Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The White House at war with itself?

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From Hardball with Chris Matthews:

That‘s the point of the lance of this whole thing.
Right now, my sense, in reporting this, Chris, is that the Bush family, political family, is at war with itself inside the White House. My sense is, it‘s Andy Card, the chief of staff, and his people against Karl Rove, the brain.


And that runs through a whole lot of things, whether it‘s Harriet Miers or Katrina. But it all starts with Iraq.
And some submerged, but now emerging divisions within the administration over why we went into that war, how we went into that war and what was done to sell it. There are people are out for Karl Rove inside that White House, which makes his situation even more perilous.
My understanding, from talking to somebody quite close to this investigation, is that they think there are going to be indictments and possibly Karl Rove could be among them, if not for the act of the leaking information about Valerie Plame, then perhaps for perjury, because he‘s now testified four times.

...End of Transcript.

Can you believe it gets worse? From the Huffington Post:
The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

What's interesting about Cheney's name being brought into the equation is that it was originally his request to the CIA that started this. He asked the CIA to investigate British Intelligence claims that Iraq had attempted to purchase enriched Uranium in Niger, and that inturn instigated the involvement of Joe Wilson. What I also find interesting is the role of Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff, who has been such an intense focus of Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald and the Grand Jury. Are we really expected to believe he could have acted completely independent of his boss in attempting to smear Wilson via discussing his wife's position at the CIA?

From the National Journal:
In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of his sworn testimony.

The problem with this story is that it is immensely complicated. Yes, it exposes the extent of the smear tactics employed by this Administration. And to that end, yes, an undercover CIA operative was outed by White House political staff to Bob Novak, Time Reporter Matthew Cooper, and also New York Times Journalist Judith Miller (although she did not report it). But that's not just what this is all about...

George Bush, 2003 State of the Union:
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"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. ... Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide."

This claim by George Bush, and the specific basis for Dick Cheney's repeated assertion of Saddam's Nuclear capability in the lead up to war, was debunked by Joe Wilson, and two other CIA operatives. Yet the Administration still chose to refer to this Intelligence in the 2003 State of the Union address, with the approval of then CIA Director George Tenet. It was when Joe Wilson made his findings public that the smear campaign ensued to undermine his credibility, and the criminal act of exposing his wife's undercover CIA status was committed by the White House political staff.

It will be interesting to see how this all develops during the coming weeks...

Related Posts:
Plame Indictments Imminent.
The ten steps that have implicated Karl Rove.

WSJ: Focus of CIA Leak Probe Widens
Hat Tip: Crooks and Liars, America Blog

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JLD said...

Thanks for the comments about my blog on blogexplosion. I added a link on my blog to this one. Keep up the good work!


Graham said...

Thanks Jeff, I really enjoyed your site.

JollyRoger said...

I'd love to see Crooked Lip brought down. That man is a cancer on the body of America.

Graham said...

By crooked lip, you mean Cheney right? The only possible way he could be involved in the indictments would be to establish a conspiracy discussing the intentional revelation that Plame was undercover CIA. I don't really know, unless someone from the inside completely turns on the Administration, how that could be proven. The problem is that if Libby and Rove get indicted, that's not the end of the story... it's not just big bad news and that's it... they have to go to court, this thing gets played out in public on and on, and those indicted face possible jail time. Perhaps at that stage more stuff will begin to surface about the Administration.

This really is as bad as it gets... if lots of indictments are handed down. We'll have to see if that happens though. The fact Fitzgerald asked for an extension to the grand jury could mean he's struggling to make his case.

Graham said...

Karl Rove testifies for a fourth time.

Gert said...

Yes, it would be bad for Bushco, but what about our government, here in the UK?

It would also prove that Mr Blair lied about the actual reasons to go to war in Iraq, something which is accepted by a large slice of the population.

It really becomes an untenable position to claim he acted in good faith...

Graham said...

Thanks for the comment Gert. I have to admit that even I am beginning to question some of the political processes that went into selling this war.

