News Release

· Cheney · Syria

Today the New York Times reports that according to lawyers involved in the Valerie Plame case, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Libby first learned of Plame’s identity from Cheney; this would appear to contradict Libby’s prior testimony.

Also today, Detlev Mehlis — the prosecutor in charge of the UN investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister — presents his report formally to the Security Council.

The following analysts are available for interviews:

RAY McGOVERN
McGovern was a 27-year career analyst with the CIA and a member of the steering committee for Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He said today: “As long ago as July 14, 2003, we recommended to the president that he request Cheney’s resignation — and we didn’t know the half of it. Not only was Cheney a leading cheerleader for the war, but he may have had a hand in manufacturing as well as exaggerating the evidence needed to deceive Congress.”
More Information

MELVIN GOODMAN
Goodman is a former CIA and State Department analyst. He is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and director of the Center’s National Security Project. He is the author of the book Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neoconservatives Are Putting the World at Risk. He said today: “It’s central to understand, this isn’t about leaks and sources. This is about how the administration deceived us into war.”
More Information

ROBERT PARRY
Editor of ConsortiumNews.com and author of the book Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, Parry said today: “It never made much sense that Karl Rove was the center of the scandal because he would not ordinarily have known something like the identity of a CIA agent. One of the things we learned from Watergate is that it can be the higherups who are demanding all kinds of things get done and their subordinates may or may not follow up on them.” Parry recently wrote the article “The Dangerously Incomplete Hariri Report.” He states: “The investigation has many holes, including failure to follow up on a mysterious van connected to the Feb. 14 bombing.” In a piece today, “On Syria, the NYT Still Doesn’t Get It,” Parry writes: “The New York Times isn’t applying lessons learned from the bogus case for war with Iraq to the looming crisis with Syria. Rather than taking a skeptical look at allegations of Syrian complicity in the murder of Lebanon’s ex-prime minister, the newspaper’s editorial page is making assumptions about ‘meticulous’ facts that may not be supported by the evidence.”
More Information

NASEER ARURI
Aruri is chancellor professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth; he wrote the article “Remapping the Middle East.” Aruri said today: “The report relies on numerous sources, many of whom have their own agendas. I don’t find anything in it that looks like a police investigation. Rather, it seems crafted to help the U.S. government, which was targeting Syria well before the Hariri assassination with the Syria Accountability Act and UN Security Council Resolution 1595. The larger goal is to reshape the strategic landscape; in the case of Syria, either through regime change or regime taming. Crippling Syria is particularly important since it is a remnant of Arab nationalism which the U.S. does not like to tolerate and which Israel does not like to deal with.”
More Information

PATRICK SEALE
Available for a limited number of interviews, Seale is a British journalist now living in Paris; his books include Asad of Syria and The Struggle for Syria. Seale said today: “The report points to considerable evidence and implicates major members of the regime, although quite a lot hinges on statements by single witnesses who are not identified. … A separate issue from that of a Syrian role in the assassination of Hariri is the U.S. and Israeli pressure on Syria for their own geopolitical motives. It’s clear they want to break up the strategic partnership between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah -­ and Syria seems like the weakest link in that chain. … The Anglo-American aggression in Iraq dwarfs anything the Syrians may be guilty of in Lebanon.”

JAMES PAUL
Paul is the executive director of the Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors policymaking at the United Nations.
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167