Libby Case: Lock Up Cheney
Which leads to a very serious question: how many lives did this treasonous White House orchestrated leak jeopardize? Itâ€™s clear that it has destroyed whatever operations that Plame-Wilson was working on. In the espionage world where information from informants is of paramount importance, secrecy saves lives. Will we ever know if some unidentified body found floating â€œover thereâ€? somewhere was really a victim of Mrs. Plame-Wilsonâ€™s blown cover here?
COMMENTARY: ON LIBBY
So, vice presidential aide â€œScooterâ€? Libby has been convicted.Â
But his judgment is also an indictment of this White House. His conviction makes the case for the impeachment of this presidency. For Libbyâ€™s lies lead all the way back to the highest offices at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
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Libby was found guilty of lying under oath and obstructing a federal investigation relating to the Valerie Plame-Wilson â€œoutingâ€? scandal; an act that may well have been a death sentence to spies working with her in foreign countries. But as juror Denis Collins, a former Washington Post reporter, put it Libby was the White House â€œfall guyâ€? for the illegal leak. Now we can assert that Libbyâ€™s actions were dictated by the wishes of his boss: VP Dick Cheney.
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This trial made it clear that Cheney orchestrated the leak to punish former ambassadorâ€”and Iraq expertâ€”Joseph Wilson for debunking the fabricated assertions made in the 2003 State of the Union address, and the October 1, 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, claiming Iraq tried to purchase â€œyellow cakeâ€? uranium from Niger. The Libbyâ€™s case showed a White House fearful that the intelligence they â€œcookedâ€? to plunge the nation into a warâ€”that has taken the lives of nearly a million Iraqis and over 3,000 American soldiersâ€”would be exposed to the American people.
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In his July 6, 2003 op-ed in the New York Times, Wilson furnished the evidence to why the governmentâ€™s claim was a blatant lie. In the piece he noted that â€œgiven the structure of the consortiums that operate the minesâ€”If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine, it would have to notify the consortium, which in turn is strictly monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, because the two mines are closely regulatedâ€¦selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of the mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, thereâ€™s simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.â€? But this White House knew that. For, the document used to argue the Niger angle was found to be an obvious forgery by the international intelligence community, with an Italian role.
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Therefore, to stifle any illuminating domestic debate on Wilsonâ€™s findings into their Iraq War-for-profit the government decided to attack his wife to silence him. In doing so, this White House violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. It used journalists such as Robert Novak, Walter Pincus, Tim Russert and Matt Cooper to do their dirty work. Some were no doubt used as clueless journalistic patsies. Others, like Novak, appear guilty of partisan motivated journalistic fraud.
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The 1982 law was written, basically, to prevent political retaliation against agents in the intelligence community. Violations under sections A, B, and C of U.S Code 50421 are punishable by fines and a maximum jail term of 18 years. The law came after several CIA intelligence agents were â€œoutedâ€? for political reasons, as well as the activities of ex-CIA agent Philip Agee. Agee wrote a couple of booksâ€”including the â€œCIA Diaryâ€? and the â€œCovert Action Information Bulletinâ€?â€”that revealed the names of agents.
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The law was also enacted in the aftermath of the assassination of then CIA Athens station Chief Richard Welch. Welch was murdered by a Greek revolutionary group called 17 November. On December 23, 1975, he was gunned down outside of his residence in front of his wife.
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Now we must remember, contrary to what some Bush supporters claim, Mrs. Plame-Wilson was still a spy when her identity was revealed by this White House. She was what is called a â€œnon-official coverâ€? agent and was working on assignments relating to â€œweapons of mass destruction.â€?
A â€œnon-official coverâ€? agent is a spy who agrees to engage in covert overseas activities â€œwithout the protection of a diplomatic passport.â€? Typically, the agent operates in organizations without clear ties to the government, thereby, granting the government â€œplausible deniabilityâ€? if the agent is caught. Agents will pose as say a humanitarian worker, business executive, even a journalist. But because of their â€œnon official coverâ€? status they are often executed if caught in these foreign engagements, unlike agents with diplomatic passports.
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Which leads to a very serious question: how many lives did this treasonous White House orchestrated leak jeopardize? Itâ€™s clear that it has destroyed whatever operations that Plame-Wilson was working on. In the espionage world where information from informants is of paramount importance, secrecy saves lives.
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But itâ€™s curious how this vice-president who wallows in secrecy decided to leak classified information as political retaliation without caring about the operations and lives this action might endanger. Will we ever know if some unidentified body found floating â€œover thereâ€? somewhere was really a victim of Mrs. Plame-Wilsonâ€™s blown cover here?
But then again this White House already has the blood of hundred of thousands on their hands. History will surely find Bush officials guilty, not of misdemeanors, but of high crimes.
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Benjamin is a member of The Black Star News' Editorial Board. He is available for interviews for other media outlets including Radio and Television by calling (212) 481-7745.
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