The Cable

Meet Newt’s foreign-policy brain trust

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is rolling out his foreign policy and national security team today, as the candidates get ready to spar on foreign policy issues tonight.

Newt's team, which has been working together informally for months, is led by Herman Pirchner, the founding president of a small, conservative think tank in Washington called the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC). Also on Team Newt is AFPC Vice President Ilan Berman and AFPC Senior Fellow for Asian Studies Stephen Yates, a former staffer for Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney's top Middle East advisor David Wurmser is also part of the Newt campaign advisory team, along with former President Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, Reagan-era National Security Council (NSC) senior directors Norman Bailey and Ken deGraffenreid, Reagan-era Undersecretary of State for security assistance, science, and technology Bill Schneider, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and others. We're also told Newt is talking to former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace and former Central Command head Gen. John Abizaid.

If Newt's foreign policy team seems a little long in the tooth, it is. Most of these experts have known Newt for decades, and see themselves as helping a candidate who already boasts a long track record and well-formed intellectual identity when it comes to foreign policy.

"I have depended on the counsel of this world-class group of experts throughout my career, and I am honored that they have decided to be with me as we work to ensure that the United States remains the safest, strongest, and freest country in the world," Gingrich said in his Tuesday press release. "I look forward to drawing on their vast knowledge and experience as we assert our vision of an exceptional America that, contrary to what Barack Obama may believe, will continue to be both the world's leading power and most assiduous defender of freedom for generations to come."

"In order to lead, one must have a comprehensive knowledge of world issues and dynamics that can only come from decades of study and experience," said Pirchner.  "I have worked with Speaker Gingrich for many years, and in these dangerous times, he is by far the best candidate to lead when American lives and American interests are at stake."

As House speaker, Gingrich weighed in on the U.S. interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Haiti and was a key supporter of North American Free Trade Agreement and other major Clinton-era trade deals. Since leaving politics, he has researched, as an independent scholar, the roles of Reagan and Pope John Paul II in the closing days of the Cold War. He holds a PhD in modern European history.  

As to his stance on foreign policy, Gingrich is not a realist in the sense of Henry Kissinger or Brent Scowcroft, nor is he a neoconservative in the model often attributed to Paul Wolfowitz or Doug Feith.

"I don't think either of those labels would apply to Newt Gingrich," Yates told The Cable today. "His world view is one that emphasizes being actively competitive. We don't need to impose our will in the world but we ought not to be hiding behind our desks."

For a more detailed idea of how President Gingrich would organize his national security and foreign policy priorities, a campaign advisor provided to The Cable a memo Newt sent to the Defense Department leadership in 2003 titled "Seven Strategic Necessities."

"We need an elevated debate about the larger zone of American security and the threats to that security," Newt wrote.

He advocated that the debate over national security should aim to divide the nation into three factions: "Those who would hide and ignore reality (essentially the McGovern-Dean Democrats), those who pretend to be responsible but really want to carp and complain without an effective alternative, and those who understand that this will be a hard campaign and may take years and will involve mistakes."

Newt also advocated strong support for moderate Palestinians who were fighting against Hamas for control of Palestinian society and government.

"The only hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinian people is for the United States to overtly ally with those Palestinians who will accept Israel if they have safety, health, prosperity and freedom and in this alliance defeat and ultimately eliminate the threat of the terrorists, " he wrote. "Victory in the Israel-Palestinian conflict thus inherently means victory both in a campaign against terrorists and in a campaign to build a safe, healthy, prosperous, free Palestinian society."

Several members of Newt's foreign policy team will be on hand tonight for the AEI/Heritage/CNN foreign policy-focused presidential debate. Your humble Cable guy and Foreign Policy's Election 2012 team will be at the debate and covering it in real time, so watch this space.

