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Scott McClellan Didn't Out Bush, Cheney Did

Scott McClellan Didn't Out Bush for High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Cheney Did


BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG

Mark Karlin, Editor and Publisher, BuzzFlash.com

As we’ve noted before, BuzzFlash feels personally invested in the exposing of the White House treason surrounding the outing of Valerie Plame, which resulted in impairing our national security when it comes to tracking weapons of mass destruction. Following up on a David Corn commentary shortly after the infamous Bob "The Traitor" Novak column, BuzzFlash helped Corn raise the alarm about the dangerous and illegal significance of the identification of Plame as a CIA operative.

So it is with astonishment that we have watched the mainstream media ignore or dismiss the revelation by once White House loyalist Scott McClellan that Cheney and Bush were likely involved in the outing and knowingly sent him out to lie to the press about the role of the two key messengers: Libby and Rove.

You’ve no doubt heard by now that the McClellan admission was made in a first person excerpt from a book being printed early next year by Public Affairs Press (affiliated with the Perseus Group).

While the first person confirmation of what anyone with a pea for a brain knew all along caromed across the Internet, the Washington Post and the New York Times gave it the cold shoulder, among other mainstream media outlets.

In the meantime, we suspect that the White House hit men gave McClellan and his publisher the same treatment that they have given other "made men" that ratted on them: the brass knuckles and warnings to back off if they cared about their families.

As one blogger noted: "John Dillulio calls them 'machiavellian mayberries' [actually, 'Mayberry Machiavellis'] and suggests that they politicize everything--yet a week later he backs down completely. Paul O'Neill says that they planned on invading Iraq from the beginning, he is savaged by the machine."

So the publisher, within a day backed off the first person quote by McClellan, with a rather bizarre claim that the book wasn’t finished yet, even though it was the publisher that posted the quotation on its website. McClellan was in seclusion, of course, no doubt being waterboarded by some of Cheney’s crew.

In an all too fitting and tragic irony, the mainstream media only took notice of the damning revelation of criminal behavior – certainly in the high crimes and misdemeanors category, as Valerie and Joe Wilson charge – on cue from the White House once the publisher recanted the first person quotation, which is indeed quite a remarkable feat, since clearly it would only be done under pressure, since it is hard for a publisher to post a first person quote and then claim that it was premature. What kind of credibility does that leave you with? But it was probably preferable than running a publishing house with two broken arms and a pencil rammed through your ear.

All along, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald noted in his investigation that a cloud of suspicion hung over Dick Cheney, and he all but said that Cheney was the key culprit. In fact, Scooter Libby’s crime – the one he was convicted for – was integrally related to an obstruction of justice essentially revolving around the reality that he was covering up for Cheney.

Long forgotten – and barely noticed during the trial – was a document introduced during the case that directly implicates Bush. And the notes on the document that point at Bush as being a co-conspirator were written by Dick Cheney.

Truthout.org covered this crucial link to Bush, including a copy of the handwritten note:

Copies of handwritten notes by Vice President Dick Cheney, introduced at trial by attorneys prosecuting former White House staffer I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, would appear to implicate George W. Bush in the Plame CIA Leak case.

Bush has long maintained that he was unaware of attacks by any member of his administration against [former ambassador Joseph] Wilson. The ex-envoy's stinging rebukes of the administration's use of pre-war Iraq intelligence led Libby and other White House officials to leak Wilson's wife's covert CIA status to reporters in July 2003 in an act of retaliation.

But Cheney's notes, which were introduced into evidence Tuesday during Libby's perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial, call into question the truthfulness of President Bush's vehement denials about his prior knowledge of the attacks against Wilson.

The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador raises the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame's undercover role with the CIA?

Further, the highly explicit nature of Cheney's comments not only hints at a rift between Cheney and Bush over what Cheney felt was the scapegoating of Libby, but also raises serious questions about potentially criminal actions by Bush. If Bush did indeed play an active role in encouraging Libby to take the fall to protect Karl Rove, as Libby's lawyers articulated in their opening statements, then that could be viewed as criminal involvement by Bush.

Last week, Libby's attorney Theodore Wells made a stunning pronouncement during opening statements of Libby's trial. He claimed that the White House had made Libby a scapegoat for the leak to protect Karl Rove - Bush's political adviser and "right-hand man."

"Mr. Libby, you will learn, went to the vice president of the United States and met with the vice president in private. Mr. Libby said to the vice president, 'I think the White House ... is trying to set me up. People in the White House want me to be a scapegoat,'" said Wells.

Cheney's notes seem to help bolster Wells's defense strategy. Libby's defense team first discussed the notes - written by Cheney in September 2003 for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan - during opening statements last week. Wells said Cheney had written "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others": a reference to Libby being asked to deal with the media and vociferously rebut Wilson's allegations that the Bush administration knowingly "twisted" intelligence to win support for the war in Iraq.

However, when Cheney wrote the notes, he had originally written "this Pres." instead of "that was."

In another story on Truthout at the time of the Libby trial, it details other documents that indicate Cheney had claimed authorization from Bush to disclose classified information from a National Intelligence Estimate in order to try and discredit Joe Wilson.

It should also be remembered that Bush retained a private attorney in regards to the Libby case, a highly curious move for an innocent president. Furthermore, Bush promised to get to the bottom of the leak himself and fire anyone involved after the CIA formally requested a Justice Department investigation into Valerie Plame’s outing, because of the potential harm it had done to national security. As we now know, Bush, if he kept his word, would have ended up firing Dick Cheney and himself.

It is a testament to the persistent tacit alliance of the corporate media with the Republican Party (to ensure favorable big media regulations, tax cuts, and anti-trust favors) that damage done to the national security of the United States -- authorized in all likelihood by the President of the United States and most certainly orchestrated by the Vice-President of the United States -- is either roundly ignored or dismissed as insignificant.

Scott McClellan did not pen a rogue statement in his forthcoming book. What he said is entirely consistent with the information disclosed at the Libby trial, and even – ironically – with the defensive strategy of Libby’s own legal team, which was to position "Scooter" as a fall guy for the White House.

That may have, indeed, been the sole true assertion made on behalf of Mr. Libby.

BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG

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