Friday, November 10, 2006

Meet The New Boss

The timing of Rummie's marching orders would seem to have ruffled a few feathers in the lame duck-elect's party! Especially given that it was planned for such a very long time before the election - the White House knew that their Iraq strategy was not tenable, but kept it going and Rummy in place, to the detriment to American security and at the cost of American soldiers's lives, for months after the decision was made.

Still, our new Secretary of Defense represents a real improvement - despite his past employment by e-voting lobbyists, and despite being yet another Iran-Contra figure in the administration. After all, in his long career as a CIA Soviet analyst, he did such a superlative job of understanding and pre-empting the threat from the USSR!

... oh, wait.

Mr. President, Robert Gates is a career Soviet analyst and former Deputy Director of the CIA who was wrong about what CIA analyst Harold Ford described as `the central analytic target of the past few years: the probable fortunes of the USSR and the Soviet European bloc.' And I believe that the committee report points out one possible reason why the CIA failed to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to testimony, Mr. Gates was busy pursuing hypotheses and making unsubstantiated arguments attempting to show Soviet expansion in the Third World, instead of looking for or paying attention to facts that pointed in the opposite direction. Why? Why, as Mentor Moynihan has pointed out, was the CIA able to tell Presidents everything about the Soviet Union except the fact that it was falling apart?

Well, his intelligence estimates may be flawed, but perhaps he won't be so quick to falsify them outright!

... perhaps.

According to Robert Parry, a reporter who has closely tracked this period in the CIA'’s history, during this time the Reagan administration was "pressing the CIA to adopt an analysis that accepted right-wing media reports pinning European terrorism on the Soviets. The CIA analysts knew that these charges were false, in part because they were based on '‘black'’ or false propaganda that the CIA itself had been planting in the European media. But the '‘politicization'’ tide was strong."”

Another neo-con ideologue, with a proven capacity to suborn reason and endanger American interests for political and personal gain? His kung fu seems weak!

Go back there and practice, Rummy. With some luck, the rest of this corrupt pack will be joining you in 2008.


Blogger Management said...

GOP furious about timing of Rumsfeld resignation
By Patrick O'Connor

Donald Rumsfeld's abrupt resignation from the Pentagon the day after Republicans lost both chambers of Congress has infuriated some GOP officials on and off Capitol Hill.

Members and staff still reeling from Tuesday's rout are furious about the administration's decision to dump the controversial defense secretary one day after their historic loss, they said in a series of interviews about the election results.

President Bush announced Rumsfeld's resignation on Wednesday and named Bob Gates, a former CIA chief and president of Texas A&M University, as his replacement.

"The White House said keeping the majority was a priority, but they failed to do the one thing that could have made a difference," one House GOP leadership aide said Thursday. "For them to toss Rumsfeld one day after the election was a slap in the face to everyone who worked hard to protect the majority."

Exit polling suggested that an overwhelming majority of voters disapproved of the administration's handling of the war in Iraq, and members and aides were frustrated with the timing of the announcement because an earlier resignation could have given them a boost on the campaign trail, they believe.

"They did this to protect themselves, but they couldn't protect us?" another Republican aide said yesterday.

White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten called outgoing House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) on Wednesday morning to notify him of the move, Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean said Thursday. A spokesman for House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the White House also notified the House leader before the news was announced.

Citing the various scandals that have roiled the Republican Congress, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow Thursday downplayed the impact of the war in Iraq on Tuesday's election.

"The voters said, 'You know what, we expect you to come to Washington and do the people's business,'" Snow said during his regular press briefing Thursday. "And when people lose sight of that, voters tend to remind them of the priorities. That's 10 seats right there."

The working relationship between Bush and congressional Republicans will be an interesting subplot for the next Congress as the GOP adjusts to its new role in the minority.

Relations between the president and Republicans on the Hill have frayed dramatically since he began his second term, with GOP lawmakers placing increased blame on the administration for its perceived inability to reach to members and staff on legislation, personnel moves and its interpretation of the legal code in the detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists.

Republicans cite the fumbled rollout of Social Security reform, the administration's continued support of comprehensive immigration reform and the president's insistence to defend American involvement in Iraq on the campaign trail.

There were also very public spats between Hastert and the administration over an FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) congressional office and a major split over the near acquisition of port operations in six major cities by a firm based in Dubai.

Bush met with Boehner, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Thursday morning.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Management said...

November 10, 2006
Removal of Rumsfeld Dates Back to Summer

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 — President Bush was moving by late summer toward removing Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary, people inside and outside the White House said Thursday. Weeks before Election Day, the essential question still open was when, not whether, to make the move.

Mr. Bush ultimately postponed action until after the election in part because of concern that to remove Mr. Rumsfeld earlier could be interpreted by critics as political opportunism or as ratifying their criticism of the White House war plan in the heart of the campaign, the White House insiders and outsiders said.

The White House has refused to divulge the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that went into Mr. Rumsfeld’s announced resignation on Wednesday. Those who were interviewed would speak only on condition of anonymity, but included officials at the White House and those in a close circle of outside advisers. They said the administration had been engaged in painful off-again-on-again discussions about Mr. Rumsfeld’s ouster for months, even as Mr. Bush said repeatedly that Mr. Rumsfeld was his man for Iraq.

The delay in Mr. Rumsfeld’s departure was painful for some Republicans, who have argued that his continued presence in the administration was politically counterproductive. Some complained Thursday that the resignation had come too late to be any help during an election in which Mr. Rumsfeld became a whipping boy for Democratic, and eventually some Republican, candidates.

The people who agreed to speak about White House thinking said that Mr. Bush had resisted earlier entreaties by aides and outside advisers who urged that Mr. Rumsfeld be removed — in part because of a deep sense of loyalty to the defense secretary, not to mention Vice President Dick Cheney’s own longstanding ties to Mr. Rumsfeld. They said Mr. Bush was also influenced by his deep appreciation for Mr. Rumsfeld’s work in overseeing two wars and transforming the military, and, in an unintended fashion, by the loud calls last spring from former generals for Mr. Rumsfeld’s ouster, which they said had caused the president to dig in to support the defense secretary.

In addition, officials said, Mr. Bush did not have an immediate idea for a successor.

The man Mr. Bush chose, Robert M. Gates, ultimately came from the world of Mr. Bush’s father, having served in his administration as director of central intelligence during the Persian Gulf war of 1991. Mr. Gates is also close to James A. Baker III, the elder Mr. Bush’s longtime political consigliere, and is a member of Mr. Baker’s Iraq Study Group.

But, officials said, the decision to replace Mr. Rumsfeld with Mr. Gates was made by the president, in close consultation with Mr. Rumsfeld and with advice from a group of close advisers. The group — including the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, and the White House counselor, Dan Bartlett — was led by Joshua B. Bolten, the White House chief of staff, who came into his job last spring wanting to send clear signals that Mr. Bush was ready to make major changes to save an unpopular presidency.

Mr. Bolten took over just after the retired generals had stepped forward to call for Mr. Rumsfeld’s dismissal, a striking break with military tradition. A senior official, who would speak only on condition of anonymity, said the generals had in effect ensured Mr. Rumsfeld’s job security, because the White House was unwilling to make any move that could be interpreted as the civilian leadership buckling under pressure from the military establishment. Still, “Without question it’s been in the works for a long time,” said Fred Malek, a Washington financier with longtime ties to Mr. Bush and his father.

“I don’t think he initiated it,” Mr. Malek said of Mr. Rumsfeld. But, he said, “I don’t think he resisted it,” adding that at 74 and after six years at the helm during two wars, Mr. Rumsfeld was ready to step aside.

For months, if not years, the walls had seemed to be closing in on Mr. Rumsfeld, who was a polarizing figure within the White House itself..

Some political strategists close to Mr. Bush regularly complained that Mr. Rumsfeld had become a liability. Tension between him and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spilled into view in the spring, when they publicly argued about her statement that there had been “thousands” of tactical mistakes in Iraq.

Ms. Rice is among Mr. Bush’s closest advisers, but an aide refused to discuss her private conversations with the president.

The former White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., has essentially confirmed an account in “State of Denial,” the recently released book by the journalist Bob Woodward, that he raised the possible ouster of Mr. Rumsfeld twice — once in 2004, once earlier this year — but only as part of broader questions about staffing.

But Mr. Bush rejected the suggestions, and by the time Mr. Bolten came in, the question of Mr. Rumsfeld’s dismissal was off the table because of the generals’ revolt, said the administration officials and outside advisers. The White House spokesman Tony Snow said that Mr. Bolten had not included Mr. Rumsfeld on a list of possible changes.

Among those aides brought in to meet with the president in the late spring — as part of a broader effort under Mr. Bolten to expose Mr. Bush to more outside views — was Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, one of Mr. Rumsfeld’s louder critics. A summer of heavy violence in Iraq increased pressure on Mr. Rumsfeld from within and outside the White House. An associate of Mr. Bolten’s said that in early October, he had indicated deep concern about Mr. Rumsfeld’s tenure.

A senior administration official said that while the idea of Mr. Rumsfeld’s removal had periodically come up over the years and been shot down by Mr. Bush, “Obviously, the last month or two he was more receptive.”

The official said Mr. Bush had given his team the go-ahead to start planning for a switch and to explore the options. “He made it very clear to us two things: one, he did not want there to be any perception he was making a political decision because of the signals it sends; the second was, he wasn’t going to be comfortable with a decision or make a move unless he was comfortable with the person,” the official said.

