First, all four investigations I mentioned yesterday may be the same.
The Franklin case is apparently linked to the Plame leak and linked to the Feith op and linked to the Chalabi case.
Former CIA agent and current MSNBC talking head Larry Johnson said the other day that the Franklin affairs "was linked to the investigation on the forged uranium documents." I've found a MSNBC transcript from August 27 on LexisNexis:
I've heard about this investigation for, you know, several months now. And you know it is -- it actually is tied into the forged memo regarding the sale of uranium to Iraq from Niger.The Marshall, Rozen, and Glastris story doesn't mentioned Israeli agents present at the Franklin/Rhode meetings with Ledeen, Ghorbanifar and SISMI in Rome.
JOHNSON: What I've been told is that there's a strong belief that the forgery was carried out by Israel in an effort to help build up the evidence to allow the United States to justify going to war. So, this whole thing that started with the outing of Valerie Plame, the CIA officer, started growing and expanding when they saw that there's this forged memo and then people linked to the office of -- in the office of Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Fife [sic] at the Department of Defense were seen as having some very close contacts and sharing information with the Israeli intelligence sources.
Warren Strobel of Knight-Ridder more directly makes a connection that I suggested yesterday. The Franklin-Israel investigation does tie directly to the Chalabi-Iran leaks:
An FBI probe into the handling of highly classified material by Pentagon civilians is broader than previously reported, and goes well beyond allegations that a single mid-level analyst gave a top-secret Iran policy document to Israel, three sources familiar with the investigation said Saturday.Richard Sale of UPI links several investigations together indirectly. For example, he ties the "non lawful" intelligence op Feith was allegedly running to the neocons in Vice President Cheney's office -- the primary area of interest to the Plame investigators, apparently:
The probe, which has been going on for more than two years, also has focused on other civilians in the Secretary of Defense's office, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified, but who have first-hand knowledge of the subject.
In addition, one said, FBI investigators in recent weeks have conducted interviews to determine whether Pentagon officials gave highly classified U.S. intelligence to a leading Iraqi exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, which may in turn have passed it on to Iran....both center on the office of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's No. 3 official.
[William] Luti, a former Navy captain, switched to the Pentagon from Vice President Richard Cheney's staff, according to a congressional investigative memo.In regard to the Chalabi leak, Sale specifically discusses Harold Rhode a great deal, saying that he has had his security clearances lifted in the past (as did Ledeen in the '80s) and may even now be on administrative leave:
According to other congressional memos, Luti was made deputy undersecretary and reported directly to Feith.
Luti also presided over the NESA office that worked closely with OSP "with sometimes an interchangeable staff," according to one congressional memo described the OSP "as a loose group of acolytes and hired hands" for Cheney, and (Cheney's chief of staff) I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Feith -- all "performing a mixture of intelligence, planning and other unspecified operational duties in support of preordained policy."
According to one former senior U.S. intelligence official who maintained excellent contacts with serving U.S. intelligence officials in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, "Rhode practically lived out of (Ahmad) Chalabi's office."Sale also reports that Michael Ledeen worked on a contract basis for OSP under Feith!
This same source quoted the intelligence official with the CPA as saying, "Rhode was observed by CIA operatives as being constantly on his cell phone to Israel," and that the information that the intelligence officials overheard him passing to Israel was "mind-boggling," this source said.
It dealt with U.S. plans, military deployments, political projects, discussion of Iraq assets, and a host of other sensitive topics, the former senior U.S. intelligence official said.
Cheney's office, where Libby and Hannah worked, dispatched Luti to Feith, who already served as boss to Franklin, Ledeen, and Rhode. Did these guys prompt someone (Israel? Italy?) to cook up the Niger uranium story, burn Plame when that forgery was found out, and leak all kinds of state secrets to their pals in Israel and the INC? And then, Chalabi screwed them all over by leaking to Iran?
That's the picture that may be coming into focus.
It is such a tangled web. Thanks go out to uggabugga for the visual aid.
Notes: Wolfowitz's name is starting to pop up in the stories, but so far I've seen no allegations tied to him.
Also, one potential problem with Sale's story is that he quotes Karen Kwiatkowski and may have used her as a source for many of his claims. Some bloggers wonder if she's 100% reliable on all this, since she allegedly tried to peddle her story to one of Lyndon LaRouche's rags. The Weekly Standard throws a lot of mud too.