Alexis Debat was an ABC counterterrorism consultant from 2001 to June 2007 and for a year and half to September 2007 the director of the terrorism and national security program at the Nixon Center. He was also a fraud. On September 7, 2007, a French correspondent Pascal Riché reported that Debat had published a fake interview in the journal Politique Internationale with Barack Obama in which the candidate purportedly declared that Iraq was "already a defeat for America" which had "wasted thousands of lives". It soon came out that Debat had published similarly fictitious interviews in the same periodical with a whole host of public figures: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Bill Gates, Kofi Annan, Michael Bloomberg, and Alan Greenspan. His claim of a PhD from the Sorbonne was likewise fiction.
Debat used his trumped up résumé and the positions he gained from it to push a neocon agenda on terror and war with Iran. He was behind an April 2007 story alleging that Pakistan was supporting a Baluchi group conducting raids inside Iran and another in the London Times on September 2, 2007 which (at a time when Cheney was pushing for action against Iran) detailed a proposed massive 3 day US bombing campaign against that country. There was also a June 2007 story on large numbers of suicide bombers infiltrating the US and Europe.
This episode raises many questions. How many stories in which Debat was involved are tainted? Will ABC conduct a thorough investigation? Why did no one at ABC or the Nixon Center bother to check his credentials? To what extent was he a back channel conduit for the Administration’s views? The Debat affair is an example of an increasingly common and disturbing triad: a complicit and complacent media, a conniving Administration, and a corrupt punditocracy that is willing to sell itself out to both.