Friday, July 29, 2005


We know for a fact that Bush, Inc. is hell bent on global hegemony. While the nut job wing of the GOP rant, rave, vent, get apoplexy over terrorists and terrorism, real or imagined, whether to scare or entertain us, the neocons are stealthily at work, visiting their will to dominate and control global order (all for personal greed) and their “value” system upon US TOO, that is, the least suspecting of Americans, the average Joes and Janes, we the little people, Ms. And Mr. Average Person, who do things like actually work for a living, take care of their kids, making sure they educate them well while instilling within them a real value system in which the lines of right and wrong are black and white, not gray or different for those who make the rules. Most go to church on Sunday, or the synagogue on Saturday or the mosque on Friday to worship an entity in which they truly believe. Truly believe. A belief that is not spin, fabrication or a disingenuous sales pitch. But they (WE) are being used and ultimately abused in a big way.

Sarah and I exchanged an email today in which she made me aware of facts that I had not known. I am no longer shocked, appalled, or furious. I am beyond these sentiments anymore. Now I am afraid.

Stone cold with fear for what lies ahead.

Turn off your TV's and find what little time you have between your jobs, families and other responsibilities and interests you have to fight for our fleeting democracy before it becomes a blast from the past. LS

(Sarah is a professional computer technology specialist who works for a private academic institution in Texas. She is a precinct chair and active volunteer for the DNC. Sarah works tirelessly and around the clock for progressive democratic principles. She is one of the three people who urged me to create a blog and Sarah had the skill, patience and gentle diligence to explain how to actually do it. ER, Sarah, I forgot to ask you, how do you create those “tiny URLS” that you and Ken send to me all of the time? I have to do the blog links in html for some reason, which is time consuming and challenging! ) LS

Part of her email to me today:

"Did you know that they were gearing up for Justice Sunday 2? Are you aware of the Christian Coalition's Justice Sunday that aired to an audience of 60 MILLION people? THey used their TV broadcast to discuss the Democrat's filibuster and other political issues. The head stated that Roe V Wade was the "worst Holocaust of our time". THey should have their non profit status removed, but you know they're working on that too - removing the limitation that restricts non profit organizations from participating in politics."


Look fast because this may not be up for long. Sarah's husband, who is a 3D artist, did this. Enjoy! Thanks to Sarah's husband for bringing a smile to our faces. LS



ACCORDING TO CNN, BUSH IS GOING TO THUMB HIS NOSE AT THE U.S. BY POSSIBLY APPOINTING THE LYING BOLTON OVER RECESS. Well, Bush flipped the bird to the press the other day so why not this? Unabashed arrogance is unabashed arrogance and unmasked contempt for the people is unmasked contempt for the people. LS



Found on via Raw Story.



From the NYT via Buzz Flash.



GOP Noe Invests State Funds in Online Gambling Co. in which Noe and other Republicans were investors.

From the Toledo Blade via Buzz Flash


when he failed to report stays at Noe's mega hacienda in Florida.



No comments tonight, friends. Just hard and very disturbing news. LS


Found on Yahoo News via Raw Story




By Josh Marshall of The Hill found via Buzz Flash


It’s been known since just before the outbreak of the war, almost two and a half years ago, that the prime “evidence” at the center of administration claims about an Iraq nuclear program was the work of forgers. This was announced by the International Atomic Energy Agency on the eve of the war, and in reaction Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) called for an FBI investigation into the origins of the forgeries themselves.

Ironically, though, that right-minded request became an excuse for not getting to the bottom of the mystery.







From found via Buzz Flash


The civilians would prove Ric Shinseki wrong no matter what it cost, and they would do everything in their power to punish him and everyone who liked him and supported him. Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, publicly rebuked Shinseki, saying his estimate was "wildly off the mark." They also made him a lame duck by leaking the name of his proposed successor more than a year before he was to retire.

When Army Secretary Tom White spoke up on behalf of Shinseki he was fired.



This is a somewhat confusing piece because a former Senator of Illinois, Peter Fitzgerald, has the same last name as the now famous federal prosecutor Fitzgerald, also of Illinois, who apparently goes after corrupted officials be they Republicans or Democrats. (You go guy!) After the S.C. paper posting, there is a piece from Josh Marshall on this. LS

Found via Buzz Flash on The of S.C.



Wednesday, July 27, 2005














But of course you knew all of this on some level, did you not? Cheney says he is no longer involved with Halliburton but he receives monetary payments from the company in one form or another, call it what they will in the upper 0.5% of income earners - bottom line - money received is money received, so, please, give us all a break. Tricky Dick Boy II is an involved and willing participant in the twisting and corruption of the Bill. Some of us are keeping the scores, dudes.









HERE WE GO........................ DRUMS.....SCREAM.....SILENCE.....



You would think these guys would lay low and play by the rules, given the fact that the stench of the CIA leak scandal sewage is slowly but surely seeping toward the White House top aides and possibly the President himself. Not to mention that the MSM media and press has finally risen from its pathetic slumber and are awakening to what many of us have known for some time.

But oh no! The necons are clearly out of control and cannot stop their dirty dealings. They are addicted to and drunk with power. Maybe Tommy Boy misses being in the limelight of scandal where he can thumb his nose to the American public with the swagger and sneer of a typical neocon.

Time for intervention, dudes and dudettes, like, uh, Karen Hughes.

Serious intervention.

It would be nice if we were discussing mere individuals with a vast number of very complex and challenging problems, but this lot is not some poor pathetic individual in need of treatment. It is a movement of extremist radicals who are hell bent on an ideology that is taking us straight to hell.


Waxman letter: Repubs secretly added provision into energy bill

07/27/2005 @ 6:37 pm

RAW STORY received today a letter from Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) to House Speaker Dennis Hastert today regarding a $1.5 billion provision benefiting oil and gas companies, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas, that was inserted into the energy legislation after it had been closed to further amendment. Writes Waxman:

The provision at issue is a 30-page subtitle called "Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources."[1] This subtitle, which was taken from the House-passed energy bill, was mysteriously inserted in the final energy legislation after the legislation was closed to further amendment.

Obviously, it would be a serious abuse to secretly slip such a costly and controversial provision into the energy legislation.

Although the name of the subtitle refers to "ultra-deepwater and unconventional natural gas,"it appears that the $1.5 billion fund created by the subtitle can in fact be used for many oil and gas projects.

The text of the letter follows.


July 27, 2005

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives
H232 Capitol
Washington, DC 20515-6501

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I am writing to draw to your attention a provision in the Energy Conference Report that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. At its essence, this provision is a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas. The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure. Before the final energy legislation is brought to the House floor, this provision should be deleted.

The provision at issue is a 30-page subtitle called "Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources."[1] This subtitle, which was taken from the House-passed energy bill, was mysteriously inserted in the final energy legislation after the legislation was closed to further amendment. The conferees were told that they would have the opportunity to consider and vote on the provisions in the conference report. But the subtitle was not included in the base text circulated to conferees, and it was never offered as an amendment.

Instead, the new subtitle first appeared in the text of the energy legislation only after Chairman Barton had gaveled the conference over. Obviously, it would be a serious abuse to secretly slip such a costly and controversial provision into the energy legislation.

On the merits, the subtitle is an indefensible giveaway to one of the most profitable industries in America. The provision establishes a $1.5 billion fund, up to $550 million of which would be dedicated direct spending, which is not subject to the normal congressional appropriations process. Although the name of the subtitle refers to "ultra-deepwater and unconventional natural gas," it appears that the $1.5 billion fund created by the subtitle can in fact be used for many oil and gas projects. According to the language of the subtitle, oil and gas companies can apply for funds for a wide variety of activities, including activities involving "innovative exploration and production techniques" or "enhanced recovery techniques."[2] While oil and gas companies could be required to contribute to the costs of their projects, the subtitle expressly provides that the Department has discretion to reduce or eliminate any such contribution.[3]

The subtitle appears to steer the administration of 75% of the $1.5 billion fund to a private consortium located in the district of Majority Leader Tom DeLay.[4] Ordinarily, a large fund like this would be administered directly by the government. The subtitle, however, directs the Department to "contract with a corporation that is constructed as a consortium."[5] The leading contender for this contract appears to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) consortium, housed in the Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas.[6] Halliburton is a member of RPSEA and sits on the board, as does Marathon Oil Company.[7] The subtitle provides that the consortium can keep up to 10% of the funds - in this case, over $100 million - in administrative expenses.[8]

The subtitle further provides that members of the consortium, such as Halliburton and Marathon Oil, can receive awards from the over $1 billion fund administered by the consortium.[9]

In short, the subtitle provides that taxpayers will hire a private consortium controlled by the oil and gas industry to hand out over $1 billion to oil and gas companies. There is no conceivable rationale for this extraordinary largess. The oil and gas industry is reporting record income and profits. According to one analyst, the net income of the top oil companies will total $230 billion in 2005.[10] If Congress has an extra $1.5 billion to give away, the money should be used to help families struggling to pay for soaring gasoline prices - not to further enrich oil and gas companies that are rolling in profits.

