When Ambassador Wilson exposed the yellow cake uranium scam two hundred American soldiers had already died in Bush 's war of choice. At the time, the Iraqi insurgency was in its early stages and Rumsfeld was dismissing the insurgents as dead-enders who would be quickly taken care of in a mop up operation. The invasion was still supported by the vast majority of Americans and the fiction about Saddam 's WMD stockpiles was still considered credible.
In this environment, an unknown ex-ambassador emerged with a compelling story. In an article in the New York Times, he claimed that some of the intelligence used to justify the Iraq war was exaggerated. Within a few days, his wife Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA agent by Bob Novak who claimed he got his information from two administration insiders.
From the start, it was evident that those who exposed Plame were targeting Wilson for daring to speak truth to power. Instead of responding to the ambassador 's accusations Rove and company launched a counter attack to smear the ambassador and question his qualifications. To a large extent, the plan worked then and continues to perform its magic today. Wilson 's character and credibility continues to be viciously attacked by Murdoch 's rat pack at FOX and by other journalists of the same pedigree. Their argument is that Wilson was unqualified to uncover the Niger hoax which Cheney and his merry band of neo-cons depended on to substantiate the false claim that Iraq had 'reconstituted ' a nuclear weapons program. According to that line of reasoning, someone more qualified than Wilson might have 'verified ' Cheney 's fantasies.
As of this week, Rove 's role in the Plame scandal has been confirmed. It doesn 't seem to matter that Wilson had specifically pointed the finger at Rove two years ago. He was right again but probably 'unqualified ' to make such a judgment since he has no background in law enforcement. The pundits involved in this smear campaign appear to believe that Ambassador Wilson is unqualified to pick lottery numbers. But, given his track record, I would still like to consult him on how to pick my numbers.
The main stream press is now focused on Rove. Did he commit a crime or was it just a bad case of judgment? Should Bush fire him? Did he know Plame 's name and does that matter? What did Bush know and when did he forget it?
For some reason, there is a curious lack of interest in the identity of the second or perhaps third administration source that exposed Plame 's identity. Two years after the scandal, little progress was made in the case until Rove waived the promise of confidentiality that prevented a number of journalists from revealing the substance of their 'super secret double background conversations ' with 'Bush 's Brain. ' Let 's hope it doesn 't take another two years to identify the second culprit.
Meanwhile, Judith Miller insists on doing time to protect Rove. Even after the waiver of confidentiality, Miller is sticking to her guns. So is Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times. On July 14, 2005, in its lead editorial the Times wrote "Until this week, the administration had deflected attention onto journalists by producing documents that officials had been compelled to sign to supposedly waive any promise of confidentiality. Our colleague Judith Miller, unjustly jailed for protecting the identity of confidential sources, was right to view these so-called waivers as meaningless. "
Get this. Sulzberger hired a legion of lawyers and delayed progress in the Plame scandal for more than a year just to avoid "meaningless waivers ". See, he and Miller are certain that defenseless administration insiders like Karl Rove were coerced into signing these waivers. To avoid Miller 's testimony which would expose these vulnerable sources - Sulzberger has exhausted legal remedies all the way up to the Supreme Court. Even after a ruling from the highest legal authorities in the land, he is willing to pay fines and have his WMD expert rot in jail to safeguard the right of future generations of journalists to out CIA agents. In essence, The Times is now contending that Miller is just a strong woman taking a stand for the administration wimps that succumbed to coercion and gave her the go ahead to testify.
The fact is that Judith Miller didn 't need information from Rove about Wilson 's wife. America 's 'Doctor Germ ' worked very closely with the Office of Special Plans to market the WMD scam to an unsuspecting American public. It is worthwhile to keep in mind the central mission of the neo-cons who staffed the OSP. Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith set up this Pentagon intelligence operation to take a more aggressive approach to uncovering alleged Iraqi links to 9/11 and to 'prove ' that Saddam had WMD arsenals. The OSP was tasked with reviewing the work of 'timid ' CIA analysts to see if they had 'missed ' anything. It stands to reason that the neo-cons at the OSP were familiar with the work of Valerie Plame an undercover agent specializing in combating the proliferation of WMDs. Agents like Plame were instrumental in exposing the Pakistani role in exporting nuclear technology to Libya.
So, who would know more about Valerie Plame? Karl Rove or Judith Miller and her neo-con pals at the OSP? Did Rove leak on Miller or did Miller leak on Rove? Why would a hatchet man and a publicist like Rove be privy to the identity of an undercover Pentagon agent? Rove is a prankster and a world class expert in orchestrating smear campaigns. But Miller is the New York Times expert on WMDs who spent years sleeping with the OSP and Ahmed Chalabi. The OSP actually used to cite Miller 's articles as reliable sources of information on Iraq 's weapons programs. She was, after all, the expert who authored 'Germs ' a bible whose passages were regularly cited as gospel truth by the neo-con War Party.
From the very beginning of the Plame scandal, The New York Times has been taking suspicious defensive actions. Consider their pompous self-serving NYT editorial (10/3/2003): "As members of a profession that relies heavily on the willingness of government officials to defy their bosses and give the public vital information, we oppose "leak investigations" in principle. There is important First Amendment issues at play. But in writing this law, Congress specifically barred prosecuting a journalist who got the name of a covert operative from a government official. Consistent with that, the Bush administration should not use the serious purpose of this inquiry to turn it into an investigation of Mr. Novak or any other journalist, or to attempt to compel any journalists to reveal their sources. The Justice Department should focus its attention on the White House, not on journalists. "
After reading that editorial, most people would be excused for concluding that Sulzberger and his editorial staff were standing shoulder to shoulder with Novak and the Washington Post in their never ending battle to protect the First Amendment. But the critical words here are "any other journalist ". It is now obvious that the 'other ' journalist they were trying to protect was Judith Miller. Or should we now believe that Karl Rove and other administration officials were "defying their bosses " to expose an undercover CIA agent. If these felons were not defying their bosses Bush might go down as the first president to conspire in committing a national security crime.
A little over a year ago, when it became absolutely clear that Iraq had no WMDs, the Times wrote an apologia about their coverage that omitted mentioning the journalist who wrote most of the discredited articles Judith Miller. Sulzberger 's lads decided that it was "past time we turned the light on ourselves". Just to demonstrate how serious they were they used a 3-watt bulb to save energy so we would never again have to go to war for oil.
After congratulating himself on the "enormous amount of journalism that we are proud of" Sulzberger put the blame on Ahmed Chalabi and the administration claiming his journalists were duped. The editorial never once mentioned Judith Miller by name even though she wrote ten of the twelve bylines that Sulzberger admitted were way off the mark. The 'paper of record ' claimed that their unnamed reporters were taken in by "a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on regime change in Iraq." Not only that, but poor Judith was also misled by government officials. "Complicating matters for journalists, the accounts of these exiles were often eagerly confirmed by United States officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq. Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources."
It just so happens that the New York Times was also "convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq. " And it just so happens that Judith Miller must have been fully aware that the neo-cons at the OSP depended on suspect intelligence from Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. And yet, she used Chalabi to confirm OSP 'findings ' and vice versa. The OSP returned the favor by citing Miller 's WMD reporting to back up its own claims.
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