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Investigating Bush Crimes, Lies, and Failures


By Mike Hersh

Despite their utter failure to keep us safe on 9/11/01, the Bush
administration exploited that terrorist attack and manipulates our
emotions to narrow partisan advantage. Along came Richard Clarke proving
Bush blew it and let 9/11 happen. Paul O'Neil saying Bush intended to
attack Iraq long before 9/11 - despite sworn statements to Congress that
he'd exhaust all diplomatic and nonmilitary means before attacking. The
Downing Street Minutes which prove Bush was already coordinating efforts
to "sell" the war and fitting intelligence to this policy.

It seems the Bush Administration finally went too far attacking Joe
Wilson's family because he exposed the lies in Bush's State of the Union
Address, lies under the oath of office to drive us into a costly war
against harmless Iraq. Now we're anticipating the Fitzgerald
investigation results, a law-enforcement response to the "outing" of
undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame.

The Bush Administration including its national security team is still
ignoring their duty to keep us safe. They diverted attention and
resources from shoring up emergency and terror response - imagine if
Katrina were an attack rather than a hurricane - to retaliate against
those who showed their previous failures and lies. They undermined our
national security and intelligence operations by "outing" Valerie Plame
Wilson to punish her husband Joe Wilson.

The criminal conspiracy to retaliate against the Wilsons for telling the
truth about Bush Administration lies brought on the soon-to-conclude
investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald - a Republican - who has refused to
leak details of his efforts or heed the pro-Bush media mewling demanding
he let Bush's operatives off the hook for risking our lives in their
partisan political vendettas.

I read one the most shameful and pathetic excuses for Bush - and excuses
for journalism - imaginable in the Washington Post. Richard Cohen
stepped far away from his pretense of objectivity or liberalism to
defend his friends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: "The best thing Patrick
Fitzgerald could do for his country is get out of Washington, return to
Chicago and prosecute some real criminals." Fitzgerald is doing the best
thing for America by trying catch "real criminals" who undermined our
national security.

Cohen admits: "The alleged crime involves the outing of Valerie Plame, a
CIA operative whose husband, Joseph Wilson IV, had gone to Africa at the
behest of the agency and therefore said he knew that the Bush
administration -- no, actually, the president himself -- had later
misstated (in the State of the Union address, yet) the case that Iraq
had sought uranium in Niger. Wilson made his case in a New York Times
op-ed piece. This rocked the administration, which was already fighting
to retain its credibility in the face of mounting and irrefutable
evidence that the case it had made for war in Iraq -- weapons of mass
destruction, above all -- was a fiction. So it set out to impeach
Wilson's credibility...."

While he concedes, "In the Plame case, it might technically be [a
crime]" Cohen protests, "but it was not the intent of anyone to out a
CIA agent and have her assassinated ... but to assassinate the character
of her husband." First of all, intent to have an agent or anyone who
worked with that agent assassinated isn't required for violation of US
law - or to undermine national security. Rove, Libby and / or whoever
else engineered this smear campaign against Wilsons did more than enough
to damage her career and compromise the assets and other agents known to
work with Plame. Perhaps it's also enough to get agents and assets
killed. Cohen cannot know otherwise. His defense of the indefensible
renders him a joke.

Cohen admits the Administration he's trying to protect "set out to
impeach Wilson's credibility" (motive) to punish Wilson for exposing
that Bush "misstated [some might say lied] in the State of the Union
address" about Iraq's nonexistent nuclear weapons in order to scare
America into war. There are no more serious decisions or more serious
lies than those which take a nation into war. Why should Fitzgerald give
this corrupt, inept White House a free pass on its criminality?
Especially when their crimes directly undermined our national security
in time of war, and actually led is into war which caused the deaths of
2000 American troops and 10,000s of innocent Iraqis?

Cohen misleads readers claiming: "As it is, all [Fitzgerald] has done so
far is send Judith Miller of the New York Times to jail and repeatedly
haul this or that administration high official before a grand jury,
investigating a crime that probably wasn't one in the first place...."
Cohen concedes that this affair "might have metastasized into some sort
of cover-up" then, again pretends he knows the cover-up is "of nothing
much."

