Several websites have featured Michael Ledeen, the neocon just about every liberal learned to hate during Iran-Contra because of his supposed behind-the-scenes dealing with Oliver North. Last week, Raw Story (rawstory.com) questioned whether Ledeen might have been involved in the forged papers that suggested Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger. Ledeen, it turns out, once wrote for the Italian magazine Panorama, whose reporter first got the papers. The bogus documents somehow found their way to the U.S. and into the White House, where they were included in the president’s 2003 State of the Union speech.
Last week, we caught up with Ledeen:
How long were you a columnist for Panorama? One year or two years? Eight to 10 months.
Do you remember what years? No.
You don’t remember what years? Not at all.
Did you receive editorial instruction, or did you have a free hand to write whatever you wanted? I’m 64 years old. I write what I want to write.
What was the emphasis of your writing for Panorama? I wrote on whatever I wanted to write about, about foreign policy, about U.S. politics, cultural politics, whatever politics.
Why did your relationship with the magazine end when editor Carlo Rosella left the magazine? He hired me. Are there any serious questions here? Clearly, when he left, the people who came after him didn’t want to retain me.
Have you ever done any kind of work for the vice president’s office? Not simply discussions, but actual consulting and special advising? Never. I have not been a consultant for this administration ever, not any agency, office, or person. Paid or unpaid.
Additional reporting: Colin Gustafson, Michael Roston