Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Plame Investigation is About the Cover-Up of the Leak

The Plame Investigation is About the Cover-Up of the Leak
It's more about the cover-up of the leak than the leak itself...
..and it seems to go far beyond Karl Rove.

Quote of the Day -
Kenneth Lerer on Karl Rove

"..imagine if some of the things you said to your psychiatrist, rabbi/priest all of a sudden were to become public. Shit. Now you understand Rove's problem. We will see a ton of word-parsing the rest of the summer by the White House press operation. But one thing is certain: Rove's got himself into a serious jam and sure wishes he never got involved with Joe Wilson in the first place. Seemingly little things like this destroy careers all the time." [Huffington Post]

Josh Marshall gets Second Place with this nugget:
So we've got Karl Rove's latest story, as recounted by his lawyer, Robert Luskin.

Rove did spill the beans about Plame in an effort to discredit Joe Wilson. Only he didn't mention the name 'Valerie Plame'. He only spilled the beans about 'Joe Wilson's wife'.

I'm no lawyer. But I'd hate to go into court with my case resting on that distinction.

And remember, the president has certainly known all of this from the beginning.
What Did Rove Know? And When?

Rove's defenders are trying to explain that the infamous e-mail, released with Rove's permission by the publishers of Time magazine, will prove that "the information conveyed was not part of an organized effort to disclose Plame's identity, but was an effort to discourage Time from publishing things that turned out to be false." (This is referring to claims in circulation at the time that Cheney and high-level CIA officials arranged for Wilson's trip to Africa.) [Source: July 18th Newsweek/Isikoff]

Rove has claimed, to the FBI, that he only found out Wilson's wife was CIA from reading Robert Novak's column, and called reporters only after that point. [Hunter at Daily Kos]

On the timing of the Novak column (thanks to Hunter/Daily Kos): "While Novak's column did not run until Monday, July 14, it could have been seen by people in the White House or the media as early as Friday, July 11, when the Creators Syndicate distributed it over the Associated Press wire." [Washington Post Nov. 26, 2004]

Fitzgerald's Investigation Seems to be Reaching as Far as to President Bush Himself

There is the question of Fitzgerald's subpeona of the Air Force One records from that time period. According to the new Cooper e-mail, which goes like this:
Matt Cooper tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy: "Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" and suggested another reporter check with the CIA."
... Karl Rove was leaving on vacation, so we may reasonably conclude that he was not taking Air Force One anytime soon thereafter. If I am not mistaken, President Bush was using Air Force One for travel to Africa at that time.

Did the WHIG group go all the way up to the conspiratorial inclusion of President Bush himself?

Lawrence O'Donnell appeared on the Rhandi Rhodes show on July 7th (Sam Seder was the guest host-2nd half of show). O'Donnell says he believes Karl Rove was the leak and he has reason to believe that the seriousness of the suspected crime involved has caused judges to try to legally warrant the jailing of journalists for denying to comply with Patrick Fitzgerald's demand to reveal the confidential sources. A Circuit Court of Appeals Judge named David S. Tatel, who is part of a *three-judge panel, has written a legal opinion [from last February]. Tatel says that implicit in any legal shield for reporters that would apply in this case, in protecting their source, must be the careful and reasoned balance against the value of the kind of information they were trying to get. The privilege of confidentiality is based upon the gravity of the suspected crime. There was a 41-page opinion written on the case where there is information, from a substantial whited-out section, which must be so extreme that the judges felt that they had no choice but to jail Judy Miller. It could only be about a national security leak that gravely effects national security.

I quote Lawrence O'Donnell:
In February, Circuit Judge David Tatel joined his colleagues’ order to Cooper and Miller despite his own, very lonely finding that indeed there is a federal privilege for reporters that can shield them from being compelled to testify to grand juries and give up sources. He based his finding on Rule 501 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which authorizes federal courts to develop new privileges “in the light of reason and experience.” Tatel actually found that reason and experience “support recognition of a privilege for reporters’ confidential sources.” But Tatel still ordered Cooper and Miller to testify because he found that the privilege had to give way to “the gravity of the suspected crime.”

Judge Tatel’s opinion has eight blank pages in the middle of it where he discusses the secret information the prosecutor has supplied only to the judges to convince them that the testimony he is demanding is worth sending reporters to jail to get. The gravity of the suspected crime is presumably very well developed in those redacted pages. Later, Tatel refers to “[h]aving carefully scrutinized [the prosecutor’s] voluminous classified filings.”

* Note: Also involved on this three-judge panel is Judge David Sentelle. I am not confident in knowing that Sentelle is involved in writing this legal decision. If an Appeals Court overturns any convictions that might be obtained on this case, in due course, (as Judge Sentelle has a history of doing with Oliver North and John Poindexter), then the mainstream corporate media will claim that the White House has been vindicated and individuals who are traitors to America will continue running the United States.

