Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from Chris Hedges….
Chris Hedges calls CounterPunch “the most fearless, intellectually rigorous and important publication in the United States.” Who are we to argue? But the only way we can continue to “dissect the evils of empire” and the “psychosis of permanent war” is with your financial support. Please donate.
Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
The Teflon Partnership
Shortly after Valerie Plame was outed, Joe Wilson received a long handwritten letter from the first President Bush expressing his "outrage at what had happened and his understanding of the seriousness of it," according to Wilson.
The elder Bush, a former CIA Director himself, is known to have said in 1999, that "those who betray the trust by exposing the names of our sources" are "the most insidious of traitors."
How must the father feel now that he knows his son is the leader of a gang of the "most insidious of traitors?"
The American taxpayers who paid for the investigation to determine the identities of the insidious traitors deserve to know what happened to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald between October 28, 2005 and June 13, 2006. Back when he announced the Scooter Libby indictment, he said Valerie Plame’s CIA status was classified and not common knowledge. At his October press conference, Fitzgerald specifically told reporters:
Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified. Not only was it classified, but also it was not widely known outside the intelligence community. Valerie Wilson’s friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life. The fact that she was a CIA officer was not well known, for her protection or for the benefit of all us. It’s important that a CIA officer’s identity be protected, that it be protected not just for the officer, but for the nation’s security. Valerie Wilson’s cover was blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown was when Mr. Novak published a column on July 14th, 2003.
In an August 27, 2005 affidavit, filed in the Libby case, Fitzgerald described Valerie Plame as "a person whose identity the CIA was making specific efforts to conceal and who had carried out covert work overseas within the last 5 years."
Fitzgerald has identified Karl Rove as one of Novak’s sources. In fact, according to court filings, Rove was the person who told Scooter Libby that Novak was planning to write a story about Wilson before it was published. And as it turns out, Rove was Time Magazine’s Matt Cooper’s source as well.
So what happened to the special prosecutor since October 28, 2005?
One thing is clear. The "Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement," Forms SF-312, signed by members of the Bush administration are not worth the paper they are written on. Rove signed that form as a condition of employment and it prohibits even confirming or repeating classified information already leaked. The briefing book that comes with the form states in relevant part:
Before confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure.
Since day one, when Plame’s identity showed up in the press, there have been lies, upon lies, upon more lies from members of the Bush administration
On September 29, 2003, during a public press conference, press secretary, Scott McClellan told the world in regard to any White House involvement in the leak:
"There’s been nothing, absolutely nothing, brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement, and that includes the vice president’s office, as well."
McClellan assured Americans that "if anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."
In regard to Rove being involved, McClellan said the "President knows" it is not true and then told world:
"And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it’s public knowledge. I’ve said that it’s not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove … He [President Bush]‘s aware of what I’ve said, that there is simply no truth to that suggestion. And I have spoken with Karl about it."
On June 24, 2004, Fitzgerald and his assistants interviewed Bush himself in the Oval Office. At a press conference that day, McClellan told Americans that Bush was "pleased to do his part" and stated:
"No one wants to get to the bottom of this matter more than the president of the United States, and he has said on more than one occasion that if anyone — inside or outside the government has information that can help the investigators get to the bottom of this, they should provide that information to the officials in charge."
A month or so later, Karl Rove said, "I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name," to a CNN reporter at the Republican convention in July 2004.
"This is at the Justice Department," Rove said, "I’m confident that the U.S. Attorney, the prosecutor who’s involved in looking at this is going to do a very thorough job of doing a very substantial and conclusive investigation."
On July 2, 2005, Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, said that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA."
The thorough investigation Rove referred to is done and it revealed what many of us knew when it began. Rove was the source of the leak of Valerie’s identity, and not to only one reporter but to two.
On July 13, 2005, Matt Cooper testified before the grand jury and informed the panel that Rove was the first source that told him that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
In an article discussing his testimony, in the July 17, 2005 Time Magazine, Cooper wrote: "Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson’s wife worked at the C.I.A. and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes."
"Did Rove say that she worked at the ‘agency’ on ‘W.M.D.’? Yes," Cooper asked and answered in the article.
"When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don’t know," Cooper wrote.
On April 6, 2006, it was widely reported that Libby told the grand jury that Bush and Cheney authorized the disclosure of classified information on Iraq’s weapons program to debunk Wilson’s claims, according to documents filed in the Libby case.