In recent years, Congress has been repeatedly embarrassed by the mysterious insertion of provisions in omnibus legislation. Last year, for example, we learned only after House action that the 3,000 page, $388 billion omnibus spending bill allowed members and staff of the Appropriations Committee to examine the tax returns of ordinary Americans.[11] We should not allow this to happen again. The Energy Conference Report should not be brought to the House floor until this objectionable provision is deleted and there is ample opportunity for members to read the legislation and delete any other problematic provisions.

Thank you for your attention to this problem.

Henry A. Waxman Ranking Minority Member

cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi



I have tried very hard, both in my head, and in my blog, due to a deep sense of love and respect I have for my late father and family members, some of whom are Republicans, to separate the neoconservative extremist policies from those of the GOP. Very unfortunately this is no longer possible. Simply put, I have given up any hope I previously held for a mere modicum of principle, integrity and courage on the part of the GOP to stand up to the Bush, Inc. radicals. They get a F- in that regard. I also hold certain cowardly Democrats in contempt, as well, for their allowing themselves to be bought and sold by GOP party manipulation and fabrication, i.e. the rationale for going to war with Iraq. Yes, Bush Inc. misled you, but you should have done your homework in that regard, at the very least. I mean, why are you Washington? For the power fix and the social events? Pathetic! You are supposed to be DEMOCRATS, thank you very much.

In the end, however, the GOP has gone over the top by their willing complicity in the sham and shame of the Bush administration, i.e. their not so tacit support of the endless lies to the American public on all levels, the political bullying, the appalling and disgraceful vindictive smear campaigns that target any human who dares to disagree with Bush policy, the cover-up and stonewalling of possible treason committed by a top aide, merely for revenge, thereby destroying the career of a CIA operative, not to mention the life threatening danger to her contacts, compromising our national security to boot, and worst of all, for enabling Bush to go to war on nothing more than a personal pipe dream agenda. Too many of us have died. Too many of us are suffering (young soldiers who are maimed for doing what you didn’t have the courage to do at their age, W.) We have paid dearly for your screw up, George Boy. So have our allies and Iraqis who have given up their lives for your huge blunder and pie in the sky, out of touch with global reality agenda. How in God’s name do you sleep at night?

All Bill Clinton did was lie about a freaking affair that no one cared about, except those of your ilk, W., the Hypocritical, the Vicious, the Pathological and the Anti-American.

Moving along....

Isn't life oh so grand and peachy keen since the 2000 appointment of the "President of the United States? "

From now on, keeping my mouth shut, or rather, my hands keyboard restrained, here are some gems.

Thanks for this great piece, Ken.

Lots of new and really interesting information here. One important piece: Bob Novak was going around town trying out the Plame is a CIA operative story before he published it. He was warned by the CIA to not reveal her identity, and that the story about her sending her husband to Niger was wrong. He's been acting like an innocent in the matter, but he was warned to not reveal her identity.

It also appears the investigation is looking into the administration's frantic effort to force a patsy to take the blame for Bush's lie in the State of the Union concerning Iraq looking for uranium in Africa. "...As part of this effort, then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley spoke with Tenet during the week about clearing up CIA responsibility for the 16 words, even though both knew the agency did not think Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, according to a person familiar with the conversation..." Of course Tenet wound up agreeing to take the fall. -K



Can't get more mainstream than USA. Shut up Libby.....


I am gasping for air, but no comment. LS




Restrain yourself, Libby. No bushie is worth the heart attack or stroke.



Thank God for lawyers who aren't bought and sold by Bush, Inc. Can't seem to keep my fingers from flying across the keyboard. Sorry! LS


Mr. Bonifaz began his address yesterday with an historical analysis of the issue of war-making powers considered by those who wrote the Constitution. Kings had always held that power and the framers wished to make certain no individual held it in this country - that it be reserved to a deliberative body.

Included, of course, in the sweeping critique that followed, were the failures of Senator Kerry in particular and most members of Congress to speak out on this responsibility when the question of going to war against Iraq arose three years ago. In addition to the impeachable offenses by members of the Bush administration later enumerated, the charge of "dereliction of duty" can be levied against members of Congress for allowing presidents to usurp this power - In Korea, in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, and twice in the case of Iraq. Not since World War II has Congress exercised its authority in this matter.



Yep, we are sheep led by wolves. Stop Libby! You promised you would shut the hell up.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005


CIA Leak Case By the Numbers

743 days without Republicans Investigating the CIA Leak Case.

Number of days after the article outing Ambassador Wilson's wife appeared that the White House required its staff to turn over evidence relating to the leak: 85

Approximate hours between then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez's advance notification to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card that he would require staff to turn over evidence relating to the case and formal notification to staff of that requirement: 12

Minimum number of times an Administration official leaked classified information about the identity of Ambassador Wilson's wife: 11

Minimum number of times after the beginning of the Justice Department's investigation that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan claimed Karl Rove was not involved: 5

Number of press conferences since evidence linking Karl Rove to the leak was made public where Press Secretary McClellan has refused to comment on the case, citing an ongoing criminal investigation: 7

Minimum number of hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate accusations against President Clinton involving the "Whitewater" case: 20

Total hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate the leak of the covert identity of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife: 0





Judiciary Democrats seek investigation into why probe took so long; Sixty-seven days?
07/26/2005 @ 2:13 pm

Michigan Democrat John Conyers and nine Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee issued a letter to the U.S. Inspector General calling for an investigation into a 12-hour delay between the Justice Department learning of the outing of a CIA agent and telling the White House to preserve documents, RAW STORY has learned.

Perhaps more significantly, however, Judiciary Democrats point to the 67 day gap between the time the CIA called the Justice Department to investigate the CIA outing and the time that the Justice Department directed the FBI to investigate the matter.

"It appears the now infamous 12 hour delay the Justice Department granted the White House before issuing an order to preserve documents was not an isolated instance," Conyers remarked. "I received information from the Central Intelligence Agency indicating a pattern of foot dragging by the Justice Department before it would commence a criminal investigation, or even respond to CIA requests."

"While the Republican Congress prepares to launch hearings, which appear to be fishing expeditions designed to discredit the Special Counsel investigating this matter, it defies reason that it would not investigate the DOJ's obviously partisan administration of justice," he added.

A letter written to the U.S. Inspector General follows.

July 26, 2005

Dear Inspector General Fine:

We write to request that you immediately commence an investigation of the Department of Justice's handling of the investigation of the leak of the identity of a covert CIA operative's identity by high-ranking Administration officials. Press reports and other information obtained by House Judiciary Committee Democrats appear to demonstrate that on at least two separate occasions, DOJ personnel acted to permit delays in the investigation, which may have resulted in the loss or destruction of critical evidence.

First, over this past weekend we learned that then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales received what appears to be a "heads-up" about the commencement of the investigation from Justice Department officials in the evening of September 29. Through White House staff, he asked DOJ personnel if it was permissible to wait an additional 12 hours to notify the White House staff of the investigation and presumably direct the staff to preserve all relevant documents and records relating to the inquiry. According to Mr. Gonzales, "Department of Justice lawyers" gave their assent to this delay:

I specifically had our lawyers go back to the Department of Justice lawyers and ask them, "Do you want us to notify the staff now, immediately or would it be okay to notify the staff early in the morning?" And we were advised, go ahead and notify the staff early in the morning, that would be okay.

Notwithstanding this request, Mr. Gonzales informed the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card about the investigation. It is not yet known who the White House Chief of Staff advised about the investigation prior to the Counsel's official notification twelve hours later.

For example, this twelve hour head start is a clear and troubling departure from Department practice. When White House contacts with Enron became essential to that investigation, then-Deputy Attorney General Christopher Wray immediately directed the White House to preserve all e-mails, memos, notes, letters and other documents from Enron employees or "any individual acting officially or unofficially, directly or indirectly on behalf" of the company. Less than an hour after receiving the directive, Mr. Gonzales issued an "administrative alert" directing officials to comply.4

Second, we previously received information about a similar delay with respect to the original criminal referral of this matter by the Central Intelligence Agency. In a letter to Ranking member Conyers, dated January 30, 2004 (enclosed), the CIA describes repeated delays and inaction by the Department. The Agency notes that Executive Order 12333 requires the Central Intelligence Agency to report to the Attorney General "possible violations of criminal law." Pursuant to this requirement, according to the letter, the CIA did the following:


On July 24, 2003, a CIA attorney left a phone message for the Chief of the Counterespionage Section of the Department of Justice noting his concern with recent stories apparently exposing the identity of Valerie Plame, an employee of the agency working under cover. There was apparently no response from the Department.

