Assassination Jokes, Anthrax Spores, and Russian Mobsters
My inbox this morning had a few of these press releases forwarded to me:
ExecutiveAction today announced it will hold a press conference on Wednesday, November 14, at 10:30 a.m. at the National Press Club to release the threat assessment Spores: The Threat of a Catastrophic Anthrax Attack on America. At the press conference will be:
Neil Livingstone CEO of ExecutiveAction and one of the nation's top terrorism experts. R. James Woolsey Former Director of the CIA and Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton. Professor Yonah Alexander Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University and author of more than 90 books on terrorism and international affairs. David Wright CEO of PharmAthene, a biodefense company headquartered in Annapolis.
The arresting name of the company holding the press conference, Executive Action—code for assassination—is fully intended. "Think of us as a McKinsey & Company with muscle, a private CIA and Defense Department available to address your most intractable problems and difficult challenges," declared its CEO and founder Neil Livingstone when the group opened its doors in the Watergate last summer.
But it hasn't been all assassination jokes for Livingstone, who has taught terrorism courses at Georgetown and was reportedly an associate of Oliver North during Iran Contra. As Harpers' Ken Silverstein and US News' Washington Whispers reported last spring, Livingstone was sued for $2 million by his old firm, Global Options, for allegedly taking customers. Among the clients Livingstone was accused by Global Options of taking with him to ExecutiveAction, according to Whispers, "a firm owned by the daughter of Uzbekistan's strongman president; one secretively dubbed 'Project M'; and the feuding family of Sumner Redstone, chair of Viacom."
A Wall Street Journal story earlier this year would seem to suggest that a possible candidate for Project M is one Simeon Mogilevich, a post Soviet entrepreneur indicted on 45 counts by the Feds. As the Journal reported, last year, Livingstone brokered high level meetings for a Mogilevich hired gun with top levels of the Justice Department: