During the Trump campaign, I wrote a book on the influence of Frank Gaffney, the fringe neocon who has made a career pulling fire alarms, telling us Islam will destroy western civilization and enslave us to Sharia law.
Earlier this week Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton installed Fred Fleitz as the National Security Council’s executive secretary and chief of staff. Fleitz worked for Bolton at the State Department during the Bush administration. He is a senior staff member at the Center for Security Policy (CPS), a hardline neocon think tank founded by Gaffney. Its raison d’etre is taking out the mullahs in Iran, who are invariably described as “Islamofascists,” and unflattering support for the Israeli Likudnik ethnic cleansers.
According to Gaffney, the only solution to longstanding diplomatic issues between Iran and the US is to bomb the hell out of Iran.
Fleitz is a former CIA analyst. He is the former managing editor of LIGNET.com (Langley Intelligence Group Network), a project of the neocon-friendly Newsmax Media group. Advisors to LIGNET included several high-profile neocons, including John Bolton, former Ambassador Otto Reich, and former CIA Director Michael Hayden.
Fleitz is known for telling outrageous fictions, including the accusation Syria may transfer nuclear weapons-related material to Iran or terrorist groups. Mr. Fleitz seems to have forgotten that Syria never had a nuclear weapons program. His 2006 report on Iran’s imaginary nuclear threat was severely condemned by the International Atomic Energy Agency for its “erroneous, misleading, and unsubstantiated information.”
“The fact that Frederick Fleitz, a former CIA officer, was apparently the report’s main author suggests that his effort to undermine confidence in the intelligence community’s estimates regarding Iran is part of a larger campaign that includes many of the same hawks who led the drive to war in Iraq,” writes Jim Lobe. “In addition to working for [Rep. Peter] Hoekstra, a staunch [Bush] administration loyalist, Fleitz served as John Bolton’s special assistant during Bush’s first term. Bolton, then undersecretary of state for international security and arms control, worked particularly closely with neoconservatives in [Dick] Cheney‘s office and the Pentagon to undermine efforts by his nominal boss at the time, Secretary of State Colin Powell, to engage Iran, North Korea, and Syria on a range of issues.”
Fleitz’s report, “Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat: An Intelligence Challenge for the United States,” condemns the intelligence community for not backing up his baseless assertions about Iran, including the accusation it worked with al-Qaeda.
The Fleitz appointment underscores the full neocon-ization of the Trump administration and heightens the probability of war with Iran and North Korea.
While there is not yet a full house of neocons in the Trump administration, they are working on it, as this latest appointment demonstrates.
With Mike Pompeo now running the State Department, a Frank Gaffney radical as chief of staff of the NSC, Bolton as special adviser, and Nikki Haley barking and telling lies at the United Nations, we can expect this administration to be worse for sanity and peace than the Bush administration.