DICK CHENEY, PRIME CONSPIRATOR IN THE PLAME PLOT
by Charles Carreon
11:41pm, October 28, 2005
The Intelligence Identities Protection Act, 50 U.S.C. 421, was originally adopted in 1947, and amended to add criminal penalties for violations of the Act in 1982. Sponsored by Congressman Edward P. Boland of Massachussetts, the Act passed in the House by a large margin, 354-56, and in the Senate by an even larger margin, 90-6. The Act is simple, and I bet anybody with an office in the White House can figure out what it means: If you get secret information in the course of your government job that identifies someone as a spy, and you know the government is trying to keep the status of the spy a secret, you must not tell anyone that the person is a spy, or you can be sent to jail.
Now what’s so hard to understand about that? To hear the media talking about it, law is such a di-fficult business, and the concepts are so rare-efied, and the requirements of the courthouse so terribly strict, that no one could ever be convicted under the Act. Bollocks. It’s blatantly obvious that on July 12, 2003, Cheney chewed on everybody’s ass as they were flying around in Air Force 2, his huge, private gas hog airplane. I bet Cheney sounded something like this:
“What are you waiting for, Scooter? I gave you the dope on Wilson’s wife being a spy a month ago to the day! Yesterday Karl said Novak was going to write something, but I’ve got the papers here and I don’t see shit! I thought we had the New York Times in our camp. Doesn’t look like it to me! I’ve had it with that little twit Wilson and that jet-set spy wife of his. I’ll send that slut to be worked over in Syria if you don’t rein them in! I want action, you fucks! Now bring me a drink.”
If you imagine that things happened substantially differently, you apparently do not know “how things are done in Washington.” The media works this angle relentlessly, depressing the quality of our government by lowering public expectations. On the one hand, they say that you can’t assume that any evil lurks in the hearts of a high politician. He’s innocent until proven guilty. You can’t even throw a spitwad until there’s an indictment filed, and afterward, you must bow your head before the presumption of innocence until the last appeal is heard. Yes, of course, the presumption of innocence, in the face of common sense and common knowledge.
So Libby went scooting down the hall with his ass on fire to get a drink and an Alka Seltzer for the real chief of this nation, and got to work throwing more gasoline on the media fire, trying to defame an American Ambassador by accusing him of being, what, pussy whipped? He wasn’t man enough to engineer his own boondoggle? Had to get his wife to pull strings so he could go to Nigeria? Why would he want to go to Nigeria, anyway? Doesn’t he get enough email from scammers, like the rest of us? Shit, if you even try at all, you can probably order uranium from Nigeria via email.
Would there be consequences for the nation, for Ms. Plame, for the people who had trusted her with confidences? Did Cheney and his minions even consider the requirements of a law enacted by an overwhelming majority of Congress to protect the safety of intelligence agents and their contacts? Did Cheney not know the meaning of a secret? He, who was so zealous and successful in concealing all of his contacts with Ken Lay, Enron, and the other energy players from the Office of Management and Budget? Did he not know the meaning of “CIA agent?” Did he not realize he’d been given the secret information about Ms. Plame’s employment as part of his sacred trust as the second in command in our nation? Does loyalty to the secrets of the nation mean nothing to him? Or does it simply not weigh much when measured against the importance of keeping the spin-machine in operation?
People like Cheney aspire to live as a law unto themselves, and when they reach a position of absolute power such as we presently allow him, they ruin whom they will, and don't look back. Henry VIII told his men, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Later, he claimed he had no idea his nobles would actually go out and kill poor Thomas More, and right in the Church, no less. Tisk, tisk.
Mr. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, has labored for two years, and claims to be stymied by the law. For the sake of the gang, one sacrificial head must roll, and hardly any blood is spilled. We're lucky there wasn't a Congressional inquiry, those costly sideshows that allow self-righteous politicians to pontificate before the cameras, revealing nothing and exonerating everyone, or at least immunizing their testimony.
As the investigation dragged on, everyone knew Cheney wouldn't be charged with a crime. That was and remains, unthinkable, as Fitzgerald made clear when he drew a sharp line around the big man, declaring him above suspicion. Footsoldiers like Libby expect to shoulder the burden of their superior's crimes, and in the current regime are rewarded for their loyalty with good lawyers, support in the media, and consulting work. Libby can reduce his own share of guilt by saying he relied on some legal theory of innocence that his lawyer will help him concoct. Evil motives disappear, and a quiet plea bargain will serve the needs of the day.
Thus Cheney's arrogant assault on the nation's security escapes any real scrutiny. The investigation itself provided the fodder for Libby's indictment for lying, not treason, the real crime. That crime was successful, and injured the nation's security, if only by telling the world that no secret is safe with Dick Cheney if he wants your ass. The perpetrators of the crime, including a wide array of White House staff and Cabinet members, have all escaped justice, and just as clearly, future crimes will follow. Whatever you say about Bush's power waning, Cheney's ability to defy the law is at a high-water mark. And so long as he has power, he will abuse it. Dick will strike again, and again, until he is stopped.