On July 30, 2003, the CIA reported to the Criminal Division of the DOJ a possible violation of criminal law concerning the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. There was apparently no response from the Department.

The CIA again transmitted their concerns by facsimile on September 5, 2003.

On September 16, in accordance with the Agency's standard practice in these matters, the CIA advised the Department that it had completed its own investigation of the matter, provided a memorandum setting forth the results of the investigation and requested that the FBI undertake a criminal investigation of the matter.

Finally, on September 29, 2003-sixty-seven days after the initial concerns were expressed by CIA employees-the DOJ responded and advised the CIA that the Counterespionage Division had requested that the FBI initiate an investigation of this matter.

Thus, it appears, that not only did DOJ personnel countenance a 12-hour delay in notifying White House staff to preserve all records (while the White House Chief of Staff was given a heads up of the existence of the investigation), but that the DOJ also appears to have ignored repeated entreaties from the CIA to initiate a law enforcement investigation into this matter several months before hand. We would therefore urge you to examine the extent that this course of conduct and other delays by the Department are consistent with standards of prosecutorial conduct and integrity.

Please respond to us at your earliest convenience though the Judiciary Committee Minority Office, 2142 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.


The so-called GOP "hearings" I posted last night has nothing to do with getting to the truth of Treasongate. No siree Bob. It is about going after the federal prosecutor Fitzgerald. What a despicable lot of liars and thugs the GOP has become. They are in so deep they will stop at nothing now. Wake up America. Wake the hell up and fire your lying, bullying and corrupt GOP lawmakers. Next they'll be throwing anyone who disagrees with them into the gas chambers. LS

GOP to investigate Fitzgerald
by kos
Mon Jul 25th, 2005 at 16:16:20 PDT


The story starts off promising enough:

Congress will conduct a series of hearings on national security and espionage issues raised by the CIA-leak controversy surrounding senior Bush adviser Karl Rove, officials said on Monday.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence plans hearings on potential national security threats posed by leaks, including leaks to the media, and will aim to toughen legislation barring the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

"It's time there's a comprehensive law that will make it easier for the government to prosecute wrongdoers and increase the penalties that hopefully will act as a deterrent," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the panel's Republican chairman.

But get to the last paragraph, and you see this:

[Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) spokeswoman Sarah] Little said the Senate committee would also review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years.

Now why would congressional Republicans want to review Fitzgerald's work? Because he won't fly the elephant above the Stars and Stripes?



On Yahoo.News via Raw Story

Congress plans to scrutinize Plame-related issues
By David MorganMon Jul 25, 4:38 PM ET

Congress will conduct a series of hearings on national security and espionage issues raised by the CIA-leak controversy surrounding senior Bush adviser Karl Rove, officials said on Monday.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence plans hearings on potential national security threats posed by leaks, including leaks to the media, and will aim to toughen legislation barring the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

"It's time there's a comprehensive law that will make it easier for the government to prosecute wrongdoers and increase the penalties that hopefully will act as a deterrent," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the panel's Republican chairman.

Media leaks and the covert status of espionage officials have become politically charged issues with the controversy over Valerie Plame, whose identity as a CIA agent was leaked in 2003 after her diplomat husband Joseph Wilson accused the White House of exaggerating intelligence to justify the Iraq war.

A Time magazine reporter said he learned about Plame's identity from Rove, deputy White House chief of staff and chief architect of President Bush's re-election. Time reporter Matthew Cooper also said he discussed Plame and Wilson with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

It can be illegal for a government official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA operative.

Democrats, who have urged Bush to fire Rove or revoke his classified clearance, stepped up political pressure on Republicans on Monday by calling for a formal congressional investigation of the Plame leak.


"The United States Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the executive branch, whether a law has been broken or not," the 26 senators said in a letter.

Speaking earlier at a forum hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation, Hoekstra said his committee would begin hearings as early as September that would include testimony from CIA, Pentagon and Justice Department witnesses.

He said he would also hope to invite witnesses representing the news media.

Intelligence officials have long complained that leaks to the media have damaged U.S. spy operations, including efforts to track al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Hoekstra described current laws governing unauthorized disclosure as a limited "patchwork" of statutes. Past attempts to craft more comprehensive measures have ended in failure. But Hoekstra said concerns fostered by bombings in Madrid, London and Egypt have created a more favorable political climate.

"I don't have any legislation yet," Hoekstra said. "That's what we have the hearing process for, to design and determine exactly what legislation might look like."

Meanwhile, Hoekstra's counterpart in the Senate, Republican Sen. Pat Roberts (news, bio, voting record) of Kansas, intends to preside over hearings on the intelligence community's use of covert protections for CIA agents and others involved in secret activities.

The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence could hold hearings on the use of espionage cover soon after the U.S. Congress returns from its August recess, said Roberts spokeswoman Sarah Little.

Little said the Senate committee would also review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years.

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Press hammers White House on leak, again; Question on 'treason'

Found on Raw Story

07/25/2005 @ 5:41 pm

A White House press corps increasingly irritated at the White House after stonewalling with regards to an investigation into the role of senior officials in outing a CIA agent exploded again Monday, RAW STORY can reveal.

The final question was a zinger -- a member of the American press corps asking the White House whether the leak would have constituted treason: "The question is, have the legal counsel to the White House or White House staff reviewed the statute in sufficient specificity to determine whether a violation of that statute would, in effect, constitute treason?"

The following is a transcript of the White House press briefing edited for questions related to the CIA leak; RAW STORY was tipped to the treason quote by diarist Mott Street at Daily Kos.


Q Do Karl Rove and Scooter Libby still have top secret clearance here, access to classified documents?

MR. McCLELLAN: You asked this question last week, and --

Q I did. And I'm asking again.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- the President has said what our answer is to these questions. We'll be glad to talk about all these issues once the investigation is complete.

Q Do they have a clearance?

MR. McCLELLAN: We'll be glad to talk about all the issues relating to the investigation once it's complete.

Q Why can't you talk about it now?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that question I addressed a couple weeks ago.

Go ahead. Go ahead, Jessica.


Q On the leak investigation, does President Bush feel that it was appropriate for there to be an 11 or 12-hour time gap from the time that Chief of Staff Andy Card was notified that an investigation was underway to the time that staff here at the White House, including him --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President has said that -- and the President directed the White House at the beginning of the investigation to cooperate fully with those overseeing the investigation. And that is exactly what we have done, and that's what we did in that context, as well. If you will recall, back on October 1st of 2003, these questions came up and I addressed it at that time. So you might want to go back and look at that discussion during that briefing.

Q But in the spirit of cooperation, and you had indicted on October 1, 2003, that the reason that the Justice Department was asked, is it okay to wait until the morning, and the answer was that it was okay, but in the spirit of cooperation, why did the notification not go out until 11 or 12 hours later?

MR. McCLELLAN: I talked about that in that briefing, and addressed all those questions at that time. And the President has made it clear that we should cooperate fully with the investigation. That's what we have done, that's what we continue to do.

Q Yes, Scott, can you assure us that Andrew Card did not speak to either -- or did not tell the President or Karl Rove or Scooter Libby or anybody else about the Justice Department investigation?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, again, those questions came up back in October of 2003 and I addressed them at the time.

Q May I ask one follow-up?

MR. McCLELLAN: You may. Go ahead.

Q I know that none of you are speaking about this because it's an ongoing investigation. Can you explain why Alberto Gonzales would go on TV yesterday and do that, and talk about it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, what he said was already said from this podium back in October of 2003, and I don't think he got into commenting in any substantive way on the discussion. But the President has said that we will be glad to talk about this once the investigation has come to a conclusion, but not until then. And there have certainly been preferences expressed to the White House that we not get into discussing it while it is ongoing.


Q Yes, thank you. There has been a lot of speculation concerning the meaning of the underlying statute and the grand jury investigation concerning Mr. Rove. The question is, have the legal counsel to the White House or White House staff reviewed the statute in sufficient specificity to determine whether a violation of that statute would, in effect, constitute treason?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that in terms of decisions regarding the investigation, those are matters for those overseeing the investigation to decide.

Q Thank you.

MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you.


Below is the response from one of my U.S. Senators concerning the letter I sent demanding answers on the Downing Street Memos. No commentary here. The letter speaks for itself, though Ms. Hutchinson's letter has a less arrogant tone than the one I received from U.S. Rep. Culberson.

I retyped the letter in its entirety. LS

July 11, 2005

Dear Mrs. Shaw:

Thank you for contacting me regarding a British memo on U.S. actions in Iraq. I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.

