Laura Rozen

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

Recent Articles

THE �ESSENTIAL DILEMMA� RAISED BY THE NIE.

THE �ESSENTIAL DILEMMA� RAISED BY THE NIE. A contact familiar with the April NIE on terrorism says that buried in the discussion of the report so far is this dilemma: �The report notes that �victory� in Iraq would be a blow to the jihadists, and that failure (especially if it led to the establishment of an al-Qaeda sanctuary or if veteran foreign jihadists dispersed out of Iraq to engage in terrorism in other parts of the world) would also be very bad. Thus, the report highlights the essential dilemma Iraq poses for the war on terror: staying fuels the al-Qaeda-inspired movement, creating a net increase in the terrorist threat; while leaving Iraq in chaos would also worsen the threat. The Democrats tend to focus on the first part of the dilemma; the administration focuses on the second part. They are both right (and wrong) -- and the debate would be greatly served by focusing on the dilemma itself.� With both the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence committee...

They're Back

From time to time, I call up a longtime associate and business partner of Manucher Ghorbanifar, the infamous Iran-contra arms dealer and intelligence peddler deemed a fabricator by the CIA who lured the Reagan administration to secretly sell TOW missiles to the Tehran mullahs. This elderly Ghorbanifar associate is a former official in the Shah's government, long financially dependent on Ghorbanifar, whom he serves as a kind of dignified elderly secretary; like many Iranian exiles, he dreams that the mullahs will be overthrown and that he can soon return to his native country from his long exile in France. Since 9-11, Ghorbanifar and his business associate, both based in France, have tried through various channels and schemes to get back on the U.S. government payroll as intelligence sources on Iran and the Middle East. Their efforts to do so have been thwarted -- until now. The associate told me that he now has channels to the U.S. government, and a response to my inquiry about this...

Anger Mismanagement

The House of Representatives of our era doesn't lack for camp spectacle. There's Indiana's Dan Burton, who shot at melons in his backyard to “prove” that the Clintons had Vince Foster murdered. Tom Tancredo of Colorado once advocated that America “take out” Muslim holy sites. The list goes on. But that list, lengthy as it is, is surely topped by Pennsylvania's Curt Weldon. Known as something of a fist-banger and loose cannon -- and continually denied a committee chairmanship by his fellow House Republicans despite his 20 years of service -- Weldon has a knack for uncovering fantastic government conspiracies. Word of this is finally getting around his suburban Philadelphia district, and he faces his first real challenge in ages this fall, from Joe Sestak, a retired Navy vice admiral fed up with Republican national-security policy. Weldon's reputation for Tom Clancy-esque capers may be more than offset by another longtime habit -- his ability to bring defense money into the district...

Phase II.

Phase II. As General Peter Pace and General John Abizaid told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday that Iraq was on the verge of civil war, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts was complaining to The New York Times that the White House was obstructing the declassification of two new sections of his committee�s long awaited Phase II inquiry into the administration�s use of pre-war intelligence. �I have been disappointed by this administration�s unwillingness to declassify material contained in these reports, material which I believe better informs the public, but that does not � I repeat, does not � jeopardize intelligence operations, sources and methods,� Roberts told The Times . The first phase of the Intelligence Committee�s findings, which examined the intelligence community�s mistakes, had been delivered back in the summer of 2004. Now, more than two years after the release of Phase I, as observers from across the political spectrum...

Contra Iran

Magnus Ranstorp is among the world's leading experts on Hezbollah. Advisor to governments, former director of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and currently chief scientist on asymmetric threats at Sweden's National Defense College, Ranstorp has interviewed hundreds of members of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other militant Islamist groups for his research, numerous articles, and books, including Hizb'Allah in Lebanon . He spoke from Sweden with Laura Rozen about the militia group and what the United States should be doing about the current conflict in Lebanon. Some in the U.S. intelligence community have voiced concerns that Hezbollah has the capability to strike abroad; it's not clear at this point they have the intent. What would their calculation be? The Israelis know that if they assassinate [Hezbollah general secretary Hassan] Nasrallah, Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence will reach around the world and hit an...

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