Dave Lindorff published a peice over at Common Dreams the other day which focused on the real question which the Libby conviction raises,”Why did Libby lie to the Grand Jury?”
The whole focus of the media in this case has been on the narrow, inside-the-Beltway question of who leaked information about Plame to the media.
Entirely forgotten or ignored has been what this leak was all about to begin with.
For that, you have to go back and look at what Wilson did in the first place that so enraged or frightened the Vice President and the President.
And that was to go to Niger, one of the poorest nations in Africa, to prove conclusively that there was no truth to a set of forged notes on the letterhead of the Niger embassy in Rome, purporting to be receipts for 400 tons of Niger uranium ore allegedly being sought by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
Wilson knew those documents were cheap forgeries–the name of the mines official on the papers was someone who hadn’t been in office for years–but he went to Niger anyhow, just to make doubly certain that no such purchase attempt had been made.
So the real question then is, who is behind those forged documents?
I’ve heard a lot of speculation tonight about the story that Fitzgerald has been talking to Rove’s attorney and has sent FBI agents to interview neighbors of the Wilsons today. As I’ve pored over the blogs tonight an aspect of the Plame story which I heard some time ago came to mind. I first heard of this angle earlier in the year on Randi Rhodes radio show on Air America. I found it hard to follow on the radio and made a mental note to look into it further but never got around to it. Well tonight I did some digging and found this (scroll down, it’s near the bottom of the page):
July 31, 2005/August 1, 2005 **** Plame leak damaged a major CIA investigation linking senior Bush administration officials to WMD proliferation.
U.S. intelligence insiders have pointed out that the White House is using “Rovegate” and “Who in the White House said what to whom?” as a smoke screen to divert attention away from the actual counter-proliferation work Mrs. Wilson and her Brewster Jennings & Associates team were engaged in. The arrival of Timothy Flanigan as Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s boss is likely related to the mountains of evidence Fitzgerald has now collected to indict senior White House officials, particularly, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, for criminal conspiracy in exposing a sensitive U.S. intelligence operation that was targeting some of their closest political and business associates. Libby, it will be recalled, was the attorney for fugitive global smuggler and Clinton-pardoned multi-billionaire Marc Rich, someone who has close ties to the Sharon government and Israeli intelligence. It is no coincidence that FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds uncovered nuclear material and narcotics trafficking involving Turkish intermediaries with ties to Israel at the same time Brewster Jennings and the CIA’s Counter Proliferation Division was hot on the trail of nuclear proliferators tied to the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon and the A. Q. Khan network of Pakistan.
Feith and Libby: Ultimate targets of CIA counter-proliferation team?
Time magazine reported on July 31 that White House knew about Plame’s identity long before Joseph Wilson’s July 6, 2003 OP ED in the New York Times. Feith and Libby had reasons to be worried about Plame and her team’s counter-proliferation work.
An arrest in early 2004 points to the links between Israeli agents and Islamist groups bent on producing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. According to intelligence sources, this was a network that was a major focus of Edmonds’ and Valerie Plame Wilson’s work. In January 2004, FBI and U.S. Customs agents arrested Asher Karni, a Hungarian-born Orthodox Jew, Israeli citizen, and resident of Cape Town, South Africa, at Denver International Airport for illegally exporting 200 electrically triggered spark gaps — devices that send synchronized electrical pulses and are used in nuclear weapons…
So now we have Libby, Rove and Cheney, implicated in a plot to burn a CIA anti-proliferation network working to collect evidence and follow the money in an arms sales ring that had ties to the Bush administration. It is important to note that the leak to Novak that outed Ms. Wilson was only part of the Novack story. I don’t see too many people discussing the followup story that Novak wrote a week later that outed Ms. Wilson’s cover operation, Brewster Jennings and burned her whole undercover network.
…what is clear is that an Israeli-based network, involving key neo-conservatives in the Bush adminstration, were attempting to speed up the clock on the delivery by the A. Q. Khan network of prohibited nuclear material to countries like Iran, thereby justifying a pre-emptive U.S. (and Israeli-supported) attack on Iranian nuclear installations. It was this network that attracted the attention of the CIA and when it realized some of the “men behind the curtain” were in the Pentagon, they had their smoking gun evidence of double dealing by Bush administration officials and their compatriots in the Sharon government.
A Malaysian link was also discovered in Karni’s network, which is significant in light of developments involving Brewster Jennings’ exposure by Rove and Libby. A Swiss citizen named Urs Tinner was arrested by German authorities in October 2004. Tinner was accused of supervising the manfucture of centrifuge components in Malaysia. The United States demanded Tinner’s release, which led to speculation that Tinner was a U.S. intelligence asset who penetrated the A.Q. Khan network and may have been part of the Brewster Jennings operation.
Now this story is almost as hard to follow in print as it was on the radio, but if the evidence is leading Fitzgerald to consider this as one of the motives for the outing of Ms. Wilson and Brewster Jennings this could turn out to be bigger than any of us may have imagined. Add to this the possibility of Fitgerald looking into whether the Bush administration lied to congress in the run-up to the war and we may be in for a real shitstorm if he’s able to connect all the dots.