Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Hit Parade of Liars

Latest Newspaper Column:

Last week, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for lying during the investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Libby, as you may remember, was chief of staff to Vice President Darth Cheney, the only man in America whom the Flying Tuberculosis Guy can look at and go "at least I'm not as unpopular as THAT jerk."

Plame was the smokin'-hot CIA WMD specialist whose cover was blown by the Bushistas after her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, published an op-ed in The New York Times revealing that not only were the famous "16 words" in the president's State of the Union address ("The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa") untrue, but Wilson had also told them they were untrue.

This earned him the wrath of the administration, which they expressed through a series of leaks and a whispering campaign that ended with columnist Robert Novak crawling from his crypt to pen his own editorial in which he identified Plame as a CIA operative.

Libby was charged and convicted of obstructing the investigation into the leak, which eventually led former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to admit that he was the primary source of the leak and caused Novak to identify White House aide Karl Rove, aka "Bush's Brain," as his second source.

Since the case is all about lying, it might behoove us to examine the lies, distortions and jaw-droppingly outrageous statements told along the way. Taken in their entirety, they reveal a breathtaking disregard for, even outright contempt for, the truth that is the hallmark of this administration and its rabid supporters.

* "Valerie Plame wasn't a covert agent. She was just a desk jockey."

This is probably the most persistent lie, and it pops up everywhere from the ranting of drug addict Rush Limbaugh to letters in this very newspaper. Except that the CIA, in recently declassified documents submitted as part of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's sentencing memorandum to the court, confirms that Plame was, in fact, "a covert CIA employee for whom the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States."

Further, the CIA stated, "when overseas, Plame traveled undercover, sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias -- but always using cover with no ostensible relationship to the CIA."

Now, when asked to choose whom you believe, the partisan rantings of a bloated gasbag high on Oxycontin on one hand, and the people who actually grant covert status on the other, who are you gonna believe?

*"Dick Cheney's office was just trying to defend itself from lies told by Wilson, because Wilson said Cheney sent him to Niger."

Even if this was true, it would seem the best way for Cheney to refute it would be to say, "I never sent Joe Wilson to Niger," rather than have his people engage in a smear campaign against Wilson and attempt to destroy his wife's career. But that's a moot point, because Wilson never made any such claim. His op-ed clearly states that he was asked to go by the CIA, who told him that Cheney had questions.

*Wilson was lying. Saddam Hussein really was trying to buy yellowcake from Africa."

No, they weren't. George Tenet later admitted that the famous 16 words should never have gone into the speech. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer publicly retracted the uranium claim on July 7, saying it was "incorrect," and Colin Powell flatly refused to include the claim in his presentation to the U.N.

*This is just a partisan witch hunt by a partisan prosecutor."

Well, they certainly weren't calling U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald a "partisan witch hunter" when the Republicans were talking about recruiting him to run for the Senate seat in Illinois, the one now held by Barack Obama.

* "Fitzgerald didn't find any real crime, just perjury."

This was first floated by Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who said she hoped that "if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality." This is the same Senator who, while pushing the impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury, stated that "our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

Right now, there's a growing drumbeat among the Bush Cult for Dubbya to pardon Scooter. I think it's a great idea. Do it, Mr. President. Give Scooter a pass for perjury and his lying to federal investigators. It'll brand Republicans as what they've become -- the party of lies, corruption and cronyism -- like nothing else could.


Phoebe Fay said...

Wow. That's probably the single best summary of the whole sordid situation that I've seen. Great!

Joanie Conwell said...

Yeah, but don't you feel sorry for the flying turberculosis guy? You KNOW his father-in-law was playing around with the REALLY scary stuff in the basement and IT GOT OUT!