Water Man Spouts

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Man Called "Scooter"

{1} "This ardent neoconservative is a leading participant in the network of hidden cells that funneled so much disinformation to our political decision makers outside normal channels. He is one of a handful of senior officials in the administration with both the means and the motive to conduct the covert inquiry that allowed some in the White House to learn my wife's name and status, and then disclose that information to the press."
-- The Politics of Truth; Joseph Wilson; 2004; page 443.

Who is Lewis "Scooter" Libby? Most of the media reports on the Plame scandal report that he is Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, but focus more attention on Karl Rove, the president's top advisor. But, in fact, Libby is more than Cheney's top aide. Indeed, a closer examination indicates that Libby may be more powerful than Rove. His ability to remain largely unknown has been a key to his efficacy. Let's take a closer look.

In "Plan of Attack," Bob Woodward notes on page 48 that, "Libby had three formal titles. He was chief of staff to Vice President Cheney; he was also national security advisor to the vice president;and he was finally an assistant to President Bush. It was a trifecta of positions probably never held by a single person. Scooter was a power center unto himself, and, accordingly, a force multiplier for Cheney's agenda and views."

In "Worse Than Watergate," John Dean describes on pages 101-102 how Cheney's agenda and views included creating a "shadow government" which he describes as "a secret government -- beyond the reach of Congress, and everyone else as well." This secret government is described in a number of books and articles that I strongly recommend to readers. Among them are Senator Robert Byrd's "Losing America"; Seymour Hersch's articles in the 3-3-03 and 10-27-03 New Yorker; and "The Lie Factory," by Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest in the Jan/Feb 2004 Mother Jones. (Dean uses the later two as sources in his book.)

Cheney has put Libby in the position, in effect, of being the head of his shadow government's National Security Council. As such, Lewis Libby has exercised a degree of influence and control in the United States government, particularly in foreign policy, that is in absolute contradiction to what the Constitution intends. His position and policies represent a neoconservative coup that show a disregard for the separation of powers at the federal level, and which have attempted to re-make the Middle East in a way most beneficial to American oil interests.

{2} "Indeed, Cheney and his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, had already participated in drafting a 2000 report for the Project for a New American Century that called for taking over Iraq -- this well before 9/11 -- as part of a larger, oil-minded pax Americana. Thus emerged the early inkling of the military strategy needed to implement the later task-force findings."
--American Dynasty; Kevin Phillips; 2004; page 255

Lewis Libby graduated from Yale in 1972. As a young lawyer, he would become one of the most powerful members of a movement known as the "neoconservatives." In the 1980s, he was most closely associated with Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. He worked for Wolfowitz from 1989 to 1992 at the Pentagon.

It is interesting to note that Libby had learned to keep a low profile as a tactic that allowed him to exercise behind the scenes power. Compare this to, for example, President Bush, who loves to be seen as "The Man." By the time of the Bush1 administration, Libby had become one of the most influential people in the American government

In "Where the Right Went Wrong," Patrick Buchanan -- the Strange Man of the republican right -- notes on page 42 that, "In 1992, when Wolfowitz was an assistant secretary of defense, a startling document leaked from his shop. Defense Planning Guidance had been prepared by Wolfowitz and his deputy, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, for Secretary Richard Cheney. Barton Gellman of the Washington Post called it a 'classified blueprint intended to help "set the nation's direction for the next century ..." '

"The Wolfowitz memorandum called for a permanent U.S. military presence on six continents to deter any 'potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.' Containment and deterrence to defend the West were to yield to a new offensive strategy to 'establish and protect a new order.' "

Bill Clinton's election may have appeared to upset that plan for a New World Order, but that may have been primarily on the surface, where public figures distract the public with their illusion of power. Yet that reality of power which takes place behind the scenes remained the realm of "Scooter."

Dean notes on page 101 that, "Ironically, Scooter Libby represented fugitive financier Marc Rich and told Congress, after he became Cheney's chief of staff, that he believed the prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office had 'misconstrued the facts and the law' when they went after Rich on tax-evasioncharges. This, of course, was one of the principal reasons Clinton pardoned Rich." And, as Wilson notes on page 442 of his book, "Rich is the commodities trader who was convicted of having traded petroleum with Iran in violation of sanctions imposed on that country by the United States ..... Libby is a consummate Republican insider who has bounced back and forth between government posts and his international law practice."

In the late 1990s, Libby was one of the authors of PNAC's "Rebuilding American Defenses." More, in September of 2000, along with Cheney and Wolfowitz, Libby completed a highly detailed yet officially unreleased report which identified "unresolved conflicts with Iraq" as needing immediate attention from the United States. (Phillips; page 294.)

President Clinton resisted PNAC's pressures to initiate a war in Iraq to remove Saddam. The neoconservative/oil interests recognized that Al Gore, though responsive to big business, would be unlikely to invade Iraq in order to set up US military bases and control Iraqi oil resources. Hence, it was important to install an administration that would front for the Cheney-Libby shadow government. Hence, one of the most disgrace episodes in American political history took the stage in Florida in 2000.