I still believe in the war, mind, but, the account from Powell's Chief of Staff about the way the WH operated building the case for war was very compelling... and that does have implications for #10.

Gert said...

Had the case for war been made on the grounds of regime change I would still have been against it because it creates a dangerous precedent and in any case, the West isn't at all consistent in "who it likes and who it doesn't like". Remember, we supported Hussein massively when it suited us, nobody, least of all the neocons, is denying that.

But instead, a tangled web of lies, half-truths, manipulations and apparently even some forgeries have been used to warm up the populations on both side of the pond towards the idea of an invasion.

Surely someone who thinks and writes a great deal about democracy cannot agree with this?

You've written somewhere that my ideas are mainly from an anti-blairite perspective. But pre-9/11 I wasn't opposed to Blair at all. I never quite saw him as the Saviour of Mankind he seems to think he is but other than that, I didn't think this was the worst PM this country has ever had.

But in my view the way the invasion was sold to the British Public, is rather unforgivable. I believe that privately many Labour MPs won't quite disagree with me on that point.

Graham said...

I do agree, increasingly, that questionable measures were employed to make the case for war, especially in emphasizing the direct immediate threat that we were posed with.

For me the most u forgivable thing about Iraq has been the lack of planning and forsight for assisting to re-construct the society, while building a viable functioning democracy... this is ultimatley what has cost so many lives unnecessarily.

Gert said...


Have you gone all American now? Well, that's your right I guess.

I think part of the motives for overblowing the reasons for going to war are exactly the fact that the population, or at least a considerable part of it, knows that "planning" for war is a very difficult thing to do. You start a war but don't know where it will lead to...

And so a number of more "compelling" but bogus drivers were called in: make the population feel scared and the case for pre-emptive strikes is all the easier to make...

It's a rather classic tactic and one I'm pretty tired of.

We really need to be more sceptical of our own representatives: we elect them to defend our interests and this whole adventure shows few signs that we will benefit from it.

May the Iraqi people prosper again one day but even that is far from accomplished yet. How much longer? No one knows. Calls for an indefinite presence are being made: "until it's done...". Hmmm... is this in the Iraqi's interest?

Graham said...

Yeah, I'm afraid so Gert. US politics is where my heart lies... politics is what I love, and right now I'm broadly supportive of New Labour and what they've accomplished. Maybe my feelings will change if the Conservative Party reclaims power.

I don't know if an indefinate presence is in Iraq's interest. In my opinion, which I've stated repeatedly, is that peace building, and reconstruction efforts are something that NATO and UN excells at in comparison to the US army. People in the US are so quick to deride everything the UN stands for and yet its accomplishments in the aftermath of war or genocide all around the world are remarkable compared to the way the US has struggled in Iraq since the fall of Saddam.

I do think we should have planned better. We should have recognized the importance of stability, we should have retained the infrastucture there, the economic system, the security forces, all of these things would have made a difference in preventing the turmoil that we've seen over the past few years. One of the things that always interests me is that the British Empire went around the globe with no pretense of anything other than imperialism and yet they didn't meet this kind of hostility... and I think that's because their efforts were lead by economists, industrial leaders, as much as by military men. They were smarter.

I'm not justifying imperialism... I'm not that much of neo-con ;)... I'm just saying that our failures really are explicity IMO.

Gert said...

The problems with an indefinite presence in Iraq are multiple but the most important one is that it will be seen by the Middle East as yet another Western imperialist outpost and will foment more resistance movements to spring up, to hurt us and try and force us out.

As regards British Imperialism, those were different times. Trust me, it wouldn't be tolerated today either, with or without economists. To go around the world claiming previously unclaimed territory and turn it into nation states, is one thing. But conquering existing nation states and try and "rebuild" them is quite another.

We MUST set a date for withdrawal because it forces us to focus the mind on what needs to be done to accomplish that goal. Otherwise we'll end up being driven out by our own sapped will to fight, Vietnam-style...