Morning Report 11/10/05
Heavyweight v. Lightweight

Bush hands out "Medal of Freedom" to celebs while Cheney and Congress urge torture of foreigners, reporters. What about Cheney's own leak?

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Harkavy

Tarnished: This Republic of Liberia coin is marketed in the U.S. but is not legal tender. But, then, the two jokers on it are neither legal nor tender. That's why the coin showed its best side when I mounted it on a smear of Iraqi blood.

The world's most beloved heavyweight faced the world's most hated lightweight yesterday in D.C.

After the annual Medal of Freedom ceremonies, Muhammad Ali still looked like a champ.

And we still look like chumps for having installed George W. Bush in office — twice, we did it. Will we ever get off the mat?

Not likely, with the de facto president, Dick Cheney, doing the real work of politics by twisting arms on Capitol Hill to try to get lawmakers to let this vise president twist arms around the world.

The Bush regime's allies in Congress are also obsessed with twisting the arms of reporters. The vise president and pals have launched a counterattack against the press for Plamegate by trying to start a leak probe of the Washington Post's Dana Priest for her explosive story about the CIA's secret prisons in Europe.

Leaks? They want to investigate leaks? What about Cheney's own leak of classified information to try to support the Bush regime's lies about Iraq? Yes, Cheney's leak, a set-up job in the fall of 2003, courtesy of Doug Feith in the neocons' mag, the Weekly Standard.

I'm not making this up. Hell, it was revealed in congressional testimony in March 2004. Sharp-eyed Bush Beat reader Jim Coulter pointed me in the direction of CIA Director George Tenet's grilling by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Here's the relevant passage from Jonathan S. Landay's March 2004 story on the excellent Knight-Ridder news service:

    [Senator Carl] Levin also questioned Tenet about a Jan. 9 [2004] interview with the Rocky Mountain News, in which Cheney cited a November [2003] article in the Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, as "the best source of information" on cooperation between Saddam and al-Qaida.

    The article was based on a leaked top-secret memorandum. It purportedly set out evidence, compiled by a special Pentagon intelligence cell, that Saddam was in league with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. It was written by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, the third-highest Pentagon official and a key proponent of the war.

    "Did the CIA agree with the contents of the Feith document?" asked Levin.

    "Senator, we did not clear the document," replied Tenet. "We did not agree with the way the data was characterized in that document."

The Weekly Standard story had been splashed on the mag's cover on November 18, 2003. "Cover story" is right. We found out months later that it was bogus "intelligence," leaked by the cabal to the mag.

Isn't that the same method Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal used in the Plamegate leak to another press lapdog, Bob Novak?

That makes the calls for investigating the Post's Priest even more ludicrous and outrageous. But in any case, the press is suddenly quite a bit cleaner this morning, with the news that Judy Miller has "retired" from the New York Times.

That's a no-brainer. Back on October 20, in "Reporter Falls Off Scooter," I said I'd be shocked if she ever wrote another word for the Times.

Any investigation of any reporter by any governmental body is a chilling thought and has to be resisted.

But Miller's exit from the Times shouldn't stop other reporters from investigating her. Her role not only in Plamegate but in the run-up to the Iraq debacle needs more probing.

I'll personally pin a friggin' Medal of Freedom on whoever gets to the bottom of that muck.


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