Sunday, June 06, 2010

Eyes in the Sky

Ryan Mauro has an interesting piece today in Pajamas Media that ties Obama's new pick for DNI, James Clapper, with recent reports about increased aerial surveillance of Syria's Bekaa Valley:
Which Western intelligence agency requested satellite photographs of secret Syrian military installations near the border with Lebanon over the past two years?

A small patch of territory in northwest Syria has been photographed on at least 16 occasions. The images were procured by satellite imaging service DigitalGlobe, which the Western company hired.
The story says the same kind of thing occurred before the small nuke facility was blown up by the IAF a few years ago.

This doesn't prove any weapons transfers occurred, and as Mauro states, Charles Duelfer is convinced they did not. But let's assume for a moment that some agents of Saddam's arsenal were moved to Syria before the war. Why would the administration not want to push such a story, seeing as how it could vindicate their actions and knock down the Joe Wilson "Bush lied" meme that helped propel the Democrats into Congress and Obama into the White House?

Well, for one, it would be highly irresponsible for the Bush government to exercise such a petty defense if they knew that dangerous WMDs were still out there, existing in a neighboring state and within range of Israel (possibly in the hands of Hizballah). Two, it would represent a political blunder, since they went in to eradicate the WMDs, not allow them to survive somewhere else. And three, if such transfers were made, and if the Russians or Chinese or other countries were involved in helping move them, then screaming about it from the rooftops would only make future diplomacy more difficult. So there would have been good reasons to bite the bullet. Or in other words, the 'greater good' theory.

Speaking of which, in researching Clapper's comments I came across this Meet the Press exchange between the late Tim Russert and current Vice President Joe Biden along with ex Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon. It's easy to see why Weldon could have been seen as either a dangerous truth-teller or a man gone over the edge by reading his revelations, or perhaps fantasies, in the transcript. But Biden never challenged him during the interview, and it was mentioned that both went on a fact-finding trip together to the region. I'm pretty sure I heard Biden later tell an interviewer the weapons might have been moved, but it's not easy to find on the net.

Ironically, the very same year this interview was recorded (2oo5) former Vice Admiral Joe Sestak saw his Navy career come to an end due to the insertion of Admiral Mullen as the Chief of Naval Operations, and within a year he would be recruited by former Clintonites to put an end to Weldon's political career.

As to Joe Biden, he's well-known as being a bit of a "free speaker" (as noted lately) and once told Russert that the notion of WMDs was "not some Cheney pipe dream". Now he's in the White House, and James Clapper is likely the next DNI.

BTW, for those interested, I once posed a few questions to Ryan Mauro and he was kind enough to provide his thoughts, which you can read here.

No comments: