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(Some Paleocon)   Congress will never investigate whether we were lied into war in Iraq because it would also mean that Congress failed in its constitutional duty to determine the necessity for war   ( divider line
    More: Ironic  
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534 clicks; posted to Politics » on 07 Mar 2007 at 4:41 PM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2007-03-07 03:30:05 PM
2007-03-07 03:39:55 PM  
Congress failing in its constitutional duties??

I, for one, am SHOCKED to hear such a thing...

/10,000 spoons
2007-03-07 04:47:12 PM  
You mean they might have shirked their duty because they were of the same party or might be called un-american, un-patriotic, or terrorist-loving for questioning it. Yeah, they did shirk their duty, out of party allegiance (cowardice) or from wishing to appear strong and united (cowardice).

Fark'em both.
2007-03-07 04:52:09 PM  
And in the end, we are unlikely to know the truth of why it was we went to war. For that record is sealed in minds and souls.

Tragic but true.
2007-03-07 04:52:21 PM  
TFA: Libby has been convicted of lying about the outing of a CIA classified officer, a crime for which no one has been indicted.

While interesting, I think he is (deliberately?) missing the point. It's like saying President Clinton was impeached because he had sexual relations with that woman.

No, it was, like Libby, because he lied.
2007-03-07 04:53:12 PM  
inglixthemad: Fark'em both.

2007-03-07 04:55:57 PM  
B.. b.. but the next group of politicians will be much better!
2007-03-07 04:56:15 PM  
I have to change a word from "saying" to "implying",

"implying President Clinton..."
2007-03-07 04:57:42 PM  
I will never vote for any candidate that voted for the war.
2007-03-07 05:03:51 PM  
False premise. Repubs controlled the congress, questioned the patriotism of anyone who objected, and just rubber stamped whatever Bush sent them. A war resolution would not have made it past this House. That doesn't let the cowardly Dems who voted for it off the hook simply due to the inevitability of it's passage.
2007-03-07 05:04:46 PM  
Duh. Don't think the Democrats are innocent in this. Kerry would still be in Iraq right now.

/Revolution, the only solution
2007-03-07 05:14:14 PM  
Congressional politicians are so useless. They need term limits so they can actually act on principles and not on whatever is going to get them reelected.
2007-03-07 05:15:39 PM  

The dilemma a Democratic Congress faces in any investigation into whether we were lied into war is that Congress would be investigating why a Democratic Senate failed its constitutional duty to determine the necessity for war.


The purpose of the War Powers Resolution is to ensure that Congress and the President share in making decisions that may get the U.S. involved in hostilities. Portions of the War Powers Resolution require the President to consult with Congress prior to the start of any hostilities as well as regularly until U.S. armed forces are no longer engaged in hostilities (Sec. 3); and to remove U.S. armed forces from hostilities if Congress has not declared war or passed a resolution authorizing the use of force within 60 days (Sec. 5(b)). Following an official request by the President to Congress, the time limit can be extended by an additional 30 days (presumably when "unavoidable military necessity" requires additional action for a safe withdrawal).


The 2003 invasion of Iraq by a multinational force officially began on March 20, 2003


On May 1, 2003, U.S. President Bush declared the end of major combat operations

which is under 60 days. so, looks to me like smitty and the article writer, the pretend 'paleoconservatives,' are talking shiate. which is what the writers and readers of seem to like to do
2007-03-07 05:21:23 PM  
21-7-b: which is under 60 days. so, looks to me like smitty and the article writer, the pretend 'paleoconservatives,' are talking shiate. which is what the writers and readers of seem to like to do

Wanna know a secret? The War Powers Act is probably unconstitutional. Just like the line item veto. It's never been challenged or invoked, so we don't know. It's not clear that Congress can provide a direct check on the president's warmaking ability (beyond declarations and funding).
2007-03-07 05:24:26 PM  
doesn't this earn a giant "Wellllll duh"?
2007-03-07 05:25:22 PM  

On May 1, 2003, U.S. President Bush declared the end of major combat operations

That is the funniest shiat I've seen all day. He can declare that the sky is pink with purple polka dots if he wants to, won't make it so.

