Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Plame's all over but the screaming

The giant sucking sound you here is the Main Stream Media pulling back from a major non-story and hoping nobody notices.

This nonsense has gone on for three years now, cost the American taxpayer millions, damaged the reputation of innocent public servants and most importantly, affected the country's unity at a time when we need desperately to be united.

It all started when ex-diplomat, partisan Democrat and former US ambassador Joseph Wilson accused the Bush administration of deliberately smearing him and attempting to injure him by revealing that his wife, Valerie Plame was employed by the CIA because of Wilson's criticism of the Bush Administration and the invasion of Iraq.

Wilson wrote in that paragon of fairness and accuracy the New York Times that Bush had lied in his 2003 State of the Union address about Saddam Hussein's seeking uranium in Niger for nuclear weapons.

The CIA sent Wilson to Niger in 2002 to check out that intelligence and Wilson claimed to have debunked it. He also claimed that he was sent directly by Vice President Cheney and that his findings had `circulated at the highest levels of government'.

Later, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that nearly everything Wilson wrote or said about Bush, Cheney, Iraq, and his own trip to West Africa was untrue and fraudulent.

But in the meantime, the Mainstream Media bought Wilson's nonsense without question. Why not? It fit the agenda. They bought the line that the White House had "leaked" Plame's CIA identity to smear her husband. The media waged what amounted to its own smear campaign against the Bush Administration, and especially against Vice President Cheney and political adviser Karl Rove.

As late as January 2006, the New York Times editorialized that the issue at stake "was whether the White House was using this information in an attempt to silence Mrs Wilson's husband, a critic of the Iraq invasion, and in doing so violated a federal law against unmasking a covert operative".

None of it was true.

For starters, the Senate Intelligence committee totally debunked almost everything Wilson said in his initial report on Niger. They questioned Wilson under oath and found out that it was his wife, not Vice President Cheney as Wilson claimed who had arranged for the CIA to send him to Niger in 2002.

It also found that his findings had not, contrary to Wilson's claim, circulated at the highest levels of government, and more importantly, that Bush's famous 16 words in his State of the Union speech about how British intelligence believed Saddam had sought to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger - words Wilson insisted were deliberate lies - had been twice confirmed as true by none other than the British Government, including the British equivalent of our 9/11 Commission, The Butler Commission.

It also came out that aside from being a liar, Wilson failed in his basic mission, to find out the truth about whether Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Niger. Wilson said no, and ignored a visit by a high level Iraqi delegation in 1999.

It took Christopher Hitchens and other journalists to reveal that the trade mission was led by an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat. Common sense, really, since uranium's the only thing Niger had to trade.

As for the so-called smear campaign and the `leak' of Ms. Plame's identity, we now know there was no leak from the White House at all, just a silly mention by an ex-Cabinet member, and certainly no White House smear campaign.

It was Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state under Colin Powell, who first revealed that Wilson's wife was a CIA employee. He mentioned it carelessly in passing to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, then to columnist Bob Novak, who mentioned it in a July 2003 column.

Armitage admitted this to the FBI in October 2003 after the CIA requested an investigation when the name of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, appeared in Novak's column. Armitage then kept his mouth shut and stood by silently year after year as Vice-President Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and other White House officials took the heat from the media and were hounded for what he'd done.

What's more, because of the FBI investigation, the justice department knew full well who had "leaked" Plame's name when it reacted to the media frenzy and decided a few weeks later to appoint a special prosecutor.

The attorney-general at the time, John Ashcroft excused himself, leaving the decision to his deputy, James Comey,who decided that tossing this in the lap of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was easier than standing up to a torrent of virulent partisan criticism from the media and the Democrats.

It gets better. Fitzgerald himself, in going over the case and the evidence had to be aware of the source of Novak's story when he began his continuing investigation in December 2003. Yet finding that source was supposed to be the objective of his investigation!

The suspected mastermind, of course, was Karl Rove, Bush's political adviser. But as Fitzgerald knew from the outset, Rove was innocent. So much for the `Fitzmas' indictments the left was salivating over.

The conspiracy charges were, to put it mildly, bogus from the very beginning.

This of course has larger implications beyond simply another black eye for the Main Stream Media and the New York Times.

The Plame Affair affected the level of political discourse in the United States, undoubtedly helped affect the Bush Administration's ability to prosecute the war and may very well affect the willingness of the Bush Administration and future administrations to do what's necessary for the country's security.

At the very least. This should not be allowed to pass without a very public recognition of that fact, including a major mea culpa from the Main Stream Media that so happily wallowed in it. And perhaps even legal action against some of the perpetrators.

1 comment:

Rosey said...

This country is deteriorating morally, with the New York Slimes and the Democrats leading us to hell in a hand basket.