Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Trusted Pal" Watch....

You didn't think I'd let this story pass without comment, did you?

Nobody's been arrested, and some of the latest stories even quote the "sources" as saying that the Pentagon target — my pal Larry Franklin — may well be exonerated.

Michael Ledeen, National Review, 8/31/2004

A former Pentagon policy specialist on Iran was sentenced Friday to 12 years and seven months in prison for crimes including conspiring to pass classified information to lobbyists for Israel.

Larry Franklin, who pleaded guilty in October, was indicted last year on numerous counts involving his giving classified information to an Israeli diplomat and members of a pro-Israel lobbying group.

CNN, 1/20/2006

My persistent needling of Michael Ledeen in this space isn't meant to be churlish or obsessive. Ledeen seems like a smart guy, actually (though I disagree with his approach to fighting terrorism, which I consider misguided and shallow). And if I had to put together a list of people with whom I'd like to share a beer or five, he might be on it. But I live in a results-based world where there are consequences for being wrong. That's not the case for the professional class of think-tankers, pundits, and opiners. Report that your "sources" told you Bin Laden died and was buried in Iran, then OBL releases a new tape just ten days later? Ah well, got that one wrong, on to the next. Note that your "pal" has not been arrested and speculate that he may be exonerated, then that pal is sentenced to 12 years in jail? Ah well, got that one wrong, on to the next. Push for a preemptive war in Iraq based on links to al-Qaeda and kisses and rose petals from grateful Iraqi citizens? Ah well, got that one wrong, on to the next.

If Ledeen and the rest of the results-challenged punditry actually worked in the real business world, they'd be busy fielding calls from furious clients or customers ready to take their business elsewhere. Alas, the world of punditry is not subject to such accountability. It's simply "on to the next." If we were talking about obscure underwear-clad teenage opiners posting to blogs from their parents' attics, none of this would matter much. But that's not the case, is it? Michael Ledeen holds himself out as an expert---with trusted sources!---and despite his questionable track record, he's taken seriously by those who currently make policy.

And as long as that's the case, gentle but persistent ridicule is not only appropriate, but necessary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ledeen is more than a pundit, TCR.
He is an an agent himself, probably directly involved in the Niger forgeries.

1/22/2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger Hume's Ghost said...

Hello, Iran-Contra? Fascination with Italian fascism and Machiavelli. Thinks that "every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business"

The guy is bad news.

1/22/2006 8:36 PM  
Blogger tregen said...


1/22/2006 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Jones said...

Did I sense some kind of respect for Michael Ledeen?

Love ya CR, but man, sometimes you just floor me.

1/22/2006 11:48 PM  
Anonymous J Thomas said...

The trouble is, anybody who still gives Ledeen any credibility at this point is going to ignore anything bad anybody says about him along with all evidence.

1/23/2006 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CR - I expected a post mentioning the WaPo story on Greenspan..... but this one was good too.

1/23/2006 9:19 AM  
Anonymous howard said...

there's a bit of panic gripping the pundit class these days, because for the first time, there is a form of accountability: the blog world.

and indeed, it's much easier to find intelligent, informed commentary amongst the bloggers than it is amongst the beltway insider class.

and therefore, sooner or later, the employers of those beltway insiders are going to realize that there is no value add commensurate with their cost.

and that will be the end of one of the cushiest jobs in post-industrial capitalism: producing a couple of 900-word columns a week, largely recycling the bon mots you picked up at a georgetown salon the night before, without any need to do research, reporting, reading, or any other form of heavy lifting.

ledeen, like many of his ilk, better get it while they can, because 10 years from now, their jobs will be gone.

1/23/2006 2:30 PM  
Blogger David Studhalter said...

You go, TCR. I just hope that Ledeen and his compadres in the right wing pundosphere aren't going to be successful in ginning up a war in Iran, now that their war in Iraq has failed miserably (see Krugman in today's NYT).

1/23/2006 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't see anybody offering those teenagers in their underwear $9 billion dollars to "lose", the way Michael Ledeen's daughter Simone got to "fail to account" for $9bn in our tax dollars while she & the other young conservatives were backing up Paul Bremer in Iraq. Even the Open-Pajamas-Media, or whatever they're called this week, only got $3 million to throw around the internets! I don't believe that $9 billion in smallish, unmarked bills can actually disappear forever... but I do believe it can slosh around the global gutters untracked long enough to do all kinds of damage to America's global reputation and fiscal probity. I suspect the eventual saga "following the money" dumped into the whole fiasco is going to make the GODFATHER movies look like... well, "a crappy third-rate burglary". -- Anne Laurie

1/23/2006 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne, I'm with you. Why the missing $9 billion is not in the news every day is a mystery to me. I was shocked when I watched Bill Maher interview Don Senor, former spokesman for the CPA and now VP of Google communications. Maher made a joke about the $9 billion and Senor just shrugged and smiled. IMO,Bill Maher is an asshole of the nth degree.

Stealing $9 billion is a big deal to me. Bush's own inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, thought it was a big deal too.

Today's NYT story about the inpector general's report on the $25 billion reconstruction project being FUBAR just underscores the coruuption and fraud that took place during this war.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. This war was about pulling half a trillion dollars out of the taxpayers' pockets and nothing else

1/24/2006 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops! Dave Senor, not Don, is the Google vice president of global communications and former CPA and Centcom spokesman.

1/25/2006 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omigod anon senor-mistaker, you about gave me a heart attack. hopefully they're not even related.

1/27/2006 10:56 PM  
Blogger jj said...

"I've said it before and I'll say it again. This war was about pulling half a trillion dollars out of the taxpayers' pockets and nothing else."

another classic line by the great, unheralded 'anonymous'.

1/27/2006 10:57 PM  
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