Tuesday :: Jul 19, 2005

Yes, We Have No Leaky-Leaks

by Marie

Why was the 6/10/03 State Department INR prepared? Seems to me to be a bit late in the day to formally review the “yellowcake” issue. Or even to prepare a general CYA through a report. And if it was nothing more than a general CYA effort, it’s exceedingly odd that there would have been any interest in, much less a focus on, why Wilson was selected to go to Niger. There was nothing odd about the official CIA version. And then to take the extraordinary step and identify Mrs. Wilson as a CIA employee in the report. Not to mention that the charge that Mrs. Wilson secured the assignment for her husband was made by someone who could not have been at the CIA meeting in which the selection was discussed and the CIA has denied that the INR is correct.

Getting answers to all those questions, including who the report was prepared for, would seem very important even if no evidence can be found that it was shared with WH employees. At least one, if not many, could have a serious legal problem from the preparation of the report unless the hurdle of “need to know” the identity of a NOC can be demonstrated for the State department employee that secured the information. Had Plame had official cover, the CIA employee that gave the information to a State Dept employee could have some defense. The person or persons that prepared the report in spite of stamping “classified” on it also violated the “need to know” principle. Even Powell had no need to know this.

Reports that Powell took it with him on AF1 right after Wilson’s Op-Ed was published but before Novak‘s column appeared, puts Powell in legal jeopardy unless he had the information on Mrs. Wilson redacted from it. It only gets worse for him if he shared it with those lacking the appropriate security clearance like Ari and Rove.

Backing up for a moment, in watching all of this unfold, I somehow managed to overlook Kristoff’s 5/x/03 NYT column that cited an identified source that we now know was Wilson. This was weeks before Pincus published this information in WAPO. It gave State a heads up that they might need to prepare a CYA. It also gave them enough information inquire about who the CIA had sent to Niger and with that information to look for something with which to discredit him. (We can surmise that they looked at and couldn’t find anything in Wilson’s State Dept record.) It wouldn’t be surprising to discover that Bolton had been behind the INR or that he shared it with Scooter Libby or Rove. But only the first part would be easy to document.

The leak that Powell had it with him on AF1 is interesting. BushCo doesn’t leak anything that it doesn’t want out there and Fitzgerald’s team doesn’t seem to leak anything at all. Therefore, and at the risk of being wrong, I would guess that BushCo leaked this to advance the idea that lots of people could have had access to this information. And if Fitzgerald insists on a single perp, better to point the finger at Powell who may have only negligently allowed somebody to see it. Powell is such a good little soldier that he’ll suck up some minor charge of negligence for those who have given him so much and know so much more about him. At the political propaganda level, Rove knows that Powell will survive better if thrown to the wolves than any of the rest of them would. Not just because he is no longer in office but because a significant number of Democrats will never believe that Powell willfully committed treason thus, he could only have made a minor mistake.

(While Gannon/Guckert remains an interesting story to me, it’s only because I’d really like to know who he was servicing in the WH and not because he played any significant role in the Plame Saga. That person either showed the INR or disclosed the details of it to Guckert. Unfortunately, the first time Guckert disclosed possession of that information was in late October 2003 and after it had already appeared in the WSJ. I don’t know if those “leaks” were so much pushing the story that Mrs. Wilson selected Joe as much as they may have been designed to muddy the waters about documentary evidence of the claim and direct attention away from the INR as the WH source. Guckert claimed that it was a CIA memo. And this had journalists chasing their tails for a few months.)

“It’s the cover-up and not the crime” nonsense that so many journalists and politicians have been in love with since Watergate only demonstrates their ignorance. Nixon resigned because he could no longer cover up his crimes, but the cover-up only contributed to the number of crimes committed and were not the most serious. However, cover-ups increase the likelihood that a crime will be detected simply because they increase the number of crimes. No cover-up can begin to approach the criminality of “fixing the intelligence” to take this country to war. However, at the rate BushCo is spinning, they are moving into the territory where their Plame outing cover-up could become as serious as blowing an entire CIA covert operation for political purposes. Still, it can’t be ignored that the outing of Plame was more than a political dirty trick. It was part of the WMD cover-up.

In addition to release of classified information, perjury and obstruction of justice charges, these clowns now appear to be leaving themselves open to conspiracy charges for both the outing of Plame and covering it up. If I’m reading the latest disclosure in the LA Times correctly, somebody in the WH has figured this out. Time for a little pushback onto Rove. Make him singularly obsessed with discrediting Wilson. That Rove, and not the WH, thinks only in political terms. Insulate the WH from Rove’s acts. Put Rove’s fate in Fitzgerald’s hands and pray that Fitzgerald cannot nail him with a crime. Put Rove’s short-term political fate in Mehlman’s hands to orchestrate and coordinate with no WH contact. Mehlman and the rightwing think tanks can manage the talking points but not the top DC GOP Congressional mouthpieces. They won’t re-surface until the Rove Geiger counter stops clicking. The GOP lesser bulbs will go out right before the first rat jumps ship.

Rove is going down but not alone, and Fitzgerald needs no help from Democrats to accomplish this. 75% of Americans don’t believe the WH is cooperating with Fitzgerald. Democrats need only reflect this back to them and apply pressure on Bush. “Mr. President, why has it taken two years for us to learn that a WH employee released classified information to the media? If you can’t even get to the bottom of something your closest advisor was involved in, how can the American people have any confidence that you can get to the bottom of anything?” Let America see that he’s an incompetent boob. Reserve the charges of treason for another day when the public is ready to hear this and the facts are more readily accessible.

Marie :: 1:09 PM :: Comments (11) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!