If we're all finished, bring our boys home.
2007-03-07 05:30:22 PM  
The reason you won't see an inquiry is because the Democrats don't want to push their hands yet and deal with the same negative reaction from the public that the Clinton impeachment had on Congress.

To push now would be seen by many as partisan, not proper investigation. The republicans would start making the argument that we need to be focused on the present and future for solutions, not squandering the President's time dealing with an investigation when he needed to focus on protection of the country.

And it would play. It's a political reality that the status quo is strongly promoted in all but the most extreme cases. That's why Hillary polls so well. She doesn't do anything that isn't popular.
2007-03-07 05:42:29 PM  
DRA but interesting headline.

What you forget is that it WAS investigated by the 9/11 panel and they found that no one lied...

Now for all of you that will say the investigation doesnt prove a thing? Youre justing peeing into the wind cuz that part of this over.
2007-03-07 05:42:41 PM  
Buchanan is full of crap.

Congress was lied to by the Bush admin. and voted for the war based on those lies.

They are completely blameless in the whole mess.
2007-03-07 05:43:31 PM  
the democrats that voted for the war don't want to admit that bush outsmarted them
2007-03-07 05:45:33 PM  
twilson2: 'Congress was lied to by the Bush admin.'

Riigghhtt .....

wouldn't that be awesome to get someone to prove that in a court of law?

Cause, I'd like to see someone try, to put up, or to shut up.
2007-03-07 05:45:39 PM  
thanks, Rational Exuberance and SideshowBob. for clarity, i should have referenced the fact that the first paragraph i quoted came from the article, whereas the following quoted text didn't - the second paragraph was just general info on the war powers act and the last, loose sentements were the 'official' start and end dates. pretty much all meaning was lost by my failure :( ah well!
2007-03-07 05:53:08 PM  
Been saying this for 4 years.

Senate Intelligence Committee had access to the same info the administration did, and was half from each party, and unanimously recommended to the Senate to approve the resolution to use force against Iraq. The Dems that voted for it were the same people who were arguing for use of force against Saddam when Clinton was in power.

Both parties suck.

And unfortunately, while I'll probably vote for them just to make a point, I don't hold out any real hope that the Dems will get us out of Iraq any time soon.

It's looking very similar to when Nixon got elected partly on the basis of getting us out of Johnson's War - only to take another 3+ years to do so.

Did I say that both parties suck?

2007-03-07 05:53:40 PM  
>> twilson2: 'Congress was lied to by the Bush admin.'

>> Cause, I'd like to see someone try, to put up, or to shut up.

You bubble boys never learn even after the election.

Hey that works for me.

I encourage you to fully indulge your alternative reality and continue LOSING.
2007-03-07 05:54:33 PM  
Why don't the Democrats want to investigate it? They have the power don't they?
2007-03-07 05:54:58 PM  
>> Senate Intelligence Committee had access to the same info the administration did,

Yeah the same cooked BS.

Case closed.
2007-03-07 05:57:38 PM  
Earth to cons.

No WMDs.

No proof of Sadam trying to buy yellow cake from nigeria
2007-03-07 05:58:59 PM  
twilson2: Congress was lied to by the Bush admin. and voted for the war based on those lies.
Eh, that gets into sticky things like proving intent. That the executive provided false information to congress is pretty much unquestionable, that they lied is a completely different kettle of fish.

They are completely blameless in the whole mess.

This is, in my opinion, false. I believe there is plenty of blame to go around for this one. Every person who signed off on this deserves some blame for one of the most monumental cockups in my lifetime. EVEN IF they bought what the president sold them, it is still their fault for assisting in getting us into this mess. There were plenty of people around who were screaming 'THIS IS A BAD IDEA' at the time, and a good number of those were right about _why_ it was a bad idea.

