Scooter Libby a fall guy? Vice President Cheney the puppeteer who pulled strings in order to discredit heroic, anti-war critics? Karl Rove, evil mastermind, burrowing into the dark recesses of government and spreading lies about Joe Wilson to the press? Award winning journalists rising to the bait offered by Libby, Cheney, and Rove – printing their lies while failing to do their duty and question the justification for war?
This is The Plame Narrative – or at least a large part of it. There’s more of it to be found on lefty websites who have flogged this story and defined its parameters so that any deviation from The Plame Narrative is dismissed as Administration propaganda or just more of the same from “the right wing noise machine.” The problem with other parts of The Narrative – such as the entire Joe Wilson smear job was hatched in the Oval Office and President Bush ran it like a covert operation – is that much of it is so wildly fanciful that leaving the loonier parts on the cutting room floor becomes a necessity so that the entire script isn’t discredited by rational people laughing at some of the more outrageous claims made by the netnuts in their “investigation” of what happened.
But the part of The Plame Narrative that has been set in stone from day one had to do with Joe Wilson and his trip to Niger.Tasked by the CIA to get to the bottom of Iraq’s involvement in uranium buying, Heroic Joe sipped mint tea while a parade of Niger officials paid him a visit poolside at his hotel to assure him that all was on the up and up with regards to obeying the sanctions against Iraq. Upon returning to the US, Heroic Joe wrote up a report and gave it to the CIA proving that we had no worries about Saddam getting his hands on anymore yellowcake uranium (no one has yet answered the question; “What were 500 tons of yellow cake uranium still doing at the nuclear research center of Al-Tuwaitha in Iraq when American tanks rolled into Baghdad?”) And the Genesis chapter in this narrative Bible is Mr. Wilson’s New York Times editorial on what he did and what he found out during his excellent adventure in Niger.
It is important to note that Scooter Libby was convicted of lying about conversations he had with reporters, some of which took place before the Wilson editorial appeared in the Times. So did the White House know that Wilson was going to write that editorial and were they determined to stop him?
Not exactly. You see, our Heroic Joe had been shopping his story for 6 months to various reporters. In an interview with the LA Weekly, Wilson let slip that he had been trying to leak news of his top secret trip all over Washington since the President’s 2003 State of the Union Speech:
I spoke to a number of reporters over the ensuing months. Each time they asked the White House or the State Department about it, they would feign ignorance. I became even more convinced that I was going to have to tell the story myself.
It would be natural for a source to claim ignorance if that source actually knew nothing about the subject. And what Wilson fails to mention in every speech he gives on the affair is that the CIA never forwarded anything about his Niger junket to the Vice President or anyone else in the Executive Branch. This fact raises interesting questions about the CIA and their role in this entire matter (see my good friend Clarice Feldman’s piece in today’s American Thinker for that story).
Not that it matters anymore but for the background and details of that trip, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report on Pre-War Intelligence Assessments of Iraqi WMD (Pages 49-57) makes Mr. Wilson out to be exactly what the White House was desperately trying to tell journalists; a bald faced liar.
You see, by the time the editorial appeared on July 6, 2003, Joe Wilson knew full well that no one in the Administration had been briefed on his Niger trip. He also knew that some of the information he returned with actually confirmed (according to CIA analysts) that Saddam had made some attempts to acquire yellowcake uranium from that country in 1999. He knew that the impetus for the trip did not originate with the Vice President’s office (although Cheney did ask the CIA about the reports of uranium sales that appeared in another intelligence report) but rather with the Counterproliferation Division at the CIA. How did he know this? He was married to a woman who worked in that division.
Then there were the faked memos about Saddam’s efforts to buy uranium from Niger that Wilson bragged he had spotted as forgeries before the government did – except he didn’t see them until after the government had already dismissed them as phonies.
These are facts you’ll never see in The Narrative. Instead, The Narrative tells the story of a White House who buried Heroic Joe’s report and denied it even existed to the “lapdog” press all so that they could continue their mad dash to war. The Narrative also tells the story of Heroic Joe the whistleblower, making a nuisance of himself in official Washington, going from department to department begging people to listen to him about the Administration’s twisting his intelligence on Niger to justify going to war.
What The Narrative leaves out is the fact that Joe Wilson is a self-promoting, self aggrandizing heel whose lies have done enormous damage. What else he may be is pure speculation but there is some reason to believe that he may have been the front man for a faction at the CIA who opposed the President’s policies in Iraq and, in fact, may have interfered in the 2004 election by leaking embarrassing and damaging analyses at key points in the campaign. This is the part of The Narrative you won’t see played out on lefty blogs today as Scooter Libby gets raked over the coals and sinister intimations of a wider “plot” to discredit a proven liar are aired.
Prosecutor Fitzgerald says there will be no more indictments. It took him more than 3 years, thousands of hours of grand jury testimony, thousands of more hours of FBI interviews as well as an unknown number of hours involving interviews of the principals with his staff to come up with Libby’s 3 lies to the Feds and the grand jury. No Karl Rove being frog marched to the jailhouse. No Dick Cheney being led away from the White House in handcuffs. No President Bush being impeached (for this incident anyway). All the fantasies of the netnuts regarding the Administration and what Fitzgerald was going to uncover shown to be the illusions of obsessive paranoids whose hatred of this President and his policies has led them into a deranged mental state.
Scooter Libby was wrong to lie to the FBI. He was wrong to lie to the grand jury. His lies constituted obstruction of justice. These are serious charges and should not, under any circumstances be minimized. Despite what you may think of Patrick Fitzgerald, he was a duly appointed representative of the justice system and was justified in prosecuting Mr. Libby for his crimes (even though some prosecutors may have chosen not to). But the reality is Scooter Libby would not have been placed in a position where out of loyalty to his boss or fear for his own legal situation he felt it necessary to obscure the facts if Joe Wilson had told the truth.
Ideally, someone should hold Mr. Wilson accountable for what his lies have wrought. Instead, he is feted and celebrated as a hero. A movie is in the works about the entire affair – all the better to reinforce The Narrative in the public’s mind. And the left will continue to flog the story, positing ever more fantastic conspiracy theories while the truth – contained in two bi-partisan Congressional reports struggles to be see the light of day.
“A lie will make it halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes,” said Winston Churchill. For Joe Wilson and his allies on the left, not only have their lies circumnavigated the globe several times but they stole the truth’s footwear long ago.
I have also posted this article at Tom DeLay.Com. Many thanks to Aaron for inviting me to be a guest blogger.