OPINION October 26/05
(More accurately described here today as speculation).
How far did the President's people go? Did they cross the line into
espionage? And how does Judy Miller fit into this?
First, a story:
Once upon a time;
well, more specifically, during the second year of
the twenty-first century, and during the second reign of Bush II Of The
Magnificent Mandate, and of his official prompter Richard The Snarl Cheney,
there flourished a shadowy coven of conspirators which stirred a boiling
pot of dirty tricks.
Now, this secret clique consisting
of eight servants of the realm, worked their witchery in the bowels of the
splendiferous white mansion from which Bush II ruled over his kingdom. Their names
Chief of staff Andrew Card,
Bush’s brain Karl Rove, V.P. chief of staff
Scooter Libby, National Security Advisor Stephen
Hadley, Mushroom Cloud Condoleeza Rice, W.H. Dir. Of
Legislative Affairs Nicholas Calio, plus advisors Mary
Matalin, and Karen Hughs.
Okay, about the above--What were
these eight conspirators intent on doing, with the approval of Bush &
Cheney? Well according to the
Washington Post, and in current jargon-- They were devising ways to
“market” the war before it began. Thus commenced the selling of Weapons of
Mass Destruction, Smoking Guns & Mushroom Clouds, followed by the stark reality of Shock
& Awe and the fiasco of Mission Accomplished, followed by thousands of wounded G.I.s and a couple of thousand
dead, plus many thousands of dead Iraqis, followed by a fanatic insurgency
that would not quit, and an unending cost of billions and billions of
dollars, much of it financed by selling U.S. bonds to places like China,
Japan & South Korea; which means we owe them. Talk about "irrational exuberance!"
And don't forget, we didn't catch Osama in Afghanistan because our major
military force was diverted to Iraq.
As we now know, in February 2002
retired diplomat Joe Wilson made his trip to Niger, returned and said
that no weapons of mass destruction were made available to Saddam.
of this guy. One can imagine Scooter's and Karl's reactions, not to
mention Cheney and Bush frothing at the mouth, wanting to check out Wilson and look for ways to bring him down in case he was thinking of going
public. After all, the coven had made such a successful pitch, even pushed
the sterling Colin Powell front and center to assist in launching
their line of bull. And off to war we go, everyone so excited,
especially the media. All those bombs flashing in the night on television. WOW!
And all those happy correspondents being embedded, getting a chance to
make their bones.
And so Joe Wilson, apparently
pissed about this monumentally arrogant deception, became a whistleblower
in 2003 and wrote
his disagreeable op-ed in the NY Times, telling the world in so many words
(words like, no WMDS) that Bush/Cheney/Rove had scammed Americans into a
costly war. Said op-ed leading to Wilson's appearance on numerous
television interviews, causing, in the administration, a seething
hatred for the man. Now you don't want to cross these attack dogs, if you can
Then came a trip to Africa
on Air Force One with President Bush accompanied by staff, Colin Powell,
and media. And lo and behold a State Department memo magically
appeared, regarding Wilson's
wife Valerie Plame, which named her as a CIA operative; the memo passed
from person to person, her classified identity no doubt later passed on to
Cheney (though above it's pointed out that Cheney learned it from Tenet,
take your pick) , and especially Libby and Rove, just in time for these
two to launch an
Wilson by having their chats with TIME's
Matt Cooper and the N.Y. TIMES' Judy Miller. Let the leaks begin!
Of course Robert Novak beat everyone to the punch with his July 14 story
revealing Valerie's I.D., and we can safely assume Novak's source was Rove
since it's been
they had a chat prior to the
Cheney, known for his constant pressuring of the CIA to give him the intel he wanted to hear, no doubt believed Plame,
like a few others in the Agency, wanted to prove the administration wrong.
The object of the administration's leaks therefore being to suggest that
whistleblower Joe Wilson was a malicious lightweight who needed
something to do, maybe a little junket at the taxpayers expense, and was sent to Niger by his supportive CIA wife, Valerie Plame.
message: a bit of nepotism there, with Valerie being the powerful
connected one, he the lesser needier one, and therefore why would anyone
pay any attention to this non-entity Wilson? And let this be a friggin' lesson to Wilson and anyone else who wants to cross
them. Of course, Plame didn't send him.
She was not in a position to do this. She recommended him, an
ex-diplomat, as one who was
quite experienced in this (Niger) part of the world. (Latest word
is that higher CIA officials approached her to see if her
husband was interested in making the trip.)
president suddenly found a lot of flak heading his way and said he'd
fire anyone leaking information to the press. (even Karl Rove?
