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The Men From JINSA and CSP

By Jason A. Vest
The Nation
September 2, 2002


Almost thirty years ago, a prominent group of neoconservative hawks
found an effective vehicle for advocating their views via the Committee
on the Present Danger, a group that fervently believed the United States
was a hair away from being militarily surpassed by the Soviet Union, and
whose raison d'être was strident advocacy of bigger military budgets,
near-fanatical opposition to any form of arms control and zealous
championing of a Likudnik Israel. Considered a marginal group in its
nascent days during the Carter Administration, with the election of
Ronald Reagan in 1980 CPD went from the margins to the center of power.

Just as the right-wing defense intellectuals made CPD a cornerstone of a
shadow defense establishment during the Carter Administration, so, too,
did the right during the Clinton years, in part through two
organizations: the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
(JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). And just as was the
case two decades ago, dozens of their members have ascended to powerful
government posts, where their advocacy in support of the same agenda
continues, abetted by the out-of-government adjuncts from which they
came. Industrious and persistent, they've managed to weave a number of
issues--support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control
treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey
and American unilateralism in general--into a hard line, with support
for the Israeli right at its core.

On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its
relentless campaign for war--not just with Iraq, but "total war," as
Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put
it last year. For this crew, "regime change" by any means necessary in
Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an
urgent imperative. Anyone who dissents--be it Colin Powell's State
Department, the CIA or career military officers--is committing heresy
against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference
between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only
way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is
through hegemony in the Middle East--a hegemony achieved with the
traditional cold war recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert

For example, the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board--chaired by JINSA/CSP
adviser and former Reagan Administration Defense Department official
Richard Perle, and stacked with advisers from both groups--recently made
news by listening to a briefing that cast Saudi Arabia as an enemy to be
brought to heel through a number of potential mechanisms, many of which
mirror JINSA's recommendations, and which reflect the JINSA/CSP crowd's
preoccupation with Egypt. (The final slide of the Defense Policy Board
presentation proposed that "Grand Strategy for the Middle East" should
concentrate on "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the
strategic pivot [and] Egypt as the prize.") Ledeen has been leading the
charge for regime change in Iran, while old comrades like Andrew
Marshall and Harold Rhode in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment
actively tinker with ways to re-engineer both the Iranian and Saudi
governments. JINSA is also cheering the US military on as it tries to
secure basing rights in the strategic Red Sea country of Eritrea,
happily failing to mention that the once-promising secular regime of
President Isaiais Afewerki continues to slide into the kind of
repressive authoritarianism practiced by the "axis of evil" and its

Indeed, there are some in military and intelligence circles who have
taken to using "axis of evil" in reference to JINSA and CSP, along with
venerable repositories of hawkish thinking like the American Enterprise
Institute and the Hudson Institute, as well as defense contractors,
conservative foundations and public relations entities underwritten by
far-right American Zionists (all of which help to underwrite JINSA and
CSP). It's a milieu where ideology and money seamlessly blend: "Whenever
you see someone identified in print or on TV as being with the Center
for Security Policy or JINSA championing a position on the grounds of
ideology or principle--which they are unquestionably doing with
conviction--you are, nonetheless, not informed that they're also
providing a sort of cover for other ideologues who just happen to stand
to profit from hewing to the Likudnik and Pax Americana lines," says a
veteran intelligence officer. He notes that while the United States has
begun a phaseout of civilian aid to Israel that will end by 2007,
government policy is to increase military aid by half the amount of
civilian aid that's cut each year--which is not only a boon to both the
US and Israeli weapons industries but is also crucial to realizing the
far right's vision for missile defense and the Middle East.

