I received an email yesterday evening from Leigh Ann Ambrosi, Director of Marketing for Sterling Publications, announcing that Sterling’s new imprint, Union Square Press, had signed Alan Weisman — “a veteran producer with CBS News, 60 Minutes and Charlie Rose — to write Prince of Darkness — Richard Perle: The Kingdom, the Power, and the End of Empire in America.
Weisman authored Lone Star: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Dan Rather. The release refers to Richard Perle as a “hugely influential foreign policy thinker” and “a fixture of the Washington establishment for more than three decades.”
Strobe Talbott actually dubbed Perle “the prince of darkness” in his important Reagan era arms control book, Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control in which Talbott chronicled the near constant dueling between then Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle and then State Department Director of Politico-Military Affairs Richard Burt.
But what caught my eye in this otherwise OK press announcement of a book not out until Thanksgiving this year was this bit:
While not an authorized book, Perle has granted the author extraordinary access, with multiple one-on-one interviews.
Maybe I’m just too skeptical of Perle’s willingness to cooperate. While Sterling may be a good publishing house, this is not a Seymour Hersh expose on him. Perle is probably cooperating because he thinks he can trade his stories in a quid pro quo deal for kind treatment in the book.
The publisher and writer must be aware of what animates Perle’s interest to cooperate. In such a release announcing a biography of not only a hugely influential foreign policy thinker but a hugely controversial personality who was part of the bandwagon that duped America into a reckless war against Iraq, it would be useful to know what the writer is doing beforehand to make sure that he is not in fact seriously manipulated by Perle — who I admit is one of the most effectively shrewd, compelling, and frequently disturbing policy personalities in Washington.
I still want to know what Richard Perle knew and when he knew it when he told me in October 2002 that we would not find WMDs in Iraq.
— Steve Clemons