Beginning in 1991, the United Nations employed all diplomatic means possible, including the passage of ten separate resolutions encouraging Iraq to disarm. Over time, it became clear the Iraqi government was unwilling to cooperate with the requests of the international community. With proof of Saddam Hussein’s ability to produce weapons of mass destruction and his support of terrorist organizations, I backed President Bush’s decision to disarm Hussein’s government.

Although this regime has been removed from power, ruthless killers still strive to hinder development of a democratic Iraq. The Iraqi people deserve the opportunity to craft their own destiny, and America is committed to helping them in this process. More than eight million Iraqi citizens turned out to vote in historic elections held on January 30, 2005, and the newly-seated Iraqi Parliament continues to make progress in establishing a representative government. A stable, democratic Iraq will make America safer and secure a major victory in the war on terrorism.

I appreciate hearing from you and hope you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue.


Kay Bailey Hutchinson
The United States Senate

Monday, July 25, 2005


Waxman: 11 Security Breaches in Plame Case
Author: Rep. Henry Waxman
Published on July 22, 2005, 14:25


The disclosure of the covert identity of Valerie Plame Wilson in a July 14, 2003, column by Robert Novak has triggered a criminal investigation and led to calls for congressional investigations. The Novak column, however, appears to be only one of multiple leaks of Ms. Wilson's identity. A new fact sheet released today by Rep. Waxman documents that there appear to be at least 11 separate instances in which Administration officials disclosed information about Ms. Wilson's identity and association with the CIA.

New Fact Sheet Details Multiple Administration Security Breaches Involving Valerie Plame Wilson

On July 14, 2003, columnist Robert Novak revealed that the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a covert CIA agent. This disclosure of classified information has triggered a criminal investigation by a Special Counsel and led to calls for congressional investigations.

The Novak column, however, appears to be only one of multiple leaks of Ms. Wilson's identity. As this fact sheet documents, there appear to be at least 11 separate instances in which Administration officials disclosed information about Ms. Wilson's identity and association with the CIA.

Under Executive Order 12958, the White House is required to investigate any reports of security breaches and take "prompt corrective action," such as suspending the security clearances of those involved. Unlike prosecutions for criminal violations, which require "knowing" and "intentional" disclosures, the executive order covers a wider range of unauthorized breaches, including the "negligent" release of classified information. There is no evidence that the White House has complied with its obligation to investigate any of the 11 reported instances of security breaches relating to Ms. Wilson or to apply administrative sanctions to those involved.

The Disclosures of Valerie Wilson's Identity

1. The Disclosure by Karl Rove to Columnist Robert Novak
In a column dated July 14, 2003, Robert Novak first reported that Valerie Plame Wilson was "an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction."1 Mr. Novak cited "two senior administration officials" as his sources.2 According to multiple news reports, one of these two sources was Karl Rove, the Deputy White House Chief of Staff and the President's top political advisor.3 During a phone call on July 8, 2003, Mr. Rove confirmed for Mr. Novak that Ms. Wilson worked at the CIA. During this conversation, Mr. Novak referred to Ms. Wilson "by her maiden name, Valerie Plame," and said he had heard she was involved in "the circumstances in which her husband ∑ traveled to Africa."4 Mr. Rove responded, "I heard that, too."5 Mr. Novak's name also appeared "on a White House call log as having telephoned Mr. Rove in the week before the publication of the July 2003 column."6

2. The Disclosure by a "Senior Administration Official" to Columnist Robert Novak
In addition to his communications with Mr. Rove, Mr. Novak learned about Ms. Wilson's identity through communications with a second "senior administration official."7 Mr. Novak's second source has not yet been publicly identified. Mr. Novak has stated, however, that the source provided him with Ms. Wilson's identity. As he stated: "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me."8 He added: "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."9

3. The Disclosure by Karl Rove to TIME Reporter Matt Cooper
During a phone call on July 11, 2003, Mr. Rove revealed to TIME reporter Matt Cooper that Ms. Wilson worked at the CIA on weapons of mass destruction.10 Mr. Cooper reported that this "was the first time I had heard anything about Wilson's wife."11 Mr. Rove provided this information on "deep background," said that "things would be declassified soon," and stated, "I've already said too much."12

4. The Disclosure by Scooter Libby to TIME Reporter Matt Cooper
During a phone call on July 12, 2003, TIME reporter Matt Cooper asked the Vice President's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby "if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Niger." 13 Mr. Libby replied, "Yeah, I've heard that too," or words to that effect.14 Mr. Libby provided this information "on background."15

5. The Disclosure by an "Administration Official" to Washington Post Reporter Walter Pincus
On July 12, 2003, an "administration official" told Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus that "Wilson's trip to Niger was set up as a boondoggle by his CIA-employed wife."16 Mr. Pincus has not publicly identified his source, but has stated that it "was not Libby."17

6. The Disclosure by a "Top White House Official" to an Unidentified Reporter
In addition making disclosures to Mr. Novak, Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Pincus, White House officials may have had conversations about Ms. Wilson with three other reporters about Ms. Wilson's identity. According to the Washington Post, a "senior administration official" confirmed that "before Novak's column ran on July 14, 2003, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."18 According to this official, "Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge."19 Press reports suggest that one of these unidentified reporters may be NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell.20

7. The Disclosure by a "Top White House Official" to an Unidentified Reporter
In addition making disclosures to Mr. Novak, Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Pincus, White House officials may have had conversations about Ms. Wilson with three other reporters about Ms. Wilson's identity. According to the Washington Post, a "senior administration official" confirmed that "before Novak's column ran on July 14, 2003, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."21 According to this official, "Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge."22 Press reports suggest that one of these unidentified reporters may be NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert.23

8. The Disclosure by a "Top White House Official" to an Unidentified Reporter
In addition making disclosures to Mr. Novak, Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Pincus, White House officials may have had conversations about Ms. Wilson with three other reporters about Ms. Wilson's identity. According to the Washington Post, a "senior administration official" confirmed that "before Novak's column ran on July 14, 2003, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."24 According to this official, "Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge."25 Press reports suggest that one of these unidentified reporters may be MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews.26

9. The Disclosure by an Unidentified Source to Wall Street Journal Reporter David Cloud
On October 17, 2003, Wall Street Journal reporter David Cloud reported that an internal State Department memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel "details a meeting in early 2002 where CIA officer Valerie Plame and other intelligence officials gathered to brainstorm about how to verify reports that Iraq had sought uranium yellowcake from Niger."27 This "classified" document had "limited circulation," according to "two people familiar with the memo."28

10. The Disclosure by an Unidentified Source to James Guckert of Talon News
On October 28, 2003, Talon News posted on its website an interview with Ambassador Joseph Wilson in which the questioner asked: "An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency or clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that?"29 Talon News is tied to a group called GOP USA30 and is operated by Texas Republican Robert Eberle.31 Its only reporter, James Guckert (also known as Jeff Gannon), resigned when it was revealed that he gained access to the White House using a false name after his press credentials were rejected by House and Senate press galleries.32 In a March 2004 interview with his own news service, Mr. Guckert stated that the classified document was "easily accessible."33 In a February 11, 2005, interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN, Mr. Guckert said the FBI interviewed him about "how I knew or received a copy of a confidential CIA memo," but he refused to answer FBI questions because of his status as a "journalist."34 A week later, Mr. Guckert changed his account, claiming he "was given no special information by the White House or by anybody else."35

11. The Disclosure by a "Senior Administration Official" to Washington Post Reporters Mike Allen and Dana Milbank
On December 26, 2003, Washington Post reporters Mike Allen and Dana Milbank reported on details about the classified State Department memo, writing that it was authored by "a State Department official who works for its Bureau of Intelligence and Research."36 The Post story was attributed to "a senior administration official who has seen" the memo.37 The Post also reported that the CIA was "angry about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets" and that the CIA "believes that people in the administration continue to release classified information to damage the figures at the center of the controversy, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, Valerie Plame."38