Everyone who voted or surported this mess should be looking for a new job. Every single mutherfarking one of them.
2007-03-07 05:59:26 PM  
should read niger
2007-03-07 06:01:21 PM  
a couple of links for anyone stupid enough to believe guys who pretend that it was both parties fault or that the administration didn't lie

/you need to click on the highlighted words above and read. if you can't read, get the person reading this to you to click on the words and then read the stuff on those pages to you as well
2007-03-07 06:03:33 PM  
>> This is, in my opinion, false.

Everybody has an opinion.

But that has no bearing on what the truth is.
2007-03-07 06:04:17 PM  
FlashLV: Why don't the Democrats want to investigate it? They have the power don't they?

Because they want to be re-elected and they think that the Republicans will bash them over the head with 'Witch Hunt' rhetoric next cycle. I, personally, think that this is a reasonable fear since that is what the Dems did over Clinton's impeachment.
David Brin has a pretty good essay touching on this, many of his points make sense to me. I especially like his #3, "SPREAD THE POWER OF SUBPOENA -- AND INCLUDE THE MINORITY PARTY"
2007-03-07 06:06:29 PM  
>> if you can't read

We got plenty of brick walls that can read around here.

Doesn't mean they can absorb any facts when the whole point of their life is to shut out anything they don't want to accept.
2007-03-07 06:06:32 PM  
PeopleFirst: And in the end, we are unlikely to know the truth of why it was we went to war. For that record is sealed in minds and souls.

That's really not much of a secret.

We went to war because Bush was influenced into it by PNAC.

It's really that simple.

And they were kind enough to summarize their reasons for us. Or at least the ones they want to admit to.
2007-03-07 06:06:42 PM  
Wrong, but thanks for the offer. Congress agreed to the terms of war because Bush/Cheney lied.

They knew the documents from Africa were forged, only to have the docs given to GB to have them regurgitated back to the US as 'OMGZ Saddam bought yellowcake from Africa, British Intelligence shows! (i forget which country it was)!!!1one'
2007-03-07 06:07:52 PM  
Running a-puck

What's more important, reelection or justi.....

Oh yeah, they are politicans.
2007-03-07 06:08:24 PM  
CHAZZZ: I will never vote for any candidate that voted for the war.

None of them did.

There were quite a few who voted to give GWB the authorization to use force against Saddam if it was necessary to get him to comply with UN resolutions, which seems to have worked once he let the inspectors back in.

But, curiously, we went to war anyway.
2007-03-07 06:09:23 PM  
The CIA told shrub the so called "documents" that "proved" sadam was trying to buy yellow cake were forged.

Shrub used them anyway.
2007-03-07 06:12:41 PM  
twilson2: Everybody has an opinion.

But that has no bearing on what the truth is.

Agreed, which is why I said 'This is, in my opnion, false' rather than something like, YOU LIE YOU BASTARD. I don't know the truth nor, I suspect, does anyone else on this board. The thing of it is that it doesn't matter in my mind if the admin lied or was just plain incompetent. The congresscritters who voted to be derelict in their duties and give the executive this power are still to blame. They may have voted with bad information, but they still voted for it. It may have been an honest mistake, but it was still a mistake, and they should be held accountable for it. Hell, I'm just a former grunt with an amatuer level grasp of strategy and economics and I managed to call what was going to happen before we invaded, they sure as hell should have been able to do so.
2007-03-07 06:13:06 PM  
but...but... Dan Rather!
2007-03-07 06:13:30 PM  
I'm wasting too much time on this crap anyway.

The Iraq war is just a diversion away from the real problem which is the class war against the middle class.
2007-03-07 06:14:04 PM  

You are going to keep believing the thin film of propaganda that overlays the issue no matter what I say, so rather than beat my head against the wall I'll be done with you here.

