Bush faces his Watergate

30 October 2005 02:13

Special report: Bush faces his Watergate
Sleaze, leaks and an indictment add up to the worst presidential crisis since Nixon. And it will get worse. The White House has lost one key man but the whole chain of command may be engulfed by a scandal slowly revealing the lies that led to war.

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 30 October 2005

Presidential second terms are prone to scandals, from Bill Clinton's embarrassments over Monica Lewinsky to Ronald Reagan's implication in the Iran-Contra imbroglio. But the troubles now circling George Bush's White House could be even worse than Watergate.

Indictment doesn't clear up mystery at heart of CIA leak probe

Posted on Fri, Oct. 28, 2005

Indictment doesn't clear up mystery at heart of CIA leak probe

By Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - At the heart of Friday's indictment of a top White House aide remain two unsolved mysteries.

Who forged the documents that claimed Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in the African country of Niger?

How did a version of the tale get into President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, even though U.S. intelligence agencies never confirmed it and some intelligence analysts doubted it?

Colin Powell in four-letter neo-con 'crazies' row

Colin Powell in four-letter neo-con 'crazies' row

Martin Bright
Sunday September 12, 2004
The Observer

A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.
Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Real George W. Bush

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Real George W. Bush

By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real. Posted October 27, 2005.

Ninety percent of Americans believe the Bush administration is guilty of illegal or unethical behavior in the CIA leak case. Where does that leave our president? Tools

For three more years America is going to be led by not just a lame duck president, but a totally discredited president.

In a poll conducted Oct 21-23 and released on Tuesday, 90 percent of those asked said they believed top Bush administration officials are guilty of either illegal or unethical behavior in the CIA leak case.

Besieged Bush faces attacks from friends as well as foes

Besieged Bush faces attacks from friends as well as foes

As the President sees his ambitious plans for his second term mired in a swamp of scandal and investigations, Paul Harris maps out what the future may hold for the radical Republican revolution and the divided Democrats

Sunday October 30, 2005
The Observer

On Monday evening last week, as darkness descended on the capital, smartly dressed FBI agents moved quietly through the leafy Washington neighbourhood of Georgetown. They knocked on doors, questioning several residents about how well they knew Valerie Plame, the exposed CIA agent at the heart of a scandal that has rocked the Bush administration to its foundations.

Updates from Truthout

Diplomat Joseph Wilson speaks; seven in cabinet knew of Plame's ID; three more US soldiers killed; Mexico ratifies War Crimes Tribunal Treaty; and more ... Browse our continually updating front page at http://www.truthout.org
For full coverage of the CIA leak investigation, go to our Special Coverage Page.
http://www.truthout.org/fitzgeraldcalling.shtml

Join fellow bloggers at the t r u t h o u t Town Meeting. Get perspective on today's important issues from TO's editorial team and prominent guest bloggers.
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t r u t h o u t | 10.29

Joseph C. Wilson IV | Our 27 Months of Hell

Fitz’s Knuckle Ball

Fitz’s Knuckle Ball
by gadfly
Sat Oct 29th, 2005 at 08:02:54 PM EDT

Gadfly is Marty Aussenberg, a columnist for the weekly Memphis Flyer. Marty is a former SEC enforcement official, currently in private law practice in Memphis, Tennessee. (A full bio is below the fold.)
The indictment of “Scooter

Tracing the Leak

Tracing the Leak
Online Journal's editors

A five-count indictment alleges "Scooter" Libby learned of Valerie Plame's connections to the CIA from numerous government sources ... and that he shared information with reporters. Ms. Plame's identity and role were first revealed publicly in a column by Robert Novak on July 14, 2003.

SEE MORE AT THE LINK

Indictment Dissected: Libby’s Knowledge of Plame’s Covert Identity

Indictment Dissected: Libby’s Knowledge of Plame’s Covert Identity
by Faiz
[This is the second part of a Think Progress series breaking down the significance of the Libby indictment.]

In at least three instances, it appears from the facts outlined in the indictments that Libby was aware that Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent.

1. Libby spoke to his Principal Deputy [John Hannah] about an article in The New Republic and discussed whether they could share information about the role of Wilson’s wife in sending him to Niger. “Libby responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.

Indictment Dissected: Cheney’s Role

Indictment Dissected: Cheney’s Role
by Faiz
[This is the first part of a Think Progress series breaking down the significance of the Libby indictment.]

