November 6, 2005
-- by Gary Boatwright
Or "How I Discovered Karl Rove's Brilliant Political Strategy At The Spy Museum." Those of you who are familiar with The Spy Museum in Washington D.C., know that there are two basic principles for an international spy:
(1.) Deception is reality.
(2.) Deny everything.
I think that about sums it up. Last week the L.A. Times published a perfect example of this strategy that illustrates how deeply it has infiltrated the Reich Wing Noise Machine. Plamegate's Real Liar: SCOOTER" LIBBY'S indictment was not exactly good news for the White House, but it could have been a lot worse. Feverish speculation had been building that Karl Rove would soon be "frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs," as Valerie Plame's bombastic hubby, Joe Wilson, had hoped. Or even that Dick Cheney would have to resign.
Before I go any further, I would like to point out that on The Daily Show last week, Jon Stewart played clips of David Brooks, Bill Kristol and four other neo-con commentators all saying verbatim, "There was no conspiracy." That is just one example of how deeply these two lessons have been absorbed by the Reich Wing Borg Collective. I'm sure they would all deny that there is a conspiracy to deny the conspiracy. There was no memo. They just happened to all be on the same wavelength.
Like all good neo-cons, Max Boot wears deception like a second skin. Let's take a belated look at Max's analysis of Fitgerald's investigation.
But with his investigation all but over, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has found no criminal conspiracy and no violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes it a crime in some circumstances to disclose the names of undercover CIA operatives. Among other problems, Plame doesn't seem to fit the act's definition of a "covert agent" — someone who "has within the last five years served outside the United States." By 2003, Plame had apparently been working in Langley, Va., for at least six years, which means that, mystery of mysteries, the vice president's chief of staff was indicted for covering up something that wasn't a crime.
Before he is even half way through the first sentence Boot tells his first lie. Fitzgerald's investigation is far from being all over. Rove and Cheney are not even close to being off the hook commiting treason. The problem with Boot's claim that Plame was not a covert agent is that it begs the question, "Then why did the CIA refer a criminal complaint to the Justice Department?" Perhaps the CIA is confused about whether of not Valerie Plame was a covert agent. Espionage is so confusing. Maybe the CIA doesn't get it.
Mystery of mysteries! Scooter Libbey "was indicted for covering up something that wasn't a crime!" Tony Snow made the very same claim on the Bill Maher show, i.e. "Scooter was basically indicted for talking to reporters." Actually, Scooter Libbey was indicted on exactly the same grounds as Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton. Somebody should tell Fitzgerald that the rule of law does not apply to neo-cons. When neo-cons lie under oath they are just playing hardball politics.
Here comes the core deception that the neo-cons are attempting to pass off as reality:
Making the best of a weak hand, Democrats argued that the case was not about petty-ante perjury but, as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid put it, "about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president." The problem here is that the one undisputed liar in this whole sordid affair doesn't work for the administration. In his attempts to turn his wife into an antiwar martyr, Joseph C. Wilson IV has retailed more whoppers than Burger King.
So even though Joe Wilson was right and Bush has admitted that his infamous sixteen words should not have been included in his SOTU address, Joe Wilson was wrong and Bush and the neo-cons were right. I guess we must have found WMD in Iraq after all.
For the record, eriposte has put together an incredibly in depth analysis of WMD intelligence under the heading Treasongate. One of his articles deals directly with False Neo-con Claims Against Joe Wilson.
With that in mind, let's continue to examine Max Boot's fairy tale version of events:
The least consequential of these fibs was his denial that it was his wife who got him sent to Niger in February 2002 to check out claims that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence later stated, in a bipartisan report, that evidence indicated it was Mrs. Wilson who "had suggested his name for the trip." By leaking this fact to the news media, Libby and other White House officials were merely setting the record straight — not, as Wilson would have it, punishing his Mata Hari wife.(emphasis added)
A key characteristic of the neo-con dialectic is that they have absolutely no shame about telling brazen lies and sliming their political opponents. Has Valerie Plame done anything to deserve being described as Mata Hari?
Since I'm assuming that all of our Seeing the Forest readers have not been able to read all of eriposte's articles about this whole sorry episode, let me help out a little bit. Read eriposte's last article about the SSCI Report. That would be Part 3A-6. Allow me to summarize. The SSCI Report was a whitewash, which is why Sen. Roberts and the entire Republican Senate Caucus is trying to stall phase II, about manipulation of WMD intelligence.
On the outside chance that there are a tiny minority of Seeing the Forest readers who are skeptical that government officials would lie to cover their political ass, I should also point out that eriposte has informed us of what most Brits already know. Surprise, surprise! The Butler Report was a whitewash. That dispenses with practically Boot's entire editorial smear of Joe Wilson and his wife.
