What’s That Smell?
Can't quite place it, but something reeks about the NIE "declassification" story that Libby and Cheney have been spinning. And I, for one, am looking forward to some answers. Rayne reminded me in the comments about the letter that Rep. Henry Waxman sent to the Bush Administration regarding all the many reasons that all those dots fail to connect:
Two recent revelations raise grave new questions about whether you, the Vice President, and your top advisors have engaged in a systemic abuse of the national security classification process for political purposes. News accounts suggest that the White House both (1) leaked classified intelligence information to furthur its faulty case for war and (2) improperly conceled information regarding your personal knowledge of serious doubts about this intelligence. These actions appear to violate your own executive order on handling classified information and — according to a new memorandum by the Congressional Research Service — represent an unprecedented expansion of the Vice President's role in this process…
Which brings me to some thoughts that John Nichols had at The Nation:
Vice President Dick Cheney should get used to testifying under oath.
It is expeacted that he will start talking soon, as part of a self-serving effort to defend a former aide. But once the vice president's done giving that testimony, how hard would it be for him to head over to Capitol Hill and respond to all the questions that members of Congress have been preparing to ask?…
Since schedules and notes — some in the vice president's own handwriting — confirm that Cheney was involved in conversations about using his office to discredit Wilson, his willingness to testify in the Libby case becomes particularly significant.
Of course, the vice president will make it his purpose to protect his former chief of staff, the loyal retainer who has been described as "Cheney's Cheney." But his openness to testifying under oath about this matter would seem to open the door for him to testify before Congress regarding the matter….
A little more than a year ago, three key members of the House — Michigan Democrat John Conyers, the incoming chair of the Judiciary Committee; California Democrat Henry Waxman, the incoming chair of the Government Reform Committee; and New York Democrat Maurice Hinchey, one of the most outspoken critics of the administration's misuse of intelligence during the period before the Iraq War began — sent a letter to the Vice President's office in which they asked the Cheney to "make yourself available to appear before Congress to explain the details and reasons for your office's involvement — and your personal involvement — in the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative."
At the time the letter was sent, Hinchey said, "We are going to do everything we can to force this administration and this Congress to face up to the truth and to face up to their responsibility under the Constitution."…
Cheney showed little regard for Congress when Republicans were in charge of the House and Senate. And no one expects him to display any more respect for the system of checks and balances now that Democrats are in control.
But if the vice president is willing to testify in Libby's trial, then surely Congress has not just the right but the Constitutional duty to suggest that Cheney must also take questions from the Congress….
Now those are some questions that I would love to see answered. How about you guys? Because there are far too many things about this whole "the Veep said I could selectively disclose parts of a highly classified document solely for the purpose of making him and George look better, all the while continuing to lie to the American public" which just flat out reek. Is it January yet?