Libby testified that the circumstances of his conversation with reporter Miller, getting approval from the President through the Vice President to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval were unique in his recollection, according to Fitzgerald’s filings in the case.
He further testified that on July 12, 2003, he was specifically directed by Cheney to speak to the press in place of Cathie Martin, the communications person for Cheney at the time.
Press secretary McClellan confirmed that Bush authorized the leak, but refused to answer questions about why Bush would bother appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Plame matter if he knew from the beginning who disclosed the information.
After being made a fool of in front of his fellow reporters, poor old Scott McClellan bit the dust apparently because he did not possess the ability to lie at the drop of a hat without looking guilty, THE top requirement for anyone who hopes to hold onto a job in the Bush White House.
On October 7, 2003, three months after Plame’s identity was leaked, Bush said in a press conference that it was unlikely that the person who leaked the name would be found.
"I mean this is a town full of people who like to leak information," he said. "And I don’t know if we’re going to find out the senior administration official."
"Now," he rambled on, "this is a large administration, and there’s lots of senior officials. I don’t have any idea."
For 3 long years, Bush engaged in this type of a cat-and-mouse game at the expense of the American taxpayers, and most taxpayers emphatically say they are not amused.
John Dean, former White House counsel to President Nixon during Watergate, wrote an open letter to Fitzgerald and warned that the Bush gang was using the same tactics the Nixon team used during Watergate and said in part:
Indeed, this is exactly the plan that was employed during Watergate by those who sought to conceal the Nixon Administration’s crimes, and keep criminals in office.
The plan was to keep the investigation focused on the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters – and away from the atmosphere in which such an action was undertaken.
Toward this end, I was directed by superiors to get the Department of Justice to keep its focus on the break-in, and nothing else.
That was done. And had Congress not undertaken its own investigation (since it was a Democratically-controlled Congress with a Republican President) it is very likely that Watergate would have ended with the conviction of those caught in the bungled burglary and wiretapping attempt at the Democratic headquarters.
We will no doubt have a Democratically controlled Congress in about 8 months and they had better do their job in exposing this corrupt regime because this gang of thugs is ten times worse than the Nixon administration.
The damning truth is that the US government exposed the identity of an undercover office and the fact that this unprecedented act will go unpunished will have far reaching consequences on covert operations all over the world.
If a CIA officer is exposed, his or her informants are exposed. In all cases, the cover of an officer ensures not only his or her own safety but that of the agent’s assets as well. A CIA agent in some foreign country will lose an opportunity to recruit an asset that may be invaluable because promises of protection will no longer carry the trust they once did.
When the outing occurred, critics say, Bush should have demanded the resignation of all persons involved. At a bare minimum, he should have suspended their security clearances and placed them on administrative leave. But then how could he do that when him and Cheney were directing the plot.
Instead, even knowing what they knew, the Bush gang flooded the airwaves with political rhetoric demeaning Plame’s importance at the CIA. Each time the talking heads displayed their ignorance by portraying Plame as a mere paper-pusher, or belittled the degree of cover used to protect CIA operatives, they did a disservice to all intelligence agents.
On July 22, 2005, former CIA agent, Larry Johnson testified at a Senate hearing and said the matter was not just about Plame. "We’re talking about an intelligence resource, a United States national security resource that was destroyed by these White House officials," Johnson said, "that went out and started talking to the press about this."
"And they have," he testified, "harmed the security of this country."
On October 30, 2005, former CIA agent Jim Marcinkowski told 60 Minutes that one of the worst things about the leak is that it gives America’s enemies clues about how the CIA operates. "She is the wife of an ambassador," he explained, "now, since this happened, every wife of an ambassador is going to be suspected."
"Or they’ll know there’s a possibility," he said, "that the wife of a U.S. ambassador is a CIA agent."
"This was done to silence others," according to Joe Wilson. "The message was if you do to us what Wilson did to us, we’ll do to you what we just did to Wilson’s family," he said.
Well then mission accomplished. After watching this dog and pony show for 3 years, who among us is going to expose the truth when we know this gang of thugs has done something detrimental to the country when it means our entire family is fair game for destruction and there is nothing we can do about it.
EVELYN PRINGLE can be reached at: email@example.com