Obama Surging


Barack Obama has a tailwind — and the excitement about him is building.
My friends in both camps are in shock. The Hillary Clinton team — at the worker level — is trying to figure out what the turn-around strategy is.
The Obama camp can’t quite believe the surge, and the best of them are worried about making decisions that might make their champ look arrogant or over-confident in the wake of his Iowa win — and perhaps his next big win in New Hampshire.
One close foreign policy insider in the Obama camp did share with me that while to the outside it looks like Anthony Lake and Susan Rice are the chief foreign policy advisers with Zbigniew Brzezinski and others close in when they want to be — I was told that there essentially is no hierarchy and no defined structure yet regarding who is driving the process. I don’t know what to make of this — just sharing what I heard.
More soon.

— Steve Clemons


20 comments on “Obama Surging

  1. MarkL says:

    It should go without saying that Obama’s new support is shallow. In fact, almost have of NH voters are still undecided right now, or are not totally committed.
    I really think Obama needs to be hammered about his record, but his “hope” message and his charisma apparently overpower reason with a lot of voters.


  2. erichwwk says:

    Or is the analogy between the US and the 3rd Reich more applicable, where Germany, after being unable to defeat the UK, decided to take on Russia instead?
    And the US, unable to defeat either the Afghanistan or Iraqi nationalists, goes after Iran instead?
    Was the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps declared “a terrorist group” because it is this group “shoulders the main responsibility in protecting Iran’s territorial waters” and gives the US the causi belli for starting this war? Or does it even need one anymore?


  3. erichwwk says:

    Here is what I have spread yesterday re. Sibel:
    [I work with the Los Alamos Study Group, interested mostly in LANL]
    You may already be aware of Sibel Edmonds latest allegations, reported by the UK Times online, which also are alleged to involve LANL.:
    “They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking
    State Department official who provided some of
    their moles “mainly PhD students” with
    security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear
    research facilities. These included the Los
    Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which
    is responsible for the security of the US
    nuclear deterrent.
    Since Edmunds left the FBI in 2002, and she has testified before various Congressional committees, there can be nothing new here?
    What is new is her going public, under the allegation that the public is being misinformed, and the perpetrators are at the highest level in State and Defense Departments, and protected by U.S. politicians.
    “Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she
    says she heard evidence that one well-known
    senior official in the US State Department was
    being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who
    were selling the information on to black market
    buyers, including Pakistan.
    The name of the official “who has held a
    series of top government posts” is known to
    The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the
    The UK Times article is at
    BTW, since the tact and politeness facade is slipping, perhaps this Chalmers Johnson quote from his “Charlie Smith’s War” film might be of interest:
    “What to make of the film (which I found rather
    boring and old-fashioned)? It makes the U.S.
    government look like it is populated by a bunch
    of whoring, drunken sleazebags, so in that
    sense it’s accurate enough.”
    Seen enough similarities between the USSR proxy empire overreach, and that of the US, to have a sense of where this is going?


