The Daily Mail reports on spectacular accusations made by Benghazi: The Definitive Report, an eBook published yesterday, which apparently reveals the inside story behind the exposure and resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.
David Petraeus was betrayed by his own bodyguards and vengeful high-ranking enemies in the CIA, who made sure his affair with his biographer was exposed to the public. ...
Senior CIA officers targeted Petraeus because they didn’t like the way he was running the agency – focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis. They used their political clout and their connections to force an FBI investigation of his affair with Paul Broadwell and make it public, according to ‘Benghazi: The Definitive Report.’
‘It was high-level career officers on the CIA who got the ball rolling on the investigation. It was basically a palace coupe to get Petraeus out of there,’ Jack Murphy, one of the authors, told MailOnline. ...
Perhaps the most startling accusation in the book is that Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was leaked by the members of his personal protection detail.
The authors say that senior intelligence officers working on the 7th floor of Central Intelligence headquarters in Langley, Virginia, used their political clout to ensure that the FBI investigated the former Army general’s personal life.
They then told Petraeus that they would publicly humiliate him if he didn’t admit the affair and resign.
A lot of fact-checking will have to be done to substantiate the claims by Webb and Murphy. But from my own reporting, I have learned that no one runs afoul of senior CIA officials — or John Brennan — lightly or without peril. CIA officials angry at the Bush administration’s treatment of the agency in 2006 helped elevate the Valerie Plame affair into a national scandal and crippled much of the White House’s ability to conduct foreign policy. In the end, there was precious little evidence of any real security breach or wrongdoing beyond a perjury conviction of Scooter Libby, a top aide to Vice President Cheney.
George W. Bush’s failure to pardon Lewis Libby, I think, makes it clear why he never asserted his authority and passively allowed the entrenched bureaucratic left to criminalize policy differences in order undermine his policies and destroy his public support.
George W. Bush really was at heart, a liberal statist who believes implicitly in the validity of governmental processes and in the judgements delivered by government institutions. He does not look beyond the form and process to see the partisan human beings working the levers and putting their thumbs on the scales of justice.
If officials of the CIA said disclosing Valerie Plame’s employment was a federal crime, it didn’t matter to Bush that their interpretation was a stretch motivated by partisan malice. Those CIA adversaries were officials of the government. What they said was the law was the law.
No wonder he appointed James Comey Deputy Attorney General.
A sophisticated conservative would never have promoted the official who threw Martha Stewart into jail on supposititious insider trading charges. The conservative would be skeptical of the merits of insider trading prosecutions to begin with, remembering that the pre-FDR-packed Supreme Court threw out those laws back when the Constitution still mattered. The conservative, beyond that, would take a dim view of celebrity prosecutions featuring strained efforts at landing a big fish played in the glow of the media spotlight.
George W. Bush was clearly never all that sophisticated nor all that conservative. If some partisan official, an ambitious prosecutor, and a leftwing urban jury filled with unemployed hippies and welfare moms says that Libby was guilty, why, he must have been guilty.
It’s a wonder Bush wasn’t willing to believe what the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post said about himself.
Bush brought the Republican Party into public disrepute and electoral disaster because he did not effectively answer his opponents’ attacks. His passivity, it is apparent, was not some kind of mistake. It was grounded in an implicit acceptance of the authority of his adversaries in government and in his willingness to allow himself and his administration to be gamed.
The contrast with Bill Clinton’s cynical and self-regarding use of the presidential pardon power could not be more remarkable. Clinton was a crook and a clever and successful one. George W. Bush is obviously a scrupulously honest man, but albeit a fool.
It was never really demonstrated that any crime had ever been committed by anyone, and Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald already knew that it was Richard Armitage who told Robert Novak about Valerie Plame when he indicted Lewis Libby on the basis of his account of conversations a few years back differing from those of his interlocutors.
Clarice Feldman, who did a superb job of covering the Plamegame scandal at American Thinker, calls on President Bush to pardon Lewis Libby before leaving office.
James Lewis, at American Thinker, explains how the domestic and international left are responsible for Iran and North Korea becoming nuclear powers.
The single most suicidal action by the Left has been its years of assault on President George W. Bush after the overthrow of Saddam. It has often been pointed out that every intelligence agency in the world believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq. UN inspectors like David Kay repeatedly said so. Democrats and European socialists alike repeated warned about the danger of Saddam’s weapons programs, knowing full well that his first nuclear reactor was destroyed by an Israeli air raid as long ago as 1981. Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and even the UN’s El Baradei pointed out the danger.