Cohen calls this "nothing much." Bush's own father said, "Even though
I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but
contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name
of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." -
George H.W. Bush, April 16, 1999, Dedication Speech, George Bush Center
for Intelligence. I side with the former President and former Director
of Central Intelligence over the ersatz journalist on this matter.

Absurdly, Cohen reverses reality claiming that Fitzgerald's
investigation of those who jeopardize lives with lies - and then cover
up their lies by retaliating against truth-tellers - threatens
truth-telling: "If anything good comes out of the Iraq war, it has to be
a realization that bad things can happen to good people when the
administration -- any administration -- is in sole control of knowledge
and those who know the truth are afraid to speak up."

Cohen ignores that "bad things" happened to 3000 Americans on 9/11 due
to his friends' failure and "bad things" happened to 2000 Americans in
Iraq because his friends took us into an illegal war based on lies.
Administration retaliation against those who exposed their lies made and
makes "those who know the truth ... afraid to speak up." That's why
Rove, Libby and / or others went after the Wilsons, O'Neil, Clarke and
anyone else who dared stand up to their lies.

Cohen even admits this was the motive behind outing Plame! We all suffer
from this White House's thuggish "control of knowledge" and their
willingness to deceive and manipulate us. Holding Cohen's White House
friends accountable for their lies and "alleged crimes" against those
who exposed their lies is the only way to prevent what Cohen claims he
fears.

Adding insult to idiocy, Cohen warns the Republican Fitzgerald: "Do not
bring trivial charges -- nothing about conspiracies, please -- and
nothing about official secrets, most of which are known to hairdressers,
mistresses and dog walkers all over town. Please, Mr. Fitzgerald,
there's so much crime in Washington already. Don't commit another." Oh
so now investigating crimes which strike at the heart of our national
security is a crime? Is this a threat? If he doesn't shirk his duty to
investigate serious crimes, will Cohen's buddies in power retaliate
against Fitzgerald as well?

How does Cohen know whether or not a crime was committed? Where did he
go to law school again? On what basis does he know "all" this
investigation has accomplished? If Cohen isn't just making things up,
this hints he knows and is illegally divulging information material to a
grand jury investigation. Cohen sneers: "Go home, Pat." Maybe "Pat"
should call "Dick" to testify under oath about his sources for what he
knows? If I were Fitzgerald, I'd call Cohen before the Grand Jury and
demand a full and complete explanation of these comments.

See: "Let This Leak Go," By Richard Cohen, Washington Post, October 13,
2005; Page A23:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/12/AR200510...

Contrast Cohen's blithe defense of what George HW Bush calls "the most
insidious of traitors" against the concerns a top counter-terrorist
Larry Johnson expressed. Johnson - a Republican - worked for the Central
Intelligence Agency from 1985 to 1989 and then joined George HW Bush's
State Department where he served in the Counter Terrorism division until
1993. Johnson later trained U.S. military and State Department personnel
in counter-terrorism.

Johnson writes: "The investigation into who in the Bush administration
leaked the fact that Valerie Plame, wife of former US Ambassador Joseph
Wilson, was a CIA undercover operative, is nearing completion. Virtually
lost in the recent spurt of press reporting is the fact that the
compromise of Ms. Plame (and, as night follows the day her carefully
cultivated network of spies) was unconscionable. Ms. Plame, a very
gifted case officer, was a close colleague of mine at CIA. Her
dedication and courage were clear in her willingness to assume the risks
of an agent under non-official cover - meaning that if you get caught,
too bad, you're on your own; the US government never heard of you."

This counter-terrorism expert notes, "The supreme irony is that Plame's
network was reporting on the priority-one issue - weapons of mass
destruction. Thus, it was made abundantly clear to all, including
potential intelligence sources abroad, that even when priority-one
intelligence targets are involved, Bush administration officials will
not shrink from exposing such sources for petty political purpose. The
harm to CIA and its efforts to recruit spies willing to take risks to
provide intelligence information is immense." Cohen doesn't understand
the importance of outing and compromising this network, but Johnson does.