John Hannah/INC/Dick Cheney Connections?

In February, 2004, I had blogged about a man named John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who were two Dick Cheney employees. Hannah and fellow Vice presidential aide Libby had written the infamous dossier meant to serve as the basis for then Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 6, 2003 presentation to the UN.

"We believe that Hannah was the major player in this," one federal law-enforcement officer had said at the time about the Plame investigation. Calls to the vice president's office were not returned, nor did Hannah and Libby return calls. [Richard Sale, UPI, February 5, 2004]
**Per Kos/Feb 2004: "Hannah, by the way, is a "senior national security aide" for Cheney, and was, in fact, the administration's main point of contact with Chalabi's INC."**

Who Is Judy Miller Protecting??

Who is Judy Miller protecting? No one knows who - or why. There's a lot of speculation. Is she proecting HERSELF? Or Dick Cheney? From whom? Could it have been then-CIA director George Tenet, who was inflamed that one of his own CIA's cover was blown? Did George Tenet leak on the leakers (using Shelock Google's phrase)? Why did Tenet resign just before Bush retained Ken Lay's attorney James Sharp last summer?

Who Does Joseph Wilson Suspect?

Remember that Joseph Wilson, himself, has had suspicions. Libby was on the top of Wilson's list of suspects. Wilson thinks Karl Rove may have circulated information about himself and his wife Valerie "in administration and neoconservative circles" even if Rove was not himself the leaker. (Wilson has written about this).
Others on Wislon's suspect list were Elliott Abrams, a figure in the Reagan administration Iran-Contra affair and now a member of Bush's National Security Council...and the two lower-level officials in Cheney's office, (one of which I'd mentioned earlier in this post) - John Hannah or David Wurmser - who may have leaked Plame's identity at the behest of higher-ups "to keep their fingerprints off the crime." [source}

This probe seems to be more about who was implicit in the COVER-UP than who leaked the name.

How Are National Security, the Plame Leak, and Lies About Reason for Iraq War Tied In?

Here's an idea:

In 2001, a company named ARAMCO, which is the the largest oil group in the world, had signed a $140 million multi-year contract with Halliburton, then chaired by Dick Cheney, to develop a new oil field. Halliburton does a lot of business in Saudi Arabia. Current estimates of Halliburton contracts or joint ventures in the country run into the tens of billions of dollars. So do the fortunes of some shady figures from the Bush family's past.

ARAMCO constitutes 12% of the world's total oil production; a figure which has surely increased as Iraq's oil fields have burned and our misguided war has sunk it into irreversible decline for an unpredictable term. ARAMCO operates, manages, and maintains virtually all Saudi oil fields - 25% of all the oil on planet Earth.

A named defendant in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by 9/11 victims' families against the Saudi government is Khalid bin Mahfouz, who is reported to be a brother-in-law to Osama Bin Laden. As recently as 1991, bin Mahfouz was on the Supreme Council of ARAMCO's board of directors. Mahfouz has historical ties to the Bush family dating back to the 1980s, when another bank connected to Mahfouz - the InterMaritime Bank - bailed out a cash-starved Harken Energy in 1987 with $25 million. (The Bushes played with the inside knowledge and made a lot of money on this pump-and-dump).

Are you feeling filthy, just knowing about this incestuous relationship of greed yet?

This is a time when Saudi Arabia is one of the three or four countries of highest interest to the US, and the non-official cover (NOC) operation which Valerie Plame had been involved was irreplaceable. The demise of her cover operation, Brewster Jennings, was guaranteed the moment Plame was outed. "NOCs" are generally regarded in the intelligence community as among the best and most valuable of all CIA operations officers and the CIA goes to great lengths to protect them in what are frequently very risky missions.

The Saudis are denying reprots that oil production has peaked, but they are being strongly refuted by an increasing amount of hard data. The truth remains unproven, but the mere possibility has set the world's financial markets on edge. The answer to the Saudi peak question will determine whether Saudi Arabia really can - or cannot - increase production quickly. If they can't, then the US economy is going to suffer bitterly, and it is certain that the Saudi monarchy will collapse into chaos.

Valerie Plame's cover company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was instrumental in getting the answers our country so desperately required. Brewster, Jennings & Associates were tied closely with ARAMCO, and someone in the White House decided it was more important to cover their own lies to the American people and betray America than it was to protect such a crucial national interest.

Is it any wonder George Tenet would have been pissed off at the Plame leak? And why he may have resigned - knowing that, in order to truly serve his country's best security interests, it would be best for him to step away from his delicate position? Perhaps that Medal of Freedom was richly deserved, after all?

