Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The White House at war with itself?

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From Hardball with Chris Matthews:

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:
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.

MATTHEWS:
Right.

FINEMAN:
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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