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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Benador Associates

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Founded days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Eleana Benador, Benador Associates was a speakers bureau-cum-public relations firm whose core clientele consisted of neoconservatives and other proponents of an aggressive “war on terror.” Among the firm’s more well known speakers were Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Michael Rubin, and former CIA director James Woolsey.

In a 2006 expose about the firm, magazine Bidoun magazine reported: "Founded, with what Mrs. Benador calls 'serendipity,' on September 10, 2001, Benador Associates has ridden the rising demand for such strident voices. If you read something that advocates regime change in the New York Post, or if you see a 'political adviser' on Fox News suggesting that Israel hasn't gone far enough in its attacks on Hizbullah, there's a good possibility that the appearance has been engineered by Mrs. Benador. She arranges speaking events for her clients, places articles in newspapers for them, and helps them address problems with their public image. Which is good for them, as Mrs. Benador's fifty-plus clients are hardly a lovable bunch. Benador Associates' first member was the late A.M. Rosenthal, an executive editor at the New York Times, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who, in the wake of the attacks on September 11, called for the bombing of the capital cities of Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Sudan."[1]

By early 2006, Benador began expanding the range of her public relations work to include individuals not involved in national security issues. According to a January 2006 press release, Benador Associates intended to diversify “into other fields of activities, enlarging the scope of its initial and successful areas in the world of politics, Middle East, national security, foreign policy, terrorism, relations with Islam and the Muslim world.”[2]

Other Benador clients included Max Boot, Rachel Ehrenfeld, Hillel Fradkin, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Pipes, Dennis Prager, Paul Vallely, and Meyrav Wurmser.

One particularly controversial Benador client was Khidhir Hamza, an Iraqi nuclear scientist who fled to the United States in the early 1990s, where he wrote a book claiming that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear bomb. When pressed on the issue, he denied saying that Iraq had a bomb, despite the fact that he says exactly that in his book's opening pages.[3] Said Benador of Hamza and Iraqi National Congress figure Kanan Makiya in 2003: "[They are] really my most powerful voices right now.”[4]

In late 2007, Benador announced the creation of a new firm, Benador Public Relations (BPR), whose “areas of expertise—with absolute exclusion of politics—will include: international finance, with investment banking and infrastructure projects as the main chapters in that field; international real estate; science and culture.” According to a BPR statement, "Ms. Benador announced that in view of the uncertain political situation in America, she is to devote her undivided attention to her new public relations outfit.”[5]

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Sources


[1]George Pendle, "Eliana Benador," Bidoun, Fall 2006, http://www.bidoun.org/magazine/08-interviews/eliana-benador-with-george-pendle/.



[2]PR Newswire, “New York Based Benador Associates Public Relations Firm Diversifies,” January 3, 2006.



[3]Catherine Auer, "A View from Inside," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2001.



[4]Jim Lobe, "The Andean Condor among the Hawks," Asia Times, August 15, 2003, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/EH15Aa01.html.



[5]Benador Public Relations, "Announcing the Creation of Benador Public Relations,”November 29, 2007, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/announcing-the-creation-of-benador-public-relations-59898872.html.


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