I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Interview" with Anthony Cordesman

In connection with the article I wrote concerning the Pollack/O'Hanlon trip to Iraq, I emailed a request for an interview to Anthony Cordesman, who accompanied them on the trip and and then published a report calling for "strategic patience." In response, he e-mailed me his phone number. I called him and the following conversation took place:

AC: Cordesman.

GG: Hi, this is Glenn Greenwald calling. I just received your e-mail with your phone number. Is this a good time for you to speak?

(long pause)

AC: Go ahead.

GG: OK. I wanted to find out some information about how this recent trip was arranged.

AC: You know, I'm perfectly happy to deal with any issues of substance. But I am fed to the teeth with this, with how I compare with Ken and Mike's opinions. If you want to know my opinion on an issue of substance, I'm happy to give it to you. Beyond that, forget it.

GG: I wasn't asking you to compare your --

AC: Well, I told you what I was willing to cover.

GG: Can you tell me who picked the cities that you went to?

AC: (sigh). You know, this is precisely what I'm not interested in getting into. If you have a substantive question, fine. Otherwise, let's just stop.

GG: OK. I don't know what you mean by substantive, but I'll ask another question. Were the Iraqis you spoke with a representative sampling of Iraqi public opinion. Were they ones given to you by the U.S. military? How were they chosen?

AC: Oh, come on. I think we better stop. Do you realize how many people you'd have to talk to to get a representative sample of Iraqi public opinion?

GG: Well, how did they get chosen?

AC: All right, let's just quit now. I mean, if you had any mathematical training, you're talking something on the order of 2,700 people.

GG: Right, I think there's a difference between picking people --

AC: Let's just forget it, all right.

(Cordesman hangs up)