There are a few instances in the indictments that point to a larger role that Dick Cheney may have played in the leak. Here are some examples:

1. Libby was “advised by the Vice President

Saddam accepted UAE exile plan to avert Iraq war-TV

Saddam accepted UAE exile plan to avert Iraq war-TV
Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:19 PM ET

DUBAI (Reuters) - Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had secretly accepted a last-minute plan to go into exile to avert the 2003 Iraq war, but Arab leaders shot the proposal down, Al Arabiya television reported on Friday.

UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan made the proposal for Saddam to go into exile at an emergency Arab summit just weeks before the U.S.-led war began in March 2003.

But the 22-member Arab League, led by Secretary-General Amr Moussa, refused to consider the initiative.

NY Times downplayed Powell's responsibility for false weapons claims in U.N. address

NY Times downplayed Powell's responsibility for false weapons claims in U.N. address
By js

An October 23 article by New York Times reporters Richard W. Stevenson and Douglas Jehl downplayed the role of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in shaping the speech Powell delivered to the United Nations on February 5, 2003 -- a speech that boosted the administration's case for invading Iraq but was subsequently shown to be riddled with falsehoods. Citing "former government officials and several published accounts," the Times reported that the original draft of the speech was written by I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and was rejected by Powell and then-director of central intelligence George J. Tenet, both of whom believed it was "exaggerated." The Times then used a quote from Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack (Simon & Schuster, 2004), its use of which had the effect of suggesting that Powell's main contribution to the speech was to remove baseless claims.

Demand the truth

LINK TO ORIGINAL

Demand the truth
Join with other people of faith in signing this petition to demand the truth about why we went to war with Iraq. This petition will be delivered to your senators and member of Congress. Then, tell your friends! We are trying to get 25,000 signatures by Wednesday.

Tell me more
Send this petition to:
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As a person of faith, I believe that truth-telling is a religious and moral value. When we lie, it eats away at our souls. The indictment of I. Lewis Libby, vice presidential chief of staff, raises serious questions as to whether we went to war based simply on massive intelligence failures, or whether there were serious efforts to suppress the truth.

Did Fitz Meet With Bush's Personal Lawyer?

Did Fitz Meet With Bush's Personal Lawyer?
by RJ Eskow

READ MORE: Patrick Fitzgerald, George W. Bush

Patrick Fitzgerald was seen Friday outside the office of Pres. Bush's personal lawyer, Jim Sharp - who is apparently the same Jim Sharp who represented a major Iran/Contra figure. One, two, three ... start your impeachment fantasies.

No Blood for Hubris found this graf in the former "Paper of Record":

Mr. Fitzgerald was spotted Friday morning outside the office of James Sharp, Mr. Bush's personal lawyer. Mr. Bush was interviewed about the case by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what discussions, if any, were taking place between the prosecutor and Mr. Sharp. Mr. Sharp did not return a phone call, and Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment.

Valerie Plame: The Bush Equivalent of Paula Jones?

Valerie Plame: The Bush Equivalent of Paula Jones?

By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real. Posted October 29, 2005.

Legal experts are already debating whether the Wilsons have a case. These are the same experts who thought Jones' case was going to get laughed out of court -- instead, it set off a sequence of events that led to Clinton's impeachment. Tools
Also in Top Stories

What do Bill Clinton and O.J. Simpson have in common? Both men slipped through the fingers of the criminal justice system, only to get their comeuppance in civil court.

I only mention that because yesterday's developments in the CIA leak investigation are just the beginning -- not the end. No matter how many senior administration officials end up getting indicted, the real damage to this administration may come not from criminal convictions -- if any -- but from a civil action currently being planned by Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.

Cheney's office at center of CIA leak indictment

Cheney's office at center of CIA leak indictment
By James Vicini and Adam Entous
2 hours, 1 minute ago
(Editor's note: Reminder...Remember, I. Lewis Libby doesn't just work for the Vice President. From the beginning of the administration, a key root of Libby's power at the White House is that he works both for the Vice President (as Chief of Staff and National Security Affairs Advisor) and the President of the United States (as Assistant to the President)).

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The indictment of former top White House aide Lewis Libby in the CIA leak investigation will put Vice President Dick Cheney's office at the center of court proceedings, raising the specter of a politically damaging trial for the beleaguered Bush administration.

