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Rove-Plame Scandal Leading to Deeper White House Horrors?

By       Message Bernard Weiner       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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At long last, Plamegate -- the scandal surrounding the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson by two "senior administration officials" -- has exploded out of the D.C. beltway to become a major national news story.

It would appear that this scandal goes way beyond Karl Rove and who said what to whom when about Ms. Plame. It certainly is true, though, that turning over that slimy Rove-Plame rock was the way into the larger issues upon which Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and his grand jury apparently are focusing.

(Ain't it almost always so in Washington? The cover-up is always a greater problem for the perpetrators than the original crime, for inevitably even seamier scandals are unearthed one by one; see the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Iran-Contra, et al. The moral lesson -- admit your mistake early, bear the immediate hit, and move on unencumbered -- rarely seems to "take" among politicians, of whatever party.)

What's being covered up in the Plame/Rove case seems to revolve around the Bush Administration's orchestrated, and perhaps illegal, propaganda campaign to justify its invasion of Iraq. Valerie Plame and her husband Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- who wrote the op-ed in the New York Times that got this whole thing going -- are just the tips of very large icebergs, and one of those icebergs has a name: the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which we'll examine below.

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THE EIGHT BLACKED-OUT PAGES

One of the ruling judges on the case of the two reporters who refused to divulge their Plame-outing source was about to go easy on them when he read Fitzgerald's new information -- eight pages of which were redacted from the public -- and said that the national-security seriousness of what he read changed his mind. ( www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/lawrence-odonnell)

The court then ordered Time's Matthew Cooper and the New York Times' Judith Miller to testify or else; Cooper finally did, and Miller is in jail for contempt of court.

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We don't know what is in those eight blacked-out pages -- and, if they really do involve national-security matters, we may never be permitted to know precisely. But apparently they provide the locus around which Fitzgerald is building a case that could result in perjury indictments, at the least, for a number of Administration officials and perhaps journalists as well.

(Another judge said that the prosecutor's classified filing -- those missing eight pages -- "decides the case." In other words, to quote Lawrence O'Donnell: "All the judges who have seen the prosecutors secret evidence firmly believe he is pursuing a very serious crime, and they have done everything they can to help him get an indictment.")

Further, depending on what Bush and Cheney knew and when they knew it -- and what they did or covered-up in the possible light of such knowledge -- there may be plenty of ammunition for likely impeachment hearings. (Note: Bush hired a private attorney last summer for this CIA-leak case. )

And the two journalists in question, Cooper and Miller, have their own attorneys. It's defense-attorney heaven in the nation's capital these days.


PERSONAL REASONS MILLER NOT TESTIFYING?

Why Judith Miller is not testifying apparently goes to the heart of Fitzgerald's case. There are reasonable grounds for wondering whether Miller might have been aiding, inadvertently or consciously, Rove and the rest of the WHIG to help move the country toward war with Iraq. For example, she may have been told by Administration officials about Plame and her CIA job, and helped spread that word to other journalists, who then contacted Rove and I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff. Cooper over the weekend revealed that it was Libby who was the second of the "two senior administration officials" who leaked Plame's identity.

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The New York Times already has apologized for running several of Miller's pre-Iraq War stories that were based on faulty weapons-of-mass-destruction intelligence; much of that concocted intel was provided by Ahmed Chalabi, the sleazy Iraqi exile leader who hitched his wagon to the Pentagon neo-cons to get his forces back into Iraq in the wake of a U.S. invasion. Those Miller stories helped provide the imprimatur of New York Times prestige that other media outlets then picked up on, helping create a nationwide zeitgeist of imminent threat from Iraq.

Indeed, Dick Cheney squared the circle by using Miller's stories as "evidence" that even the hallowed New York Times had determined that Iraq had, or soon would have, nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

"The day The Times story ran," wrote Amy and David Goodman in their invaluable book "The Exception to the Rulers...," Cheney "made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows to advance the administration's bogus claims. On NBC's Meet the Press, Cheney declared that Iraq had purchased aluminum tubes to make enriched uranium. It didn't matter that the IAEA refuted the charge both before and after it was made. But Cheney didn't want viewers just to take his word for it. 'There's a story in The New York Times this morning,' he said smugly. 'And I want to attribute The Times.' This was the classic disinformation two-step: the White House leaks a lie to The Times, the newspaper publishes it as a startling expose, and then the White House conveniently masquerades behind the credibility of The Times." ( www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/05/26/1610213 )

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Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for two decades as a writer-editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (more...)
 

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