Thursday, October 02, 2003
( 11:45 AM )
Do All Signs Point to Libby?
DKos had a bit on Larry Johnson, the former associate of Mrs. Wilson at the CIA. Calpundit also caught his comments when he appeared on The News Hour, and then I saw a tidbit of him on Buchanan & Press yesterday (while I was home sick) - the transcript isn't out yet, but he plainly and clearly pointed to Dick Cheney's staff, and more specifically Scooter Libby as at least one of the sources of the leak. Johnson appears really miffed that this happened and he doesn't want the WH to get away with it, even though he himself is a Republican - on B&P, he seemed very confident that he knew who it was who had tipped off Novak - and then Buchanan got out of him that it was Libby.
Who is Scooter Libby? He is Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff (formerly the attorney for billionaire Mark Rich, who won a last-minute pardon from Clinton). All signs are beginning to point to him as the leaker of Mrs. Wilson's name and occupation to the media. Not only that, but back in July, Slate guessed that Libby was the one who originally insisted the yellow cake lie be kept in the State of the Union address:
Libby is a red-meat Iraq hawk who, according to
U.S. News & World Report, pushed Secretary of
State Colin Powell very hard when Powell was
preparing his speech to the U.N. Security Council
laying out the evidence against Iraq:
The first draft of Powell's speech was written by
Cheney's staff and the National Security Council.
Days before the team first gathered at the CIA, a
group of officials assembled in the White House
Situation Room to hear Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis
"Scooter" Libby, lay out an indictment of the Iraqi
regime—"a Chinese menu" of charges, one participant
recalls, that Powell might use in his U.N. speech. Not
everyone in the administration was impressed, however.
"It was over the top and ran the gamut from al Qaeda
to human rights to weapons of mass destruction," says
a senior official. "They were unsubstantiated assertions,
in my view."
Total Disinformation Awareness seems to think Libby's the guy too.
And it hasn't gone unnoticed that Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) pointed in the direction of the Vice President's office as well. Billmon caught the nod as well. In addition to Johnson, another CIA officer has pointed towards Libby as well.
What does this mean? Well, I'm no political insider, nor do I claim a vast knowledge of understanding - but as an everyday citizen, very interested in politics and what is going on in Washington, it seems to me that this is the top of the house of cards that this administration has been balancing on for a long time. It has been obvious that there has not only been conflict between State and DoD, but there has also been a lot of tension between the WH and the CIA. If Cheney was looking to consolidate his power, then it seems that he wouldn't have had many qualms about overriding CIA recommendations regarding Iraq intelligence. The CIA now appears ready to fight back and not lay on its sword anymore. What remains to be seen, in my opinion, is whether Bush will finally clean house or if he'll just go on as always and pretend that all's well in his little universe that no one else inhabits.
But let's not fool ourselves. This isn't just one little scandal surrounding a leak. This entire episode of revealing Mrs. Wilson as an act of revenge because Ambassador Wilson dared to publicly accuse the White House of using false information as a pretense to war and knowingly using that false information to convince the American public of the righteousness of that war. That false information was one of the cornerstone reasons for invading Iraq. It's not enough to say that this leak is bad (it's horrible- not only a crime but a threat to national security in a very real sense), we have to take it back to the original crime: the Bush Doctrine.
What's really slimy is the continued bashing of Wilson himself. He is not the problem. He didn't start this because of politics. It was the administraiton that made this go bad and they are going to have to stand up for what has happened in the end. This president has knowingly led our country into war on false pretenses, which has lead to the deaths of hundreds of US soldiers, thousands of injuries and maimings, and thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq. The leak was a very poor judgment call based on the desire for revenge. It's not even a cover-up. It's a flat out dirty trick that has gone bad. Accountability HAS to be the name of the game for any of this to ever be righted.