Military shares public's declining support for Bush, war

Military shares public's declining support for Bush, war
10/28/2005
Associated Press

More than half the North Carolina military members surveyed in the latest Elon University poll don't like the way President Bush is handling his job and the war in Iraq.

The survey results were released today.

Of the 539 adults surveyed, nearly 53 percent of military members said they strongly disapproved or disapproved of Bush's handling of his job. And 56 percent of that same group said they strongly disapproved or disapproved of his handling of the Iraq war.

Overall, slightly more than 53 percent of those surveyed did not approve of Bush's job performance, while 57 percent didn't approve of his handling of the Iraq war.

Round-Up

Saturday, October 29, 2005
Round-Up
by Jane Hamsherp

. Looks like everyone's struggling to keep up with Patrick Fitzgerald. NYT:
With the term of his grand jury at an end, Mr. Fitzgerald said he could present any new evidence to an already impaneled grand jury if needed.
Already impaneled? That's new.
Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, said in a statement he was confident Mr. Fitzgerald would conclude Mr. Rove had done nothing wrong.
Yeah and I remain confident that my dog Kobe will win the Nobel Prize. Whatever.
Mr. Libby could face a trial that seems likely to expose to the public some of the administration's innermost workings and probably require testimony by Mr. Cheney. And it only highlighted how many elements of the case remained obscured by the secrecy of the legal proceedings.

Wilson: There Have Been Threats

Wilson: There Have Been Threats

NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2005
Joe Wilson (CBS)

(CBS) Joe Wilson, whose wife’s unmasking as a CIA agent is at the center of the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation, said today that that his wife, Valerie Plame, has been threatened. Wilson talks to 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley, in his first interview since Fitzgerald announced the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

"There have been specific threats [against Plame]. Beyond that I just can’t go," Wilson tells Bradley. Wilson says he and his wife have discussed security for her with "several agencies."

A new moment of truth for a White House in crisis

Saturday, October 29, 2005
Analysis
A new moment of truth for a White House in crisis
By Dan Balz and Juliet Eilperin / The Washington Post
Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

President Bush said Friday he's saddened by the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who resigned Fridy as Vice President Cheney's chief of staff.

WASHINGTON -- With Friday's indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, President Bush's administration has become a textbook example of what can go wrong in a second term. Along with ineffectiveness, overreaching, intraparty rebellion, plunging public confidence and plain bad luck, scandal has now touched the highest levels of the White House staff.

Call it the "I-can't-recall" defense.

Libby's defense may rest on hectic schedule
Indicted aide could say he can't recall conversations
By MarketWatch
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Call it the "I-can't-recall" defense.

A lawyer representing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is outlining a possible criminal defense strategy for his client that appears to rely on the muddle involved in hectic schedules, chaotic times and an overall blur of events and conversations, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.

Attorney Joseph Tate complained in a statement that allegations that Libby lied to the FBI agents and a federal grand jury relied too heavily on recollection amid "the hectic rush of issues and events at a busy time for our government." The aide resigned Friday from his role as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

John Dean Says Scooter is the Cheney Firewall

John Dean Says Scooter is the Cheney Firewall
by Jane Hamsher

Crooks & Liars is taking a nap and then going to a party with Mark Kleiman but tomorrow they will have the video up of John Dean on Countdown tonight with Keith Olbermann. The transcript is not available yet but Dean basically reiterated what David Gergen said earlier today, that Fitzgerald's tactics are probably meant to squeeze Scooter. He referred to Scooter as the firewall to Cheney, and said that the indictments brought down today were quite probably intended to test the resilience of that firewall.

We've known since Judith Miller's testimony that Fitzgerald has been inquiring about Cheney. At the very least today's indictments, if brought to trial, will give Fitzgerald the opportunity to question Cheney on the witness stand as he testifies against his former Chief of Staff. And at worst? Well, the threat of thirty years might make a guy like Scooter rat Big Dick out sooner rather than later.

Special Counsel Fitzgerald Previously Prosecuted Bin Laden, Sheik Rahman

Special Counsel Fitzgerald Previously Prosecuted Bin Laden, Sheik Rahman
By VOA News
28 October 2005

Patrick Fitzgerald arrives at his office, Friday
Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was named Special Counsel in December 2003 to investigate the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

Since then, he has interviewed President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and at least 20 other people, in an effort to determine who revealed to reporters that Valerie Plame was a covert officer for the CIA.

The president has praised Mr. Fitzgerald for conducting a dignified investigation.