Johnson explains how this all happened: "Shortly after the invasion of
Iraq, Ambassador Wilson publicly exposed an important lie, and the
president as liar, when he debunked the report that Iraq was seeking
uranium in the African country of Niger. Still, as Wilson himself has
suggested, the primary objective of leaking his wife's employment at CIA
was not to retaliate against him personally, but rather to issue a stark
warning to others privy to administration lies on the war not to speak
out. Administration officials felt they needed to provide an object
lesson of what truth tellers can expect in the way of swift retaliation."

See: "A Case Of Treason," Larry Johnson, October 06, 2005, TomPaine.com:
http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20051006/a_case_of_treason.php

Johnson puts all this into context in another article, something Cohen
could have done if he had any integrity or initiative. As Johnson tells
us, "It is now quite clear that the outing of Valerie Plame was part of
a broader White House effort to mislead and manipulate U.S. public
opinion as part of an orchestrated effort to take us to war. The
unraveling of the Valerie Plame affair has exposed their scam - and it
extends well beyond compromising the identity of a CIA officer. In
short, the Bush administration organized and executed a classic "covert
action" program against the citizens of the United States."

Johnson considers "Revelations during the past week about the Plame
affair [which show] that the Bush administration used covert action
against its own citizens." He focuses on "the charge that Iraq was
trying to buy uranium from Niger ... which led Vice President Cheney to
ask the CIA for more information on the matter. That request led to the
CIA asking Ambassador Joe Wilson to go check out the story in Niger."

The Downing Street Minutes exposed that "in the summer of 2002, the Bush
administration told our British allies that they would 'fix the facts'
around the intelligence. In other words, the United States sought to
manufacture a case that Iraq was trying to build a nuclear capability."
Johnson reminds us that "bogus intelligence reports and fabricated
documents surface[d]" and "senior administration officials - Condoleezza
Rice and Vice President Cheney - went to great lengths to try to
convince Americans that the United States would soon face the wrath of
Iraqi attacks. Remember the smoking mushroom cloud?" This is how the
Bush Administration lied us into war.

Johnson admits, "While CIA did make mistakes, and while some key members
of the National Intelligence Council were willing to drink the neocon
Kool-Aid and go along with the White House, when it came to questions of
whether Iraq was buying uranium in Niger or if Saddam was working with
bin Laden, CIA and INR analysts consistently got it right and told the
administration what they did not want to hear. It was policymakers, such
as Vice President Dick Cheney, NSC Chief Condoleezza Rice and Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who ignored what the analysts were saying
and writing." They did so, because they were intent on attacking Iraq no
matter what, and they were more than willing to lie to us to get our
support.

As Johnson explains, "The evidence of the White House effort to
manipulate and shape U.S. public opinion is now overwhelming. Just last
week, President Bush appeared in a pathetic scripted 'dialogue' with
hand-selected U.S. troops. We also know that male escort Jeff Gannon
Guckert was granted special access to White House press briefings and
that pundits like Armstrong Williams sold themselves to the White House.
The Bush administration had an organized campaign to manipulate the U.S.
media to get its message out. Unfortunately, the corporate media played
along."

One of the many players is Richard Cohen who defends the attack on
Valerie Plame Wilson which Johnson tells us "was not an isolated
incident. It was part of a broader pattern of manipulation and deceit.
But this was not done for the welfare of U.S. national security.
Instead, we find ourselves confronted by an unprecedented level of
terrorist attacks and a deteriorating military situation in Iraq. At the
same time, we now know that the Bush administration gladly sacrificed an
undercover intelligence officer in order to keep up the pretense that
the war in Iraq was all about weapons of mass destruction."

Cohen calls all this "not much," but as Johnson - and anyone who is
paying attention knows - "Americans have died because of the Bush
deceit. The unmasking of Valerie Plame was not an odd occurrence. It was
part of a pattern of deliberate manipulation and disinformation. At the
end of the day, American men and women have died because of this lie. It
is up to the American people to hold the Bush administration accountable
for these actions." It's up to us to make sure the media report on the
crimes and insist on punishment for the criminals.

