December 29, 2006, - 12:54 pm
Too Late, State Dept. Admits Arafat Ordered Murder of American Diplomats; EXCLUSIVE: NSA Palestinian Analyst Contacts Schlussel
By Debbie Schlussel
For many years, I’ve been repeatedly writing about how Yasser Arafat personally ordered the murders of two U.S. Diplomats in Khartoum Sudan in 1973–U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel and Charge D’Affaires George Curtis Moore. I even talked about it on, of all places, the Howard Stern Show, right after 9/11.
At the time of the murders, Moore was the highest ranking Black man in the U.S. Foreign Service. This was in the days before Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice ruled the roost at State and had it easy. But when they found the bodies of the two–Noel, who was White, and Moore, who was Black–they were so badly tortured and beaten, that authorities could not tell which was the Black man and which was the White man. Dental records had to be used to identify them.
Even though we’ve known for years who ordered this–our government had bugging devices and recordings of Arafat personally ordering their murders–the State Department would never admit this, preferring, instead, to protect Arafat and shield him from indictment for murder by the U.S. government, something that should have happened while Arafat was alive.
Yesterday, the New York Sun Blog, It Shines For All, reported that the State Department finally admitted to Arafat’s personal involvement in these senseless murders of Americans serving their country overseas. Here are the official, de-classified documents.
But not only did I know about it years before, in 2002, James J. Welsh, the National Security Agency’s Palestinian communications analyst from 1970-74 (who heard the tapes and first intercepted Arafat’s murder plans), contacted me to confirm that I was right. Fluent in Arabic and Chinese, he was a Navy First Class (CTI1) assigned to the National Security Agency.
The following are his e-mails to me and his statement to Members of Congress (while Arafat was still alive), which, sadly, went ignored. Republican U.S. Senator John Kyl, for instance, told Welsh he wasn’t interested because “we all know Arafat is a bad guy.” Sadly, also, the NSA and State Department knew ahead of time of Arafat’s plan to murder the Diplomats, but someone “downgraded” the threat and it only arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Sudan after Noel and Moore were murdered.
I’ve removed his e-mail and snail-mail addresses to protect his privacy:
—James Welsh wrote:
From: James Welsh
Subject: Arafat and Khartoum
Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 06:58:53 -0800
Dear Ms. Schlussel,
I just read your column today on Congressman Issa. I note your comments on Arafat’s part in the Khartoum affair. I would like to thank you for your mentioning the murders of these two men. I wish every columnist in our country and all members of Congress would keep that particular crime in mind when discussing Arafat and the peace process.
When the Khartoum situation was happening, Arafat was alternately telling the press how he was trying to get the hostages released and then, when he would return to the Fatah Headquarters building, he would instruct the hostage takers on the next step in the demand process. You see I am the James Welsh who was the National Security Agency’s Palestinian communications analyst from 1970-74.
For the past year and a half I have been trying to educate Congress and the American public that Arafat is not just an Israeli problem. America has an isue to settle with this man also. The peace at any
price Arabists in the State Department have been resisting, with everything they have, any release of the evidence that NSA and CIA taped during that crisis in Khartoum. The true facts of this ugly story have been deliberately withheld from the American public for “reasons of state”.
Yes, it is a 29 year old story but there is no statute of limitations on murder. Someday the evidence will be released and those who denied the American people this knowledge for so many years will have some explaining to do. Had Arafat been exposed in 1973 (as he should have) he would never have been able to achieve the power that he has attained today. Sad to say, his continued presence in the world’s political theatre is to some degree due to our own government’s policies.
Well, I will end this and again thank you for keeping this issue before the public.
—– Original Message —–
From: James J Welsh
Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2000 9:04 PM
Subject: Statement of James J.Welsh
Dear Member of Congress,
My name is James J.Welsh. Twenty-seven years ago I was a Signals Intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency. I was, along with another individual, responsible for the analysis of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) communications. On approximately 27 March 1973, a NSA field station informed us that it had intercepted a conversation between Yasser Arafat and Salah Khalaf, the leaders of Fatah, in Beirut and Khalil al-Wazir in Khartoum discussing preparations for an imminent operation in Khartoum.
This information was immediately passed through the chain of command at NSA and ultimately was brought to the attention of the Director, NSA (DIRNSA). A decision was made to send this message at Flash (highest) precedence to the US Embassy Khartoum via State Department, as channels required. Within three hours this was done and we all felt relieved that at least our embassy personnel in Khartoum would be safe. How wrong we were.
On the morning of March 1, 1973 I was called at home by NSA to turn on the Television and come in to work. As I saw the news my heart sank. The US Ambassador and the Deputy Chief of Mission were being held hostage at the Saudi Arabian Embassy by members of the Black September Organization, a Palestinian terrorist group whose credits included the Munich Olympic Games Massacre.
