Daily Archives: July 10, 2004

GOP Has Edwards Attack Site

The RNC, dirty tricksters extraordinaire, have put up a website called Who Is John Edwards? that is loaded–need I say it?–with lies, misrepresentations and distortions. So what else is new, you ask? Well, they’ve picked some mighty strange directions to attack from. Snippets:

Since Joining U.S. Senate In 1999, Edwards Has Been Lead Sponsor On:ü 74 bills, NONE of which has emerged from Committee for a floor vote.

ü 78 amendments, 23 of which passed the Senate.

ü 6 resolutions, 4 of which passed the Senate.

ü No legislation Edwards has been lead sponsor on has become law.

Hmm. Let me get this straight: So in this Republican Congress, a Congress which shuts Democrats out of meetings, won’t let them talk on the floor, muscles votes in the middle of the night without notifying them, and generally treats them like lepers, he didn’t get much accomplished? Color me surprised.

They push this angle and they’re open to all kinds of Pelosi-like charges of unfair treatment and bully-boy tactics on the Senate floor, like the time a Pub chairman tried to have all the Democrats arrested in the Rotunda. They open up this can of worms and the Shame and Folly that has passed for a Congress since they took over could get splashed across the front pages of a (slightly) re-awakened press just in time for the election. Do they really want that?

But it gets stranger. One headline screams: ‘EDWARDS IS PHONY AND DISINGENUOUS – Edwards Rural Populist Message … Just Another Gimmick?’

Uh, coming from the party supporting the biggest drugstore cowboy this side of John Travolta (the other John), this is laughable. Are they trying to supply Kerry with all the ammunition he needs to shoot them down?

This section includes a list of claims that Edwards is raising a lot of money. Huh? From the guys who raised a record $$200Million PLUS$$$? Are they kidding with this? Junior raises a $$Million$$ a pop and they’re outraged because Edwards raised $50K at a house party? ‘Glorioski, Sandy, I’m supporting the President. He’s running on a shoestring like a real Man of the People.’

And that’s just the beginning. Apparently he got a whole $35K from all the drug companies combined–the same people who’ve given the Pubs $$Millions$$, and–this cracked me up–‘$2,500 from oil and gas company employees.’ Wow. Twenty-five hundred whole dollars. I’m shocked. Goddammit, John Edwards is a Tool of the Gas and Oil Industry!!

Git outa here wit yo bad self.

Do they really want to do this? The hypocrisy is getting so think you’ll need a chain-saw to get through it. They’re handing Edwards the key to the gun cabinet and saying, ‘Shoot me now. PLEASE.’ And we’re not done yet.

But the most bizarre section of opposition research is that entitled “Edwards is Phony and Disingenuous,” which uses a random assortment of innocuous facts to imply Edwards is somehow less than authentically Southern:

“Beverly Hills, 90210, Was The Ninth Ranked Zip Code Contributor To Edwards’ Presidential Campaign, Totaling Over $68,000 In Contributions.”

“Dennis Hopper Hosted A Fundraiser For Edwards”

“Edwards Hasn’t Hunted Or Fished ‘In Years.’”

“Edwards Doesn’t Follow Weekly NASCAR Races, Adds He ‘Doesn’t Follow Anything Except Politicking.’”

Considering the GOP had ample time to look into Edwards’ past and compile a range of frivolous criticism, his selection probably bodes well for the Kerry camp. If this is the best Republicans can come up with, Edwards is already proving a formidable opponent.Bert, from ThatColoredFellasweblog asked in a Comment:

As well as we think we know the Right, the Bush/Cheney campaign, the RNC, Conservative radio and Fox, has any of us on the Left stopped to wonder what panic and desperation would look like on them?And, as a result, what their words and action would look like?

Bert, I think we’re seeing it now. And not just desperation–desperation taken to the point of committing suicide.

Bye bye, Bushie.

Iraqi Defectors Exaggerated

What a shock.

The way intelligence works–not that any of these guys would know…in either sense of the word–is with a healthy dose of skepticism laced with suspicion. The reason they are healthy is contained in a little story–the kind Judith Miller should have written two years ago–about one of Ahmad Chalabi’s chief information collectors noticing how greatly the defectors’ stories had changed between the time he first heard them and the time they hit Washington.

Mr. Zubaidi said in interviews last week in Lebanon, the ominous claims by the defectors differed significantly from the versions that they had first related to him and his associates. Mr. Zubaidi provided his handwritten diaries from 2001 and 2002, and his existing reports on the statements originally made by the defectors.According to the documents, the defectors, while speaking with precision about aspects of Iraqi military facilities like its stock of missiles, did not initially make some of the most provocative claims about weapons production or that an Iraqi official had met with Mr. bin Laden.

The precise circumstances under which the stories apparently changed remains unclear. The defectors themselves could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Zubaidi contends that the men altered their stories after they met with senior figures in the Iraqi National Congress. Mr. Zubaidi, who acknowledged that he had a bitter split with the I.N.C. in April 2003, said officials of the group prepped the defectors before allowing them to meet with the American intelligence agents and journalists.

“They intentionally exaggerated all the information so they would drag the United States into war,” Mr. Zubaidi said. “We all know the defectors had a little information on which they built big stories.”

As a primer for Doug Feith and his merry band of novitiate intelligence gatherers at OSP and C-TEG, here are a couple of the basic rules of intelligence-gathering.

Intel 101

Defectors, all defectors, no matter where they come from, have a reason for defecting. You may or may not know what that reason is. For instance:

#1: Could they be double agents throwing you chickenfeed and disinformation because they actually work for the opposition?

#2: Could they be free-lance doubles who are selling you information about the opposition and then turning around and selling the opposition information about you, thus working both sides of the street for the greater glory of their expense accounts? (This is extremely common in the Middle East.)

#3: Remember at all times that defectors, whether #1’s, #2’s or relatively honest, have an interest in telling you what they think you want to hear in order to keep you interested in them. They almost always exaggerate or outright lie to make themselves and their information seem more important than it is. This is common. Assume it and verify their stories before you act on them.

#4: When you interrogate/de-brief them, DO NOT LEAD THEM IN ANY PARTICULAR DIRECTION unless you are deliberately testing them (which none of you are competent to do, so leave it to the pros). If you lead, they will follow and their stories will get more and more exaggerated as a result.

Follow these four simple rules and they should keep you from falling into any of the more obvious traps when questioning a defector.

Of course I realize this is like giving you a lecture on how to lock the barn when the horses have already escaped, but, you know, for next time. Real intelligence analysts and interrogators learn these rules their first few days in Spy School but you, of course, came in way late and unprepared, jumped ahead of the rest of the class because your Daddy knows the school’s owner. Influence-peddling and nepotism may be good for your career but they don’t make you smart. In fact, they tend to make you suckers, so beware.

That’s it for today. Now go outside and play nice with the other kids. Try to remember, you don’t know everything and don’t brag too much about how the owner let you skip a grade because your Dad plays golf with him at the Country Club. The other kids may decide you look like a fish and try to drown you in the wading pool.