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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Joe Wilson: Collateral Damage 

You undoubtedly know by now that Matthew Cooper has agreed to testify before the grand jury in the Plame investigation, and that Judith Miller is already serving time for refusing to do the same. Here's what Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, had to say earlier today:
The sentencing of Judith Miller to jail for refusing to disclose her sources is the direct result of the culture of unaccountability that infects the Bush White House from top to bottom. President Bush's refusal to enforce his own call for full cooperation with the Special Counsel has brought us to this point. Clearly, the conspiracy to cover up the web of lies that underpinned the invasion of Iraq is more important to the White House than coming clean on a serious breach of national security. Thus has Ms. Miller joined my wife, Valerie, and her twenty years of service to this nation as collateral damage in the smear campaign launched when I had the temerity to challenge the President on his assertion that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium yellowcake from Africa.

The real victims of this cover-up, which may have turned criminal, are the Congress, the Constitution and, most tragically, the Americans and Iraqis who have paid the ultimate price for Bush's folly.
The link above will also take you to the transcript of an interview Joe Wilson gave to Lori Price and Michael Rectenwald of Citizens for Legitimate Government. A few highlights:
CLG: Do you think that the Bush Administration pressured the CIA, as the 'Downing Street Memo' put it, to "fix" the facts around the policy about the war in Iraq?

JW: Absolutely. The pressure was sometimes subtle, like asking analysts the same question thirty times until they received the answer they wanted and sometimes heavy handed such as the several trips Cheney took to the agency to press analysts to find something. And the administration also set up separate cells within the bureaucracy to stovepipe information directly to the White House bypassing the normal analysis channels. That may be how the yellowcake information came to the attention of the VP. The problem with the cell structure is that much of the information they passed up the chain was completely bogus. A cursory analysis by the intelligence community would have kept a lot of that bogus information out of the decision-making loop. Instead, the falsehoods formed the foundation of the case for invading, conquering, and now occupying Iraq.

CLG: If you answered yes to the above question, do you think the Bush Administration lied to justify the invasion of Iraq?

JW: It is clear from the Downing Street Memos that the administration decided to go to war with Iraq far earlier than generally assumed. The administration did not even request a national intelligence estimate before making its decision (the request came from Congress). The cherry-picking of the intelligence, the lack of analysis, the use of information that was so clearly disputable or unrealistic and known to be so, lead me to conclude that the administration consciously misled the congress and the American people. Yes, it lied to justify the invasion of Iraq.

CLG: OK, getting to some of the nitty-gritty of the matter: What was your personal feeling about Robert Novak illegally revealing the job function of your wife, Valerie Plame? You must have been understandably very angry. Did you fear for your wife's life? Did you fear for your own life?

JW: I was obviously upset. After all, they compromised the identity of one of their own national security assets. How dumb, and how mean. I feared for my wife and kids as any husband and father would. As to my own safety, after one has faced down Saddam Hussein, as I did in the first Gulf war, it is hard to take Karl Rove and his motley crew of school yard bullies very seriously as a physical threat.

CLG: Who did you think was the source of the leak to Novak? Did you think that Rove was involved prior to the latest news? Do you think that Rove was indeed a source or the source?

JW: I wrote in my book that there was a conspiracy in the white house to find out everything they could about me and then use it against me. I think the logical place to look for the conspiracy is in the White House Iraq group (WHIG) which included Rove, Scooter Libby, Karen Hughes, Ari Fleischer and others. I don't know who among them might have been the leaker or authorized the leak.

CLG: Do you think that Rove will really ever face any consequences for the Plame outing (or for anything else for that matter)?

JW: Yes.

CLG: When all is said and done, do you see the Bush Administration as a run-of-the-mill Republican Administration, or do you see it as something different, something a bit more 'sinister?' A lot of us are of the opinion that the Bush 'regime' is illegitimate and we feel that Republicans stole the election for George W. Bush in 2000. And many people think that the Republicans stole Ohio and therefore the election for Bush in 2004. If you look at the independent research, statistics indicate a pattern of serious incongruities between exit polling and the official results in key states that used electronic voting. Do you care to comment?

JW: This is a radical regime, not a Republican administration. It is the most oppressive crowd I have ever seen and is a real threat to our republic. While I am not an expert in elections I can see how people might believe the last two elections were stolen. The lesson for the democrats is to stop rolling over and stand up for what you believe in. The republicans believe the democrats and the press are soft and can be pushed around and that is what they are doing. To the detriment of us all.
UPDATE: From Josh Marshall, a timely reminder that Mr. Fitzgerald and Ms. Miller have tangled before:
Fitzgerald had been investigating three Islamic charities accused of supporting terrorism -- the Holy Land Foundation, the Global Relief Foundation, and the Benevolence International Foundation. But just before his investigators could swoop in with warrants, two of the charities in question got wind of what was coming and, apparently, were able to destroy a good deal of evidence.

What tipped them off were calls from two reporters at the New York Times who'd been leaked information about the investigation by folks at the White House.

One of those two reporters was Judy Miller.
UPDATE II: Arianna Huffington has the latest Rove gossip from the Ideas Festival in Aspen.

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