1 Robert Novak, The Mission to Niger, Chicago Sun-Times (July 14, 2003).
2 Id.
3 Rove Reportedly Held Phone Talk on CIA Officer, New York Times (July 15, 2005). See also Rove Confirmed Plame Indirectly, Lawyer Says, Washington Post (July 15, 2005).
4 Id.
5 Id.
6 Rove Confirmed Plame Indirectly, Lawyer Says, Washington Post (July 15, 2005).
7 Robert Novak, The Mission to Niger, Chicago Sun-Times (July 14, 2003).
8 Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover, Newsday (July 22, 2003).
9 Id.
10 Matt Cooper, What I Told the Grand Jury, TIME (July 25, 2005).
11 Id.
12 Id.
13 Id.
14 Id.
15 Id.
16 The When and How of Leak Being Probed, Washington Post (Nov. 26, 2004).
17 Id.
18 Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry; CIA Agent's Identity Was Leaked to Media, Washington Post (Sept. 28, 2003).
19 Id.
20 Secrets and Leaks, Newsweek (Oct. 13, 2003) (stating that she "heard in the White House that people were touting the Novak column and that that was the real story").
21 Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry; CIA Agent's Identity Was Leaked to Media, Washington Post (Sept. 28, 2003).
22 Id.
23 Reporter Held in Contempt in CIA Leak Case, Washington Post (Aug. 10, 2004) (describing a July 2003 telephone conversation between Mr. Russert and Mr. Libby).
24 Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry; CIA Agent's Identity Was Leaked to Media, Washington Post (Sept. 28, 2003).
25 Id.
26 Secrets and Leaks, Newsweek (Oct. 13, 2003) (reportedly stating to Mr. Wilson, "I just got off the phone with Karl Rove, who said your wife was fair game").
27 Memo May Aid Leak Probe, Wall Street Journal (Oct. 17, 2003).
28 Id.
29 Leaks Probe Is Gathering Momentum, Washington Post (Dec. 26, 2003). See also Senate Intel Report Discredits Wilson's Claims About Iraq, Niger, Talon News (July 13, 2004) (confirming that Talon reported on the memo in October 2003).
30 Leaks Probe Is Gathering Momentum, Washington Post (Dec. 26, 2003).
31 Democrats Want Investigation of Reporter Using Fake Name, New York Times (Feb. 11, 2005).
32 Id.
33 Id.
34 Rumsfeld Visits Iraq, CNN (Feb. 11, 2005).
35 Anderson Cooper 360, CNN (Feb. 18, 2005). See also Web Site Owner Says He Knew of Reporter's 2 Identities, New York Times (Feb. 20, 2005) (claiming that referring to the memo as though he had it was "merely an interview technique").
36 Leaks Probe Is Gathering Momentum, Washington Post (Dec. 26, 2003).
37 Id.
38 Id.

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From The Carpetbagger Report via Buzz Flash


On Friday, Sept. 26, 2003, the CIA directed the Justice Department to launch a criminal probe into the leak. Three days later, on Monday, Sept. 29, 2003, the WH counsel's office was formally notified about the investigation. And then 12 hours after that, Gonzales told White House staff to preserve materials. In other words, the amount of time Bush aides were given to, perhaps, discard and destroy relevant evidence after the DoJ began its work wasn't just 12 hours; it was several days.



More on the Gonzales/Card storyfrom the Washington Post

Gonzales told Andrew Card about the Justice Dept. investigation immediately after being informed about it but waited more than 12 hours to inform the WH staff. Imagine of all the frantic electronic purging and the hum of the paper shredders running non stop. LS






Then there is the broader issue of whether Mr. Bush was aware of any effort by his aides to use the C.I.A. officer's identity to undermine the standing of her husband, a former diplomat who had publicly accused the administration of twisting its prewar intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program.

From the Sunday NYT


Great piece by David Swanson of The Downing Street I attended an event in Houston myself on Sat. night. As I mentioned in a previous post, the church hall was packed. Given the shortness of the notice and lack of publicity, the turnout was extraordinary. There are a lot of outraged Americans out there, even in the reddest state of them all. LS

How the United States Marked the 3rd Anniversary of the Downing Street Memo
Submitted by davidswanson on Sat, 2005-07-23 20:28. Activism

How the United States Marked the 3rd Anniversary of the Downing Street Memo
By David Swanson

Hundreds of people were turned away today as capacity crowds packed public forums in U.S. cities to discuss the Downing Street Memo and related evidence that President Bush lied about the reasons for war. Halls were filled to capacity and beyond in LA, Oakland, Seattle, Detroit, Northampton, New York, and elsewhere, for events led by Congress Members, including Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, John Conyers, and Maurice Hinchey.

For the second time in the two months since we launched the campaign, I've been overwhelmed by what we've tapped into. The first time was when we put up a website about the Downing Street minutes and a demand for an investigation into grounds for impeachment. I'd never seen a coalition grow so quickly or a website receive so much traffic. Today we saw crowds of people in red and blue states chant "Impeach Bush!" at events with leaders not yet ready to use the I word. The much maligned American Public is way out ahead of us – I'm telling you.

I need to get outside the Beltway more! Today I did so, briefly. I drove over and spoke at an event in Montgomery County, Maryland. The questions I got from the crowd were along the lines of "Why is it so hard to get a Democrat from a solidly Democratic district to introduce articles of impeachment? What are they waiting for?"

It's a hell of a question. They know that a Zogby poll in the end of June – the ONLY poll done on impeachment of Bush – found that 42 percent of Americans (meaning a strong majority of Democrats) favor impeachment if the President lied about the reasons for war. They know that 52 percent believe he did in fact so lie, according to ABC/Washington Post.

What are they waiting for?

If they're waiting for a show of public pressure, they got a good glimpse of it today. The blog entries and photos and audio clips that flowed into the site all day were full of energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and righteous anger.

At an event in Detroit with Congressman Conyers, constitutional law professor Bob Sedler asked the crowd if Bush had committed impeachable offenses, and the whole room shouted "YES!"

The scene in New York was similar. Quoting our blogger:

"I hope many of you are watching this amazing event online. This is a [sic] both a rowdy and a mature crowd! Liz Holtzman was awarded--and she deserved--a standing ovation for her tales of the Nixon Impeachment and her sane cautions about the difficulty of getting Congress to act.

"It will only happen, she reminded us, via the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

"And now Rep. Hinchey is on fire--clear and direct and comprehensive in his exposition of the various crimes that the Bush Administration has, provably, committed.

"It is incredible to be in this hot hall and to feel the energy of the overflow crowd. The will of the people is remarkably clear here..."

Other reports that came in from around the country described events as small as this one in Ohio:

"Twelve peacemakers from NE Ohio gathered at the Community Center of Newton Falls (zipcode 44444) to hear a dramatic reading of the Downing Street memo and engage in a lively discussion of local peace events and social justice issues. The entrance to the Community Center is prominently marked by a memorial to four young men from this small town who lost their lives in the War in Vietnam. We felt their spirit among us crying out to a new generation: the politicians lied and we died! Honor the dead - reveal the truth and stop the war!"

Or this one in Louisville, Kentucky:

"On this blistering hot day, the Louisville Peace Action Community (LPAC) held its DSM event at a busy intersection in a working class neighborhood in Louisville's southend.

"We had about 40 people with signs & petitions and we had great visibility--thousands of cars saw us and many, many pedestrians talked to us. In our group we had an 82-year-old nun & several babies.

"We also had a visit from 'George Bush' on a megaphone telling people NOT to read the Memo, because he didn't want them to know the truth. He sounded as stupid as ever.

"We had an overwhelmingly positive response and were glad to find a good new intersection for future actions. After two hours in the blazing heat, we hit a local watering hole for a round of congratulations and good laughs. The truth will prevail."

Many events were house parties, like this one:

"A motivated and committed group has gathered at a house party in Raleigh, NC to watch the DVD of the Conyers' hearing and to continue the lively discussion we've already started. We have twice the expected turnout, with participants from all over the Triangle area. We're excited about building on this momentum and adding even more voices to this movement."

Will the media cover these events and the facts that motivated them?

I know of some newspapers, including major ones, doing stories for tomorrow. But the focus appears likely to be on the activism, more than the substance of the discussions. And there was substance!

Former CIA analysts testified on the state of intelligence under Bush-Cheney. Families of soldiers who have died in Iraq, and veterans of the fighting in Iraq told their stories. Legal analysts and other experts provided historical perspective and understanding of the strength of the evidence.

Every event discussed the evidence of the Downing Street Documents. Most events made plans to generate co-sponsors for H.Res. 375, a Resolution of Inquiry introduced by Congresswoman Lee on Thursday that would require the White House and the State Department to turn over all documentation of communications with officials of the UK between January and October 2002.

In New York, Congressman Hinchey engaged in an analysis of strategies related to expanding the special prosecutor's reach or creating a new one. In Oakland, Daniel Ellsberg, known for having released the Pentagon Papers, said that the intelligence committees in Congress have the right to hold minority hearings with subpoena power and argued for pressuring the Democrats to do that rather than pressuring the Republicans to act like they care about their country.

A "mainstream" radio station in one city called me to get in touch with someone at a local event. "It would be impolitic," the producer said, with no sign of intending irony, to simply cover what's in the Downing Street Memo. But, he said, he COULD cover a rally.

