Bush Administration Real Victim In Plame-Gate
- 8 September 2006 by Author 0 Comments
Bush Administration Real Victim In Plame-Gate
By Richard Larsen
Published 9/8/06 – Idaho State Journal
Just over three years ago, Robert Novak rocked Washington with the revelation that a “high level administration official” had leaked to him the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA employee who headed the WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) desk at the CIA. Immediately the media machines of D.C. began the very public speculation of who the source was.
In spite of Novak’s specific words, a “senior administration official” who was “not a partisan gunslinger,” all of Washington speculated whether it was Karl Rove, the President’s closest political advisor, or Vice President Richard Cheney, or maybe the President himself. For three years, the speculation has continued in political and media circles. The New York Times itself featured over 60 front page headline stories on the ensuing investigation.
Yet now that the source of the leak is public, we can only wonder about the reticence surrounding the case. There are several potential reasons why we hear nothing, and perhaps it’s a combination of all those reasons.
First of all, there is Joseph Wilson’s duplicity about the whole affair. He, you’ll recall, is a former ambassador, appointed by Bush 41, and was head of African affairs for the NSA in the Clinton Administration. Wilson went to Niger in February of 2002 ostensibly to investigate the veracity of Administration claims Niger had made an agreement to sell 500 tons of “yellow cake” (unrefined uranium that can be used for power or weapons production) to Saddam Hussein.
Wilson initially claimed that the Vice Presidents’ office had sent him to Niger, but when Cheney disavowed that claim, Novak revealed that Wilson had been sent by his wife, Valerie Plame. He then provided conflicting testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding his findings in Niger that completely discredited his claims of no Niger-Iraq yellow cake connection.
Senator Pat Roberts’ (Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee) addendum to the official Senate Intelligence Committee Report regarding said testimony is most insightful. Senator Roberts states, “The former Ambassador, either by design or through ignorance, gave the American people, and for that matter, the world a version of events that was inaccurate, unsubstantiated, and misleading.”
Then there is the fact that there was no crime actually committed, since Plame, although a CIA employee, had not been a covert operative since 1995. Consequently, any revelation of her name by any administration official would not be a crime.
Perhaps the coup de gras is the fact that the disclosure of Plame’s name was not made by Rove, Cheney, or anyone close to the President, but rather by the Deputy Secretary of State who resigned his post a day after Colin Powell resigned as Secretary of State. Richard Armatage had authored an importunate letter to President Clinton in 1998 recommending removal of Saddam Hussein by whatever means necessary, for the protection of Israel and of U.S. interests. Yet he eventually fell into the camp opposed to the Iraq operation in the War on Terror, placing him on the same ideological footing as the major media.
There are many disconcerting elements to this investigation, but I’ll address just a couple. First of all, the fact that Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel investigating the “leak,” knew within three days of the initiation of the investigation that Armatage was the source. Yet three years and $60 million later, we begin to learn the results of the investigation, which were actually learned in the first week!
It also appears that the investigation turned into more of a “process investigation” than a leak investigation where the special counsel was doing all he could to trip up other administration officials, like “Scooter” Libby, former Chief of Staff for Cheney. This is obvious since Fitzgerald had his source of the “leak” so early in his investigation. In other words it became nothing more than a fishing expedition, else why would Rove had been called in to testify so many times, since Fitzgerald had already resolved where the “leak” was?
This seems to indicate a double standard utilized by the investigators as well. Victoria Toensing, a Justice Department official in the Regan administration observed a few days ago, “If you were against the war, it was okay to forget or to reveal details about Valerie Plame, but if you supported the war, you get indicted. It’s as simple as that.”
We are left to muse over whether or not Rove or others close to the President would have been charged if they had been identified as sources of the leak. It is obvious that Armatage will not be charged, if for no other reason than he inexplicably (in light of his supplication to Clinton in ’98) opposed operations in Iraq.
The biggest shame in all this is that for three years incriminations, accusations, and presumptive polling inferring Administration culpability in the “leak” eroded public confidence. The damage is done, and even if or when the facts of the investigation are promulgated, it will be done as a minor footnote to the fiasco of the Fitzgerald inquisition. Truth at this point hardly compensates for the three years of attacks and incrimination.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.