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Context of '1986: Richard Perle Negotiates Defense Agreement with Turkey'

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An FBI wiretap at the Israeli Embassy in Washington picks up Richard Perle, an aide to Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson (D-WA—see Early 1970s), discussing classified information with an Israeli official. This is the second time Perle has been involved in providing classified information to Israel (see Late 1969). This data was given to Perle by National Security Council staff member Helmut “Hal” Sonnenfeldt, who has been under investigation since 1967 for providing classified documents to the Israelis. (Hersh 5/1982; Buchanan 3/24/2003; Green 2/28/2004)

Richard Perle works on the Reagan administration’s transition team. He manages to “place his associates in important national security positions and in the Department of Defense.” (Gerth 4/17/1983)

Richard Perle becomes Assistant Secretary for International Security Policy at the Defense Department. (Gerth 4/17/1983)

Richard Perle successfully completes negotiations on the new Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement with Turkey, making the country the third-largest recipient of US military aid after Israel and Egypt. He also proposes the establishment of a “high-level US-Turkish consultative group co-chaired by the Pentagon and the Turkish general staff.” These developments cause “consternation” in the State Department. But after an “intense struggle,” is able to push the programs through with the support of ambassador Robert Strausz-Hupe and members of the National Security Council. (Perle 9/1999; Vest 8/23/2002) Perle himself is the American co-chair of the high-level defense group. (Hilzenrath 7/24/2004) On one of Perle’s trips to Turkey he is accompanied by future counterterrorism director Richard Clarke. Clarke had been assigned by the State Department to be keep an eye on Perle’s activities, but finds that he is “charmed by his manner and persuaded by his logic about the strategic importance of Turkey.” (Clarke 2004, pp. 49)

Elliott Abrams, a special assistant to President George W. Bush on the National Security Council [NSC] and a well-known neoconservative and former Iran-Contra figure, is appointed to senior director for Near East and North African affairs within the NSC. Neoconservatives working at the Pentagon’s Near East South Asia (NESA) desk worked hard to get Abrams appointed. “The day he got (the appointment), they were whooping and hollering, ‘We got him in, we got him in,’” Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, tells Inter Press Service. Abrams, a controversial figure with close ties to Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, had been convicted of withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal, though he was later pardoned by George W. Bush’s father. (Insight 12/28/2002; Lobe 8/7/2003)


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