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Nukes, Spooks,
    and the Specter of 9/11
    We’re in big trouble if even half of what Sibel Edmonds says is true…
    by Justin Raimondo
    “The next president may have to deal with a nuclear attack,” averred ABC’s Charles Gibson at Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate. “The day after a nuclear weapon goes off in an American city, what would we wish we had done to prevent it and what will we actually do on the day after?”
    It’s a question that frightens everyone, and one to which there is no easy answer: none of the candidates really rose to the occasion, and most seemed baffled. Hillary Clinton made sure she used the word “retaliation” with unusual emphasis, and when pressed on the question of how she would retaliate against “stateless” terrorists nevertheless insisted that she would indeed retaliate against someone, because the perpetrators had to have a “haven” somewhere within a state.
    Yes, well, that’s not necessarily true, but what if that “haven” is… right here in the U.S.? Or, perhaps, in a NATO country, say, Turkey?
    Say what?
    Impossible, you say? Not if you believe Sibel Edmonds, a former translator for the FBI who listened in on hundreds of telephone intercepts and has now told the London Times that several top U.S. government officials conspired with foreign agents to steal U.S. nuclear secrets and sell them on the black market. The Times reports:
    “Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of U.S. officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.
    “Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the U.S. State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan. The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims. However, Edmonds said: ‘He was aiding foreign operatives against U.S. interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.’
    “She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents. ‘If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,’ she said.”
    Edmonds brought all this to the attention of lawmakers, as well as the American media, and several news organizations filed reports – until a federal judge issued an unprecedented gag order. Edmonds’ story was deemed too hot to handle: if the public were allowed to know what she knows, according to our government, America’s national security would be severely impaired. Yet now she is speaking out, and what she has to say is unsettling, to say the least.
    Edmonds has named at least one of the officials: he is Marc Grossman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, assistant secretary of state for European affairs under the Clinton administration and undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2001-2005. Grossman is now vice chairman of The Cohen Group, a consulting firm founded by Bill Clinton’s defense secretary, William S. Cohen.
    Edmonds contends that an international nuclear smuggling ring, associated with the intelligence agencies of Pakistan, Turkey, and Israel, has been permitted to operate in the U.S. with impunity. Our government, she claims, knew all about it yet, in order to placate the foreign governments involved, allowed a vast criminal enterprise to carry out its activities, including money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and espionage involving efforts to steal U.S. nuclear technology.
    As a translator for the FBI, Edmonds had the task of translating many hours of intercepted phone conversations between Turkish officials and Pakistanis, Israelis, and Americans who were targets of the FBI’s counterintelligence unit. Thousands of hours of intercepted calls revealed a network of moles placed in various military installations and academic venues dealing with nuclear technology. Edmonds gives us the details, via the Times:
    “Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. ‘The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,’ she said.
    “They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official [Marc Grossman] who provided some of their moles – mainly Ph.D. students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.”
    And “while the FBI was investigating,” says Edmonds, “several arms of the government were shielding what was going on.” An entire wing of the national security bureaucracy, associated with the neoconservatives, has long profited from representing Turkish interests in Washington: 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.
    This was no “rogue” operation, but a covert action executed by Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, the chief of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, at the time. The Turks were used as intermediaries because direct ISI intervention would have roused immediate suspicion. Large amounts of cash were dropped off at the offices of Turkish-American lobbying groups, such as the American Turkish Council in Washington, which was reportedly picked up by at least one top U.S. official.
    This Pakistani-Turkish-Israeli Axis of Espionage, operating through their respective embassies, systematically combed Washington officialdom for potential moles, compiling lists that, according to Edmonds and the Times, “contained all their ‘hooking points,’ which could be financial or sexual pressure points, their exact job in the Pentagon and what stuff they had access to.” Nice work, there.
    This sounds a lot like the setup the handlers of convicted spy Larry Franklin worked with to glean information from the rabidly pro-Israel Franklin and pass it off to Israeli embassy officials, including former Israeli ambassador Danny Ayalon; Naor Gilon, the former political officer at the embassy; and Rafi Barak, the former deputy chief of mission. And there is indeed a connection to the Franklin case, according to the Times,
    “One of the Pentagon figures under investigation was Lawrence Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst, who was jailed in 2006 for passing U.S. defense information to lobbyists and sharing classified information with an Israeli diplomat. ‘He was one of the top people providing information and packages during 2000 and 2001,’ [Edmonds] said.”
    Franklin delivered his “packages” to AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and their Israeli handlers for ideological reasons, but others, such as Grossman – according to Edmonds – did it for money. Grossman angrily denies the charge. In any case, apparently large cash transactions were recorded on the tapes Edmonds translated, in which U.S. officials were heard selling the nation’s nuclear secrets. As the Times relates:
    “Well-known U.S. officials were then bribed by foreign agents to steal U.S. nuclear secrets. One such incident from 2000 involves an agent overheard on a wiretap discussing ‘nuclear information that had been stolen from an air force base in Alabama,’ in which the agent allegedly is heard saying: ‘We have a package and we’re going to sell it for $250,000.'”
    A vast criminal enterprise supported by at least three foreign intelligence agencies acting in concert with top U.S. officials, including some “household names” – if true, it’s the story of the decade. Yet that isn’t all. The really scary aspect of this labyrinthine network of foreign agents, and their American dupes and collaborators, is its connections to terrorist organizations, specifically al-Qaeda.
    To begin with, Gen. Ahmad is suspected of having wired a large amount of money into Mohammed Atta’s Dubai bank account shortly before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. More ominously, the Times reports: “Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks.”
    Pakistani and/or Turkish operatives arrested or held for questioning in the wake of the 9/11 attacks? Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. However, the U.S. authorities did round up a large number of Israelis, including these guys, and held them for several months before extraditing them back to their home country.
    Even more alarming is the reason Edmonds approached the Times with the story, “after reading about an al-Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.” That’s a reference to this Nov. 2 story in the Times, which details the career of a top al-Qaeda kingpin, one Louai al-Sakka, who claims to have trained several of the 9/11 hijackers at a camp situated outside Istanbul in the resort area of the Yalova mountains.
    Now that’s curious: a Muslim fundamentalist training camp in a country run by a fanatically secular military that would normally not tolerate such activities. As the Times puts it: “Turkish intelligence were aware of unusual militant Islamic activity in the Yalova mountains, where Sakka had set up his camps. But they posed no threat to Turkey at the time.”
    Not a threat to Turkey, eh? All too true: the terrorists’ target was the U.S. The al-Qaeda recruits trained by Sakka were specifically chosen by the top leadership of al-Qaeda – i.e., bin Laden – to carry out the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. That they were nurtured and steeled for their mission under the noses of our NATO allies in Ankara seems bizarre – until one begins to take Sibel Edmonds seriously. Then the whole horrifying picture starts to fall into place.
    The darkest secrets of 9/11 are buried at the end of the trail laid out in Edmonds’ testimony. As Luke Ryland, the world’s foremost expert on the Edmonds case, writes:
    “The Times article then notes something that I reported 18 months ago. Immediately after 911, the FBI arrested a bunch of people suspected of being involved with the attacks – including four associates of key targets of FBI’s counterintelligence operations. Sibel heard the targets tell Marc Grossman: ‘We need to get them out of the U.S. because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans.’ Grossman duly facilitated their release from jail and the suspects immediately left the country without further investigation or interrogation.
    “Let me repeat that for emphasis: The #3 guy at the State Dept. facilitated the immediate release of 911 suspects at the request of targets of the FBI’s investigation.”
    Corruption and a massive cover-up organized at the highest levels of government – America’s nuclear secrets and technology looted on a massive scale, and sold to our enemies via a network set up by our alleged foreign “friends,” while the threat of nuclear terrorism hangs over our country like a thick fog of fear, and warmongering politicians scare us into going along with the program – if even half of what Edmonds alleges turns out to be true, then we are all in some very big trouble.
    In light of the Edmonds revelations, we have to reconsider the implications of the question Charles Gibson opened with during the ABC Democratic debate:
    “The day after a nuclear weapon goes off in an American city, what would we wish we had done to prevent it and what will we actually do on the day after?”
    Perhaps congressman Henry Waxman, who solemnly pledged to launch a public investigation into the allegations made by Edmonds, will wish he had kept his promise. Maybe even the national news media, which has been offered this story repeatedly, by Ms. Edmonds and her supporters, will wish they had covered it.
    Fortunately, we don’t need the “mainstream” media to get the truth out to the American people. With the new technology of the computer age, we can do an end run around the media. This YouTube video is shocking:
    As Edmonds says, “we have the facts, we have the documents, we have the witnesses. Put out the tapes, put out the documents, put out the intercepts – put out the truth.”
    If a nuke ever goes off in an American city, it will probably have been stolen from our own arsenal – once the American people wake up to that scary fact, the rest will follow automatically


