Tuesday, May 29, 2012

She Should Write a Book

Wonder if former ambassador Barbara Bodine will ever write a book?   She would certainly have a lot say, being in the middle of a string of interesting and dangerous developments in the middle east during her time at the State Department.  Yet her appearances seem few and far between both on TV and in print. 

For instance, she was evidently stationed in Baghdad during the 80s and later became deputy chief of mission in our Kuwait embassy just before Saddam Hussein attacked in 1990, becoming one of the 27 hostages held there for four months.  Harrowing.  Wonder how well she knew Joe Wilson, who was deputy to Ambassador Glaspie during that time in Baghdad?  She later returned to Baghdad with the CPA after the invasion, leaving when Jay Garner was replaced.  

After Kuwait she went back to Foggy Bottom and served as Associate Coordinator for Operations and later served as the Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism.  She has also served on the secretariat staff of Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance.  Then in 1997 she was named Ambassador to Yemen.  A lot would happen immediately thereafter.

In 1998 UBL, whose family hails from Yemen, again declared war on Americans, this time a bit more forceful than his first declaration in 1996.  His second manifesto included grievances about our treatment of Iraqis.  Later in 1998 the African Embassy bombings occurred, which were operationally planned in Yemen.

Then in late 2000 the USS Cole bombing occurred in the port of Aden.  Several prominent writers have touched on Ms Bodine's frosty relationship with FBI super-agent John O'Neill but aside from a few op-eds, some random video and an appearance on Bill Maher's show (this clip exists, but it's limited to criticism of Bush and Iraq) we still haven't heard her extended version.  Some even blame 9/11 on her alleged intransigence with the FBI, which seems vastly unfair without knowing all the nuances.

Other questions linger.  Was she aware of the al Qaeda communications hub located in Yemen being monitored by a prominent US spy agency, which allowed agents to discover the 'terrorist summit meeting' in Kuala Lumpur in 2000 being held there to discuss coming plots?  The Iraqis almost certainly had an agent there

And was it really a 'coincidence' that a Yemenia Airlines flight she was on in January 2001--three days after Bush's inauguration--happened to be hijacked by a 'lone nut' who was loyal to Saddam Hussein?  He demanded to be flown to Baghdad, but they ended up in Djibouti.  Strangely enough, former Yemeni president Saleh was also loyal to Saddam and Bodine and her entourage were on their way to meet with him to discuss the Cole.

Wouldn't it be interesting to get her take on the excitement that went on in the cabin of that flight as the crew was overpowered and her impression of whether the man was actually a lone nut or an operative?  She wouldn't have seen the ending--reports say the crew subdued the lone nut after all the passengers were released--but one might assume she knows what happened to him and the other lone nuts the Yemeni government rounded up for questioning.  It seems the epilogue to that story has never come out.

Maybe one day it will.  She is said to have 'a taste for danger'.  Partisans on both the left and the right blame her.   But she was there.  It could be a real page-turner.  

1 comment:

Right Truth said...

You've got my interest, sales on that book would be huge.

Right Truth