New Civilization News: Going Up In Plames    
 Going Up In Plames7 comments
picture18 Oct 2005 @ 09:49, by Richard Carlson

You ask why I make my home in the mountain forest,
and I smile, and am silent,
and even my soul remains quiet:
it lives in the other world
which no one owns.
The peach trees blossom.
The water flows.

---Li Po

Within the waters is the entire world;
There is nothing in its depths but reflections of mountains and rivers.
A fish breaks the surface and then disappears again ---
What need is there to borrow the wind and thunder?


The longest journey is the journey inward....
The road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.

---Dag Hammarskjold

I'm not asking for sympathy, but I have to tell you I'm practically crazy after spending an hour and a half chasing the major newspapers around in their anticipation of Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald's announcement of possible indictments as early as tomorrow. So I complain if they don't cover these kinds of stories and now I complain if they all do. Google News is showing nearly 1100 entries at this hour, and nearly every one goes after a different angle. However this turns out, it has got to be among the most complicated cases the world ever has seen. Central to the complication, of course, is who's lying, who's mistaken, and who just can't remember. Having gone blank myself sometimes, either in a test or under scrutiny from a superior, I'm trying to empathize. What precisely did I intend with that behavior of mine, so casually performed, nearly 3 years ago? At what point does someone realize he has to shape up his act so that any moment of his life can withstand the public spotlight? My father always advised me to "live above suspicion," words that I've remembered but rebelliously rarely lived by.

It would be most simple to imagine Bush, Cheney and the Iraq Group huddled in a corner planning covert revenge upon Joe Wilson for blasting their WMD plot out of the water. "Of course we can get Karl and Scooter to do the job. Their specialty." Those guys are in the oil business, which clearly is a more comfortable life in these Final Days than any sort of "elected" public service job. (How well we in Ohio understand Iraqis currently wondering where all those Yes votes came from!) But who is there to testify to such a scenario? More and more Americans are finding it easy to imagine, but a case in court it does not make. Let me point out a few sites I thought were significant this morning. I think probably the best summary of where we are appears in today's Washington Post, written by Jim VandeHei and Walter Pincus.

"As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.
"In grand jury sessions, including with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Fitzgerald has pressed witnesses on what Cheney may have known about the effort to push back against ex-diplomat and Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV, including the leak of his wife's position at the CIA, Miller and others said. But Fitzgerald has focused more on the role of Cheney's top aides, including Chief of Staff I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, lawyers involved in the case said.
"One former CIA official told prosecutors early in the probe about efforts by Cheney's office and his allies at the National Security Council to obtain information about Wilson's trip as long as two months before Plame was unmasked in July 2003, according to a person familiar with the account.
"It is not clear whether Fitzgerald plans to charge anyone inside the Bush administration with a crime. But with the case reaching a climax -- administration officials are braced for possible indictments as early as this week-- it is increasingly clear that Cheney and his aides have been deeply enmeshed in events surrounding the Plame affair from the outset."

Another good one is Reuters coverage from yesterday that TruthOut is carrying, with a link to Bloomberg which I didn't find produced anything (possibly because the story is old already). Anyway it tells how many of Cheney's people have been questioned in the widening affair. [link]

Most of the stories not involved in speculation have to do with Judith Miller's "tell-all" in the New York Times over the weekend [link] and The Times' own coverage of its own coverage, written almost well by Don Van Natta Jr, Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy [link] . Arianna Huffington has been merciless about Judy from the moment she went to jail, and unleashed a brilliant entry at her blog yesterday.

"We now know that Miller's bosses were being warned about serious credibility problems with her reporting as far back as 2000 -- a warning that came from a Pulitzer Prize-winning colleague of Miller who was so disturbed by her journalistic methods he took the extraordinary step of writing a warning memo to his editors and then asked that his byline not appear on an article they had both worked on.
"In today's WaPo, Howard Kurtz quotes from a December 2000 memo sent by Craig Pyes, a two time Pulitzer winner who had worked with Miller on a series of Times stories on al-Qaeda.
"'I'm not willing to work further on this project with Judy Miller... I do not trust her work, her judgment, or her conduct. She is an advocate, and her actions threaten the integrity of the enterprise, and of everyone who works with her. . . . She has turned in a draft of a story of a collective enterprise that is little more than dictation from government sources over several days, filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies,' and 'tried to stampede it into the paper.'"