Although Mr. Gates serves on the study panel Mr. Baker heads, administration officials said Mr. Baker was not involved in his selection, and they took issue with suggestions that somehow the first President Bush’s old team was riding to the rescue. A senior administration aide said Mr. Baker had found out about the choice minutes before it was announced.

This official said Mr. Gates’s selection came during a round of meetings in the last two months, as discussions between Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld evolved to the point where Mr. Rumsfeld had offered his resignation and Mr. Bush had finally accepted it.

On Thursday there were recriminations from some Republicans — among them Newt Gingrich — that Mr. Rumsfeld’s ouster came too late, and Republicans paid a price for it.

But officials said Mr. Bush had always planned to delay action until after the election — and to announce his decision immediately afterward, whether or not Republicans or Democrats won, to avoid the appearance he was acting in response to a drumbeat from a new Congress.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Management said...

New Def. Sec. Gates Was Director Of Voting Company
Thursday, 9 November 2006, 3:42 pm
Opinion: Bev Harris - Blackboxvoting.Org
Rumsfeld Replacement (Robert Gates) Was Director Of Voting Company

by Bev Harris - Blackboxvoting.Org

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will resign, reportedly to be replaced by former CIA director Robert Gates.

Gates was on the board of directors of VoteHere, a strange little company that was the biggest elections industry lobbyist for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). VoteHere spent more money than ES&S, Diebold, and Sequoia combined to help ram HAVA through. And HAVA, of course, was a bill sponsored by by convicted Abramoff pal Bob Ney and K-street lobbyist buddy Steny Hoyer. HAVA put electronic voting on steroids.

You can find copies of the VoteHere lobbying forms here:

I can't get them to save to pdf, perhaps you can. Enter search terms in both "registrant" and "client" fields and put in terms "Rhoads" "Livingston" and "Votehere" (one at a time.). Then look at the gravy train while it was in the process of derailing American democracy.

I first became acquainted with VoteHere when I met a source, Dan Spillane, who is the wonderful guy that identified the Diebold source code modules for me after I found the Diebold files. He is the person who introduced me, and subsequently everyone else, to the odd role of The Election Center and R. Doug Lewis in the elections industry.

Spillane also filled me in on The Livingston Group, VoteHere lobbyists, run by Bob Livingston -- the fellow that Hustler publisher Larry Flynt outed during the Bill Clinton blow job days. Larry Flynt offered a million dollars to anyone who could locate a Republican congressman committing adultery, and out popped peccadilloes by Livingston.

Livingston couldn't live that one down, so he resigned his post as House Speaker-Elect and became a lobbyist -- but that's not all! He also launched a group called "Center for Democracy" which was going to "monitor elections." This group also featured several good old boys from the tobacco industry and some mining companies.

Former VoteHere test engineer Dan Spillane was looking into all this because he had been fired after he questioned the certification process on a touch-screen system in which he had identified 250 flaws. It was way back in November 2002 that Spillane told me, "The voting machine industry is a house of cards. And the certification and testing process is the bottom card in the house of cards."


VoteHere was a company shilling cryptographic solutions and filled with NSA types (another director was Admiral Bill Owens, another crony of Rummy, Perle and Wolfowitz). For some reason this company claims it was unable to prevent itself from being hacked. In this alleged hack, VoteHere claims that someone stole their source code. Said source code was offered to me in October 2003, an obvious attempt at entrapment which I refused.

Nevertheless, VoteHere claimed to the media that its master security experts had supposedly "tracked" the hacker and had identified the hacker as an activist in the election reform community.

For some reason, it was decided that I should be investigated in connection with this "hack" of VoteHere -- nevermind that I can't remember how to change the password on my own laptop. Therefore I was interviewed by the Secret Service several times about this. Curiously, they never seemed to ask any questions about VoteHere, only my role in finding the Diebold files and publishing the Diebold memos.

This nonsense eventually culminated in a gag order and a letter from the U.S. Attorney to appear in front of a federal grand jury with information on all the visitors to the Black Box Voting Web site. (As if they couldn't get that in less dramatic ways in post-Patriot Act America).

Attorney Lowell Finley (now with went to bat for me on this. A reporter named George Howland from the Seattle Weekly also got wind of it. When it hit the press, and with Lowell Finley's help, their harassment of me stopped.

VoteHere never sold any voting machines that I can find, but apparently did set up some deals to embed its cryptography into some voting systems. We found memos in the Diebold trash about VoteHere's crypto-crap, and Maryland Director of Elections Linda Lamone shows up in VoteHere-related letters. Sequoia Voting Systems signed an agreement with VoteHere, but its not clear to me whether they ever did anything about it.

Robert Gates stepped away from VoteHere shortly before he showed up in Chapter 8 of my book, Black Box Voting, in a short bit about the VoteHere company history. You can read that here:

I don't know about you, but I'd rather use a paper, pencil, and count by hand at the polling place than have former CIA director Robert Gates fooling around with my vote.

But that's just me.

-- Bev Harris
Founder, Black Box Voting

P.S. Since the HBO special, I have plenty of moral support, but even after the Secret Service interviews and all the rest of the nonsense my husband and I have had to put up with, there are others who have had it rougher.

I'd like you to take a moment to visit this Web site -- not affiliated with Black Box Voting -- to meet one of the heroic citizens in this movement who has faced the most brutal retaliation of all: Stephen Heller. If you saw the HBO film "Hacking Democracy" you may remember a scene where I am chastising Diebold for lying about correcting problems with its product. I refer to "Release Notes." Those notes came from a source. Stephen Heller is being threatened with up to five years in prison for allegedly leaking me those documents. Kevin Shelley then decertified Diebold, and recommended criminal prosecution of Diebold. Diebold was never prosecuted, but Stephen Heller is being prosecuted RIGHT NOW. I hope you will donate to his defense. If not for citizens like him, where would your vote be now?

To contribute to Stephen Heller's defense fund:

10:44 AM  
Blogger Management said...

Voting Machines Gone Wild!

As the federally mandated deadline nears for state election officials to replace lever and punch-card voting machines with electronic systems, disturbing and systemic problems are emerging.

E-voting has obvious downsides—no ability to check recorded votes, no ability to perform meaningful recounts and susceptibility to electronic voting fraud. Nonetheless, the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) mandates that by January 1 states submit plans to make the switch in time for the 2006 elections.

More troubling, the backers of the act and the manufactures of e-voting machines are a rat’s nest of conflicts that includes Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Accenture. Why are major defense contractors like Northrop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin mucking about in the American electoral system? And who are Accenture and EDS?

Until January 1, 2001, Accenture was known as Andersen Consulting, a part of Arthur Andersen. Despite having offshore headquarters, Accenture is a member of the U.S. Coalition of Service Industries (USCSI), an industry association that promotes vastly extending the privatization and free trade in services via the WTO and GATT. It also is a member of U.S. Trade, the coalition that pushed for fast-track trade authority. In February 2001, Accenture and, the leading global election software and services company, formed “an alliance to jointly deliver comprehensive election solutions to governments worldwide. … The companies will combine their strengths and experience in the development of election software and the use of technology to offer governments new efficiencies that aid election administration.” also has a contract with the Federal Voter Assistance program to provide online absentee balloting for the armed services. It is expected to be completely electronic, that is, have no paper trail against which to check results.

This is worrisome because Accenture already has been involved in scandals in the United States and Canada. In the late ’90s, the company was hired to overhaul Ontario’s welfare service for $50 million-$70 million. By 2002, the project was capped at $180 million, although the total reached $246 million. To meet its contractual agreement with Accenture, the Ontario government was forced to cut welfare payments to $355.71 per child in poverty and fire large numbers of social service workers. also had problems in Canada. The company contracted to provide online Internet voting for the National Democratic Party in 2003, but hackers paralyzed the central computer and disrupted voting. The security and accuracy of’s voting software has since come under attack by Canadian voters who also challenged the ballotless software.

EDS, another internationally oriented information technology corporation, recently received a $51 million subcontract from Sytel Inc, a software and service provider to the Army, Air Force and Dow Chemical, among others, to “support personnel systems including personnel management, hiring and job postings, employee training, job exchange programs and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint tracking for the Department of Homeland Security.”

Partisan ties

Why Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, EDS and Accenture have been hired to alter the election process in America becomes clear when personnel is considered. The three largest voting machine companies in America are Election Systems and Software (ES&S), Sequoia and Diebold. Like Accenture, they, too, have tarnished pasts.

ES&S, formerly American Information Systems, is owned by the McCarthy Group, which was founded in the ’90s by Michael McCarthy, campaign director to Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) during the 1996 and 2002 elections. In a January interview with Bev Harris on, McCarthy said that “Hagel still owns up to $5 million in the ES&S parent company, the McCarthy Group” and that “Hagel also had owned shares in AIS Investors Inc., a group of investors in ES&S itself.” According to Harris, “Hagel did not disclose owning or selling shares in AIS Investors Inc.” to the Senate Ethics Committee, “nor did he disclose that ES&S is an underlying asset of McCarthy Group.” In an October article in the London Independent, Andrew Gumbel writes that Hagel “became the first Republican in 24 years to be elected to the Senate from Nebraska, cheered on by the Omaha World-Herald newspaper which also happens to be a big investor in ES&S.” In what can only be called a glaring conflict of interest, “80 per cent (sic) of Mr. Hagel’s winning votes—both in 1996 and in 2002—were counted, under the usual terms of confidentiality, by his own company.”

