Thursday, July 28, 2005
Priorities, Part the Second
So let me see if I have this straight in terms of issues worthy of Congressional scrutiny and fact findings, and this from the same GOP that brought you the Whitewater/Lewinsky investigations with a price tag of $40 million as compared to the far less important 9/11 Commission which was allotted a mere $15 million:
Sen. Roberts doesn't have time to investigate the manipulation of prewar intelligence, the Niger forgeries or the Plame disclosure.
But he does have time to investigate how the CIA uses 'cover' in its clandestine operations. And as part of his new exercise in water-carrying he will also investigate Patrick Fitzgerald's criminal probe.
Note the specifics: I didn't say he'll be investigating what Fitzgerald's investigating; he's apparently found time to investigate the Fitzgerald probe itself. Roberts' spokesperson Sarah Little told Reuters that his "committee would also review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years."
1. One of the most colossal failures/manipulations in the history of intelligence (Iraqi WMD or the lack thereof): Not worthy of dedicating money or time to investigate. Let's just move on.
2. Forged memos regarding Iraq's attempts to acquire Uranium from Niger, the contents of which appeared in the President's State of the Union Address: What's a little forgery between friends?
3. $9 billion (that's billion with a "B") in American taxpayer dollars that have gone unaccounted for in Iraq: $9 billion ain't what it used to be. Besides, would investigating something as minor as this be what the taxpayers expect us to do?
4. A widespread application of extreme abuse, torture, homicide, sodomy, sexual assault, etc., at myriad US detention facilities with some methods receiving official authorization: Interesting and all, but what about a flag burning amendment?
5. The outing of a covert CIA operative: We would have investigated this but some of us don't like her husband. Besides....
We're saving our energy and resources to investigate something of crucial importance and impact - something that will shape the trajectory of this great republic for years to come: We will probe the prosecutor in charge of investigating the outing of a covert CIA operative. You see, this simply can't be put off for another moment. We have to get to the bottom of L'Affaire Fitzgerald. Duty calls, and priorities are what they are.
[Update: Laura Rozen clues us in to why Roberts and his Senate colleagues on the Right might be getting a little nervous and taking an increased interest in what Fitzgerald is doing:
I think of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson as the quintessential MacGuffins - the one errant thread of an otherwise elaborately woven garment. But you know what happens when you pull that thread - or better yet when someone as determined, scrupulous and dogged as Patrick Fitzgerald pulls that thread? You unravel the whole sweater.]Prosecutors have questioned former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials, and even a stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street.Maybe the Senate Select Intelligence committee would like to outsource such investigations in the future to Justice Department prosecutors, if they are too busy or predisposed to do it themselves?
In doing so, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked not only about how CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was leaked but also how the administration went about shifting responsibility from the White House to the CIA for having included 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union address about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Africa, an assertion that was later disputed.