For a rundown of Newt's foreign policy positions during this campaign season, check out his profile on FP's new Election 2012 channel here. See a full list of Newt's foreign policy advisory team with bios after the jump:

Norman A. Bailey is an Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at the Institute of World Politics in Washington and President of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.  Dr. Bailey served as a professor at the City University of New York until 1981, when President Reagan appointed him Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director of International Economic Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. Since 1984 Dr. Bailey has been an international economic consultant to governments, government agencies, corporations, banks, investment banking firms, trade associations and trading companies on five continents.


Ilan Berman is Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC. An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted for both the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense. Mr. Berman is a member of the Associated Faculty at Missouri State University's Department of Defense and Strategic Studies. He also serves as a member of the reconstituted Committee on the Present Danger, a columnist for, and as Editor of The Journal of International Security Affairs.

Ken deGraffenreid is currently Professor of Intelligence Studies at The Institute of World Politics. Following service in the US Navy as a naval aviator and intelligence officer, he was appointed to President Reagan's National Security Council in 1981.  Mr. deGraffenreid was Senior Director of Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council from 1981 to 1987, when he was charged with evaluating and coordinating a broad range of intelligence, counterintelligence, security countermeasures, space policy, arms control, strategic nuclear and command, control and communications issues. He served at the Pentagon in the second Bush Administration as Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, then as Deputy National Counterintelligence Executive at the Central Intelligence Agency.


Robert McFarlane has had a distinguished record of public service including ten years in ?the White House and State Department serving variously as Military Advisor to Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, Counselor to the Secretary of State and rising ultimately ?to serve President Reagan as his National Security Advisor. He is perhaps best remembered as the architect of the comprehensive set of U.S. policies?- including most notably the Strategic Defense Initiative - which so?stressed the Soviet economy as to bring it down and in the process accelerated the?collapse of Marxism in the former Soviet Union. He is a graduate of the US Naval?Academy and served in the US Marine Corps (where he commanded an artillery battery in?the first landing of American forces in Vietnam).

Herman Pirchner is the founding President of the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), a non-profit public policy organization headquartered in Washington, DC since 1982. Under his leadership, AFPC has hosted the Washington visits of hundreds of foreign officials, ranging from the Prime Minister of Malta to the Prime Minister of Russia; conducted hundreds of briefings for members of Congress and their staffs; and organized dozens of fact-finding missions abroad for current and former senior American officials. Prior to founding AFPC, Pirchner worked for current Iowa Senator Charles Grassley and former Iowa Senator Roger Jepsen.

Tina Ramirez is the Director of International and Government Relations for the Becket Fund, a non-profit, public-interest legal and educational institute that protects the free expression of all faiths. Previously, she served in a number of positions in Congress as a senior foreign policy advisor and expert on international religious freedom, and helped establish and direct the Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus.  Ms. Ramirez and the Caucus played a critical role in raising the profile of numerous religious freedom issues in Congress and with both the Bush and Obama Administrations, leading to the release of many individuals imprisoned for their faith and ensuring relief for many suffering under religious persecution.


Bill Schneider is President of International Planning Services, Inc. and an Adjunct Fellow of the Hudson Institute. Dr. Schneider served as Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology (1982-86) under President Reagan, following service as Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (1981-82). He served as Chairman of the General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament from 1987-93, then as Chairman of the Defense Science Board (DSB) from 2001-9, and currently serves as a Senior Fellow of the DSB. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates awarded Schneider the DoD's Medal for Distinguished Public Service in November 2009.

Kiron Skinner is the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, where she is a member of the Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy. She also is an associate professor of international relations and politics at Carnegie Mellon University and director of the university's Center for International Relations and Politics. Her government service includes membership on the US Defense Department's Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (2001-7); the Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO) Executive Panel (2004-present); the National Academies Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research to Improve Intelligence Analysis for National Security (2009-11); and the National Security Education Board (2004-11).

Abraham Wagner teaches in the areas of national security and intelligence at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. Outside of SIPA he is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism and serves as a consultant to several U.S. Government agencies. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty Prof. Wagner served in the U.S. Government, holding positions at the National Security Council, the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.