Let's move ahead a little bit to a little known report called The Robb-Silverman Report:
This is not an isolated example. Pretty much all of the claims that the administration doctored evidence about Iraq have been euthanized, not only by the Senate committee but also by the equally bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission.
Now, again courtesy of eriposte, let's take a look at one direct excerpt from The Robb-Silverman Report:
3. Senate and House Intelligence Committees knew that uranium from Africa claim was baseless, before Joseph Wilson's op-ed in 2003
This is the only significant new finding for me in this report and it means that any Senate or House Intelligence Committee member who kept claiming, after June 19, 2003, that there was still evidence supporting the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa was simply a brazen liar.On June 17, 2003, CIA produced a memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) stating that "since learning that the Iraq-Niger uranium deal was based on false documents earlier this spring we no longer believe that there is sufficient other reporting to conclude that Iraq pursued uranium from abroad."  The NIO for Strategic and Nuclear Programs also briefed the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, on June 18 and 19, respectively, on the CIA's conclusions in this regard. Why didn't I know about this before? Well, because the Senate (SSCI) Report conveniently left it out as the Robb-Silberman report points out
Maybe there was a second Robb-Silverman Report on WMD. The one eriposte quotes from is very clear that there was no doubt that WMD intelligence depended on an unrealiable source who was a known liar and everybody that was interested in the truth knew it.
Next Boot turns to what he himself describes as "an unlikely source":
The latest proof that intelligence was not "politicized" comes from an unlikely source — Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, who has been denouncing the hawkish "cabal" supposedly leading us toward "disaster." Yet, in between bouts of trashing the administration, Wilkerson said on Oct. 19 that "the consensus of the intelligence community was overwhelming" that Hussein was building illicit weapons. This view was endorsed by "the French, the Germans, the Brits." The French, of all people, even offered "proof positive" that Hussein was buying aluminum tubes "for centrifuges." Wilkerson also recalled seeing satellite photos "that would lead me to believe that Saddam Hussein, at least on occasion, was … giving us disinformation."
Boot does not provide a source for Wilkerson's statement, but here is what Wilkerson had to say about overall foreign policy in the Bush administration, on October 19th, during an extensive Policy Forum presented by Steve Clemmons at The Washington Note:
But the case that I saw for four-plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberrations, bastardizations, perturbations, changes to the national security decision-making process. What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. And then when the bureaucracy was presented with the decision to carry them out, it was presented in a such a disjointed, incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn’t know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out.
And there's this as well:
And so we got into Iraq, and so George Packer quotes Richard Haas in his book as saying, “To this day I still don’t know why we went to war in Iraq.” I can go through all the things we listed, from WMD to human rights to – I can go through it – terrorism, but I really can’t sit here and tell you, George, why we went to war in Iraq.
Wilkerson does indeed make a statement or two to the effect that the Bush administration and the neo-cons may have managed to convince themselves that Hussein had WMD, but at best Max Boot is being disingenuous and taking a quote out of context. Boot is guilty of the same crime the neo-cons in the administration committed to lead us into an immoral war. He is stovepiping selective disinformation. Boot concludes:
So much for the lies that led to war. What we're left with is the lies that led to the antiwar movement. Good thing for Wilson and his pals that deceiving the press and the public isn't a crime.
There you have it. The neo-con strategy in a nutshell. Deception is Reality and Deny Everything. If deceiving the public were a crime, Max Boot would be incarcerated for felonious aggravated serial deception. As Dave is fond of saying "It's what they do." I would take it a step farther and say they have been doing it for so long, that it is also who they are. I don't believe there is a neo-con in the entire country who is capable of discussing politics without resorting to malignant deceptions of the highest order.
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Great post Gary. I love the line it's what they do. I didn't attribute that to Dave when I wrote a post with that title, but I see this site when I think write or speak of it and I am sure my few regular readers do too.
It's what they do seems to cover an infinite set of patterns these guys follow.
Watching the non conspiracies in and around the Bush regime feels so much like listening to somebody blaming their wie for making them beat her or like listening to somebody explain how much that a young child came on to them so it wasn't their fault if they molested a kid.
Posted by: grannyinsanity at November 6, 2005 11:01 PM
If I recall correctly, the stuff that Boot quotes from Wilkerson is in Wilkerson's LA Times article. Wilkerson said that he and everyone else, including all of the foreign governments, believed that Iraq had WMDs, which might simply meant that they though Iraq still had some nerve gas around.
The place where Bush intentionally lied was not in saying that Iraq had WMDs but in saying that Iraq would soon have nukes and even more in saying that Iraq posed an imminent threat of attacking us or of arming Al Quaeda to attack us.
Posted by: Tom at November 11, 2005 2:00 AM
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