Lying Media Bastards

November 1, 2005

Scootergate


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Rarely have I said much of anything about the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame/Niger Uranium/Scooter Libby/Judy Miller/Karl Rove/Dick Cheney/Outed CIA Agent thing. But in the wake of one actual indictment, and the slim chance of more, maybe I’ll give my take on it all.

1) Niger. All of this has to do with one of the many lame bits of evidence that the US gave to justify an invasion of Iraq. The US and Britain received some forged documents saying that Saddam Hussein wanted to buy tons of unrefined “yellowcake” uranium from the Niger government, which allegedly showed his continued attempts to make nuclear weapons. Even if this document had turned out to be real, it ignored the fact that Hussein already had 500 tons of the stuff lying around Baghdad that he couldn’t refine.

(And, interestingly, there is now evidence that these forged documents about Niger were created by Italian intelligence and given to the US by a key foreign policy advisor to Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. That man, Giovanni Castellanet, is now the Italian ambassador to the US. Blogger Josh Marshall is keeping a close eye on the investigation into Italy’s involvement in all this)

2) The leak. I honestly believe that the leak of Valerie Plame’s undercover CIA status was an accident. Hold on, hold on, let me finish. To me, it seems that the goal was simply to discredit Joe Wilson, who had exposed the Niger documents as fraud. The official smear story was “Wilson doesn’t know what he’s talking about, the only reason he was sent to investigate was cuz his wife set up the trip for him.” And for that smear to work, they had to mention that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame/Wilson, worked for the CIA. And since no one was supposed to know that, the leakers blew her cover. And, potentially anyone who worked for the same CIA front company Brewster Jennings.

Of course, I don’t think Bush & crew would give a fuck about endangering the life of a CIA agent or ruining her career, but I don’t think that that was their goal here.

3) Protecting the sources. Apparently, the reporters who received these leaks felt the need to “protect the anonymity of their sources.” Now, the leakers here were not heroic whistleblowers telling us that cigarette companies manipulate their nicotine levels or that soylent green is made of people. These leakers were attempting to smear an innocent man in order to convince a nation to go kill people in another nation. In most cases, the source is an eyewitness who tells the reporter about a crime. In this case, the source was committing a crime by speaking to the reporter, and the reporter was the eyewitness!

4) Judy Miller. There are about three relevant things about Judy Miller here. The first is that the pro-war drumbeat was largely promoted by Miller’s stories in the NY Times. Stories that were fed to her by Achmed Chalabi, the Iraqi exile who wanted to replace Saddam as the head of Iraq. As a fellow with an agenda, every word out of his mouth should have been suspect, but Miller printed his tall tales like they were the Word of God.

Second, Miller is the only reporter who actually went to jail to protect the White House smear campaign. And yet… none of her fellow reporters seemed to want to defend her. Which leads to:

Third, Judy Miller is out for Judy Miller. No one seems to believe that she was concerned about her source or her journalistic integrity, just that she was trying to keep herself out of trouble. Atlhough I half believe that she let herself go to jail so she could become a First Amendment martyr and go on to book deals and pundit jobs.

5) The indicments. Unfortunately for any news junkies out there, I can’t force myself to care too much about the details of who said what to who. These motherfuckers are criminals, guilty of acts far more evil than harming a CIA couple. I’d lovelovelove to see them punished, and if we can only see it via a Capone-esque “obstruction of justice” charge instead of the deserved “crimes against humanity”, well, I guess I can live with that.

Overall, though, it looks as though this entire leak incident was a Rove-Libby-Cheney thing. It’s a typical Rove dirty trick. Libby was allegedly obsessed with Joe Wilson and took his Niger debunking personally. And from what I’ve heard, it sounds like Cheney was the one who learned of Plame’s CIA status and passed it along to Libby. At present, there are only indictments against Libby, who has already stepped down and been replaced.

So what’s the result of all this? What impact does it have on anything? Not sure, exactly. Scooter Libby never seemed like that big a player, and I can’t imagine that Cheney will take any sort of fall on this one. But Rove… there is a slim chance that Rove could be indicted, and on top of that, conservatives seem to be floating the idea that he should resign first. That would be a major blow to the Bush administration.

But, even if Rove remains, the leak/indicment scandal does look like a slow-motion implosion of the Bush White House. Will the fight for the new conservative Supreme Court nominee re-unite the wings of the Republican party? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Posted by Jake on November 1, 2005 11:52 pm

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