"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Michael A. Ledeen

American Enterprise Institute: Resident Scholar

Coalition for Democracy in Iran: Cofounder
American Spectator: Foreign Editor

last updated: 11/22/2003

Institutional Affiliations
# American Enterprise Institute: Resident Scholar (1)
# Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs: Member, Board of Advisors (4)
# Coalition for Democracy in Iran: Co-founder (10)
# American Spectator: Foreign Editor (4)
# The New Republic: Rome Correspondent (1975-1977) (1)
# Washington Quarterly: Founding Editor (3)
# National Review Online: Contributing Editor (3)
# U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon: Golden Circle Supporter (7)
# Benador Associates: Speakers bureau
# Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS): Senior Fellow (1982-86)/Senior Staff Member (1977-1981) (1)
# University of Rome, Italy: Visiting Professor of History (1975-1977) (1)
# Washington University: Instructor and Assistant Professor of History (1967-1974) (1)

Government Service
# U.S.-China Commission: Vice Chairman (1)
# Department of State: Consultant, Under Secretary of Political Affairs (1982-86) (2)
# Department of Defense: Consultant, Office of the Secretary (1982-86) (2)
# White House: Consultant, National Security Advisor to the President (1982-86) (2)
# Department of State: Special Advisor to the Secretary (1981-82) (1)

# University of Wisconsin: Ph.D., history and philosophy (1)
# University of Wisconsin: M.S., history and philosophy (1)
# Pomona College: B.A. (1)

Highlights & Quotes

Michael Ledeen, the neocons' point man on regime change in Iran (and in Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia), is apparently capable of viewing diplomacy only through the barrel of a gun, arguing in a November 2003 piece for the National Review Online that the "appeasers" in Congress and the State Department "don't want to know about Iran, because if they did, they would be driven to take actions that they do not want to take. They would have to support democratic revolution in Iran, and they prefer to schmooze with the mullahs." He concludes, "I guess some top official will have to die at the hands of (obviously) Iranian-supported terrorists before the Pentagon is permitted to work on the subject." (8)

Commenting on Ledeen's screed, Anthony Gancarski of wrote, "[Ledeen] talks of military confrontation with Iran, which will be ugly like nothing since the Korean war, like he's a frat boy trying to get laid. Ledeen is a risible presence on the American scene, and this column hopes that his enemies in Washington find a way to take him to task for reckless, foolish talk that will lead to the death of more Americans and further diffusion of the Administration's credibility." (9)

Ledeen has a colorful track record, which has produced substantial grist for the conspiracy mill: He was allegedly tied to the Italian P2 Masonic Lodge, a violent right wing group that was involved in a number of terrorists attacks in Italy in the 1970s the 1980s; in the late 1970s, while P2 was doing its dirty work, Ledeen was working as a consultant to Italian intelligence on terrorism issues; as a consultant to the National Security Council in the 1980s, Ledeen acted as a go-between for Oliver North in the early stages of the Iran-Contra affair, working with the Israeli spy David Kimche to gain the release of U.S. hostages in Beirut through an Iranian arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar; he helped promote the "Bulgarian Connection" theory that the KGB was behind the assassination attempt on the pope in 1981; and, more recently, the Sydney Morning Herald reported (August 8, 2003) that Ledeen worked with Pentagon staffers to redevelop the channel to arms dealer Ghorbanifar in support of resistance efforts in Iran. Reported the Herald: "[Harold] Rhode recently acted as a liaison between [Douglas] Feith's office, which drafted much of the Administration's post-Iraq planning, and Ahmed Chalabi, a former Iraqi exile groomed for leadership by the Pentagon. Mr. Rhode is a protege of Michael Ledeen, who was a National Security Council consultant in the mid 1980s when he introduced Mr. Ghorbanifar to Oliver North, a NSC aide, and others in the opening stages of the Iran-Contra affair. It is understood Mr. Ledeen reopened the Ghorbanifar channel with Mr. Feith's staff." (9, 10)

According to his bio page on the web site of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs: "Michael A. Ledeen is one of the world's leading authorities on contemporary history and international affairs. In a few years in government, he carried out some of the most sensitive and dangerous missions in recent American history. He has been profiled in the New York Times, and was the subject of a front-page article and a lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal. A profile of him concluded that 'a portrait emerges of a man with an intense knowledge of 20th-century history, a deep commitment to democracy, and a willingness to be adventurous. This is a man who has helped shape American foreign policy at its highest levels.'" (4)

Not one to mince words, Ledeen urged the then-newly installed Bush administration (National Review Online, March 8, 2001) to purge the "environmental whackos, radical feminazos," and "foreign-policy types on the National Security Council Staff and throughout State, CIA, and Defense, who are still trying to create Bill Clinton's legacy in the Middle East."

Ledeen's books include Grave New Worlds and Freedom Betrayed: How the United States Led a Global Democratic Revolution, Won the Cold War, and Walked Away. From his book The War against the Terror Masters: "The awesome power of a free society committed to a single mission is something [our enemies] cannot imagine. ... Our unexpectedly quick and impressive victory in Afghanistan is a prelude to a much broader war, which will in all likelihood transform the Middle East for at least a generation, and reshape the politics of many older countries around the world" (quoted in the American Enterprise Institute's 2002 Annual Report).

In addition to his work with the American Enterprise Institute, Ledeen has supported or co-founded a number of advocacy groups pushing for a radical transformation of the Middle East, including the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and Ziad Abdelnour's U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon.

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Milton Frihetsson, 18:06


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