explained that while they could help with the science of fissile materials, they were not weapons designers.
    “Soon afterwards, a secret army audit discovered evidence that 40 canisters of highly enriched uranium (HEU), the feedstuff for a nuclear bomb, were missing from the Kahuta enrichment labs outside Islamabad after A.Q. Khan retired. Dr. Muhammad Shafiq ur-Rehman, an insider who is the son of one of Khan’s former key aides, revealed: ‘They could only account for 80 out of a supposed 120 canisters.'”
    Okay, so let’s see where this brings us: an underground network of spies and corrupt public officials is selling nuclear secrets worldwide, and al-Qaeda may very well have gotten its hands on enough lethal materials to make roughly 1,000 “dirty” bombs. Not only that, but the public officials and Washington insiders connected to this network are being protected from prosecution. The case files that document their treason have been withheld, and possibly destroyed.
    Our brain-dead media, our kept pundits, and the “mainstream” outlets that determine if and when a news story is “legitimate” have systematically ignored the allegations of Sibel Edmonds, in spite of numerous endorsements of her credibility from two respected U.S. senators, the FBI’s Office of the Inspector General, and numerous current and former FBI agents who share her frustration with the shameless cover-up of this important case. It is absolutely outrageous that not a single major news organization in the U.S. has bothered to examine the charges made by Edmonds – especially when it is known that Islamist groups are still planning attacks on Western targets.
    None Dare Call It Treason was the title of a ubiquitous right-wing screed of the 1960s, remembered more for its high camp value than for anything the author had to say, but I’ve always wanted to use it as the title of a column. Now that I’ve managed to do it, it doesn’t seem half as funny anymore.
    Is it really time to consider moving to, say, a Pacific atoll and waiting out the catastrophe looming just down the road a bit? I never thought I’d say that, being temperamentally and ideologically opposed to “dropping out,” but one wonders, in the face of such a massive cover-up of this appalling danger to our immediate safety, if that isn’t the only alternative.

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  4. RadioFreeBabylon says:

    How is it that none of the comments here have anything to do with the post?
    I read Buchanan’s book as well as the review today.
    Buchanan paints a scary picture and offers resolutions even Ron Paul would consider crazy, but still – he makes the argument well that we are facing, as he calls it, a day of reckoning.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Sometimes, people, two plus two REALLY DOES equal four, even if certain Washington insiders, and this criminal treasonous Administration tell you otherwise.
    Or, we can just consider this all one big coincidence, just accidentally occurring on the heels of the publication of Sibel’s accusations.

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  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080127/NEWS05/801270623/1001/NEWS
    Asked and answered: Did Wolfowitz get a new job?
    January 27, 2008
    QUESTION: Did Paul Wolfowitz get another job?
    ANSWER: Yes, and he is once again a center of controversy.
    Advertisement
    Wolfowitz, 64, had been president of the World Bank. He resigned last May, less than halfway through his 5-year term, amid criticism over his securing a large pay raise for his companion. European governments said he had hobbled the world’s largest development agency.
    Before that, Wolfowitz was U.S. deputy secretary of defense and was instrumental in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. He was prominent in declaring that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, a key justification for the war.
    “Disarming Iraq of its chemical and biological weapons and dismantling its nuclear weapons program is a crucial part of winning the war on terror,” he said in January 2003, two months before the U.S.-led invasion.
    But no nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction were found. Which is why Wolfowitz’s new appointment is causing puzzlement and criticism.
    He has been named chairman of a group that advises the U.S. State Department on arms-control issues.
    Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based policy research group, said: “The advice given by Paul Wolfowitz over the past six years ranks among the worst provided by any defense official in history. I have no idea why anyone would want more.”
    From Bloomberg News

