from a conversation with Vice President Dick Cheney.
Tonight on MSNBC, Tucker Carlson shared his true disappointment with the White House response to the CIA leak scandal.
It’s not the dishonesty, or the months of stonewalling. It’s that the Bush administration didn’t start smearing the special prosecutor early enough:
I think politically [the Bush administration] did very much the wrong thing by saying nice things about Patrick Fitzgerald some months ago — “he’s a man of integrity,” “he’s a good guy,” “we have complete confidence he’s going do the right thing,” etc., etc. — making it now almost impossible for the White House, even on background, to attack the guy.
Full transcript below: Read more
The New York Daily News reports that administration “defenders have launched a not-so-subtle campaign against the prosecutor handling the case.” They’ve got this quote about special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald from a “White House ally”:
He’s a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he’s been tapped by God to do very important things
James Comey, the Bush administration official who announced Fitzgerald’s appointment, had a different take on December 30, 2003:
I chose Mr. Fitzgerald, my friend and former colleague, based on his sterling reputation for integrity and impartiality. He is an absolutely apolitical career prosecutor.
The mud is being thrown but it’s going to be hard to make it stick.
There’s been considerable praise in the liberal blogosphere for Ben Bernanke, President Bush’s nominee to replace Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Is it warranted? This article from the 10/21 edition of Tax Notes isn’t encouraging:
Council of Economic Advisers Chair Ben Bernanke in October 20 remarks before the Joint Economic Committee said recently enacted pro-growth economic policies, including the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, will help the nation withstand the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“These recent events make it all the more important that we keep the fundamentals of the national economy strong and continue to promote economic policies that will encourage growth and job creation,” Bernanke said.
Bernanke cited extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts as one of the most important economic policies for Congress to act on…
This year, “people making at least $1 million a year will enjoy an average $103,000 tax break this year from the 2001 and 2003 tax cut bills. That’s nearly 140 times as large as the $742 tax cut the average middle-income household will receive.”
an aide to the Vice President, told Scooter Libby and Cheney “that Plame set up the Wilson trip. He asserted that it was a boondoggle because she was a CIA agent,” Raw Story reports. According to Raw Story, Wurmser was ” told to leak her name to a specific group of reporters.”
Since the UN report implicating Syria in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the Bush administration claims to be seeking diplomatic solutions. From the 10/21 State Department briefing:
QUESTION: Are you discussing or will you discuss military action [with Syria]? This is a nervous capital. People think this Administration resorts to force as a way of solving problems.
MR. ERELI: I think the record of this Administration is clear and commendable, that we seek peaceful negotiated diplomatic solutions to problems. That is certainly the course that has been set forth on this issue and that’s where our focus is.
Actually, the administration is actively seeking to replace the Syrian president and is pursuing military options. The 10/9 Financial Times reported:
[T]he US is actively seeking an alternative who would take over from President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources close to the Bush administration. Washington has consulted its allies in an inter-agency search co-ordinated by Stephen Hadley, the president’s national security adviser. The US is also said to be considering military strikes on the Syrian border in response to its alleged support for Iraqi insurgents.
Hadley isn’t working alone. Condoleezza Rice has also put military options against Syria on the table.
Many on the right claim that the Bush administration launched a smear campaign against Joe Wilson because his claims were false and they needed to set the record straight. The opposite is true. Wilson’s core conclusion – that intelligence “was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat” – was correct.
The truth is Joe Wilson was smeared for a reason much larger than himself. Wilson was smeared because the administration knew if whistle-blowers were able to speak freely, their justification for war would fall apart.
Their fears were well-founded. Wilson put into motion a series of events that were not only politically damaging but began to expose how the nation was misled into war. In the days immediately following Wilson’s op-ed:
- Bush officials admitted their intelligence on uranium was a lie
- Congress was calling for an investigation
- the intelligence on the aluminum tubes (the other half of the nuclear argument) was falling apart
- the nation’s leading newspapers and television shows were headlining the story that the Bush administration had misled us into war
Think Progress has chronicled the two weeks following the release of Joe Wilson’s op-ed that demonstrate why his claims represented such a threat to the administration. Read our report here.