Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What did the Vice President know, and When?

On Hardball yesterday, Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio said that the real significance of the Plame investigation revolves around the information used to sell the Iraq war to the American people. A bill of good mostly created by Cheney and his people. The other reporter in the segment, whose name I forget at the moment (the transcript isn't up yet), seemed exasperated saying it wasn't about the war, it was about the leak.

Well, they are both right, but I think Goodman deserves recognition for pointing out the greater, overarching subject. WIlson was attacked because he threatened to disrupt Cheney's work-up for the war. The leak was tactical, the overall campaign was about willful deception fed to the American people. Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald might be thinking the same thing.
The special prosecutor has personally interviewed numerous officials from the CIA, White House and State Department. In the process, he and his investigative team have talked to a number of Cheney aides, including Mary Matalin, his former strategist; Catherine Martin, his former communications adviser; and Jennifer Millerwise, his former spokeswoman. In the case of Millerwise, she talked with the prosecutor more than two years ago but never appeared before the grand jury, according to a person familiar with her situation.

Starting in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the vice president was at the forefront of a White House campaign to convince Congress and the American public that invading Iraq was central to defeating terrorists worldwide. Cheney, a longtime proponent of toppling Saddam Hussein, led the White House effort to build the case that Iraq was an imminent threat because it possessed a dangerous arsenal of weapons.

Before the war, he traveled to CIA headquarters for briefings, an unusual move that some critics interpreted as an effort to pressure intelligence officials into supporting his view of the evidence. After the war, when critics started questioning whether the White House relied on faulty information to justify war, Cheney and Libby were central to the effort to defend the intelligence and discredit the naysayers in Congress and elsewhere.
The Millerwise connection might prove interesting. Josh Marshall notes the attention given to Millerwise and seems to suggest that she might be the White House source everyone is speculating about.

- Murphy

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