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  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.antiwar.com/frank/?articleid=12265
    Why Bush Wants to Legalize the Nuke Trade with Turkey
    Exonerating Neocon Criminals
    by Joshua Frank
    According to FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, there is a vast black market for nukes, and certain U.S. officials have been supplying sensitive nuclear technology information to Turkish and Israeli interests through its conduits. It’s a scathing allegation which was first published by the London Times two weeks ago, and Edmonds’ charge seems to be on the verge of vindication.
    In likely reaction to the London Times report, the Bush Administration quietly announced on January 22 that the president would like Congress to approve the sale of nuclear secrets to Turkey. As with most stories of this magnitude, the U.S. media has put on blinders, opting to not report either Edmonds’ story or Bush’s recent announcement.
    The White House Press Release claims that President Clinton signed off on the Turkey deal way back in 2000:
    “However, immediately after signature, U.S. agencies received information that called into question the conclusions that had been drawn in the required NPAS (Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement) and the original classified annex, specifically, information implicating Turkish private entities in certain activities directly relating to nuclear proliferation. Consequently, the Agreement was not submitted to the Congress and the executive branch undertook a review of the NPAS evaluation … My Administration has completed the NPAS review as well as an evaluation of actions taken by the Turkish government to address the proliferation activities of certain Turkish entities (once officials of the U.S. Government brought them to the Turkish government’s attention).”
    What “private entities” the press release refers to is not clear, but it could well include the American Turkish Council, the “entity” revealed in the Times article. The Bushites seem to be covering their own exposed backsides, for the timing of Bush’s call to sell nuke secrets to Turkey is certainly suspicious, if not overtly conspicuous.
    It appears the White House has been spooked by Edmonds and hopes to absolve the U.S. officials allegedly involved in the illegal sale of nuclear technology to private Turkish “entities”. One of those officials is likely Marc Grossman, the former ambassador to Turkey during the Clinton Administration who also served in the State Department from 2001-2005. Grossman has been named by Edmonds who claims he was directly involved in the nuclear smuggling ring that she says has allowed the intelligence agencies of Pakistan, Israel and Turkey to operate in the U.S. with impunity. Totally complicit in the nuke trade, the U.S. government, according to Edmonds, has known of the vast criminal activities of these foreign nations’ presence in the States, which has included all sorts of illegal activities like drug trafficking, espionage and money laundering.
    Edmonds says “several arms of the government were shielding what was going on” which included an entire national security apparatus associated with the neoconservaties who have profited by representing Turkish interests in Washington. As Justin Raimondo recently reported in Antiwar.com:
    “…this group includes not only Grossman, but also Paul Wolfowitz, chief intellectual architect of the Iraq war and ex-World Bank president; former deputy defense secretary for policy Douglas J. Feith; Feith’s successor, Eric Edelman; and Richard Perle, the notorious uber-neocon whose unique ability to mix profiteering and warmongering forced him to resign his official capacity as a key administration adviser … Edmonds draws a picture of a three-sided alliance consisting of Turkish, Pakistani, and Israeli agents who coordinated efforts to milk U.S. nuclear secrets and technology, funneling the intelligence stream to the black market nuclear network set up by the Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan. The multi-millionaire Pakistani nuclear scientist then turned around and sold his nuclear assets to North Korea, Libya, and Iran.”
    Is the Bush Administration seeking to exonerate these “officials” with its plea to allow Turkey to obtain U.S. nuclear secrets? Besides Grossman, who else was involved in Edmonds’ grim tale of the nuke-for-profit underground? As the news that U.S. officials have allegedly been supplying Turkey with nuclear technology begins to creep in to the mainstream media, the Bush team appears to be moving to legalize the whole shady operation.
    If Congress does not block or amend Bush’s legislation to sell nukes to Turkey within 90 days, it will become law automatically, likely acting retroactively to clear the alleged crimes of Marc Grossman and his neocon, nuke-trading friends.

