Inside the halls of the State Department, career members of the Foreign Service have been buzzing about a prospect that excites them very much: President John Kerry. Never mind that their current boss is President George W. Bush.
Bush administration officials are assumed by the public to be loyal to the president, but the fact is that Bush?s foreign policy team is dominated by people who were not appointed by him?and most of them desperately want Bush to lose come November.
And if Bush doesn?t act soon, their wish might be granted.
For proof, look at the ?scandal? surrounding Iraqi Governing Council member and longtime U.S. ally Ahmed Chalabi. Almost two weeks after Chalabi?s Baghdad home was raided?and he had been publicly smeared with anonymous quotes continuously??intelligence officials? told the New York Times a downright silly story.
Well, it would be silly if any idiot who believed it was true took a moment to use some common sense.
Quoting anonymous government officials, the Times informed readers that Chalabi informed Iran that the U.S. had broken their codes. How did U.S. officials make this shocking discovery? Iranian agents in Baghdad used that same broken code to tell their bosses what they had learned?rather than simply protect that valuable tidbit by having someone hand-deliver the message 90 miles away in Tehran.
Confused? Chalabi, you see, has been hated by State and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), for different reasons, for years.
State?s diplomats have long resented the Iraqi?s promotion of a war against Saddam that none of them wanted. And Chalabi?s push for a strong, secular democracy in the heart of the Arab world would threaten the most cherished of all State Department objectives: stability.
Although the CIA largely shares State?s worldview, its contempt for Chalabi is personal. In the mid-1990?s, the CIA organized a ham-handed coup attempt against Saddam. Chalabi warned them it wouldn?t work. He was right?and said so publicly. The CIA fumed. Bad blood has existed ever since.
In striking Chalabi, State and CIA are not simply attacking him, but his allies inside the administration, the decision to go to war in the first place, and most significantly, President Bush himself.
And that?s not unintentional.
State Department diplomats and ?intelligence officials? from State and CIA hate Bush?s political appointees?the hawks inside the Pentagon, the so-called ?neocons??almost as much as they do Chalabi. Luckily for them, they can?they hope?kill two birds with one smear campaign.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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