As we now know, Saddam has had 500 metric tons of yellowcake uranium in storage since 1992. But George W. Bush was assaulted by the Left, in the person of Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson and the New York Times editorial page, allegedly because Bush peddled the lie that Saddam wanted to obtain yellowcake uranium. But there was no lie; the whole phony brouhaha was a PR assault to destroy the credibility of the Bush administration. The end result was to make us helpless in the face of more nuclear proliferation. To slake its lust for power the Left was more than willing to sabotage our safety.
Did Saddam pose a plausible threat of nuclear weaponization? Of course he did. Did he pose an actual threat? That is, did he actually possess WMD’s ready to mount on missiles in a matter of hours, to shoot off at his enemies? Today’s conventional wisdom is that he did not. But that is pure post-hockery.
George W. Bush has been crucified for five long years in the media, by the feckless, hysterical and cowardly Europeans, by the United Nations, and of course by the Democratic Party, because he took the only sane action possible in the face of the apparent WMD threat from Saddam. Because presidents don’t have the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking. They cannot wait for metaphysical certainty about threats to national survival and international peace. There is no such thing as metaphysical certainty in these matters; presidents must act on incomplete intelligence, knowing full well that their domestic enemies will try to destroy them for trying to save the peace.
But that is water under the bridge by now. What’s not past, but rather a clear and present threat to civilization are the consequences of the unbelievable recklessness of the International Left—- including the Democrats, the Europeans, the UN, and the former communist powers. Because of their screaming opposition to the Bush administration’s rational actions against Saddam, we are now rendered helpless against two even more dangerous challenges. With Saddam there was genuine doubt about his nuclear program; the notion that he had a viable program was just the safest guess to make in the face of his policy of deliberate ambiguity. In the case of Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il there’s no guessing any more. They have nukes and missiles, or will have within a year.
The entire anti-proliferation effort has therefore been sabotaged and probably ruined by the Left. For what reason? There can be only one rational reason: A lust for power, even at the expense of national and international safety and peace. But the Left has irrational reasons as well, including an unfathomable hatred for adulthood in the face of mortal danger. Like the Cold War, this is a battle between the adolescent rage of the Left and the realistic adult decision-making of the mainstream—- a mainstream which is now tenuously maintained only by conservatives in the West.
When Bush Administration policy opponent Richard Armitage’s disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson’s job in the course of gossiping with Robert Novak was apparently subsequently confirmed to Novak by administration officials interested in pointing out the partisan planning behind former Ambassador Wilson’s junket to Niger, the revealing of Mrs. Wilson’s CIA employment was treated by the left as major crime, despite the fact that Mrs. Wilson was not a covert agent in the terms defined by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.
Valerie Plame Wilson was working in the Counterproliferation Division of the Agency, liaisoning with other American and international agencies and publicly chairing meetings discussing that international problem. No evidence has ever been brought forward to indicate that she was doing anything likely to provoke a special personal animosity directed at herself on the part of terrorist organizations.
But for a Sunday headline, the New York Times today gleefully revealed the name, career background, role as targeting officer and interrogator of major al Qaeda prisoners, and current employment of a former CIA officer who certainly could be a particular target for revenge on the basis of his service, rejecting pleas on behalf of Mr. Martinez’s personal safety from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency himself.
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the C.I.A., and a lawyer representing Mr. Martinez asked that he not be named in this article, saying that the former interrogator believed that the use of his name would invade his privacy and might jeopardize his safety. The New York Times, noting that Mr. Martinez had never worked undercover and that others involved in the campaign against Al Qaeda have been named in news articles and books, declined the request.
The irony is that the American left is perfectly capable of successfully indicting, prosecuting, and convicting political opponents on the basis of supposititious intelligence crimes, armed with control only of the media, while the Bush Administration is demonstrably unable to deter, prevent, or punish genuine intelligence leaks obviously rising to the level of violations of federal statutes, while theoretically in control of the entire Executive Branch, including the Intelligence agencies doing the leaking and the Department of Justice.
Jeffrey Bell looks at the Bush Administration’s record and identifies its lack of attention span as a key problem: the pattern is excellent initial judgment, strong will, fair to decent early execution, culminating in distraction and in an ultimate failure to finish.
Reagan made some unusually good calls. Speaking as a Reaganite, I believe Bush did too, particularly in his first three years in the White House. But too often, he didn’t let his bet ride. At other times he was proven right, but became distracted or forgetful when it was time to get to completion, to bank his winnings. We’ve seen how this worked to undo or render negligible some of his bravest and most innovative domestic moves, such as the first-term tax cuts and the faith-based initiative. The same failure to follow through demoralized Bush’s supporters and threatened his achievements in foreign policy as well.
