Why is the case about who outed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative so crucial to the health of our nation? It is not just about politics as usual and using the normative means to smear an opponent. It is much more.
James Moore lays out the importance of the case in this piece on The Most Important Criminal Case in American History
Patrick Fitzgerald has before him the most important criminal case in American history. Watergate, by comparison, was a random burglary in an age of innocence. The investigator’s prosecutorial authority in this present case is not constrained by any regulation. If he finds a thread connecting the leak to something greater, Fitzgerald has the legal power to follow it to the web in search of the spider. It seems unlikely, then, that he would simply go after the leakers and the people who sought to cover up the leak when it was merely a secondary consequence of the much greater crime of forging evidence to foment war. Fitzgerald did not earn his reputation as an Irish alligator by going after the little guy. Presumably, he is trying to find evidence that Karl Rove launched a covert operation to create the forged documents and then conspired to out Valerie Plame when he learned the fraud was being uncovered by Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. As much as this sounds like the plot of a John le Carre novel, it also comports with the profile of the Karl Rove I have known, watched, traveled with and written about for the past 25 years.
We may stand witness to a definitive American moment of democracy. The son of a New York doorman probably has in his hands, in many ways, the fate of the republic. Because far too many of us know and are aware of the crimes committed by our government in our name, we are unlikely to settle for a handful of minor indictments of bureaucrats. The last thing most of us believe in is the rule of law. We do not trust our government or the people we have elected but our constitution is still very much alive and we choose to believe that destiny has placed Patrick Fitzgerald at this time and this place in our history to save us from the people we elected. If the law cannot get to the truth of what has happened to the American people under the Bush administration, then we all may begin to hear the early death rattles of history’s greatest democracy.
Moore goes on at length to the explain the importance of the forged Niger documents. Although, Larry Johnson explains it more concisely in his post about Dick Cheney's Covert Action
Revelations during the past week about the Plame affair make it clear that the Bush administration used covert action against its own citizens. Consider, for example, the charge that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger. The key event in this disinformation campaign was the intelligence manufactured by the Italians. The Italian intelligence service, SISME, provided the CIA with three separate intelligence reports that Iraq had reached an agreement with Niger to buy 500 tons of yellowcake uranium (October 15, 2001; February 5, 2002; and March 25, 2002). The second report, from February, was the subsequent basis for a DIA analysis, which led Vice President Cheney to ask the CIA for more information on the matter. That request led to the CIA asking Ambassador Joe Wilson to go check out the story in Niger.
We learned last May that in the summer of 2002, the Bush administration told our British allies that they would "fix the facts" around the intelligence. In other words, the United States sought to manufacture a case that Iraq was trying to build a nuclear capability. Note, not only did bogus intelligence reports and fabricated documents surface, but senior administration officials—Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney—went to great lengths to try to convince Americans that the United States would soon face the wrath of Iraqi attacks. Remember the smoking mushroom cloud?
Despite repeated attempts by the Italian intelligence service to help us cook the books, the senior CIA intelligence analysts resisted the administration’s effort to sell the bogus notion that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Niger. Even in the much-maligned October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the entire intelligence community remained split on the reliability of the Iraq/Niger claim. During briefings subsequent to the publication of the NIE, senior CIA officials repeatedly debunked the claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. They also dismissed as unreliable reports from Great Britain, which also were derived from the faulty Italian intelligence reports.
The Administration's decision to go to war with Iraq at all costs is turning into an ill-fated venture. It could be the classic case of winning the battle and losing the war. That would be the War Against Terrorists.
By using torture, the doctrine of preemption, the curtailing of our rights though the Patriot Act, the giving the President unheard of powers, and other various means of shredding the Constitution, we risk losing the America of yore and all for which it stood.
Keep in mind that the Fitzgerald investigation could lead to revealing that it was not just a leak to discredit Wilson but also to destroy Valerie Plame and CIA analysts on the proliferation of WMDs who did not go along with the Administration's case for war. Also, it could come to light that the actionable intelligence that Cheney was so fond of touting was extracted by torture, which is notoriously unreliable. Furthermore, it might be uncovered that the Administration encouraged the use torture in the Armed Forces and throughout intelligence community not for efficacy's sake but rather because conspiracy loves company
, not to make decisions, just to share in the criminality.
Maybe if rule of law can expose to daylight, for all to see, the fetid machinations of the neo-con incubi, we might be able to drive a stake through its evil heart and restore honor to our nation. And maybe in time, the world may come to understand that we went through a period of millenarian madness brought on by the destruction of the twin towers; that democracy is a delicate thing that needs constant attention, even here in America. However, and it's a slender hope, we must not let the authors of these crimes go free or be pardoned -- whatever the cost. The fate of the Republic depends on it.
(above articles via BuzzFlash