I've seen a few attempts to make the best
of it, but Fitzmas was an absolute slam-dunk victory for the neocons.
60 years? Libby won't do 60 minutes. It's actually the best thing that ever
happened to him. He'll be pardoned and have to spend a few years out of obvious
political activity, during which time he'll be given millions of dollars for
his valiant services to the Cause, but will be all ready to return in triumph
to the Cheney administration, when he can destroy whatever of the world is still
left. Libby doesn't have to turn over anybody in the Administration because
he knows he won't do any time. Just like in the Mafia, a conviction adds to
Why did Fitzgerald not go after anyone for the substantive crime itself? My
guess is that he couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Plame was actually
undercover. According to former CIA officer Larry Johnson,
the CIA was worried that Plame may have been outed to the Russians by Aldrich
Ames. What did they do in response? They brought her back to the states but
continued to send her on undercover work to Europe. This is completely
incoherent. Did they think there was a 50% chance that her identity had been
revealed so they decided to cut her undercover work by 50%? Here's Ledeen
on the matter (and he's right!):
". . . I entirely agree with those who have said that Fitzgerald has
introduced an entirely different rationale into this process. He was supposed
to determine if anyone had outed a covert operative. In this indictment, and
in his press conference, he just said that her identity was classified, and
so he wants to prosecute people for improper use of classified information.
I expect the defense will have fun with that one. Is it criminal to say that
so and so works at CIA? If so, a lot of normal people and even some journalists
should be prosecuted forthwith."
Here's Fitzgerald himself:
"Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson's employment status was classified.
Prior to that date, her affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge
outside the intelligence community. Disclosure of classified information about
an individual's employment by the CIA has the potential to damage the national
security in ways that range from preventing that individual's future use in
a covert capacity, to compromising intelligence-gathering methods and operations,
and endangering the safety of CIA employees and those who deal with them,
the indictment states."
Note how carefully written this is, and that it has nothing to do with proving
the charges Fitzgerald would have to prove ('covert' is the missing word). It
is as if Fitzgerald is trying to cleverly combine the charges he meant to bring
with espionage charges, something he can get away with in a press conference
but not something he can get away with in court (note the same trick is tried
by the lefties
here). The many inconsistencies in the CIA story would allow any good defense
attorney to tear the whole basis of the charge, that Plame really was undercover,
The only important recent thinking on Plamegate is at Think Progress,
where Jennifer Palmieri points
out that George Tenet requested and got a meeting with Bush on June 2, 2004,
resigned with no good reason ever being given, later that day Bush lawyered
up for the first time on Plamegate, and a few days later Cheney was interviewed
by Fitzgerald. Palmieri writes:
"What could account for this confluence of events? Had Tenet
found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to tell Fitzgerald some
damaging information about the Vice President and thought he needed to leave
the Administration because of it? Did Tenet deliver some bad news
to Bush the evening he met with him that would prompt the White House to feel
the need to announce that the President had sought outside legal counsel?
It's speculation, but there is no denying that the timing is curious.
Tenet must have told Bush that he told Fitzgerald that he was the one who
told Cheney about Plame (although I note that the fact it was Tenet who told
Cheney is still being denied
by 'several former intelligence officials', a denial which is consistent with
my theory that this whole matter is a CIA conspiracy). Tenet was thus in an
impossible conflict between his duties to the Bush Administration and his duties
to the CIA, and had to resign. The fact that Bush immediately had to lawyer
up may mean that he had not been aware of what Cheney had been up to, or it
may mean that Bush was for the first time made aware that he could not contain
the situation once the Tenet cat was out of the bag. It can't be a coincidence
that Tenet required an emergency resignation, without reasons, and Bush immediately
needed a lawyer.
The lesson from all this for the American left?: stop putting all your
political hopes on a Republican prosecutor appointed by John Ashcroft, get the
crooked voting machine problem fixed (absolute job one!), and try to win an
election or two.