Saturday, April 08, 2006

Bush Administration’s Concerted Action To Attack Critics

The Plame story is of interest on many levels (but the complexity might be limiting its consideration by the majority of people–so far). It is usually discussed in terms of the outing of a covert agent’s identity, but there is another important way to look at this. Ultimately this was a conspiracy among people extremely high up including the Vice President, and to some degree, even if not with the actual release of Plame’s identity, the President. The goal of this group was to discredit those who criticized Bush, especially Joe Wilson for providing evidence that material presented by George Bush in the State of the Union Address was untrue.

The Washington Post concentrates on this aspect of the story today as they report on A ‘Concerted Effort’ to Discredit Bush Critic. They report:

As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney’s former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a “concerted action” by “multiple people in the White House” — using classified information — to “discredit, punish or seek revenge against” a critic of President Bush’s war in Iraq.

Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Some Bush defenders (such as Bill Sammon on Bill Maher’s show this week) are claiming that the Bush Administration’s leaks which were exposed last week were justified to present evidence that Wilson was wrong in his criticism. The Post shoots down this self-defense argument and shows that the reverse was true as the Bush Administration selectively released intelligence to provide false information to attempt to justify their actions:

One striking feature of that decision — unremarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it — is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.

United Nations inspectors had exposed the main evidence for the uranium charge as crude forgeries in March 2003, but the Bush administration and British Prime Minister Tony Blair maintained they had additional, secret evidence they could not disclose. In June, a British parliamentary inquiry concluded otherwise, delivering a scathing critique of Blair’s role in promoting the story. With no ally left, the White House debated whether to abandon the uranium claim and became embroiled in bitter finger-pointing about whom to fault for the error. A legal brief filed for Libby last month said that “certain officials at the CIA, the White House, and the State Department each sought to avoid or assign blame for intelligence failures relating to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”

It was at that moment that Libby, allegedly at Cheney’s direction, sought out at least three reporters to bolster the discredited uranium allegation. Libby made careful selections of language from the 2002 estimate, quoting a passage that said Iraq was “vigorously trying to procure uranium” in Africa.

Despite all the evidence that there was no threat from Saddam sufficient to justify war (and ignoring the real threat from al Qaeda), the right wing Bush worshippers continue to ignore reality in order to defend Bush’s actions. It is sad, but no surprise, that many right wing bloggers are jumping on the unsubstantiated statements in editorials such as this at Investor’s Business Daily and spreading them as if they were fact. It is amazing that conservatives who preached distrust of government when out of power now ignore the Orwellian propaganda machine their guys have established and even help spread their misinformation.


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