Pete Yost is more apologetic for Miller in yesterday's Newsday [link] but James Ridgeway at the Village Voice seized upon a section of Miller's account that says she was given security clearance by the Pentagon to investigate the WMD thing.
"Providing a journalist with a security clearance is unusual to begin with—former CBS correspondent Bill Lynch has likened it to the government's licensing journalists—but a security clearance within a WMD investigations unit dealing with highly sensitive matters is hard to believe. If Miller couldn't tell her editors what she had learned as a reporter because it would be revealing classified information, then how could she perform her job as a reporter? Did Miller instead become a secret government agent, as it were, operating within The New York Times?" [link]

Representative John Conyers was so startled by the revelation that he wrote a letter to Donald Rumsfeld yesterday asking about security clearance for those embedded reporters. [link]

But Pete Yost had another story yesterday, with John Solomon, that I found at Yahoo News that is equally unsettling. What they saw in Miller's article was "Miller disclosed this weekend that her notes of a conversation she had with I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby on July 8, 2003 stated Cheney's top aide told her that the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson worked for the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) unit. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, never worked for WINPAC, an analysis unit in the overt side of the CIA, and instead worked in a position in the CIA's secret side, known as the directorate of operations, according to three people familiar with her work for the spy agency." [link] The story goes on to wonder whether Miller's notes are wrong or whether Libby really didn't know he was outing a secret agent. It seems to me Libby can get off the hook with this...or at least pin it on such inconsequential aide who got his information screwed up. Since Cheney asked the CIA to send someone to Niger to "verify" his WMD, it seems logical to me that he would have wanted to discredit Valerie Plame for sending her own husband on the assignment...not caring whether she was undercover or not. In fact the CIA has confirmed that it was not Valerie's job to assign anyone to go, and that she only had suggested Joe because of his background and experience in the region.

At any rate most analysts agree that the outing may not be the thrust of any indictments handed down. Instead there could be various obstruction charges...and that'll be fine with me for the moment. This Administration and its war certainly has obstructed my life. But let us not forget: through it all tens of thousands of men, women and children have died. Lastly I recommend a blog called Talking Points Memo that seems to be a center for everyone these days. Joshua Micah Marshall is keeping tabs on these developments literally moment by moment. [link]

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18 Oct 2005 @ 17:30 by jstarrs : John Hannah...  

19 Oct 2005 @ 16:57 by Quinty @ : Does it come naturally to them?

I doubt very much Judith Miller is an honest person. She shilled for the administration in the lead up to the war, giving these liars much amunition. And I very much doubt she forgot the name of the person in the administration who spoke to her. This was not like forgetting what ones shopping list had a month or two ago. Someone very high in the administration handed her an explossive story, and it's not at all likely she would have forgotten who it was.

As for the cabal in the White House they are dishonest, have always been dishonest, and can be counted upon being totally dishonest in the future. Even if Christ visitst them all, once again. And they are all reborn once again. For it appears that Christ only occupies the darker regions of their souls where they seek comfort when they face their paranoid fears. Lying is natural to them. Getting back at "enemies" is natural to them. They don't need to sit around in a circle pushing the envelope, wondering if they dare go just that one step more. To shut some one up and make an example for others. As if it were all new to them. They are ugly, inferior people who the American voters, in all their magesty, put into power. And there must be some affinity between the voters and the politicians they elect. Or else the administration's propaganda scares have been extremely effective. No matter. The mess is coming to light, now, hopefully. And we can only expect them to spin much faster to deflect the truth which is hitting them in the eye.

End of rant. Sermon? Whatever.

Have a good day.....  

20 Oct 2005 @ 20:14 by jazzolog : Colin Powell Heard From---Kind Of
I recommend to you an article in this morning's Financial Times regarding the transcript of Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, made available by a think tank called the New America Foundation . Wilkerson served former Secretary of State Colin Powell both at the Pentagon and the State Department for the past 16 years, most recently as his chief of staff.

Cheney 'cabal' hijacked US foreign policy
>By Edward Alden in Washington
>Published: October 20 2005 00:00 | Last updated: October 20 2005 00:19
Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”

Mr Wilkerson said such secret decision-making was responsible for mistakes such as the long refusal to engage with North Korea or to back European efforts on Iran.
It also resulted in bitter battles in the administration among those excluded from the decisions.

“If you're not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran.”

The comments, made at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, were the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism czar, and Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary, early last year.

Mr Wilkerson said his decision to go public had led to a personal falling out with Mr Powell, whom he served for 16 years at the Pentagon and the State Department.

“He's not happy with my speaking out because, and I admire this in him, he is the world's most loyal soldier."

