Blackmail & Bobby Gates
By Robert Parry
November 15, 2006
One risk of putting career intelligence officer Robert Gates in charge of the Defense Department is that he has a secret – and controversial – history that might open him to pressure from foreign operatives, including some living in countries of U.S. military interest, such as Iran and Iraq.
Put more crudely, the 63-year-old Gates could become the target of pressure or even blackmail unless some of the troubling questions about his past are answered conclusively, not just cosmetically.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Gates benefited from half-hearted probes by the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch into these mysteries. The investigators – some of whom were Gates’s friends – acted as if their goal was more to sweep incriminating evidence under the rug than to expose the facts to public scrutiny.
While giving Gates another pass might work for Official Washington, which always has had a soft spot for the polite mild-mannered Gates, it won’t solve the potential for a problem if other countries have incriminating evidence about him. So, before the U.S. Senate waves Gates’s through – as happened in 1991 when he was confirmed as CIA director – it would make sense to resolve two issues in particular:
— Did Gates participate in secret and possibly illegal contacts with Iranian leaders from the 1980 election campaign through the Iran-Contra scandal of 1986?
— Did Gates oversee a clandestine pipeline of weapons and other military equipment to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq starting in 1982?
Gates has denied allegations linking him to these operations, but evidence that has emerged since 1991 has buttressed claims about Gates’s involvement. Other new documents, such as papers recovered from Iraqi government files after the U.S. invasion in 2003, also could shed light on the mysteries.
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