Bush & Co Lie About Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame

The story goes something like this. US Ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to Africa by Vice President Dick Cheney to come back with some evidence that Iraq tried to obtain yellow cake uranium from Niger. Not only did Wilson fail to find any such evidence, he also made his findings public after Bush & Co used the yellow cake as one of many false justifications for invading Iraq. Robert Novak reported on July 14 that a White House staffer told him that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plane, was a CIA operative, and that's why Wilson got the assignment. Two months later, the White House is getting some well deserved heat for acting to discredit Joseph Wilson and endanger his wife by outing her identity out of spite and vindictiveness.

Now the Bush cronies are taking an interesting tack. At the executive level, Condi Rice appeared on the talk show circuit this Sunday to say that she knew nothing about the leak's source, although she didn't condemn it, which would have been the appropriate thing to do. She made no effort to admit that it was a mistake, and tried to stifle further questioning by saying that it was now being investigated by the Justice Department. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan echoed her comments today, and dismissed claims that Karl Rove was behind the leak as "ridiculous."

At the public discourse level, the message is more convoluted and goes something like this:

1) Joseph Wilson had it in for Bush and purposefully used his yellow cake findings to discredit the White House.
2) Bush & Co weren't solely responsible for the leak, as Robert Novak was the one who actually reported it and the CIA corrobated it. (At least six other journalists may have been contacted by the White House, including Andrea Mitchell, Alan Greenspan's wife.)
3) Valerie Plame wasn't really that secret of an agent anyway.

"If Mrs. Wilson wasn't undercover, then this is a non-story ginned up by her husband, a unabashed Bush-hater who wrote in the notoriously left-wing Nation magazine earlier this year that under Bush, "America has entered one of it periods of historical madness."

White House critics want to paint a picture of Mrs. Wilson as a super secret spy working abroad whose life was endangered because of a White House vendetta, while in reality she was apparently safe and sound working stateside as a CIA weapons analyst at the time of the Novak report. "

Give me a fucking break. I don't have to tell you that Bush's father was head of the CIA before he took up residence in the White House. His administration would have known better than to out a US agent over a political squabble, but apparently his son's men (largely one and the same) have no sense of decency or tact. By outing Wilson, they put foreign friendlies at risk and damaged our intelligence efforts in ways that we won't soon understand or appreciate. And for those who are scoring this at home:

Leaking classified information and identifying an undercover CIA operative are felonies. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

I say, let's not make this personal, at least not yet. Whether Karl Rove is to blame doesn't matter. Hopefully a full investigation will get to the heart of this. (Howard Kurtz suggests that this may not be likely, as leak investigations don't often pan out.)

This White House is a mess at the very least, and felonious at worst. This leak is just another reason why Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and the rest need to be looking for new jobs come next November. Or sitting behind bars.