Bush Surprise: Donald Rumsfeld Named Defense Secretary – Not As Widely Tipped CIA Director

The 68-year old Donald Rumsfeld will be entering his second stint as defense secretary, having previously served in this post in the Ford administration in 1975-77 and later US ambassador at NATO headquarters in Brussels. George Bush senior’s year as CIA director himself from 1976 to 1977 coincided with Rumsfeld’s first term as defense secretary – which illustrates the interdependence of America’s intelligence and political establishments. That term also coincided with tempestuous events in the Middle East – the fall of the Shah of Iran and rise of Ayatollah Khomeini; the onset of fundamentalist Islamic terrorist; the climax of Soviet-backed Palestinian terrorism and the first epic visit to Israel by an Arab ruler, Anwar Sadat of Egypt. Rumsfeld’s attitude towards Israel at the time was defined as correct but not warm. However his appointment now is further evidence of the incoming Bush administration’s determination to protect America against missile attack by “rogue” nations as a top priority. In other words, as debkafile previously reported, the new administration will deal sternly with Iraq, Iraq, Libya and North Korea and their long-range missile and weapons of mass-destruction, biological, chemical and nuclear development programs. In that sense, the Rumsfeld appointment could be good news for Israel and the Middle East. The Israeli government, both under Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, were sorely disappointed by the Clinton administration’s failure to halt Iran’s development of the advanced “Shehab” missile series and the transfer to Iran of North Korean and Russian technology for manufacturing nuclear weapons systems and missiles equipped with precise guidance devices. Russian defense minister Igor Sergeyev is at this moment in Tehran, at the head of a large military delegation, to discuss a massive arms deal worth $7 billion with the Iranian leadership. The Iranians warned Moscow in advance that there was nothing to discuss unless the transaction included advanced Russian missile and nuclear technologies.
Rumsfeld is a noted expert on the types of weapons in the hands of the rogue states. In 1998, he chaired a US congressional panel on the subject, which heard evidence behind closed doors from the CIA officers keeping watch on the development of this weaponry in Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea. He personally questioned those officers and found out they had conspired with their superiors to conceal facts that might embarrass the CIA and the Clinton administration. The Rumsfeld committee’s primary finding was that the threat against the United States from those nations was far more acute than depicted by the Central Intelligence Agency. Since that threat is directed equally against the US and its Middle East allies, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Turkey, Rumsfeld can be expected to collaborate with the local defense ministries and intelligence services in handling it.

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