Sequoia is the second-largest company, with roughly one-third of the voting machine market. In 1999, the Justice Department filed federal charges against Sequoia alleging that employees paid out more than $8 million in bribes. In 2001, election officials in Pinellas County, Florida, cancelled a $15.5 million contract for voting equipment after discovering that Phil Foster, a Sequoia executive, faced indictment in Louisiana for money laundering and corruption.

Diebold is probably the best known of the three because of its recent unsuccessful attempt to quash the release of thousands of inter-office memos over the Internet. The memos show that Diebold executives were aware of bugs in the company’s software and warn that the network is poorly protected against hackers. The company also came under scrutiny because of voting irregularities caused by its machines in the 2000 election in Florida.

Diebold’s CEO, Walden O’Dell is an avid supporter of George W. Bush and has come under attack for penning a fund-raising letter in which he promised to help deliver Ohio’s votes to Bush in 2004. Diebold has been retained by the state of Maryland to provide voting software for the 2004 election, but because of ongoing negative publicity, Diebold hired Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC) of San Diego, to assess the security of the company’s voting software.

But wait, there’s more

Many SAIC officers are current or former government and military officials. Retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing, who until last summer served as chief counter-terrorism expert on the National Security Council, is a member of SAIC’s board. Also on the board is former CIA Director Bobby Ray Inman, who served as director of the National Security Agency, deputy director of the CIA and vice director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. During the first Bush administration and while on the board of SAIC, Immen was a member of the National Foreign Intelligence Board, an advisory group that reports to the president and to the director of Central Intelligence.

Retired Adm. William Owens, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who sits on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board, served as SAIC’s president and CEO and until recently was its vice chairman. He now is chairman of the board of VoteHere, which seeks to provide cryptography and computer software security for the electronic election industry. Robert Gates, ex-CIA director, former SAIC board member and a veteran of the Iran-Contra scandal, also is on the board of VoteHere.

SAIC has a history of problems. In a 1995 article in Web Review, investigative journalist Stephen Pizzo notes that in 1990 the Justice Department indicted SAIC on 10 felony counts for fraud, claiming that SAIC mismanaged a Superfund toxic cleanup site. SAIC pleaded guilty. In 1993 the Justice Department again brought charges against the company for “civil fraud on an F-15 fighter contract.” In May 1995, the company was charged with lying “about security system tests it conducted for a Treasury Department currency plant in Fort Worth, Texas.”

It is not clear how SAIC became the company of choice to evaluate security standards of the voting machine industry. Under HAVA, Bush is required to establish an “oversight committee, headed by two Democrats and two Republicans, as well as a technical panel to determine standards for new voting machinery. The four commission heads were to be in place by last February, but [as of October 13] just one has been appointed. The technical panel also remains unconstituted, even though the new machines it is supposed to vet are already being sold in large quantities,” Gumbel says.

Many computer experts agree that electronic voting represents the most feasible means of conducting large-scale elections, but not until security of the software can be established. But the voting machine companies want to retain secrecy over their codes as well as maintain control over the entire voting process, including the counting of ballots.

Most voting machines do not provide a paper trail so, in the case of a recount, all one can do is push a button and watch as the computer spits out the same set of numbers.

Americans are being rushed into this electronic voting frontier with little public awareness of the consequences. Diebold already has between 35,000 and 50,000 machines in place around the country. With the government investing nearly $4 billion in voting machines, those who insist on ensuring that the system is secure have been shunted aside.

Perhaps this is how the administration intends to bring democracy to the world: Hold elections using voting machines supplied by Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia and elect friendly governments. Then, hope that those people who have never experienced the democratic process won’t know the difference. More troubling is that many Americans may not know the difference, either.
Mark Lewellen-Biddle is working on his Ph.D. in American Studies and Political Science at Purdue University.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Management said...

Chapter 16
Robert M. Gates

Robert M. Gates was the Central Intelligence Agency's deputy director for intelligence (DDI) from 1982 to 1986. He was confirmed as the CIA's deputy director of central intelligence (DDCI) in April of 1986 and became acting director of central intelligence in December of that same year. Owing to his senior status in the CIA, Gates was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran/contra affair and was in a position to have known of their activities. The evidence developed by Independent Counsel did not warrant indictment of Gates for his Iran/contra activities or his responses to official inquiries.

The Investigation

Gates was an early subject of Independent Counsel's investigation, but the investigation of Gates intensified in the spring of 1991 as part of a larger inquiry into the Iran/contra activities of CIA officials. This investigation received an additional impetus in May 1991, when President Bush nominated Gates to be director of central intelligence (DCI). The chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) requested in a letter to the Independent Counsel on May 15, 1991, any information that would ``significantly bear on the fitness'' of Gates for the CIA post.

Grand Jury secrecy rules hampered Independent Counsel's response. Nevertheless, in order to answer questions about Gates' prior testimony, Independent Counsel accelerated his investigation of Gates in the summer of 1991. This investigation was substantially completed by September 3, 1991, at which time Independent Counsel determined that Gates' Iran/contra activities and testimony did not warrant prosecution.1

1 Independent Counsel made this decision subject to developments that could have warranted reopening his inquiry, including testimony by Clair E. George, the CIA's former deputy director for operations. At the time Independent Counsel reached this decision, the possibility remained that George could have provided information warranting reconsideration of Gates's status in the investigation. George refused to cooperate with Independent Counsel and was indicted on September 19, 1991. George subpoenaed Gates to testify as a defense witness at George's first trial in the summer of 1992, but Gates was never called.

Gates and the Diversion

Gates consistently testified that he first heard on October 1, 1986, from the national intelligence officer who was closest to the Iran initiative, Charles E. Allen, that proceeds from the Iran arms sales may have been diverted to support the contras.2 Other evidence proves, however, that Gates received a report on the diversion during the summer of 1986 from DDI Richard Kerr. The issue was whether Independent Counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates was deliberately not telling the truth when he later claimed not to have remembered any reference to the diversion before meeting with Allen in October.

2 See, for example, Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, p. 135 (``Q. Do you recall that in this time frame also you became initially -- well, let me not characterize it -- you became aware of what is now referred to as the diversion.[sic] A. Yes. I had a meeting with the NIO, the national intelligence officer, Charlie Allen, on the lst of October.''); Gates, SSCI Confirmation Hearing, 2/17-18/87, p. 13 (response to written interrogatory about his knowledge of the diversion).

Allen did not personally convey to Gates his concerns about the diversion until October 1, 1986.3 Allen testified, however, that he became worried during the summer of 1986 that the Iran initiative would be derailed by a pricing impasse that developed after former National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane failed in his attempt to secure release of the hostages during his trip to Tehran in May 1986. Lt. Col. Oliver L. North of the NSC staff had inflated the price to the Iranians for HAWK missile spare parts that were to be delivered at the Tehran meeting by a multiple of 3.7. Manucher Ghorbanifar, who brokered the parts sale, added a 41% markup to North's price of $15 million. With another increase added by Ghorbanifar during the Tehran meeting, the Iranians were charged a total of $24.5 million for HAWK spare parts priced by the Defense Department at $3.6 million.4

3 Allen believed, however, that he sent a memorandum to Gates discussing, among other things, how much money North needed to pay Manucher Ghorbanifar from the Iran initiative. (Memorandum from Allen to the DCI, Subject: American Hostages, 11/10/86, ER 19739; Allen, Grand Jury, 1/4/88, pp. 19-21.) Independent Counsel was unable to corroborate Allen's testimony.

4 Allen, Grand Jury, 8/9/91, pp. 100-02.

In late June 1986, Mohsen Kangarlu, Ghorbanifar's channel to the Iranian government, informed the CIA through Agency annuitant George Cave that the Iranians had evidence that they were being drastically overcharged for HAWK missile spare parts. Kangarlu asked the Americans to lower the price. Led by North, the Americans first attempted to blame Ghorbanifar for the overcharges. When blaming Ghorbanifar failed to break the impasse in U.S.-Iran talks, North sought to convince the Iranians that the pricing was fair, and attempted to provide the Iranians with falsified pricing documents.5

5 Cave, Grand Jury, 8/30/91, pp. 94-99; Allen, Select Committees Deposition, 6/29/87, pp. 534-40.

A frightened and angry Ghorbanifar finally called Allen in late August 1986 to complain that the situation had become unbearable. He told Allen that he had borrowed $15 million to finance the HAWK parts transactions, and that he was now being pursued by his creditors for repayment. Ghorbanifar insisted that it was not his markup, but the U.S. Government's, that was responsible for the pricing impasse. Ghorbanifar then pleaded with Allen to do something to resolve the issue. Allen told Ghorbanifar that he would bring the matter to North's attention.6

6 Allen, Grand Jury, 8/9/91, pp. 110-13.

By this time, Allen had concluded that something was deeply wrong with the Iran initiative.7 Allen related his concerns to Cave, Duane R. Clarridge, a senior officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, and North. North told Allen not to believe Ghorbanifar because he was a liar. Instead, North insisted that Allen stick to the story that gathering the HAWK spares was expensive and to not break ranks with other U.S. officials on the pricing cover story.8

7 Ibid., pp. 113-15:

I had begun to think along those lines, after the 15th of August 1986, when it was clear that with White House support, Major General Secord and Mr. Hakim had established a new link or a new channel into the government of Iran. It was clear that they were dealing with Hashem Rafsanjani, Ali Hashem Rafsanjani, who was a nephew, I believe, of the current President Rafsanjani.

