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October 17, 2003
Notes from the Pentagon

Korean missile shots
North Korea conducted a flight test of its new medium-range antiship cruise missile this week. But additional tests of the missile were postponed because of bad weather off the northeastern part of the peninsula, a U.S. official tells us.

The new missile, which is estimated by the Defense Intelligence Agency to have a range of about 100 miles, when deployed will give the Korean military an "over-the-horizon" capability they currently do not have in their shore-based antiship missiles, the official said.

The longer range requires more accurate guidance and allows the missile to hit U.S. ships at greater distances.

At least two more tests of the missile are expected in the coming days.

"They usually do these tests in threes," the official said.

A Japanese newspaper reported this week that North Korea had conducted another test of the cruise missile, but the U.S. official said the report was incorrect.

Leak probe
FBI agents have conducted the first round of questioning at the White House, talking to senior officials who may have disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame, the CIA unofficial cover case officer whose identity was disclosed in a syndicated column in July.

A source close to the White House tells us that the FBI agents conducted casual questioning apparently to entrap any leakers. The agents did not take sworn statements from the staff members because lying to an FBI agent during questioning is a crime.

Officials also tell us that Mrs. Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, had a party at their house in early July that included several members of the press. The party has raised questions among some officials about whether Mrs. Plame may have given up her covert status under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by mingling with reporters.

The FBI is not happy about hunting leakers in the White House. "We've got a lot of terrorists out there to look for," one agent noted.

Army-Navy game
The Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation has sent out a new battle cry to help the midshipmen win the Army-Navy game this year. In a wartime footing, the football team wants to wear authentic unit insignia.

"This email is being sent to all USNA AA Board of Trustees, Class and Chapter presidents and their scribes for further dissemination," says the battle cry. "The Navy football team is looking for patches from different squadrons/units to wear for the Army-Navy game. If you have one please send it to: Greg Morgenthaler, Navy Equipment Manager, 566 Brownson Road, Annapolis, MD 21402."

State domination
The State Department has quietly taken away power from the Pentagon for the stability and reconstruction efforts in war-torn Iraq.

While U.S. forces number about 145,000, the political structure is dominated by State Department officials under civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer.

The senior leaders around Mr. Bremer include Chief of Staff Patrick Kennedy, an ambassador on loan from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and Councilor Clay McManaway, also an ambassador.

The "governance group" for Mr. Bremer's office includes Director Scott Carpenter, a deputy assistant secretary of state, and his deputy, Tom Krajeski, from the department's Near East bureau.

The policy staff around Mr. Bremer includes Meghan O'Sullivan, from the department's policy planning shop, and three officials from the Near East bureau: Candace Putnam, Jonathan Carpenter and Daniel Rubinstein.

The Pentagon has only a few people in Mr. Bremer's office, including General Counsel Scott Castle, and a civilian from the office of the secretary of defense, Roman Martinez.

Tensions between the State Department and Pentagon are high in Baghdad, as in Washington.

One correspondent told us that a woman from the department upset a number of Pentagon officials, telling them, "You kids are doing so great, maybe we'll get you a pizza when you finish up." The comment upset one U.S. Army Special Forces combat veteran.

Another woman from the department, who represents the Coalition Provisional Authority within the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, said she hated the U.S. military and sent her military assistant, a lieutenant colonel, out of her office and into a small adjacent room.

CIA mole
The CIA has been unable to plant an agent inside terror network al Qaeda. But we are told that the agency has been more successful against another target: the Pentagon.

Administration officials say the CIA's man in the Pentagon is none other than Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's closest advisers.

Officials say the CIA covertly used Mr. Cambone to add language to a legislation pending on Capitol Hill that would require some special-operations forces activity to go through the cumbersome process of obtaining a presidential finding, which earlier had been limited to covert intelligence activities and had excluded military operations.

A Pentagon spokesman denied that Mr. Cambone is working for anyone but Mr. Rumsfeld. "The bottom line, I believe, is that nobody here is shooting for less flexibility in our ability to prosecute the global war on terrorism or respond to world crises," the spokesman said.

The new rules, contained in the classified report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in its version of the intelligence authorization bill, were modified slightly during the ongoing House-Senate conference. The changes were made after a story about the rules appeared in this newspaper.

Supporters of special operations say the new language still could be used by intelligence officials who want special-operations forces to be bound by the same covert-action restrictions as the CIA follows — which Mr. Rumsfeld is said to oppose.

Officials tell us that certain officials within the CIA had sought the restrictive language as part of a bureaucratic power grab to get control of covert military operations.

"This is not what Rumsfeld wanted when he created this post," said one official of Mr. Cambone's position.

China blocks checks
Chinese companies are refusing to cooperate with the Commerce Department in allowing checks on whether U.S. goods sold to China are being diverted for military purposes, a senior Commerce Department official said this week.

"We conduct such end-use verification visits, without problem, in over 85 countries," said Kenneth R. Juster, undersecretary of commerce for industry and security.

"However, we have difficulty on this issue in China, where the government often restricts our ability to conduct this routine activity."

Unless Beijing changes its stance, "our ability to license exports to certain Chinese companies will decrease," he said.

Mr. Juster said exports to China of licensed goods that have military applications have increased sharply. China bought $2.8 billion worth of dual-use goods last year, up from $515 million in 2001.

•Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough are Pentagon reporters. Mr. Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or at Mr. Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or at

  • Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough are Pentagon reporters. Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or by e-mail at Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail at

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