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It is About Death Not Sex
By Larry C. Johnson
The patethic whiney column by Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times today makes one wonder if we must see the actual bodies before we understand the damage done to this country when White House officials exposed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. Valerie, who was still working under non-official cover, was in the process of converting to official cover. All that means is that she would no longer have to travel overseas and face the threat of death if caught while carrying out espionage activities. No, in the future, she would have traveled with a black U.S. diplomatic passport and would have been entitled to Geneva Convention protections. However, she would have still been undercover and still protected by the law.
Unfortunately the media appears to be helping spin the spin by suggesting that Patrick Fitzgerald is a prosecutor, a la Ken Starr, run amuck. While Starr brought the Clinton White House to its knees because the President lied about sex with an intern, the current case is far more serious than blow job from a willing adult.
The activities of the Bush White House, their politics as normal, involves trashing the reputation and motives of anyone who dares speak the truth. If Joe Wilson had been the only victim of this tactic one could make the argument that this was an isolated, unusual event. But that is not true. Just ask Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the Army Thomas White, Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke, and any other American who dared speak up about the Administration's flawed record on fighting terrorism and dealing with Iraq.
Only in this case the White House crossed the line. In an orchestrated, organized effort they planned and disseminated false information about Joe Wilson. People who have demonstrably lied to the American people--including Karl Rove, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Scott McClellan--try to pin the label of liar on Joe Wilson. Why? Because Joe Wilson told his CIA briefers that there was no evidence that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Niger. Guess what? That is the position held by all analysts in the intelligence community except one. Consequently, senior CIA officials repeatedly told members of Congress and the White House that there was no substance to the reports, including the British white paper, alleging that such activity was underway. Despite these repeated warnings from the CIA that the information was no good, Dick Cheney and George Bush continued to tell the American people the opposite. And they call Joe Wilson a "liar"?
What will become increasingly obvious in the coming days is that the White House was fully organized in its effort to attack Joe and Valerie Wilson. Too bad the Bush Administration has not shown the same enthusiasm for finding Osama Bin Laden or rescuing the three Americans that have been held by terrorists in Colombia for the last three years. If the Bush White House spent the same amount of time looking for terrorists rather than conspiring to attack the reputation and livelihood of American citizens they would have made significant progress in the war on terrorism. Instead, terrorist attacks in which people were killed and wounded rose to unprecedented levels last year and more than 2000 Americans have died in Iraq. This scandal is not about semen stains on a blue dress. This scandal is about destroying and diverting national security resources for petty political gains and using the power of the White House to attack American citizens. If that is not justification for impeachment than nothing meets the test.