It was clear to me that Mr. Hakim and Major General Secord were moving to take over the control of the operation; that they were moving to exclude Mr. Ghorbanifar -- that was very clear. I was very much aware that Mr. Hakim by that time and Mr. Secord were involved in other matters, relating to the contras in Central America.

It appeared to me that Mr. Ghorbanifar's call was sort of the final indicator that something was deeply awry -- that the problem was not Mr. Ghorbanifar; the problem was the operation being directed by U.S. officials. And I then came to the analytic judgement -- based on all these indications that money was being diverted from the profits from the sale of arms to Iran to the contras in Central America.

I did not have hard proof of this. In fact, I had no direct evidence in writing from anyone. It was simply aggregating a series of indicators into a conclusion. And at that point it was at that time or shortly thereafter, I recall walking out from the building to my car late in the evening and thinking very deeply about this -- thinking of the fact that two operations were probably being combined -- that the lives of the hostages were being actually endangered by such a reckless venture; [a]nd I raised the point with Mr. Cave at the office.

8 Ibid., p. 115.

Having received no satisfaction from North or Clarridge, Allen brought his concerns to Richard Kerr, who was DDI and Allen's immediate superior. Kerr's deputy, John Helgerson, joined their meeting. Allen testified:

I went through what was occurring. I brought Mr. Kerr up to date on the initiative. I met with him occasionally to brief him orally on the White House effort and the Agency support. He had asked to be kept informed when I had something useful to say, so I worked my way through the current problem -- the fact that after the failure of the McFarlane trip to Tehran, there had been a hiatus and efforts had been made to move this process along; but the Iranians had begun to complain very strongly about the price being charged.

Then I went through the rationale of why I believed that the United States was charging excessive costs to the Iranian government for the arms and that profits from the sale of the arms were being diverted to Central America.

I made it clear I did not have direct evidence, but that when you put the indicators together, it sounded as if two separate problems or projects were being mixed together. And I pointed out to him that it made no sense to me and in fact could endanger the hostages in Lebanon.

Allen believed he also told Kerr and Helgerson that retired U.S. Air Force Major General Richard V. Secord and Albert Hakim were involved in both the Iran arms sales and the NSC's contra project. Allen related the markups alleged by Ghorbanifar, and described intelligence reports that indicated that the Iranians were upset by the high prices.9

9 Ibid., pp. 117-18.

Allen testified that this information made Kerr visibly upset. Kerr told Allen to ``stay on top of the issue'' and to ``keep him advised of any new developments.'' According to Allen, Kerr pulled him aside later that same day and expressed ``deep concern.'' Kerr believed that if Allen's story were true, the arms sales ultimately would be exposed.10

10 Ibid., pp. 118-19.

In various interviews, Kerr admitted Allen told him of his suspicions. Kerr also corroborated Allen that Helgerson was present at the meeting. Kerr's account of his reaction to Allen's information, however, differed from Allen's. Kerr said that, as a general matter, he did not find Allen credible -- that Allen was ``a person who started and put out his own fires'' -- and therefore he did not take his allegations as seriously as Allen said he did. Kerr had Helgerson there, he stated, to calm Allen down.11

11 Kerr, FBI 302, 7/31/91, pp. 4-5; see also Helgerson, FBI 302, 9/5/91, pp. 4-5.

Still, Kerr admitted that he took Allen's concerns seriously enough to bring them to Gates, who was Kerr's immediate superior. Kerr acknowledged this meeting in two interviews with the CIA's inspector general, and in an interview with the Select Committees. Kerr stated that he did not remember when this meeting took place, dating it some time between May and September 1986.12 In an interview with the inspector general on December 4, 1986, Kerr stated that Gates's response was, ``God only knows what Ollie is up to.'' A memorandum for the record written by a CIA attorney reporting Kerr's interview with the Select Committees recites that Kerr testified that when he informed Gates of Allen's concerns, ``Gates responded that he was aware that rumors were circulating that profits were being made on the sales of arms to Iran and that money from the arms sales was being made available to the Contras.'' 13

12 Gates's calendar shows frequent meetings with Kerr in late August 1986, but this is inconclusive evidence of when the meeting occurred. Dating the meeting is made even harder by the close working and personal relationship between Kerr and Gates. According to Diane Edwards, Gates's secretary, Kerr was in regular contact with Gates and was among a handful of people who would see Gates without an appointment. (Edwards, FBI 302, 8/23/91, pp. 1-2.)

13 Working Notes, Kerr, CIA IG Interview, 12/4/86; Memorandum from Pearline to the Record, Subject: Interview of Dick Kerr, 9/10/87, OCA 87-3899. Pearline stood by his notes of Kerr's Select Committees' interview. (Pearline, FBI 302, 9/12/91, p. 5.) Helgerson told the OIC that Kerr informed him shortly after speaking with Gates of their conversation. (Helgerson, FBI 302, 9/5/91, p. 5.)

Kerr told Independent Counsel that he did not recall Gates referring to other rumors of a diversion at this meeting.14 The Select Committees' report of the interview did not contain the statement that Gates was aware of ``rumors'' of a diversion, but it did state that Gates told Kerr to ``keep him informed.'' Accordingly, the evidence was clear that Gates's statements concerning his initial awareness of the diversion were wrong: Kerr brought him the information from Allen over a month earlier than Gates admitted. This would have been material because it suggested that the CIA continued to support North's activities without informing North's superiors or investigating. By October, when Gates claimed he first remembered hearing of the diversion, Casey ordered an inquiry and later made a report to Poindexter; but, by then, the Hasenfus aircraft had been shot down and Casey and Gates were beginning to cover.

14 Kerr, FBI 302, 7/31/91, p. 5. Kerr admitted that he and Gates had reviewed the incident several times since. (Ibid.)

Gates's defense was that he did not recall the Kerr meeting.15 To say the least, this was disquieting. He had been told by a very senior officer that two of President Reagan's personal priorities were in danger -- not something an ambitious deputy director of central intelligence would likely forget. Allen was acting as a whistle-blower in a difficult situation. His concern was for the safety of the hostages and the success of the efforts of the President. His information suggested serious malfeasance by Government officials involved in a clandestine and highly sensitive operation. Even though Gates may have believed Allen to be excessively concerned, could such an expression of concern be forgotten, particularly after it had been corroborated within a few weeks? Logically, Gates could ignore or forget the Allen report only if he already knew of the diversion and he knew that Casey and Poindexter knew of the diversion. Gates also was on the distribution list for highly reliable intelligence that should have informed him of the pricing dispute among Kangarlu, Ghorbanifar, and the U.S. Government, although it did not refer specifically to any diversion of funds. Gates claimed that he rarely reviewed the intelligence.16 North testified that he did not discuss the diversion with Gates or in Gates's presence. Gates also never met with Richard Secord, whom Gates was aware of only as a ``private benefactor'' (the CIA's term for non-Government donors to the contras) by July 1986.17

15 In testimony he gave before the Select Committees' report was issued, Gates made no reference to a meeting with Kerr. In two later Grand Jury appearances, however, Gates acknowledged the conflict between his recollection of events and Kerr's, but he insisted that he did not recall the meeting. (Gates, Grand Jury, 2/19/88, pp. 22-23; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, p. 140.)

16 Gates, Grand Jury, 2/19/88, pp. 13-14 (found intelligence ``confusing,'' so he stopped reading it); Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, p. 138 (intelligence showed ``a couple of Iranian arms dealers . . . lying to each other,'' so he stopped reading it).

17 North, North Trial Testimony, 4/12/89, pp. 7552-55; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 71-72, 87-88. Gates admitted that he and others were concerned about Secord's involvement in the Iran initiative because of Secord's prior contacts with unsavory individuals, but he did not link these concerns with the diversion. (Gates, SSCI Testimony, 12/4/86, pp. 80-85; Gates, Select Committees Deposition, 7/31/87, p. 13.)

Notwithstanding Independent Counsel's disbelief of Gates, Independent Counsel was not confident that Kerr's testimony, without the support of another witness to his conversation with Gates, would be enough to charge Gates with perjury or false statements for his testimony concerning the timing of his knowledge of the diversion.

Gates and North's Contra Activities

Gates maintained consistently that he was unaware that North had an operational role in supporting the contras. He testified that he believed that North's activities were limited to putting contra leaders in contact with wealthy American donors, and to giving the contras political advice.18 While sufficient circumstantial evidence exists to question the accuracy of these statements, it did not adequately establish that Gates knowingly was untruthful about his knowledge of North's activities.

18 Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 59-60; Gates, Grand Jury, 2/10/88, pp. 74-75; Gates, Select Committees Deposition, 7/31/87, p. 30; Gates, Grand Jury, 6/26/87, p. 36.

