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Role of the Big Guys Is Becoming Clear in Plame Case

Posted on Feb 7, 2007

By Joe Conason

At long last, the fog of mystification generated by the Bush administration and the Washington media is lifting, so that everyone can see clearly why I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is on trial and why his prosecution is important. Whether or not the jury eventually finds the former White House aide guilty of perjury, the evidence shows that his bosses, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, have misled the public from the very beginning about the vengeful leaking of Valerie Plame Wilson’s CIA identity.

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The question that now hangs over the president and the vice president is whether they lied to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald—the same crime for which their fall guy, Scooter, now faces possible imprisonment. According to published reports, the special counsel interviewed both Bush and Cheney during the summer of 2004. The only way for them to dispel the suspicion that they may have lied to him is to permit full disclosure of those interviews.

Doubts about the candor of Bush and Cheney date all the way back to September 2003, before the appointment of the special counsel, when the president supposedly declared his sincere determination to “get to the bottom of this.”

By “this” he meant the apparent conspiracy among administration officials to reveal that Wilson was an undercover CIA officer in an effort to discredit her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV. A former U.S. ambassador and national security official, he had incurred the wrath of the Bush White House by revealing what he knew about the dubious justifications for invading Iraq.

“There’s been nothing—absolutely nothing—brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement,” said Scott McClellan, then the presidential press secretary, in attempting to cover Karl Rove and the rest of the White House staff with a blanket exoneration.

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We have long since learned otherwise. We know, for instance, that Rove, Libby and former presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer were all involved in leaking Ms. Wilson’s identity to the media. We also know that Libby, by his own testimony, learned about her CIA identity from the vice president. They had hoped to discredit Joe Wilson by hinting at nepotism in his CIA-sponsored trip to Niger to gather information about alleged uranium trading with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. (Actually, he undertook the difficult journey to that unprepossessing nation as a public service, without pay.) In short, we know that top officials in the Bush White House were behind the campaign to smear the Wilsons.

Where does that leave the president and the vice president? Over the past several days, the outlines of Cheney’s role in the nasty attack on the Wilsons and the subsequent cover-up have become increasingly plain. He not only oversaw the activities of Libby, his chief of staff, but went so far as to order McClellan to “clear” Libby in a press briefing.

That incident came up during the testimony of David Addington, who now holds Libby’s old job as vice presidential chief of staff and was formerly counsel to the vice president. The defense brought into evidence a note written by Cheney himself explaining why he insisted that the White House press staff defend Libby just as vigorously as Rove.

The angry note said, “Not going to protect one staffer [plus] sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.” Although Cheney had crossed out the words “this Pres.” and replaced them with the phrase “that was,” the reference to Bush remains perfectly legible—and deeply incriminating.

When the special prosecutor interviewed the president and the vice president during the summer of 2004, Bush was accompanied by private counsel and wasn’t placed under oath. But even if neither he nor Cheney was sworn during those encounters, that wouldn’t excuse them from telling the truth. To do otherwise would expose them to prosecution for making false statements to federal investigators—a felony—as well as possible counts of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Did the president ask Libby to take the fall for others in the White House? Did the president know the extent of the vice president’s involvement? When did he learn what Cheney, Libby, Rove and Fleischer had done to advance the scheme?

Most important, did Bush and Cheney tell the truth when special counsel Fitzgerald interrogated them about those issues? That is the inescapable question at the bottom of this case—and sooner or later, the Congress and the press must demand answers.

Joe Conason writes for the New York Observer (www.observer.com).

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By PatrickHenry, February 14, 2007 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I have mentioned in other posts Bush and Cheney are mere politians who have Hitler like dementia regarding reality and the masses.  The real criminal here is the CIA individual who gave Valerie Palmes name to these fellow traitors. 

Information on past and present agents are a closely held secret for obvious reasons and there wasn’t a real “need to know” at the echelons of power that Bush and Cheney inhabit.

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By walker, February 12, 2007 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Libby trial is bringing Bush and Dead-eye closer and closer to impeachment, which is scaring the stuffing out of them, which is why they’re planning on nuking Iran: to save their own butts.

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By it's not me either, February 12, 2007 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hell! Bush and Cheney are LIARS? You could knock me over with a feather!

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By Bert, February 11, 2007 at 7:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I add my voice to the impeachment call.

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By Homer Hewitt, February 10, 2007 at 6:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

facetious comment very loosely related to Lobby case

RECENT HEADLINES


NUMBER OF SMITH PATERNITY CLAIMANTS SETS RECORD

The number of men claiming to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith daughter now exceeds the number of reporters subpoened in the Libby trial.

