Flashback: Rove Erases 22 Million White House Emails on Private Server at Height of U.S. Attorney Scandal – Media Yawns


Now that they’ve taken control of Congress, Republicans are wielding power much the same way they did in the Clinton era and for the six years afterward when they controlled the White House and Congress under George W. Bush: ineptly — examples: 1, 2 etc.

Then as now, it’s clear that the only thing Republicans do very well is inflame the media with bogus scandals — which is a handy way to distract attention from their ineptitude. They are doing this with their usual aplomb, and considerable success, in the matter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send emails.

Clinton has said she deleted about 50,000 emails that dealt with personal matters, citing her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral as examples. All the correspondence pertaining to official business was turned over to and archived by State. The deletion of the emails, though perfectly legal, has excited House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, who has announced plans to deploy House committees to investigate what might aptly be called Servergate.


House Oversight Committee Issues Subpoenas to DOJ on Plame

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have subpoenaed notes of an FBI interview with George Bush and Dick Cheney in the Oval Office on June 24, 2004, about their role in the unmasking of the CIA’s ant-WMD program administered by Valerie Plame:

The subpoena follows a June 3 letter from committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman to Attorney General Mukasey, asking for the documents and a June 11 response from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Keith B. Nelson [who declined the request due to “separation of powers” issues.

The instigation for the request is information in What Happened, the memoir by former White House Press Sec. Scott McClellan:

Waxman requested the transcripts of the FBI interviews earlier this month, after publication of Scott McClellan’s tell all memoir revealing Bush administration deception. A transcript of Cheney’s interview would be of particular interest because his former aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was the only official convicted of a crime in relation to the Plame probe.

Libby told the FBI that it was “possible” Cheney instructed him to leak Plame’s name, Waxman wrote in his initial letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The question appears to be, if Bush and Cheney lied to McClellan, did they also lie to the FBI that June morning. Lying to the FBI is illegal, even if the subjects are not under oath.

Scotty Strikes Back: McClellan Blames His Lies about Plame Leaks on Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby and Card

The title of former Bush flak Scott McClellan’s new book, “What Happened” brings to mind the title of O.J. Simpson’s recent allegedly fictional memoir, “If I Did It.”

Perhaps it’s because both books seek to exonerate their authors from much deserved guilty verdicts — both in the court of public opinion and in courts of law, certainly in O.J.’s case, and maybe even for Scotty too.

Here’s an excerpt from Scotty’s book:

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the president himself

And this was not just run of the mill political spin. Rove, Libby, Ari Fleischer and others, including Colin Powell’s righthand man Richard Armitage, leaked the secret identity of a CIA agent whose specialty was tracking WMD. And they did it at the behest of the vice president who eagerly jeopardized state secrets for the tawdriest of purposes: to do political damage to the agent’s husband, Joe Wilson, because he had dared to expose a lie told by the president in his 2003 State of the Union speech about Iraq seeking uranium from Niger.

The CIA, of course, can’t reveal how many illegal weapons were successfully transported into the Middle East or how many foreigners acting as U.S. agents were permanently sidelined — or captured or killed — as a result the treasonous act of outing Agent Plame by George Bush, Dick Cheney and their henchmen.

Only Armitage has expressed regret about the leak.

Scott McClellan shredded his credibility for Bush, Cheney and the rest. Surely he can’t expect anyone to believe he is telling the truth now when he was misled by these same people. He is either the most gullible person to walk the planet, or he thinks the rest of us are fools.

It’s Official: Plame was Covert – So Federal Law Was Broken, But ‘Rule of Law’ Only Applies to Dems

From the beginning of the scandal around the outing of the CIA secret agent Valerie Plame by top White House officials, Bush’s spinners and GOP operatives have worked as hard as they could to create confusion about Wilson’s status as a covert agent. The desperation with which they have tried to muddy the waters about Wilson’s undercover status is a clue to how dangerous they consider this piece of information to be.

Now we see for certain what many of us have long suspected: For Republicans, the rule of law only applies to Democrats.

For starters, if the public believed Wilson was covert, the fact that her cover was blown by top White House officials, including Karl Rove and Scooter Libby — who was working under instructions from his boss, Vice Pres. Cheney — would be construed as unseemly, at the very least.

