Libyan sources said the plan, obtained from opposition elements in
Tripoli, was implemented and journalists from leading U.S. publications as
well as academics were invited to Libya in 2008, Middle East Newsline reported. They said some of the
subsequent stories, which reflected Tripoli's complaint over its relationship with the
United States, were published in such newspapers as the New York Times and
In all, 12 people were flown to Libya from July 2006 through June 2007.
They included former Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee chairman
Richard Perle, historian Bernard Lewis, author Francis Fukayama as well as
journalists Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria.
"Each individual was recruited through Monitor's extensive international
network," the memo said. "The Monitor team personally contacted individuals
and encouraged them to visit Libya. To date only [American Policy Institute
vice president] Danielle Pletka declined to visit Libya. All other
individuals either agreed to a date or indicated their interest in
collaborating as well as a potential visit in the future."
One of the Americans sent to Libya was identified as Nicholas
Negroponte, brother of then-U.S. National Intelligence director John
Negroponte and later deputy secretary of state. The memo said Nicholas, a
professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, briefed his brother
after returning from Libya.
"Nicholas Negroponte briefed his brother and other senior officials in
the White House upon his return from Libya," the memo said.
The memo was addressed to Abdullah Al Sanusi, termed "the client." Al
Sanusu has been identified as a senior Libyan intelligence officer wanted in
connection with the bombing of the French airline UTA in 1989. Monitor
requested $3.5 million per year for both retainer and expenses.
"We will provide operational support for publication of positive
articles on Libya in these publications," a July 2006 memo by Monitor said.
"For example: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post,
Economist, International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Weekly Standard,
National Interest, Public Interest, Foreign Affairs etc. We will identify
and encourage journalists, academics and contemporary thinkers who will have
interest in publishing papers and articles on Libya."
The memo said Libya sought Americans regarded as close to the then-Bush
administration to visit Libya. The Libyans cited policy analyst Laurent
Murawiec, former CIA director James Woolsey, human rights attorney Nina
Shea, Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes and Ms. Pletka, who had been
considered for a senior State Department position in 2004.
Hafed Al Ghwell, a Libyan opposition figure who lives in Washington,
said he met some of those recruited by Monitor to visit Libya. He said many
of the American visitors were struck by what he termed the ignorance of
Gadhafi and his determination to buy influence in the United States.
"All of them without exception thought Gadhafi was a lunatic," Al
Ghwell said. "Gadhafi will continue to try to blackmail his way in
Washington by saying he has not gotten anything worth much from the U.S. to
damage the hopes that Iran and North Korea will follow the Libyan example.
The Obama administration however needs to know that appeasing Gadhafi is a
dangerous road to take."