Michael C. Ruppert and Wayne Madsen, from whom I retrieved much of this information, have stated:
The CIA Director's job by definition, whether others like it or not, is to be able to go to his President and advise him of the real scientific data on foreign resources (especially oil); to warn him of pending instability in a country closely linked to the US economy; and to tell him what to plan for and what to promise politically in his foreign policy. In light of her position in the CIA's relationship with Saudi Aramco, the outing of Valerie Plame made much of this impossible. In short, the Bush leak threatened National Security.

Former White House Counsel and Watergate figure John Dean, writing for the prestigious legal website on June 4th made some very ominous observations that appear to have gone unnoticed by most.

This action by Bush is a rather stunning and extraordinary development. The President of the United States is potentially hiring a private criminal defense lawyer. Unsurprisingly, the White House is doing all it can to bury the story, providing precious little detail or context for the President's actions.

Re: The Cover up:
Last Note of Interest -
Meet The Martins

I was reading a great letter by humorist Bill Shein that included this statement:
"All successful democracies need freedom of speech, with a vibrant free press that informs the public, ensures transparency and prevents authoritarian backsliding." (Ongoing efforts to restrict Freedom of Information Act disclosures; pending imprisonment of journalists who investigated the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity; FCC policies that aid media consolidation; the Patriot Act's infringement on civil liberties, and the most secretive, nontransparent administration in American history. )
It made me think about Catherine J. Martin, who was then Dick Cheney's press secretary (and has since been named White House deputy communications director for policy and planning) - who is part of the Fitzgerald investigation on the outing of Valerie Plame because of some questionable cell phone calls. Catherine J. Martin's husband, Kevin Martin, just so happens to be the fellow who took Michael Powell's place at the FCC when Powell stepped down. Kevin Martin worked for Ken Starr during the witch hunt against Clinton, and when the Florida fix was in danger of falling apart in 2000, "Martin left for Miami so quickly he didn't pack a bag. Working round the clock, he could be seen on TV peering over ballot counters." Yikes.

Different Religions Week-July 15-22

Different Religions Week July 15-22

Different Religions Week 2005 is July 15-22.

Nathan Black is a student at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and he is the founder of "Different Religions Week", which is a week during which people are encouraged to attend services of faiths different from their own. Black started the movement in 2003 to help curb people’s widespread ignorance of other faiths, which often leads to intolerance and which sometimes ultimately results in — or is used to justify — violence (consider, for example, 9/11 or the Bosnian conflict).

There is more information about the how and why of the movement is available at

There is no one “event” around which Different Religions Week is based; rather, people are simply encouraged to find and attend an unfamiliar religious service at their convenience during the week. (Atheist and agnostic meetings count too.) The movement’s Web site has links under “World Religions” to directories where you can get started finding a service.

Please consider spreading the word by posting a comment on or announcement of Different Religions Week 2005 on your own blog..or you can take action some other way:

- Write a letter about Different Religions Week to your local newspaper.

- Write a letter about Different Religions Week to your government leaders.

Most importantly, participate, tell your friends and family about your experiences, and encourage them to try a different religious service themselves.

Tar Heel Tavern #20

Tar Heel Tavern #20
Drink up, me hearties! Th' sails o' th' Tar Heel Tavern #20 be appearin' on th' horizon at Scrutiny Hooligans. Avast, ye lads an' lasses, an' read th' fine collection o' Carolina-spun gentleman (and gentlewoman) o' fortune tales. Arrrr!

Help Skippy Score A Million

Help Skippy Score A Million
It would be nice of you to give Skippy the Bush Kangaroo your attention today.
He's getting close to achieving a million blog hits.

Brit Leak: US Plans to Draw Down Iraq Troops

Brit Leak: US Plans to Draw Down Iraq Troops

According to Juan Cole, Reuters has picked up on a report that first appeared in The Guardian on July 6, that the British are planning to draw down from 8,000 to 9,000 troops* in Iraq now to 2,000 to 3,000 by spring-summer of 2006. But it has gotten hold of a leaked memo from the British Ministry of Defense that reveals that the US plans to draw down its forces from 138,000 to 66,000 by July of 2006, as well. The Pentagon is expecting to be able to turn security duties in 14 of the 18 provinces over to the Iraqi government by then. [Story also at BBC News]

* This would indicate that the British ambassador to Baghdad is lying.

Note: Juan Cole says he remains unconvinced that the new Iraqi army will actually be able to take up the slack.

Cole also points to BBC correspondent Jon Leyne, who talks about what an upside-down place American-occupied Iraq is, and how poor Bush administration decision-making helped make it that way.