WHO IS JOHN HANNAH?….Who is John Hannah, the guy who works in the VP’s office and is apparently the target of FBI suspicions in the Valerie Plame case? Juan Cole:

Hannah had fingers in all three rotten pies from which the worst intel came–Sharon’s office in Israel, the Pentagon Office of Special Plans (for which Hannah served as a liaison to Cheney), and fraudster Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. Hannah had probably been the one who fed Cheney the Niger uranium story, triggering a Cheney request to the CIA to verify it and thence Joe Wilson’s trip to Niamey in spring of 2002, where he found the story to be an absurd falsehood on the face of it.

Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, longtime Washington strongman Lewis “Scooter” Libby, is also a target of the investigation, and Josh Marshall noted yesterday that he’s talked to plenty of people “who aren’t surprised Libby would be involved in this and won’t be shedding a tear if he gets brought down by it. But they feel the opposite on both counts about Hannah.” Juan Cole again:

In the 90s [Hannah] for a while headed up the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that represents the interests of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC).

….The WINEP crowd takes no prisoners and is very determined, over decades, to get its way. (Josh Marshall notes that they are already trying to protect Hannah with denials he could possibly have been involved, presumably meaning that they would be willing to throw Libby to the dogs.)

Cole says he has talked to Richard Sale, the UPI reporter who broke this story, and that Sale assures him the information about Libby and Hannah is solid and that Sale is continuing to dig. Stay tuned.

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