Colleagues describe Mr. Fitzgerald as a brilliant, hard-working, non-partisan and relentless prosecutor. Several people who have worked with him say he is driven to follow the law wherever it takes him in an investigation.

Who's on First?

Who's on First?
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

Saturday 29 October 2005

It was bracing to see the son of a New York doorman open the door on the mendacious Washington lair of the Lord of the Underground.

But this Irish priest of the law, Patrick Fitzgerald, neither Democrat nor Republican, was very strict, very precise. He wasn't totally gratifying in clearing up the murkiness of the case, yet strangely comforting in his quaint black-and-white notions of truth and honor (except when his wacky baseball metaphor seemed to veer toward a "Who's on first?" tangle).

Scooter Libby Works For President Bush

Scooter Libby Works For President Bush
By Casey Morris

Josh Marshall hits on a point that I was thinking about:

Remember, I. Lewis Libby doesn't just work for the Vice President.
From the beginning of the administration, a key root of Libby's power at the White House is that he works both for the Vice President (as Chief of Staff and National Security Affairs Advisor) and the President of the United States (as Assistant to the President).
Why is this important? Because as the spin machine gets going, you will begin to see the Republicans try to narrow the story and isolate Libby from the President, and just associate him with the Vice-President. But let's remind the media at every opportunity and folks that we talk to that Libby, as a National Security Affairs Advisor and as an Assistant to the President. He was advising the President regularly before and during the lead up to the Iraq War. He was an instrumental advisor to the President on security matters, such as, say, yellowcake in Niger.

All the Vice President's Men

All the Vice President's Men
By Juan Cole
Salon.com

Friday 28 October 2005

The ideologues in Cheney's inner circle drummed up a war. Now their zealotry is blowing up in their faces.
As Washington waits on pins and needles to see if special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald hands down indictments, the focus falls on Dick Cheney's inner circle. This group, along with that surrounding Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made up what Colin Powell's top aide, Lawrence Wilkerson, called "a cabal" that "on critical issues ... made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made." Cheney is the first vice president to have had, in effect, his own personal National Security Council. This formidable and unprecedented rump foreign policy team, composed of radical hawks, played a key role in every aspect of the war on Iraq: planning for it, gathering "evidence" to justify it and punishing those who spoke out against it. It is not surprising that members of that team, and Cheney himself, have now also emerged as targets in Fitzgerald's investigation of the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson to the press, along with Bush advisor Karl Rove.

Will There Be More Indictments?

Will There Be More Indictments?
by Hunter
Fri Oct 28, 2005 at 10:44:56 PM PDT
I've been playing things close to the chest, at the moment, content to post the various sometimes-well-sourced, sometimes-questionably-sourced reporting of various outlets. But the obvious question on everyone's mind is this: will we see more indictments?

That's a very, very difficult question. More difficult than I think the vast majority of people -- in the media, in the punditry, and on the blogs, and on both sides of the partisan divide -- are giving proper credit. The only proper answer is maybe, and anyone laying out odds in either direction is almost certain to be burned.

Patrick Fitzgerald, David Radler and the Ghost of Fitzmas Future

Patrick Fitzgerald, David Radler and the Ghost of Fitzmas Future
By Jane Hamsher

Aug 19, 2005 (AXcess News) Chicago - F. David Radler, the ex-publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, was charged with criminal fraud by federal prosecutors for his role in stealing $32 million from the paper's parent company, Hollinger International.

Patrick Fitzgerald acquitted himself superbly today. A country weaned on the corrupt, leering hackery of Ken Starr -- who squandered millions of taxpayer dollars in a partisan witch-hunt -- got to watch as a guy with an inner core of decency got up and frankly spoke about his investigation with professionalism and honesty. We got to be proud of the Justice Department again. We got to enjoy a moment of confidence that if there is a bottom to be gotten to in all of this there is a man in charge who will honorably and doggedly find it.

What It's Like

What It's Like
By Paul Begala
From: TPMCafe Special Guests
Tom Petty was wrong. The waiting is not the hardest part.
Sure, all of what Eric Alterman dubbed "the punditocracy" has a severe case of indictus interruptus, but for President Bush and his White House staff, the worst is yet to come. To be sure, waiting on a decision to indict is an exquisite form of torture. But what lies ahead is worse. If special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald does choose to indict one or more senior Bush White House officials, they will be the first top White House aides to be indicted in a decade and a half.

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