He also, correctly, identifies the mishandling of the Plamegame as key ingredient in the dégringolade.
A somewhat bigger turning point, it seems to me, was the fall 2003 appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald as a special prosecutor to investigate the public disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity as an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. Looking back on it, several elements of this episode appear truly absurd, indeed almost comical: the indictment and conviction of Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, for perjury and obstruction of justice, even though the prosecutor had concluded there was no underlying crime; the fact that the prosecutor seemingly pursued only people who were hawkish on Iraq and never people who were dovish on Iraq; the fact that from the beginning, even before Fitzgerald’s appointment, all of the key players knew that the deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, was the original source of the leak to columnist Robert Novak, rather than anyone in the White House. If nothing else, the criminal investigation cursed and complicated several years of the life of Karl Rove, the president’s most gifted and most combative political adviser, who it turned out had nothing to do with disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson.
In part because the Plame affair succeeded in criminalizing or semi-criminalizing effective defenders of the Iraq invasion, in part because the weapons of mass destruction were missing—perhaps even in part because the partisan polarization that predated 9/11 was never destined to go away for long—the administration lost its voice. This affected not so much voters’ support for Bush’s handling of Iraq—that would have plummeted during the Iraq bungling of 2004-06 no matter what the administration had said about it—as the president’s ability to persuade the country that U.S. involvement in Iraq is a difficult but indispensable part of battling jihadism worldwide.
The loss of voice that began to be apparent in the second half of 2003 opened a wide avenue for a liberal Democratic storyline, which quickly dovetailed with the realist storyline of Republican critics such as Brent Scowcroft, not to mention the storyline of members of the permanent government inside the national security apparatus in Washington: World war? What world war? What war at all, other than Afghanistan and the one blundered into by George W. Bush in Iraq? Yes, 9/11 was terrible, but the Bush “obsession” with Iraq, obvious to insiders long before the actual invasion, enabled the perpetrators of 9/11 to escape the clutches of allied forces in the Afghan mountains, and has resulted in inexcusable neglect of the war in Afghanistan ever since.
That it has been possible for critics to isolate Iraq as an issue—making it into a giant, stand-alone Bush blunder—accounts in large part for the failure of the president to get much benefit in public opinion from the turnaround achieved by his appointment of General Petraeus. Improved prospects for getting the United States out of a difficult situation with only limited damage doesn’t change the “fact” that our being there at all is a mistake. Even a completely unpredicted Bush success—the lack of new terrorist attacks against the American mainland since September 2001—lends further plausibility to the Democratic storyline. In the words of the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh in a C-SPAN interview, after all, 9/11 was “not that big a deal.” In the revealing words of John Edwards, the war on terrorism is nothing more than a bumper sticker.
Richard Armitage appeared on CNN to discuss his leaking Valerie Plame’s role in arranging Joe Wilson’s Niger junket.
First of all, it’s good to recall that Bob Novak revealed in September of 2006:
I want to set the record straight based on firsthand knowledge.
First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he ‘‘thought’’ might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson.
Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer confronted Armitage with a clip of Valerie Plame commenting on Armitage’s disclosure, and Armitage explains why he did not regard Valerie as covert:
VALERIE PLAME WILSON: Mr. Armitage did a very foolish thing. He has been around Washington for decades. He should know better. He’s a senior government official. Whether he knew where exactly I worked in the CIA, he had no rights to go talking to a reporter about where I worked. That was strictly off-limits.
BLITZER: Those are strong words from Valerie Plame Wilson.
ARMITAGE: They’re not words on which I disagree. I think it was extraordinarily foolish of me. There was no ill-intent on my part and I had never seen ever, in 43 years of having a security clearance, a covert operative’s name in a memo. The only reason I knew a “Mrs. Wilson,” not “Mrs. Plame,” worked at the agency was because I saw it in a memo. But I don’t disagree with her words to a large measure.
BLITZER: Normally in memos they don’t name covert operatives?
ARMITAGE: I have never seen one named.
BLITZER: And so you assumed she was, what, just an analyst over at the CIA?
ARMITAGE: Not only assumed it, that’s what the message said, that she was publicly chairing a meeting.
Valerie Plame’s pal Larry Johnson posts a letter from “a group of distinguished intelligence and military officers, diplomats, and law enforcement professionals” to the Senate Judiciary Committee “strongly urging that (they) not send Mukasey’s nomination to the full Senate before he makes clear his view on waterboarding.”
If anyone ever cared to investigate who was involved in leaking national security information to the New York Times and Washington Post, I’d suggest waterboarding some of the people on this list of signatories.
