- The Washington Times - Friday, October 27, 2000

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 pre-empted by Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, who made public the resignation Wednesday.

DIA and Pentagon spokesmen are trying to downplay the resignation.

"People resign from the DIA every month for personal reasons and we won't comment on those personnel actions," the DIA's Navy Capt. Mike Stainbrook said. When asked whether 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 whether 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, Pennsylvania Republican, 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' 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 housecleaning 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 Select Committee on Intelligence 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 C. Shelby, Alabama Republican, has told The 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 J. Goss, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman. Mr. Goss, Florida Republican and a former CIA officer, 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 the 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 (NSC) 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 started an effort to hire new analysts, including a protege of David Shambaugh, the George Washington University professor. Readers of this column 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 column, 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 people with military experience 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 Web site: www.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 with 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."

• Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough are syndicated columnists. Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or by e-mail at [email protected] Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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