Gates first met North at meetings of the Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG) beginning in 1982, when Gates was deputy director of intelligence. Gates claimed that his contacts as DDI with North were almost exclusively in the CPPG context, apart from meetings on intelligence assignments. Other than these meetings, Gates said that he had little to do with North. He was nonetheless aware of allegations that North was involved on some level with contra support.19

19 Gates, SSCI Testimony, 12/4/86, pp. 69-71; Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, p. 1. One disturbing evolution in Gates's description of his knowledge is the degree to which he relied on McFarlane's false assurances to Congress in 1985 that North was not involved in contra resupply. Before the Select Committees, Gates claimed that the CIA, as a whole, was aware of McFarlane's statements, and that the Agency relied on them:

I might add, you know, there's been a great deal of attention drawn to the letter that McFarlane sent to Mr. Hamilton avowing that whatever North was doing was legal and proper. The House Intelligence Committee were not the only ones who read that letter and were not the only ones who believed it. So there was a predisposition that while we didn't know or certainly from my standpoint, I think from the standpoint of others as well, that while we didn't know entirely what North was up to, the presumption was that it was proper because of that letter.

But when the Select Committees asked if he specifically was aware of McFarlane's representations at the time McFarlane made them, Gates was quick to deny that he was. (Gates, Select Committees Deposition, 7/31/87, pp. 32-33.) In his 1991 Grand Jury testimony, Gates reversed his position. (Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, p. 82.)

Notwithstanding his claims, Gates was aware of information that caused others to question the legality of North's activities. The most obvious source of concern should have been Allen's allegations, discussed above, about North's corruption of the Iran arms sales to support the contras. But other evidence -- available before October 1, 1986 -- should have alerted Gates to North's contra support role.

Gates became deputy director of central intelligence on April 18, 1986. As DDCI, Gates had at least two sources of information about North's activities: CIA personnel -- particularly Alan D. Fiers Jr. -- who had duties relating to Central America, and his regular contacts with National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter and others at the NSC.

The Cannistraro Question

In the spring and summer of 1986, Gates became involved in a debate over what role Vincent Cannistraro, a CIA officer detailed to the NSC, should play in the $100 million contra program that was expected to take effect in October 1986. There was concern that if Cannistraro replaced North, the CIA would be drawn into North's contra supply activities. Gates discussed Cannistraro's assignment with a number of CIA and NSC personnel, including Fiers, Clair E. George, and Poindexter. Gates met with Cannistraro himself in an attempt to resolve the situation. OIC's inquiry focused on whether Gates, in the course of these discussions, learned about North's role in contra operations.

By the time Gates became DDCI, Fiers was chief of the CIA's Central American Task Force (CATF). Fiers ran the CIA's support for the Nicaraguan contras and planned for the day when the CIA would again be allowed to provide lethal support to the insurgents. Fiers did not readily share information about his unit's operations in Nicaragua. This had led to complaints with the CIA's intelligence analysis directorate. 20

20 One of the protesters was Robert Vickers, the CIA's national intelligence officer for Latin America from July 1984 to November 1987. Vickers told Gates that Fiers was not keeping him informed about the contras. (Vickers, FBI 302, 4/28/87, p. 4; Kerr, FBI 302, 7/31/91, p. 6.) Vickers did not remember this meeting with Gates in his most recent interview. (Vickers, FBI 302, 5/15/91, p. 5.) Vickers also complained to Cannistraro about being cut out of the new interagency group on Nicaragua, and asked Cannistraro to assist him in getting into the group. Cannistraro brought up Vickers's concern with Gates in a meeting at Gates's office. Cannistraro told Gates that Vickers ``was very knowledgeable and was a real student of Central America,'' and he recommended that Vickers be included in meetings of the new interagency group. (Cannistraro, FBI 302, 7/24/91, p. 9.) A PROFs note from Cannistraro to Rodney McDaniel, Executive Secretary of the NSC, corroborates Cannistraro's efforts to get Vickers involved and Cannistraro's meeting with Gates. (PROFs Note from Cannistraro to McDaniel, 7/21/86, AKW 022235.)

According to both Fiers and Gates, Gates's role in the contra program increased significantly once he became DDCI. Fiers testified Gates became ``intricately involved'' in developing policy and coordinating interagency work on the contras. Fiers dealt with Gates on requests from the NSC and on structural discussions with other Executive Branch agencies about the contra program. Fiers kept Gates informed ``generally, on our state of planning and the nature of our operations.'' Fiers met with Gates regularly and weekly.21

21 Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 44-45; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 12-14.

Fiers testified that he did not lay out to Gates his extensive knowledge about North's activities.22 From two events, however, Fiers concluded that Gates too was aware of North's operational role with the contras. The first incident involved Cannistraro, who had been Fiers's predecessor as chief of CATF.

22 Fiers's knowledge of North's contra-resupply activities is discussed more fully in the Fiers chapter.

Cannistraro, then detailed to the NSC, was nominally in charge of monitoring all U.S. covert-action programs. By June 1986, North's operational activities caused Cannistraro concern.23 In mid-1986, media reports repeated earlier assertions that North was linked to contra military aid. As an important House vote on renewed contra aid approached, on June 24, 1986, a resolution of inquiry was introduced in the House to inquire about North's activities. On June 25, after the House approved a $100 million military and humanitarian aid package, Representatives Lee Hamilton and Dante Fascell wrote the President for comment on the resolution of inquiry; that night, CBS News ran a program that expressly linked North to the private contra-aid network.

23 Cannistraro, FBI 302, 9/18/90, p. 2; Cannistraro, FBI 302, 7/24/91, p. 9.

On June 26, Cannistraro suggested in a computer note to Poindexter that the new contra-aid program should be a ``regularized C[overt] A[ction] program which would normally fall under my responsibility.'' Poindexter agreed in a computer note sent to NSC Executive Secretary Rodney McDaniel that same day:

Yes, I would like to regularize it. The Vince-Ollie relationship would be the same as between Vince and Howard [Teicher, another NSC staffer] on Afghanistan. Ollie will have mixed reactions. He has wanted CIA to get back on the management of the problem and we need to lower Ollie's visibility on the issue. Talk to him about it and I will follow up when I get back.24

24 Cannistraro, FBI 302, 9/18/90, p. 3; PROFs Note from Cannistraro to McDaniel, 6/26/86, AKW 019032; PROFs Note from Poindexter to McDaniel, 6/26/86, AKW 021436.

Fiers recalled Cannistraro's move to take the contra program away from North, as well as Poindexter's concerns about North's program. The question of who would run the anticipated contra-aid program was important to Fiers and the CIA. Fiers had been planning the CIA's program ``in earnest.'' According to Fiers, Gates was intimately involved in structuring the new program, both within the CIA and the Executive Branch as a whole. Gates admitted he was aware that Poindexter had been contemplating changes in who oversaw contra issues at the NSC.25

25 Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 53-57; Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, pp. 4-5; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 103-04.

In the midst of the struggle over who would run the contra-aid program, Cannistraro visited Gates at his office. Cannistraro told Independent Counsel that he came to express his desire to return to the CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO).26 Gates promised to urge the directorate to take Cannistraro back. But soon Cannistraro's future became an item on the agenda for one of Gates' weekly meetings with Poindexter. On July 10, 1986, Paul Kinsinger, an aide to Gates, sent Gates a memorandum that stated:

26 Cannistraro claimed that he had long-standing differences with DO chief Clair George, which is why Cannistraro went to Gates. (Cannistraro, FBI 302, 7/24/91, p. 6; see also Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, p. 4; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 83-84.)

Vince Cannistraro called to say that Poindexter wanted to discuss how we are going to coordinate the Nicaragua program. Attached is a short memo to you from the Director, you may recall, that lays out the Director's views.

Vince also said that Poindexter would want to know whether Ollie North should be involved. Peggy [Donnelly, a CIA officer assigned to the DCI-DDCI executive offices] checked with the DO and they say yes.27

27 Note for ADCI, Subject: Late Item for Poindexter Meeting, 7/10/86, ER 27199-206.

The DO officer mentioned in Kinsinger's memo was Fiers. Fiers recalled that he specifically talked about Cannistraro's duties with Gates. Fiers was concerned that having Cannistraro in the management of the new program would bring a CIA officer ``into the proximity of operations that I knew to go on, that were someplace we didn't want CIA officers to be.'' Fiers recalled voicing this concern not only to Gates, but to George and Casey as well.28

28 Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 58-59.

Fiers made it clear in several meetings in Gates's office that he wanted North to stay involved in contra aid -- and have Cannistraro kept out. Fiers recalled telling Gates:

I just think I said, if Vince were to take over the Central American account, he can't be doing the same thing that Ollie is doing with the private sector people in lining up support for the resistance. That crosses over the Boland Amendment, and it's just someplace that we don't want to be. We've got to keep Vince away from that. And, I think those probably were my exact words, or very similar to that.

Fiers testified that Gates ``understood me. We all understood that to be the case, and we were going to have to keep Vince away from that.'' 29

29 Ibid., pp. 59-60.

On July 10, 1986, Gates raised the Cannistraro issue with Poindexter. Gates wrote after their meeting:

I followed up on Vince Cannistraro's assignment. Poindexter clearly wants to keep Vince indefinitely and while I told him that Clair did not have to have a final answer before the end of August, his reaction strongly suggested to me that he will keep Vince there. I also repeated our concern that should Vince take over the Central American account, that he should have nothing to do as a CIA employee with the private sector people Ollie North had been dealing with in support of the Contras.

Cannistraro remained at the NSC,30 and was not transferred.

30 Memorandum from Gates to the Record, Subject: Meeting with Adm. Poindexter, 7/11/86, ER 27195-97 (emphasis added); Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, pp. 4-5. See also Poindexter, Select Committees Deposition, 5/2/87, pp. 200-02 (giving his reasons for easing North out of the contra effort, and North's reluctance to leave).