See: "Dick Cheney's Covert Action," Larry C. Johnson, TomPaine.com,
October 19, 2005:
http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20051019/dick_cheneys_covert_action.php

But where is the mainstream media on this Watergate-level scandal?
Covering their own asses and aiding in the corrupt Administration's
cover-up! Contrast the honesty and actual understanding from Johnson a
member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for
Sanity (VIPS).against Columnist Cohen's clumsy efforts to defend his
friends' reckless actions and - Cohen admits - even crimes. Cohen calls
all this "nothing much," and something we should "let go." Larry
Johnson, a Republican who worked as a CIA analyst and counter-terrorism
expert calls this "A Case of Treason." I'll take the word of the expert
over the simpering sycophant. You can decide for yourself.

Sadly Cohen's failure to discuss Bush Administration failures and
eagerness to defend their crimes is all too common. The mainstream media
looked away or even joined in as the Bush squad savaged people like
Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Scott Ritter, Bill Burkett and the Wilsons
for telling the truth about Bush Administration lies. If terrorists
attacked us while nearly all of Bush's national security team was going
after truth-tellers - rather than al Qaeda - the Bush team and their
media sycophants would blame those who warned us and told the truth.

The corporate press refuse to report on the astonishing unpopularity of
Bush and his failed, fraudulent and felonious presidency. The media
never fully reported the election fraud and manipulation in 2000, or
that despite the chicanery with voting lists and the effort to frustrate
Florida law Al Gore won the most legal votes in that state and therefore
deserved to serve as the voters' choice. Absent specific surges in
approval related to events like 9/11, the attack against Iraq, and
capturing Saddam Hussein, Bush's poll ratings remained low.

Bush was less popular on 9/10/01 than on the day Al Gore beat him in the
popular vote. After 9/11, Americans rallied to Bush - giving Bush
another chance. Bush blew that chance by attacking Iraq before finishing
the job in Afghanistan, and doing so based on a string of "bad
intelligence" better known as distortions and misrepresentation. Even
before most Americans understood the scope of Bush Administration
failures and fabrications, Bush's popularity trended back down to about
where it was when he lost the election in 2000. Cynically, Bush hitched
his star to 9/11, depending on the corporate media not telling voters
about his monumental failure to keep us safe before, on and after that
tragedy. Suddenly this reliance is less secure.

Unfortunately for the White House, Richard Clarke, Joe Wilson, Paul
O'Neil exposed Bush Administration lies and failures which enabled the
9/11 terror attacks. Clarke, as the former anti-terrorism czar in four
White House administrations has the highest authority and credibility.
When Clarke explains that the Bush White House failed America out of
laziness and obsession on Iraq and "Star Wars", he joins a growing list
of former Bush staffers -- Paul O'Neil, David Kay and others --
documenting Bush's failures. Bush admitted he felt NO urgency about
terrorism before 9/11. Thanks to Bush's lack of leadership 3000
Americans died.

In desperation, Republican officials and their supporters in the media
keep trying to blame the Clinton Administration for 9/11. The Clinton
Administration was the best anti-terror Administration in US history.
Clinton elevated anti-terror to cabinet level. Bush lowered it to staff
level. The Verdict on Bush's decision? 3000 Americans dead.

Former National Security Adviser Samuel "Sandy" Berger's sworn testimony
explodes the hypocritical Republican claims that President Clinton "did
nothing" against bin Laden. The Clinton Administration might have caught
or killed bin Laden if the GOP hadn't helped al Qaeda. Top GOP leaders
such as Sen. Phil Gramm, then-Senate Leader Trent Lott and House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay blocked all of Clinton's anti-terror efforts.
When President Clinton ordered the attacks against al Qaeda, Republicans
attacked Clinton. They screamed "wag the dog" and whined that terrorism
wasn't a real issue. Clinton ordered CIA to kill or capture bin Laden.
Clinton's people caught the WTC93 bombers and Khobar Towers bombers.
They attacked Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda in Afghanistan after their
attack on African embassies, but Republicans blocked further anti-terror
actions when they accused President Clinton of "wagging the dog."

