Laura Rozen

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

Recent Articles

La Repubblica's Scoop, Confirmed

With Patrick Fitzgerald widely expected to announce indictments in the CIA leak investigation, questions are again being raised about the intelligence scandal that led to the appointment of the special counsel: namely, how the Bush White House obtained false Italian intelligence reports claiming that Iraq had tried to buy uranium "yellowcake" from Niger. The key documents supposedly proving the Iraqi attempt later turned out to be crude forgeries, created on official stationery stolen from the African nation's Rome embassy. Among the most tantalizing aspects of the debate over the Iraq War is the origin of those fake documents -- and the role of the Italian intelligence services in disseminating them. In an explosive series of articles appearing this week in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica , investigative reporters Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo report that Nicolo Pollari, chief of Italy's military intelligence service, known as Sismi, brought the Niger yellowcake story...

The Report They Forgot

In February 2004, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSCI) announced that it had unanimously agreed to expand its investigation of prewar Iraq intelligence from focus on intelligence community blunders and into the more controversial area of “whether intelligence was exaggerated or misused” by U.S. government officials. The committee's ranking Democrat, Jay Rockefeller, struck the agreement with Chairman Pat Roberts -- provided, Roberts insisted, that the probe into policy-makers' activities wait until after the presidential election. It's now more than a year later, and Rockefeller is still waiting -- the Phase II report has yet to appear. What happened? And why isn't Rockefeller making more of a fuss? Republican committee staffers don't deny that Roberts lacks enthusiasm for Phase II. But they insist that he hasn't acted to kill the investigation, and that the last interviews needed to complete it are being wrapped up. Ultimately, they say, it will be up to the committee's...

The Report They Forgot

In February 2004, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSCI) announced that it had unanimously agreed to expand its investigation of prewar Iraq intelligence from focus on intelligence community blunders and into the more controversial area of “whether intelligence was exaggerated or misused” by U.S. government officials. The committee's ranking Democrat, Jay Rockefeller, struck the agreement with Chairman Pat Roberts -- provided, Roberts insisted, that the probe into policy-makers' activities wait until after the presidential election. It's now more than a year later, and Rockefeller is still waiting -- the Phase II report has yet to appear. What happened? And why isn't Rockefeller making more of a fuss? Republican committee staffers don't deny that Roberts lacks enthusiasm for Phase II. But they insist that he hasn't acted to kill the investigation, and that the last interviews needed to complete it are being wrapped up. Ultimately, they say, it will be up to the committee's...

Rendition's Revenge

It's no secret that some of the more dubious intelligence cited by the Bush administration to justify its invasion of Iraq ran through Italy. The most infamous case is that of the forged "uranium from Niger" memos that ultimately became a key basis for the administration's mistaken claims that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. A 1998 Italian newspaper report on a purported meeting between an emissary of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden circulated into U.S. intelligence as a key shred of evidence of prewar cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaeda, since discredited by the September 11 commission. Italy, of course, was by no means the only U.S. ally to provide dubious Iraq intelligence to Washington. But as two of the more conservative governments in the strained transatlantic alliance, the Bush and Berlusconi administrations have tended to see things eye to eye, at least more so than Washington and some of its more war-skeptical European allies. Italy contributed troops to...

Curt Weldon's Deep Throat

Countdown to Terror , Representative Curt Weldon's sensationalistic new book about his personal struggle to combat the Iranian terrorism threat despite the alleged resistance of the CIA, is based entirely on the Pennsylvania Republican's freelance communications with a secret source he code-named "Ali." Much of Weldon's book, which will be released next week by Regnery Publishing, consists of reproduced pages of comically overwrought "intelligence" memos faxed from the Iranian émigré's Paris location to Weldon's office between 2003 and 2004. “Dear Curt,” reads one memo excerpt from “Ali” published by Weldon. “An attack against an atomic plant by a plane, the name mentioned, but not clear it begins with ‘SEA' … [Seattle?].” Another reads: “Dear Curt: … I confirm again a terrorist attack within the United States is planned before the American elections." But in an exclusive interview with The American Prospect , Weldon's "Ali" -- who was identified in an April article by me and Jeet...

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