Gates's explanation of these events was that he wanted to keep Cannistraro from becoming entangled with the contras for political reasons -- and not because he was concerned about North. Gates was concerned, he said, about Congress finding a CIA employee anywhere close to the situation. Gates claimed he had not considered the legality or nature of what North was doing on behalf of the contras: ``I had no concerns -- I had no reason to have concerns based on what was available to me about North's contacts with the private sector people, but I didn't think a CIA person should do it.'' 31

31 Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 79-83, 85. The information that Gates claimed to have about North consisted of ``rumors'' from various Government officials that North had put contra leaders in touch with Secord and retired U.S. Army Major General John K. Singlaub. Gates testified that at the time he did not know that North had ``hands-on'' involvement with contra resupply. (Ibid., pp. 86-89.)

Gates acknowledged that he might have raised the Cannistraro issue with Fiers, but he did not recall it. He did not recall any conversations with Fiers and he claimed not to recall any recommendation from Fiers one way or the other.32

32 Ibid., pp. 110-11. Fiers said that a ``note-taker'' usually attended his meetings with Gates. This note-taker was Kinsinger. Fiers remembers telling Kinsinger -- whom Fiers did not remember by name -- occasionally not to write down things such as disparaging comments or other matters because of their sensitivity. Fiers also would ask Kinsinger to leave the room for matters that he wanted to discuss privately with Gates. (Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 45-46.) Kinsinger kept none of his notes for the period that he served as Gates's aide. (Kinsinger, FBI 302, 7/25/91, p. 8.)

Given the accusations swirling about North's support of the contra rebels, and the prospect of a formal Congressional inquiry into North's actions, Gates must have been concerned about the nature of his activities as a threat to the planned resumption of support to the CIA. It was, however, also politically wise to keep Cannistraro away from any activities that resembled North's. Independent Counsel did not believe that provable evidence of Gates's awareness of North's operational activities would sustain a prosecution for his denials to the Select Committees or to OIC.

Sale of Enterprise Assets

North attempted to sell aircraft and a vessel, the Erria, that were owned by the Enterprise to the CIA. The proposed sales were discussed in Gates's presence at meetings with Poindexter. Gates also spoke about the aircraft with Fiers, who discouraged their purchase. These discussions must have provided some additional knowledge about North's role in contra resupply.

The Erria had carried munitions to Central America for the contras.33 Poindexter, Gates and Casey discussed the Erria at one of their weekly meetings in May 1986. Memoranda prepared for that meeting associated North with the Erria. Cannistraro recalled that discussion of the ship at a Poindexter-Gates meeting suggested Gates knew the Erria was used in support of North's contra operation.34

33 North, North Trial Testimony, 4/7/89, pp. 6883-84. North approached several CIA officers with his proposal. North asked Cannistraro to convince the CIA to purchase the ship as a floating broadcast platform. Cannistraro found out that CIA officers had considered the matter and had declined North's offer because of the ship's association with Thomas Clines. (Cannistraro, Grand Jury, 6/15/87, pp. 53-65; see also Twetten, Select Committees Deposition, 4/22/87, pp. 181-82; Haskell, FBI 302, 7/6-7/7/87, p. 10.)

34 Memorandum from Cannistraro to Poindexter, Subject: Agenda for Your Weekly Meeting . . . , 5/14/86, AKW 045227-28; Memorandum, Item . . . Poindexter May Raise With The DCI at their 8 May Meeting, 5/8/86, ER 143-5 91-0041; Gates 1986 Appointment Book, 5/15/86; DCI Schedule, 5/15/86, ER 598; Kinsinger, FBI 302, 7/25/91, p. 9; Cannistraro, FBI 302, 7/24/91, p. 10. See also Poindexter, Select Committees Deposition, 5/2/87, pp. 221-22 (recounting discussions with the CIA about its purchasing the Erria).

At a later meeting, Gates and Poindexter discussed North's proposal that the CIA buy the Enterprise's aircraft. In a computer note to Poindexter dated July 24, 1986, North complained that the CIA was unwilling to purchase the Enterprise assets and urged Poindexter to ask Casey to reconsider. Poindexter responded that he did ``tell Gates that the private effort should be phased out. Please tell Casey about this. I agree with you.'' Poindexter later elaborated that he had told Gates that the Enterprise's assets were available for purchase, and that Gates said he would check on the matter.35

35 See PROFs Note from North to Poindexter, 7/24/86, AKW 021735; PROFs Note from Poindexter to North, 7/26/86, AKW 021732; Poindexter, Select Committees Testimony, 5/2/87, pp. 187-88, 228.

North's calendar and pocket cards show that North scheduled a meeting with Gates for July 29, 1986, three days later. Gates's calendar also shows a meeting with North on July 29.36 About this time, Gates approached Fiers and asked why the Central American Task Force would not purchase North's, or ``the private benefactor's,'' aircraft. According to Fiers, Gates accepted Fiers' explanation that the aircraft were in poor condition and unduly risky for the CIA. Fiers also ``vaguely'' recalled discussing ``phasing out the private Contra aid effort'' with Gates in July 1986. Both men agreed that the private effort was a political liability for the Agency. From their discussions, Fiers -- like Cannistraro -- concluded that Gates was aware that ``North was running a private supply operation.'' 37

36 North Schedule Card, 7/29/86, AKW 002640; Gates 1986 Appointment Book (Doc. No. 258). When asked about this meeting by SSCI in his second confirmation hearings. Gates could not recall the meeting. (SSCI Confirmation Nomination of Robert M. Gates to be Director of Central Intelligence, Sen. Exec. Rpt. No. 102-19, 102d Cong., 1st Sess., p. 80 (Oct. 24, 1991). 10/19/91, p. 85.)

37 Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 68-69; Fiers, FBI 302, 8/1/91, pp. 14, 16. See also Sen. Exec. Rpt. No. 102-19, p. 80.

Gates denied discussing phasing out the private resupply effort with Poindexter. Asked about Poindexter's message to North, Gates testified that he examined his records upon reading the message and could find no evidence that such a meeting with Poindexter occurred. Gates claimed, ``If Poindexter made a comment to me like that, it would have been in the context of once the authorized program is approved there would be no point in having any of these private benefactors any longer.'' Neither did Gates recall meeting with North about the Erria during this time.38

38 Gates, Grand Jury, 2/10/88, pp. 76-77.

The evidence established that Gates was exposed to information about North's connections to the private resupply operation that would have raised concern in the minds of most reasonable persons about the propriety of a Government officer having such an operational role. Fiers and Cannistraro believed that Gates was aware of North's operational role. The question was whether there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates deliberately lied in denying knowledge of North's operational activities. A case would have depended on the testimony of Poindexter. Fiers would not testify that he supplied Gates with the details of North's activities. In the end, Independent Counsel concluded that the question was too close to justify the commitment of resources. There were stronger, equally important cases to be tried.

Obstruction of the Hasenfus Inquiries

There was conclusive evidence that in October 1986, following the Hasenfus shootdown, Clair George and Alan Fiers obstructed two congressional inquiries.39 Gates attended meetings where the CIA's response to these inquiries was discussed. None of the evidence, however, links Gates to any specific act of obstruction.

39 See George and Fiers chapters.

The background for Congress's inquiries into the Hasenfus shootdown is discussed in the Fiers and George chapters. By October 9, 1986, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (SCFR) had set a hearing on the shootdown for October 10, 1986, and the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) had set a hearing for October 14, 1986. Gates's main concern during this period was convincing Congress that the CIA had sponsored no resupply flights. He appeared before SSCI on October 8, 1986, and gave the committee brief biographies of the pilots on the downed plane. He responded to Senator Cohen when asked whether the plane was owned by a CIA proprietary:

No, sir. We didn't have anything to do with that. And while we know what is going in -- going on with the Contras, obviously as you indicate, by virtue of what we come up here and brief, I will tell you that I know from personal experience we have, I think, conscientiously tried to avoid knowing what is going on in terms of any of this private funding, and tried to stay away from it. Somebody will say something about Singlaub or something like, we will say I don't want to hear anything about it.40

40 Gates, SSCI Testimony, 10/8/86, p. 9.

To the extent that Gates spoke for others in the CIA, this was wrong. It was true that the Hasenfus plane was not owned by a CIA proprietary. But as set forth in the Fiers, George, and Fernandez chapters, several individual CIA officers had not stayed away from ``private-benefactor'' activities. There was no evidence, however, that Gates knew this as early as October 8, 1986, although he did know by then of the concern that North and Secord were diverting funds from the Iran arms sales to the contras.41

41 Gates was informed by Allen about the diversion, North, and Secord on October 1, 1986, and met with Allen and Casey about them on October 7.