How could this be? We sent them the warning. They would never have gone to that reception under these conditions. There was much confusion at the time and I and other analysts began to try to make sense of the chaotic happenings we were following. Finally the terrible news was revealed – the Ambassador and Chief of Mission were dead.
We eventually went home.
On Monday morning the subject in our area was obviously nothing but this topic. (Note that all knew of this tragedy but only a few knew of the warning message). Myself and my co-worker began inquiries into how this had happened. We were told that DIRNSA was at that moment
on the way to State Department with a copy of the warning with the intention of discovering why it had apparently not been heeded. At State Department,he was shocked to find out that,on the evening of its transmittal to State Department a Watch Officer, in what is now called the Investigations and Review Section, had downgraded this urgent warning message to a routine cable. It arrived two days after the murders.
Within the G7 group where we worked there was a great deal of outrage. I was particulary outraged as I had spent four years following these individuals and, at the moment of our greatest intelligence coup against them, a uninformed GS level had pooh-poohed our work and cost the lives of two US diplomats. I demanded to confront this person (a rather naive desire I must admit) and find out why she had done this. After some effort by my supervisor, a Navy Officer, I was told that the choice was mine:
Shut up or lose my clearance and get ready for Fleet Oiler duty within 48 hours. I gave in.
Over the next week, we awaited the arrival of the field intercept tapes and transcriptions. At least we would be able to gain valuable insight into this terrible affair and maybe even someday help punish those responsible. We waited. Finally I remember asking when would the tapes arrive? I was puzzled by the answer:
Oh, they’ve been looked at and there isn’t much there. !!!!!????? Wait a minute. Then, how could the field guys have given us all this detailed information that we based the warning message on and which in fact occurred two days later?
Something was not right. In addition, our folders with all our materials of the hostage crisis were never returned to us from the higher levels to which they had gone during the crisis. We in effect had nothing now of this affair.
The coverup had started. And it would last 27 years.
I should have gone to Congress 27 years ago and I do so belatedly now. I was a supporter of the Nixon Administration and to this day do believe that Mr. Nixon’s foreign policy skills were far superior to any other potential political rival at that time. However, we must all face the fact that he and his advisers were fearful of scandal. And this would have been a major one if it were to see the light of day. One could only imagine the headline in the Washington Post:
State Dept Fails to Warn Embassy, Ambassador, Assistant Dead!. No, that could not happen.
I now make the following charges:
1. That the existence of the Warning message was covered up in order to prevent embarassment to the State Department and the White House.
2. That all evidence that the warning message was based upon was collected at NSA and removed from the normal analytical departments were it would normally have been analyzed.
3. That all existing copies of cable sent belatedly to US Embassy Khartoum were collected and destroyed at US Embassy Khartoum per instructions at high level of Department of State or the White House. There would be no embarassment due to discovery of the delayed warn-
4. That for thirteen years no prosecution or political penalty could be extracted of Yasser Arafat and his subordinates due to the need to keep this warning hidden from any scrutiny. Any public ackowledgement of the existence of the tapes made before, during and after the murders would have inevitably led back to the delayed warning message. That when, in 1985 and 1986, Congress requested then Attorney General Meese to investigate the matter of Yasser Arafat’s direct complicity in these murders, the coverup was continued to protect those who had initiated it thirteen years before.
5. That subsequent administrations have, in fact, been appraised of the authenticity of Arafat’s voice on the tapes and have chosen, for political reasons, to turn a blind eye to the direct guilt of Yasser Arafat in the cold blooded murders of Cleo Noel and George Moore.
6. That not only did more than one United States intercept site copy conversations between the terrorists in Khartoum and the Fatah office in Beirut but that at least two foreign intelligence agencies did in fact copy said communications and turn them over to the United States
government at the time of the affair.
After twenty-seven years I can come to no other conclusion for the lack of interest by the government of the United States in holding Yasser Arafat at least politically liable, if not legally, than that there was a coverup due to the delayed, bungled delivery of the warning message.
In over two months of talking to actual principals in the affair, to those who have written the definitive books on the incident, to those in Congress who took testimony on this tragic event, not one, not one solitary person has acknowledged any knowledge of a warning message.
But we have a source. Those who participated with me in the writing of this message still live. You will be able to finally find the truth if you will subpeona them to come before your commitee. I will give you their names in secret.
Next I believe I know the name of the State Department Watch Officer who downgraded the message. I will supply that name to you also.
Members of Congress, it is now up to you. I have given you what I believe are the keys to unlock the puzzle of why Yasser Arafat walks the halls of the White House with impunity in spite of everyone’s belief in his personal guilt. Follow this trail and you will find the true answer.
James J. Welsh
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