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Plamegate: Worse than Watergate


Plamegate: Worse than Watergate
by Arianna Huffington
READ MORE: Judith Miller, Scooter Libby, Patrick Fitzgerald, New York Times, Valerie Plame, George W. Bush, Iraq, Tim Russert, Dick Cheney, CIA, Scott McClellan, Karl Rove
It's getting hard to keep track of all the lies we've been told. Here's a quick cheat sheet:

We now know that Cheney lied to the American people about his involvement in the effort to smear Joe Wilson.

Three months after reportedly receiving a briefing about Wilson's trip to Niger from George "Slam Dunk" Tenet, and then telling Scooter Libby that Plame may have helped arrange her husband's trip, the Vice President went on national TV and told Tim Russert he didn't have a clue about the situation: "I don't know Joe Wilson... I don't know who sent Joe Wilson... I have no idea who hired him and it never came up."

We now know that Karl Rove lied about his involvement, too.

Back in September 2003, when Rove was asked if he had "any knowledge" about the Plame leak, he answered with an unambiguous "No."

Since then, we've learned that Rove was actually up to his Turd Blossom in Plamegate, discussing Plame and her role at the CIA with Matt Cooper and Bob Novak, and taking part in what a source familiar with his four visits to the grand jury characterized as "an aggressive campaign to discredit Wilson through the leaking and disseminating of derogatory information regarding him and his wife."

We now know that Scooter Libby also lied about his involvement.

Libby told Pat Fitzgerald that he first learned Plame's identity from Tim Russert. But his own notes show that it was actually his boss, Dick Cheney, who first clued him in about Plame. (Russert, of course, has said he learned of Plame's identity by reading Novak's column, but that's a conundrum for another blog!).

And we now know that Rove and Libby also lied to Scott McClellan, who then -- knowingly or not -- lied to reporters about the two men's involvement.

When pressed today about the fact that in October 2003 he had "categorically" assured reporters that Rove and Libby "were not involved" in the Plame leak, McClellan made it clear that he was just passing on "the assurances that I had received on that." In other words, I only lied to you because they lied to me.

Potential Bonus Presidential Lie: In June 2004, when asked whether he stood by his promise to fire anyone found to have leaked Plame's identity, President Bush (taking a cue from Rove) answered with an unambiguous "Yes." But the New York Daily News reports that Bush knew that Rove was involved in the leak two years ago. So why, a year later, was he still acting like he had no idea who'd been involved?

Let's put aside the legal arguments for a moment and just focus on this glut of lying. Clearly, these guys knew that what they were up to should be kept in the shadows. Hence Rove's desire to have his conversation with Cooper be kept on "double super secret background," his self-assessment that he'd "already said too much" to Cooper, and Libby's request that Judy Miller identify him as a "former Hill staffer" instead of the usual "senior administration official."

Cheney, Rove, and Libby obviously felt that their actions had to be covered up.

But what they were covering up was much more than the outing of Valerie Plame. They were covering up the way the White House had used lies and deception to lead us into a war that was reckless and unnecessary -- what Lt. Gen. William Odom, National Security Agency director under Reagan, has called "the greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

The reason why Cheney, Rove, and Libby were so aggressive in attacking anyone who questioned their rationale for war is because, by the summer of 2003, it was becoming embarrassingly clear how wrong they had been about Iraq -- wrong about WMD, wrong about flowers thrown at our feet, wrong about the cost of the war. Had their incompetence not been so grotesquely manifest, there would have been no need for the attack on Wilson -- and the resulting coverup -- that has now landed them all in such legal hot water.

If Rove and Libby are indeed indicted (adding Cheney to our Merry Fitz-mas gift list would just be getting greedy), I believe it will shake up our government in a way we haven't seen since Watergate.

To borrow a phrase from that era, let me make myself perfectly clear: I'm not saying that Plamegate is the same as Watergate. I'm saying it's worse. Much, much worse. No one died as a result of Watergate, but 2,000 American soldiers have now been killed and thousands more wounded to rid the world of an imminent threat that wasn't.

Could there be anything bigger?

After getting a fumbling cipher like George W. Bush elected president, the powers-behind-the-throne must have believed they were untouchable and could get away with anything -- including lying about WMD, outing a CIA agent, and, perhaps, lying to a special prosecutor.

Like Nixon, their mindset was "if you try to get in our way we'll destroy you." (See how quickly those keep-us-safe national security guys were willing to jeopardize an intelligence asset in the name of covering their asses.) And their hubris caused them to over-reach.

Like my old Greek pal Icarus, they flew too close to the sun... and now it looks like they, and their multitude of lies, are about to come crashing down.

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We were always taught in school that a good piece of writing always answered the questions of WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? HOW? and WHY?

During Watergate, we learned everything but the "WHY?" What could have been in the Democratic Headquarters that was so important/threatening to Nixon (et al) that they risked carrying out such an operation? Granted, Nixon had a classic "Right Man" dysfuntional psyche that made him paranoid, but there had to be something there that he could only trust his most loyal insiders with. What potential "threat" made him so desperate?

And, why did the Democrats themselves never answer this question of
"WHY?" Even Woodward and Bernstein were strangely silent on this point.

Today, I sit and watch the main stream media finally being forced to acknowledge the WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? and HOW? by a population slowly waking up to the realities of this war. Yet, no one but the "bloggers" seem interested in answering the "WHY?" of the matter. Why would this cabal risk so much and sacrifice so many?

I would like to know WHY my career was destroyed becaused I questioned this war like I question ANY war (we peace loving hippies are funny that way). I would like to know why these desperate men said, "If you aren't with us, you are against us and that makes you a TERRORIST SUPPORTER" and why the main stream media echoed this "truth" to the point where my wife and I became the targets of our neighbors who justified the killing of our innocent animals, trying to plant illegal drugs on me, and the issuance of death threats to us based on these frenzied lies of desperate men. I want to know WHY I lost my home and my farm and now live in a rental unit barely able to pay the bills with no health insurance for either my wife or myself.

I want to know WHY over 2000 young Americans have died (many of them my former students), countless others traumatized for life, wounded, and maimed as well as the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis that have had their lives destroyed and their lands laid waste.

I want to know WHY I now live in a land where the leaders justify the TORTURE of humans and have passed treasonous legislation like THE PATRIOT ACT I & II.

Why, indeed . . .

"Christ, you know it ain't easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They're going to crucify me"
- Ballad of John and Yoko by The Beatles

peace.

Well, it's certainly not so much to protect individuals who are mere figureheads and frontmen in either political party.

Most cover-ups (including including most so-called "national security" disclosure refusals) are to protect a much wider and deeper conspiracy (yes, I said the word) that, if fully exposed, could provoke another American Revolution against those who actually wield real power and control over the "greatest democracy on earth" and its governance.

And, if you don't know who that is, you haven't been paying attention. Hint: It's not "we the people".

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