C-Span, meanwhile, chose not to cover any of the events, not because the lineup of speakers was not impressive, but – according to their reply to one activist – because they choose not to cover events if too many people ask them to do so. (We asked thousands of people to ask C-Span, which in the past has worked much more often than not doing that has.)

At least we can be satisfied that on this day we became the media and did our own reporting. The results are at

My favorite of the various short entries I posted today is this one:

"I just got off the phone with Bill Moyer of the Backbone Campaign in Seattle. They, like the organizers today in New York, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Northampton, had to turn people away because the space was filled beyond capacity.

"Congressman Jim McDermott, I'm told, gave a tremendous speech, as did spokespeople from Military Families Speak Out, and as I'm sure Bill did himself.

"They also performed a humurous reenactment of the Downing Street Meeting.

"Then they organized groups to write letters to the media, to Congress, and to the Governor of Washington State.

"When I told Bill about the events eleswhere today, he said 'It's the beginning of the end for the Bush Administration.'"

DAVID SWANSON is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.


Found on Raw Story


Dems to question whether Attorney General hindered leak inquiry
07/25/2005 @ 12:08 pm


Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) along with several other Democratic lawmakers will hold a 4:30 p.m. press conference questioning a 12-hour gap in the investigation of who outed a covert CIA operative, RAW STORY has learned.

After a column by the New York Times' Frank Rich on Sunday, new attention has been paid to a 12-hour gap in the White House's investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

The release asks, "WHAT WENT ON BETWEEN 8:00PM AND 8:OOAM?"

They will also unveil what they call a "Web Calendar," noting it has been 742 days since the agent's outing without a single hearing held in Congress.

"The calendar will be on display and will be used by lawmakers to highlight the number of days that have passed since the White House leaked the identity of a CIA agent and the Republican controlled Congress hasn’t held one single hearing on the issue," Lautenberg's office says.

Lautenberg will also display a letter to the GOP Senate and House leaders seeking Congressional hearings, RAW STORY has been told.

RAW STORY is currently seeking the names of other members who will appear with Lautenberg.

The New Jersey Democrat, a more liberal senator in the Democratic caucus, often takes the lead on progressive Democratic issues. At 81, he's able to take more aggressive stances without as much political risk.


Fighting Rove's Gang of Bullies
By Larry C. Johnson, AlterNet
Posted on July 25, 2005, Printed on July 25, 2005


Editor's Note: Below is testimony presented by former CIA analyst Larry C. Johnson on July 22nd, 2005 in hearings held by Senate and House Democrats on the national security implications of the Rove CIA leak.

I submit this statement to the Congress in an effort to correct a malicious and disingenuous smear campaign that has been executed against a friend and former colleague, Valerie (Plame) Wilson.

Neither Valerie, nor her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, has asked me to do anything on their behalf. I am speaking up because I was raised to stop bullies. In the case of Valerie Plame she is facing a gang of bullies that is being directed by the Republican National Committee.

I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985 as a member of the Career Trainee Program. Senator Orin Hatch had written a letter of recommendation on my behalf, and I believe that helped open the doors to me at the CIA. From the first day, all members of my training class were undercover. In other words, we had to lie to our family and friends about where we worked. We could only tell those who had an absolute need to know where we worked. In my case, I told my wife. Most of us were given official cover, which means that on paper we worked for some other U.S. Government agency. People with official cover enjoy the benefits of an official passport, usually a black passport -- i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity, the black passport was a get-out-of-jail-free card. It accords the bearer the protections of the Geneva Convention.

Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. At the time I knew her only as Valerie P. Even though all of us in the training class held Top Secret Clearances, we were asked to limit our knowledge of our other classmates to the first initial of their last name. So, Larry J. knew Val P. rather than Valerie Plame. Her name did not become a part of my consciousness until her cover was betrayed by the government officials who gave columnist Robert Novak her true name.

Although Val started off with official cover, she later joined a select group of intelligence officers a few years later when she became a NOC, i.e. a Non-Official Cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. She was using cover, which we now know because of the leak to Robert Novak, of the consulting firm Brewster-Jennings & Associates. When she traveled overseas she did not use or have an official passport. If she had been caught engaged in espionage activities while traveling overseas without the black passport, she could have been executed.

We must put to bed the lie that she was not undercover. For starters, if she had not been undercover, then the CIA would not have referred the matter to the Justice Department. Some reports, such as one in the Washington Times that Valerie Plame's supervisor at the CIA, Fred Rustman, said she told friends and family she worked at the CIA and that her cover was light. These claims are not true. Rustman, who supervised Val in one of her earliest assignments, left the CIA in 1990 and did not stay in social contact with Valerie. His knowledge of Val's cover is dated. He does not know what she has done during the past 15 years.

Val only told those with a need to know about her status in order to safeguard her cover, not compromise it. Val has never been a flamboyant, insecure person who felt the need to tell people what her "real" job was. She was content with being known as an energy consultant married to Joe Wilson and the mother of twins. Despite the repeated claims of representatives for the Republican National Committee, the Wilson's neighbors did not know where Valerie really worked until Novak's op-ed appeared.

I would note that not a single member of our training class has come forward to denounce Valerie or question her bona fides. To the contrary, those we have talked to have endorsed what those of us who have left the CIA are doing to defend her reputation and honor.

As noted in the joint letter submitted to Congressional leaders earlier this week, the RNC is repeating the lie that Valerie was nothing more than a glorified desk jockey and could not possibly have any cover worth protecting. To those such as Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, P. J. O'Rourke, and Representative Roy Blunt, I can only say one thing: you are wrong. I am stunned that some political leaders have such ignorance about a matter so basic to the national security structure of this nation.

Robert Novak's compromise of Valerie caused even more damage. It subsequently led to scrutiny of her cover company. This not only compromised her "cover" company, but potentially every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company or with her.

Another false claim is that Valerie sent her husband on the mission to Niger. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report issued in July 2004, it is clear that the Vice President himself requested that the CIA provide its views on a Defense Intelligence Agency report that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger.

The Vice President's request was relayed through the CIA bureaucracy to the Director of the Counter Proliferation Division at the CIA. Valerie worked for a branch in that Division.

The Senate Intelligence Report is frequently cited by Republican partisans as "proof" that Valerie sent her husband to Niger because she sent a memo describing her husband's qualifications to the Deputy Division Chief. Several news personalities, such as Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly, continue to repeat this nonsense as proof. What the Senate Intelligence Committee does not include in the report is the fact that Valerie's boss had asked her to write a memo outlining her husband's qualifications for the job. She did what any good employee does: she gave her boss what he asked for.

The decision to send Joe Wilson on the mission to Niger was made by Valerie's bosses. She did not have the authority to sign travel vouchers, issue travel orders, or expend one dime of U.S. taxpayer dollars on her own. Yet she has been singled out by the Republican National Committee and its partisans as a legitimate target of attack. It was Karl Rove who told Chris Matthews, "Wilson's wife is fair game."

What makes the unjustified and inappropriate attacks on Valerie Plame and her reputation so unfair is that there was no Administration policy position stipulating that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium in February 2002. That issue was still up in the air and, as noted by SSCI, Vice President Cheney himself asked for more information.

At the end of the day we are left with these facts. We went to war in Iraq on the premise that Saddam was reacquiring weapons of mass destruction. Joe Wilson was sent on a mission to Niger in response to a request initiated by the Vice President. Joe Wilson supplied information to the CIA that supported other reports debunking the claim that Saddam was trying to buy yellow cake uranium from Niger.

When Joe went public with his information, which had been corroborated by the CIA in April 2003, the response from the White House was to call him a liar and spread the name of his wife around.

We sit here more than two years later, and the storm of invective and smear against Ambassador Wilson and his wife, Valerie, continues. I voted for George Bush in November of 2000 because I wanted a President who knew what the meaning of "is" was. I was tired of political operatives who spent endless hours on cable news channels parsing words. I was promised a President who would bring a new tone and new ethical standards to Washington.

So where are we? The President has flip-flopped and backed away from his promise to fire anyone at the White House implicated in a leak. We now know from press reports that at least Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are implicated in these leaks. Instead of a President concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a President who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie and Joe Wilson. This is wrong.

Without firm action by President Bush to return to those principles he promised to follow when he came to Washington, I fear our political debate in this country will degenerate into an argument about what the meaning of "leak" is. We deserve people who work in the White House who are committed to protecting classified information, telling the truth to the American people, and living by example the idea that a country at war with Islamic extremists cannot expend its efforts attacking other American citizens who simply tried to tell the truth.

Larry C. Johnson is a former CIA analyst.

© 2005 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:



From Raw

Heat rises over leak: 26 Democratic senators call for hearings
07/25/2005 @ 12:37 pm

Democrats are raising the heat on the White House's role in the outing of a CIA agent, issuing a letter to the press from 26 Democratic senators and holding a 4:30 press conference on the role of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

They're irritated that Congress has refused to hold hearings on the matter. Behind the scenes, Democratic staffers are privately expressing their frustration.

