Laura Rozen

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

Recent Articles

The Italian Job

Rome -- In this ancient city, just as in Washington, the origins of the infamous Niger yellowcake forgeries -- the documents purporting to prove that Iraq was contracting to purchase vast quantities of uranium and cited by George W. Bush in his 2003 State of the Union address as a pretext for war -- continue to bemuse political observers. So often do such intelligence scandals erupt and recede in the operatic world of Italian politics that the public knows the surface story is almost never the truth -- especially with a hard-fought election campaign scheduled to conclude in April. Rather than an honest investigation, the Silvio Berlusconi-linked media machine has orchestrated a series of disinformation campaigns, accusing the journalists who have investigated the Niger forgeries of joining an international conspiracy to discredit Berlusconi. The conspiracy theories are Byzantine in detail and rhetorically overheated. In early February, the Italian Parliament's intelligence committee...

“Duke” of Deception

On its face, the corruption scandal involving California Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the former Vietnam War ace fighter pilot who pled guilty in November to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and others seeking his favors, would not seem to have the elements of a decent spy novel. As the story of a congressman for sale -- a staunch Republican and former Navy “top gun” sitting on the House Intelligence and Appropriations Committees -- the Duke's downfall looks like just another case of Capitol Hill corruption, albeit on an outlandish scale. But in the Cunningham case nothing is quite what it seems. Two months have passed since he pled guilty to taking more bribes than any other legislator in U.S. history, yet no more indictments have been issued, not even against the four people described as “co-conspirators” in the Cunningham plea agreement. No other shoes have dropped -- until now. On January 6, 2006, Time magazine reported that in the days before...

“Duke” of Deception

On its face, the corruption scandal involving California Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the former Vietnam War ace fighter pilot who pled guilty in November to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and others seeking his favors, would not seem to have the elements of a decent spy novel. As the story of a congressman for sale -- a staunch Republican and former Navy “top gun” sitting on the House Intelligence and Appropriations Committees -- the Duke's downfall looks like just another case of Capitol Hill corruption, albeit on an outlandish scale. But in the Cunningham case nothing is quite what it seems. Two months have passed since he pled guilty to taking more bribes than any other legislator in U.S. history, yet no more indictments have been issued, not even against the four people described as “co-conspirators” in the Cunningham plea agreement. No other shoes have dropped -- until now. On January 6, 2006, Time magazine reported that in the days before...

Black Contracts

We know about the hundreds of millions of dollars in defense contracts that former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham , using his position on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, helped steer to individuals who had given him bribes. We also have reported about allegations that he used his position on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to help some of the same individuals who had offered him bribes to secure intelligence-community contracts. And it's perhaps not surprising that the chair of the House Intelligence committee, Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), has said he intends to launch a full-fledged investigation into any possible corruption of the committee. CIA contracts are not public, and there's an added veil of secrecy and opaqueness to the “black” contracting world. Cunningham bragged about his ability to help influence the procuring of contracts from this secretive Congressional source in a letter to San Diego contractors, saying he was in a position to...

He's Done

Things change fast, when they finally do. For more than two years, the daily reports of American casualties and car bombs in Iraq, questions about how the White House had led the country into the Iraq War, and the torture memos and “extraordinary renditions” -- with their subterranean narrative of an almost wholly undebated U.S. policy to commit torture -- had bounced off the Teflon presidency of George W. Bush. The media had decided after September 11 that Bush was America's Churchill. That was the story line -- and for endless and maddening months, there was no dislodging it. But then, ushered in by a hurricane, all of these events -- individually almost weightless -- accrued into something with political heft, critical mass. And they did so suddenly: When future historians chronicle the fall of the Bush presidency, they'll point to a single week in late October and early November when the Bush White House's reputation for competence in national-security matters was punctured, its...

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