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Would a Charge of Treason Stick to George Bush?

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There has been discussion within the impeachment movement over whether George Bush can formally be accused of treason, or if such accusations are fanciful and would not meet legal muster. I believe they would. Some pretty smart lawyers I know are discussing this question, and as a layman I can only apply the law as I understand it.

Valerie Plame

The first case for treason centers on Valerie Plame. The definition of treason according to Article 3, Section 3, of the US Constitution:

"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

On July 12, 2007 George Bush admitted:

"Somebody in his administration leaked the name of that person, Valerie Plame"

In the Dorgan-Waxman Committee Hearings of July 22, 2005, on the damage to the national security done by Plame's identification, an expert witness, Special Forces Col. Patrick Lang said that, as a result of Plame's identification:

"The possibility of penetrating these groups, the possibility of knowing that they're going to carry 10-pound bags of explosive in the subway stations, will go right down the drain."

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This was in addition to similar testimony by other expert witnesses, including many former CIA officers. Walter Pincus in the Washington Post, October 4, 2003, quoted a former diplomat as affirming that:

"every foreign intelligence service would run Plame's name through its databases within hours of its publication to determine if she had visited their country and to reconstruct her activities."

"Every foreign intelligence service" would include the Pakistani ISI, the Inter-Intelligence Services, which is riddled with Al Qaeda sympathizers. It was only a matter of time before Al Qaeda knew if you had been passing secrets along to that Plame woman.

Summary: Someone in the Bush administration gave information to our enemies, which constitutes "aid and comfort" which made it easier to attack us. In conventional war, the parallel would be telling the Germans where the main assault would hit on D-Day. Remember, Ike, General Eisenhower, knew it was important to keep them guessing. In the war on terror the serial number of a single cargo container docked at an American port is more important than armies, as this is a HUMINT (spook talk for Human Intelliegence) war. Amounts of hardware (tanks, planes) have sunk to near irrelevance in protecting us, as stealth determination of the enemy's precise actions and intentions, assessed by covert agents, is now most important.

This is exactly what Plame's job was for the 20 years. She was non-official cover, meaning she was set up in a private business as a front to hide any connection with the U.S. government. Many details of her career are still classified, but we know she worked as a clandestine operative in the area of "non-proliferation." Non-proliferation means stopping the spread of unconventional weapons, like bio-weapons and nukes. CBS confirms that part of Plame's job was to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

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When the administration blew Plame's cover to Al Qaeda, any potential informants seen with Plame, who as a gorgeous blond stands out and is memorable, were suspect. The shadowy world of trade in weapons of mass destruction was now filled with walking dead men. As a (suddenly) high-profile American officer, Plame herself was probably untouchable, but not so an Algerian banker or a Pakistani technician whom she had encouraged to talk. In Dorgan-Waxman hearings Special Service Forces Colonel Lang, a decorated veteran trained as a Middle East specialist and a professor of Arabic at West Point, said:

HUMINT is about human beings. It's about one person, an American person, a case officer in the parlance of the trade, causing some foreign person to trust him enough and to trust his unit and to trust the United States enough to put his life, his fortune and, indeed, his sacred honor in many cases into the hands of this case officer...

By Bush's own description of this "new kind of war," in which the enemy has no armies, he committed the worst form of treason. It would have been less damaging had he given bin Laden the blueprints for an F-16. Why prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald went with the lighter charge of violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act is a mystery. You can unmask a covert agent and still not do too much damage, if, for example, they are working in a Western diplomatic post charged with spying on officials of an allied nation. In such a case the charge of violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act would be appropriate. But the Bush administration did untold damage, because Plame was working on the non-proliferation of unconventional weapons. Bush poked the eyes out of our ability to know where in the underground world WMD was coming from and where they were going, according to testimony in the Dorgan-Waxman hearings on Plame. Col. Lang testified:

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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on the (more...)
 

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