Sunday, October 12, 2014

ISIS fighters in Mexico and Maloof

The WaPo's fact checker Glenn Kessler gives the recently hyped reports about ISIS-linked fighters being captured at the Mexican border, specifically claims by Arkansas congressman Tom Cotton, four Pinocchios:
As we’ve noted, just because something is on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true. As a lawmaker, Cotton needs to be careful about making inflammatory statements based on such flimsy evidence. At the very least, he needs to expand on his sources of information. He earns Four Pinnochios for trying to turn idle speculation into hard facts.
In doing so Kessler mentions a World Net Daily article by Michael Maloof as contributing to the hysteria, reminding the readers that Maloof was a Neocon working for Doug Feith to find a link between AQ and Iraq immediately after 9/11.  He ended up getting his clearance pulled for associating with a Lebanese-American gun runner involved with arming former Liberian strongman president Charles Taylor:
The whole thing seems to have started with a highly speculative account on July 4 in WND, labeled an “exclusive” and titled: “New Border Risk: ISIS Ties to Mexican Drug Lords.” (ISIS and ISIL are other names for Islamic State.) The article quoted Michael Maloof, who it described as a former “top Defense Department analyst” and “expert on the Middle East...”Who is Michael Maloof? He gained notoriety in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as one of the key people involved in a DOD intelligence effort to demonstrate that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda and was likely to provide weapons of mass destruction to terror groups.
In other words, he's probably a boogeyman spreading more false info on Iraq.  What Kessler could not do is actually refute the ground reports evidently originating with actual Border Patrol agents (who have not been identified and likely will not be), but since US officials with security agencies say it ain't so, it ain't so.  As a result these congressmen will not likely be vindicated anytime soon.

Whether this is hype or truth is still not settled.  Secretary Johnson was not completely candid when first asked about the four 'terrorists' who were busted on 9/10 at the border--they have now been identified as PKK Kurds, with much emphasis on their stance against ISIS.  Kessler could have activated his James Comey spidey sense regards government truth and pointed to the obfuscation coming from some of these same type of officials after Border Agents told Breitbart that illegal aliens were being allowed to use "notice to appear" papers as valid ID to fly commercially (at taxpayer expense), a story later verified.

But while researching the evil Neocon Michael Maloof, a man who helped lead us down the primrose path to the dumb war, some interesting stories popped up.  Keep in mind Mr. Maloof was not front and center at the Office of Special Plans back in the day--that honor went to Douglas Feith, Stephen Cambone and Rummy.  Maloof and his partner in research (one has to be careful using the singular word partner anymore) David Wurmser worked under the radar for the most part.  In 2006 PBS Frontline interviewed Maloof, who said the intelligence had always pointed more to a nexus between AQ and other terror groups and certain Islamic states, including Iraq, than it did to Saddam having WMDs. Matter of fact, he called into question the 2002 NIE, which talked about the threat of Iraqi WMDs:
Tell me about the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] in October of 2002. Was it flawed?

I thought it was flawed. It basically talked about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. I just didn't see it, and I wrote a memo up to my immediate boss saying this is not correct, but it was something that came out. Until August of 2002, we were talking about terror as the basis [on which] to deal with Iraq. Then this NIE comes out in October 2002, and then, by December, you have George Tenet, the former director of CIA, going in and personally briefing the president, saying that Iraq had all this WMD.
I'm told that even he questioned how solid the information was, and that's when Tenet gave the infamous statement that "It's a slam dunk; the evidence is a slam dunk." ... To this day I don't know what prompted their October 2002 report. It's something they did on their own. ... What changed between August and October of 2002? What happened? To this day I don't have it. I think it might have been their desire to try to take back the initiative. It's the only thing I can conclude. ...
Maloof also told Frontline that all their data was cross-checked with CIA for accuracy but the animosity was so strong they never got back much confirmation.  He thinks they were simply afraid to say they missed it (9/11) and didn't want somebody second-guessing.  Maloof claims his group was working to get policy makers useful info on a tight timeline--they all thought AQ or others would attack again very soon.  One could even wildly speculate that Maloof and his outfit might explain the entire Plame affair--an attempt by CIA to get back at Cheney and these guys.

Anyway, it's impossible for a yahoo blogger on the internets to independently vouch for his overall credibility but based on the interview he certainly doesn't sound like a crazy kook fantasist.  Fast forward to 2013; Maloof is interviewed by RT about the chemical weapons attack in Syria that prompted Obama to nearly go cowboy on Bashar Assad. His contention at the time was that the Sarin gas was being produced in..... Iraq:
RT: Can you tell us more about that classified document you’ve seen, which shows that the US knew that Al-Qaeda linked rebels in Syria had sarin gas?
MM: The document itself was published in August 2013 by the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC). It’s part of the intelligence community. The fact that some of it was actually captured in May along the border in Turkey and it was actually Al-Qaeda, and since it was disseminated my sources are telling me that production has probably increased significantly and sarin gas is being produced quite widely now. That it's actually ongoing and there's actually a Saudi financier whose name I’m trying to obtain right now.
There's that crazy Neocon, blaming WMDs on Iraq again!  But wait, this time his information was also mentioned by a former UN inspector, the head of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and by none other than Pulitzer Prize winning liberal journalist Seymour Hersh, in a blockbuster expose completely ignored by US mainstream press outlets, which actually pissed off the socialists!

So OK, the stories about the ten ISIS fighters at the border or reports about ISIS working with Mexican drug lords may or may not be true.  There doesn't seem to be any hard evidence other than a few anonymous sources.  But certainly such a concept cannot be out of the realm of the possible, considering the ISIS-inspired terror attack that Canadian and American authorities claim they recently stopped in Canada.  Matter of fact, those concerned with Islamic terrorism should probably be more concerned on the northern border considering history.

But singling out a Neocon relic of the Bush years now working for World Nut Daily in an attempt to tamp down anti-Muslim hysteria (regardless of whether that person is credible or not), is something that usually works pretty well in today's vacuous media, unless or until disproved by actual events. And sometimes not even then.  So we will have to wait and see on this one.

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