Among his other charges:

■ The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was “a concrete example” of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. “You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it.”

■ Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was “part of the problem”. Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, “she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president”.

■ The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr Wilkerson claimed, “start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel”.

Mr Wilkerson said former president George H.W. Bush “one of the finest presidents we have ever had” understood how to make foreign policy work. In contrast, he said, his son was “not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either”.

“There's a vast difference between the way George H.W. Bush dealt with major challenges, some of the greatest challenges at the end of the 20th century, and effected positive results in my view, and the way we conduct diplomacy today.”  

21 Oct 2005 @ 15:48 by Quinty @ : Powell's aid and I
both described them as a "cabal."

Does this indicate some sort of spiritual affinity? Like world views and philosophies? No, not even a coincidence. The reason for the redundancy in words is because a truth, wherever it is seen, no matter where, remains the same. Unlike our far rightwing Republican friends we do not invent reality. We hope to be its slaves allowing it to dicatate and lead the way. There is more consistency in what we say because we accept the facts, rather than improvise as we move along. Which is one reason why so many contradictory messages have come out of the White House. Now they appear to be simply clamming up with so many investigators at their door.

Our country has enormous problems which this "cabal" in Washington has ignored with all its greed and ambition. It wasn't coincidence or like-mindedness but a choice of the appropiate word applied to a fact which prompted its use. The lying and the spin will only become more furious now that the truth is closing in on them.

End of my morning sermon, diatribe?

Have a good day......  

23 Oct 2005 @ 10:56 by jazzolog : Maureen Dowd On Judith Miller
Up in Columbus yesterday, I didn't catch up with this column until just now. If you didn't see it, sorry for the delay (no pun intended).

Woman of Mass Destruction
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

Saturday 22 October 2005

I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp.

The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur - never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.

Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times' seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing.

At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat."

It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch.

She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."

Judy's stories about WMD fit too perfectly with the White House's case for war. She was close to Ahmad Chalabi, the con man who was conning the neocons to knock out Saddam so he could get his hands on Iraq, and I worried that she was playing a leading role in the dangerous echo chamber that former Senator Bob Graham dubbed "incestuous amplification." Using Iraqi defectors and exiles, Mr. Chalabi planted bogus stories with Judy and other credulous journalists.

Even last April, when I wrote a column critical of Mr. Chalabi, she fired off e-mail to me defending him.

When Bill Keller became executive editor in the summer of 2003, he barred Judy from covering Iraq and W.M.D issues. But he admitted in The Times' Sunday story about Judy's role in the Plame leak case that she had kept "drifting" back. Why did nobody stop this drift?

Judy admitted in the story that she "got it totally wrong" about WMD "If your sources are wrong," she said, "you are wrong." But investigative reporting is not stenography.

The Times' story and Judy's own first-person account had the unfortunate effect of raising more questions. As Bill said in an e-mail note to the staff on Friday, Judy seemed to have "misled" the Washington bureau chief, Phil Taubman, about the extent of her involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case.

She casually revealed that she had agreed to identify her source, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, as a "former Hill staffer" because he had once worked on Capitol Hill. The implication was that this bit of deception was a common practice for reporters. It isn't.

She said that she had wanted to write about the Wilson-Plame matter, but that her editor would not allow it. But Managing Editor Jill Abramson, then the Washington bureau chief, denied this, saying that Judy had never broached the subject with her.

It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like "Valerie Flame." Nor does it seem credible that she doesn't know how the name got into her notebook and that, as she wrote, she "did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby."

An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.

Judy is refusing to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.

As you may know, Arianna Huffington has mercilessly dogged (not catted) the reporter from the start, even through Miller's whole stay in jail. You may catch up on that at the essential .  

23 Oct 2005 @ 16:03 by Quinty @ : Judith Miller's game

The thing about this is that it may never have been a First Ammendement issue. Miller participated in a felony, an act of vengeance against an "enemy" of the Bush administration. This is very far from protecting a "whistle blower" or a source of information which exposed government abuse or misconduct.

So Judith Miller may be no heroine but an accomplice to some very dirty dealings.  

26 Oct 2005 @ 08:15 by jazzolog : Plamegate Indictments Today?
Steven Clemons is a Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, where he previously served as Executive Vice President. He is also publisher of the popular political blog, The, where he wrote yesterday evening, "The targets of indictment have already received their letters." He continues, "The indictments will be sealed indictments and 'filed' tomorrow," and " A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday." Here is a list of and links to Mr. Clemons' previous publications: .