{3} "After the election of 2000, son George II followed the Iraq warpath of GeorgeI, even attacking similarly near the midpoint of his term. Arguably more parentally motivated in his foreign wars than England's restored Charles II, George W. Bush was demonstrably more Bourbon in vengeful recollection than France's Louis XVIII. This is based on his reappointment of officials charged, indicted, or tarred in his father's best-known scandal (Iran-Contra): Elliot Abrams, John Poindexter, John Negroponte, et al. The younger Bush also promoted the 1989-92 Bush warhawks most eager for a follow-up with Iraq -- Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith -- and likewise selected his father's Gulf War defense secretary, Richard Cheney, as vice president.
-- American Dynasty; Kevin Phillips; 2004; page 294.

While President George W. Bush and his top advisor Karl Rove were busy at a high-profile level that appealed primarily to the Christian right-wing of the republican party, Dick Cheney and Lewis Libby were focused on promoting the economic and military agenda of the corporate far-right republican machine. In fact, Cheney and Libby were attempting to institute the New World Order that the president's father advocated. This included their support for plans to replace Saddam Hussein with Ahmad Chalabi, and doing business with select interests in Iran. Their power base included neocons in other parts of the administration, including men like Donald Rumsfeld and John Bolton.

Though foreign policy issues had played a relatively minor issue in the 2000 campaign, the neocons were prepared to make bold moves. John Dean, on page 106 of "Worse Than Watergate," quotes New Yorker correspondent Nicolas Lemann as telling a Massachusetts Institue of Technology audience in the second moth of the Bush 2 administration that Cheney's role as co-president insured "swashbuckling adventures, hawkish foreign policy and a more active, interventionist military." Dean notes that Condoleezza Rice was put in charge of the "vulcanization" of President Bush; this included pointing him towards an invasion of Iraq as early as January 2001, long before the events of 9-11.

After 9-11, Libby would be one of the most forceful advocates of responding by attacking Iraq. In "Bush at War," Bob Woodward notes that Libby also took the stance that the anthrax attacks in the U.S. were "state sponsored," and discouraged any attemp to blame them on al Qaeda. As the intelligence community at large discredited each and every theory put forth by the Cheney-Libby shadow government, strange dynamics came into play.

Seymour Hersch notes on pages 227-8 of "Chain of Command" (2004) that, "As the campaign to build a case against Iraq intensified, a former aide to Cheny told me, the Vice President's office, run by his chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, became increasingly secretive about Iraq's WMDs. As with Wolfowitz and Bolton, there was a reluctance to let the military and civilian analysts on the staff vet intelligence. 'It was an unbelievably closed and small group,' the former aide told me. Intelligence proceedures were far more open during the Clinton Administration, he said, and professional staff members had been far more involved in assessing and evaluating the most sensitive data. ..... Senior CIA analysts dealing with Iraq were constantly being urged by the Vice President's office to provide worst-case assessments on Iraqi weapons issues."

Joseph Wilson notes on page 6 of "The Politics of Truth" that, "There had been a number of anonymous leaks to reporters from the intelligence community during the late spring and early summer of 2003, claiming that Vice President Cheney, his chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, and even former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich had pressured analysts to skew intelligence analyses to back up the administration's preconceived political intentions."

And Nancy Gibbs, in "The Rove Problem" (Time; 7-25-05; page 29), writes, "The tensions between the White House and the CIA had been rising steadily in the months before the Iraq invasion, as CIA analysts complained about evidence being distorted or ignored and the White House pushed back with complaints about the quality of the intel they were getting. 'I know the analyst who was subjected to withering questions on the Iraq -- al-Qaeda links by Libby with the Vice President sitting there,' says a CIA analyst."

One of the central points of interests for Cheney and Libby was a report from Italian intelligence that claimed there were documents proving Iraq had attempted to buy yellow cake uranium, a WMD component, from Niger. Two previous investigations had indicated the reports were false: one was by four star Marine Corps General Carleton Fulford, and the other by American ambassador Barboro Owens-Kirkpatrick. The CIA often uses those associated with US embassies to conduct covert operations. Hence, when the vice president continued to pressure the agency for yet another investigation, they sent a former ambassador with previous experience in CIA work in Africa, Joseph Wilson.

{4} "From everything I have heard, the truth may be found at the nexus between policy and politics in the White House. Whoever made the decision to disclose Valerie's undercover status occupies a position where he ... has access to the most sensitive secrets in our government, and a political agenda to advance or defend. ... Only a few administration officials meet both of these criteria, and they are clustered in the upper reaches of the National Security Council, the Office of the Vice President, and the Office of the President."
--The Politics of Truth; Joseph Wilson; 2004; page 441.