"Republicans in the House issued over a 1,000 subpoenas for information from the White House during the Clinton years," one aide told RAW STORY. "Today, those Republicans just sit there doing nothing to get to the bottom of a potential felony.

"If [Senate Majority Leader] Bill First's phones started ringing about it, demanding him to hold his own accountable, the Republicans in the House and Senate might just be shamed into action," the aide added.

The release for the letter issued to Republican Congressional leaders follows.

Senators Urge Congressional Investigation Into Leak of CIA Agent Valerie Plame's Name

Today, Senator John Kerry; Senator Carl Levin, Ranking Member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations; and 24 other Senators formally requested that Congress investigate the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity -- a leak a senior administration official described at the time as "meant purely and simply for revenge."

"Americans deserve a Congress that holds Washington accountable for the truth about our national security. Can anyone argue with a straight face that Congress has time to look at steroid use in baseball but doesn't have the will to provide congressional oversight of the leak of a CIA agent's name? It's long past time to stop putting politics ahead of the public good, get to the bottom of a national security breach and restore credibility to Washington," said John Kerry, who authored the letter.

Below is the text of the letter sent today:

Dear Mr. Speaker and Mr. Majority Leader:

The press has reported on information strongly suggesting that senior Administration officials, including White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and the Vice President's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby, exposed the identity of American intelligence operative Valerie Plame, despite the repeated denial of the White House at the time.

The public revelation of Ms. Plame's identity, whether it amounts to a crime or an irresponsible breach of security protocol that doesn't meet the standard of criminal conduct, almost certainly compromised her intelligence networks and may have compromised the safety and welfare of anyone who had worked with her overseas. As a group of respected former intelligence officials wrote in 2004: "Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources."

The United States Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the executive branch, whether a law has been broken or not. It is time for Congress to fulfill that constitutional responsibility in this matter by initiating a thorough investigation.

We recognize that a criminal investigation is underway and that a special prosecutor continues to present testimony before a grand jury. These actions in no way preclude Congress' responsibility to provide oversight. We urge you to exercise your authority as Congressional leaders by requesting the appropriate committees to begin oversight hearings and an investigation immediately.


Senators Kerry, Levin, Stabenow, Schumer, Lautenberg, Rockefeller, Reed, Feinstein, Dorgan, Harkin, Kohl, Durbin, Carper, Salazar, Boxer, Inouye, Corzine, Wyden, Mikulski, Obama, Murray, Bayh, Johnson, Clinton, Sarbanes, and Landrieu.



A two part article from Ruy Teixeira.


July 22, 2005

Main Political Supports of Bush Presidency Seriously Weakened
Bush may very well get his Supreme Court nominee through without much trouble. But that's likely to help him only marginally, because the Pew Research Center has just released two new reports on their latest poll, "Republicans Uncertain on Rove Resignation" and "More Say Iraq War Hurts Fight Against War on Terrorism", which together show that the main political supports of Bush's presidency have become seriously weakened.


Bush has benefitted during this presidency from positive public perceptions of his character, which have seemed relatively immune to fallout from his many policy failures. No longer. Public views of Bush's character have apparently taken a nose-dive since the last time Pew asked in people for their impressions of Bush's character.

In fall of 2003, 62 percent said Bush was trustworthy and just 32 percent said he was not, a 30 point positive margine. Today, however, it's almost an even split--49 percent say he's trustworthy and 46 percent say he isn't. Similarly, he's slipped from 56 percent he does/38 percent he doesn't on "cares about people like me" to 48/49 today.

The biggest shift has been on "able to get things done", which has fallen from 68/26 to 50/42 today. And even characteristics like "a strong leader" (68/29 to 55/41) and "warm and friendly" (70/23 to 57/37) have declined substantially.

Across the board, those stellar character ratings which supposedly meant Bush could weather any political storm have become mediocre to poor. And he's lost the most ground among independents, only 38 percent of whom now believe Bush is trustworthy or cares about people like them. Even more amazing, less than half (48 percent) of indepedents now think Bush is a strong leader, which is a massive 24 point decline since Pew's previous measurement.

And how about this: in February of this year, the two leading one word description of Bush were "honest" and "good", cited by 38 percent and 20 percent of the public, respectively. Today, honest has declined to 31 percent, closely followed by "incompetent" (26 percent, up from 14 percent) and "arrogant" (24 percent, up from 15 percent).

Karl Rove

Another mainstay of Bush's presidency has been Karl Rove. But he's starting to seem more a liability than an asset. As ABC News reported the other day, only a quarter of the public think the White House is cooperating fully in the investigation of the "outing" of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame (married to Bush critic Joseph Wilson). Rove is a central target of that investigation and administration attempts to shield him are just contributing to the erosion of public trust in Bush and his administration.

Right now, more believe Rove is guilty of a serious offence than not (32-23) and more believe he should resign than not (39-23). But many haven't heard enough to have an opinion, so the percentage of the public calling for his resignation still is not that high.

However, among the half of the public that has been following the story closely (which makes this story roughly as big as the Trent Lott resignation and much bigger than the Delay ethics controversy), almost three-fifths (58 percent, including 69 percent of independents) call for Rove's resignation, compared to just 26 percent who don't. Similarly, those who think Rove is guilty of a serious offense rises to 47 percent among the attentive public (54 percent among independents), with 29 percent dissenting.

Main Political Supports of Bush Presidency Seriously Weakened (Continued)
On Friday, I discussed two of the main supports of the Bush presidency--public views of Bush's character and the role of Karl Rove--that have been seriously weakened, as revealed by the new Pew Research Center poll.

But the most important support of the Bush presidency is, by far, the war on terror and the public's belief that Bush and his policies are keeping them safe. That belief now appears to have eroded considerably.

Start with the Iraq war. Right now, Bush's approval rating on Iraq is down to 35 percent with 57 percent disapproval. That's the lowest his rating has ever been in this poll.

That's bad, but the really significant news here is that the public is now concluding that the Iraq war has had a negative effect on the war on terror and on their safety from terrorist attacks. For example, an 8 point plurality in the poll (47-39) now believe the Iraq war has hurt, not helped, the war on terror. This is the first time views have been so negative about the Iraq war's effect on the war on terror. And the public now believes, by 2:1 (45-22) that the Iraq war has increased, rather than decreased, the changes for terror attacks on the US.

Reflecting these views, Bush's approval rating on handling terrorist threats has sunk to 49 percent, only the second time that his approval rating in his premier area has dipped below 50 percent. It is unlikely to be the last time given how the public is starting to view the Iraq war.

Pew provides an interesting table comparing different groups' views from today and about a year ago on Iraq war's effect on the war on terrorism. Scrutinizing the table it is clear that white women, as opposed to white men or nonwhites, are mostly driving the overall public move toward the position that the Iraq war has hurt the war on terror. This is particularly significant because it is white women, primarily on the basis of security issues, who moved the most toward Bush in the 2004 election and provided much of his victory margin in that election.

If these voters are starting to conclude that the GOP is not doing a good job protecting them and may, in fact, be making them less safe, the implications for the GOP in 2006 and beyond could be profound.


My math skills have diminshed enough that it took a friend to point out the Judith Miller math: both Rove and Libby have signed wavers of confidentiality and that means Miller is shielding another leaker. Here's relevant speculation from a right-wing blogger. I do not read right-wing blogs normally, but Buzzflash pointed this post out and it makes sense. -K

John Bolton will never be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Robert A. George


Whether he should be or not is no longer the question. Whether the "temperament" charges against him were fair or if he was just a victim of Chris Dodd's pro-Cuba fetish doesn't matter.

It is now politically impossible. On Friday, individual clouds that had been drifting around for months -- in some cases, years -- finally merged into a media perfect storm. It is now raging. Whether he knows it or not, Bolton has been thrown overboard as far more significant players start working overtime before the ship of state begins taking on water.

Bolton arch-nemesis Steve Clemons called it at the beginning of the month: The announced retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor effectively killed Bolton's chances -- at least at a Senate confirmation. I thought that, still -- even despite Democrats holding firm in refusing to allow cloture on the nomination (even post "Gang of 14" filibuster deal), the White House was still pushing the pick -- and seemed to be moving toward the recess appointment contingency.

But then consider what has become known -- and what new questions have arisen -- in the last 48 hours: Richard Keil of Bloomberg News reports that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald maybe looking at testimony of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby that could be in conflict with testimony given by various journalists.

That suddenly brings into sharp focus the possibility that Rove and Libby may be facing serious legal trouble. On top of that, the Times story Friday discusses the State Department memo that clearly identified Valerie Plame (Wilson) as being undercover with the CIA -- and whether former press secretary Ari Fleischer had access to it.

