William Rivers Pitt | Fair Game
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 6 October 2003
Officials within the United States government have determined that attacking the wife of a vocal critic in order to silence that critic, and to silence the hundreds of other analysts who know full well the breadth and scope of the lies that have been told, is acceptable behavior. In other words, wives are now fair game.
The wife of Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame, was an extraordinary person doing an extraordinary job. In the lexicon of the intelligence business, she was a CIA agent with a non-official cover, otherwise known as a Noc. An Associated Press report about Plame described Noc status as, the most difficult kind of false identity for the agency to create, often involving especially dangerous jobs. In Plame s case, her Noc status was created so she could covertly work to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists.
You might recall the Tom Cruise film Mission Impossible, the plot of which revolved around Cruise working to retrieve something called a Noc List which had fallen into the wrong hands. The Noc List was a list of extreme deep cover agents whose exposure would lead not only to their deaths, but to the destruction of several valuable intelligence networks. That s just the movies. The real world, Valerie Plame was on a Noc List, and now her cover has been blown by Bush administration officials. She and her husband now report that they are living in fear that Plame s life is now in jeopardy because her undercover status has been removed.
Plame was not the only person to have her cover blown by the Bush administration s desire for petty revenge and political cover. On her W-2 tax form, Plame cited her employer as being a company called Brewster Jennings & Associates. This has since been revealed to be a CIA front company, and was likely the employer for a number of other deep-cover agents who have, along with Plame, been blown by the Bush administration. Robert Novak, the columnist who first exposed Plame in print, disgraced himself further on television when he said, "There is no such firm, I'm convinced. CIA people are not supposed to list themselves with fictitious firms if they're under a deep cover -- they're supposed to be real firms, or so I'm told. Actually, Robert, the company does exist, and deep-cover operatives work for companies like this to keep their CIA status a secret.
So, to recap, the wives of Bush administration critics are fair game. CIA operatives are likewise fair game. If said CIA operative is working to defend our national security by keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists, that does not matter, because they are fair game. Also, front companies used to protect the identities of CIA operatives working to defend our national security, and by proxy all of the agents whose lives are protected by that cover, are fair game as well.
Seeing as how this is the case, that the barest standards and principles no longer have a place within this administration, that the national security of the United States can be sacrificed for low-rent political retribution, that George W. Bush and his people have been exposed as the rankest and bloodiest hypocrites in the history of American government, that everything is now fair game, I say let s have at it. If politics is now nothing more than a WWF cage match, I want in. I have a fighter in my corner who also believes in the idea that everything is fair game.
My fighter is an independent counsel. Let s call him James.
James will ask what motivated Colin Powell to say, on February 24, 2001, Hussein has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. James will ask Powell what he based this statement on. James will ask Powell why, in light of his February 24th comment, he said "We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more" before the United Nations on February 5th, 2002, and why he said, "I am confident that we will find evidence that makes it clear he had weapons of mass destruction" on May 4th, 2003.
James will want to know which version of reality was the truth, and which version was the act of a company man hauling water for a pack of professional liars. James will have dozens and dozens of such contradictory statements to check out, from Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld ( We know where they are, said Rumsfeld of the WMDs on March 30. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad. ) and Rice and Wolfowitz and Perle and all the others who promised us there were weapons in Iraq that posed a direct threat to the United States.
James will ask what in the world happened to the 26,000 liters of anthrax, the 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, the 500 tons of sarin and mustard and VX, and the 30,000 munitions capable of delivering these terrible substances. This is all listed on a White House web page called Disarm Saddam Hussein. The claim that Iraq attempted to procure uranium from Niger to begin a nuclear weapons program is also on this page, months after that story was completely discredited. James will want to know where all this stuff is, and why it is still listed on a government website as a legitimate cause for war.
James will want to know why George W. Bush said, We found the weapons of mass destruction! on Polish television on May 29th. James will want to know if Bush was lying, stupid, or both.
James will be able to go on and on in this vein. That s what makes James a dangerous man in a cage match. That is also what is making the White House sweat about this. Valerie Plame was attacked because Joseph Wilson blew the lid off the fact that the White House lied about that Niger uranium. The Niger uranium issue will become central to James investigation. Pull on that Niger thread, and the entire tapestry of lies surrounding the Iraq war will come spinning to the ground.
In a fascinating twist, James will in all likelihood also be able to act as a powerful and credible investigator into what really happened on September 11th. After all, connecting 9/11 to Iraq was a central note within the administration s rhetorical push for war. James will be forced to get to the bottom of this, and to the bottom of 9/11 itself, to make clear what connections there were between that terrible day and Iraq s terrible leader. James will have to investigate every corner of 9/11 to make sure there were no Iraqis skulking around in the shadows.
If everything is fair game, surely the Bush administration won t mind these types of questions. Anyone who would torpedo an undercover agent and harm our national security should appreciate the bare-knuckled approach.
William Rivers Pitt is the Managing Editor of truthout.org. He is a New York Times and international best-selling author of three books - "War On Iraq," available from Context Books, "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available from Pluto Press, and "Our Flag, Too: The Paradox of Patriotism," available in August from Context Books.
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