Founded in 1976 by neoconservatives concerned that the United States
might not be able to provide Israel with adequate military supplies in
the event of another Arab-Israeli war, over the past twenty-five years
JINSA has gone from a loose-knit proto-group to a $1.4-million-a-year
operation with a formidable array of Washington power players on its
rolls. Until the beginning of the current Bush Administration, JINSA's
board of advisers included such heavy hitters as Dick Cheney, John
Bolton (now Under Secretary of State for Arms Control) and Douglas
Feith, the third-highest-ranking executive in the Pentagon. Both Perle
and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey, two of the
loudest voices in the attack-Iraq chorus, are still on the board, as are
such Reagan-era relics as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eugene Rostow and Ledeen--
Oliver North's Iran/ contra liaison with the Israelis.

According to its website, JINSA exists to "educate the American public
about the importance of an effective US defense capability so that our
vital interests as Americans can be safeguarded" and to "inform the
American defense and foreign affairs community about the important role
Israel can and does play in bolstering democratic interests in the
Mediterranean and the Middle East." In practice, this translates into
its members producing a steady stream of op-eds and reports that have
been good indicators of what the Pentagon's civilian leadership is

JINSA relishes denouncing virtually any type of contact between the US
government and Syria and finding new ways to demonize the Palestinians.
To give but one example (and one that kills two birds with one stone):
According to JINSA, not only is Yasir Arafat in control of all violence
in the occupied territories, but he orchestrates the violence solely "to
protect Saddam.... Saddam is at the moment Arafat's only real financial
supporter.... [Arafat] has no incentive to stop the violence against
Israel and allow the West to turn its attention to his mentor and
paymaster." And if there's a way to advance other aspects of the far-
right agenda by intertwining them with Israeli interests, JINSA doesn't
hesitate there, either. A recent report contends that the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge must be tapped because "the Arab oil-producing
states" are countries "with interests inimical to ours," but Israel
"stand[s] with us when we need [Israel]," and a US policy of tapping oil
under ANWR will "limit [the Arabs'] ability to do damage to either of

The bulk of JINSA's modest annual budget is spent on taking a bevy of
retired US generals and admirals to Israel, where JINSA facilitates
meetings between Israeli officials and the still-influential US flag
officers, who, upon their return to the States, happily write op-eds and
sign letters and advertisements championing the Likudnik line. (Sowing
seeds for the future, JINSA also takes US service academy cadets to
Israel each summer and sponsors a lecture series at the Army, Navy and
Air Force academies.) In one such statement, issued soon after the
outbreak of the latest intifada, twenty-six JINSAns of retired flag
rank, including many from the advisory board, struck a moralizing tone,
characterizing Palestinian violence as a "perversion of military ethics"
and holding that "America's role as facilitator in this process should
never yield to America's responsibility as a friend to Israel," as
"friends don't leave friends on the battlefield."

However high-minded this might sound, the postservice associations of
the letter's signatories--which are almost always left off the
organization's website and communiqués--ought to require that the phrase
be amended to say "friends don't leave friends on the battlefield,
especially when there's business to be done and bucks to be made."
Almost every retired officer who sits on JINSA's board of advisers or
has participated in its Israel trips or signed a JINSA letter works or
has worked with military contractors who do business with the Pentagon
and Israel. While some keep a low profile as self-employed "consultants"
and avoid mention of their clients, others are less shy about their
associations, including with the private mercenary firm Military
Professional Resources International, weapons broker and military
consultancy Cypress International and SY Technology, whose main clients
include the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, which oversees several
ongoing joint projects with Israel.

The behemoths of military contracting are also well represented in
JINSA's ranks. For example, JINSA advisory board members Adm. Leon
Edney, Adm. David Jeremiah and Lieut. Gen. Charles May, all retired,
have served Northrop Grumman or its subsidiaries as either consultants
or board members. Northrop Grumman has built ships for the Israeli Navy
and sold F-16 avionics and E-2C Hawkeye planes to the Israeli Air Force
(as well as the Longbow radar system to the Israeli army for use in its
attack helicopters). It also works with Tamam, a subsidiary of Israeli
Aircraft Industries, to produce an unmanned aerial vehicle. Lockheed
Martin has sold more than $2 billion worth of F-16s to Israel since
1999, as well as flight simulators, multiple-launch rocket systems and
Seahawk heavyweight torpedoes. At one time or another, General May,
retired Lieut. Gen. Paul Cerjanand retired Adm. Carlisle Trost have
labored in LockMart's vineyards. Trost has also sat on the board of
General Dynamics, whose Gulfstream subsidiary has a $206 million
contract to supply planes to Israel to be used for "special electronics

