All Part of the Same Shameful American Saga...
As the New York Times is now reporting in tomorrow's edition that Libby will be indicted, the investigation of Rove will continue under an extended grand jury term, but that "people involved in the case did not rule out the disclosure of previously unknown aspects of the case"... A picture of an apparently obsessed Dick Cheney, aided by his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby seems to be emerging more and more clearly as investigations by both Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the Senate Intelligence Committee move forward.
As well, evidence continues to come to light which further connects the once-disparate dots in the Adminstration's by-any-means-necessary march to war, their "fixing" of "facts and intelligence around the policy" of selling the war through "a conjunction of WMD and Terrorism" (as described in the Downing Street Documents), and the eventual desperate outing of covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame/Wilson in order to hold off the collapse of the trumped-up house of cards on which the entire boondoggled case for war was built.
Murray Waas has an excellent report in The National Journal today describing the pieces as they come together and the picture begins to get clearer and clearer.
In the report, Waas also breaks the news that Cheney and Libby overruled "advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers" in deciding to withhold crucial documents requested by the Senate Intelligence Committee for their 2004 investigation into pre-war intelligence.
The new information that Cheney and Libby blocked information to the Senate Intelligence Committee further underscores the central role played by the vice president's office in trying to blunt criticism that the Bush administration exaggerated intelligence data to make the case to go to war.
You'll recall the report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee chaired by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) prior to the '04 Election which focused on the CIA's failure to get the intelligence on Iraq's WMD right. Roberts, at the time, had promised the second part of the report --- focusing on the Administration's misuse of intelligence in making their case for war --- would come only, and conveniently, after the Presidential Election.
That promised report is, so far, nowhere to be found. Though Waas reports the Committee is still at work on it. In light, however, of the information that Cheney and Libby withheld docs from the Committee, Waas reports:
Had the withheld information been turned over, according to administration and congressional sources, it likely would have shifted a portion of the blame away from the intelligence agencies to the Bush administration as to who was responsible for the erroneous information being presented to the American public, Congress, and the international community.
Though that wouldn't do, of course. Not in an Election Year, as Waas continues:
A former senior administration official familiar with the discussions on whether to turn over the materials said there was a "political element" in the matter. This official said the White House did not want to turn over records during an election year that could used by critics to argue that the administration used incomplete or faulty intelligence to go to war with Iraq. "Nobody wants something like this dissected or coming out in an election year," the former official said.
Of course not. Then the American People might have had to make an informed judgement on whether George W. Bush should continue in his previously-unelected position as President of the United States.
Waas's full article is a must read, if only to begin to understand the depths to which Cheney and his office went to keep their genie in the bottle while their case for war was beginning to unravel and as the criminal investigations now begin to work their way into the heart of both Cheney and Bush's offices.
Meanwhile, a former covert CIA operative and one-time classmate of Valerie Plame's at The Agency speaks very slowly to Wolf Blitzer in order to help him finally understand what's at stake in the matter of the unprecedent White House outing of Plame. Johnson has been valiantly attempting to fend off the tsunami of wingnut lies being floated in the media concerning the Plame case for some time. Today he got the chance to try and school Blitzer just a bit.
Crooks and Liars has the video, and maybe --- just maybe --- the facts in the case will begin to sink into Wolf's brain as the spin and smears from the GOP liars and apologists hopefully soon become the dog that just won't hunt anymore. Or am I still far too optimistic about these things? We shall see.