Laura Rozen

Laura Rozen is a Prospect senior correspondent and a national security correspondent for The Washington Monthly.

Recent Articles

Hostile Intent

President Bush's Wednesday address to the nation on his new Iraq strategy delved heavily into an alleged uptick in Iranian support for terrorism and attacks on coalition forces in Iraq, and his plans for confronting it. The speech was followed the next day by the dramatic U.S. raid on an Iranian office in the Iraqi city of Irbil. Speculation is now intensifying: Has Bush signed a finding authorizing covert action on Iran? If so, what specifically does it say? Alternatively, has he authorized a more aggressive Iran strategy through a presidential directive that doesn't explicitly require informing Congress -- or the public -- of action? A finding is a formal notification to Congress of a presidentially authorized and signed covert action. They're congressionally mandated, but there is a lot of wiggle room, depending on who interprets the law and particularly if the action is to be taken not by the CIA but by the U.S. military. (The law governing covert action and reporting requirements...

Gunboat Diplomacy

News reports based on military sources indicating that the United States plans to move a second aircraft carrier and its supporting ships to the Persian Gulf next month, where it will overlap for several months with the USS Eisenhower, have piqued attention (and anxiety) on the Potomac this week: is the Bush administration laying the groundwork for a spring air war against Tehran, even as it comes under growing domestic pressures to consider talking with Iran and Syria? The Pentagon announcement of the planned amassing of naval air power in the Gulf coincided with a similar British pledge to move warships to the Persian Gulf, as well as statements from the State Department, President Bush, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair that all focused on Iran's allegedly increasing misbehavior in the region. The Iranian government is “openly supporting terrorism in Iraq to stop a fledgling democratic process, trying to turn out a democratic government in Lebanon, flouting the international...

Get the Memo

This Wednesday, the day that President Bush was to meet with Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al Maliki in Jordan, The New York Times published a classified memo prepared by National Security advisor Stephen Hadley and his staff, drawn from Hadley's recent trip to Iraq, that revealed grave doubts about Maliki's ability and willingness to stem the rising violence in Iraq. The memo reveals an administration desperately trying to brainstorm ways to prop up Maliki as head of a reconstituted unity government, but it also hints at another key aspect of recent internal White House deliberations about how to proceed in Iraq: that the Hadley recommendation is not the only option under active consideration by the administration. Indeed, if it becomes untenable to support a unity government -- as the memo's authors make clear they believe may happen – there are administration elements advocating a complete abandonment of unity in favor of the Iraqi Shia. Over Veterans' Day weekend, the entire national...

Get the Memo

This Wednesday, the day that President Bush was to meet with Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al Maliki in Jordan, The New York Times published a classified memo prepared by National Security advisor Stephen Hadley and his staff, drawn from Hadley's recent trip to Iraq, that revealed grave doubts about Maliki's ability and willingness to stem the rising violence in Iraq. The memo reveals an administration desperately trying to brainstorm ways to prop up Maliki as head of a reconstituted unity government, but it also hints at another key aspect of recent internal White House deliberations about how to proceed in Iraq: that the Hadley recommendation is not the only option under active consideration by the administration. Indeed, if it becomes untenable to support a unity government -- as the memo's authors make clear they believe may happen – there are administration elements advocating a complete abandonment of unity in favor of the Iraqi Shia. Over Veterans' Day weekend, the entire national...

OVERSEEING THE OVERSEERS.

OVERSEEING THE OVERSEERS. One thing you may not know about Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tx), now being considered as a compromise candidate to chair the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), is that he joined his friend and colleague, outgoing congressman Curt Weldon at a meeting with infamous Iran Contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar , against the advice of the Agency, and without informing the U.S. ambassador in Paris, as is proper protocol. The meeting took place at the Sofitel hotel on Rue Boissy D'Anglas around the corner from the US embassy in Paris on a Saturday morning in the spring of 2004 (see update below), according to two sources. (The US government was actually surveilling the hotel lobby that morning out of concern that Iranians might potentially try to harm the congressmen; Weldon apparently loudly asked the concierge for a room for a secret meeting). Ghorbanifar and his business partner were trying to entice the U.S. congressmen to take up the cause...

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