The anatomy of a con job
Here it is folks, how it all worked, and why the Plame case is the Achilles Heel of Bush World. I have never read a better synopsis of the greatest scam ever pulled on the American people, how it was done and who was the con and who was the chumps. That would be us. Here you will see why two men, Bush and Cheney should be impeached, obviously impeached:
How Libby became Cheney's pawn
The vice president knew the intelligence for the Iraq war was cooked. So he launched his aide to smear the man who took the information public.
By Sidney Blumenthal
Feb. 1, 2007 | Few issues more agitated and preoccupied Vice President Dick Cheney in the early months after the declaration of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq than former ambassador Joseph Wilson's disclosure that the intelligence underlying the administration's central justification for the invasion was bogus. So far as the occupation of Iraq was concerned, Cheney was in a triumphal mood. In a speech before a conservative group in Washington on July 30, 2003, he repeated his rationales for the war with a sense of finality: "In Iraq, a dictator with a deep and bitter hatred of the United States, who built, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction and cultivated ties to terrorists, is no more." Behind his serene public face a distressed vice president frantically micromanaged a campaign of press leaks to discredit Wilson. Cheney even scripted talking points to aides about what to tell reporters. And he fretted about what was said on cable TV talk shows like MSNBC's "Hardball." His chief agent in this intense effort to discredit Wilson was his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, finely attuned to his principal's wishes.
Cheney was distraught over Wilson's revelation that on his mission to Niger he had discovered that Saddam Hussein was not purchasing yellow uranium to develop nuclear weapons and that the documents that allegedly proved it were forgeries. He could have ignored Wilson, whose complaint might have faded into the woodwork. But Cheney was not trying to correct the record, but to suppress it. He knew that what Wilson had written in his New York Times Op-Ed of July 6, 2003, and what Wilson had said earlier about it at a public forum, obliquely reported, were accurate. Wilson posed a potential menace not only to the legitimacy of the Iraq invasion but also to the reelection of Bush-Cheney.
Cheney knew that the intelligence for the war had been cooked. He was not obsessed with Wilson because he was angry that Wilson was allegedly falsifying information. Cheney was not seized with a feeling of injustice or a need to inform the public of the truth. Cheney is not a fool. "Cheney knows how to read intelligence reports. He knows how to read classified information," Richard Clarke, former director of counterterrorism on the National Security Council, told me. Of course, Clarke said, "Cheney had read the reports" that disproved the administration's line. "Cheney knew it was false," said Clarke. What worried Cheney was that he was keenly aware that the so-called intelligence the administration propagated was phony, shabby and shaky. What also peeved him was that Wilson had said that his mission had been triggered by a request from the Office of the Vice President.
In the aftermath of the invasion, as President Bush swaggered in a fighter pilot's flight suit on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, the administration's sway in Washington was at its zenith. The president's poll ratings were sky-high, the Republican control of the Congress airtight and the press corps embedded. Wilson was targeted as an enemy of the state. The same methods that had been used to whip up support for the war were now deployed against the straggler. Cheney's overbearing intensity was transmitted through his chief of staff. Once again, a compliant press would be exploited to do their bidding.
Libby's obedience produced a comedy of errors wrapped inside a conspiracy. Time and again, the efficient, experienced and loyal aide told the grand jury that it was not he who told selected journalists that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA operative, was responsible for sending him to Niger, but the journalists who, one after another, had told him about her. None of the favored reporters to whom Libby retailed the story published or broadcast it, neither Judith Miller of the New York Times nor Tim Russert of NBC's "Meet the Press." Nor did Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, propelled into action, manage to sell it to NBC's David Gregory or Time magazine's John Dickerson. (The Fleischer incident contains several layers of sociology. Libby had never deigned before to have lunch with Fleischer. In the Bush White House pecking order, the press secretary ranked far beneath the vice president's chief of staff. Libby, who had written a novel and prided himself on his cultural acumen, began his conversation by saying to Fleischer that what he was telling him was "hush-hush" and "on the q.t." -- a line whose provenance was apparently lost on the press secretary -- quoted from the gossipmonger played by Danny DeVito in the film "L.A. Confidential.") Libby told the grand jury lies within a lie (about being the source for reporters who wrote no stories) to sustain another lie -- that the Office of the Vice President hadn't set in motion Wilson's report -- and he was subsequently indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice.
On Feb. 21, 2002, Wilson left for his mission to Niger, where he found no evidence of Saddam seeking uranium. Before he returned, on March 1, the State Department's Intelligence and Research Bureau (INR) circulated its analysis, "Niger: Sale of Uranium to Iraq Is Unlikely." About a week later, the CIA produced its own report, based on Wilson's and other assessments, but that did not deter Cheney from declaring on three Sunday TV interviews on March 24 that Saddam was indeed trying to make nuclear weapons. Cheney was briefed on the CIA report immediately before or after his portentous remarks on television. (The CIA briefer, Craig Schmall, testified in the Libby trial that Cheney "did ask" for and "received" the report in "early 2002.")
In early September 2002, senior administration officials -- Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, launched an intensive campaign to persuade public opinion of Saddam's nuclear threat. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," said Rice. When the White House speechwriters and NSC staff sought to insert the Niger claim into a speech Bush was to deliver at the United Nations on Sept. 11, the CIA told them it was unproved and the charge was stricken from the text.
The White House tried again, this time to get the accusation included in a Bush speech on Oct. 7 delivered in Cincinnati on the eve of the congressional vote on the "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq." Before the speech, on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, the CIA sent two memos warning the White House to delete the reference, and it was removed from the speech.
On Oct. 11, the AUMF passed overwhelmingly on the administration's assurances that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction and was pursuing nuclear weapons. The casus belli for preemptive war was at the heart of the resolution. It read: "Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated." This incendiary line, more than any other, had galvanized the public in support of an invasion, and Congress to pass the resolution, and was based on sheer disinformation the White House had repeatedly been warned against using -- and had dropped twice. Yet it was advanced as the central premise of congressional approval, though the White House, Cheney perhaps above all, knew that it was false.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
Last edited by FeelTheLove; 01-31-2007 at 10:05 PM.