Friday, March 16, 2007

The Plame hearings

Digby on the "knee jerk loathing of the left" on the part of the MSM that "tends to lead them astray".
The crime was lying and misleading the United States of America into war, something that the congress damned well should be investigating. Valerie Plame's outing is a window into that crime and the Democrats are wise to explore her story to show just how far the administration was willing to go to cover their tracks. What a prosecutor cannot do --- prosecute a political crime --- the congress surely can.

There is a huge need for the Democrats to develop the record on this administration's many crimes. It's important for our future and it's important for history. What they have done should never, ever be repeated. You had the highest reaches of the white house casually revealing what was clearly "need to know" classified information (which they had no "need to know" in the first place) to reporters, for purely political purposes. The same people who did this later turned around and said that reporters for the Washington Post and NY Times should be investigated by the Justice Department for revealing classified information that was not released purely to punish a political enemy, but rather in true whistleblower fashion, to tell the nation what its government was illegally doing.

We now know that in the case of the NSA spying stories, the Attorney General personally intervened to stop an internal investigation of the program when it came too close to him, but allowed those who were investigating that alleged treason of the NY Times to carry on.

This is all part of a very large mosaic of government secrecy, political backstabbing and abuse of power. Those of us who have been screaming about this stuff until we are hoarse were dismissed out of hand when we argued that no administration should be allowed to seize such unchecked power and the assumption among the establishment was that it was just more of our "unhinged" hysteria.

It wasn't. This stuff happened and it's likely only the tip of the iceberg. If the press can get past their loathing of the dirty hippies for five minutes they will see that not only have we been right, we have been flogging some amazingly good stories for the past six years that had they bothered to report them would have been journalistic coups. We really aren't that nuts --- and the Bush administration really is that bad.
Digby on what he calls the "Scooter Girls" -- those who cry "Poor Scooter" and try to gloss over this whole sordid business saying that there was no "real" crime.
In the Plame hearings this morning Chris Van Hollen asked Victoria Toensing the question I have been waiting for somebody to ask these hypocritical Scooter Girls for a long time:

Van Hollen: But before somebody goes around saying this person's works for the CIA, in a kind of cavalier manner, and an obviously intentional manner, to try and spread this information, you said, don't you think they have an obligation to the citizens of this country to make some determination ---this was, we're talking about the Iraq war, the decision to go to war, whether or not Saddam was trying to get nuclear weapons material.

Before they disclose the identity of somebody who works in the nucelar non-proliferation area of the CIA, don't you think they have some obligation to demonstrate the good judgment to find out if that would disclose sensitive information?

This is the principle thing I think was lost in all this. Let's suppose that everything the Scooter girls have been saying is true and that nobody was trying to out a CIA operative and that she wasn't legally covert and that it was just politics as usual. Even if all that were true, which it isn't, they would still be culpable for having the exceedingly poor judgement to casually bandy about the name of a CIA employee without checking to see what she might be working on and whether it was a good idea to publicize her name.

There is simply no excuse for outing this CIA agent, whether it was legal or not. This was the Bush Administration, the people who are allegedly fanatical about national security and who are so secretive that we can't even know who works for the Vice President's office. Yet, they apparently just cavalierly dropped this woman's name to several reporters and Victoria Toensing wants us to believe that this is perfectly reasonable. I realize she's playing with a bad hand, but this little performance was a stretch even for her. (You could practically see the gears of her brain seizing up while she played for time with that non-sequiter about the press secretary.)

This hearing was designed to show that the White House leaked classified information and nobody paid a price for doing that despite the fact that many others in government have paid significantly. It's impossible to defend what they did, even if it was just an honest oversight. This is the White House and the CIA and weapons of mass destruction we are talking about. But as we've learned these past six years, there really is no limit to how much the Bush administration can screw things up and there is no limit to the dishonesty and hypocrisy of Republicans in defending it.

Toensing's testimony was extremely difficult to listen to. She is an arrogant gorgon and lies as easily as she breathes. Waxman even said at the end that he knows her testimony was inaccurate and that he was going to leave the record open to correct all of her misstatements.

I love you Henry.


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