By far the most profitably diversified of the JINSAns is retired Adm.
David Jeremiah. President and partner of Technology Strategies &
Alliances Corporation (described as a "strategic advisory firm and
investment banking firm engaged primarily in the aerospace, defense,
telecommunications and electronics industries"), Jeremiah also sits on
the boards of Northrop Grumman's Litton subsidiary and of defense giant
Alliant Techsystems, which--in partnership with Israel's TAAS--does a
brisk business in rubber bullets. And he has a seat on the Pentagon's
Defense Policy Board, chaired by Perle.

About the only major defense contractor without a presence on JINSA's
advisory board is Boeing, which has had a relationship with Israeli
Aircraft Industries for thirty years. (Boeing also sells F-15s to Israel
and, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, Apache attack helicopters, a
ubiquitous weapon in the occupied territories.) But take a look at
JINSA's kindred spirit in things pro-Likud and pro-Star Wars, the Center
for Security Policy, and there on its national security advisory council
are Stanley Ebner, a former Boeing executive; Andrew Ellis, vice
president for government relations; and Carl Smith, a former staff
director of the Senate Armed Services Committee who, as a lawyer in
private practice, has counted Boeing among his clients. "JINSA and CSP,"
says a veteran Pentagon analyst, "may as well be one and the same."

Not a hard sell: There's always been considerable overlap beween the
JINSA and CSP rosters--JINSA advisers Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard Perle
and Phyllis Kaminsky also serve on CSP's advisory council; current JINSA
advisory board chairman David Steinmann sits on CSP's board of
directors; and before returning to the Pentagon Douglas Feith served as
the board's chair. At this writing, twenty-two CSP advisers--including
additional Reagan-era remnants like Elliott Abrams, Ken deGraffenreid,
Paula Dobriansky, Sven Kraemer, Robert Joseph, Robert Andrews and J.D.
Crouch--have reoccupied key positions in the national security
establishment, as have other true believers of more recent vintage.

While CSP boasts an impressive advisory list of hawkish luminaries, its
star is Gaffney, its founder, president and CEO. A protégé of Perle
going back to their days as staffers for the late Senator Henry "Scoop"
Jackson (a k a the Senator from Boeing, and the Senate's most zealous
champion of Israel in his day), Gaffney later joined Perle at the
Pentagon, only to be shown the door by Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci
in 1987, not long after Perle left. Gaffney then reconstituted the
latest incarnation of the Committee on the Present Danger. Beyond
compiling an A-list of influential conservative hawks, Gaffney has been
prolific over the past fifteen years, churning out a constant stream of
reports (as well as regular columns for the Washington Times) making the
case that the gravest threats to US national security are China, Iraq,
still-undeveloped ballistic missiles launched by rogue states, and the
passage of or adherence to virtually any form of arms control treaty.

Gaffney and CSP's prescriptions for national security have been fairly
simple: Gut all arms control treaties, push ahead with weapons systems
virtually everyone agrees should be killed (such as the V-22 Osprey),
give no quarter to the Palestinians and, most important, go full steam
ahead on just about every national missile defense program. (CSP was
heavily represented on the late-1990s Commission to Assess the Ballistic
Missile Threat to the United States, which was instrumental in keeping
the program alive during the Clinton years.)

