Friday, October 21, 2005

The fire this time

I'm sure current defenders of Bushco would have been just as quick to defend Ehrlichman and co-conspirators back in 1973, until admitting belatedly, 10 years later, that they were indeed criminals whose activities threatened to undermine our Republic. Let's see what current Bush supporters will have to say 10 years from now.

Note the parallels between Nixon's cronies trying to silence or discredit Daniel Ellsberg's criticism of the Vietnam war, and Bushco's attack on Joe and Valerie Wilson.

From the discussion of this blog post, analyzing how Judith Miller was caught in a perjury trap by Fitzgerald (resolving the mystery of how she "found" her lost notebook and why she had to testify twice). Apparently, Secret Service records showed her meeting Libby at the White House on June 23.

While I cannot know which of the convicted felons involved in the Watergate crimes was Buchanan's "good friend," it is certainly true that some people went to prison for telling a grand jury, "I can't recall" when that was false.

For example, White House domestic policy assistant John Erlichman was indicted on September 4, 1973. Count 4 of the indictments issued by the a grand jury against John Erlichman and others (CR 74-116, United States District Court for the District of Columbia) charged that Erlichman violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 1623, which makes "False declarations before grand jury or court" . His crime occurred in this exchange:

Q. Just so that the Grand Jury and we are clear on this, prior to receiving information about the break-in, you had no information, direct or indirect, that a psychological profile of Dr. Ellsberg was being drawn up?
A. I can't recall hearing of a psychological profile until after I had heard or the break-in.

5. The underscored [boldfaced] portions of the material Declarations quoted in paragraph 4, made by JOHN D. EHRLICHMAN, the DEFENDANT, were material to the said investigation and, as he then
and there well knew, were false. (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1623.) APPII.PDF at pages 19-21 (indictment starts at page 12).

Erlichman was found guilty of this count and 2 other counts. judici...ciary/ APPII.PDF at page 9. He was sentenced to serve a prison term of 20 months to 5 years for conviction on 3 counts.

Egil Krogh avoided conviction on a similar count of falsely declaring when he said that he was not aware of certain travel. He avoided that conviction because instead he entered a guilty plea on another matter in a plea agreement with the prosecution. Pages 29-31 of same.

Krogh made a statement to the court upon entering his guilty plea, to the effect that the actions of retaliation against a critique of the war in Vietnam were an invasion of the rights of Dr. Ellsberg. He stated:

"But however national security is defined, I now see that none of the potential uses of the sought information could justify the invasion of the rights of the individuals that the break-in necessitated. The understanding I have come to is that these rights are the definition of our nation. To invade them unlawfully in the name of national security is to work a destructive force upon the nation, not to take a protective measure." ( at page 61)

Of course, it's not only Judith Miller who "could not recall" some things, but some of the principals in the White House. Those supposed lapses in memory could be the basis for indictments if Fitzgerald has evidence that a claim of lapsed memory is bogus.

From that well-known liberal newspaper, the WSJ:

Yesterday, one former administration official said Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff, had discussed former diplomat Joseph Wilson and the role of his wife, Ms. Plame, with White House staffers in 2003. That buttresses the possibility that Mr. Fitzgerald is investigating charges related to leaking classified information.

The former official said Mr. Rove had these discussions after Mr. Wilson went public with claims that the Bush administration had twisted intelligence to build support for the Iraq war. Mr. Rove discussed discrediting Mr. Wilson, the former official said, adding that Mr. Rove didn't necessarily name Ms. Plame or make her a key talking point in conversations with other White House officials.


Anonymous said...

I generally like the blog, but give us a break. Please explain this Washington Post story (I'm hoping that the Post is liberal enough for you) on Joe Wilson.
I have mixed feelings about the Bushes, but calling them the biggest crooks is a bit of a stretch. I guess the Clinton's didn't have any scandals (business partners going to jail, obstruction of justice, campaign contributions from the Chinese and on it goes...) I guess the only difference is that the Bushes haven't attacked Fitzgerald as politically motivated.
Oh, and as for Kerry: everyone is Massachusetts (even the Democrats) think he's a self-important, disingenuous jerk (and #1 in lobby money!), who has managed to marry some rich women.

Steve Hsu said...

Bill Clinton was/is a weasel, no doubt about it. Were his policies and governance better than Bushco? Yes, in my opinion.

The Wilson affair is in every way comparable to Ellsberg/Watergate. Was Nixon a crook? Despite his denials, yes indeed. Wilson doesn't have to be a perfect human being (Ellsberg certainly wasn't) for me to want to defend his right to blow the whistle on bad pre-war intel. Despite what the Republican spin machine claims, Plame *was* covert, and did risk her life - which is more than I can say about Cheney and Bush, two Vietnam-era fortunate sons.

(I'm not going to get into no-bid Halliburton contracts and all that, whose cost to the US taxpayer dwarf anything the Clintons were ever involved in.)

Steve Hsu said...

PS The WaPo article linked to seems to just give the Senate Intel. Committee's whitewash conclusions.

See for more comprehensive summary of events.

Anonymous said...

Just as an aside: WSJ's newsroom is actually pretty to seriously liberal.

Anonymous said...

A plausible reason that the Bush administration hasn't "attacked Fitzgerald as politically motivated" is Fitzgerald's exemplary conduct. In stark contrast to K Starr, he has not leaked information and transformed the investigation into a circus.

It is astounding that many on the right are still not at all upset by the idea that the country may have been brought into a war of choice through trickery and manipulation. Even the suggestion of such a possibility should have triggered responsible citizens and legislative representatives to investigative action at a minimum.

And in the case that Bush & Co made a “mistake” and simply misinterpreted the intelligence reports (Joe Wilson’s report on the Niger Uranium seriously weakens this possibility), their Judeo-Christian ethics should have led to an honest admission of error. It is long overdue that the American people truly support their troops that are in harm’s way with armor and adequate troop strength, rather than meaningless flag waving and posturing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote, I guess the Clinton's didn't have any scandals (business partners going to jail, obstruction of justice, campaign contributions from the Chinese and on it goes...)


Bush's scandal is tied to one of the greatest American strategic disasters in history, our entanglement in Iraq. (Of course, the real scandal isn't Plamegate, but the lies the administration put out about WMD.)

What great injury to our republic were the Clinton scandal's tied to?

Anonymous said...

The preemptory spin coming out of the administration is that any indictments for perjury or obstruction of justice are somehow irrelevent to the original purpose of the investigation (finding a leak) and therefore insignificant.
Which is pretty funny, coming from people who felt vindicated when an investigation into Clinton's Whitewater land deal eventually nailed him, many years later, for lying about a bj. I guess if you're a conservative, irony is just a type of diet supplement.

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