Tomorrow could be the day that the first indictments are handed down in the Plamegate investigations and already we are seeing the talking points to be used by the republicans. Fearing that not only will the likes of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby be indicted but people like Dick Cheney may find himself in the crosshairs now has the GOP tripping over itself to say the same thing. That has been their modus operandi for the past five years. Say a lie, have others say it as much as possible and hunker down while everyone starts to believe the lie. The problem this time is it was a little too obvious when every GOP media operative started saying "criminalizing politics ", at the same time.
What the strategy entails is to minimize whatever indictments are handed down. It is to create a diversion. The discussion they want to have is about an illusion. Their stance is that because prosecutor Fitzgerald will hand down indictments of perjury, conspiracy and obstruction of justice that the crimes are not serious. They are merely "secondary " crimes, "lower tier " crimes, and are actually some kind of political statement against conservatism. A larger pile of dung has not been proffered in some time. Dare I say it amounts to politicizing criminals?
Let 's get some things straight. Perjury is a serious crime. It involves the INTENTIONAL lying to a criminal investigation. Tonight on Hannity and Colmes we saw Sean trying his best to say that this is really about some poor guy simply forgetting a conversation he had years ago. That dog just don 't hunt. No prosecutor is going to charge someone with perjury if they merely forgot. The charge itself means the prosecutor believes they purposefully misled the investigation. If the accused believes they merely forgot, they will have an opportunity to defend that position in court. That is how the legal system works.
How serious is perjury? According to this same Republican Party, it is crucial to the fabric of this nation. It denigrates the rule of law and without that; we can no longer function as a society. I know this because the GOP went to great lengths to convince me of this when they wanted to impeach Bill Clinton for perjury in the late 1990s. For months on end we had any and all republican operatives telling us every day how important the rule of law was and how Clinton had to be impeached. Where is that same fervor now?
Let 's put this in proper perspective. Bill Clinton was set up by his prosecutor. He was brought in to discuss the Paula Jones nonsense and ended up being asked questions about Monica Lewinski. Unprepared, he lied. He lied about a personal indiscretion that affected no one other than the immediate parties involved. He was charged with perjury, lost his law license and was impeached for it. The lies in the Plamegate case are about purposefully revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative. It exposes all of her contacts during her 24 year career to torture or possible death. It ruins Ms. Plame 's career and more importantly, portends far more sinister crimes. Whoever is lying to investigators about this matter also are protecting the pattern of deception that sold us into a war that has now claimed the lives of over 2,000 American soldiers and over 30,000 Iraqi civilians. The front agency Ms. Plame worked for undercover was in the business of protecting us from the very WMD that George Bush still cannot find. More crucial though is the forged documents that are the story no one is talking about. Someone forged documents to prove Iraq was trying to buy uranium from the Niger and that false information made it into the State of the Union speech of the president despite the truth being known.
That is the crime behind the perjury. If people purposefully lied to protect that crime they are criminals and should be prosecuted. If they conspired with others who perjured themselves they should be prosecuted as they are traitors to this country, regardless of what party they are affiliated with. The nature of the conspiracy has to do with people willfully lying to a Grand Jury with the intent to bury the truth about people who committed treason against the United States of America. To minimize that to a "second tier " crime is absurd and nothing short of "secondary " treason.
The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming now. This past week Republican senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson said,
"If there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality. "
So in the eyes of this senator, perjury is a "technicality ". Why don 't we see what she had to say when she was casting her YES vote for the impeachment of Bill Clinton,
"Something needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray ...and I don 't want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynchpin of our criminal justice system and I don 't want it to be faded in any way. "
They must hate it when their talking points from six years ago comes back to haunt them. This is what is at the heart of the arguments you will hear over the coming weeks. The fact is that lying a country into a war is far worse than lying about a personal indiscretion, no matter how inappropriate it was. Keep in mind also that this has nothing to do with politics. The only political decision was made by this administration to publicly out a CIA operative as retribution for her husband telling the truth. The GOP media machine will tell you it is politics but that is nonsense. They will tell you that the investigation was only about an obscure law from 1982. That is disinformation as well. There are other federal statutes that are violated by revealing classified information. They will tell you that this kind of thing happens all the time in Washington. No it does not.
This is a problem at the heart of a corrupt administration. An administration that lied to Congress to start a war that has taken the lives of more than 2,000 American children. There were supposed to be liters of anthrax, gallons of Botulim Toxin, Sarin Nerve Gas, Mustard Gas, mobile weapons labs, aluminum tubes for nuclear weapons and a host of other weapons that have all been proven to be lies. The crown jewel however for the administration was the possibility that Saddam Hussein could unleash a nuclear weapon against us. We all heard Bush, Cheney and Condi warn us about a mushroom cloud being the smoking gun. The truth though was that Saddam had no nuclear ambitions, let alone capabilities. Undeterred, the administration went about the business of trying to legitimize that threat. In the course of doing that, forged documents emerged to bolster their case and Joseph Wilson was sent to verify these facts at the behest of the Office of the Vice President. He reported candidly that the story was simply untrue. Bush went ahead anyway and lied to the nation in his speech and proceeded to lead us into a war we had no business ever being in. When Joseph Wilson, who had served admirably under Bush Sr., printed the truth about the Niger trip, the administration unleashed its wrath upon him and his family. People were leaking his wife 's CIA identity to the press, a felony we call treason. Patrick Fitzgerald was called on to investigate these matters.
Tomorrow the term expires on his Grand Jury and indictments are expected to be handed down against some key players in this saga. There are rumors he will also be asking to empanel another Grand Jury to continue the investigation into the forged documents and the lies that have led a once proud nation into a needless war. If during the course of this two year investigation into such serious matters of national security people lied to protect the people who committed crimes against this country then our rule of law says they committed perjury. If they did it knowingly to prevent the truth from being exposed than our rule of law says they committed obstruction of justice. If they did this in concert with others as a coordinated effort, then our rule of law says they should be prosecuted for conspiracy. A prominent republican once said that our rule of law is the lynchpin of our criminal justice system and it should not be faded in any way. I agree. To do so would be criminal.
So when the indictments come down and you start hearing the talking points repeated over and over again try and remember that this is not about the criminalization of politics. It is about treason against the United States of America. It is about the ruining of the career of a woman whose job it was to protect you from the very WMD that George Bush knew were never in Iraq before he invaded. There are people out there who will go to great lengths to protect this administration and ensure that the truth never comes out. They will send out their emissaries of disinformation to minimize what they have done but at the end of the day, there is no criminalization of politics, just criminals trying to politicize their crimes.