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The Pentagon Insider Who Spread Rumors that Sounded Anti-Semitic

By Edwin Black Mr. Black is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning investigative reporter and author of IBM and the Holocaust. His forthcoming book, Banking on Baghdad (Wiley), which chronicles 7,000 years of Iraqi history, releases in October. He can be reached at Since the run-up to the war in Iraq, Internet bloggers and discussion sites have been rife with anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist rampages directed against Jewish neocons in the Pentagon. But their message lacked credibility until "Deep Throat" gave them the eyewitness testimony-direct from the Pentagon-they craved. The case of "Deep Throat" illustrates just how easy it is for anti-

Israel blogging and chatting to escalate to serious media attention. It all started in early 2002, when a series of anonymously written columns began appearing on the Soldiers for the Truth website at, which is run by decorated veteran David Hackworth. The site mainly functions as an angry Pentagon watchdog. The columns, dubbed "Deep Throat Returns," and subheaded "Insider Notes from the Pentagon," were heavy with Zionist and Israel conspiracy-theory references. For example: "U.S. intentions in Iraq have been criticized for a lot of reasons... a Zionist political cult that has lassoed the E-Ring [the most senior offices of the Pentagon] and parts of Washington...using war to resolve years of piss-poor U.S. energy policies." In October 2002, one such column castigated Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and also undersecretaries Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, both Jews, accusing them of being in the palm of Israel and the Likud. "RW&F," she wrote, "know when Mr. Sharon visits with more requests for military and economic aid, in the double digit billions, in part to support all those new settlements in the West Bank, it is a good thing." "Deep Throat Returns" was actually written by a genuine insider, Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, at the time a frustrated staffer in the Pentagon's Near East South Asia (NESA) bureau. Kwiatkowski explained to this writer in a recent interview that her anonymous columns excoriating her bosses at the Pentagon arose as the result of "deep frustration over what I saw." Her column activity probably amounts to the first time a sensitive securitycleared Pentagon analyst regularly published such commentary to the world at large while still on active duty and openly allowed it to be attributed to an anonymous "Pentagon insider." In March 2003, Kwiatkowski retired from the Air Force; she is now an activist in the Libertarian party. Kwiatkowski is a simplespeaking and amiable woman, living on a farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Mountains. In the interview, she gratuitously tossed around such charged references as a "Zionist political cult in the

Pentagon" with clear naivet and without understanding their impact. She fervently denies she is anti-Semitic and calls Israel a good friend and ally of the United States. But, Kwiatkowski adds, she objects to what she calls "Likud's grip." For Kwiatkowski, Likud and Labor are the only two parties of Israel. She readily admits she does not understand Zionist history or politics, and visualizes conspiracies that even transcend generations. For example, she asked if I knew that No. 3 Pentagon official Douglas Feith's parents were followers of Ze'ev Jabotinsky during World War II, as if that "explained" his current actions. Ironically, Kwiatkowski asserted that she didn't want any of her anti-Zionist remarks to hurt Israel or America's Jewish community. "That is not my intent at all," she assured. While at NESA, Kwiatkowski not only wrote anonymous columns for Internet distribution, she sometimes vented to those who communicated with her office in the Pentagon. On January 15, 2003, during the run-up to the second Iraq war, she typed an email from her Pentagon computer, declaring, "I didn't mean to get upset...When serious threats to one's country are present, war is a last resort to being taken over. But of course, we are nowhere near threatened like that from Iraq or even [from] Bin Laden. Israel is most paranoid about that possibility and many in Washington share Israel's security perspective." After retiring in Spring 2003, Kwiatkowski began writing Internet columns openly under her own name. In these, she continued verbalizing her discontent with NESA and her former superiors in the military planning establishment. Her columns also continued attacking Jewish Pentagon policy hawks, such as Perle and Feith, linking them to a grand plan to serve Israel at America's expense. On August 3, 2003, another Internet writer, Jim Lobe, interviewed Kwiatkowski. Writing in the electronic version of Asia Times, which succeeded the defunct Hong Kong-based newspaper, Lobe broadly quoted Kwiatkowski's insider testimony that a cabal of Jewish neocons -- actually Likud surrogates -- was developing America's military policy on Iran. Feith continued as a leading target. "Along with Feith," wrote Lobe, "all of the political