On March 7, 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced the Niger documents were crude forgeries. On March 8, State Department spokesperson told reporters, "We fell for it." CNN interviewed Wilson, who said the administration had more information than they were letting on to. Shortly after this, a meeting was held in Cheney's office, where it was decided that there should be a "work-up" on Wilson in order to compromise him if he continued to publicly challenge the administration. It remains unclear if Cheney attended the meeting. However, it is known that Lewis "Scooter"Libby chaired the meeting, which was attended by Newt Gingrich and other members of the administration.

Between March and June, Libby ran the investigation that uncovered the status of Valerie Plame. Wilson notes, "Libby evidently seized opportunities to rail openly against me as an 'asshole playboy' who went on a boondoggle 'arranged by his CIA wife.." (page 442) Also, Wilson notes, "According to my sources, between March 2003 and the appearance of my article in July, the workup on me that turned up the information on Valerie was shared with Karl Rove, who then circulated it in administrative and neoconservative circles. That would explain the assertion later advanced by Clifford May, the neocon fellow traveler, who wrote that Valerie's employment was supposedly widely known. Oh, really? I am not reassured by his statement. Indeed, if what May wrote is accurate, it is a damning admission, because it could have been widely known only by virtue of leaks among his own crowd," (pages 443-4).

{5} "According to sources close to the investigation, Fitzgerald seemed most interested in whether officials who stayed at the White House while the President was in Africa had the memo that week, when the first known calls to reporters took place. Details of the memo, if not the memo itself, may have been shared with one or more White House officials well before Wilson's article appeared. Rove and I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, have told prosecutors they had never seen the document, according to sources familiar with their statements."
-- The Rove Problem; Nancy Gibbs; Time, 7-25-05; pages 27-8.

In invesigating any significant criminal conspiracy, one needs to look at various suspect's behaviors, including in relationship to procedures as well as other people. Let's look at Lewis Libby. We know from Woodward's "Plan of Attack" that he was one of two administration officials who, though not principals who attended the NSC meetings with President Bush, and the separate ones ran by Condi Rice. Her deputy Stephen Hadley was the other. Woodward notes that "Cheney and Libby were both artists at just going quiet, closing down completely a discussion or interview. The style could rattle their coleagues and throw them off stride. Libby also was an expert at deflecting questions about his own views with questions of his own..." (pages 48-9)

From James Bamford's "A Pretext for War" (2004), we know that Libby was the most active member in the secretive White House Iraq Group (WHIG) and its "perception management" by selective leaks of intelligence to the media. Libby enjoyed the sense of power that came from scripting other adsministration officials' public presentations: he and John Hannah wrote the original, highly controversial speech that Colin Powell gave at the UN to support administration lies about Saddam's WMD programs. (pages 318,336, & 368)

Bamford also details Cheney and Libby's coordinating the Office of Special Plans intelligence programs. Libby was in charge of the effort, with Hadley and Feith, which included a "road show" complete with slides, that defined the administrations' positions on Iraq (page 315).

When the disagreements between Powell and Libby were reported in the New York Times, Woodward noted that Libby blamed Dick Armitage. Libby was furious that his name was in the news, as he prefers to remain "behind the scenes." When confronted by a reporter about his denials of the story, Libby commented, "It's not totally untrue, but untrue." (page 50)

{6} "It's not totally untrue, but untrue." -- Lewis "Scooter" Libby

In Nancy Gibb's article in the 7-25-05 Time, she notes that Libby, who had by then testified before the grand jury three times, and had claimed he learned of Plame's identity from a reporter. Gibb reported that Tim Russert had testified in the previous August about his conversations with Libby; Russert told the grand jury that he was not Libby's source. There is speculation that Libby has claimed that Judith Miller was the source of his learning about Plame.

Fitzgerald's investigation has shown that this is not just untrue, but is totally untrue. Libby, in an effort that involved Vice President Dick Cheney, had other sources, including those from the State Department and their memo on the Wilson work-up. This is consistent to what Wilson wrote on page 444 of his book: "... when Rove learned that he might have violated the law, he turned on Cheney and Libby and made it clear he held them responsible for the problem they created for the administration."


At October 9, 2005 at 2:13 PM, Blogger ChrisWoznitza said...

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At October 10, 2005 at 12:41 PM, Blogger www.upsizethis.org said...

This is excellent and needs to be linked far and wide. Thank you for posting such a coherent overview of the Plame/Wilson case.

At October 11, 2005 at 5:54 PM, Blogger St Louis Cardinals BUFF said...

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At October 13, 2005 at 10:31 AM, Blogger joeplay said...

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At October 13, 2005 at 1:31 PM, Blogger The Real Estate Answer Man said...

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At October 31, 2005 at 1:42 AM, Blogger Bill Adams said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

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Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

At November 9, 2005 at 10:30 AM, Blogger messyhuman said...

Excellent research and facts.
Thanks for creating a full- profile of the weird dimensions of this cabalistic dynasty!


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