Bush vs. the Beltway

Bush vs. the Beltway

by Laurie Mylroie

As the dust settles over Baghdad, a leading expert on Iraq tells the story of the obstacles that stood between the US and the fall of Saddam – and reveals that many of them came from within the US Government itself.

Combining groundbreaking new research with an insider's understanding of the workings of Washington, Mylroie describes how


As the dust settles over Baghdad, a leading expert on Iraq tells the story of the obstacles that stood between the US and the fall of Saddam – and reveals that many of them came from within the US Government itself.

Combining groundbreaking new research with an insider's understanding of the workings of Washington, Mylroie describes how forces within the CIA and the State Department have conspired to discredit crucial intelligence about Saddam Hussein's regime, from his links to al Qaeda to his development of chemical, biological, and nuclear weaponry. She charges the bureaucrats within these agencies with cynical, self–serving behaviour, designed to help them save face even at the expense of our national security. She describes how major elements of the case against Iraq––from new information about the al–Qaeda terrorists' possible links to Iraq, to potential Iraq involvement in the fall 2001 anthrax attacks––were suppressed or prematurely dismissed by these agencies.

She reveals how the very idea of state–sponsored terrorism had been pronounced dead after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing––thereby giving states like Iraq the perfect cover to carry out well–orchestrated terrorist acts without ever being detected.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
As the debate on Operation Iraqi Freedom continues amid controversies over16-word misstatements and ambushes of U.S. troops, Mylroie has published a ringing defense of the president's decision to effect regime change.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.93(d)

Read an Excerpt

Bush vs. the Beltway

How the CIA and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror
By Laurie Mylroie

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Laurie Mylroie All right reserved. ISBN: 0060580127

Chapter One

The Anthrax Probe

More than any other assault experienced by America - more, even, than the attacks of September 11, 2001 - the anthrax letters that followed those strikes perfectly illustrated the danger apprehended by the president and other senior administration officials as the United States contemplated war with Iraq. American civilians had been exposed to a lethal biological agent, delivered through nonmilitary means, without a single solid clue to its origins or sponsorship.

The Perfect Terrorist Crime

Again and again, in late 2002 and early 2003, the administration would point with genuine alarm to the threat of terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction - and, in particular, to the threat of biological agents that could not be traced back to their source. The FBI has steadfastly adhered to its own theory that the anthrax letters were the work of a lone American, but there is substantial reason to doubt that explanation. High-level U.S. national security officials favor the more likely theory that the anthrax was produced by a terrorist state, and Iraq is the most likely candidate. Precisely because this was abiological attack, silent and stealthy, it is virtually impossible, however, to determine its origins with any certainty. In this sense, a biological attack can represent the "perfect "terrorist crime.

The Anthrax Attacks

September 2001 marked the first experience in the United States of a biological attack on a civilian population. More than one type of anthrax was employed, the spores exhibiting varying degrees of processing - from clumpy material that looked like "dog chow" under the microscope to spores that had been fully "weaponized." The delivery system used in the September attack was technologically as simple as can be imagined: a quantity of anthrax spores was sealed in a prestamped envelope, addressed, and sent through the U.S. mail. All the envelopes shared common features: the same handwriting; photocopied messages with nearly identical wording, and in some cases, identical postmarks.

Assaults on the American News Media

On September 27, a sixty-three-year-old man named Robert Stevens became ill, complaining of fatigue and fever. A British-born photo editor, Stevens worked for American Media, Inc.(publisher of five major tabloids, including the National Enquirer).Five days later, Stevens was taken to the emergency room at Palm Beach County Hospital. The initial diagnosis was meningitis, and Stevens was treated with a course of antibiotics. Further consultations, however, yielded the correct diagnosis: inhalational anthrax, the most deadly form of the disease. Stevens died just three days later.

The 66,000-square-foot American Media office building was found to be completely contaminated with anthrax spores. All American Media employees were subsequently administered nasal swab tests and a sixty-day course of antibiotics. Anthrax spores were indeed found in the nasal cavities of two other employees, both of them mailroom workers. One, a seventy-three-year-old man, was hospitalized with inhalational anthrax and recovered. The second, a thirty-six-year-old woman, did not become ill. Follow-up blood tests revealed that five additional employees had been exposed but remained in good health.

Just before the events at American Media, on September 25, security officials at NBC News in New York had notified the FBI that they had received two suspicious letters postmarked September 18, from Trenton, New Jersey - one of them filled with white powder. The New York Post received an identical letter, with the same postmark. The identical photocopied letters were dated "09-11-01." The letters warned, in five lines of block-written letters, "This is next. Take penacilin [sic] now." They concluded with the refrain, "Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is great." The FBI picked up the letters from NBC the next day.

The envelope delivered to NBC had been opened by Erin O'Connor, a thirty-eight-year-old assistant to Tom Brokaw (to whom both letters were addressed). On September 28, O'Connor developed a strange sore on her chest and consulted a doctor specializing in infectious diseases. The doctor suspected cutaneous anthrax. On October 6, the New York City Health Department was notified, and the powder remaining in the envelope was sent to the Centers for Disease Control, which confirmed that it was indeed anthrax. A month later, it was learned that a second NBC news employee had developed cutaneous anthrax.

The letter at the New York Post had not been opened: it was addressed simply to "Editor" and contained no return address. It lay around unnoticed until October 19. Three employees of the Post nevertheless developed cutaneous anthrax.

On September 28,the seven-month-old son of a woman who worked in New York as an assistant to ABC News anchor Peter Jennings was brought to the ABC newsroom by the boy's baby-sitter. The infant soon developed cutaneous anthrax, but no letter was discovered, and the source of the infection remains unknown.

On October 1, a staffer for anchor Dan Rather at CBS News learned that she had developed cutaneous anthrax on her cheek. Again, no suspect letter was found.

In addition, two postal workers in Trenton, New Jersey, developed cutaneous anthrax.

At this point, American Media,Inc., the New York Post, plus all three major U.S. television networks had suffered mysterious anthrax attacks. With the exception of the letter to American Media, however, the attacks did little actual harm.

But this was only the beginning of America's experience with anthrax. Before the siege was over, there would be twenty-two cases of anthrax in the United States, including five fatalities ...


Excerpted from Bush vs. the Beltway by Laurie Mylroie
Copyright © 2003 by Laurie Mylroie
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Laurie Mylroie is the co-author, with New York Times journalist Judith Miller, of Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf, a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. A well-known expert on terrorism and Iraqi affairs, she has written articles for the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Newsweek, and many other publications. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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