DEMOCRATIC FIELD NARROWS

After Barack Obama’s electrifying speech announcing his candidacy, five previously announced candidates withdrew from the race.

MICHAEL BROWN CHOSEN TO LEAD JAKARTA FLOOD CLEANUP

Selection of former FEMA director based on impressive resume’ and strong recommendation of Secretary of Homeland Security Director, Michael Chertoff.

GIULIANI CLARIFIES HIS VIEWS ON ABORTION

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani reaffirmed his strong support of a woman’s right to choose while promising to limit his judicial appointments to those who agreed to rule all abortions illegal

from Sub-Rosa News section of http://www.altara.blogspot.com

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By JP, February 9, 2007 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I say lock them both up.

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By HeadlessHessian, February 8, 2007 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You know…reading this article is, frankly, quite boring.  We have known this for quite sometime, further, if you follow the news on a daily basis, then this is ‘old news’. 
Joe…tell us something we don’t know. Something with a little more meat!

Headless

p.s.  We all know Darth and Dumbo are the root of this evil.  Now prove it.

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By DennisD, February 8, 2007 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“the evidence shows that his bosses, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, have misled the public from the very beginning about the vengeful leaking of Valerie Plame Wilson’s CIA identity.”

Joe - the word you want is LIED not misled. Tell it like it is. Misled is ambiguous at best, LIED says it all.

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By Dale Headley, February 8, 2007 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The question for Bush & Cheney now is whether or not to pardon their fall guy.  They’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.  A pardon will hold them up to widespread scorn; but if they do not pardon him, he might just spill the beans and expose their cynical - treasonous even - malfeasance.

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By William, February 8, 2007 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wonder what the odds are that if Libby is convicted he will be pardoned immediately?  Wonder if pardon has been the ticket all along? Remember G.H.W. Bush when he pardoned everyone that could incriminate him in the Iran Contra affair? It worked then, it can work now.
Will

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By David, February 8, 2007 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush and Cheney are UNTOUCHABLE.  The 109th saw to that. 

I predict that NOTHING will come of the Libby trial except a presidential pardon for Libby when he is convicted.  The MSM will provide cover via the latest Astro-Nut story, Dems will dissappear from the Sunday talks and Iran will be attacked with nuclear weapons.  After Iran’s response, terrorism attacks across the globe, the 2008 elections will be ‘postponed’ and the Congress will be disbanded by the ‘Unitary Executive’ for ‘security reasons’.  The stars and stripes will still fly, it just won’t mean much anymore.  Halliburton will hire illegal immigrants to build internment camps for illegal immigrants.  Dick and George will sleep well knowing that they are and will be forever UNTOUCHABLE.  CHEERS!

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By Don Knutsen, February 8, 2007 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Despite all the hard-core GOP supporters and the major media who willingly still goose-step to the music of Cheney and his sock puppet…the truth is finally dribbling out. You can only cover up a lie so long. Given the amount of lying these pathological liars have told we wouldn’t have had to wait this long if our media was more then a propoganda machine for the White House. I don’t believe for a second that these folks care about what the american people want. They’ve said as much numerous times , they have exhibited what can only be described as treason to america in all of their actions since taking office.Their contempt for our democracy is re-enforced with every speech they make. No one is shocked when they lie point blank to us…we’ve become so used to that and for some bizarre reason have accepted it. They are on film, all of them, numerous times lying to us and stilll there’s no accountability.These same GOP hacks who did all they could to impeach Clinton over his attempt to hide what should’ve remained a personal matter, have either looked the other way or condoned the damage these neo-cons have done. The stink of hypocracy is the legacy of this congress. When our proximity to a facist state is mentioned its booed down by a loud chorus of an old Zappa song ” It can’t happen here “...but that is whats happening folks. These criminals have systematically dismantled alot of what America was, we’ve let this happen. Our collective apathy, expecting the carnival barkers we call representitives to work for our best interests. Our priorites as a nation should be to hold Cheney, Bu$h, Rice and the rest accountable, finally for what they have done. Much of the investigative work has already been done thanks to the efforts of Rep.s Waxman and Conyers. All that is lacking is some backbone in the democratic leadership, something sorely lacking. Can we wait for them to screw up the courage to do what is right ? That plan hasn’t worked too well so far. Or do we converge on DC, not on a weekend , but on a work day, in the millions, march into the halls of congress and demand accountability. This needs to get turned around, and turned around in a hurry. In another time past these criminals would’ve been tarred and feathered…. Hopefully ‘2008 wil bring a reconning to these republican enablers…we are in serious need of a housecleaning in congress…these people in large part have no interest in doing anything that dosen’t further their own career at our countries expense. Can we afford to wait untill ‘2008 ? Isn’t it time our goverment start working for the common man and not just for the major corporations ?

