Washington Babylon — September 19, 2007, 11:18 am

The Case of Monsieur Debat: Scammer was working on Pentagon report

Andrew Marshall, head of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA), has been working at the Defense Department for more than three decades and has never met a threat to national security he didn’t like. During the Cold War, the ONA was charged with assessing the Soviet threat to national security and it always described said threat in the most alarming terms. During the Reagan years Marshall helped write a secret document that called for the United States to have the ability to fight and win a nuclear war with Russia and in late-1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and with the Soviet Union on its last legs, Marshall was still calling for big increases in military spending.

Since them, Marshall’s office has produced studies pointing to major threats from countries such as North Korea and China, and supported a host of new weapons systems, including variants of Star Wars “Andy’s one of those defense intellectuals who’re always there to come up with the stuff that backs the needs of industry,” an ex-Pentagon staffer once told me.

So it’s interesting that Laura Rozen has discovered that Alexis Debat, the disgraced “terrorism expert” and former ABC News consultant, has been working on a study contracted by the ONA. According to Rozen, Debat was doing work on a report produced by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank and was funded by Marshall’s shop.

The Center’s Andrew Krepinevich told Rozen that “he had hired Debat as a consultant in April 2007 to provide analytical support overseeing a contract from the Pentagon Office of Net Assessment.” He wouldn’t say what the study was about, but two sources told Rozen that the topic was radical Islam.

Krepinevich has terminated Debat’s relationship with the Center, but the work on the report for ONA apparently will continue. The United States does face a real threat from radical Islam, but my guess is that any study for Marshall’s shop will hype it far out of proportions and call for a military answer to what is largely a political problem.

Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada



September 2014

Israel and Palestine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Washington Is Burning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On Free Will

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

They Were Awake

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content


Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The Tale of the Tape·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
The Soft-Kill Solution·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
New Books
New Books·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

Chance that a movie script copyrighted in the U.S. before 1925 was written by a woman:

1 in 2

Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!


In Praise of Idleness


I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today