Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fitzgerald Charges Cheney Led Revenge Attack on Wilson

A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic
Prosecutor Describes Cheney, Libby as Key Voices Pitching Iraq-Niger Story
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. [emph. mine]

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. (...)

Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for denying under oath that he disclosed Plame's CIA employment to journalists. There is no public evidence to suggest Libby made any such disclosure with Cheney's knowledge. But according to Libby's grand jury testimony, described for the first time in legal papers filed this week, Cheney "specifically directed" Libby in late June or early July 2003 to pass information to reporters from two classified CIA documents: an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and a March 2002 summary of Wilson's visit to Niger.

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...(more)
Cheney needs to resign immediately. Charges pending or not, he needs to go now, and Bush ought to go too while we're at it.

Leak-Hating President As Leaker-In-Chief?

The Leak-Hating President As Leaker-In-Chief? Bush's Past Dencunciations Could Haunt Him

AP: President Bush insists a president "better mean what he says." Those words could return to haunt him.

After long denouncing leaks of all kinds, Bush is confronted with a statement unchallenged by his aides that he authorized a leak of classified material to undermine an Iraq war critic.

The allegation in the CIA leak case threatens the credibility of a president already falling in the polls, and it gives Democrats fresh material to accuse him of hypocrisy. ...(more)
Technically Bush claims he declassified cherrypicked info from the report so it wasn't a leak. That may hold water legally, but he isn't fooling anyone but that brain dead 36% with that crap. All of the info he authorized leaking turned out to be false, and he didn't disclose any of the dissenting opinions.

Oh, and Bush knew all about the dissenting opinions.

Murray Waas: What Bush Was Told About Iraq
The president received highly classified intelligence reports containing information at odds with his justifications for going to war. ...(more)
The simple fact is, Joe Wilson was right, and bushco was wrong, and saying haha I've got a legal right to declassify false info to discredit a critic who was telling the truth is just as wrong as it gets.


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