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1 November 2008. Thanks to Robert Eringer.

D.C. habit:

Robert Eringer

November 1, 2008 12:00 AM

If Barack Obama wins the White House three days from now, he is likely to entrust John McLaughlin, Rand Beers, John Brennan and Anthony Lake with our nation's national security policies. To quote Yogi Berra, "This is like dèjé vu all over again."

"These are Obama's principal intelligence advisers," a former CIA official confirmed for The Investigator. "Which means that his call for 'change' is as hollow as it is ridiculous."

Mr. McLaughlin served in the CIA for 32 years and was deputy director of that agency when he resigned in a huff in November 2004. Before that, he was deputy director of the agency's analytical division.

"It was John McLaughlin's analytic failure that led to the invasion of Iraq," said a former CIA operations officer who had a front row seat during pre-war U.S.-Iraq machinations between the White House and CIA. Or, as another senior intelligence source put it: "He has a history of tailoring his analysis to satisfy the needs of the principal and cannot be trusted to be a provider of intelligence information."

This source added that Mr. McLaughlin serves his own best interests. "One can be assured," he said, "that anyone who leaves the intelligence community and immediately finds a job with a news outlet, as McLaughlin did with CNN, leaked classified information while in office."

Mr. Beers, a former National Security Council staffer, would likely be national security adviser to Mr. Obama. Highly partisan, Mr. Beers -- according to a member of the intelligence community -- while at the NSC gathered inside-White House, NSC and top level State Department information -- and placed it at the disposal of John Kerry's presidential campaign to secure a senior job. When informed by FBI agents in June 1996 that mainland China had hatched a plot to secretly fund President Clinton's re-election campaign, Mr. Beers famously declined or neglected to inform his boss, national security adviser Anthony Lake.

John Brennan was an analyst at CIA until Director George Tenet made him a special assistant and, says a former CIA official, "turned him into a creature of the Bush administration to become Fran Townsend's gopher." (Ms. Townsend was assistant to President Bush for Homeland Security.) "I'm just appalled that these are the guys Obama has around him," continued The Investigator's CIA informant. "They are inside-the-Beltway chair-movers. We call it 'rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.' "

Mr. Brennan is CEO of The Analysis Corporation, a State Department sub-contractor that found itself in hot water earlier this year after improperly searching the passport records of presidential candidates. "Brennan is a substantial self-promoter and achieved nothing but dysfunction while head of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center," a former intelligence official told The Investigator. "One could argue that his effort was a complete waste of energy."

It is believed by some Democratic bigwigs that Mr. Obama would select Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico as secretary of state -- Richardson's reward for coming out early against Hillary despite "owing" his allegiance (in Bill Clinton's mind, anyway) to the Clinton campaign.

Big mistake. Mr. Richardson is a walking bundle of scandals ready to come unstuck at the first mention of Senate confirmation process. Something about women, including a former personal assistant, weary of being groped and tweaked, who finally snapped, "Cut it out or you will wake up one morning and find your name splashed on the front page of every newspaper in New Mexico," and intimate dinners with girlfriends at El Farol's on Canyon Road in Santa Fe and Embudo Station, a brew house halfway between Santa Fe and Taos.

And something about corruption: Rumors are circulating that the governor received cash kickbacks from the construction of Rail Runner Express, a new commuter train between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. In addition, the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office are investigating Beverly Hills-based CDR Financial Products and its CEO, David Rubin, for contributing $110,000 to Mr. Richardson's political pursuits after winning a $1.6 billion bond issue to fund NM highway projects, including the Rail Runner.

And the man Mr. Richardson supported to become president of Highlands University in 2004? Meet Manny Aragon, former president of the state senate, who 17 days ago pled guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud and now faces five years in the clink for siphoning $700,000 from construction funds allocated by the governor.

Some say Bill smells.

So secretary of state in an Obama administration would probably go to Anthony Lake, but only if the Democrats score at least 60 seats in the Senate to ensure confirmation. That's because when Mr. Lake was nominated by Bill Clinton to be director of Central Intelligence, he requested his name be withdrawn after learning he would be confronted with allegations that he endeavored to personally profit from oil companies in "the Stans" (former Soviet Union) while still national security adviser.

"Change" will bring him back.

That's how Washington works, with a government-in-exile occupying think tanks like Brookings and CSIS, and lobbying firms, where former officials hibernate until their party makes a comeback and they rejoin officialdom with stale agendas repackaged as "change."

John McCain's intelligence and foreign policy advisers are no different. Mr. McCain's main guy, Randy Scheunemann, is a professional lobbyist who lobbied on behalf of disgraced Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi for the U.S. to invade Iraq. And while advising Mr. McCain on foreign policy, Mr. Scheunemann took money from the Republic of Georgia to lobby its causes as a registered foreign agent.

The point: The Capital Establishment is in control; the commander-in-chief constrained. A new president takes two-to-three years just to fill appointments -- and then it's re-election time.

Although "change" is the rhetorical slogan of choice this election, get ready for another four years of yielding to lobbyists, turf wars and pork -- and contrived scandals to divert your attention from being sold out. As Sarah Palin might say: Same old, same old.

In perpetuation of its own pork, Washington knows how to hog-tie a new chief executive.


If you have a story idea for The Investigator, contact him at reringer[at] State if your query is confidential.