Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Libby's dirty little secret

"National security" was abused in a White House plot to discredit an effective critic, according to I. Lewis Libby's testimony.

Libby, former national security aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, told a grand jury that he, Cheney and President Bush had conspired to blacken the reputation of Joseph Wilson, a diplomat who blew the whistle on the fact that the White House was using a discredited claim about Iraqi attempts to go nuclear.

Libby, a longtime Washington insider and ally of the neocon contingent, was the lawyer who helped push through President Clinton's last-second pardon of Marc Rich, the influential Israeli-American wanted for illegaly trading with the enemy at the time of the Iranian hostage crisis.

Libby seems to have thought that it was normal politics to conspire to misuse national security against critics. National security was misused in two ways: the identity of Valery Plame Wilson as a CIA operative was disclosed; and the White House was supposed to have been protected by a special national security understanding with representatives of the elite media.

Bush's probable involvement in this conspiracy to destroy a man and woman while hiding behind a national security screen is indicated by the fact that he somehow declassified Plame's identity without consulting anyone much. Certainly Plame didn't know her identity had been declassified. Now if Bush declassified Plame's identity, why did her identity have to be anonymously leaked? Clearly, we have political conspiracy cloaked behind national security.

So who else did the Gang of Three (make that Gang of N), using their national security advantage, conspire to politically neutralize?

Hard to say for sure. But, do we doubt that there have been many such nasty little plots?

In fact, yours truly is not quite a "public figure" but would not the White House perceive this experienced newsman's activities as threatening? It's true that the names of investigative reporters and columnists do not usually appear in the political debate (at least prior to the Plame matter) and so from that standpoint the fact that both politicians and media elite seem to ignore me is not terribly surprising.

Yet how does the White House's national security politics unit handle journalists that imperil the President's political well-being. Well, if need be Bush will call up the editor and push to have a story killed.

Suppose there is no editor to call up? In that case, such a journalist will have few friends in high places and all sorts of nasties may be OKd. And of course the Washington media will be expected to keep quiet ... in the name of national security.

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