By contrast, Bush provided no leadership against al Qaeda. Even worse,
he ordered the FBI and CIA to "back off" the bin Laden terrorists and
withdrew the 2 attack subs Clinton deployed against al Qaeda. Because of
that 3000 Americans died. Bush should have left the attack subs in place
and kept pressure on the Taliban and al Qaeda. Instead Bush pulled back
our forces and kissed up to the Taliban. Our enemies saw this weakness
and attacked. Bush also helped terror suspects Abdullah and Omar bin
Laden escape from the US after 9/11 and his orders helped Osama bin
Laden escape in Tora Bora. Bush gave terrorists a free hand before 9/11.

Clarke designed a detailed battle plan to attack al Qaeda, but Bush went
on vacation for months rather than implement it. Bush didn't send troops
into Afghanistan to attack Osama Bin Laden even after he knew bin Laden
was behind the attack against the USS Cole. Bush Administration
apologists claim Richard Clarke admits that Bush radically changed
anti-terror policy from "rolling back" al Qaeda to direct attack,
however Bush never did anything against terrorism before 9/11, and by
attacking Iraq he actually promoted al Qaeda's interests.

We're less safe thanks to Bush. Bush is helping our enemies the al Qaeda
terrorists. Bush attacked their top rival, Saddam. Bush keeps doing
exactly what Osama Bin Laden wants him to do. His rush to invade Iraq
split the anti-terrorist coalition and fueled radical Islamicist
propaganda efforts. It also opened Iraq to al Qaeda terrorists Saddam
Hussein had suppressed. Bush keeps undermining national security and
serving Saudi interests rather than American interests. The record shows
Bush and almost his entire national security team ignored warnings about
impending terrorist attacks. Then, they lied to us about Iraq. As a
result 3000 Americans died on 9/11, and 2000 Americans died in Iraq.

Rather than face and fix their mistakes, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice
first tried to block then stone-walled all attempts to investigate what
went wrong. Rather than catching or killing bin Laden, the Bush
Administration focused on its political enemies rather than our national
enemies. If the Bush Administration spent 1/10 of the effort attacking
Osama and al Qaeda as they're devoting to attack Clarke, O'Neil, and
Ambassador Wilson, Osama might be dead now.

Leading up to 9/11/01, Bush failed worse than any other President in US
history at his most important job - keeping us safe from foreign attack.
Condoleezza Rice failed to provide even mediocre national security
advice. Rumsfeld's Department of Defense failed to defend their
Department - the Pentagon - from attack. Then they blamed others and
lied about all of this. They also failed after 9/11 when the American
People gave them a second chance. Bush and his administration abused our
trust by ignoring and increasing real terrorist threats, and by pushing
a radical right wing agenda which undermined our preparedness. Katrina
exposed cronyism and incompetence in the Bush Administration. Hopefully
the Fitzgerald investigation will expose their criminality in rushing to
attack Iraq based on lies and intimidation and retaliation to cover up
lies and failures.

Bush and his administration are utter, miserable failures. They should
be impeached for letting terrorists kill 3000 of us through criminal
negligence and then getting another 2000 Americans killed in Iraq, a
nation which never attacked or threatened us. Also for gutting our
ability to protect Americans from natural disasters and terrorism. And
for lying about all this and for committing crimes to punish those who
exposed their failures and lies. The mainstream media should have
protected us from these fatal failures and costly crimes, but refused to
do their jobs.

Like Nixon's Watergate, Reagan's Iran-Contra, and other Republican
scandals, this current criminal mess is just another case of GOP
business as usual. Republicans cannot run the economy. They cannot keep
us safe. All they can do is grab and exploit power, enrich their greedy
supporters, and leave the rest of us to fend for ourselves without
national security or a sound economy. We have to demand better from our
elected officials and the media. Our lives depend on it.

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