Nope, considering, according to the
N.Y. Daily News, Bush knew about Rove's
involvement as long as 2 years ago)
So Bush had to say, okay, let's have an investigation, but let's keep it
close to the vest, boys. Let's make sure it doesn't develop
too many legs. Trouble was, John Ashcroft as Attorney General, and part of
the good ol' boy establishment, proved to be a little too close to
the vest, and had to recuse himself.
result, the major threat to the administration loomed
into view: the relentless, obsessive,
dangerously apolitical special prosecutor, Patrick
Fitzgerald. Here was an icy man who would not be controlled by
Bush/Cheney, who obviously hated the very idea of W.H. staffers
giving out classified information which could threaten national security,
especially as it might involve an effort to destroy someone's reputation
and stepping on his civil rights, and especially if this target was trying to right a wrong,
or a whole set of wrongs.
Fitzgerald, spreading a wider net, might turn out to be a
man who suspects a treasonous conspiracy of deception and falsification in
order to engage in an unnecessary and costly war, digging deeply into the
White House coven, questioning the newly surfaced John Hannah, Libby's
deputy and Cheney's advisor, and other unknowns. Digging deep into
State and the CIA, creating seismic tremors as he pokes into the
administration's fault lines.
remember the phony Italian document suggesting the Niger WMDs
("yellowcake" uranium), that the administration waved around to support
their phony claims? A document that some still claim was produced by Ahmad
Chalabi, the man they pushed front and center as legitimate? And
who, if ever, I
wonder, will be found guilty of creating
this forgery? Well, maybe an Italian.
AP is reporting, the head of the Italian
SISMI intelligence agency will be questioned Nov 3rd by an official
Read it and think about who in the U.S.
administration grabbed it and used it.
Fitzgerald became the man who would have the authority to ask the questions that needed to be answered, and therefore
this prosecutor decided to threaten Novak, Cooper, and Miller with Jail if they didn't
give him their sources pertaining to the leaking of Plame's identity.
cooperated right away--off the hook. Matt Cooper resisted but eventually received
his waiver to speak, from Rove, and cooperated--off the hook. Judy
Miller, on the other hand, even though she had never written an article on
the subject of Wilson/Plame, refused and went to jail "on principal" for
85 days. At first most of us thought how brave that was, and how cruel of
Fitzgerald and the nasty judge. After all, she hadn't even
written anything on Plame, for pete's sake. And a reporter's
source is sacrosanct. Right?
So Judy Miller said
she went to Jail to protect her source, later saying it would be unethical
to pressure him to give his waiver, yet still later saying "I owe it to
myself," when she finally reached out to him and received his
permission to reveal him as Scooter Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.
Yet she told Fitzgerald, Libby
probably wasn't the source identifying Valerie Plame, written as
"Flame," in her notebook. She said it must have been from
another source, the name of whom she couldn't recall. (yet now it is
said she claims to have heard the I.D. from Libby, take your pick) Mmm...either
way, for a
nervy, tough reporter who had been embedded with the military searching
for WMDs in Iraq in 2003, and who has probably elbowed her way around the
block more times than she can count on her fingers and toes, one would
think it highly unlikely she'd forget the person who supplied the name
(misspelled or not) of a member of the CIA.
Additionally, Miller says, when she was asked by Fitzgerald if she could
recall discussing the "Wilson-Plame" connection with other sources, she
said she had, but could not recall names or dates of conversations.
For a lady who is known for her expertise in intelligence and security,
she seems to have a lot of senior
moments, don't you think?
been suggested that a busy reporter speaks to a lot of people and
makes a lot of notes, possibly entering them hurriedly while not
necessarily attributing equal importance to each and every
jot--maybe until later, at which time the note taker might not recall the
Anything is possible. But it seems to me that mentioning the I.D. of a CIA
operative amounts to offering significant information; an
offering, I believe, that would be impelled by a particular motive, not
just some name tossed out at random, and would not be taken as such.