Of course, White House officials are restricted from revealing government secrets by their security clearances. But what had many top West Wingers concerned was the fact that there’s also a specific law, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), that forbids government officials from revealing the identity of covert personnel. In fact, former White House spokesperson Ari Fletcher was so concerned that he may have run afoul of the IIPA that he sought, and was granted, immunity from prosecution before he testified.

When Valerie Wilson testified before a House committee in March, she said, under oath, that she was covert. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) also read a statement from Gen. Michael Hayden, the director of the CIA, that stated that Wilson was covert at the time she was outed. And yet, the White House and GOP operatives have continued to lie about Wilson’s status.

While it is doubtful that anything can stop them, there is finally official confirmation now from the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald — writing in a recommendation for Scooter Libby’s sentencing for perjury related to the case — that Valerie Wilson was indeed covert:

The unclassified summary of Plame’s employment with the CIA at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, “Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.”

Former CIA agent Larry Johnson, who was a colleague of Wilson’s, says this confirmation of Wilson’s status bolsters the charge that Rove, Libby and others violated the IIPA when they revealed her identity to reporters:

Fitz makes the following points:
– Valerie Wilson was an operations officer working in the Counter Proliferation Division (CPD) of the Directorate of Operations and headed a unit that covered weapons proliferation issues concerning Iraq.
– While in CPD Valerie traveled overseas seven times to more than ten countries always, repeat always, undercover.
– Valerie was a covert officer on 14 July 2003, when Novak identified her as a CIA employee.
– The CIA was taking "affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States."

Despite this development, there remains little or no chance that these White House officials will be held accountable for revealing Wilson’s identity — which is egregiously compounded by the fact that Wilson was a specialist in tracking black-market sales of weapons of mass destruction. We will probably never know what sources and counter-proliferation activities were compromised by the treasonous actions of Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and Karl Rove.

At the very least, we are left to wonder why Karl Rove still has a security clearance for working at the White House.

It was just a decade ago that Republicans hounded the Clinton White House over every perceived and/or fabricated infraction.Their strategy was to hobble and render ineffective an American president proved unsuccessful, so they switched their focus to Pres. Clinton’s sex life, which led them to impeach him over a sex lie.

All the while they were leading the nation down the dangerous path toward overthrowing its duly and twice-elected government, they claimed they were only concerned with “the rule of law.” Now we see for certain what many of us have long suspected: For Republicans, the rule of law only applies to Democrats.

Plame Was the CIA’s Operations Chief of the Joint Task Force on Iraq When Bush Illegally Outed Her

Republicans have tried to portray CIA agent Valerie Plame as a desk jockey whose work was insignficant. But Michael Isikoff, in his new book, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War, says she was a key player in determining Iraq’s WMD capabilities during the run-up to war:

She was operations chief of the Joint Task Force on Iraq (JTFI), a unit of the Counterproliferation Division of the clandestine Directorate of Operations.

For the two years prior to her outing, Valerie Wilson worked to gather intelligence that would support the Bush White House’s assertion that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was loaded with WMDs. This means that Armitage–as well as Karl Rove and Scooter Libby–leaked classified information about a undercover CIA officer whose job it had been to look for evidence of Saddam’s WMD programs. Any irony here? During this part of her career, Valerie Wilson traveled overseas to monitor operations she and her staff at JTFI were mounting.

Plame Attorney to Use Paula Jones Precedent to Force Cheney to Testify

The biggest travesty wrought by the Supreme Court in the 1990s was its unanimous decision that Paula Jones could sue Pres. Clinton while he was in office. (This was followed by their biggest travesty perhaps ever but certainly of the millenial decade, in December 2000, when they voted along party lines to give George W. Bush the presidency over Al Gore.)

But here is how the worm might turn:

In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling that neither Clinton “or any other official has an immunity that extends beyond the scope of any action taken in an official capacity.”

A lawyer plans to use a legal precedent that allowed President Bill Clinton to be sued while in office to force Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential adviser Karl Rove to testify in a lawsuit brought by former CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband.

California attorney Joseph Cotchett said he will ask a federal court to order Cheney, his ex-chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Rove to testify in depositions about their role in disclosing her classified status.

