March 20-22, 2009 -- Obama's basketball mate is an old CIA covert player
Informed sources have told WMR that President Obama has developed a close association with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, one of the media sources for the covert identity of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.
Obama has sought the advice of Armitage on national security matters. Ironically, Armitage was an adviser to the failed presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, Obama's adversary. Armitage is among a number of Republicans who Obama has consulted with since being elected President. Others include former Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Secretaries of State George Shultz, James Baker (George W. Bush's 2000 "fix-it" man in the Florida recount], and Henry Kissinger.
While Powell's deputy in 2001, Armitage told Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf after 9/11 that the United States would "bomb Pakistan back to the stone age" unless joining the battle against Al Qaeda.
Armitage, who is 64, can still bench press 300 pounds and he is reportedly now one of Obama's regular basketball playing partners. Their gymnasium repartee has earned Armitage the ear of Obama on a number of national security and foreign policy matters.
There is another irony with Obama's relationship with Armitage. With revelations that former Vice President Dick Cheney operated an assassination unit out of the White House, it should be noted that Armitage was associated with the CIA's Phoenix Program, a covert operation that targeted Vietnamese political and religious leaders for assassination. Armitage was also linked to narcotics trafficking from Southeast Asia's "Golden Triangle." After the Vietnam War, Armitage was a Pentagon "consultant" in Tehran until 1976 and from 1977 to 1978, he ran an "import-export" business in Bangkok. In 1978, Armitage joined the Senate staff of Bob Dole, the unsuccessful GOP vice presidential candidate in 1976. Armitage was reportedly involved with the CIA's Ted Shackley in Indochinese drug smuggling and other covert activities.
In 1981, when the 20-year-old Obama, who was known as "Barry Soetoro," traveled to Pakistan from his home in Indonesia, during a time of increased covert assistance to Pakistan-based Afghan mujaheddin elements, Armitage served as Ronald Reagan's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and Pacific Affairs where his portfolio included U.S. relations with and programs in Indonesia. In 1998, Armitage was a signatory to the "Project for the New American Century" (PNAC) letter to Bill Clinton urging the military removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.