THE LYNCHPIN TO BUSH'S IMPEACHMENT
By Carl F. Worden
Okay, folks, let's move past the bloody events of 7/7 in London, and examine an equally important national news story that is hardly being reported. Just as the Watergate scandal eventually forced Richard Nixon to resign from the Office of The Presidency, the "Plame Outing" portends to do exactly the same for the presidency of George W. Bush.
Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA operative investigating whether or not Saddam Hussein of Iraq still had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD. Mrs. Plame's husband is former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
As George W. Bush was in the process of "convincing" Congress that Iraq still had large stockpiles of WMD and was planning to use them "imminently" against the United States and our allies, covert CIA agent Valerie Plame was confiding to her husband that Bush was lying. Mrs. Plame also told her husband that Iraq had made no attempt to secure nuclear materials from Niger, as was also being alleged by the Bush Administration.
At the time, only one lonely voice screamed from the rooftops of this nation that the president and his administration were "wrong" about Iraq's WMD stockpile, and that was former Marine and U.N. Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter. He did get some press, but the Bush Administration put out a rumor that suggested Ritter was on the payroll of Saddam Hussein and could not be trusted. Those who knew of and trusted Ritter didn't buy the lie, and those who just wanted to kill somebody after 9/11 accepted the administration version as Gospel. That's just the way it is nowadays.
But when Valerie Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador and a most highly respected source for his accuracy, integrity, and credibility, came out publicly and stated the Niger/Nuclear story had already been proven bogus before Bush mentioned it in his 2003 State of The Union address, Bush was caught flat-footed in a bold-faced lie. The excuse given for the faux pas was an alleged failure to fully vet the script of the speech before Bush gave it, and as usual, those who opposed the coming war knew it was a lie, and those who wanted to get on with the killing accepted the excuse as an innocent boo-boo (mistake).
At the time, the Bush people were quite full of themselves and riding high in the polls. They saw themselves as virtually untouchable after the 9/11 attacks and their military success in routing out the Taliban Government in Afghanistan, so they let their egos and the power they wield fool themselves into thinking they could do just about anything to anyone, and nobody could do a thing about it. Come to think of it, that's what brought down Richard Nixon.
So instead of just allowing the whole Wilson -- Niger -- Nuclear lie to drift away into obscurity and irrelevance, they wanted revenge. The next thing you know, conservative columnist Robert Novak has written an article that identified Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a covert CIA operative investigating weapons of mass destruction! With that revelation, Plame's cover was blown and she had to withdraw. But what most folks don't realize is that when a covert spook is exposed, the enemy always arrests, tortures and kills everyone associated with that spook -- and especially those they thought were on their side. To this day, nobody really knows how much damage was done by the Plame outing, but I can assure you that people died because of it, even if Plame herself is safe.
It is a federal crime to expose the name of an American covert agent, circa the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. It carries a sentence of 10 years in prison and a $50,000.00 fine, which in my mind is just not enough. Considering how many people can be exposed, tortured and executed when just one highly-placed CIA operative is identified, the deliberate outing of such an agent should carry the death penalty and nothing less. Notice I wrote the "deliberate" identification of such an agent should carry the death penalty, and not the inadvertent screw-up of a blabbermouth.
But the Plame outing was deliberate, and for a specious reason: The Bush people knew Wilson's wife was a covert CIA spy, and they put two-and-two together to figure out it was she who told her husband the Niger story was a lie. Is that petty or what??
Next, two reporters were involved in relaying the Plame/CIA identity to columnist Robert Novak. They are Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, and Judith Miller of the New York Times. Both reporters were ordered in court to reveal the source of the Plame outing, and both refused to do so on the grounds of the First Amendment right to free press and free speech. In every case prior, the courts upheld a journalist's right to protect a confidential source, but that was before we ended up with the current Supreme Court that I contend is the worst enemy of the Constitution that has ever been impaneled. Nevertheless, I hate to admit this on the grounds I'm subscribing to situation ethics and I hate my hypocrisy, but I'm happy to report this corrupted Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of Cooper and Miller.
Cooper's boss at Time Magazine has agreed to give Cooper's notes to the court, while Miller has already begun her stay in prison. But the court has ordered Cooper to testify in open court as to his source, and he has agreed to do so. Cooper's notes reveal his probable source to be White House insider Karl Rove, but that is not conclusive, and we won't get closer to the truth until Cooper testifies. If it is Rove, I doubt he revealed Plame's identity to the reporters without President Bush's permission, but they may take the same stand Nixon took; that Nixon didn't know anything about the Watergate break-in, but he did make a mistake trying to cover it up. We'll see.
But the real reason this Plame incident is so important is that it adds a tremendous amount of credibility to the recently exposed "Downing Street Memo," in which notes were taken at a meeting in Britain that revealed Bush planned to attack Iraq long before the WMD accusations were made, and that the "Intelligence was being fixed" around that policy. The fact that such a petty act of revenge was enacted against Joseph Wilson's wife for the "crime" of her husband telling the American people the god's-honest truth, certainly lends credence to those who contend the Downing Street Memo is a smoking gun that reveals deliberate deception upon the Congress and the American people to go to war with Iraq on the basis of entirely false allegations.
Last time I checked, that was an impeachable offense, and now we have the deliberate outing of a carefully placed CIA spy who was working to protect you and me from further terrorist attacks. Do you join me in asking, "Whose side are these Bush guys on?"
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The Journal of History - Winter 2008 Copyright © 2008 by News Source, Inc.