The SIC had access to the raw data, not just the BS conclusions - they could have seen the holes and called shinanigans at any point. Whether it was lazy or intentional on their part, the members of the SIC actively peddled the lie to the rest of Congress.

Not to let the rest of Congress off the hook, any member of Congress could have done a monicum of research and seen the same kinds of holes in the logic that many of us regular citizens were shouting out well before the use of force resolution was passed.

Congress wanted this war - as did most Americans. Bush could have called for war on the basis of Saddam being a "farthead" and they would have gone along with it.

To be fair, there were some members who did vote against the resolution to use force because they did do their homework. They deserve a great deal more praise than they've gotten for being so precient.
2007-03-07 06:14:47 PM  

Wow, a few examples that claifies context and Nitpickers guide to Iraq by Henry Waxman.

ASSERTION: Stephen Hadley, the president's national security adviser, told reporters last Thursday that the Clinton administration and Congress perceived Saddam as a threat based on some of the same intelligence used by the Bush administration.

"Congress, in 1998 authorized, in fact, the use of force based on that intelligence," Hadley said.

And Rumsfeld, in briefing reporters Tuesday, seemed to link President Clinton's signing of the act to his decision to order four days of U.S. bombing of suspected weapons sites and military facilities in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq.

CONTEXT: Congress did pass the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which stated U.S. support for regime change in Iraq and provided up to $97 million in overt military and humanitarian aid to opposition groups in Iraq.

But it didn't authorize the use of U.S. force against Iraq.

Clinton said his bombing order was based on Iraq's refusal to comply with weapons inspections, a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Yes, he was a threat,

... and they decided to urge his removal ... but not do a goddamned thing about it. Good going, Clinton.

It really is amazing, that Bush was able to "pressure" the intel community, to get all of this 'saddam was a threat' hype, even before he stole the election in 2000 .....

*rolls eyes*
2007-03-07 06:15:55 PM  
"Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Case"
Amy Goldstein and Carol D. Leonnig | The Washington Post | March 6, 2007

A federal jury today convicted I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby of lying about his role in the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity, finding the vice president's former chief of staff guilty of two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice, while acquitting him of a single count of lying to the FBI.

The verdict, reached by the 11 jurors on the 10th day of deliberations, culminated the seven-week trial of the highest-ranking White House official to be indicted on criminal charges in modern times.

Under federal sentencing guidlines, Libby faces a probable prison term of 1 1/2 to three years when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton June 5.

As the jury forewoman read each guilty count in a clear, solemn voice, Libby was impassive, remaining seated at the defense table, gazing straight ahead and displaying no visible emotion. His wife, Harriet Grant, sat in the front row with tears in her eyes and was was embraced by friends. Later she hugged each of Libby's lawyers.

A few minutes after the jury was dismissed, Libby appeared coatless outside the federal courthouse with his two main lawyers, Theodore V. Wells Jr. and William Jeffress Jr. Wells issued a brief statement to the crush of reporters and television crews.

"We intend to file a motion for a new trial," Wells said. "If that is denied, we will file an appeal. We believe Mr. Libby eventually will be vindicated."

" We intend to keep fighting for his innocence," he added.

Libby and his lawyers then briskly turned away and returned to the courthouse without taking questions. The trial's outcome may have been a repudiation of the strategy that Libby's attorneys chose by not calling either Libby or Vice President Cheney, his former boss, as a witness.

Libby, 56, was the only person charged in a three-year federal investigation that reached the highest echelons of the Bush White House. The central question in the probe was whether anyone in the administration illegally disclosed classified information during the late spring and early summer of 2003, when they told several journalists that an early critic of the Iraq war was married to undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.

No one was ever charged with the leak, but the results of the investigation, led by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, ultimately tarnished both the administration and the Washington press corps.

The trial revolved around whether Libby deliberately lied about--or simply was too busy toremember correctly--several conversations he had about Plame with colleagues and reporters whenhe was questioned months later by FBI agents and a federal grand jury investigating the leak.

Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, was sent by the CIA on a mission to Niger in 2002 to assess reports that Iraq had sought to buy nuclear materials there. He concluded the reports were false. In early July, 2003, Wilson published a rebuke of the White House, accusing the administration of distorting his findings to exaggerate the danger posed by Iraq and justify the war to the American people.

Prosecutors contended that Libby tracked down and told reporters about Plame's CIA job as part of an administration strategy to discredit her husband by insinuating that the agency had dispatched Wilson to Niger because of nepotism. The prosecution alleged that Libby realized afterwards that he might have relayed classified information and lied to FBI agents and grand jurors to cover that up.

Defense attorneys countered that Libby had a notoriously bad memory and, consumed by his work on sensitive national security matters, did not recall accurately what he knew and said about Plame. The defense also asserted that Libby did not have a motive to lie because he did not know Plame's job was classified.

The weeks of testimony and evidence placed a microscope on Libby's actions during a tumultuous period inside the White House shortly after the Iraq war began, casting a harsh light on the way power and information flows in Washington.

The trial highlighted the nation's divisions over the war, the Bush White House's intolerance of critics and the uneasy symbiosis between an elite tier of Washington journalists and their confidential sources inside the government.

It also exposed rifts between the White House and the CIA and laid bare rivalries within the White House itself. Relying on testimony from current and former White House officials and hand-written notes by Cheney, Libby and their co-workers, the prosecution showed resentments among the vice president's office; Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser; and White House press secretaries.

It also portrayed Cheney as more intimately involved in orchestrating the campaign to disparage Wilson than was previously known. Cheney was motivated in part by Wilson's erroneous allegation that the CIA had undertaken the mission to Africa solely at the vice president's request.

Testimony and evidence revealed that the vice president dictated precise talking points he wanted Libby and other aides to use to rebut Wilson's accusations against the White House, helped select which journalists would be contacted and worked with Bush to declassify secret intelligence reports on Iraqi weapons that he believed would contradict Wilson's claims.

"There is a cloud over what the vice president did," Fitzgerald told jurors in the prosecution's closing arguments. "That's not something we put there. That cloud is not something you can pretend is not there."

The case also broke controversial new ground when prosecutors forced journalists to cooperate in a criminal probe. After a long history of leak investigations that had foundered out of reluctance to subpoena reporters in order to get to their sources, Fitzgerald compelled prominent reporters to abandon promises of confidentiality they had made to high-ranking administration officials.

Several news organizations, including The Washington Post, negotiated limits that allowed Fitzgerald to question reporters on specific matters once their sources had waived confidentiality. But one journalist, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, went to jail for 85 days in an attempt to avoid disclosing the identities of Libby and other sources to investigators. Her protest went to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear her case. Miller ultimately appeared before the grand jury and at the trial.

By the trial's end, journalists, all but one of whom testified about once-confidential interviews, accounted for 10 of the 19 witnesses to appear at the trial. . Seven of the nine defense witnesses were journalists, including Bob Woodward, an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post, and Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist who was the first journalist to disclose Plame's identity in print. Three of the government's 10 witnesses were reporters.

For all the journalistic star power and political intrigue on display in recent weeks in Courtroom 16 of the federal courthouse in downtown Washington, the case Fitzgerald presented to the jury was methodical and, at time, dry.

The prosecution's case hinged on establishing that Libby had lied deliberately to investigators--in part by showing that the memory lapses alleged by the defense were implausible. In particular, the prosecution chipped away at Libby's statement to investigators that he thought he heard about Plame for the first time on July 10, 2003 from Tim Russert, NBC News' Washington bureau chief. Only later, Libby told investigators, did he remember that Cheney actually had told him about Plame nearly a month earlier.

"This is not a case about bad memory," Fitzgerald told the jury during opening statements last month "It was important. . .He made time to deal with the Wilson matter day after day after day."

