Traitorgate: When It Rains, It Pours
The inestimable and prolific Murray Waas adds yet another piece to the Traitorgate puzzle, catching a bit that I missed buried in the Libby motions. Posting on his WhateverAlready blog, Waas says:
The information provided to Bush occurred in the form of one of the “President’s Daily Briefs,” a typically 30-tp45-minute [sic] early-morning national security briefing. Information for PDBs has routinely been derived from electronic intercepts, human agents, and reports from foreign intelligence services. PDB’s are considered among the most highly classified intelligence reports in the government, and are only provided to the President, and whoever he might invite to the morning briefing.
The information about Bush having been briefed about Wilson’s mission to Niger is contained in court papers filed in federal court. Attorneys for I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, President Bush’s former chief of staff and national security advisors, were seeking information about presidential PDBs from the special prosecutor, as part of a discovery effort to defend their client.
Waas also details even more information regarding his disclosure that Libby and Cheney were briefed by the CIA in June of 2003 that the yellowcake allegations were not credible — and that Cheney continued to defend the yellowcake story as late as September of 2003 on Meet the Press. Lying wanker. (Add this to the reminder from reader Dover Bitch that RawStory reported last October that Condi Rice had also been briefed on Wilson in June of 2003 — the whole PDB/Presidential briefing story for the Preznit comes into some even clearer context in terms of WHIG involvement and dissemination of information — so many questions, so few answers.)
Waas has more about the PDB issue and the Preznit here. I look for this to be a bone of contention — but only if Team Libby gets beyond the point that the content of the PDBs has nothing whatsoever to do with a client charged with perjury, false statements and obstruction, other than as a convenient means of throwing up a smoke screen to hopefully obscure the fact that their client, while formerly a busy man, was also a big liar.
Froomkin is especially good again today, with some links to Libby stories and many other goodies.
Mother Jones is carrying a new article from Elizabeth de la Vega, in which the former US Attorney speculates about the sword of Damocles hanging over Rove, and why Fitzgerald will eventually wield it to Karl’s detriment. The article is a great window into the mindset of prosecutors — you can hear her disgust with Karl’s lying machinations as much as you can imagine them coming from Fitz himself. (Or from me. Prosecutors are notorious for being utterly disgusted and severely angered by lyings sacks of crap. There must be something in the job that draws that sort of mindset into the fold, but there you are.)
De la Vega draws a very important distinction in how Fitz operates and how Rove does, and it is worth noting here because this needs to get much more discussion in this country. I hope she doesn’t mind, but I’m going to do a more extended excerpt than usual, because it is a great example of the dichotomy of ethics and the utter lack of scruples.
Fitzgerald’s world is far removed from the world of expediency and personal advantage in which Karl Rove operates. In his carefully crafted statements during the FBI interview on October 8, Rove indicated an obvious belief that he could get away with spreading information about government employees for political purposes as long as someone else had revealed that information first, regardless of whether or not the information was disparaging or classified. He did not appear to be concerned with where the information came from, or even whether it was true.
Although it is astounding that Rove would blatantly describe such a despicable ethos (if you can call it that), it should not have been unexpected. In the world of campaign politics that Rove has so long inhabited, smears and personal attacks are designed to seem as if they were spontaneously generated. They can then wander around, undirected, until they finally curl up in America’s living rooms like so many mysterious, uninvited guests. These intruders may be rude and destructive, but no one is supposed to be able to get rid of them, in part because no one is supposed to be able to sort out or pinpoint how they got there in the first place. Thus, although Karl Rove has lurked in the background of an unprecedented number of whisper and smear campaigns — that, for instance, John McCain had an illegitimate child (a rumor spread during the Republican primaries that preceded the 2000 election), or that former Texas Governor Ann Richards was a lesbian (a persistent rumor that was spread during Bush’s Texas gubernatorial campaign) — he has never been held accountable. And that is a state of affairs to which Rove became accustomed.
Rove has escaped responsibility for his sneaky campaign tricks because the candidates for whom he has worked — most prominently, George Bush — have had a stunning ability to accept, unquestioningly, the miraculous appearance of information that takes down their opponents. They had no problem about endorsing brazen dishonesty or the least interest in ferreting out bad actors in their camps. At the same time, opposing candidates have had neither the resources, nor the time to fully investigate the attacks before plummeting in the polls. Afterwards, of course, it was already far too late.
If you think for a moment that a man like Patrick Fitzgerald will allow a person who he believes to be guilty to walk free if there is anything that he can do to bring about justice against that individual, then you know nothing at all about what it means to be a true prosecutor. The bile that rises up in my throat at the thought of Rove’s machinations — through the years, but especially in outing a CIA NOC purely for political payback purposes (and potentially for the broader purpose of bringing the CIA to heel) — I can’t even describe it.
For Fitz and his team, having immersed themselves in this world for the last months and having seen how these people operate, the fiduciary obligation to the citizens of this nation taking a seat far behind the needs of political expediency for this President and his corrupt band of Machiavellian cronies, their ends justifies the means no matter what the damn cost methodology — if you think for one moment that a man like Pat Fitzgerald and his staff aren’t completely disgusted…well, you are just hopeless.
Read all of the above, and tell me you can’t feel the downpour, the thunder of a storm gathering in the distance — and tell me you aren’t also looking forward to the deluge that will follow, the steady stream of cleansing rain. Here’s hoping.