Mudcat Café message #1590797 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1590797
Posted By: Amos
25-Oct-05 - 08:22 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From Newsview (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1151AP_Cheneys_Role.html)

...
"The New York Times, quoting unidentified lawyers involved in the case, said Libby's notes differed from his grand jury testimony. Libby reportedly told grand jurors he learned Plame's name from reporters.

There is nothing in the public record to suggest that Cheney, like perhaps Libby and deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, pointed reporters toward the CIA official in conversations about her husband, diplomat Joe Wilson.

But the investigation has lifted the veil on the White House's brass-knuckle political culture - and Cheney's role in it.

The latest disclosure also raises fresh questions about the vice president's credibility, long-ago frayed by inaccurate or questionable statements on Iraq.

Cheney told NBC on Sept. 14, 2003, that he didn't know who sent Wilson on a mission to Niger to explore claims that Iraq was seeking nuclear material. "He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back," Cheney said at the time. "I don't know Mr. Wilson. I probably shouldn't judge him. I have no idea who hired him."

He made those remarks months after the reported conversations with Tenet and Libby, where he would have learned about Wilson and his wife.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan, asked whether Bush still had confidence in Cheney, replied, "The president appreciates all the things that he's doing."

And he's doing a lot. A former congressman, Cheney is the president's point man on Capitol Hill. A former oil man, he spearheaded the White House energy task force and fought to keep its deliberations secret. A former defense secretary, Cheney is one of Bush's most trusted foreign policy advisers and a staunch defender of the war in Iraq.

It was Cheney who all but made a direct link between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11 attacks, then denied that he had ever done so.

He also insisted there was a link between al-Qaida and Iraq.

Cheney said in May that the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes," an assertion rejected by military leaders.

White House officials are circling the wagons around Cheney, defending the vice president while privately pointing to news accounts that take issue with Libby's grand jury testimony. Many also are still holding out hope that Rove, the president's top adviser, will not be indicted in the case.

Two senior Republican officials close to the White House, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution, said administration officials are worried that Cheney's role in the case has created a public relations problem by bringing the CIA leak a step closer to the Oval Office.

There is less concern about the vice president's legal vulnerability, the officials said, but any uncertainty adds to an already tense situation at the White House.

This all started in 2003 after the war began. The fighting wasn't going well, despite Bush's "mission accomplished" speech, and the president was reeling from criticism over mentioning an Iraq-nuclear connection in his State of the Union address.

Wilson was a threat, and Bush's advisers had reason to doubt his credibility.

So they sprang into action.

Fitzgerald will soon decide whether to file charges or write the episode off to what Hess calls typical Washington "malicious gossip."

"Cheney had a conversation with his chief of staff. They talked about something that was bothering them. ... He asked the director of the CIA what gives, and they had a conversation. All of this seems to be the way you'd expect people to do business. Yada, yada, yada - and so we go," Hess said.

In purely political terms, the question is whether the public will be as blase about the White House response to Wilson once the whole story is out.

Or whether they will lose faith in the president and his Mr. Fix-It....