Cheney, the Energy Task Force, and Iraq:
Why was (and is) it important to the administration to keep the work of the energy task force secret? "For months there has been a debate in Washington about when the Bush Administration decided to go to war against Saddam. In Ron Suskind’s recent book “The Price of Loyalty,” former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill charges that Cheney agitated for U.S. intervention well before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Additional evidence that Cheney played an early planning role is contained in a previously undisclosed National Security Council document, dated February 3, 2001. The top-secret document, written by a high-level N.S.C. official, concerned Cheney’s newly formed Energy Task Force. It directed the N.S.C. staff to coöperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the “melding” of two seemingly unrelated areas of policy: “the review of operational policies towards rogue states,” such as Iraq, and “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”
A source who worked at the N.S.C. at the time doubted that there were links between Cheney’s Energy Task Force and the overthrow of Saddam. But Mark Medish, who served as senior director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs at the N.S.C. during the Clinton Administration, told me that he regards the document as potentially “huge.” He said, “People think Cheney’s Energy Task Force has been secretive about domestic issues,” referring to the fact that the Vice-President has been unwilling to reveal information about private task-force meetings that took place in 2001, when information was being gathered to help develop President Bush’s energy policy. “But if this little group was discussing geostrategic plans for oil, it puts the issue of war in the context of the captains of the oil industry sitting down with Cheney and laying grand, global plans.”" The case is still in the courts, sent back to the appellate court by the Supreme Court in June 2004. Thanks to Salon's recent scandal sheet. 10:54:11 PM
Listen to the Admiral: "Bobby" Inman on intelligence and the Bush crowd. A good short read. "Slate: Does this business—with Casey and George Bush Sr.—go back to when Donald Rumsfeld suggested making George Bush the head of the CIA in 1975?
Inman: The standard rumor at the time was that Rumsfeld, as chief of staff, had persuaded President Ford to appoint George H.W. Bush as director of Central Intelligence, assuming that that got rid of a potential competitor for the presidency.
Slate: Donald Rumsfeld had his eye on the presidency?
Inman: Oh, yes. Yes. In '75. … He was looking forward. You know, Ford was going to run in '76, so Rumsfeld had his eye on '80. But it was a clever job of, you know, sending Bush out there—"He's buried. He'll never come back to be a presidential candidate."
Slate: Some people think he was given the directorship of the CIA because he had a CIA background and they mention that his father, Prescott Bush, was a member of the OSS. …
Inman: No, no, no. None of that's valid.
Slate: That's not true? It was really political considerations?
Inman: Absolutely. ..
Slate: What do you make of the pardons that George Bush Sr. gave to many of the people involved with the Iran-Contra situation?
Inman: Loyalty. They [the Bush family] give loyalty and they prize loyalty. I can remember—I don't want to identify the individual—but a very prominent Democrat, who compared looking at Carter and then Reagan, and then Bush, and observed that many of the people around Carter were totally disloyal to him.
Slate: Interesting that Rumsfeld's disloyalty to Bush Sr. would be rewarded by Bush Jr.
Inman: Certainly Rumsfeld didn't get the job in Defense through personal loyalty to Bush; he got it because Cheney was his sponsor...
Slate: .. Paul Wolfowitz; we saw a lot of him and the neocons in the Iraq war run-up. They have virtually disappeared. Why is that?
Inman: They don't want to take the blame. … [T]hey were willing to take credit for things earlier; they don't want to take blame.
Slate: Who is going to take the blame?
Inman: I think we'd better stop there." 10:28:20 PM