Media Uses Kid Gloves on Bush
Since it surfaced, the mainstream media has been tip-toeing around the explosive implications surrounding the President's direct involvment in the Plame leak. Now, they're easing into them so carefully, that it appears their primary goal is not to report the truth, come what may, but to mitigate the political damage to his presidency.
Q. What did the president and vice president direct Libby to leak?This is a bombshell. Enough to impeach him. But, it doesn't follow logically from what's presented. There's a missing link - the evidence that shows that the President knew damn well it was bad information, but pressed forward with it anyway.
- A portion of a classified prewar document in which U.S. intelligence agencies declared Iraq was vigorously trying to procure uranium. The court papers say Libby leaked the information to New York Times reporter Judith Miller on July 8, 2003. On Saturday, The Washington Post said reporter Bob Woodward met with Libby 11 days before Miller's meeting with Libby. According to the Post, Woodward said his notes reflect Libby using the word "vigorous" to describe an Iraqi effort to acquire uranium. Libby's leaks were the beginning of an emerging White House strategy: Blame the CIA for providing the White House with a faulty premise for going to war.
Evidence had surfaced at the time, I remember.
There was a scuffle between the White House and people at the CIA. But, I see nothing about it in American media, at this crucial time, though it's mentioned in international media.
USA Today 7/31/2003 - For the most part, the divisions within the Bush administration about the intelligence on Iraq's weapons remained secret until after the war. Confronted with differences of opinion, as in the case of the tubes, the administration repeatedly adopted the interpretation that advanced the case for war. Other examples:
• British intelligence said Iraq sought uranium in Africa. The CIA repeatedly raised doubts about that charge. Bush sided with the British, though the White House later said that was a mistake.
• The CIA concluded that Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles primarily for use in delivering chemical and biological weapons. But recently declassified CIA documents show that the Air Force's intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Ronald Sams, disagreed. He said the small size of Iraq's fleet of such aircraft "strongly suggests a primary role of reconnaissance." The White House sided with the CIA position.
The report then follows with questions that tend to minimize the implications of the President steering the country into war under false pretenses.
Q. If Libby was directed by Bush and Cheney to leak information from a classified National Intelligence Estimate, why did he allegedly leak information about Plame's CIA identity as well? Did he do so with or without direction from his superiors?Leaking Plame's name is, of course, inexcusable. But, dragging the nation into war based on lies is treason. This question suggests that it's tolerable.
- No one in a position to know has offered answers.
Q. If what Bush did was legal, why does this matter?
- The furor prompted by the latest disclosure that Bush and Cheney were directing a leak campaign against Wilson goes to the practice of declassifying secrets to gain political advantage. That kind of conduct has been deplored, most recently last year by a commission Bush appointed to examine U.S. intelligence failures on Iraq. The White House says there is an important distinction between declassifying information in the public interest and leaking classified information that could compromise national security.
First of all, it's not possible for Bush to be deplored more than he already is. Second, this suggests that countering Wilson's statements with ones that bolstered the case for war is somehow in the public interest. The facts do not support this outrageous suggestion.
Q. What else did Libby leak?Finally, this equivocation between the two viewpoints suggests that each was meritorious at the time they were presented, which is not true. So, the question is why did Bush and Cheney "vigorously" push information that tended to support a case for WMD despite being advised that it was unreliable?
- Aside from allegedly revealing Plame's CIA identity, Libby discussed with New York Times report Judith Miller a then-classified CIA report that arguably undercut Wilson's public attacks on the administration. In it, Wilson described how an Iraqi delegation had visited Niger in 1999 and sought to expand commercial relations, which Niger understood to be a desire to obtain uranium. On the one hand, Wilson was saying publicly it was highly doubtful Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. On the other hand, Wilson was leaving out from his public criticism the information he had learned during his CIA-sponsored trip to Niger about Iraq's desire to expand commercial relations.
And now that these issues are glaringly obvious, why is the media going to great lengths to dodge them?