Looking at the center's affiliates, it's not hard to see why: Not only
are makers of the Osprey (Boeing) well represented on the CSP's board of
advisers but so too is Lockheed Martin (by vice president for space and
strategic missiles Charles Kupperman and director of defense systems
Douglas Graham). Former TRW executive Amoretta Hoeber is also a CSP
adviser, as is former Congressman and Raytheon lobbyist Robert
Livingston. Ball Aerospace & Technologies--a major manufacturer of NASA
and Pentagon satellites--is represented by former Navy Secretary John
Lehman, while missile-defense computer systems maker Hewlett-Packard is
represented by George Keyworth, who is on its board of directors. And
the Congressional Missile Defense Caucus and Osprey (or "tilt rotor")
caucus are represented by Representative Curt Weldon and Senator Jon

CSP was instrumental in developing the arguments against the Anti-
Ballistic Missile Treaty. Largely ignored or derided at the time, a 1995
CSP memo co-written by Douglas Feith holding that the United States
should withdraw from the ABM treaty has essentially become policy, as
have other CSP reports opposing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the
Chemical Weapons Convention and the International Criminal Court. But
perhaps the most insightful window on the JINSA/CSP policy worldview
comes in the form of a paper Perle and Feith collaborated on in 1996
with six others under the auspices of the Institute for Advanced
Strategic and Political Studies. Essentially an advice letter to
ascendant Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu, "A Clean Break: A New
Strategy for Securing the Realm" makes for insightful reading as a kind
of US-Israeli neoconservative manifesto.

The paper's first prescription was for an Israeli rightward economic
shift, with tax cuts and a selloff of public lands and enterprises--
moves that would also engender support from a "broad bipartisan spectrum
of key pro-Israeli Congressional leaders." But beyond economics, the
paper essentially reads like a blueprint for a mini-cold war in the
Middle East, advocating the use of proxy armies for regime changes,
destabilization and containment. Indeed, it even goes so far as to
articulate a way to advance right-wing Zionism by melding it with
missile-defense advocacy. "Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to
cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in
order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant
army can pose to either state," it reads. "Not only would such
cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to
Israel's survival, but it would broaden Israel's base of support among
many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but
care very much about missile defense"--something that has the added
benefit of being "helpful in the effort to move the US embassy in Israel
to Jerusalem."

Recent months in Washington have shown just how influential the notions
propagated by JINSA and CSP are--and how disturbingly zealous their
advocates are. In early March Feith vainly attempted to get the CIA to
keep former intelligence officers Milt Bearden and Frank Anderson from
accepting an invitation to an Afghanistan-related meeting with Defense
Secretary Rumsfeld at the Pentagon--not because of what the two might
say about Afghanistan, according to sources familiar with the incident,
but likely out of fear that Anderson, a veteran Arabist and former chief
of the CIA's Near East division, would proffer his views on Iraq
(opposed to invading) and Israel-Palestine (a fan of neither Arafat nor
Sharon). In late June, after United Press International reported on a US
Muslim civil liberties group's lambasting of Gaffney for his attacks on
the American Muslim Council, Gaffney, according to a fellow traveler,
"went berserk," launching a stream of invective about the UPI scribe who
reported the item.

It's incidents like this, say knowledgeable observers and participants,
that highlight an interesting dynamic among right-wing hawks at the
moment. Though the general agenda put forth by JINSA and CSP continues
to be reflected in councils of war, even some of the hawks (including
Rumsfeld deputy Paul Wolfowitz) are growing increasingly leery of
Israel's settlements policy and Gaffney's relentless support for it.
Indeed, his personal stock in Bush Administration circles is low.
"Gaffney has worn out his welcome by being an overbearing gadfly rather
than a serious contributor to policy," says a senior Pentagon political
official. Since earlier this year, White House political adviser Karl
Rove has been casting about for someone to start a new, more mainstream
defense group that would counter the influence of CSP. According to
those who have communicated with Rove on the matter, his quiet efforts
are in response to complaints from many conservative activists who feel
let down by Gaffney, or feel he's too hard on President Bush. "A lot of
us have taken [Gaffney] at face value over the years," one influential
conservative says. "Yet we now know he's pushed for some of the most
flawed missile defense and conventional systems. He considered Cuba a
'classic asymmetric threat' but not Al Qaeda. And since 9/11, he's been
less concerned with the threat to America than to Israel."

