Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis Libby, has now been indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the grand jury, by the federal grand jury investigating the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.
It has been reported that a last minute deal has given Karl Rove a reprieve for the time being concerning this investigation. The continued investigation into Karl Rove’s involvement hangs over the White House casting a deepening shadow over the rest of this administration’s term.
Sources close to the investigation say the probe will continue, and is likely to expand to include other elements, including forged documents that purported to show Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. As this investigation of key White House officials is taking place, little mention is made of the fact that Cheney’s National Security Adviser John Hannah and his Middle East advisor David Wurmser are cooperating in Fitzgerald’s probe. Both David Wurmser and John Hannah are now working for UN ambassador John Bolton and are said to have played a role in disseminating Plame Wilson’s name to the press.
Concerning the origins of the forged Niger documents, Patrick Fitzgerald’s office has recently received information and documents relating to this case from the Italian government. Yet there has been almost no investigation into some of the key players such as Rocco Martino, the Italian “security consultant” who attempted to sell the forged documents to a reporter in Rome in late 2002.
Rocco Martino has yet to be interviewed by the FBI because they claim that the Italian government has not allowed them to interview him, yet Mr. Martino has traveled to the United States twice in 2004 and still the FBI has not attempted to interview him.
One thing that is more baffling than FBI’s failure to investigate what should be a key person in this case is that few people in the media are tying together the Plame investigation with the forged Niger documents or the broader scope of how this all ties together with the Downing Street Memos and a little known place called the OSP or Office of Special Plans.
The Downing Street Memos, as we all know, are the minutes from a meeting that show how the Bush administration used certain pieces of information to back up the reasons for going to war with Iraq. Part of this evidence is the forged Niger documents that our own intelligence agencies deemed unreliable and likely to be false.
It was the Office of Special Plans that was responsible for getting this information used, and in fact Dick Cheney used the basis of these forged documents on three occasions as evidence of Iraq seeking nuclear material for weapons. It was Dick Cheney’s staff at the OSP that overruled the CIA and State officials that the famous 16 words remained in the State of the Union address. As Bush later blamed the CIA for giving him “bad intelligence”, it was in fact the Office of Special Plans that was responsible for the intelligence.
Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who at the time worked in the Office of Special Plans and stated that they made up the facts and then reported them as “intelligence.”, seems to be validated. She went on to state that if one wanted to know why the State of the Union address kept the famous 16 words or why the post-Iraq invasion has been one of confusion and of false steps one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
She was referring to Rumsfeld’s aide, Douglas Feith, who deliberately altered the methods of intelligence communication that the Pentagon routinely sent to State and CIA. She also stated that between Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, information and critical issues were decided upon outside the normal bureaucracy. This of course reinforces the Downing Street Memos minutes.
The first indictment of Lewis Libby is a mere drop in the bucket to what is growing into a much broader look into a Presidential administration that has put itself above the principles and laws of this nation. This issue of the Plame leak is only one aspect of a government that manipulated information in order to get Congress to vote on the authority to go to war. The time for accountability for this administration is at hand, the music has stopped, and there are no chairs left. Time to tell the soldiers in Iraq, the families of the fallen, and the American people the truth.
Ed/Pub:LisaMPowered by Sidelines