Bigger Than Watergate
Bush-Cheney Traitors Deserve Prison, Impeachment
By Ted Rall
" -- --
URBANA, ILLINOIS--To weigh the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame
against historical standards, consider that no leader of the Soviet
Union--including that master of ruthlessness, Josef Stalin--ever
arranged for the name of a KGB operative to appear in a newspaper.
Adolf Hitler had countless millions murdered, yet getting at a
political enemy by endangering agents of the Sicherheitsdienst, the
Nazi intelligence service, didn't cross his mind. In this respect,
not even the worst tyrants have stooped to the level of George W.
Don't let the Republicans distract you. Treasongate isn't just about
deposed vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby, who has been
charged with five felony counts and faces 30 years in prison, or
even deputy presidential chief of staff Karl Rove, who may soon be
charged as well. The Libby charges clearly point to the real
culprit: Dick Cheney, who told Libby about Plame's covert status in
the first place. Cheney abused his security clearance to find out.
"Libby understood that the vice president had learned this
information from the C.I.A.," reads page five of the indictment.
"Cheney doesn't have a legal problem, but he has a political
problem," a White House official told the New York Times. For now.
The stink on Karl Rove rubbed off on his boss. When Treasongate
first broke in 2003, Bush promised to get to the bottom of the Plame
leak and fire everyone involved. Now we know that he is the bottom
of the cover-up. "An angry President Bush rebuked chief political
guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame
affair," reported the New York Daily News, which owns the story of
this scandal, in an account the White House tacitly confirmed with a
meaningful inside-the-Beltway no-comment: silence = truth. "A second
well-placed source said some recently published reports implying
Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson
counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides
trying to protect the President," says the News.
An earlier News report revealed a secret White House Iraq Group
(WHIG) that "morphed into a virtual hit squad that took aim at
critics who questioned its claims [that Saddam Hussein had nuclear
and biochemical weapons]" from late 2002 to mid-2003. WHIG's members
included Rove, Libby, and disgraced Times reporter/Bush stenographer
"In our system," Bush reminded, "each individual is presumed
innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial." Unlike the
thousands of people Bush tossed into prison after 9/11--without
charges or access to a lawyer--Libby is a rich guy with pale skin.
He gets to confront his accusers.
Democrats, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as usual, say
they'll settle for an apology. The media is equally accommodating.
"The Wilson affair is not Watergate," wrote Todd S. Purdum in the
New York Times, a paper known for its desire to be helpful to the
Bush White House. He's right. Treasongate is worse.
Much, much worse.
Watergate became the umbrella term for several scandals: "dirty
tricks," including money laundering and the burglary of Democratic
headquarters, to steal the 1972 election in favor of Richard Nixon;
illegal wiretaps and break-ins used to silence and smear anti-Nixon
critics like Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers; and
the cover-up symbolized by the erasure of 18 crucial minutes from a
Together these crimes painted a portrait of a lawless president with
advisers indistinguishable from gangsters. Nixon was a cheat, a
thief, a liar and an all-around scuzball, and Congress was right to
initiate impeachment against him. But, bad as he was, Nixon didn't
jeopardize national security for political revenge.
Treasongate includes many of the essential components of Watergate:
smearing opponents of the Iraq war and their loved ones, financial
shenanigans and a cover-up. Actually it was a cover-up of a
cover-up; they lied about trashing Plame, who they targeted because
her husband revealed their lies about Iraqi WMDs. Outing a CIA agent
is the rancid cherry on top of a triple-dip blob of corruption. You
can bet there's more to come.
Trust us, they ask. We're incompetent, not evil. That's their
"One can believe that the neocons are utterly wrong without also
assuming that they are evil," Nicholas Kristof argues in a Times
op-ed. But people willing to lie their country into war and stab the
people who protect it in the back--if we're to believe them, by not
bothering to check Plame's status--are evil.
It's like a case of vehicular homicide: Did Bush and his goons hit
Plame on purpose or was it an accident? Either way, I want them off
Ted Rall, America's hardest-hitting editorial cartoonist for
Universal Press Syndicate, is an award-winning commentator who also
works as an illustrator, columnist, and radio commentator. Visit his
(In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes.
Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the
originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)