The LATimes has a follow-up to the Rove/Fitzgerald news of yesterday. And they ask all the right questions this time:
Behind the scenes, however, as Fitzgerald’s investigation has shown, top White House strategists had worked feverishly to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had infuriated officials by accusing the White House of twisting intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq.
The accusation was worrisome for Bush aides, who knew that the Iraq war would be a central theme of the president’s reelection campaign in 2004. So Plame’s identity was leaked by anonymous senior officials as part of an effort to claim that Wilson’s CIA-funded trip to the African nation of Niger to investigate whether Iraq had tried to purchase uranium ore there had been a junket arranged by his CIA officer wife.
As Fitzgerald’s investigation has shown, not only was Rove involved in discussing Plame with reporters, but so was Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, who has been indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in the case….
The hardball proclivities weren’t limited to behind-the-scenes strategists like Libby and Rove. The unfolding case would connect their actions to Cheney.
In pursuing the case against Libby, the special prosecutor released documents showing that the vice president was focused on questioning Wilson’s motivation and credibility from the moment the article was published, just 10 weeks after Bush had landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier under a banner declaring "Mission Accomplished."
Fitzgerald released a copy of Cheney’s handwritten notations atop Wilson’s article: "Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"
Indeed, the notion that Wilson’s trip to Africa was a junket arranged by his wife became a central part of the White House effort to undermine the former envoy, whose lengthy State Department career included postings in Iraq and Africa. The anti-Wilson campaign coincided with White House planning for the 2004 campaign.
Fitzgerald’s investigation also led to revelations that Bush — who for months had promised to root out leakers in his administration and punish whoever disclosed Plame’s identity — had authorized the release of classified information.
Wilson’s contention that so offended the White House — that the administration twisted intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq — has since drawn support from intelligence officials around the globe, including former officers of the CIA. And the Niger uranium case that he described in his controversial article has become exhibit A in the cache of evidence assembled by critics to suggest that the administration cherry-picked intelligence information to justify the case for war. (Emphasis mine)
Well, that pretty much lays out the questions neatly, doesn’t it? More of this, please.
Except that is only part of what needs to be discussed. And that it is getting attention 3 years later? Well, it’s a bit late, but I’ll take it, I suppose.
Frontline has an important piece coming up on the 20th of June at 9:00 pm ET entitled "The Dark Side." I’ll let their description speak for itself:
On September 11, 2001, deep inside a White House bunker, Vice President Dick Cheney was ordering U.S. fighter planes to shoot down any commercial airliner still in the air above America. At that moment, CIA Director George Tenet was meeting with his counter-terrorism team in Langley, Virginia. Both leaders acted fast, to prepare their country for a new kind of war. But soon a debate would grow over the goals of the war on terror, and the decision to go to war in Iraq. Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and others saw Iraq as an important part of a broader plan to remake the Middle East and project American power worldwide. Meanwhile Tenet, facing division in his own organization, saw non-state actors such as Al Qaeda as the highest priority. FRONTLINE’s investigation of the ensuing conflict includes more than forty interviews, thousands of pages of documentary evidence, and a substantial photographic archive. It is the third documentary about the war on terror from the team that produced Rumsfeld’s War and The Torture Question. (Emphasis mine.)
That says must see teevee if I ever saw some. Pass some popcorn and call up the WHIG, the media have decided to make Cheney the story, and perhaps put Rummy in the passenger seat as the expendable duo. Anything to prop up those sagging ratings and public perceptions prior to the fall elections, I suppose, but it’s an awfully pathetic strategy to argue that the President of the United States has no responsibility for failed policy initiatives because his top lieutenants are implementing them behind his back, isn’t it?
Of course, you can’t have people actually thinking about it in those terms: either the President knew and approved of pushing a war forward based on a false information campaign of cherry picked intelligence to sell a bill of goods the American public, or he didn’t know all the facts because the President of the United States was bypassed by his own crony minions who rushed him into a war that he wanted for reasons that have not been fully explained to the public. You choose. Uh oh, we need a diversion.
Anyone hear a bus rumbling off in the distance? I hear Karl is a good driver…