Then, as Josh Marshall points out, as part of her confirmation hearings for a State Department public relations position, Karen Hughes was, by law, obligated to answer a questionnaire, that among other things, asked whether there were any legal proceedings to which she might be a be part of: She admitted that she had testified before Fitzgerald's grand jury. Marshall points out, Bolton answered "no" on the questionnaire -- though, it turns out he also testified before the grand jury on the contents of the Plame memo.

If Bolton intentionally misled the Senate in his questionnaire, he's toast. End of story. But, that's relevant to the big picture.

The key is revealed in Clemons' latest post: He asserts that Bolton was a major source for NYT's Judith Miller, currently incarcerated for refusing to surrender a source's name to the Fitzgerald grand jury. Now, one has to toss in a couple of caveats here: Steve, of course, has to depend on an anonymous source that somehow "knows" that Bolton was an anonymous source for many of Miller's stories.

Still, bringing it all together: DC now has two major players potentially facing legal peril, a reporter in jail -- and the most contentious confirmation process ever for a nominee to the United Nations. But the link of Bolton to Miller -- and thus to the Plame-Rove story -- is what can turn a confusing, "silly summer season" story into Washington nuclear pyrotechnics.

The other new wild card? SCOTUS nominee John Roberts.

His existence makes it impossible for the White House to recess appoint Bolton: If that were to occur, with speculation of Bolton possibly deceiving the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on top of the fact that he might be the source that Miller is protecting, Democrats would go ballistic. Even Democrats supporting Roberts might be inclined to filibuster the nomination in protest.

There's no way the administration would let that occur. Many like Bolton and feel that he is important -- but not so important that they would let an appointment that could only last until January 2007 endanger a lifetime appointee to the Supreme Court and while mustering all other necessary resources on a legal-political fight involving the president and vice president's closest aides. Too much to handle all at once.

Say good night, John.

"Treasongates Surprising Legs" by Frank Rich

Ken has found a lot of awesome news yesterday and today. They are so relevant and pertinent to our cause, that I am posting all in their entirety.

Interesting analysis of why Roberts and not Gonzales, and why Treasongate wasn't knocked off the front page. (Hint: it has something to do with Gonzales' proximity to and possible role in the conspiracy, one of the big emerging stories of the weekend.) -K

July 24, 2005
Eight Days in July

PRESIDENT BUSH'S new Supreme Court nominee was a historic first after all: the first to be announced on TV dead center in prime time, smack in the cross hairs of "I Want to Be a Hilton." It was also one of the hastiest court announcements in memory, abruptly sprung a week ahead of the White House's original timetable. The agenda of this rushed showmanship - to change the subject in Washington - could not have been more naked. But the president would have had to nominate Bill Clinton to change this subject.

When a conspiracy is unraveling, and it's every liar and his lawyer for themselves, the story takes on a momentum of its own. When the conspiracy is, at its heart, about the White House's twisting of the intelligence used to sell the American people a war - and its desperate efforts to cover up that flimflam once the W.M.D. cupboard proved bare and the war went south - the story will not end until the war really is in its "last throes."

Only 36 hours after the John Roberts unveiling, The Washington Post nudged him aside to second position on its front page. Leading the paper instead was a scoop concerning a State Department memo circulated the week before the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife, the C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame, in literally the loftiest reaches of the Bush administration - on Air Force One. The memo, The Post reported, marked the paragraph containing information about Ms. Plame with an S for secret. So much for the cover story that no one knew that her identity was covert.

But the scandal has metastasized so much at this point that the forgotten man Mr. Bush did not nominate to the Supreme Court is as much a window into the White House's panic and stonewalling as its haste to put forward the man he did. When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions). It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.

As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18∏-minute tape gap. "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.

Thus is Mr. Gonzales's Supreme Court aspiration the first White House casualty of this affair. It won't be the last. When you look at the early timeline of this case, rather than the latest investigatory scraps, two damning story lines emerge and both have legs.

The first: for half a year White House hands made the fatal mistake of thinking they could get away with trashing the Wilsons scot-free. They thought so because for nearly three months after the July 6, 2003, publication of Mr. Wilson's New York Times Op-Ed article and the outing of his wife in a Robert Novak column, there was no investigation at all. Once the unthreatening Ashcroft-controlled investigation began, there was another comfy three months.

Only after that did Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel, take over and put the heat on. Only after that did investigators hustle to seek Air Force One phone logs and did Mr. Bush feel compelled to hire a private lawyer. But by then the conspirators, drunk with the hubris characteristic of this administration, had already been quite careless.

It was during that pre-Fitzgerald honeymoon that Scott McClellan declared that both Karl Rove and Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, had personally told him they were "not involved in this" - neither leaking any classified information nor even telling any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the C.I.A. Matt Cooper has now written in Time that it was through his "conversation with Rove" that he "learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the C.I.A." Maybe it all depends on what the meaning of "telling," "involved" or "this" is. If these people were similarly cute with F.B.I. agents and the grand jury, they've got an obstruction-of-justice problem possibly more grave than the hard-to-prosecute original charge of knowingly outing a covert agent.

Most fertile - and apparently ground zero for Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation - is the period at the very outset when those plotting against Mr. Wilson felt safest of all: those eight days in July 2003 between the Wilson Op-Ed, which so infuriated the administration, and the retaliatory Novak column. It was during that long week, on a presidential trip to Africa, that Colin Powell was seen on Air Force One brandishing the classified State Department memo mentioning Valerie Plame, as first reported by The New York Times.

That memo may have been the genesis of an orchestrated assault on the Wilsons. That the administration was then cocky enough and enraged enough to go after its presumed enemies so systematically can be found in a similar, now forgotten attack that was hatched on July 15, the day after the publication of Mr. Novak's column portraying Mr. Wilson as a girlie man dependent on his wife for employment.

On that evening's broadcast of ABC's "World News Tonight," American soldiers in Falluja spoke angrily of how their tour of duty had been extended yet again, only a week after Donald Rumsfeld told them they were going home. Soon the Drudge Report announced that ABC's correspondent, Jeffrey Kofman, was gay. Matt Drudge told Lloyd Grove of The Washington Post at the time that "someone from the White House communications shop" had given him that information.

Mr. McClellan denied White House involvement with any Kofman revelation, a denial now worth as much as his denials of White House involvement with the trashing of the Wilsons. Identifying someone as gay isn't a crime in any event, but the "outing" of Mr. Kofman (who turned out to be openly gay) almost simultaneously with the outing of Ms. Plame points to a pervasive culture of revenge in the White House and offers a clue as to who might be driving it. As Joshua Green reported in detail in The Atlantic Monthly last year, a recurring feature of Mr. Rove's political campaigns throughout his career has been the questioning of an "opponent's sexual orientation."

THE second narrative to be unearthed in the scandal's early timeline is the motive for this reckless vindictiveness against anyone questioning the war. On May 1, 2003, Mr. Bush celebrated "Mission Accomplished." On May 29, Mr. Bush announced that "we found the weapons of mass destruction." On July 2, as attacks increased on American troops, Mr. Bush dared the insurgents to "bring 'em on." But the mission was not accomplished, the weapons were not found and the enemy kept bringing 'em on. It was against this backdrop of mounting desperation on July 6 that Mr. Wilson went public with his incriminating claim that the most potent argument for the war in the first place, the administration's repeated intimations of nuclear Armageddon, involved twisted intelligence.

Mr. Wilson's charge had such force that just three days after its publication, Mr. Bush radically revised his language about W.M.D.'s. Saddam no longer had W.M.D.'s; he had a W.M.D. "program." Right after that George Tenet suddenly decided to release a Friday-evening statement saying that the 16 errant words about African uranium "should never have been included" in the January 2003 State of the Union address - even though those 16 words could and should have been retracted months earlier. By the next State of the Union, in January 2004, Mr. Bush would retreat completely, talking not about finding W.M.D.'s or even W.M.D. programs, but about "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities."

In July 2005, there are still no W.M.D.'s, and we're still waiting to hear the full story of how, in the words of the Downing Street memo, the intelligence was fixed to foretell all those imminent mushroom clouds in the run-up to war in Iraq. The two official investigations into America's prewar intelligence have both found that our intelligence was wrong, but neither has answered the question of how the administration used that wrong intelligence in selling the war. That issue was pointedly kept out of the charter of the Silberman-Robb commission; the Senate Intelligence Committee promised to get to it after the election but conspicuously has not.

The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds. Without it, there wouldn't have been a third-rate smear campaign against an obscure diplomat, a bungled cover-up and a scandal that - like the war itself - has no exit strategy that will not inflict pain.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company