Saturday, March 24, 2007

DPRK on the march!

Many questions have been raised over Blog Simple's continuous posts about the North Korea talks. Why, I'm asked, all the posts on NK when there are so many issues out there, Iran, Iraq, Gonzales, Brittany Spears?

What my trained instincts have told me is that these talks provide an interesting perspective of the following:

1. The ongoing struggle in the administration between the realists and the neo-cons.

2. The way the press is used to either paper over these differences, or to take part on one side or the other.

3. The way the press is used as an instrument of policy.

China Matters has another good post on the Treasury's campaign against the talks. I strongly suggest reading it, but the story of Stuart Levy and his position is new to me:
He came to Treasury in 2004.

He wasn’t just filling an empty seat at Treasury or, for that matter, just a new slot on the organization chart.

According to his confirmation hearings, his mission at Treasury was to create a new counter-terrorist capability—a new office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence-- inside Treasury.
As well as his views on what it means:
About that intelligence office:

In response to a question from Senator Grassley concerning his vision for the Intelligence Analysis office, Levey responded:

"The first function of the OIA (Office of Intelligence and Analysis—ed.) is to build a robust analytical capability on terrorist finance. The Department of the Treasury needs actionable intelligence that can be used to fulfill its mission and exercise its legal authorities. Analytical products from the intelligence community tend to be based on anecdotal information and are largely intended to inform policymakers rather than provide them with date points that can be a basis for then [sic] taking action. They also tend to be highly classified, whereas Treasury often needs to use the lowest classification possible to be used openly to press foreign governments or in evidentiary packages. While OIA will draw on all-source analytical products from the intelligence community, it willl produce its own intelligence reports tailored to the particular needs of Treasury’s mission."

To me, the money quote is “actionable intelligence”. Just like Stephen Cambone at Defense, Levey would have his own intelligence, his own justification for policy, and his own license to act.
The China Matters has a lot more that points out the likelihood that it was Treasury that spiked the talks in the first place, and then, when told to straighten things out so the 25 million could go to the NPRK, managed to put enough poison pills in the deal that the Chinese said 'Nyet' in Chinese.

Now we are told that:
The Treasury said on Friday that Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, will lead a five-person delegation to Beijing to work through details of the $25 million transfer. Delays in the transfer have stalled talks on North Korea's nuclear program.
Glaser was already send to Macao to smooth the transfer, but his efforts were bootless, as we've seen. Let's see what happens when he's backed by (hopefully) competent people.

The closest I can find of any talk of Treasury/State dispute is this:
Still, administration officials sought to dispel any impression on Friday that the departments headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. were at cross purposes. Top officials made nearly identical statements saying that everyone agreed on the return but that implementation was difficult.
It's pretty clear that the Treasury has been running, with their new found capabilities, operations against the NPRK, not to mention Iran, and the needs of diplomacy are interrupting some cherished plots. That, theoretically, is why we have our new Director of National Intelligence, because with the CIA, the Pentagon, the Treasury, the OVP, and probably the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration all running around covertly and authorized to use deadly force, pretty soon the odds are that some unit is going to die in a hail of gunfire from another branch of the government. But don't worry no one will tell you about that.


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