There is so much behind the scenes to the creation of a false narrative to wage war in Iraq it is no joke. The story laid out by James Bamford offers another slice of the war story that was sold to the world. Those behind this sales-pitch will never be prosecuted because they are above the law when the Deep State controls the prosecution process. Rather than regurgitate what Bamford wrote and the movie Shock & Awe, I want to add yet another dimension. The journalist who really sold this to the American people was Judith Miller of the New York Times.
On October 1st, 2004, federal Judge Thomas F. Hogan found Judith Miller in contempt of court for refusing to appear before a federal grand jury, which was investigating who had leaked to reporters the fact that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. Curiously, among notations about Iraq and nuclear weapons in Ms. Miller’s notebook, appeared the name: “Valerie Flame.” That name became the core of a federal grand jury investigation with its tentacles deep into the White House. At issue is whether Bush administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, an undercover C.I.A. operative, to reporters as part of an effort to blunt criticism of the Cheney’s justification for the war in Iraq. Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson and his wife, C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame, became the center of the controversy over Cheney’s bogus claim, that was read by President Bush in his State of the Union address, that Saddam had tried to buy uranium in Africa.
It turned out that one of the legal cases used to support the actions of Judge Thomas F. Hogan to throw Judith Miller in jail on contempt of court was my own. Ms. Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source. However, she could not take it any longer and finally agreed to testify before the grand jury that she could not exactly remember if her source was I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. But she said he did not reveal Ms. Plame’s name. When the prosecutor asked her to explain how “Valerie Flame” appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she “didn’t think” she heard it from him. “I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.” When you want to avoid perjury, just say you do not recall.
The interesting aspect of this part of the Iraq affair is that the grand jury investigation centers on whether administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, whose husband, a former diplomat named Joseph C. Wilson, who had become a public critic of the Iraq war in July 2003. So Wilson came out against the invasion of Iraq. Judith Miller said Scooter Libby first raised questions about Wilson in an interview with her that June. This was PRIOR to Wilson going public suggesting that he was on Dick Cheney’s radar before he went public with his criticisms.
Perhaps you will recall that in October 2005, Scooter Libby resigned from all three government positions when he was indicted by a federal grand jury concerning the investigation of the leak of the covert identity of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame. He was subsequently convicted of four counts. After a failed appeal, President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence of 30 months in federal prison but left his conviction intact. That is extremely interesting. Libby’s license to practice law was suspended until 2016. It was President Donald Trump fully pardoned Libby on April 13, 2018 – NOT Bush!.
It was Libby who waived his agreement with Miller of confidentiality and she accepted his permission and testified. Three courts, including the Supreme Court, all declined Miller’s plea of confidentiality of the press. That really means you cannot talk to the press “off the record” anymore. In the spring of 2003, Miller returned from covering the war in Iraq. She was there with an American military team that was searching unsuccessfully for evidence of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. It was Miller who had written a series of articles before the war that effectively just reported Cheney’s accounts and Bush administration officials along with claimed Iraqi defectors which all painted Saddam Hussein was developing these weapons of mass destruction. There was no independent verification on her part.
When no evidence of the weapons was ever found, her reporting became viewed as a stooge for Cheney. She was accused of writing articles that helped Cheney make his case for war. Miller had been an investigative reporter who had worked at The Times for three decades. Back in 2002, she was even part of a team of Times reporters that won a Pulitzer Prize for articles on Al Qaeda.
Scooter Libby wanted to talk about a diplomat’s fact-finding trip in 2002 to the African nation of Niger to determine whether Iraq sought uranium there. The diplomat was Mr. Wilson, and his wife worked for the C.I.A. It was Wilson who accused the White House in an opinion article that appeared in The Times that they were twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. Libby was already defending Vice President Dick Cheney. He told Miller that his boss knew nothing about Mr. Wilson or his findings. It was two days AFTER Wilson’s opinion article appeared when Miller and Libby met on July 8th for breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel, near the White House. That is when her notebook included the reference to “Valerie Flame.” She then claimed that the name did not appear in the same portion of her notebook as the interview notes from Mr. Libby. Then on July 12th, her notes on a phone call with Libby was written: “Victoria Wilson” claimed she had other sources about Mr. Wilson’s wife that she could not discuss.
The Cheney and Bush, according to inside sources, were never friends. The Atlantic reported that Bush Senior came out and made it clear about Cheney and Rumsfeld. He said that Cheney “became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with.” Bush Sr. also blasted Cheney further saying he was “[j]ust iron-ass. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East.” He went on to say that Cheney built “his own empire.”
Turning to Donald Rumsfeld, Bush Sr. called him an “arrogant fellow.” “I think he served the president badly,” Bush said. “I don’t like what he did, and I think it hurt the president having his iron-ass view of everything. I’ve never been that close to him anyway. There’s a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. He’s more kick ass and take names, take numbers. I think he paid a price for that.”
He also blamed his son for allowing Cheney to “bring in kind of his own State Department.” He said “it’s not Cheney’s fault. It’s the president’s fault.”
The question that arises centers on the Scooter Libby case. They went after him on the pretense that he revealed the name of a CIA agent. Was the prosecution of the Chief of Staff to the Vice President really about such the slip of a name? Not likely. That was simply the attempt to get to taking down Cheney. Libby held his ground and Bush commuted his sentence, not the conviction. That was in itself a sign that he did not support Cheney when he realized he had been manipulated into war. The Atlantic wrote a piece: The Bush-Cheney Marriage Ended with a Fight over Another Man. Catchy headline, but the man was Scooter Libby. Cheney wanted a pardon, and Bush refused.
The Washington Post reported that Dan Quayle visited Dick Cheney to brief him on the duties. He told him: “You know, Dick, you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling, going to a lot of funerals, lot of fundraisers. You’re going to be doing the things that presidents don’t want to do, and that your president doesn’t want to do.” Cheney grinned and said: “I have a different understanding with the president.” Cheney really became the defacto, President.
I have written about how I would meet with people who wanted to run for president. They were told I was there to brief them on the world economy at large and I was to assess their capability to handle the job. Then in the early summer of 1999, I was asked to go meet with Bush Jr. and was told that “this is different, he is really stupid!” I was totally shocked by those words. I was then told that they had to surround him with top people. It was then I was asked if I would accept the position of Chief Economic Advisor. I laughed and declined. I was not some Goldman Sachs CEO who could sell my shares tax-free. The company was not public and I was not about to shut it down to take some frustrating job in the White House.
Dick Cheney was the Machiavellian puppet master of George W. Bush. I was on the inside and knew the players. Anyone who knew George W. Bush also knew that he had an accommodating personality and “trusted” the people around him in decision-making. That is my two cents on the subject and the REAL two people behind the Iraq War were Cheney and Rumsfeld. They really should be prosecuted in my opinion. The attempt to get to Cheney by charging Libby in hopes of him turning against Cheney failed.