"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Did Michael Ledeen Circulate The Niger Forgeries For Karl Rove?

By Thomas Keyes July 23, 2005

Is Michael Ledeen somehow involved in the ongoing investigations into the provenance of the Níger forgeries, the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s name as a covert CIA operative and the delivery of classified materials to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) by Larry Franklin?

Michael Ledeen is a long-time Jewish Zionist activist who cherishes great animosity towards Iraq and Iran, making this known at every turn, as can be seen by looking through his articles at National Review Online, where he is a staff writer. He is also a member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), two influential Washington think tanks. He has close connections with Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who also headed the Pentagon’s now-disbanded Office of Special Plans (OSP), an ad hoc bureau formed for the purpose of manufacturing a casus belli for the recent invasion of Iraq.

Ledeen has a long-standing relationship with Manucher Ghorbanifar, the dissident Iranian arms dealer who was involved in the Iran Contra Scandal. Ghorbanifar has been identified by the CIA as a forger of intelligence documents.

Michael Ledeen is also a full-time advisor to Karl Rove on international affairs. Michael Ledeen is alleged to be a member of Propaganda Due, a secretive Italian espionage group whose work parallels that of the Servizi di Informazione e Sicurezza (SISMI), the official Italian intelligence service. Other members of Propaganda Due include Ghorbanifar and Italian President Silvio Berlusconi.
Ghorbanifar has admitted discussing regime change in Iran with Harold Rhodes and Larry Franklin, both of whom worked for the OSP under Feith, in a meeting arranged by Michael Ledeen.

Larry Franklin was recently indicted for passing classified information to AIPAC. AIPAC has also suspended two of its own members, Keith Weissman and Steve Rosen, in connection with the scandal, but the suspensions may have been for appearances only, to make it look as if AIPAC doesn’t condone espionage.

Anyone who has followed the matter of the forged Niger documents will know that they were delivered to the CIA by Elisabetta Burba, an Italian journalist for the magazine Panorama, owned by Berlusconi. She supposedly received them from a private intelligence broker by the name of Rocco Martino, who is also a member of Propaganda Due. These were the forgeries that were denounced by Mohamed el-Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) on March 7, 2003, the eve of the invasion. Burba had travelled to Niger, concluding that the documents were forgeries, but was instructed to pass them on to the CIA anyway. The CIA either believed or was pressured into pretending to believe that the documents were genuine.

So it’s quite possible that Michael Ledeen masterminded the planting of the forgeries, with the proven services of Ghorbanifar and under the tutelage or Karl Rove, with or without the connivance of George W. Bush. If this view is correct, Ledeen got Ghorbanifar to create the fraudulent documents, and Berlusconi had Martino float them with Burba, all within the framework provided by Propaganda Due. So when Joseph Wilson IV wrote his op-ed in the New York Times, giving the lie to the contention that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Niger, he may have been undoing the carefully executed handiwork of Karl Rove’s henchman Michael Ledeen. Naturally, Rove may have wanted to retaliate. If it was not Rove, it may have been someone near him or some other official in the White House. And when el-Baradei denounced the forgeries, it would have been another wrench in the machinery. So it stands to reason that someone like John Bolton would seek to retaliate against el-Baradei by trying to prevent his election for a third term at the IAEA.

The big issue, of course, is not whether Karl Rove, I. Lewis Libby or someone else closely associated with them leaked Valerie Plame’s name to the media to get vengeance on Wilson. The violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act is a relatively minor offense when compared with mounting the whole battery of deceptions and intrigues that underlay the invasion of Iraq, and now seems to be aimed at Iran. It’s not even important that Michael Ledeen, who is an Israeli agent in spirit, if not also in fact, is exposed and denounced.

The important thing is to bring down the whole misbegotten machine, and remove George W. Bush from office. Hopefully, the present investigations will get the ball rolling.


About the author Thomas Keyes: I have written two books: A SOJOURN IN ASIA (non-fiction) and A TALE OF UNG (fiction), neither published so far. I have studied languages for years and traveled extensively on five continents. Email:

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