  5. john o. says:

    Hillary’s “inevitability” was a media creation, happily exposed by Iowa. Now Hillary has to fight Obama and Edwards on the merits, where she is weakest. New Hampshire voters, every bit as canny and independent as those in Iowa, will respond accordingly.


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its tragic, really.
    Last night Sibel Edmonds posted photographs on her website of a number of faces, many well known. She has not named or captioned the photographs, I suspect to stay within the parameters of her gag order. Feith, Perle, Lantos, Scowcroft, Edelman, Grossman, Franklin, Hastert, Blount, Solarz, Livingston, Burton, plus a Rand executive, and a number of members of the think tank WINEP.
    Now, bear in mind that these are pictures of people that Sibel claims were selling nuclear secrets to a number of entities, accepting bribes, and committing felonious espionage against the United States of America.
    Also bear in mind that Sibel testified before Congress, and her allegations were classified after a number of Congressional members declared her allegations as being credible. Despite Waxman’s promise to fully investigate, instead, Sible Edmonds has been swiftboated, gagged, ignored, ostracized, and financially burdened with horrendous legal fees.
    So, we have evidence of the most egregious of crimes committed at the highest levels of our government, WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION, and WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMNGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES…..
    Here we debate the insignificant and scripted machinations of a few cowardly posturing actors, pretending to be the sincere advocates of democracy and the rule of law. Which one of these fucking frauds have you seen make an issue of governmental accountability? Which one of these media created sensations have you seen demand Phase Two, demand a thorough investigation of the INDISPUTABLE fraud that occurred during the last two presidential elections, demand an explanation about why no one seems to know what brought down Building Seven on 09/11/01, or demand an investigation into Sibel Edmonds’ allegations of high crimes and treason in the highest levels of our government? Illegal wiretapping, torture, lying a nation to war, stacking and politicizing the Justice Department, impeding the investigation into the most horrendous events of 9/11, ignoring subpoenas, the list is long and would have been unimaginable just one short decade ago.
    And we are supposed to take this election and its candidates seriously? We are supposesd to vote for one of these treasonous cowardly pieces of shit that have been complicit, at least in their inaction, in the greatest crimes ever perpetrated against our nation and its citizens?


  7. erichwwk says:

    Them [in terms of who is being extorted] is of course defined as
    all BUT the “governing elite”.
    mea culpa….again
    Also, Steve re the request for more than a oneliner on the Nikkei stock market, how about commenting on your view of the JPRI occasional paper No. 37, and where we are re a USSR type
    economic meltdown?


