This is an off-shoot from the Fitzgerald/Plame investigation, and has implications that are even bigger than the Downing Street Memos.
Read this (pdf) report called "Truth from These Podia: Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II," written by Colonel Sam Gardiner who identified 50 false news stories created and leaked by a secretive White House propaganda apparatus. Here’s a news story about it:
According to Gardiner, "It was not bad intelligence" that lead to the quagmire in Iraq, "It was an orchestrated effort [that] began before the war" that was designed to mislead the public and the world. Gardiner’s research lead him to conclude that the US and Britain had conspired at the highest levels to plant "stories of strategic influence" that were known to be false.
The Times of London described the $200-million-plus US operation as a "meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress, and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein."
The multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign run out of the White House and Defense Department was, in Gardiner’s final assessment "irresponsible in parts" and "might have been illegal."
"Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to the right decisions," Gardiner explains. Consequently, "Truth became a casualty. When truth is a casualty, democracy receives collateral damage." For the first time in US history, "we allowed strategic psychological operations to become part of public affairs… [W]hat has happened is that information warfare, strategic influence, [and] strategic psychological operations pushed their way into the important process of informing the peoples of our two democracies."
It was this story that the White House didn’t want exposed and when Joe Wilson started making noises about Dick Cheney and yellowcake, they got very nervous. After all, the WMD’s weren’t turning up in Iraq.
This is all reminiscent of Watergate. Remember, Nixon attemted to bury the Watergate investigation NOT because he was concerned about the break-in, but because it might lead to the exposure of other White House "dirty tricks".
If the President & Vice-President lie, and lead our nation into a disastrous war, what’s the remedy? Can impeachment be far behind?
According to a new poll, just out, the American people say "impeachment".
That’s good — that’s what the Constitution says, too.
50% of adult Americans agreed with this statement:
"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him."
39% agree strongly.
72% of Democrats favor impeachment. 56% of Independents do, too.
Even 20% of Republicans (is the cult crumbling?).
UPDATE: Coutesy of Think Progress, here’s what we know already about WHIG (White House Iraq Group) members:
Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney Scooter Libby: Visited the CIA to press them for information about uranium sales to Iraq. Helped prepare CIA director George Tenet’s response to criticism about faulty intelligence included in the President’s State of the Union address. Spoke with Time reporter Matt Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller about Valerie Wilson’s role at the CIA. Testified before the grand jury. [Link]
National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley: Received an email from Rove about his conversation with Matt Cooper. Was warned by the CIA not the cite uranium evidence. Helped prepare CIA director George Tenet’s response to criticism about faulty intelligence included in the President’s State of the Union address. Believed to have been questioned by special prosecutor. [Link]
Chief of Staff Andrew Card: Received 12-hour head start on Justice Department investigation. Was on Air Force one with State Department memo describing Valerie Wilson’s role at CIA. Initiated conversation between Tenet and Bush about investigation. Believed to have been questioned by special prosecutor. [Link]
Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove: Spoke with Time reporter Matt Cooper and columnist Robert Novak about Valerie Wilson’s role at the CIA. Helped prepare CIA director George Tenet’s response to criticism about faulty intelligence included in the President’s State of the Union address. Testified before the grand jury. [Link]
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: In July 2003 received a briefing book that may have contained a State Department memo discussing Valerie Wilson’s role at the CIA. Appeared on Sunday shows to “protect Cheney by explaining that he had had nothing to do with sending Wilson to Niger, and dismiss the yellowcake issue.” Questioned by special prosecutor. [Link]
Senior Advisor Mary Matalin: Worked closely with Vice-President Cheney. Testified before grand jury. [Link]
Communications Director Dan Bartlett: Was on Air Force one with State Department memo describing Valerie Wilson’s role at CIA. Longstanding ties to Rove. Offered contradictory explanation of infamous “16 words.” [Link]
White House Aide Karen Hughes: Denied Rove’s involvement in leak. Helped draft State of the Union Addess with false uranium claim. Interviewed with Fitzgerald. [Link]