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Office of Special Plans

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(repurposed and renamed in July 2003 to Northern Gulf Affairs Office)

The Office of Special Plans (OSP) was created by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to help create a case to invade Iraq. OSP evolved from the Northern Gulf Affairs Office, which fell under the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia policy office. It was renamed and expanded to the Office of Special Plans in October 2002 to to handle prewar and postwar planning.

Also see the RightWeb profile of the "Office of Special Plans". (Last update 2/11/04).


"Despite extensive planning by the U.S. Department of State's Future of Iraq Project to deal with post-Saddam chaos, much of which (including museum looting and extensive water and power shortages) was fully anticipated and provided for in those plans, these plans were simply set aside by Rumsfeld. [1].

"Air Force Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked in the Pentagon until her retirement, was with the Office of Special Plans: 'What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline,' Kwiatkowski wrote recently. 'If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of 'intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Saddam occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense.' She described the activities of Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans as, 'A subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress.' [2].

In July 2003, "due to ever increasing criticism about the role OSP has played in the gathering of intelligence and the conclusions made to justify the war with Iraq, the Pentagon changed the name of OSP back to its original name, Northern Gulf Affairs Office." [3].

Julian Borger, in his July 17, 2003 article "The spies who pushed for war," published by the Guardian/UK, writes that Democratic congressman David Obey said concerning the OSP: "'The office was charged with collecting, vetting and disseminating intelligence completely outside of the normal intelligence apparatus. In fact, it appears that information collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed on to the National Security Council and the president without having been vetted with anyone other than political appointees'." [4]

On March 9, 2004, Los Angeles Times' staff reporter Greg Miller writes that during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, George J. Tenet, Director of the CIA, revealed that "A special intelligence unit at the Pentagon provided private prewar briefings to senior White House officials on alleged ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda without the knowledge of [the] CIA Director ... [and the] disclosure suggests that a controversial Pentagon office played a greater role than previously understood in shaping the administration's views on Iraq's alleged ties to the terrorist network behind the Sept. 11 attacks, and that it bypassed usual channels to make a case that conflicted with the conclusions of CIA analysts." [5]

In her 4-page article "The New Pentagon Papers" published March 10, 2004, by Salon, Karen Kwiatkowski, "reveals how Defense Department extremists suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country to war." [6]


Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, in their January 26, 2004, Mother Jones article "The Lie Factory", write:

"As the momentum for war [in Iraq] began to build in early 2002, Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith beefed up the intelligence unit and created an Iraq war-planning unit in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia Affairs section, run by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William Luti, under the rubric Office of Special Plans, or OSP; the new unit's director was Abram N. Shulsky. By then, David Wurmser had moved on to a post as senior adviser to Undersecretary of State John Bolton, yet another neocon, who was in charge of the State Department's disarmament, proliferation, and WMD office and was promoting the Iraq war strategy there. Shulsky's OSP, which incorporated the secret intelligence unit, took control, banishing veteran experts-including Joseph McMillan, James Russell, Larry Hanauer, and Marybeth McDevitt-who, despite years of service to NESA, either were shuffled off to other positions or retired. For the next year, Luti and Shulsky not only would oversee war plans but would act aggressively to shape the intelligence product received by the White House."
"According to Lt. Colonel Kwiatkowski, Luti and Shulsky ran NESA and the Office of Special Plans with brutal efficiency, purging people they disagreed with and enforcing the party line. 'It was organized like a machine,' she says. 'The people working on the neocon agenda had a narrow, well-defined political agenda. They had a sense of mission.' At NESA, Shulsky, she says, began 'hot-desking,' or taking an office wherever he could find one, working with Feith and Luti, before formally taking the reins of the newly created OSP. Together, she says, Luti and Shulsky turned cherry-picked pieces of uncorroborated, anti-Iraq intelligence into talking points, on issues like Iraq's WMD and its links to Al Qaeda. Shulsky constantly updated these papers, drawing on the intelligence unit, and circulated them to Pentagon officials, including Rumsfeld, and to Vice President Cheney. 'Of course, we never thought they'd go directly to the White House,' she adds."
"Kwiatkowski recalls one meeting in which Luti, pressed to finish a report, told the staff, "I've got to get this over to 'Scooter' right away." She later found out that "Scooter" was none other than I. Lewis Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. According to Kwiatkowski, Cheney had direct ties through Luti into NESA/OSP, a connection that was highly unorthodox.
"'Never, ever, ever would a deputy undersecretary of Defense work directly on a project for the vice president,' she says. 'It was a little clue that we had an informal network into Vice President Cheney's office.'
"Although Feith insists that the OSP did not seek to gather its own intelligence, Kwiatkowski and others sharply disagree. Staff working for Luti and Shulsky in NESA/OSP churned out propaganda-style intelligence, she says. As an example, she cited the work of a U.S. intelligence officer and Arabic specialist, Navy Lt. Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein, who was a special assistant to Luti. 'His job was to peruse the Arabic-language media to find articles that would incriminate Saddam Hussein about terrorism, and he translated these.' Such raw intelligence is usually subject to a thorough vetting process, tracked, verified, and checked by intelligence professionals. But not at OSP-the material that it produced found its way directly into speeches by Bush, Cheney, and other officials."

See remainder of article for more details on the Bush administration/OSP connections and activities.


  • Sen. Carl Levin, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee [SASC] and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [SSCI] releases a report on the role of the office of the Pentagon's number three official Douglas Feith in alleged extracurricular intelligence analysis and advocacy. [7], [8], [9], [10]

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Parody Website: http://www.officeofspecialplans.com/