So are the people of this numb nation going to care, get involved, and why should they? Arianna reminds us in her superb essay yesterday~~~

It's getting hard to keep track of all the lies we've been told. Here's a quick cheat sheet:

We now know that Cheney lied to the American people about his involvement in the effort to smear Joe Wilson.

Three months after reportedly receiving a briefing about Wilson's trip to Niger from George "Slam Dunk" Tenet, and then telling Scooter Libby that Plame may have helped arrange her husband's trip, the Vice President went on national TV and told Tim Russert he didn't have a clue about the situation: "I don't know Joe Wilson... I don't know who sent Joe Wilson... I have no idea who hired him and it never came up."

We now know that Karl Rove lied about his involvement, too.

Back in September 2003, when Rove was asked if he had "any knowledge" about the Plame leak, he answered with an unambiguous "No."

Since then, we've learned that Rove was actually up to his Turd Blossom in Plamegate, discussing Plame and her role at the CIA with Matt Cooper and Bob Novak, and taking part in what a source familiar with his four visits to the grand jury characterized as "an aggressive campaign to discredit Wilson through the leaking and disseminating of derogatory information regarding him and his wife."

We now know that Scooter Libby also lied about his involvement.

Libby told Pat Fitzgerald that he first learned Plame's identity from Tim Russert. But his own notes show that it was actually his boss, Dick Cheney, who first clued him in about Plame. (Russert, of course, has said he learned of Plame's identity by reading Novak's column, but that's a conundrum for another blog!).

And we now know that Rove and Libby also lied to Scott McClellan, who then -- knowingly or not -- lied to reporters about the two men's involvement.

When pressed today about the fact that in October 2003 he had "categorically" assured reporters that Rove and Libby "were not involved" in the Plame leak, McClellan made it clear that he was just passing on "the assurances that I had received on that." In other words, I only lied to you because they lied to me.

Potential Bonus Presidential Lie: In June 2004, when asked whether he stood by his promise to fire anyone found to have leaked Plame's identity, President Bush (taking a cue from Rove) answered with an unambiguous "Yes." But the New York Daily News reports that Bush knew that Rove was involved in the leak two years ago. So why, a year later, was he still acting like he had no idea who'd been involved?

Let's put aside the legal arguments for a moment and just focus on this glut of lying. Clearly, these guys knew that what they were up to should be kept in the shadows. Hence Rove's desire to have his conversation with Cooper be kept on "double super secret background," his self-assessment that he'd "already said too much" to Cooper, and Libby's request that Judy Miller identify him as a "former Hill staffer" instead of the usual "senior administration official."

Cheney, Rove, and Libby obviously felt that their actions had to be covered up.

But what they were covering up was much more than the outing of Valerie Plame. They were covering up the way the White House had used lies and deception to lead us into a war that was reckless and unnecessary -- what Lt. Gen. William Odom, National Security Agency director under Reagan, has called "the greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

The reason why Cheney, Rove, and Libby were so aggressive in attacking anyone who questioned their rationale for war is because, by the summer of 2003, it was becoming embarrassingly clear how wrong they had been about Iraq -- wrong about WMD, wrong about flowers thrown at our feet, wrong about the cost of the war. Had their incompetence not been so grotesquely manifest, there would have been no need for the attack on Wilson -- and the resulting coverup -- that has now landed them all in such legal hot water.

If Rove and Libby are indeed indicted (adding Cheney to our Merry Fitz-mas gift list would just be getting greedy), I believe it will shake up our government in a way we haven't seen since Watergate.

To borrow a phrase from that era, let me make myself perfectly clear: I'm not saying that Plamegate is the same as Watergate. I'm saying it's worse. Much, much worse. No one died as a result of Watergate, but 2,000 American soldiers have now been killed and thousands more wounded to rid the world of an imminent threat that wasn't.

Could there be anything bigger?

After getting a fumbling cipher like George W. Bush elected president, the powers-behind-the-throne must have believed they were untouchable and could get away with anything -- including lying about WMD, outing a CIA agent, and, perhaps, lying to a special prosecutor.

Like Nixon, their mindset was "if you try to get in our way we'll destroy you." (See how quickly those keep-us-safe national security guys were willing to jeopardize an intelligence asset in the name of covering their asses.) And their hubris caused them to over-reach.

Like my old Greek pal Icarus, they flew too close to the sun... and now it looks like they, and their multitude of lies, are about to come crashing down.

Her source references are hyperlinked. While there you also might check the comment by DerekC at 9:40 pm in which he lays out the stats regarding previous investigations by independent counsels.  

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