appointees have in common a close identification with the views of the right-wing Likud Party in Israel. Feith, whose law partner is a spokesman for the settlement movement in Israel, has long been a fierce opponent of the Oslo peace process, while WINEP [Washington Institute for Near East Policy] has acted as the think tank for the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which generally follows a Likud line." Jeffrey Steinberg, an editor of the Leesburg, Virginia-based publication Executive Intelligence Review, published by Lyndon Larouche, took notice of Kwiatkowski's interview in Asia Times. In September 2003, Steinberg met for three hours with Kwiatkowski at her farm, where she aired her views on Jewish Zionist neocons, NESA and its now-disbanded Office of Special Plans, responsible for much of America's Iraq war planning. In a long "Memorandum for the Files," written on September 11, 2003, and emailed to an undisclosed list of recipients, Steinberg summarized Kwiatkowski's gossip, complaints and observation into one stream-of-consciousness document. For example, the memorandum mentioned that Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Bill Luti, who headed the Office of Special Plans, obtained his PhD "from the Fletcher School at Tufts in Boston." Steinberg added, "This is a lead to pursue, given that Fletcher School was the roost of Uri Ra'anan, who was Jonathan Pollard's teacher." Steinberg's September 11 Memorandum went on to detail Kwiatkowski's insights about a long list of staffers at NESA and the Office of Special Plans. For example: "Luti was heard boasting that Feith 'can't wipe his ass without me.'" Kwiatkowski's list included Michael Makovsky, who was cited as a Churchill-admirer, Abram Shulsky, Michael Rubin, Joe McMillan, translator Yousef Aboul-Enein and Iran desk officer Larry Franklin, now the subject of the AIPAC spying scandal. Franklin was described as "a white guy raised in the black slums of Baltimore." The memo also described an incident in which several Israeli generals allegedly walked into Feith's office without signing the visitor's book, furthering the implication that Israeli officials ran the Pentagon.

The memo's last sentence reads: "K also mentioned that there were 'rumors' circulating around the office in the summer of 2002 that there was an ongoing investigation into the leaks to the Israelis." Kwiatkowski explained to me the remarks about the FBI and Israelis she made to Steinberg: "A guy who had a friend in the FBI told me they were looking at" an individual "on the Israeli desk. But no one said it was Larry Franklin or Israelis." Among those who received Steinberg's Memorandum for the Files was Patrick Lang, a former director of Middle East intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Lang, often interviewed by national media as a respected intelligence expert, regularly broadcasts mass emails of analysis and tidbits on the Middle East. He forwarded Steinberg's document to more than 100 high-profile recipients. The list included many of the nation's most influential Mideast experts, newspaper columnists, TV reporters and network producers, plus personalities in the Arab world. It's impossible to know whether mainstream journalists took the memo seriously or just deleted it from their inboxes. But for those who missed the far-right provenance of the memo, it's possible that the presence of a Pentagon official as source and Lang's name in the "sender" line may have added a measure of credence to ideas normally ignored. After Lang distributed Steinberg's memo, Kwiatkowski saw it and emailed Steinberg a long list of corrections. For example: "I did not hear Luti say that Powell should resign." Rather than correct the memo, Steinberg forwarded Kwiatkowski's many corrections to Lang who, in turn, forwarded those raw comments to the same diverse list. Being so closely identified with the Larouche organization bothered Kwiatkowski. "I'm not really clear about what Larouche stands for. I only found about Larouche after I was called a Larouchi. I just know I don't agree or understand anything he advocates. That [Steinberg] memo has been no end of heartache because the original memo was not corrected and because there were things not true, or he interpreted them in a way I did not intend."

Lang explained that he forwarded the original Larouche materials and Kwiatkowski corrections without giving it much thought, but simply as part of his daily barrage of output to reporters. Throughout 2004, as America's intelligence and military planning debacle in Iraq unfolded, the Internet and national policy publications continued seething with charges of warmongering against the Pentagon neocons, frequently making the Zionist connection. For some in the media who follow the policy debate and had long been pummeled by unending emails and web pushes, those anti-Zionist pundits now had an inside source: Karen Kwiatkowski. The propriety of Kwiatkowski writing anti-Zionist insider columns while on active Pentagon duty is not easily answered. When asked about the Kwiatkowski case, a Pentagon official pointedly explained that the right to free speech, official restrictions on public commentary, and the nature of Internet posting and blogging "are constantly being weighed against the need for legitimate security concerns." He added, "one way we measure that is through directives" and specified that Kwiatkowski's columns would likely have to conform DOD Directive 5230.9, "Clearance of DOD Information for Public Release." The official carefully explained that Directive 5230.9's fourth paragraph, mandates, "Any official DOD information intended for public release that pertains to military matters, national security issues, or subjects of significant concern to the Department of Defense shall be reviewed for clearance by appropriate security review and public affairs offices prior to release." He added that a subsection mandated that any such author "not use official DOD information generally not available to the public." The DOD official indicated that no investigation or determination of such a case would probably be undertaken unless a member of the public or DOD personnel actually complained, for example, to the DOD Inspector General's Internet hotline. Source: