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« Health Care Privatization: U.S. (2) | Main | Aartje naar zijn .... 16.2.06 [NL] »

A New piece in the Plame Puzzle


This morning, I saw a date, mentioned in Maureen Dowd's funny and sour Feb. 18 New York Times column "Hunting for a Straight Shooter". The date of March 25, 2003 may have a meaning.

Asked by the Fox News anchor if a vice president had the authority to declassify secrets, Mr. Cheney replied that there's an executive order giving him that power, adding: "I've certainly advocated declassification and participated in declassification decisions." This neatly set up a defense for Scooter, who testified that superiors" had authorized him to leak classified information on Valerie Plame. President Bush signed Executive Order 13292 on March 25, 2003, amending a Clinton-era order, to grant the vice president the same power as the president on top-secret material.

March 25, 2003: Iraq had been more or less overrun.The Turks were not playing the role of substitute occupying power that had been foreseen for them by neocon strategists. The first US menaces of military intervention were uttered against Syria and Iran.
But we have to return to the moment, when, probably, the Executive Order was being prepared. Writing it down, discussing it, having it screened by different teams of lawyers, takes at least a month.

Back to February 2003: The Turkish debate was still going on. Half of the American invasion troops for Iraq were still idly waiting in Southeastern Turkey and on ships in the Mediterranean. The CIA was felt as a nuisance in the preparing of the invasion. The idea of gaining a breakthrough by dismantling the Istanbul CIA outpost manned by Plame, came up, thus serving two ends with one stone. The easiest way: Denounce Plame, who was suspected having inspired and manipulated her husband's report about Niger, that was still a well-kept secret then.

"Georgie, you should declassify the Plame CIA link!"
-"No, no, Dickie, that sort of operations is your job here."
- "But I have no declassifying powers. That wank Clinton took them away from the VP." - "Oh, really! Mr. Alito and Mrs. Miers will see to that. Ah, Mr. Libby has a draft order ready here. Go on, DickieDick, you Master of the Dark, and stop looking at me with those brooding eyes!"
For we shouldn't underestimate George W. Bush's instincts on how to steer clean from day-to-day tricks and dirty work.

And so it may have happened, that Cheney got his license to kill, specifically, to do his tricky work around the CIA and it's Istanbul office.


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