Pacific Buildup

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 4, 2004 | Go to article overview

Pacific Buildup


Byline: Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Pacific buildup

Days after the Pentagon released its annual report highlighting China's steady military buildup, defense officials have disclosed new details of plans to beef up U.S. military forces in the Pacific.

Officials say several more attack submarines will be deployed at the U.S. base at Guam. In the past, the base has been used mostly as a major supply depot and bomber airfield.

Under a force-restructuring plan being worked out by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Pacific Command, Guam is slated to become a major strategic operational hub for naval forces keeping an eye on China.

"We need to be able to get to the Taiwan Strait faster than we can right now," one official said.

Guam has three attack submarines that were recently moved to the island. As many as three more submarines could be deployed there by 2006, officials said.

The other major power projection effort in the Pacific will be the deployment of another aircraft carrier closer to Asia. Officials tell us Guam does not have the infrastructure to support a carrier battle group.

Plans call for deploying a group from the West Coast to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, we are told. The carrier battle group would be able to augment the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier group based in Japan.

Who's lying?

The breathless headline in a major daily newspaper read yesterday, "Polygraph Testing Starts at Pentagon in Chalabi Inquiry."

Trouble is, no one at the Pentagon with whom we checked knows of anyone in the building being polygraphed by the FBI. Nor has the Pentagon been notified by the FBI that it is investigating the supposed leak of classified information to Ahmed Chalabi, who heads the Iraqi National Congress.

"No official has been polygraphed or told to expect to be polygraphed," a Pentagon official said. The official and others said there has been no notification from the FBI that anyone is under investigation and needs to be questioned, in the Chalabi matter.

The case broke open when the United States intercepted a cable from an Iranian spy in Baghdad to Tehran saying that Iran's code had been broken by the Americans and that Mr. Chalabi was the source for this information.

An FBI spokesman said he did not know whether anyone at the Pentagon had been questioned. He said the bureau is investigating whether any government official leaked classified information to Mr. Chalabi or his group that found its way to Iran.

Why, ask Pentagon officials, would the Iranians disclose such a development in a cable they know will be read by the United States? Some suspect the whole episode is a plot by Tehran to discredit Mr. Chalabi, a Shi'ite who opposes Tehran's hard-line, Shi'ite theocracy.

Brooks moving

The public probably remembers Army Brig. Gen. Vince Brooks as the face and voice of the war to topple Saddam Hussein. From a media center in Qatar, Gen. Brooks delivered a spare, just-the-facts war briefing to an international press corps.

After the war, the general moved from U.S. Central Command back to the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Now, we hear he is returning to the profession of public affairs. Next month, he becomes deputy chief of Army public affairs.

Fay report

Maj. Gen. George Fay, the Army's top intelligence officer, has returned to the United States to write his report on how his soldiers interrogated enemy detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and at other detention facilities. …

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