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Sunday, May 18, 2008

FBI v. State Department in Yemen

There's a very disturbing article in Saturday's Washington Post from an FBI agent who was involved in the investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. I pass it along not so much because of its direct connection to Israel, but because of what it shows of how the State Department and the diplomatic corps cowtow to 'Arab sensitivities.'
When the FBI arrived in Yemen, some government officials tried to convince us that the explosion had been caused by a malfunction in the Cole's operating systems. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh even asked the U.S. government for money to clean up port damage the United States "caused."

After we took representatives from various security agencies aboard the Cole and proved to them that the explosion was caused by an external attack, some Yemeni officials claimed that those responsible had died in the attack and that there was no reason to keep investigating. Similar excuses and smoke screens were rampant.

We faced constant threats to our safety, not just from terrorists. Members of the Yemeni parliament, in fiery speeches broadcast on official television, called for "jihad" to be declared against us. The hotel where we stayed was shot at and received at least one bomb threat, prompting an evacuation.

Rather than supporting us, [US Ambassador to Yemen Barbara K.] Bodine declared John O'Neill, a man greatly respected by his Yemeni counterparts, persona non grata.

Many American officials in Yemen, including members of Bodine's team, shared our frustration. Even victims of the Cole were offended by her. I'll never forget one sailor telling me that Bodine visited the ship soon after the attack and acted "as if we had just inconvenienced her country."

We had other reasons to be suspicious. For example, the State Department issued a "Search for Justice" poster offering a reward for information related to the bombing. After the poster was translated into Arabic, it ended up warning anyone against helping us. Was it a mistake, or calculated interference?
Good question. Bodine left Yemen as ambassador on August 30, 2001 - just days before 9/11.

Read the whole thing.


At 7:47 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The State Department is full of Arabists and they run U.S Middle East policy.


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