Gaffney's operation has always been a small one, about $1 million
annually--funded largely by a series of grants from the conservative
Olin, Bradley and various Scaife foundations, as well as some defense
contractor money--but he's recently been able to underwrite a TV and
print ad campaign holding that the Palestinians should be Enemy Number
One in the War on Terror, still obsessed with the destruction of Israel.
It's here that one sees the influence not of defense contractor money
but of far-right Zionist dollars, including some from Irving Moskowitz,
the California bingo magnate. A donor to both CSP and JINSA (as well as
a JINSA director), Moskowitz not only sends millions of dollars a year
to far-right Israeli settler groups like Ateret Cohanim but he has also
funded the construction of settlements, having bought land for
development in key Arab areas around Jerusalem. Moskowitz ponied up the
money that enabled the 1996 reopening of a tunnel under the Temple
Mount/Haram al-Sharif, which resulted in seventy deaths due to rioting.

Also financing Gaffney's efforts is New York investment banker Lawrence
Kadish. A valued and valuable patron of both the Republican National
Committee and George W. Bush, Kadish helps underwrite CSP as well as
Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, an offshoot of conservative
activist William Bennett's Empower America, on which he and Gaffney
serve as "senior advisers" in the service of identifying "external" and
"internal" post-9/11 threats to America. (The "internal" threats, as
articulated by AVOT, include former President Jimmy Carter, Harper's
editor Lewis Lapham and Representative Maxine Waters.) Another of
Gaffney's backers is Poju Zabludowicz, heir to a formidable diversified
international empire that includes arms manufacturer Soltam--which once
employed Perle--and benefactor of the recently established Britain
Israel Communication and Research Centre, a London-based group that
appears to equate reportage or commentary uncomplimentary to Zionism
with anti-Semitism.

While a small but growing number of conservatives are voicing concerns
about various aspects of foreign and defense policy--ranging from fear
of overreach to lack of Congressional debate--the hawks seem to be
ruling the roost. Beginning in October, hard-line American Enterprise
Institute scholar Michael Rubin (to Rubin, outgoing UN human rights
chief Mary Robinson is an abettor of terrorism) arrives at the Pentagon
to take over the Defense Department's Iran-Iraq account, adding another
voice to the Pentagon section of Ledeen's "total war" chorus. Colin
Powell's State Department continues to take a beating from outside and
inside--including Bolton and his special assistant David Wurmser. (An
AEI scholar and far-right Zionist who's married to Meyrav Wurmser of the
Middle East Media Research Institute--recently the subject of a critical
investigation by London Guardian Middle East editor Brian Whitaker--
Wurmser played a key role in crafting the "Arafat must go" policy that
many career specialists see as a problematic sop to Ariel Sharon.)

As for Rumsfeld, based on comments made at a Pentagon "town hall"
meeting on August 6, there seems to be little doubt as to whose comments
are resonating most with him--and not just on missile defense and
overseas adventures: After fielding a question about Israeli-Palestinian
issues, he repeatedly referred to the "so-called occupied territories"
and casually characterized the Israeli policy of building Jewish-only
enclaves on Palestinian land as "mak[ing] some settlement in various
parts of the so-called occupied area," with which Israel can do whatever
it wants, as it has "won" all its wars with various Arab entities--
essentially an echo of JINSA's stated position that "there is no Israeli
occupation." Ominously, Rumsfeld's riff gave a ranking Administration
official something of a chill: "I realized at that point," he said,
"that on settlements--where there are cleavages on the right--Wolfowitz
may be to the left of Rumsfeld."


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