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA
Directorate of Operations, CIA for 26 years—22 of them overseas; former Chief of Station, Saudi Arabia
Supervisory Special Agent for 32 years, FBI; U.S. Marine Corps for three years
Supervisory Special Agent, Counterterrorism, FBI
Operations officer and counter-terrorist specialist, Directorate of Operations, CIA
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Federal law enforcement officer
Division Chief, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Professor, National Defense University; Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy
Intelligence analysis and operations officer, CIA; Deputy Director, Office of Counter Terrorism, Department of State
Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA: Editor, Studies In Intelligence
Supervisory Special Agent, FBI
W. Patrick Lang
U.S. Army Colonel, Special Forces, Vietnam; Professor, U.S. Military Academy, West Point; Defense Intelligence Officer for Middle East, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); founding director, Defense HUMINT Service
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations, CIA; counterintelligence; coordination among intelligence and crime prevention agencies; CIA policy coordination staff ensuring adherence to law in operations
Intelligence Analyst for terrorism, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA
Jon S. Lipsky
Supervisory Special Agent, FBI
Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council, CIA; History professor; Veteran, U.S. Marines (Korea)
Foreign Service Officer and Intelligence Analyst, Department of State; Deputy Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, Department of State; National Security Council (NSC) Director for Non-Proliferation
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations, CIA by way of U.S. Navy
National Intelligence Officer for Warning; Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, National Security Council
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; morning briefer, The President’s Daily Brief; chair of National Intelligence Estimates; Co-founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst, Germany and Iraq (Abu Ghraib); Whistleblower
Special Agent and attorney, FBI; Whistleblower on the negligence that facilitated the attacks of 9/11.
Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Ambassador and Director of Africa, National Security Council.
Valerie Plame Wilson
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations
Get out your handkerchiefs. Valerie Plame Wilson’s book, telling how her villainous elected opponents tried hijacking control of the US foreign policy from her friends in the State Department and the CIA, and had the effrontery to question the bona fides of her husband’s testimony on Iraqi uranium deals with Niger, appears today.
Mrs. Wilson herself will be promoting sales by blogging on the Huntington Post, sharing Oprahesque accounts of her adventures at the Agency, her courage in facing post-partum depression, and her struggles with the anxieties produced by the sudden arrival of celebrity and book-contract-induced wealth.
The aptly-named leftwing Crooks-and-Liars blog has a couple of video excerpts (here) from Mrs. Wilson’s 60 minutes interview with Katie Couric, which are worth watching. Couric simply accepts Valerie Wilson’s assertion of her alleged covertness, but during the second excerpt she actually asks a few questions featuring a modicum of skepticism. C&L’s Logan Murphy is moved to indignation by Couric’s failure to deliver a 100% loyal interview.
Also Valerie Plame’s buddy, Intel Community leftist Larry Johnson, offers a hair-raising (and characteristically foul-mouthed) story of poor Valerie, a mother with two pre-school children, abandoned to the mercies of Al-Qaeda by the Bush Administration and the CIA.
What am I talking about? In 2004 the FBI received intelligence that Al Qaeda hit teams were enroute to the United States to kill Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Valerie Plame. The FBI informed Valerie of this threat. This was just more “good” news piled on the fact that her intelligence career was in shambles, that intelligence assets she had recruited/managed were destroyed, and that she was unable to rebut publicly false and malicious smears of her character and reputation by a bunch of partisan Republican hacks. As the mother of two pre-school children, her first thoughts were about protecting her kids. She took the threat seriously and asked for help.
When the White House learned of these threats they sprung into action. They beefed up Secret Service protection for Vice President Cheney and provided security protection to Karl Rove. But they declined to do anything for Valerie. That was a CIA problem.
Valerie contacted the office of Security at CIA and requested assistance. They told her too fucking bad and to go pound sand. They did not use those exact words, but they told her she was on her own. ...
So if you have wondered why Joe and Val are a little pissed off, this might help shed some additional light on the matter. Not only did the Bush Administration out a covert intelligence officer working on the most sensitive national security issues in a time of war, but when that officer faced a direct threat to her life and her family’s safety because of that public exposure, they did not do a goddamn thing to help. I don’t know about you, but that fries my ass.
Since Mrs. Wilson appeared on 60 minutes very recently, demonstrably she was not, in fact, assassinated by Al Qaeda. The absence of reports of any attack suggests that Al Qaeda never actually tried. And, why should they? Mr. & Mrs. Wilson have been of great service to them, and have done great harm to the US cause. I would expect Al Qaeda to want to give both of them a medal, not to desire to harm them.