The day after his SSCI testimony Gates double-checked his statements with a number of people. He met with Fiers and George at 10:10 a.m. on October 9 and was told ``that there had been no contact between -- that the Agency wasn't involved in the Hasenfus matter at all.'' Gates then had lunch with Casey and North. North had just returned from negotiations in Frankfurt with the ``Second Channel'' to the Iranian government. North briefed Gates and Casey on the progress of the negotiations. The discussion then turned to the contras. North testified at trial and before the Grand Jury that during this luncheon, Casey told him that North's Iran and contra operations were unraveling, and that he should begin to clean up both of them. North specifically recalled being told by Casey about allegations by Roy Furmark of a diversion; he did not recall telling Gates about the diversion or going into detail about the nature of his operations. North also did not recall whether Gates was there when Casey told North to clean up his operation.42

42 DDCI Appointments -- Thursday, 10/9/86, AKY 006296; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 176-77; Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/16/91, pp. 6-7; North, North Trial Testimony, 4/12/89, pp. 7552-57; North, Grand Jury, 3/8/91, pp. 30-32. Casey testified in December 1986 that the October 1986 luncheon included questions concerning a possible diversion. (Casey, HPSCI Testimony, 12/11/86, pp. 120-21; Casey, House Appropriations Subcommittee Testimony, 12/8/86, p. 102.)

In his testimony about the lunch, Gates stressed his attempt to get North to confirm that the CIA was not involved with the Hasenfus crash. Gates claimed that he was not invited to the lunch, and that he ``crashed the lunch'' because he wanted to speak with North. Gates said that Casey discussed the Furmark allegations with North and told him that the situation had to be straightened out. Gates remembered no instruction from Casey to North to start cleaning up operations, but did recall asking North directly whether any CIA personnel had been involved in the resupply network. Gates said that North told him that the CIA was ``absolutely clean.'' North made a ``cryptic comment'' about Swiss bank accounts, which Gates claimed not to have understood. Gates stated that he then left Casey's office for ten minutes, and returned to ask Casey alone about North's comment about Swiss accounts. Casey seemed not to have picked up on the comment, and Gates dropped it.43

43 Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 177-79; Gates, Grand Jury, 6/26/87, pp. 8-11; Gates, Select Committees Deposition, 7/31/87, pp. 23-29, 33-35; Gates, Grand Jury, 2/19/88, pp. 46-47; Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, p. 5. When confronted with Gates's account of the meeting, Casey did not dispute it. (Casey, HPSCI Testimony, 12/11/86, pp. 180-81.)

Gates changed his story in only one significant way between his early testimony and his final Grand Jury appearance: He expressly added that he left Casey and North alone together during lunch.

Gates wrote an exculpatory memo the next day. Gates wrote:

North confirmed to the DCI and to me that, based on his knowledge of the private funding efforts for the Contras, CIA is completely clean on the question of any contacts with those organizing the funding and the operations. He affirmed that a clear separation had been maintained between the private efforts and CIA assets and individuals, including proprietaries.

Gates recorded North's purportedly exculpatory statement uncritically, even though he was by then clearly aware of the possible diversion of U.S. funds through the ``private benefactors.'' Although, in testimony before SSCI, Gates admitted that his concerns about Allen's allegations were behind the questioning of North, he did not ask North whether a diversion had occurred. He was interested only in eliciting statements protective of his Agency.44

44 Memorandum from Gates to the Record, Subject: Lunch with Ollie North, 10/10/86, ER 24605; Gates, SSCI Testimony, 12/4/86, p. 20.

After his lunch with North and his post-lunch discussion with Casey, Gates met again with Casey and George at 1:45 p.m. on ``Directorate Reporting.'' Casey then briefed congressional leaders about the downed aircraft. Casey and Gates then met with George, Fiers and the CIA's congressional affairs chief, David Gries. Gates, George and Gries stated that they did not recall what occurred at this meeting. Fiers recalled that the meeting concerned whether it would be Gates or George who testified on October 10 before SCFR. Fiers testified that he, Casey and George had decided earlier on October 9 that George was to testify. As Fiers recalled it, the later meeting was to give Gries the opportunity to argue in favor of Gates testifying. The content of the next day's briefing, except for the categorical denial made in the CIA's opening statement, was not discussed.45

45 George, Grand Jury, 4/5/91, pp. 72-73; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 197-98; Gries, FBI 302, 4/9/91, pp. 4-5; Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/16/91, pp. 19-20.

The early evening meeting of Casey, Gates, George, Fiers, and Gries ended Gates's involvement with the preparation of the CIA's testimony concerning the Hasenfus crash. The only other evidence relating to Gates during this period was a meeting that took place in Casey's office around the time of George and Fiers's briefing of HPSCI on October 14, 1986. During this meeting, Fiers told George and Casey that the Hasenfus inquiries would not end until someone took responsibility for the private resupply flights. Fiers recommended that Secord take responsibility. George turned to Casey and said, ``Bill, you know Secord has other problems,'' and the conversation ended soon after. Fiers had a vague recollection of Gates being present for part of the conversation, and then leaving the room. Fiers was uncertain if Gates heard his remarks about Secord.46

46 Ibid., pp. 40-43.

At most, the evidence showed that Gates was in and around meetings where the content of George and Fiers's testimony was discussed, and that he participated in two briefings that helped lull congressional investigators into believing that the CIA was not involved in facilitating private resupply flights. The evidence shows further that Gates was aware of at least general information suggesting involvement by North and Secord with the contras, and that Gates did not disclose this information -- or argue that it should be disclosed. For Gates, the CIA's task in October 1986 was to distance the CIA from the private operation, in part by locking North into statements that cleared the CIA of wrongdoing.47

47 Indeed, according to Allen, when Allen first discussed rumors of a diversion with Gates on October 1, 1986, Gates told Allen he ``didn't want to hear about Central America'' and ``I've supported Ollie in other activities . . . but he's gone too far.'' (Allen, Grand Jury, 1/4/88, pp. 31-33.) See also Gates, SSCI Testimony, 12/4/86, pp. 18-19 (confirming that he told Allen that he ``didn't want to hear anything about funding for the Contras'').

In the end, although Gates's actions suggested an officer who was more interested in shielding his institution from criticism and in shifting the blame to the NSC than in finding out the truth, there was insufficient evidence to charge Gates with a criminal endeavor to obstruct congressional investigations into the Hasenfus shootdown.

Gates and Casey's November 1986 Testimony

The events leading up to the preparation of false testimony by Director Casey in November 1986 -- preparations that Gates nominally oversaw -- are set forth in a separate chapter of this Report. There was insufficient evidence that Gates committed a crime as he participated in the preparation of Casey's testimony, or that he was aware of critical facts indicating that some of the statements by Casey and others were false.


Independent Counsel found insufficient evidence to warrant charging Robert Gates with a crime for his role in the Iran/contra affair. Like those of many other Iran/contra figures, the statements of Gates often seemed scripted and less than candid. Nevertheless, given the complex nature of the activities and Gates's apparent lack of direct participation, a jury could find the evidence left a reasonable doubt that Gates either obstructed official inquiries or that his two demonstrably incorrect statements were deliberate lies.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Management said...

GATES NOMINATION (Senate - November 07, 1991)

[Page: S16305]

* [Begin insert]

Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I rise in opposition to the nomination of Robert Gates to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mr. President, at the outset of the confirmation hearings, I had serious reservations about the nominee. The confirmation hearings only raised more questions and greater doubts. Questions and doubts about Mr. Gates' past activities, managerial style, judgment, lapses in memory and analytical abilities. Questions and doubts about his role in the Iran-Contra Affair and in providing military intelligence to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war; and questions and doubts about whether he will be able to remove the ideological blinders reflected in his writings and speeches or whether Mr. Gates is so rooted in the past, that he will not be able to lead the Agency into the post-cold war era. Because of these concerns, I have concluded that Mr. Gates is not the right person for the important job of overseeing our intelligence operations in this New World.

Mr. President, Robert Gates is a career Soviet analyst and former Deputy Director of the CIA who was wrong about what CIA analyst Harold Ford described as `the central analytic target of the past few years: the probable fortunes of the USSR and the Soviet European bloc.' And I believe that the committee report points out one possible reason why the CIA failed to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to testimony, Mr. Gates was busy pursuing hypotheses and making unsubstantiated arguments attempting to show Soviet expansion in the Third World, instead of looking for or paying attention to facts that pointed in the opposite direction. Why? Why, as Mentor Moynihan has pointed out, was the CIA able to tell Presidents everything about the Soviet Union except the fact that it was falling apart?

Mr. Gates was also wrong about the Soviet threat to Iran in 1985. The 1985 Special National Intelligence Estimate on Iran stressed possible Soviet inroads into Iran. Gates admits that the analysis was an anomaly. It was a clear departure from previous analyses and almost immediately proven wrong by subsequent events. Gates was involved in preparing that analysis. According to Hal Ford, whose testimony the nominee never refuted, Gates leaned heavily on the Iran Estimate, in effect, `insisting on his own views and discouraging dissent.' What was the result? The 1985 estimate was skewed and contributed to the biggest foreign policy debacle of the Reagan administration, the sale of arms to Iran.

Mr. President, Graham Fuller, the CIA's National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, suggested that the 1985 SNIE estimate was based on intuition in the absence of hard evidence. I agree there is nothing wrong with preparing worse case scenarios or using `intuition' as opposed to hard evidence in the preparation of analysis, provided it is made clear to policymakers that the finished analysis is based on intuition and not hard evidence. It is the job of the CIA to sort out fact from fiction, not convert one into the other.

