State and Defense Need to Talk Amongst Themselves — UPDATE

As we wonder whether the U. S. will join with Iran on Iraq, we face the threshold question of whether the Pentagon will join with the State Department.

Secretary of State John Kerry says that “We’re open to discussions” on military cooperation with Iran.

But at the Defense Department, not so much.  A spokesman there says, “There are no plans to consult with Iran on military actions inside Iraq.  We are not planning to engage in military-to-military discussions with Iran.”

UPDATE — The White House is with the Pentagon on this one, saying there will be no military coordination with Iran.  So that seems to be an, um, “red line” for the Administration.

I Find Myself Believing the Iranians

Iran’s chief negotiator on the nuclear agreement, Abbas Araqchi, says that there is an informal side deal to the formal agreement between Iran and the six other powers (the U. S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China), which he called a nonpaper.

The State Department says that there is no such secret agreement.  I’m going with Araqchi on this one.

Araqchi seems very happy with the results of the negotiation:  “No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded.  All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”

I predict that this whole thing is going to blow up and be a disaster for the Obama administration in the latter half of 2014.

Embassy in Yemen Not Just Closed, But Evacuated

American diplomatic personnel from our embassy in Sana, Yemen were hastily airlifted out of the country on a cargo plane.  Private American citizens in Yemen were told to leave immediately.  The British have done the same.

The action was taken after a drone strike believed to have killed four Al Qaeda terrorists.

How Many Sources in North Korea Do You Think We Have?

From “What was James Rosen thinking?”,  Jack Shafer, Reuters:

“Although [Fox News reporter James] Rosen’s story asserts that it is ‘withholding some details about the sources and methods…to avoid compromising sensitive overseas operations,’ the basic detail that the CIA has ‘sources inside North Korea’ privy to its future plans is very compromising stuff all by itself.

“Once the North Koreans read the story, they must have asked if the source of the intel was human or if their communications had been breached.  In any event, you can assume that the North Koreans commenced a leak probe that made the U. S. investigation look like the prosecution of a parking ticket.”

I can’t get all wee wee’d up about bumbling James Rosen, who makes Inspector Clouseau look like James Angleton.  If the Obama Administration had prosecuted him along with State Department moron Stephen Jin Woo Kim, I’d see the First Amendment threat here, but they didn’t.  I do mourn the loss of a source inside North Korea, because God knows they are few and far between, and probably now fewer and farther.

I’m with Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo on this one:

“They [DOJ] took a step I think they should not have taken.  But they did so putting together a case against a government employee who more or less in plain sight (thanks to Rosen, in part) leaked what looks to have been highly classified information about US spy networks overseas.  It’s difficult for me not to be more shocked by the self-interested preening of fellow journalists over a comically inept reporter and source than the arguable dangers this episode holds for press freedoms.  Indeed, I’ve failed.  I can’t.

I can’t either.

Quote of the Day

“I think the dam is about to break on Benghazi. We’re going to find a system failure before, during, and after the attacks.  We’re going to find political manipulation seven weeks before an election. We’re going to find people asleep at the switch when it comes to the State Department, including Hillary Clinton.  The bond that has been broken between those who serve us in harm’s way and the government they serve is huge — and to me every bit as damaging as Watergate.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC)

Petraeus Brought Down in Palace Coup

According to a new book coming out Tuesday, senior CIA officials went after David Petraeus to make sure that the FBI found out about his affair with Paula Broadwell so that Petraeus would have to resign.  These officials were unhappy with how Petraeus was running the agency, specifically that he was too focused on paramilitary operations (like drone strikes) at the expense of intelligence gathering and analysis.  His military management style at a political agency also brought him many enemies who wanted him gone.

The authors of the book, Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy, discovered the Petraeus information while researching their book on the Benghazi terrorist attack, BenghaziThe Definitive Report.

As for Benghazi, they say the attacks on the Benghazi mission and CIA annex that left four Americans dead were retaliation for U. S. raids against Islamic terrorist extremists in Libya.  They claim that neither Petraeus nor Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who died in the attacks, was aware of our ongoing military operations using special ops forces.  They say John Brennan, Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser and now his nominee to head the CIA, was running these operations from the White House outside the traditional command structure, and that the State Department and the CIA didn’t know about them.

It will be interesting to see if this book has any impact on Brennan’s nomination and what Petraeus’ response is.