In January 2004, the Justice Department chose prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity. He became aware that the leaker was Armitage, who resigned from the State Department in November 2004 but remained a subject of the inquiry until February 2006 when Fitzgerald told him in a letter that he would not be charged. ...
Why would the prosecutor keep this vital information from the president who had expressed concern over the outing of a CIA operative? Meanwhile, the liberal press hysterically speculated that it was Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney who most likely leaked Plame’s identity to the press.
Despite the fact Fitzgerald knew the source of the leak, he decided to go after reporters who refused to name their sources. Thus, Times reporter Judith Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to reveal her sources to the prosecutor. She was finally released when she agreed to testify before a grand jury.
So, why did Fitzgerald go after Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney’s top aide? Apparently, Armitage had read a memorandum Libby had commissioned as part of an effort to rebut criticism of the White House by Joe Wilson. Who wrote the memorandum, and did it mention Valerie Plame? Was it the source of any leaks to the press? Apparently not, for it was Armitage who supposedly read the report and made the leak, not Libby.
Nevertheless, it was Libby who Fitzgerald decided to indict, and the jury found Libby guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. But how could he have obstructed justice when it wasn’t Libby who outed Valerie Plame, but Armitage, who voluntarily admitted that he was the perpetrator of the so-called crime of outing a CIA covert agent?
If anyone has obstructed justice it is prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who told Armitage to keep his mouth shut or face prosecution, did not tell the president who the leaker was and spent the taxpayers’ money in a costly prosecution against an innocent man.
Is it not a crime for a U.S. government official to deliberately withhold vital information from the president of the United States? Is it not a crime for a federal prosecutor to threaten a suspect with prosecution if he dared to make public his guilt?
When is the government going to indict Patrick J. Fitzgerald?
The Sun catches the New York Time editorial page engaging in characteristic hypocrisy.
The New York Times waited just hours after President Bush commuted the sentence of Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., before issuing an editorial condemning the president’s decision. It puts the paper in the position of favoring a judge’s decision to impose a 30-month prison sentence on a person whose main crime, if there was one, stems from his effort to protect his ability to serve as a source for a New York Times reporter. Does the New York Times think its readers have forgotten the tenacious legal and public relations battle the paper fought to prevent the special prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, from wringing from its reporter Libby’s name? Or the stream of top executives from the paper who visited the reporter in jail while she was refusing to give up her source? ...
The Times editorial made much of the supposed hypocrisy of the tough-on-crime right in supporting the decision to commute the sentence. It ran out its editorial under the headline “soft on crime,” though it has been soft on crime for years, save for when Republicans are in the dock. Its support for throwing a public official in jail for 30 months for the crime of trying to deflect attention from his having talked to a Times reporter, after going to the mat on behalf of the Times reporter’s right to keep the source’s name a secret — well, it’s a Times classic, one to make New Yorkers recognize that the hypocrisy in this case isn’t on the right wing.
Michael Goodwin, in the Daily News, takes the occasion of Hillary Clinton’s denunciation of George W. Bush commutation of the Libby prison sentence to do some remembering.
When President Bush commuted Libby’s prison sentence Monday, Sen. Clinton was quick to denounce him. Under Bush, she said, “cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.” ...
But when I stumbled on a list of Bill Clinton’s pardons posted on the Drudge Report, I was instantly back on Jan. 20, 2001. That’s when Clinton, in his final hours as President, opened the floodgates, issuing 140 pardons and 36 commutations.
The list of people Clinton let off the hook was a rogue’s gallery of drug dealers, petty criminals and the politically well-connected. One was Bill Clinton’s brother Roger, one was a college friend and another was a former business partner. Their lawyers’ connections were key in others, including the lawyer for a man who laundered more than $100 million for the Cali cartel.
Some cases reeked of blatant corruption. Hillary’s brother, Hugh Rodham, collected $400,000 from two big-time criminals who got pardons. When the news of the payments broke, the Clintons claimed surprise and demanded Rodham give the money back.
But Bill Clinton never gave Denise Rich her money back. The former wife of disgraced financier Marc Rich gave $450,000 to Clinton’s presidential library and raised and contributed more than $1 million to campaigns of the Clintons and other Democrats. Her husband, who had fled the country rather than fight charges of massive tax fraud and trading with Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, suddenly received a pardon. “Utterly false,” Bill Clinton later said about charges he sold the pardon. “There was absolutely no quid pro quo.”
A friend of mine suggested that the best rejoinder to Hillary would be for the White House to issue a pardon to Hillary and Bill for any of the crimes during his governorship in Arkansas or during the Clinton presidency for which prosecutable evidence may yet one day emerge.