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3257725.ece
    Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe
    Chris Gourlay, Jonathan Calvert, Joe Lauria
    AN investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI employee has claimed.
    The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.
    The firm, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was a front for Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent. Her public outing two years later in 2003 by White House officials became a cause célèbre.
    The claims that a State Department official blew the investigation into a nuclear smuggling ring have been made by Sibel Edmonds, 38, a former Turkish language translator in the FBI’s Washington field office.
    Edmonds had been employed to translate hundreds of hours of intercepted recordings made during a six-year FBI inquiry into the nuclear smuggling ring.
    She has previously told The Sunday Times she heard evidence that foreign intelligence agents had enlisted US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.
    Her latest claims relate to a number of intercepted recordings believed to have been made between the summer and autumn of 2001. At that time, foreign agents were actively attempting to acquire the West’s nuclear secrets and technology.
    Among the buyers were Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Paki-stan’s intelligence agency, which was working with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the “father of the Islamic bomb”, who in turn was selling nuclear technology to rogue states such as Libya.
    Plame, then 38, was the glamorous wife of a former US ambassador, Joe Wilson. Despite recently giving birth to twins, she travelled widely for her work, often claiming to be an oil consultant. In fact she was a career CIA agent who was part of a small team investigating the same procurement network that the State Department official is alleged to have aided.
    Brewster Jennings was one of a number of covert enterprises set up to infiltrate the nuclear ring. It is is believed to have been based in Boston and consisted of little more than a name, a telephone number and a post office box address.
    Plame listed the company as her employer on her 1999 tax forms and used its name when she made a $1,000 contribution to Al Gore’s presidential primary campaign.
    The FBI was also running an inquiry into the nuclear network. When Edmonds joined the agency after the 9/11 attacks she was given the job of reviewing the evidence.
    The FBI was monitoring Turkish diplomatic and political figures based in Washington who were allegedly working with the Israelis and using “moles” in military and academic institutions to acquire nuclear secrets.
    The creation of this nuclear ring had been assisted, Edmonds says, by the senior official in the State Department who she heard in one conversation arranging to pick up a $15,000 bribe.
    One group of Turkish agents who had come to America on the pretext of researching alternative energy sources was introduced to Brewster Jennings through the Washington-based American Turkish Council (ATC), a lobby group that aids commercial ties between the countries. Edmonds says the Turks believed Brewster Jennings to be energy consultants and were planning to hire them.
    But she said: “He [the State Department official] found out about the arrangement . . . and he contacted one of the foreign targets and said . . . you need to stay away from Brewster Jennings because they are a cover for the government.
    “The target . . . immediately followed up by calling several people to warn them about Brewster Jennings.
    “At least one of them was at the ATC. This person also called an ISI person to warn them.” If the ISI was made aware of the CIA front company, then this would almost certainly have damaged the investigation into the activities of Khan. Plame’s cover would also have been compromised, although Edmonds never heard her name mentioned on the intercepts. Shortly afterwards, Plame was moved to a different operation.
    The State Department official said on Friday: “It is impossible to find a strong enough way to deny these allegations which are both false and malicious.”
    It would be more than two years before Khan was forced to admit he had been selling nuclear weapons technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea.
    In the meantime, the role of Plame and Brewster Jennings became public knowledge in 2003. Plame’s husband, Wilson, wrote a report that undermined claims by President George W Bush that Saddam Hussein’s regime had attempted to buy uranium in Niger – a key justification for the invasion of Iraq.
    The following week Robert Novak, a journalist, revealed that Wilson’s wife was a CIA agent. In the scandal that followed, Novak’s sources were revealed to be two senior members of the Bush administration. A third, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was convicted of obstructing the criminal investigation into the affair.
    Phillip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, said: “It’s pretty clear Plame was targeting the Turks. If indeed that [State Department] official was working with the Turks to violate US law on nuclear exports, it would have been in his interest to alert them to the fact that this woman’s company was affiliated to the CIA. I don’t know if that’s treason legally but many people would consider it to be.”
    The FBI denied the existence of a specific case file about any outing of Brewster Jennings by the State Department official, in a response to a freedom of information request. However, last week The Sunday Times obtained a document, signed by an FBI official, showing that the file did exist in 2002.
    Plame declined to comment, saying that she was unable to discuss her covert work at the CIA.

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