R. James Woolsey is Chairman of Woolsey Partners LLC, a Venture Partner with Lux Capital Management, and Chair of the Board of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Woolsey previously served in the U.S. Government on five different occasions, where he held Presidential appointments in two Republican and two Democratic administrations, most recently (1993-95) as Director of Central Intelligence.  During his 12 years of government service, in addition to heading the CIA and the Intelligence Community, Mr. Woolsey was: Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Vienna, 1989-1991; Under Secretary of the Navy, 1977-1979; and General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, 1970-1973.  He was also appointed by the President to serve on a part-time basis in Geneva, Switzerland, 1983-1986, as Delegate at Large to the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) and Nuclear and Space Arms Talks (NST).


David Wurmser is the executive and founding member of the Delphi Global Analysis Group, LLC, where he provides analysis on the geopolitics and economics of Israel and the Middle east. Dr. Wurmser was the senior advisor to Under Secretary of State John Bolton at the State Department until 2003, then rose to senior advisor to Vice President Richard Cheney on Middle East, proliferation and strategic affairs.  Before entering government, Dr. Wurmser founded the Middle East studies program at the American Enterprise Institute in 1996. While at AEI Dr. Wurmser, published Tyranny's Ally: America's Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein and over 35 articles in major periodicals.


Stephen Yates has been the president of DC International?Advisory, a consultancy, since 2006. Before opening DC International Advisory, Mr. Yates served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs from 2001 through 2005. During his tenure in government, he was deeply involved in the development and execution of U.S foreign policy priorities in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Mr. Yates previously served as Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation from 1996 to 2001, and from 1991 to 1996 he served as an international affairs analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense.

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The Cable

Jim Jones was secret courier in “memogate” scandal

Former National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones was the interlocutor who delivered a secret memo to then Joint Chief of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, which contained an offer to overthrow Pakistan's military and intelligence leadership, making him a key figure in the scandal roiling Pakistan known as "memogate."

Newsweek Pakistan was the first to report that Jones was the link for the secret memo from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to Mullen, delivered only nine days after the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Ijaz claims the memo was conceived by Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani, who Ijaz says was claiming to be working on behalf of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Jones confirmed his role in the memo's delivery Sunday to Pakistan's The News. "I was not in government on May 10 when I forwarded the message to Admiral Mullen," General Jones said. He has also disclosed his involvement to the Financial Times, which published the original Oct. 10 op-ed that revealed the existence of the memo.

Mullen said initially that he didn't remember receiving the memo, but later confirmed to The Cable that he did in fact receive it, but took no action. The memo contained an offer to reshape Pakistan's national security leadership, cleaning house of elements within the powerful military and intelligence agencies that have supported Islamist radicals and the Taliban, drastically altering Pakistani foreign policy -- and requesting U.S. help to avoid a military coup.

Haqqani denies having any role in the drafting of the memo, but nevertheless has offered to resign. He is in Islamabad now, defending himself against the allegations that he sought to make a power play to reshape Pakistan's national security landscape.

Meanwhile, the Washington foreign policy community reacted with shock that Haqqani, a Washington institution in his own right, has become the man at the center of the "memogate" scandal.

Haqqani is beloved by many in Washington, distrusted by some, but known by all. He maintains a myriad of unofficial relationships with high-ranking U.S. officials, powerful civilians, and journalists.

Growing up in a suburb of Karachi, Haqqani rose from relatively meager beginnings to become a key personality in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship during its most tumultuous period. His multi-decade career in Pakistani politics included stints advising Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He has a close personal relationship with Zardari, Bhutto's widow.

He has lived in the United States for the last 10 years, where he taught at Boston University before becoming Zardari's envoy to Washington in 2008. He has since become famous in Washington policy circles for his gregarious personality, his constant networking, and his reputation for getting himself in the middle of the most complicated and controversial issues in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. He is an outspoken critic of the military's role in Pakistani politics and his 2005 book Pakistan: Between Mosque And Military hammers on that theme.

