Only fame, fortune, dozens of trips to the White House, and a Nobel Peace Prize.
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“What’s up?” Welsh tapped back in reply.
“I’ve got an intercept of Arafat in Beirut talking to Abu Jihad (a top Black September operative) in Khartoum, and it looks big,” Mike answered, saying that he was able to recognize Arafat’s voice.
As their typed conversation continued, Welsh learned that eight members of BSO — the same number of terrorists who had been dispatched in 1972 to go to Munich — had assembled in Khartoum and were awaiting Arafat’s instructions on when to strike at the target (still unknown to the NSA).
When he had gathered all he could from ‘Mike,’ Welsh tore the paper from the machine and took it to his supervisor. The information was passed immediately through the chain of command at NSA. Before the end of the working day, Welsh and others at the agency sent out a Flash (top priority) message to the U.S. Embassy Khartoum via the State Department, as required by inter-agency protocol, warning the embassy of the imminent danger of an assault from Black September.
Knowing he had the next day off, Welsh went to bed that night feeling that intercepted communication might have come just in time to avert a disaster.
Not so, however. Welsh received an urgent call the next morning telling him to “turn on the television set” — and then get back to the office asap. The television news was all about the capture of the U.S. diplomats in Khartoum by same terrorist organization that had captured and eventually killed 11 members of the Israeli team at the summer Olympics in Munich.
Inexplicably, it turned out that a watch officer at the State Department had downgraded the NSA message to the embassy in Khartoum from the highest urgency to a routine cable. As such, it went slow-delivery and did not arrive until the day after the death of the diplomats.
On Monday morning, Welsh said, “the buzz at the NSA” was that the agency’s director (Gen. Samuel C. Phillips) had headed over to the State Department “steaming mad” about the department’s failure to do its job in sounding the alarm in a timely fashion.
But upon the general’s return, Welsh and others in the agency were shocked to hear their director had come back from the State Department in a morose and chastened state. Said Welsh: “The word came down that whatever happened to squelch the warning, that issue was over: We’re not going to talk about it anymore.”
When Welsh suggested to a supervisor that it would be worth taking the issue to Congress, he was told that if he (as a naval enlisted man) dared to suggest any such thing again, he would be put out to sea on “a fleet oiler.” Translation: He would lose his top secret clearance and be sent back to the navy doing the most menial of tasks, such as throwing fuel lines from one ship to another.
A week or so later, Welch was told — to his utter amazement and disbelief — that there was nothing of interest on the tape that had been forwarded from the intercept station in Cyprus. He thought to himself: “Am I supposed to believe that everything I heard the day before the attack was a total fantasy — and, coincidentally, it all just turned out to be true?” To this day, the tape has never surfaced.
Returning to civilian life a year later, he stayed silent for 27 years. But in seeing Arafat reach something of an apotheosis during Clinton’s administration, he found he no longer hold his tongue.
In interviews with sympathetic segments of the news media (such as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz) and in letters to Congress, Welsh denounced the failure on the part of successive U.S. administrations to acknowledge the truth about Arafat. He told one reporter: “There are limits to which foreign policy issues should require a man to lower himself. Shaking the hand of a murderer of a U.S. ambassador is such a case. Any peace based upon that hand is a delusion.”
Today he notes two overriding similarities between the tragic events in Benghazi and Khartoum.
One is the simple fact of a State Department and White House cover-up driven by political considerations and the desire to hide mistakes.
And, in his words, the second is “the whole continuing idea that the Palestinians and Arabs have to be given a pass on everything they do — no matter how bad it is — just because they are such poor victims.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online