  8. erichwwk says:

    How about the possibility that some folks still believe in decision making by merit, and for “the greatest good for the greatest number” and all that, rather than politics as a means to extort wealth from “them”, them not necessarily foreigners, but more broadly defined as the governing elite?
    Are Americans steeped too deep in the delusions of their propaganda machine that even a welcome oasis of honesty and decency at the alpha male level is not enough to undue the inertia that spins our military and nuclear programs as other than war crimes and genocide, and our economic policy as on other than a self implosive path, ala the USSR in the late 1980’s?
    Steve, what is your current relationship with Chalmers Johnson, and why are more of his views not expressed here?
    How about YOUR comments on the movie “Charlie Wilson’s war”?
    Chalmers Johnson’s view:
    My own view is that if Charlie Wilson’s War is a comedy, it’s the kind that goes over well with a roomful of louts in a college fraternity house. Simply put, it is imperialist propaganda and the tragedy is that four-and-a-half years after we invaded Iraq and destroyed it, such dangerously misleading nonsense is still being offered to a gullible public. The most accurate review so far is James Rocchi’s summing-up for Cinematical: “Charlie Wilson’s War isn’t just bad history; it feels even more malign, like a conscious attempt to induce amnesia.”
    Your thoughts?


  9. wishingforbetter says:

    Sadly, I have heard from my worker-level friends in the Clinton camp that they are getting taunting calls from the Obama people telling them that their time is over and that they will never work for or with an Obama administration.


  10. bob h says:

    I find Lake, Rice, Brezinski, et. al. reassuring.
    I like the idea of Biden backstopping Obama, because of his foreign policy smarts and the fact he takes no **** from Republicans.


  11. KathyF says:

    Thanks for the insight; my biggest fear right now is that the campaign will get cocky. Brings back memories of high school football, when my team blew an easy game after a number one ranking.
    But I suspect they’re much more professional than a bunch of teenage boys playing football.


  12. digdug says:

    “idealism sells.. it doesn’t have to be backed up by anything, actually it is better if it isn’t.. that i think it what obama is running on.. i do think the democrats are stupid enough to put someone like that in for leader…”
    Idealism is basically waht the conservative movement has sold throughout both the Reagan and Bush 2 eras, with precious few specifics.
    You don’t *need* specifics to get elected president in this country. Conservatism has proven this. They’ve somehow gotten middle America to support conservatives for over 20 years, when very little in the real conservative agenda and actions actually benefits middle Americans.


  13. daCascadian says:

    Best to him & his crew.
    Here`s hoping that should she lose, Hillary takes some time and admits to herself why she wasn`t the one she thought she was; arrogance built on thin air is very ugly.
    “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” – Mark Twain


  14. ... says:

    idealism sells.. it doesn’t have to be backed up by anything, actually it is better if it isn’t.. that i think it what obama is running on.. i do think the democrats are stupid enough to put someone like that in for leader…


  15. susan says:

    Steve, My son is a young architect who works in the DC area. He said that his firm (mostly young) went nuts when Obama won Iowa.
    I don’t think that most of us can appreciate the impact Obama is having on our kids.
    What we are witnessing is the torch being passed to the next generation.


  16. Cee says:

    I really hope he’s listening to Zbig. In starting the last chapter (Catastrophic Leadership) of his book I thought of Obama and Hillary talking about taking action in Pakistan.
    He shouldn’t try to outhawk Hillary and the scare tactics don’t work anymore.


  17. Dan Kervick says:

    Given the events in Kenya this past week, perhaps this is an appropriate time to call more attention to a speech Obama gave at the University of Nairobi during his trip to Kenya in August, 2006:


  18. Steve Clemons says:

    Stygius — you may be right. I’m not sure — but my source was emphatic that what appeared to the world on the outside regarding the advisory team was not indicative of the inside.
    best, steve


  19. Stygius says:

    One close foreign policy insider in the Obama camp did share with me that while to the outside it looks like Anthony Lake and Susan Rice are the chief foreign policy advisers with Zbigniew Brzezinski and others close in when they want to be…
    That leads me to believe that Tony Lake and Co. are not necessary the insiders they think they are.
    If Obama is as thoughtful a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee as I think he is, then he probably has a advisory core that may include names unknown to the broader public.
    Getting Tony Lake on board has more to do with fracturing the House of Clinton than with good foreign policy advice. (Thank goodness.)


  20. Dan Kervick says:

    I was personally telephone polled by the Rasmussen poll that shows Obama 10 points ahead. I have to say that they asked a remarkably thorough and complex list of questions to find out whether I was a certain voter, a likely voter, certain to vote for my choice, likely to vote for my choice, etc.


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