The White House Hires an Axis of Evil

The White House's failed prediction of a terrorist incident on February 13 may have had an ulterior motive. "The American population was instructed to panic," writes the Guardian of London. "Place themselves, that is, on a state of highest vigilance. Some cataclysmic act of terrorism would happen - within hours. But nothing terrible happened. Something creepy did. On Thursday there was an inconspicuous news item. John M. Poindexter had been appointed to head a new agency 'to counter attacks on the US.' " Poindexter will run the Information Awareness Office (IAO), which will help U.S. spy agencies such as the CIA, FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency to share information. The IAO will also act as a domestic Big Brother, overseeing domestic espionage and monitoring American's phones and emails. The Poindexter appointment is the latest of several Bush administration decisions to rehabilitate officials implicated in the Iran/Contra scandal. In his old job as Reagan's national security advisor, Poindexter helped mastermind arms sales to Iran, financial support for Iraq, illegal funding for the contras in Nicaragua, and efforts to cover up Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega's involvement in cocaine smuggling. In 1990, he was convicted on seven felony counts for activities that included obstruction of inquiries, illegal destruction of documents, and lying to Congress. (His conviction was later overturned on a technicality, and George H. Bush pardoned him in 1992, preventing a retrial.)