Sunday, December 02, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz invited back to advise Rice

Fallen Neocon offered new Chance


The Bush administration has offered former Deputy Defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz a position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, a prestigious State Department panel, according to two department sources who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters. The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classified intelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD issues and other matters. The position doesn't require Senate confirmation.

Why is this a bad idea?

Defense Department's Office of the Inspector General that said Wolfowitz played a key role in the cooking of intelligence related to Iraq's ties to al-Qaeda and its supposed cache of chemical and biological weapons. That effort helped the White House lay the groundwork for a US-led invasion.

Paul Wolfowitz has proven to be a not so intelligent adviser:

His selection has raised more than a few eyebrows within State because he'll be providing advice on some of the same issues that critics say the administration got spectacularly wrong when Wolfowitz was pushing the case for the Iraq War at the Pentagon. (One of the department sources called the appointment "amazing.")(Newsweek)

Wolfowitz said the U.S. would be greeted as liberators, that Iraqi oil money for pay for the reconstruction, and that Gen. Eric Shinseki’s estimate that several hundred thousand troops would be needed was “wildly off the mark.” [Washington Post, 12/8/05]

Wolfowitz judged to have questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest

Wolfowitz forced to step as President of the World Bank after facing an outcry over a pay and promotion deals given to his partner - who also works for the World Bank.

In January 2006, an e-mail was sent to the bank by "John Smith" using a Yahoo address. This appeared to be from a staff insider and it accused Mr Wolfowitz of "important ethical lapses of a corrupt nature".

It complained about the level of Shaha Riza's salary which it said had gone up from $130,000 to the $180,000 mentioned by Mr Wolfowitz. It also said that Mr Wolfowitz had not submitted this increase to the bank's board.

It complained about his appointment of two US nationals (Robin Cleveland and Kevin Kellems) formerly with the Bush administration, whom he appointed as close advisors with $250,000 tax-free contracts.( Another appointee, Juan José Daboub has been criticized by his colleagues and others for attempts to change policies on family planning and climate change towards a conservative line.)

In April 2006, Mr Wolfowitz said he was sorry for the way in which he handled the case. "I made a mistake," he said. He stated that he wished he had followed his first instinct, which had been not to involve himself in the negotiations over Ms Riza's future.

In March 2007 that the Washington Post gave details that generated new public comment. It reported that Ms Riza's salary at the State Department (though she had been transferred in the meantime to a new organisation called Foundation for the Future) had risen to "$193,590, which is $7,000 more than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes". The increase, it was claimed, was more than double what she would have got at the World Bank.

The bank set up a senior "Ad Hoc Group" to make further investigations.

The special panel set up to investigate the issue released its report on 14 May and said that Mr Wolfowitz had violated staff rules and the bank's code of conduct. His actions in determining the terms of Ms Riza's external assignment constituted "a conflict of interest", it said.

The salary he had directed on her behalf was "in excess" of that established and so was the annual increase.

It said that the board would have to consider whether he "will be able to provide the leadership needed" to ensure that the Bank could achieve its mandate.

It accused Mr Wolfowitz of casting himself "in opposition to the established rules of the institution" and of seeking "to negotiate for himself a resolution different from that which would be applied to the staff he was selected to head".

"It evidences questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest over institutional best interest," it stated.

Why did the White House want him back? Target Iran?

Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution Wolfowitz has been a notable advocate for Iranian dissidents, including Azar Nafisi, the bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran.[citation needed] Larry Franklin, who was both a member of his staff and an associate of the American Israel Political Affair Committee (AIPAC), investigated for alleged espionage for Israel on U.S. soil, including leaking information to Israel in order to damage Iranian-US relations, pled guilty to some of those charges, pursuant to a plea agreement in which he would "cooperate in the larger federal investigation" involving "two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman.


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