Your E-Z Guide to the Valerie Plame Scandal
Here it is: your Quick Reference; your Official Cheatsheet. Everything you ever wanted to know about the outing of Valerie Plame. And remember, Valerie Plame is the center of the storm. This website is an excellent guide to the whole can of worms: the Downing Street memos, all of the fake “intelligence” for justifying the Iraqi invasion, and the incredible sales and marketing effort to sell this war to the American people.
This site is worth bookmarking and keeping. It brings in a whole host of characters, from household names to the “Who?!?” category.
Here are a few examples:
Scooter Libby. No, this isn’t somebody’s great-nephew who’s still too young to drive. It’s a grown man who’s been Dick Cheney’s right-hand man since the Year One. And he played a large role in “convincing” the CIA that, yes, Saddam Hussein had indeed gone to Niger (and everywhere else in the world), knocking on doors, screaming at everybody “I want yellowcake Uranium so I can Nuke America. And I want it NOW.”
Now, back in a quaint earlier era, the CIA provided the intelligence; they weren’t told in advance by politicians what their intelligence findings would be. Somehow that earlier version just sounds a little more sane and rational.
In September 2003, the Justice Department informed Electrodes “Alberto” Gonzales, White House Counsel at the time, that there would be a criminal investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent. Gonzales was instructed to immediately tell the White House staff to preserve all documents relating to the case. Instead, Gonzales went to Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff, and told him about the order from the Justice Department. Gonzales didn’t inform the rest of the White House staff until 12 hours later.
Card had a 12-hour window to tip off the White House staff. Hmmm…12 hours. Whooeeee!!! Shredding Party!!
Card also founded — and participated regularly in — the White House Iraq Group. This group had weekly meetings to coordinate the selling and marketing of the war in Iraq — how to drum up the proper hysteria among American voters, which slogans and hot-button rhetoric would be most effective, etc. Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were also members of this group.
Joseph Wilson of course is the diplomat whose article debunked Bush’s claims about Saddam Hussein bobbing for uranium in Africa. The day after Wilson’s article was published, Ari Fleischer (White House Press Secretary at the time) received a phone call from Robert Novak, the columnist who printed the information about Wilson’s wife being a CIA agent. Ari Fleischer is one of the names that keeps popping up in Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation.
John Hannah, Aide to Dick Cheney, is one of the “major players” in the Plamegate scandal, according to investigators. Investigators are really leaning on him: name names or do hard time (just like in the movies).
Dan Bartlett, former White House Communications Director, has worked very closely with Karl Rove since the early 1990s. In 2003 he urged reporters to investigate why the CIA sent Joseph Wilson to Niger. Bartlett was also a member of the White House Iraq Group.
In July 2003, President Bush, Colin Powell and several other Bush administration staff were on an Air Force One trip to Africa. Several staff members on the flight viewed a State Department memo which contained a paragraph marked “S” for Secret. This paragraph mentioned “CIA Officer Valerie Plame.” Fitzgerald’s investigation has subpoenaed the phone records of that Air Force One flight, to see if anyone made a call from the plane to reveal Plame’s identity.
Karen Hughes, White House Aide, and a member of the White House Iraq Group, had a major role in drafting Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Speech. This is the speech that contained those infamous 16 words: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” She also led the character assassination attack on Richard Clarke — Bush’s former top anti-terrorism adviser — after Clarke left the Bush administration. When Clarke said publicly that Bush was neglecting the war on terror because he was so obsessed with finding a link between Iraq and 9/11, the White House released lots of formerly classified documents in an effort to smear Clarke.
Four of Dick Cheney’s staff members — Scooter Libby, John Hannah, Mary Matalin, and Catherine Martin — have been implicated in the leak. According to sources inside the investigation, “Cheney seems to be the common denominator.” Cheney and Libby used to visit CIA headquarters and talk directly with CIA analysts and try to “suggest” what their findings would be. This tactic is completely unprecedented in the CIA's history.
Bush has not been personally implicated in the leak. But there’s the broader question of whether he was aware of any of his aides using Valerie Plame’s identity to undermine the credibility of her husband. And of course Bush has “progressed” from wanting to get to the bottom of this scandal, to promising to fire anyone who had anything to do with it, to promising to fire anyone who was connected to the scandal if that person was convicted of a crime.
So that’s a brief glimpse. But there’s lots of information here. With Plamegate and Downing-gate continuing to unravel, this little cheatsheet will come in handy.
And since this is such a tangled web, we’re all bound to get confused about who said what to who when. “Hmmm, what did Karl Rove say to Robert Novak?” “Let’s see, who tried to strong-arm the CIA into ‘fixing’ their intelligence?” The answers are just a click away.
cross-posted at Bring It On!