Roger L. Simon

Ragging on Michael

Remember when it was a big deal to be on the cover of Rolling Stone? It’s not anymore – not for a helluva long time. We all know that. Rolling Stone has evolved into a fuddy-duddy publication that is about as cutting edge as, well, the procrustean boomer who owns it. [Weren’t your books once published by Rolling Stone?-ed. Yes, but that was in another country and the wench is dead.]

So the irrelevance of Rolling Stone is the good news for my pal Michael Ledeen. The bad news is that they have just published an article by James Bamford that rakes him over the coals pretty good – in fact it pushes the envelope of slander, according to Michael, and I tend to agree with him. And Rolling Stone being the dead tree outfit that it is (they don’t publish replies on their website), Michael can only set the record straight with a letter to the editor which will run who knows when or if in the magazine. Maybe for ski season if he’s lucky.

So in the interest of fair play, I am posting Michael’s letter to Rolling Stone here. It will give people a chance to evaluate for themselves. The letter follows:

Jeez, I thought it was only coffee in that cup Jim Bamford drank from at my house, but apparently he slipped something stronger into it when I was opening the box of cookies he brought over. Anyone who thinks I have any influence on the Bush Administration is regularly swallowing something more powerful than caffeine.

I’ve been writing for years now to encourage the government to support democratic revolution in Iran, but nothing of the sort has been done. I’ve openly and consistently opposed military invasion, yet Bamford says I’m trying–and on the verge of succeeding–to cause a “bloody war.” He says that Douglas Feith brought me into his “cabal,” but I have never worked for Feith, or Rumsfeld’s Pentagon (Indeed I called for Rumsfeld to be replaced two years ago), or anyone else in this administration. As I told Bamford–and I have a recording of our conversation–I have no access to this administration, let alone sway over it. But he insists that I am Svengali to George Bush’s Trilby. Any fact checkers left at the “Stone”?

He can’t even run a decent “Nexis” search. He claims that our conversation was the first time I had discussed the meeting in Rome in 2001 that enabled the United States to obtain detailed information about Iranian plans to kill our soldiers in Afghanistan. In fact it was the umpteenth time I had been interviewed, in American and European publications and blogs, most recently in “Raw Story.” I have written about it several times myself. And why not? That information saved American lives, as Bamford could have confirmed if he had been willing to work harder.

As for the endlessly maligned Mr. Ghorbanifar, who looks more reliable today, the CIA who described him as the world’s greatest liar and refused to look at his information about murderous Iranian activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, or Mr. G himself? Nowadays his picture of Iran’s role in the terror war against us is almost universally accepted. And by the way, the information Ghorbanifar gave me in the fall of 2001had to do with events inside Iran. Nothing secret, just unnoticed information about the widespread Iranian hatred of the regime. That, too, is now conventional wisdom. Bamford claims to be an independent critic of the Intellience Community, but here he has swallowed the company’s bait en toto.

Whatever that stuff was in the coffee cup had long-lasting effects, because it totally knocked out the little grey cells in his frontal lobes. Somehow imagining that I want to invade Iran, he quotes an article of mine in “National Review Online” in which I call for the United States to support regime change in Syria and Iran, as if that meant a military campaign. If he had looked up a few lines he would have found these words:

“Give them a chance to fight for their freedom, as we did with the Georgians. The longer we dither, the more likely it becomes that we will sadly and unnecessarily find ourselves in a military confrontation of some sort, with all the terrible consequences that entails.”

That’s the actual context. The opposite of what Bamford says.

For the sake of brevity and bandwidth, I have omitted several other inaccuracies in Bamford’s article which Michael cites. Bamford is welcome to reply here if he wishes.