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By David, February 8, 2007 at 10:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These crooks in this administration make Richard Nixon’s crew look like The Little Sisters of the Poor.  They American traitors and should be hung for treason. Not just for this.  This is small compared to all the rest of their deeds that many know to be true and the rest will hopefully come to see in time.  Our government is run like an organized crime syndicate.  There is no level to depth they will sink to push their self-serving agenda forward.

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By Rodney Matthewsr, February 8, 2007 at 10:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The war criminals Bush and Cheney should be on trial along with Libby. These people should be in jail and charged with murder for every person that did in Iraq as a result of the lies that they told. Bush and Cheney will go downas the the worst adminstration in the history of our nation. And while we are sleeping, China is becoming the world’s next superpower

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By itsnotme, February 8, 2007 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This administration has pulled the wool over America’s eyes for so long because of our CORPORATE OWNED COMPLICIT MEDIA. Tim Russert is the PERFECT example of that complicit media. He was/is a mouthpiece for the WH and the OVP. The ONLY way a government can keep secrets from the public is when our media LET THEM. Bring back The Fairness Doctrine if you want TRUTH in media.

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By merrymolly, February 8, 2007 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finally we are, as Americans, in a position of either taking these creeps down, or continuing to pay billions of dollars for their mistakes. No thinking American can put his/her head in the sand any longer. Congress owes us actions which they may not take, like impeachment. We can also start our own impeachment proceedings, which have begun. There is no reason we should continue with this inept (and illegal) administration. Let’s hope that Mr. Fitzgerald has equally damning evidence to hold those at the top of the “food chain” liable before the end of this administration’s term.

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By Nanite, February 8, 2007 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

—They had hoped to discredit Joe Wilson by hinting at nepotism—

for an administration who’s lifeblood is nepotism the irony is palpable

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By Steve Hammons, February 8, 2007 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course Cheney and other top officials are involved ... a no-brainer, but it is good that more hard evidence is being made public.

Future prosecutions of top officials should be pursued vigorously. The CIA officer leak case is the tip of the iceberg.

Pre-9/11 intelligence about imminent terrorist attacks on US soil, prewar intel on Iraq, intel on properly carrying out the occupation of Iraq, etc. Were they “mistakes” or “plans?”

To consider some other aspects of misuse of intelligence by Bush administration officials, that article below may be of interest:

‘Mistakes’ or ‘plans’ in 9/11, Iraq invasion and occupation, War on Terror?

Steve Hammons
American Chronicle
July 11, 2006

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=11401

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By John in Bear, February 8, 2007 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just one more reason to impeach.  Impeach, impeach, impeach.  How much does it take to run these crimimals out of office?

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By maurice estevez, February 8, 2007 at 8:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t bet the farm on any futher inqueries or investigations leading any higher up the chain of command. The republicans will not permit any more loss of their facade, they can’t afford to. The democrates are too afraid of being accused of paritsian politics, and would rather let this whole mess pass from our collective memory as long as they can keep thier majority. Protecting the constitution of the United States rests on our own shoulders. We must all put preassure on owr elected officials, let them know it’s their rsponsibility and duty to act now or face the unenployment line at the next election.

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By dick, February 8, 2007 at 8:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Like most politicians, Bush&Co;. are consumate liars, as are most of the power elite. But, read Ravi Batra’s new book on the coming revolution, ” The Golden Age…..”.

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By TruthPlease, February 7, 2007 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh my.  Could this, at last, be what pulls aside the curtain so that everyone, even those who desperately DON’T want to hear or know, can see how filthy, petty and greedily materialistic these criminals are.  Beats the heck out of me how they’ve managed to pull the wool over America’s eyes for so long.  You see, I remembered Daddy Bush and Raygun Ronnie and what they REALLY did to America - not what the Republican would-be god makers have done to him. And I remembered brother Neil Bush, and the Savings and Loan scam that we Americans who actually pay taxes are still paying for.  Now Neil and Mom are scamming the “No Child Left Behind” biz with bogus ‘Purple Cow educational modules’. Yet there are still a third of the country who believes he should remain in the Oval Office?????God Help us. Not GW’s God, though - he’s the one who told him to get us in this war in the first place!

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