Bush Hands Dick the 16 Words--and the Rest of His Lies

As Christy reported, Judge Reggie Walton set the start date for Scooter Libby’s trial last week. Jury selection begins on January 16, and the trial starts immediately thereafter. I’ve got to give Jennifer Nix a couple of months to do her magic with the manuscript, so that means I’ve got just over two months to write this book.

Since so many FDL readers have already contributed to this project, it’s only fair that I tell you what it will include and how I expect to get it done in time.

Our goal is to bring this book out just in time for the trial. We’ve got three goals for it

  • Provide a primer of the events and the people involved in the Plame Leak so those just tuning in as Scooter takes the stand will know how he got there
  • Show how the cocktail weenie culture of Beltway journalism was complicit in the leak, both during the actual leak phase, and in helping Libby and Rove game the investigation
  • Challenge the narrative Libby’s lawyers want to tell about the events

When Scooter Libby’s lawyers try to pretend Judy Miller is someone who would lie to incriminate Libby, this book will remind the public that Judy Miller bent over backward to save Libby’ ass.

So how am I going to get it done in time?

As some of you have guessed, this thing didn’t just come out of the blue. Jane and I first talked about this at YearlyKos. After I returned home in June, I finished up my most recent Anatomy of a White House Smear series, which covers everything except Novak’s and Armitage’s recent disclosures. That’s already 35,000 words long, and this book is targeted to be 55,000 words long. I’m going to have to totally rewrite that, though, because the Anatomy series wasn’t written for people who were just tuning into the story.

In addition, there are three chapters and a Preface which aren’t included or developed fully in the Anatomy series. I’ll add a chapter showing that the Administration had been warned their WMD claims were false. I’ll have a chapter integrating the beginning of the leak more closely with Judy Miller’s reporting in Iraq. And I’ll have a chapter showing how the administration laundered classified information through journalists so they could use it to support their claims for war. I’ve made a substantial start to all three of these chapters.

Then, there’s the stuff I am adding to turn my “deep in the weeds” details into a story that does justice to the archetypal scope of both the villains and heroes of this story. Jane’s giving me her best Hollywood coaching on this stuff, for which I am very grateful.

And finally, there are the developments to come. One of the biggest advantages of the blogs to books format is its timeliness. We will integrate events that occur just over a month before the trial. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to tell the story of a Cheney indictment! In any case, the best way to stay up to date—and make sure crummy journalists don’t set this narrative unchallenged—is to continue blogging the subject.

I intend to continue blogging—and updating my narrative as I go.

Which leaves the Preface, which is where you all get to contribute … again. The Preface is where we explain to those unfamiliar with the Internets, blogs, and particularly the Firedoglake and Plameologist communities, why a bunch of ordinary citizens have spent so much time following this story. We’re going to explain what we as bloggers and commentors brought to this story that the traditional media couldn’t, or wouldn’t. We’re going to claim credit for our scoops. And we’re going to talk about the importance of citizen journalism, particularly in an era where the government is trying to protect its power by cowing us into silence.

I’ve already started drafting the Preface. But I could use your help. I’d like to use this thread as a brainstorming session to make sure I don’t forget anything important and to make sure the Preface reflects the viewpoints of the community. So in the thread, please provide your feedback on the three following questions:

  • What are the scoops the blogosphere has gotten before the mainstream media—things like eRiposte’s work on the Niger forgeries, Jane’s scoop on Viveca Novak or Christy’s and my discovery of Libby’s insta-declassification of the NIE? 
  • What are the special skills and contributions the blogosphere has brought to this story—things like Christy’s and Jeralyn’s expertise as lawyers, or pollyusa’s and the DKos Plame Timeline’s remarkable catalogs of all the events and the coverage of the scandal?
  • Why does this matter to you? Particularly if you first came to FDL because of Jane’s and Christy’s Plame coverage (or TNH because of my own Plame obsessions), what was it about the story that you thought was so compelling?