The civil lawsuit accuses them and others of conspiring to publicly identify Plame as a CIA agent to punish her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for writing in an op-ed piece that the Bush administration twisted intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Cotchett, who took over as trial counsel in Plame’s case on Tuesday, said legal precedent for whether Cheney and the others could claim legal immunity in the case comes, in part, from Paula Jones’ sexual harassment case against Clinton.

In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling that neither Clinton “or any other official has an immunity that extends beyond the scope of any action taken in an official capacity.”

In order to be dismissed from the case or avoid testifying, Cotchett said, lawyers for Cheney and the other men would have to argue that they were acting on government business if they are found to have leaked Plame’s name to the media.

Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly reveal the identity of a covert agent.

All Hell’s Breaking Loose in Washington — Plame Sues Cheney, Libby and Rove

Spook suit: The Associated Press is reporting that Valerie Plame, the CIA officer whose identity was leaked to reporters, and her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, have sued Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide and presidential adviser Karl Rove today, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, accuses Cheney, Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby of revealing Plame’s CIA identity to exact revenge on Wilson for criticizing the Bush administration’s motives in Iraq.

Several news organizations wrote about Plame after syndicated columnist Robert Novak named her in a column on July 14, 2003. Novak’s column appeared eight days after Wilson alleged in an opinion piece in The New York Times that the administration had twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq to justify going to war.

The CIA had sent Wilson to Niger in early 2002 to determine whether there was any truth to reports that Saddam Hussein’s government had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger to make a nuclear weapon. Wilson discounted the reports, but the allegation nevertheless wound up in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address.

The lawsuit accuses Cheney, Libby, Rove and 10 unnamed administration officials or political operatives of putting the Wilsons and their children’s lives at risk by exposing Plame.

“This lawsuit concerns the intentional and malicious exposure by senior officials of the federal government of … (Plame), whose job it was to gather intelligence to make the nation safer and who risked her life for her country,” the Wilsons’ lawyers said in the lawsuit.

Libby is the only administration official charged in connection with the leak investigation. He faces trial in January on perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges, accused of lying to FBI agents and a federal grand jury about when he learned Plame’s identity and what he subsequently told reporters.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald told Rove’s lawyer last month that he had decided not to seek criminal charges against Rove.

Poll: Most Disappprove of Bush’s Authorization of Leak in Plame Case

Bush’s approval rate is unchanged at 37 percent in the new Gallup poll.

This first look at public reaction to the news that President Bush authorized a leak of government intelligence in order to discredit a critic shows that the White House spin that the president did nothing illegal did not get much traction with an increasingly skeptical public:

Overall, 63 percent of Americans believe Bush did something either illegal (21 percent) or unethical (42 percent), while 28 percent say he did nothing wrong. While many more Democrats are critical, 3 in 10 Republicans also find that Bush did something illegal or unethical.

The more closely people are following the issue, the more likely they are to say he did something illegal rather than merely unethical…

Despite the latest turns in the CIA leak case, and news from Iraq, the president’s overall approval rating did not fall still further, hanging on at 37 percent, which is in line with most other polls.

Cheney Quietly, Belatedly Turns over Hundreds of Plame-Related Emails

The Associated Press buried the lede on this story in the fifteenth paragraph of its story on Saturday:

The defense was told that the White House had recently located and turned over about 250 pages of e-mails from the vice president’s office. Fitzgerald, in a letter last month to the defense, had cautioned Libby’s lawyers that some e-mails might be missing because the White House’s archiving system had failed.

As The Raw Story reminds us, the entire White House staff had been under orders to turn over all such documents over two years ago:

In October 2003, then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales told all White House employees to turn in copies of numerous documents relating to the CIA leak investigation. It was sent after the Justice Department told the White House to hand over all records that could be relevant to investigators. According to an article at the time, the deadline was Oct. 10, 2003.

The newly-turned over emails could indicate that not all information had been divulged when the Justice Department first required the information be delivered. It could, however, also signify that Fitzgerald is seeking additional email correspondence based on information he obtained during the probe.

In a letter to Libby’s lawyers last month, Fitzgerald signaled that not all emails during the period in question were properly archived — indicating that some documents may have been lost.