Mr. President, I also have doubts and questions about Mr. Gates' role in the secret intelligence sharing operation with Iraq. Robert Gates served as assistant to the Director of the CIA in 1981 and as Deputy Director for Intelligence for 1982 to 1986. In that capacity he helped develop options in dealing with the Iran-Iraq war, which eventually involved into a secret intelligence liaison relationship with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Gates was in charge of the directorate that prepared the intelligence information that was passed on to Iraq. He testified that he was also an active participant in the operation during 1986. The secret intelligence sharing operation with Iraq was not only a highly questionable and possibly illegal operation, but also may have jeopardized American lives and our national interests. The photo reconnaissance, highly sensitive electronic eavesdropping and narrative texts provided to Saddam, may not only have helped him in Iraq's war against Iran but also in the recent gulf war. Saddam Hussein may have discovered the value of underground land lines as opposed to radio communications after he was give our intelligence information. That made it more difficult for the allied coalition to get quick and accurate intelligence during the gulf war. Further, after

the Persian Gulf war, our intelligence community was surprised at the extent of Iraq's nuclear program. One reason Saddam may have hidden his nuclear program so effectively from detection was because of his knowledge of our satellite photos. What also concerns me about that operation is that we spend millions of dollars keeping secrets from the Soviets and then we give it to Saddam who sells them to the Soviets. In short, the coddling of Saddam was a mistake of the first order.

Mr. President, I've stated a very simple case for rejecting the nomination of Robert Gates to be Director of the CIA. The fact that he was wrong on major issues which in some instances led to foreign policy debacles. I haven't addressed concerns about the allegations of his politicization of intelligence analysis, his apparently poor managerial style or still unanswered questions about his role in the Iran-Contra affair. Regarding the Iran-Contra affair, I should mention that I was quite disturbed to hear testimony that portrayed Robert Gates as someone concerned about Agency's role and not sufficiently concerned about pursuing possible illegal Government activities. In his opening statement before the Intelligence Committee, Mr. Gates said that he should have taken more seriously `the possibility of impropriety or possible wrongdoing in the Government and pursued this possibility more aggressively.' I agree.

I should also mention, Mr. President, that aside from Mr. Gates' poor judgment in not pursuing the possibility of Government wrongdoing more aggressively, I still find it incredible that the Deputy Director of CIA was not aware of that major covert operation. How could such a high ranking official not know about the CIA's efforts to support the Contras? Did he purposely avoid trying to find out what was happening? The testimony seemed to indicate he did. Gates' selective lapses in recall about the affair by a man with a photographic memory raises serious doubts.

The U.S. Congress and the American people depend on accurate and reliable intelligence information. Our expenditures on defense and other areas are often decided on the basis of that information. We cannot afford to waste billion of dollars in the future. After reviewing the record, I do not believe that the Central Intelligence Agency under the directorship of Robert Gates will provide the clear intelligence assessments necessary for Congress to make decisions to deal with the future threats confronting our nation.

Mr. President, I do not believe that Robert Gates is the right person to lead the CIA at this time. The cold war is over and it's time for some of the old warriors to rest. Now we must take a fresh new look at the world, think new thoughts and reassess the future role of the intelligence community. I urge my colleagues to vote against Robert Gates.

* [End insert]

10:46 AM  
Blogger Management said...

Rumsfeld's Replacement: The Robert Gates File
Iran-Contra figure, regime-change enthusiast, alleged intelligence manipulator -- meet Robert Gates, the man who’s poised to be the next Secretary of Defense.

James Ridgeway
November 09 , 2006

WASHINGTON—While Donald Rumsfeld was Ronald Reagan’s errand boy to Saddam Hussein in the mid-1980s, Robert Gates, the man named yesterday to succeed him as Secretary of Defense, was at the very heart of the American intelligence apparatus, actively planning and carrying out covert operations in Central America and the Middle East.

Gates, a 26-year CIA veteran and the agency’s director between 1991 and 1993, has long been accused of undermining competent, unbiased intelligence analysis at the agency during his tenure, opening the way for its role in partisan politics, a reality brought to the fore again as the Bush administration made its flawed and phony case for war with Iraq. Gates was a high official at the CIA at a time when the U.S. intelligence community experienced one of its most humiliating debacles: the failure to predict the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Instead, under CIA director William Casey the U.S. concocted evidence showing the expansion of Reagan’s “evil empire.”

Casey and his protégé Gates were fervent Cold Warriors. On December 14, 1984, in a five page memorandum for then Director of Intelligence Casey, Gates, then serving as deputy director of intelligence, set forth his views: “It is time to talk absolutely straight about Nicaragua,” the memo begins. “The Nicaraguan regime is steadily moving toward consolidation of a Marxist-Leninist government, and the establishment of a permanent and well-armed ally of the Soviet Union and Cuba on the mainland of the western hemisphere. Its avowed aim is to spread further revolution in the Americas.”

Gates goes on to say this is an “unacceptable” course, arguing that the U.S. should do everything “in its power short of invasion to put that regime out.” Hopes of causing that regime to reform itself for a more pluralistic government are “essentially silly and hopeless,” he wrote. (The ironic upshot of this sort of thinking can be found in the recent election of the former Sandanista leader Daniel Ortega as president of Nicaragua.)

Nicaragua wasn’t the only place Gates wanted to take action. In 1985, sounding very much like one of today’s neoconservative hawks, the then head of intelligence analysis at the CIA drafted a plan for a joint U.S.-Egyptian military operation to invade Libya, overthrow Col. Muamar Ghaddafi, and “redraw the map of North Africa.” On the basis of this idea, CIA Director Casey, sometimes said to be the man who invented Gates, ordered up a list of Libyan targets and the National Security Council developed a plan to have Egypt attack Libya with U.S. air support and seize half the country. The Joint Chiefs drew up plans for a military operation involving 90,000 troops. Alarmed, the State Department subsequently succeeded in downsizing Gates proposal to “contingency” status.

According to Robert Parry, a reporter who has closely tracked this period in the CIA’s history, during this time the Reagan administration was “pressing the CIA to adopt an analysis that accepted right-wing media reports pinning European terrorism on the Soviets. The CIA analysts knew that these charges were false, in part because they were based on ‘black’ or false propaganda that the CIA itself had been planting in the European media. But the ‘politicization’ tide was strong.” And Gates, he writes, led an effort to implicate the Soviets in the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. “In 1985, Gates closeted a special team to push through another pre-cooked paper arguing that the KGB was behind the 1981 wounding of Pope John Paul II. CIA analysts again knew that the charge was bogus, but could not block the paper from leaving CIA.”

Critics have long thought Gates was heavily involved from the very beginning in putting together and implementing the secret Iran-Contra war. In his book, “Firewall: The Iran/Contra conspiracy and Cover-Up,” Lawrence E. Walsh, the independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation, wrote that he was skeptical of Gates’ repeated denials of having been aware or involved with the details of the Iran-Contra operations with Oliver North. According to the National Security Archive’s chronology of the day-by-day happenings in Iran-Contra, on October 1, 1985 the CIA’s National Intelligence Officer, Charles Allen, informed then deputy director Gates of his suspicion that funds were being diverted to the Contras. Gates, for his part, has insisted he first learned of the diversion one year later. “Whenever questioned, Gates had always claimed that he had first learned of Allen's concern about the diversion on the day after Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua on October 5, 1986,” writes Walsh, referring to the lone survivor on board a CIA cargo plane that was shot down over Nicaragua while on a mission to supply the Contras. “Gates said that he and Allen had then reported this to Casey, who told them that he had just received much the same information from another source.’’

In blunt terms, Walsh thought Gates was a liar. It was only for a lack of evidence that he eventually gave up trying to indict him.

In November 1991, years after Iran-Contra messily unraveled, the Senate deliberated on the nomination of Gates to succeed William H. Webster as the next director of Central Intelligence. Democrats, including former Senator Tom Daschle, Jay Rockefeller, and the late Paul Wellstone spoke forcefully, vowing to vote against the nominee. “Robert Gates became the Deputy Director of the CIA in April, 1986, after a meteoric rise in the Agency,” Wellstone said. “His confirmation hearings provided ample and credible evidence that, as the Deputy Director, he repeatedly skewed intelligence to promote the world view of his mentor and his boss, William Casey. Analysts specializing in the Soviet Union, Latin America, Africa, and scientific affairs, came forward--some at risk to their careers in the agency--to provide examples. The record further strongly suggests that Robert Gates supported--passively or actively--terribly misguided or illegal covert operations, including the diversion of funds to the Nicaraguan Contras obtained through the sale of arms to Iran. He also had a hand in hiding some of the details of these covert operations from Congress. Lastly, the record showed that Robert Gates crossed the line from independent intelligence-gathering into high-profile policymaking when he gave speeches advocating an unyielding line toward the Soviet Union and deployment of a star wars missile defense system.”

“My questions regarding whether or not Robert Gates participated in the politicization of intelligence culminate in my deep concern about what we can expect from Robert Gates if he is confirmed as the next Director of Central Intelligence,” Daschle said. “Again, I ask my colleagues, if Robert Gates cooked the books to advocate the ideological position of the administration while serving as Deputy Director for Intelligence and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, is it possible that U.S. intelligence under his guidance will continue to politicize intelligence? My answer is, ‘We cannot afford to take that chance.’”

Gates, who is a member of the Iraq Study Group, which is preparing an assessment of the situation on Iraq that may well inform the nation’s policy going forward, has been hailed as the man who may bring order to a disastrously waged war. His nomination, some say, indicates a policy shift that is already in motion. Many of the nation’s problems now stem from the fact that politics and ideology have seeped into nearly every crevice of the federal bureaucracy. And Congress must now decide whether it can afford to take another chance on Robert Gates.

10:46 AM  

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