The testimony by multiple reporters over the past two weeks has made it clear that Cheney was the prime mover in the outing of Valerie Plame. Cheney was obsessed with discrediting Plame's husband Joe Wilson, who had dared to call Bush a liar, publicly, in a New York Times op-ed piece. Cheney orchestrated multiple leaks about Plame's identity as a CIA agent, from several White House personnel to various key reporters.
Bush must have been aware of it, since his press secretary Richard Armitage was one of the leakers. Libby's defense seems to be that Rove was the main leaker, and that, he, Libby, is being scapegoated to protect Rove and Bush, whose "brain" Rove is. Thus Bush is implicated as well as Cheney.
The prosecutor in the Libby trial, the intrepid Patrick Fitzgerald, has already done the time-consuming investigative work that the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by John Conyers, would otherwise have to undertake. All that remains for the House to do, is to decide whether the outing of an undercover agent for political purposes is an impeachable offense.
Although Bush and Cheney are not themselves on trial right now, and a sitting president cannot be prosecuted in a regular court of law, surely the published testimony in the Libby trial is compelling evidence that Cheney conspired to out a CIA agent, and Bush was complicit. This is a crime, and in context, a heinous crime. Here's the context:
Bush and Cheney had just used manufactured evidence to persuade the American public that there was reason to launch a pre-emptive war against Iraq. They were "fixing the facts around the policy" as the famous Downing Street memo put it. (A recent Pentagon study confirms this.)
Wilson called them on it, and to spite and discredit him, they claimed it was his CIA wife who sent him to Niger to check out a supposed purchase of uranium by Iraq, and that his findings, therefore, were suspect. The logic of this escapes me; it's much more likely that the motive for outing Plame was pure vengeance.
Plame ran a network of 70 or so operatives all around the world, who took great risks to track WMDs on the international black market, and to make sure that terrorists didn't get hold of them. How many of the agents were killed after Plame's identity was made public is classified information, but no doubt some were. The entire network was exposed and rendered ineffectual.
Dear reader, you may remember that Dubya's claim to fame is that he's fighting a war on terror. His excuse for invading Iraq was that Saddam had WMDs. Keeping WMDs from terrorists should have been his main objective. Instead, he allows his veep, his press secy, and various other key staff people to leak this top secret information to the press. Terrorists everywhere must have been overjoyed! Without the Plame network, obtaining WMDs got a lot easier!
If terrorists are the enemy, the outing of Plame gave them aid and comfort. This is the definition of treason.- giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The operatives who were killed as a result of publishing her identity were in fact murdered by the leakers and their masters. In other words, Bush and Cheney are probably guilty of treason and murder.
The outing of Plame makes Watergate look like a Sunday School picnic. The investigation has been done, the crime is obvious, the evidence is public. Hearings by the House Judiciary Committee shouldn't take more than a week. It only takes a simple majority to impeach. With a clear Democratic majority in the House, impeachment should be a foregone conclusion.
It's true that a 2/3 majority in the Senate is needed to convict Bush and Cheney and remove them from office, and the Democrats have only a one-vote margin. The severity of the crimes, however, once put into the context of formal impeachment, would carry such great weight that many Republicans would join to get rid of the malefactors.
All the excuses- that impeachment is too slow and takes too much energy from "more important" issues, fall by the wayside now. Fitzpatrick has done the work, the crimes are obvious.
What is Congress waiting for! If they fail to move now, no matter what sort of deal Pelosi made last year, aren't they complicit? Where is the bill of impeachment that will start the process?
In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman