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Indeed, the accounts put forth by Wilkerson and his colleagues strongly suggest that the C. Agency analysts were not serving the White House’s agenda. It means entering a kingdom of shadows peopled by would-be Machiavellis who are practiced in the art of deception.
is under siege not because it was wrong but because it was right. Unraveling a disinformation campaign is no easy task.
The first took place in 1980, when Francesco Pazienza, a charming and sophisticated Propaganda Due operative at the highest levels of SISMI, allegedly teamed up with an American named Michael Ledeen, a Rome correspondent for Pazienza said he first met Ledeen that summer, through a SISMI agent in New York who was working under the cover of a U. The target was Carter’s younger brother, Billy, a hard-drinking “good ol’ boy” from Georgia who repeatedly embarrassed his sibling in the White House.
It began after Billy mortified the president in 1979 by going to Tripoli at a time when Libya’s leader, Muammar Qaddafi, was reviled as a radical Arab dictator who supported terrorism.
A 1985 investigation by Jonathan Kwitny in article was part of a larger disinformation scam run by Ledeen and SISMI to tilt the election, and that “Billy Carter wasn’t the only one allegedly getting money from a foreign government.” According to Pazienza, Kwitny reported, Michael Ledeen had received at least 0,000 from SISMI in 1980 or 1981 for his work on Billygate and other projects.
Ledeen even had a coded identity, Z-3, and had money sent to him in a Bermuda bank account, Pazienza said. The Bulgarian Connection In 1981, Ledeen played a role in what has been widely characterized as another disinformation operation. With Ronald Reagan newly installed in the White House, the so-called Bulgarian Connection made perfect Cold War propaganda.
Next came a dossier purporting to document the attempted purchase of hundreds of tons of uranium by Iraq. Finally, in his January 2003 State of the Union address, George W. But the Niger claim, unlike other allegations, can’t be dismissed as an innocent error or blamed on ambiguous data. veteran who was a station chief in Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, and Germany, and the head of the Soviet–East European division. invaded Iraq, in March 2003, this apparent black-propaganda operation had helped convince more than 90 percent of the American people that a brutal dictator was developing W. However, it is focused not on the forgeries but on the leaks that were apparently designed to discredit former ambassador Joseph C. That meant ultra-conservative Cold Warriors battled the Communists not just electorally but through undercover operations in the intelligence world.
As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. “The chances of being manipulated are very high,” says Claudio Gatti, a New York–based investigative reporter at the Italian business daily.
Ledeen told the on multiple charges, including having used extortion and fraud to obtain embarrassing facts about Billy Carter. Once again his alleged ties to SISMI were front and center. Michael Ledeen was one of its most vocal proponents, promoting it on TV and in newspapers all over the world.
Ledeen was never charged with any crime, but he was cited in Pazienza’s indictment, which read, “With the illicit support of the SISMI and in collaboration with the well-known American ‘Italianist’ Michael Ledeen, Pazienza succeeded in extorting, also using fraudulent means, information … I thought it was all nonsense—typical Italian fantasy.”He added, “I’m not aware that anything in [the Billygate] story turned out to be false.”Asked if he had worked with SISMI, Ledeen told “No,” then added, “I had a project with SISMI—one project.” He described it as a simple “desktop” exercise in 1979 or 1980, in which he taught Italian intelligence how to deal with U. The episode began after Mehmet Ali Agca, the right-wing terrorist who shot Pope John Paul II that May, told authorities that he had been taking orders from the Soviet Union’s K. In light of the ascendancy of the Solidarity Movement in Poland, the Pope’s homeland, the Bulgarian Connection played a role in the demise of Communism in 1989.
official Philip Giraldi; and Vincent Cannistraro, the former chief of operations of the C. “They were just relentless,” says Wilkerson, who later prepared Colin Powell’s presentation before the United Nations General Assembly. “Your first goal is to make sure it doesn’t find its way back to you, so you do several things.
In addition, has found at least 14 instances prior to the 2003 State of the Union in which analysts at the C. A., the State Department, or other government agencies who had examined the Niger documents or reports about them raised serious doubts about their legitimacy—only to be rebuffed by Bush-administration officials who wanted to use the material. What followed was not just the catastrophic foreign-policy blunder in Iraq but also an ongoing battle for the future of U. “In the world of fabrication, you don’t just drop something and let someone pick it up,” says Bearden.
Then, in the last week of October 1980, just two weeks before the election, and United Press International.