It is snowing. It is cold. That to me is the start of Winter. Damn.
Scooter Libby, described in today's NYT as 'Cheney's Cheney" has been charged with lying, obstructing justice and other things you should never do in the course of a criminal investigation.
Vice president Cheney has not been charged with playing any role in what sounds like---but the grand jury did not charge---a plan to seek revenge against an administration critic by outing his wife as a CIA agent.
But how can we believe otherwise? Libby lives and breathes life with Dick Cheney. And I am hoping that someone at Justice is looking at the Iraq Working Group (or White House Information Group -- WHIG), a small but key team in the White House that was charged with, for all practical purposes, selling the war to Congress and the American people.
WHIG Members * = appeared before Grand Jury
Andy Card -- President's Chief of Staff *
Karl Rove -- promoted, role expanded after election *
Karen Hughes -- promoted to State Department after election *
Mary Matalin -- communications advisor to Cheney *
James R. Wilkinson -- deputy director of communications for Cheney *
Nicholas E. Calio -- assistant to the President and legislative liaison
Condoleezza Rice -- made Secretary of State *
Stephen Hadley -- the guy who admitted to slipping the 'yellowcake' reference into the president's State of the Union speech. Promoted to National Security Advisor after the election *
I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby -- indicted *
WHIG Response to Yellowcake Forgery Issue
In response to the Yellowcake forgery issue, the White House Iraq Group devised this strategy to combat critics:
"There is a strategy now, devised by White House communications director Dan Bartlett, Mary Matalin, a former aide to Vice President Cheney, and former Bush aide Karen Hughes. Both advise the White House as a consultants to the Republican National Committee.
Feb, 2003 (NYT/USA Today): The plan: Release all relevant information. Try to shift attention back to Bush's leadership in the war on terrorism. Diminish the significance of that single piece of iffy intelligence by making the case that Saddam was a threat for many other reasons. Put Republican lawmakers and other Bush allies on TV to defend him.
Most important: Question the motives of Democrats who supported the war but now are criticizing the president."
From the DNC web site:
Rove Takes the Lead "There were grounds to challenge the former diplomat on the substance of his uranium findings...but it appears Rove was more focused on Wilson's background, politics and claims he ostensibly had made that his mission was initiated at the request of the vice president. Rove mentioned to reporters that Wilson's wife had suggested or arranged the trip. The idea apparently was to undermine its import by suggesting that the mission was really "a boondoggle set up by his wife," as an administration official described the trip to a reporter. This approach depended largely on a falsehood: that Wilson had claimed Cheney sent him to Niger. Wilson never made such a claim. In one White House conversation, investigators have learned, Rove was asked why he was focused so intently on discrediting the former diplomat. "He's a Democrat,' Rove said, citing Wilson's campaign contributions." [Los Angeles Times, 8/25/05]
And, what about the mysterious John Bolton, now the US ambassador to the UN who used to head up the State Department division overseeing nuclear profileration? He visited Judy Miller in jail. Why?
Again from the DNC web site:
Bolton Testified In Front of Grand Jury Investigating LeakPlame'sme's Name On June 10, 2003 the State Department's Office of Intelligence and Research compiled a memo for Marc Grossman, then the Under Secretary of State for political affairs, on Wilson's mission to Niger. The memo included the fact that Wilson's wife was a CIA operative working on WMD issues. According to lawyers, former Undersecretary of State John Bolton, gave testimony to the grand jury about the State Department memo. [MSNBC, 7/21/05]
When John Bolton replied to a questionairre before his Senate confirmation hearing he did not acknowledge ever appearing before a grand jury, so that clouds whether or not he actually did or not. The Democrats think he lied, but there is no independent confirmation whether he appeared before the grand jury examining the Plame leak.