Ijaz, a controversial character in his own right, told The Cable on Thursday that Haqqani conceived of the memo, dictated it to him, and managed the cover up after Ijaz revealed its existence. Newsweek Pakistan also revealed Sunday that Ijaz met last month with Inter-Services Intelligence chief Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan's premier spy agency, and handed over his cell phone and computer, which allegedly contain evidence of Haqqani's involvement.

Around Washington, Pakistan experts and officials have been left wondering if the story is true and, if so, how Haqqani -- who is seen as extremely savvy when it comes to diplomatic dealings -- could have stumbled so badly.

"It's the kind of thing that Haqqani would dream up, but it's not like Haqqani to execute it this poorly," said Christine Fair, associate professor at Georgetown University.

The logic of trying to move against Pakistan's military at their weakest point -- right after bin Laden was found in their midst -- makes sense, said Fair. What doesn't make sense is why Haqqani would go through Ijaz, a man whose credibility in Washington is doubtful at best.

"Haqqani's a smart enough man that I could see him putting together this sort of thing, but I don't get why he would deal with a man like Ijaz," Fair said. "Besides, the different claims in the memo didn't make any sense, and Husain is smart enough to write a better memo than that."

The promise that the weak, Zardari-led civilian government would overthrow the powerful army and intelligence leaders was so unrealistic that it caused Mullen to completely disregard the memo when he received it.

"There was nothing to suggest at the time that this memo had any Pakistani imprimatur whatsoever," a military source close to Mullen told The Cable. "He did not know the source and the memo was not signed so there was no authenticity.... And the idea that the Pakistani military was pursuing some sort of overthrow was ludicrous, especially in the wake of the [bin Laden] raid. They were under intense public scrutiny at that point. The idea had zero credibility."

One U.S. official told The Cable that there is sympathy for the general mission of the memo, to move the U.S.-Pakistan relationship away from the Pakistani military's control, a mission that happens also to be a lifelong crusade of Haqqani's.

"The critique the memo lays out is dead on," the U.S. official said. "The Pakistani military is a bad actor and the prospect of getting rid of them is a very tempting one. It may be unrealistic but it's very tempting."

"We are unable or unwilling to think about a strategy for Pakistan that doesn't see the military as the lead actor on dealing with Pakistan's security issues," the official said. "That was the Bush strategy and that is the Obama strategy and it doesn't seem to be working."

Regardless, the memo failed to convince anyone in the U.S. government to do anything and as the scandal grew, Ijaz began releasing more and more circumstantial evidence to prove his allegation that Haqqani was at the center of the idea. Ijaz has released Blackberry Messenger transcripts he says represent his interactions with Haqqani in planning the scheme.

There's no way to verify the messages, but "HH" in the transcripts describes several Obama administration officials in detail, and contains the banter and personality for which Haqqani is famous. Haqqani denies their authenticity.

Haqqani has friends in Washington who are rallying to his defense. Their main argument is that Haqqani wouldn't be so foolish as to trust the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, and his career, to Ijaz.

"We need to look at who is Ijaz. He has been circulating on the fringes of Washington circles for years. Most long-time Pakistan watchers don't find him so particularly reliable," said Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow on South Asia at the Heritage Foundation. "If he claims to be such a close confident of Ambassador Haqqani, why did he throw him under the bus? Husain Haqqani has a great deal more credibility than Mansoor Ijaz."

Others argue that Haqqani, for all his faults, was important to the effort to stabilize the U.S.-Pakistani relationship and served Pakistan well. Ijaz said that Haqqani was doing a good job as ambassador and was serving Pakistan well in that post.

"He is someone who is trying to help people [in Washington] understand who we are and help people here understand what kind of a mess [Pakistan] is. In that sense, he's done a very credible job and it would be a loss for Pakistan to see him go," Ijaz told The Cable. "I still consider him a friend."

Ultimately, we may never know if Haqqani was responsible for memogate, but the scandal has laid bare the deep distrust between the Pakistani security establishment, its civilian counterpart, and the U.S. government.

"It's a parody of Pakistan. It's a conspiracy within a conspiracy, it's reflective of how dysfunctional things there are," the U.S. official said.

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