Sixteen Words and the Trial of Scooter Libby
By Jason Leopold
Four years ago this month, President Bush, in his State of the Union address, said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
The intelligence those sixteen words were based upon turned out to be crude forgeries. Evidence collected by journalists and various legislative committees over the years suggests that a cabal of White House officials were fully aware that the intelligence was suspect, but allowed its inclusion in the State of the Union address because it would help the administration win support for the war.
Not long after the president's State of the Union address, an unknown former US ambassador named Joseph Wilson began to privately question the veracity of the sixteen words. In doing so, he became a target of the White House officials who were responsible for peddling the phony intelligence and driving the US to war.
This week, one of those officials, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, goes on trial, charged with five felonies related to the unmasking of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, a covert CIA officer, to a handful of reporters and then lying to a grand jury and the FBI about it. These events - the Plame leak, the attack on Wilson, and the pre-war intelligence (as complicated as it has become to try to unravel and make sense of) - were spearheaded by senior members of the Bush administration in an effort to protect the individuals responsible for planting the 16 words in Bush's speech. <more>
...I suspect these fourteen words are sweeter than revenge: "Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword."
Nice job, Jason. You win a bag of cookies!