Fitzgerald and fellow prosecutors showed notes hand-written by Cheney and Libby indicating that the vice president was deeply disturbed by Wilson's explosive accusations that the White House had used bogus intelligence to justify the war. Witnesses and evidence showed Cheney orchestrating a point-by-point response to Wilson's claims--some of it misleading--that the administration gave to hand-picked reporters.

Prosecutors called current and former administration officials who testified to a series of steps Libby took to learn about Wilson and Plame. Two of them told jurors that Libby had called them during the spring of 2003, sounding agitated and demanding information about why Wilson was chosen by the CIA for the Niger mission.

Prosecutors then took the jury through Libby's disclosures about Plame. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified that, on July 7, 2003, Libby took him to lunch in the White House mess. After discussing the Miami dolphins and Fleischer's pending move to a private-sector job, Fleischer said, Libby told him, "hush-hush," that Wilson's wife worked in the CIA's counterproliferation division and had sent her husband to Niger.

Miller, the former New York Times reporter, testified that Libby became the first person to tell her about Plame, during a meeting in his office that June 23. Matthew Cooper, a former Time magazine White House reporter, testified that Libby confirmed to him off-the-record that Plame worked at the CIA, shortly after Cooper had been told of her by Rove.

Finally, the prosecution highlighted discrepancies between the accounts of the government witnesses and Libby's statements to investigators. The jury listened to eight hours of audiotapes of Libby's testimony during two appearances before the grand jury in March, 2004.

The government's final witness, Russert, was the most pivotal. A well-known face from television, Russert firmly contradicted Libby's statements to investigators that Russert had told him about Plame. Russert testified that Libby had called him on July 10, 2003 to complain about comments that Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC show, "Hardball," made about Cheney and Libby. Russert testified he did not mention Plame during that conversation.

"That would be impossible," he said, "because I didn't know who that person was until several days later."

The defense put on a case that lasted less than three days.

Libby's lead attorney, Theodore V. Wells Jr., did not explain why he and other defense attorneys decided not to call Libby and Cheney as witnesses. But by keeping them off the stand, the defense spared the two men cross-examination by Fitzgerald.

Instead, the defense relied on a surrogate, John Hannah, to convey to the jury some of the points the defendant and the vice president probably would have made. Hannah, one of Libby's deputies for national security affairs and now Cheney's national security adviser, recounted for jurors crises in Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, North Korea and elsewhere in the world that preoccupied Libby about the time of the leak and during the months afterwards.

Hannah testified that "on certain things, Scooter just had an awful memory." Hannah said that, "times too many to count," he gave Libby policy recommendations in the morning and, by evening, Libby forgot that Hannah had been the source of the advice.

Libby's lawyers also suggested the prosecution overstated Libby's zeal to tell journalists about Plame. A half-dozen journalists, including three from The Washington Post, testified that they had spoken with Libby about the time of the leak--but that he did not mention her to them.

In large part, Libby's defense consisted of trying to erode the credibility of prosecution witnesses, often by pointing up the fallibility of their own memories.

The defense case did not, however, address the most dramatic assertion Wells made when the trial began. In his opening statement, Libby's attorney said Cheney had complained that his chief of staff was "put through the meatgrinder" by other White House officials, who were willing to make Libby a scapegoat when the leak investigation began in order to insulate Rove. The defense did not present witnesses or evidence to corroborate that point.

In his closing argument, Wells said the trial turned the courtroom into "a laboratory on recollection," contending that it was "madness" for prosecutors to argue that Libby's faulty recollections amounted to criminal conduct. Libby's conversations about Wilson and Plame, his attorneys insisted, were tangential compared with what was happening inside the White House early the summer of 2003.

"The country was saying, "Hey, you lied to the American public.' I mean, you talk about a stressful period," Wells said. "The wheels are falling off the Bush administration. . .It's a crazy period."

