The fact that the Bush administrations highest ranking officials deliberately endangered national security to pursue a personal vendetta is alarming, but equally disturbing is the fact that their behavior has greatly enhanced the likelihood of nuclear weapons proliferation. By outing Valerie Plame the administration has exposed the war on terror as a fraud. Brewster Jennings and Associates was a vital part of the United States covert strategy to fight the spread of WMD. Cheney and his lieutenants intentionally sabotaged that operation in an effort to destroy a personal enemy of the Bush White House. Their action has put us all at greater risk.
We have no idea what investigations or operations may have been underway when Cheney, Libby and Rove blew Valerie Plames cover because B.J. & As activities are completely concealed from public view. It could be that they were tracing fissile material being smuggled out of Russia by terrorist organizations as has long been feared, or they may have been in contact with scientists clandestinely monitoring Irans nuclear programs or, they may have been secretly screening irregular activity by the North Koreans in their stepped up campaign to build nuclear weapons.
We just dont know.
But, we do know that Plames CIA front company represents the first line of defense in protecting the security of the United States from the increasing danger of loose nukes. The destruction of that company by Cheney and his colleagues is a crime of incalculable magnitude. This explains why Judge Thomas Hogan, who currently presides over the Fitzgerald investigation stated that the journalists did not possess a qualified privilege to withhold information, and that, even if they believed they were defending their rights under the 1st amendment Special Counsel would be able to meet even the most stringent of balancing tests.
Hogan was signaling that the significance and gravity of the breach to national security clearly outweighed the potential violations to the 1st amendment.
Hogan further added, The subpoenas were not issued in an attempt to harass the (reporters), but rather from legitimate needs due to an unanticipated shift in the grand jurys investigation.
The unanticipated shift in the grand jurys investigation, implies that there have been critical developments in the case directly related to national security. Hogans ominous words suggest that Cheney and his White House Iraq Group (WHIG) will have a difficult time avoiding responsibility for their actions.
So far, most of the discussion about the indictments has focused on their connection to the Iraq war. They reveal the extent of the planning that went into deceiving the country about Saddams imaginary weapons programs. But, these revelations, as crucial as they may be, ignore the fact that administration has already done irreparable harm to the nation that we will never hear anything about. If CIA agents in the field were killed or captured, well never know. Nor will we know if critical supplies of nuclear material disappeared while Americas undercover defenses were shut-down.
It is inconceivable that the administration would be so vindictive and short-sighted to jeopardize Americas safety simply to crush a political opponent. Certainly, the harm of Joseph Wilsons NY Times op-ed cannot compare to the vast damage of exposing a vital CIA operation. In Valerie Plames career alone, which spans 20 years, hundreds of contacts will be exposed or put in harms way; an essential part of Americans counter-proliferation effort will be eviscerated.
It will be very difficult now for the Bush administration to claim that its war on terror is designed to limit the spread of WMD. The spiteful behavior of Cheney, Rove and Libby has demonstrated that politics take precedent over everything; even nuclear proliferation. They have intentionally weakened Americas defenses and betrayed the people they are sworn to serve.