- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Pentagon’s inspector general yesterday said it has begun an investigation into charges that an office run by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s former policy chief, Douglas J. Feith, engaged in illegal or inappropriate intelligence activities before the Iraq war.

In a letter to Mr. Feith’s successor, Eric Edelman, and to Mr. Rumsfeld’s intelligence chief, Stephen Cambone, the Inspector General’s Office asked for points of contact for the investigation no later than Dec. 1.

“The overall objective will be to determine whether personnel assigned to the Office of Special Plans from September 2002 through June 2003 conducted unauthorized, unlawful or inappropriate intelligence activities,” the letter dated Wednesday said. A copy was released by the Pentagon late yesterday afternoon.

Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, one of two senators to request the probe two months ago, has accused Mr. Feith of deceiving Congress about intelligence on Iraq’s prewar links to the al Qaeda terrorist network.

One of the questions to be probed by the Pentagon inspector general, Mr. Levin said, is whether Mr. Feith, in his position as undersecretary of defense for policy, “provided a separate channel of intelligence, unbeknownst to the CIA, to the White House — which he did.”

Mr. Feith left his Pentagon post this past summer. Attempts to reach him for comment were not successful. He has previously disputed Mr. Levin’s charges and said they could have been put to rest if Mr. Levin had called him to seek an explanation.

“The Office of Special Plans has been the subject of a high degree of scrutiny over the last several months, and one in which every inquiry into it has yielded no findings of improper or unlawful activity,” said a Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Pat Roberts of Kansas, asked the Pentagon inspector general in early September to investigate what Mr. Roberts called “persistent and, to date, unsubstantiated allegations that there was something unlawful or improper about the activities” of Mr. Feith’s office.

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