Months later, when Libby spoke to investigators, Wells told the jury, "if what he said turned out to be incorrect or a mistake, that doesn't mean he's a liar."

Libbygate: Now to the Real Story
Tuesday, 06 March 2007
by Dave Lindorff

So Scooter Libby has taken the fall.

Three and a half years and a long bloody war after he and a gang of war-mongers in the White House and Blair House, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney, set out to undermine and trash the reputation of an Iraq war critic, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, Libby has been found guilty of perjury, lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice by a Washington jury.

Now maybe special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and what passes for journalists in the mainstream media can get down to the real business of finding out just why the entire White House smear operation was unleashed upon a minor state department official and why they went so far as to violate federal law and expose his CIA-operative wife, Valerie Plame, in the process destroying her entire network of contacts for monitoring the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Because that's what this whole Libby story is really about.

The whole focus of the media in this case has been on the narrow, inside-the-Beltway question of who leaked information about Plame to the media.

Entirely forgotten or ignored has been what this leak was all about to begin with.

For that, you have to go back and look at what Wilson did in the first place that so enraged or frightened the Vice President and the President.

And that was to go to Niger, one of the poorest nations in Africa, to prove conclusively that there was no truth to a set of forged notes on the letterhead of the Niger embassy in Rome, purporting to be receipts for 400 tons of Niger uranium ore allegedly being sought by Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

Wilson knew those documents were cheap forgeries--the name of the mines official on the papers was someone who hadn't been in office for years--but he went to Niger anyhow, just to make doubly certain that no such purchase attempt had been made.

None had.

So the real question then is, who is behind those forged documents?

There is an interesting story here--and an important mystery to be solved.

As it happens, way back in early 2001 there was a pair of burglaries at the Niger Embassy in Rome and at the home of the Niger ambassador. Police investigating the crimes found that the only things stolen were official stationary and some official stamps, used to make documents official. A cleaning lady and a former member of Italy's intelligence service were arrested for the crimes. They were odd burglaries to be sure, since there is precious little one could use, or sell, such documents for, given the country involved. I mean, it might make sense to steal official stationary from the French Embassy in Rome, which a thief might use to finagle a pass to the Cannes Festival. But Niger?

Jump to October 2001. A few weeks after the 9-11 attacks, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, accompanied by his ministers of defense and intelligence, made a visit to the White House. There he reportedly handed over the forged Niger documents (they were on Niger government stationary, and had Niger government stamps!), which appeared to be receipts for uranium ore, made out to Saddam Hussein. Now forget the matter of why either Hussein or Niger's government would want paper receipts for such an illegal transaction, and forget the matter of how Hussein would have transported 400 tons of yellow dust across the Sahara to his country without somebody noticing. The simple fact is that Bush's own intelligence experts at the CIA and State Department promptly spotted the forgeries, and they were dumped.

We know this because we know, from the likes of onetime National Security Council counterterrorism head Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, that Bush was pushing for war with Iran almost as soon as he finished reading My Pet Goat following the attack on the Twin Towers. Surely if the White House had even thought those Niger documents might be legit, they would have leaked or broadcast them all over creation.

They didn't. The documents were deep-sixed, and mentioned to no one.

But according to some dedicated investigative reporters at the respected Italian newspaper La Repubblica, they resurfaced before long at a very suspicious meeting. This meeting occurred in December 2001 in Rome, and included Michael Ledeen, an associate of Defense Department Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith and a key figure in the White House's war-propaganda program, Larry Franklin, a top Defense Intelligence Agency Middle East analyst who later pleaded guilty to passing classified information to two employees of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), convicted Iraqi bank swindler Ahmed Chalabi, then head of the CIA-created Iraqi National Congress, and Harold Rhode of the sinister Defense Department Office of Special Plans, that office set up by the White House and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld under Feith's direction to manufacture "evidence" to justify a war on Iraq. Also at this peculiar meeting were the heads of the Italian Defense Department and of SISMI, the Italian intelligence agency.

