The New York Sun -Mar 12, 2003 - Page:2
PERLE SUING OVER NEW YORKER ARTICLE
By ADAM DAIFALLAH
Staff Reporter of the Sun
WASHINGTON — Richard Perle, the influential foreign policy hawk, is suing journalist Seymour Hersh over an article he wrote implying that Mr. Perle is using his position as a Pentagon adviser to benefit financially from a war to liberate Iraq.
"I intend to launch legal action in the United Kingdom. I’m talking to Queen’s Counsel right now," Mr. Perle, who chairs the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, a non-paying position, told The New York Sun last night.
He said he is suing in Britain because it is easier to win such cases there, where the burden on plaintiffs is much less.
Mr. Hersh’s article, which appears in the March 17 issue of the The New Yorker magazine, said Mr. Perle met for lunch with two Saudi businessman in France in January in an attempt to
seek Saudi investment for a company Mr. Perle is associated with, Trireme Partners L.P.
Trireme was created to "invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense," according to Mr. Hersh’s article.
Mr. Hersh writes that Mr. Perle said that the meeting was convened only to talk about a diplomatic alternative to war in Iraq. One of the meeting’s participants, Harb Saleh Al-Suhair, a Saudi born in Iraq, wanted to discuss averting war with Mr. Perle. But according to the article, both Saudi businessmen — Mr. Al-Suhair and Adnan Kashoggi — thought the purpose of the meeting was to discuss Iraq as well as Saudi investment in Trireme.
But the article quotes all three participants saying that Saudi investment in Trireme was not discussed at the lunch, because, as Mr. Al-Zuhair says, Mr. Perle said "he was above the money"and that he "stuck to his idea that ‘we have to get rid of Saddam.’" And to this day, according to the article, no Saudi money has been invested in Trireme.
When asked what part of the article is incorrect, Mr. Perle told the Sun: "It’s all lies, from beginning to end."
The editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick, is sticking by Mr. Hersh’s piece.
"It went through serious reporting, with four members of the board talking to Sy [Hersh], and rigorous factchecking, legal-checking and all the rest," Mr. Remnick told the Sun.
He said he took issue with Mr. Perle’s description of Mr. Hersh on CNN Sunday as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist."
"I would have thought after all this many years, Mr. Perle would be a bit more refined than that," Mr. Remnick said.
The Saudi Arabian ambassador to America, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, is quoted in the article accusing Mr. Perle of "blackmail."
A former deputy undersecretary of defense who worked with Mr. Perle, Stephen Bryen, defended Mr. Perle as well.
"It’s pretty outrageous for a leftwing columnist to make accusations like this with no factual basis. Most of the many hours he works each day are pro bono to help the administration with its policy on Iraq. He should get is a medal of honor," Mr. Bryen said.
A senior fellow at the Hudson Institute who was the architect of a briefing to Mr. Perle’s Defense Policy Board on Saudi Arabia last summer, Laurent Murawiec, said Mr. Hersh’s piece is "pure bull."
"It sounds like the kind of thing that’s done for the sole purpose and intent to blacken someone. Richard has been in public life for over 30 years and his ethics have never been challenged by anybody. I found the piece blindingly transparent as an ad hominem hack job. It’s thoroughly disgusting," Mr. Murawiec said.
Mr. Perle is a director of Hollinger International Inc., which is an investor in the Sun.