Misspelling the name as "Flame" doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of
importance. To me
it might simply indicate a degree of
carelessness in the information given. But I could be wrong.
been speculated that Ahmad Chalabi was Miller's source for the name of
Valerie Plame, (or was it Libby?) as it has been suggested that Chalabi is the guy who not
only was the source of lies offered and eagerly accepted and broadcast as
truths by Bush/Cheney, but possibly the source for Judy Miller and
ultimately for the NY Times, when she wrote a series of articles before
the Iraqi war, which parroted the Bush administration's blather about
Saddam's WMDs, the articles later proven to be inaccurate but
unfortunately given prominence by the NYT. When these weapons
were not found, Miller was
accused by many of helping Bush's phony cause for invading Iraq.
this was on everyone's mind: After having pursued the story, why didn't
she publish "source" articles about Wilsom/Plame as did Cooper and Novak?
According to the NYT Public Editor Byron Calame, Miller said, she "made a
strong recommendation to my editor" that she, Miller, write a story.
"I was told no" by the editor, Miller said. Really?
Her editor at the
time, Jill Abramson, denied Miller's assertion and could not recall Miller
ever referring to source conversations with Cheney's chief of staff
Scooter Libby. When Public Editor Calame asked Miller the name of
the editor who turned her down, Miller "declined to identify the editor
she dealt with." The result of this was, the NYT didn't have the hot
articles other publications had, could not provide it's readers with
important information, or at least some interesting suppositions about the
administration's drive to intimidate critics like Joe Wilson.
does this mean? One might conclude Ms. Miller was joined at
the hip with Libby/Cheney and the administration, especially considering
her published pre-war articles in support of WMDs, which essentially
buttressed Bush's "smoking guns" and "mushroom clouds,"
the latter of which had become one of Condoleezza Rice's favorite
has been questioning Cheney's advisor John Hannah, and on Miller's return
to the grand jury, Fitzgerald
agreed to limit his questions to her
conversations with Cheney's Scooter Libby, which seems a major compromise
for a man like the prosecutor, which in addition to Hannah, further tells
me he's homed in on the Vice President: what he knew and when he knew it,
and/or how much of a driving force he was in the Wilson/Plame
leaks; Fitzgerald's interest in the V.P.s office being no big surprise
considering Cheney and Libby are joined at the hip, as well; in the
same way that Bush's and Karl Rove's skulls (Rove being his boss' brain
for 25 years) would be cemented to the point of sharing blood, never mind
strategy. Therefore the same question must occur to Fitzgerald:
considering the closeness of Bush and Rove, how much did the President
know and when did he know it?
gone before the grand jury four times, suggesting several additions, if
not revisions, in his testimony; further suggesting a kind of "selective
amnesia" which seems to improve with time, an amnesia which may be viral
in nature when one considers how many others connected have manifested
The Washington Post reported: Rove said to the
grand jury that in 2003 Libby may have told him Valerie Plame worked for the CIA days before her I. D.
was revealed in the press, and said Libby may have learned of her from
reporters. Really? What about the Plame memo being circulated
on Air force One, which all of the Bush/Cheney crowd would be privy
to, before the Robert Novak article appeared?
has informed Rove and Libby that they might be "in jeopardy", and unknown
others may find themselves in the same boat, which tells me that Bush and
his vice president may have much to worry about. One wonders how many of
their people will fall on their swords to protect them; or more
interestingly, who might rat on whom to save his ass?
1--Republican strategists are saying, it's just politics, folks, everybody
does it--trying to undermine opponents. True, but this is more than
slinging a little mud. Fitzgerald may decide the attack on Joe
Wilson by revealing Plame's I.D. had very seriously crossed the line in regard
to national security.
2--Judy Miller in refusing to reveal her source was not
protecting someone who blew the whistle in a worthy
cause, but rather appeared to be protecting a possibly too close connection
between herself, Scooter Libby and
the administration. But it's only my guess.
3--Beyond perjury and obstruction of justice, revealing classified
material of any sort could, when carried to the farthest rim of
possible guilt, result in a charge of espionage.
4--Don't you wonder how the mothers, spouses, siblings and children of the
military dead and wounded feel about this?
course, it may turn out that Fitzgerald might bring no indictments, and at
the same time issue no reports, which after two years would be a great
relief to the Bush gang, and a
whopping disappointment to the rest who believe
they were deceived.
But whatever the result of all this, The President and Vice
President of these United States, along with their hit men, were the ones
in charge, the ones who deceived the American people in order to invade
Iraq, the ones who created this climate of paranoia and mistrust, and in
my opinion we don't deserve them. And to answer my own lead-in
question: Yes, they went much too far and crossed the line. This all
about Iraq, folks. Iraq.
Miller: 3 Decades Of Disinformation," from
a July 08/05 post by Grand Moff Texan at the blog: Daily Kos.
"Moment Of Truth For the Times" at