According to La Repubblica, it was at that meeting that a plan was hatched to resurrect the forged Niger documents, and to give them credibility by recycling them through British intelligence.

And that is what Bush was referring to when, in his 2003 State of the Union address, he famously frightened a nation by declaring, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Bush lyingly implied that this was new information, when in fact he knew--had to know--that the "evidence" in British hands was the same set of documents he had been offered by Berlusconi almost a year and a half earlier, which had been declared to be bogus.

No mainstream American media organization has pursued this story, or even published the details as reported in Italy. Most Americans, consequently, don't even know what a grand lie Bush and the White House perpetrated upon them and the Congress in order to win approval for an attack on Iraq.

Perhaps now that Libby has gone down for his part in this grotesque crime, some editor will ask the obvious question: Why did the White House and the Office of Vice President go to such extraordinary lengths to attack Wilson and his wife? And more importantly, who was behind those Niger embassy burglaries and the forged uranium ore sale documents? And what was OSP doing meeting in Rome in December 2001 with the head of Italian intelligence?

Make no mistake: this whole story has the odor of a "black op" designed to target the American people.

If so it was an act of high treason.

It is not just Libby who should go to jail for this crime. It is the president and vice president.

At this point, whether or not the mainstream media decide to do their job, one has to hope that Fitzgerald, with Libby in the bag, will take the next step and hold the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence recommendation over the convict's head in order to try and win from him a promise of cooperation with the prosecution.

Because Libby knows who was behind all of this.

And that's the real story that needs to be told. So Scooter Libby has taken the fall.

2007-03-07 06:16:45 PM  
Just so everyone knows. Technically we're not in a war.
So calling it an invasion or occupation would be more correct.

I guess those 3,000 Dead soldiers got PWNED!!
Suck it Bush-believers.
2007-03-07 06:17:35 PM  
FlashLV: What's more important, reelection or justi.....

Oh yeah, they are politicans.

I personally would argue that the current system of two entrenched political parties makes it worse, but in effect, yeah.

Skleenar: None of them did.

There were quite a few who voted to give GWB the authorization to use force against Saddam if it was necessary to get him to comply with UN resolutions, which seems to have worked once he let the inspectors back in.

And this is exactly why I say that they share in the blame. They gave to the executive power that he should never have had, and then had the gall to say, "Well we said he could do it, but we didn't mean that he could, you know, do it." I'm sorry, but in my opinion you cannot vote away responsibilty for your actions.
2007-03-07 06:17:58 PM  
Skleenar: None of them did.

There were quite a few who voted to give GWB the authorization to use force against Saddam if it was necessary to get him to comply with UN resolutions, which seems to have worked once he let the inspectors back in.

But, curiously, we went to war anyway.

I agree but think they deserve some of the blame. They were scared that we labeled as terrorist sympathizers and barely put up a fight. Bush did take advantage of the situation and this is his war. I just don't want to vote for somebody that cowers so easily. It's not a sign of good leadership IMO.
2007-03-07 06:20:05 PM  
well, thank you for that insightful article, phillydrifter, I never would have known that Libby was found guilty.

/yeah, I give in to snark sometimes
2007-03-07 06:20:11 PM  
we=they would
2007-03-07 06:25:20 PM  
CHAZZZ: They were scared that we labeled as terrorist sympathizers and barely put up a fight an vote scheduled for shortly before the midterm elections.

Any politician who voted against it would have been attacked in the campaign as being weak-willed, or a terrorist-lover. (Even more so than they were anyway, and with a specific vote to hang over their heads).

If a candidate in anything but a rock-solid Democratic district took a principled stand and voted against the measure (a measure which could easily be justified, and was, as giving US negotiations the credible threat of a stick to go with the carrots), then we likely would have had a yet another GOP congressman to unseat in 2006.

Your act of principle would very possibly have ensured a GOP congress after the 2006 elections.
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