USS Cole ‘prophet’ quits

By Inside the Ring

DIA analyst identified

Pentagon officials have identified the Defense Intelligence Agency
counterterrorism analyst who quit in protest a day after the bombing of
the USS Cole. Kie Fallis is charging that a report he wrote on the
threat of a terrorist attack in Yemen was suppressed by senior DIA
officials.

No sooner had the ink dried on Mr. Fallis’ Oct. 13 letter of
resignation than his computer access was cut off and his e-mail account
deleted. He must now be escorted by security guards when he is at DIA
for his last two weeks. Mr. Fallis was waiting to express his concerns
in a meeting with
Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson, the DIA director, before going public with his
politically charged claims. His strategy was preempted by Sen. Pat
Roberts, R-Kan., who made public the resignation Wednesday.

DIA and Pentagon spokesmen are trying to spin the resignation.
“People resign from the DIA every month for personal reasons and we
won’t comment on those personnel actions,” the DIA’s Capt. Mike
Stainbrook said.

When asked if one analyst quit after the bombing, he reluctantly
said, “yes.”

As for suppressing Mr. Fallis’ intelligence threat assessment of
Yemen, Capt. Stainbrook would not say if the assessment was mishandled
but stated:

“We categorically deny that any threat information has been
suppressed in the case of the USS Cole, Yemen or Aden, nor would we ever
suppress such information.”

The protesting DIA analyst isn’t the Pentagon’s only intelligence
problem.

The Pentagon confirmed a report in The Washington Times on Wednesday
that a terrorist warning was sent hours after the Oct. 12 bombing in
Aden harbor that killed 17 sailors. The top-secret National Security
Agency report was issued about six hours after the attack. It said that
terrorists were engaged in “operational planning” for an attack and had
traveled to Dubai and Beirut
in preparation.

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said he was told the warning “related
specifically to Yemen.”

Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said in a statement that the DIA
analyst who resigned in protest had told Adm. Wilson he “had some
concerns about how the agency used his analytical views.” Mr. Fallis’s
report had no information that would have provided “tactical warning of
the attack on the USS Cole,” Mr. Bacon said. Did it contain “strategic
warning” of terrorism in Yemen? We’ll investigate further.

Target: CIA China shop

If Texas Gov. George W. Bush is elected president, Republican
national security officials are planning a major house-cleaning for the
CIA’s China analysis division, and its longtime chief Dennis Wilder.

“A posting in Beijing would be a nice change,” said a source close
to the Bush campaign.

Mr. Wilder, we are told, is a key China “apologist” who has bent
analysis in favor of a benign view of China, a view that has reached the
status of political orthodoxy within the Clinton administration.

Word of the personnel targeting comes as the Senate Intelligence
Committee failed earlier this month to pass tough provisions in this
year’s intelligence authorization bill to fix the CIA’s China analysis
problem. Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has told The
Washington Times that the agency’s analysis on China issues is weak and
biased in favor of a benign view of the
so-called Middle Kingdom.

Legislation to create serious competitive analysis by outside critics
was watered down in the authorization bill at the urging of CIA and with
the help of Rep. Porter Goss, the House Intelligence Committee chairman.
Mr. Goss, R-Fla., is a former CIA officer and has earned a reputation
for running interference for the CIA rather than conducting aggressive
oversight.

Instead of ordering the creation of a “Team B” composed solely of
China skeptics from outside the agency, the final bill, now awaiting
signature or veto by President Clinton, simply appeals for CIA to
conduct competitive analysis in a general way. The bill means Mr. Wilder
and other pro-Beijing
analysts — like John Culver and Marty Peterson — will continue
business as usual, sources close to the CIA say.

Mr. Wilder, we are told, spoke regularly by phone to National
Security Council staffer Kenneth Lieberthal, the White House’s top
pro-China official. The interaction is quietly raising new concerns
about the “politicization” of the China analysis through White House
meddling.

Mr. Wilder, in an effort to head off the congressional criticism, has
launched an effort to hire new analysts, including a protege of David
Shambaugh, the George Washington University professor. Readers of this
space will remember Mr. Shambaugh as the pro-China Pentagon consultant
whom Mr. Lieberthal tried to plant as a covert agent in the Pentagon’s
China policy shop last year — until the plot was exposed by Inside the
Ring.

Mr. Lieberthal, as predicted in this space, recently left the NSC
staff for a desk at the Brookings Institution, leaving the White House
China policy desk all but vacant.

Defense money

A group of retired officers has started their own political action
committee, National Defense PAC, to help military-experienced people win
elections.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. James Carey, the PAC’s chairman, says
ex-service members are alarmed by the dwindling number of members of
Congress who served in the military.

Adm. Carey, a maritime commissioner during Ronald Reagan’s
presidency, says his colleagues also worry about the state of combat
readiness.

“Our premise is ‘how better to know what the kid in the foxhole needs
than to have sat in the foxhole yourself,”’ he said. “How better to
know what you need in a ship than to ride a ship through a typhoon in
the South China Sea.”

The PAC has endorsed 24 candidates, two Republicans running for the
Senate, and 20 Republicans and two Democrats campaigning for the House.

Founded in July, the committee has raised only $9,000 so far, but
hopes to have a larger war chest by 2002. Its website:


NationalDefensePAC.org.
Before any money changes hands, the PAC asks candidates 11 vetting questions.

An example: “We are concerned that the current U.S. Armed Forces are being stretched too thin with deployments and missions that are more along the lines of `international policing’ than national defense. If elected, can we count on you to support only those deployments and missions that are adjudged to be in the U.S. national interest and linked to national defense, not international policing?”

Monica’s Army
The Army chief of staff’s surprise announcement last week to issue black berets to every soldier has become the brunt of jokes. The most repeated has something to do Monica Lewinsky, immortalized in a videotape greeting President Clinton at the White House, beret askew.

But underneath the humor runs deep resentment by special operations, airborne soldiers and Rangers, who until now were the only Army beret wearers.

Gen. Eric Shinseki’s decision is especially galling to Rangers, whose black beret signifies a storied history of infiltrating enemy lines.

Complaints were so prevalent at Fort Bragg, N.C., last week that the word was passed down the chain of command for commandos and paratroopers to stop talking to reporters. Still, the gripes keep coming.

Said one Ranger, “The Army brass shows once again that we’ve been reduced to a social experiment. We now have outcome-based education across the board. The low morale in the military is due to the lack of confidence in and respect for senior leaders, both officer and enlisted, and not the type of headgear issued upon volunteering. Of all the problems in the Army, elite headgear for conventional and support troops doesn’t make the top 100 list.”

Said another, “The black beret may be just a hat to some, but to those of us who know, it is a symbol of something much greater, important and rich in history. The fact that (higher-ups are) so willing to just give it away to help some Nintendo (youth) who couldn’t endure five minutes of physical pain, let alone an entire career filled with it, feel special, just proves that these concepts are lost on them. What a waste.”

And a third, “I suppose Shinseki’s next move will be to get the Ranger tab by correspondence and allow females in Ranger and (Special Forces) units.”