- Political smears by right-wingers are nothing new. In
the election of 1800, John Adams had a surrogate newspaper publisher write
an article about "Dusky Sally," the half-sister of Thomas Jefferson's
deceased wife, who was also one of the Jefferson family slaves. Jefferson
succeeded in avoiding the issue, and his friends pointed out that it was
merely about his personal life, not national security.
- George W. Bush may not be so fortunate.
- Today comes the revelation in The Wall Street Journal
that "A key department memo discussing Joseph Wilson's Niger trip
was classified 'Top Secret,' and the passage about his wife's CIA role
was specially marked 'S/NF' -- not to be shared with any foreign intelligence
- Perhaps even more damning are reports that the Top Secret-S/NF
document was apparently first delivered to Air Force One when George W.
Bush and Colin Powell (who had apparently requested it from analysts within
the State Department) were flying to Africa in 2003.
- Somehow - nobody knows at the moment - the information
in this Top Secret-S/NF document (the identity of Joe Wilson's wife) then
migrated from Air Force One to George W. Bush's assistant, Karl Rove, and
Dick Cheney's assistant, Scooter Libby. Rove and Libby then immediately
began "dialing for dollars" - calling reporters with this juicy
bit of Top Secret-N/SF information - in an attempt to politically assassinate
- Which raises the question: "What did the President
know, and when did he know it?"
- It's unlikely that Colin Powell would have called Rove
and Cheney (to give instructions to Libby) with the information in the
memo - that was above his pay grade. Ditto for Ari Fleischer. And it's
extremely doubtful that the pilots on the plane even knew about the explosive
information they were carrying as they flew across the Atlantic.
- Which leaves George W. Bush, as the only other person
on that plane with the means, opportunity, and motive.
- Thus, perhaps, the reports that Patrick Fitzgerald has
now subpoenaed the phone logs of Air Force One.
- Those of a certain age among us remember well the shocking
moment when Nixon's lawyer, John Dean, confirmed to Congress that Nixon
himself was involved in the Watergate scandal.
- The urgency Bush brought to deciding on and releasing
the name of John Roberts coincided relatively closely with a growing press
awareness that the Sop Secret-S/NF memo with Plame's identity started it's
long path to Bob Novak on Air Force One. Time - and an awakened press corps
(and hopefully an awakened Congress) - will tell if Bush's own fingerprints
are all over this treasonous act of political revenge.
- Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project
Censored Award-winning best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated
daily progressive talk show, and a morning progressive talk show on KPOJ
in Portland, Oregon.