Sunday, July 21, 2013

In exposing Valerie Plame, Cheney and Libby did far more damage to U.S. security than Snowden.

The double standard and overt dishonesty exhibited by those in government entrusted with U.S. national security and  what most of the time seems like a state sponsored news media towing the government line attacking Edward Snowden with unproven accusations of damaging national security, continues unabated.

Both Obama and the news media as ususal, have been in pander mode over Snowden, not  based on what the majority of the country thinks or believes but on what the loudest voices and fist shakers have to say which in almost every case amounts to nothing of value and is usually motivated by dishonesty.  And as always, the fist shakers get the most coverage because the news media always mindful of ratings and web hits,  prefers the dog and pony show and any wild histrionics to the facts or truth about almost anything.

With Snowden's disclosures, the media has either been focused on those who call Snowden a traitor or where Snowden is and how is he going to get from point A to point B. Nothing about the content of what he revealed or whether those handful of people in the government criticizing him are being truthful about the alleged damage done or the even the value of the domestic surveillence programs Snowden revealed.  Especially since one, James Clapper, Director of  National Intelligence, clearly committed perjury in front of a congressional committee A perjury both congress and the news media have chosen to ignore. There also hasn't been much coverage about the 26 senators who broke ranks with those crying traitor and wrote a letter to Obama demanding more answers about the surveillence programs, clearly not satisfied with what they've been told.

 John Kerry's absurd assertion that Snowden's disclosures could end up causing people to die is the kind of overblown, overwrought nonsense that's been coming out of the Obama  administration from the beginning,  though not directly from Obama who doesn't seem to want his fingerprints on any of it. But more and more the Obama administration is sounding like the Bush administration trying to defend a program whose value and constitutionality is questionable. The same program by the way, Obama promised to end when he ran for president and instead expanded, proving again the value and truth behind anything Obama has to say on any subject generally means nothing.

So far no one in the press has pointed out, and certainly no one in congress criticizing Snowden,  that the damage  to U.S. national security caused by Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby by blowing the cover of former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame for political reasons, is far greater and more lasting and more dangerous than anything Snowden has revealed so far.  In fact there is not a shred of evidence that anything Snowden revealed about the government spying on its own citizens and on its allies  has caused any danger at all. Or that the program had any real value.

Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA operative for 20 years  and her area of expertise was nothing less vital to U.S. national  security than Iran's nuclear weapons program. Her network of informants inside Iran was 20 years in the making. Her cover was blown by Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby because her husband, Joe Wilson,  a former U.S. ambassador to Niger, exposed the fact that Bush lied in his State of the Union message leading up to the war in Iraq when he said Sadaam Hussein  had been attempting to buy yellow cake uranium from Niger to make a nuclear weapon. This was one of Bush's primary justifications for going to war in Iraq. It was Condoleeza Rice who said, in trying to gather congressional support for invading Iraq " we can't afford to have the smoking gun become a mushroom cloud".

Plame's husband destroyed Bush and Cheney's  nuclear argument by pointing out after going to Niger to personally investigate at the request of the CIA,  that Bush's claim that  Sadaam attempted to buy yellow cake from Niger  was bogus.

Because Plame had recommended her husband for the job and in the hopes of undermining Wilson's credibility, Cheney, Libby and to a lesser  extent Karl Rove,  outed his undercover CIA  wife by pointing out it was she who recommended to the CIA that her husband investigate the claims. Because Wilson's revelations threatened to destroy their cover of using a nuclear threat by Sadaam to invade Iraq exposing Plame as the undercover CIA agent who recommended Wilson investigate Bush's allegations, they tried to paint the whole affair as part of a liberal agenda to undermine the need for invasion and partly as patronage. They even sent  out mouthpieces , principally Victoria Toensing a former U.S. attorney and conservative Republican propaganda machine  on the talk show circuit trying to assert, after the damage was done, that Plame wasn't really an undercover agent after all,  as much a lie as Bush's assertions about Sadaam's WMD but designed to take the heat off Cheney and Libby for what they did. Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, was eventually convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the investigation into who exposed Plame's identity.

The damage done by Cheney and Libby in destroying Plame's network of informants in Iran is incalculable. Everyone knows how difficult it is to get any information out of Iran. When Plame's cover was blown on orders from Cheney, 20 years worth of  information pipelines from Iran to the CIA were destroyed forever.  And unlike Kerry's preposterous claims of people dying  because of Snowden, there probably were some in Iran providing information to Plame who were actually killed by Cheney's disclosure.  There was at least one scientist and his family who  Plame had promised to smuggle out of the country and who had to be abandoned because of what Cheney and Libby did.

Plame herself has come out publicly and said that Americans should be grateful to Snowden for his revelations and laughed at Cheney's characterization of Snowden as a traitor given what Cheney had done. She also said Clapper should resign.

Neither the news media, nor the Democrats, whose idea of getting courageous is to get tough with  Anthony Weiner  over a picture of his underwear, ever held  Cheney or Libby accountable for the damage they did to national security by disclosing Plame's identity. 

Instead the news media seems to save their opportunities to look like defenders of justice or guardians of public morality by joining whatever mob is yelling the loudest and ganging up on the defenseless like Edward Snowden, a man with no real power other than his own beliefs and convictions,  which is something so clearly missing from both the news media and most politicians that whatever one thinks of what Snowden did, his courage is making them all look bad. And that is probably the real reason both would love to see Snowden  just shut up.

NOTE: At 4:30 P.M. today, July 22, Barbara Starr at CNN reported that intelligence officials are "now reviewing what information Snowden has and what damage may have been  caused by Snowden's leaks", adding that "Snowden did not get the crown jewels of the surveillence program".

That makes liars out of every government and elected official who had been telling us for week that Snowden caused incalcuable damage to U.S, security with his revelations. If they are now first "reviewing what information Snowden has" and are first evaluating "what damage his revelations may have caused" then they had no idea about either at the time John Kerry, Senators Feinstein and Schumer and Graham and Reps Peter King and Mike Rogers, Jeffery Toobin, General Keith Alexander and spokesmen for the Obama administration were attacking Snowden as a "traitor" and claimng grave damae to the secuirty of the American people.

Didnt Kerry say  "people may die" because of it? Didnt we hear over and over again how Snowden's disclosure of the surveillence programs now put Americans at risk and a whole lot more?

Are we now finding out that all this time these people really didnt know what they were talking about after spewing out all the doomsday damage they claimed from the beginning Snowden caused?

 It now been proved, as had been pointed out here repeatedly ever since the news about the surveillence program broke and government officials started attacking Snowden, that every word out of every government official telling us that Snowden caused severe damage to U.S. national security, was untrue and that we should not trust what people like Chuck Schumer John Kerry, Peter King and others were saying is now validated. If they are now first evaluating "the damage"  caused by Snowden as Starr reported today, then everything everyone of them had to say was based on nothing but a PR campaign against Snowden. And is one more peice of evidence that even if there could be some validity to the program, the people now in charge cannot  be trusted with the information.

There was however one statement coming from a government official that was notable who said, " The privacy of citizens cannot be infringed in the name of security". Unfortunately that didnt come from anyone in the U.S. government.  It came from the president of Brazil.





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