Tomorrow and Today: Flynt Leverett & Saudi Palace Politics
December 21, 2006Tomorrow and Today: Flynt Leverett & Saudi Palace Politics
For those up at 3 am when the morning newspapers are uploaded to the web, rush to the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Unless lawyers or other news get in the way, two very important pieces will be up.
The first in the New York Times will be Flynt Leverett's and Hillary Mann's CIA-censored op-ed based on his new paper, "Dealing with Tehran: Assessing US Policy Options Towards Iran." But, op-ed page editor David Shipley will add some "graphic flair" by posting the original op-ed that the CIA reviewed after White House National Security Council staff insinuated themselves into this normally intrigue-free process. The op-ed will run with the blacked out, redacted lines "blacked out." Very cool.
Then front page Washington Post. Robin Wright will have an important article that digs deeply into the tension between the recently resigned Saudi Ambassador to the United State Prince Turki al-Faisal and the Saudi National Security Advisor Prince Bandar bin Sultan. (Update: This important article by Robin Wright has been delayed by at least one day and perhaps until Sunday.)
According to sources, Wright gets pretty far into the royal family drama and looks at how rival "clusters" of royal brothers have used policy differences over Saudi Arabia's relations with the US, concern over Iran, and strategic direction in the Middle East as ways to wage combat that is at the same time both about genuine policy debates as well as about future royal succession and advancement to influential government positions.
Robin Wright's article may also get into the intricacies of Vice President Cheney's relationship with Prince Bandar -- and will delve into which of them is gaming the other. I had been writing that Bandar and his staff, particularly his close aide Rihab Massoud, continued to get status and power in Saudi power circles because of the former Ambassador's extremely close relationship with the Vice President.
However, others I have spoken to since suggest that I have the situation backward -- and that it is Cheney, and others like Colin Powell and George Bush who are pawns in Bandar's world. A source has intimated that Robin Wright's big piece tomorrow may touch on this subject.
TODAY (though I think it made the news yesterday), Representative Louise Slaughter has written to the President to ask why specifically Flynt Leverett's oped for the New York Times was censored.
-- Steve Clemons
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December 22, 2006
Flynt Leverett & Hillary Mann: Redacted Op-Ed Makes it to Print -- Black Lines and All
December 22, 2006Flynt Leverett & Hillary Mann: Redacted Op-Ed Makes it to Print -- Black Lines and All
Check this out in the New York Times. This oped was creatively, graphically presented in the paper today and attests to a new and disturbing kind of White House politicization of intelligence.
Here is an admirable kicker to the important Leverett/Mann piece:
National security must be above politics. In a democracy, transparency in government has to be honored and protected. To classify information for reasons other than the safety and security of the United States and its interests is a violation of these principles. It is for this reason that we will continue to press for the release of the article without the material deleted.
Congrats to Flynt Leverett, his wife Hillary Mann who co-wrote the piece, and Op-Ed editor David Shipley who put this together.
Robin Wright's important article on Saudi Arabia originally scheduled to appear as a front page item in the Washington Post today reportedly needs another day of vetting and will either run in tomorrow's Post or on Sunday.
-- Steve Clemons
Posted by steve at December 22, 2006 03:27 AM