Claims in Michael Ruppert's recent article
"Coup D'Etat" (www.fromthewilderness.com) leave one
quite startled. Could it be true? Has he correctly deduced what
others have failed to grasp -- or are reluctant to report?
Michael Ruppert is claiming that contrary to the saturation spin
churned out by the major news outlets, the real reasons why the
CIA's George Tenet and James Pavitt recently resigned have nothing
to do with the alleged 9/11 and Iraqi intelligence failures, but
everything to do with the "imminent and extremely messy demise
of George Bush and his Neocon administration in a coup d'etat
being executed by the Central Intelligence Agency." The CIA
coup, he claims, has become an urgent priority as a number of
deepening global crises "threaten their master's interests."
The resignations of these two men is the key to understanding
the threat of "a deteriorating world scene" and the
fact that America is on the "precipice of a presidential
and constitutional crisis that will ultimately dwarf the removal
of Richard Nixon in 1974."
What makes him think so? The following is the substance of his
IS THERE A CIA 'COUP' IN PROGRESS?
by Michael C. Ruppert
From The Wilderness Publications
The Real Reason Tenet and Pavitt Resigned from the CIA on June
3rd and 4th - Bush, Cheney Indictments in Plame Case Looming
additional reporting by
Wayne Madsen from Washington
© Copyright 2004, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com.
All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted
on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.
JUNE 8, 2004 1600 PDT (FTW) - Why did DCI George Tenet suddenly
resign on June 3rd, only to be followed a day later by James
Pavitt, the CIA's Deputy Director of Operations (DDO)?
The real reasons, contrary to the saturation spin being put
out by major news outlets, have nothing to do with Tenet's
role as taking the fall for alleged 9/11 and Iraqi intelligence
"failures" before the upcoming presidential election.
Both resignations, perhaps soon to be followed by resignations
from Colin Powell and his deputy Richard Armitage, are about
the imminent and extremely messy demise of George W. Bush
and his Neocon administration in a coup d'etat being executed
by the Central Intelligence Agency. The coup, in the planning
for at least two years, has apparently become an urgent priority
as a number of deepening crises threaten a global meltdown.
Based upon recent developments, it appears that long-standing
plans and preparations leading to indictments and impeachment
of Bush, Cheney and even some senior cabinet members have
been accelerated, possibly with the intent of removing or
replacing the entire Bush regime prior to the Republican National
Convention this August.
FTW has been documenting this Watergate-like coup for more
than fifteen months and almost everything we will discuss
about recent events was by us predicted in detail in these
pages. Please see our stories "The Perfect Storm - Part
I" (March 2003); "Blood in the Water" (July
2003); "Beyond Bush - Part I" (July 2003); "Waxman
Ties Evidentiary Noose Around Rice and Cheney" (July
2003); and "Beyond Bush - Part II" (October 2003).
There were two things we didn't get right. One was the timing.
We predicted the developments taking place now as likely to
happen after the November election, not before. Secondly,
we did not foresee the sudden resignations of Tenet and Pavitt.
Understanding the resignations is the key to understanding
a deteriorating world scene and that America is on the precipice
of a presidential and constitutional crisis that will ultimately
dwarf the removal of Richard Nixon in 1974.
So why did Tenet and Pavitt resign? We'll explain why and
we will provide many clues along the way as we make our case.
HIGH CRIMES AND REALLY STUPID MOVES
Shortly after the "surprise" Tenet-Pavitt resignations,
current and former senior members of the U.S. intelligence
community and the Justice Department told journalist Wayne
Madsen, a former Naval intelligence officer, that they were
directly connected to the criminal investigation of a 2003
White House leak that openly exposed Valerie Plame as an undercover
CIA officer. What received less attention was that the leak
also destroyed a long-term CIA proprietary intelligence gathering
operation which, as we will see, was of immense importance
to US strategic interests at a critical moment.
The leak was a vindictive retaliation for statements, reports
and actions taken by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph
Wilson, which had deeply embarrassed the Bush administration
and exposed it to possible charges for impeachable offenses,
including lying to the American people about an alleged (and
totally unfounded) nuclear threat posed by Iraq's Saddam Hussein.
Conservative columnist Robert Novak, the beneficiary of the
leak, immediately published it on July 14, 2003 and Valerie
Plame's career (at least the covert part) instantly ended.
The actual damage caused by that leak has never been fully
Wilson deeply embarrassed almost every senior member of the
Bush junta by proving to the world that they were consciously
lying about one of their most important justifications for
invading Iraq: namely, their claim to have had certain knowledge,
based on "good and reliable" intelligence, that
Hussein was on the brink of deploying a nuclear weapon, possibly
inside the United States. It was eventually disclosed that
the "intelligence" possessed by the administration
was a set of poorly forged documents on letterhead from the
government of Niger, which described attempts by Iraq to purchase
yellowcake uranium for a nuclear weapons program.
It has since been established by Scott Ritter and others that
Iraq's nuclear weapons program had been dead in the water
and non-functioning since the first Iraq war.
Wilson was secretly dispatched in February 2002, on instructions
from Dick Cheney to the CIA, to go to Niger and look for anything
that might support the material in the documents. They had
already been dismissed as forgeries by the International Atomic
Energy Agency, the CIA, and apparently everyone else who had
seen them. The CIA cautioned the administration, more than
once, against using them. Shortly thereafter, Wilson returned
and gave his report stating clearly that the allegations were
pure bunk and unsupportable.
In spite of this, unaware of the booby traps laid all around
them, the entire power core of the Bush administration jumped
on the Niger documents as on a battle horse and charged off
into in a massive public relations blitz. Bush, Cheney, Rice,
Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz and others - to varying degrees
- insisted, testified, and swore that they knew, and had reliable,
credible and verified intelligence that Saddam was about to
deploy an actual nuclear device built from the Niger yellowcake.
It was full court media press and they successfully scared
the pants off of most Americans who believed that Saddam was
going to nuke them any second.
George Bush made the charge and actually cited the documents
in his 2003 State-of-the-Union address, even after he had
been cautioned by George Tenet not to rely on them. In a major
speech at the United Nations, Colin Powell charged that Iraq
was on the verge of deploying a nuke and had been trying to
acquire uranium. Dick Cheney charged in several speeches that
Saddam was capable of nuclear terror. And shortly before the
invasion, when asked in a television interview whether there
was sufficient proof and advance warning of the Iraqi nuclear
threat, a smug and confident Condoleezza Rice quipped, "If
we wait for a smoking gun, that smoking gun may be a mushroom
cloud over an American city." Rice was lying through
By July of 2003, as the Iraqi invasion was proving to be a
protracted and ill-conceived debacle, executed in spite of
massive resistance from within military, political, diplomatic
and economic cadres, there was growing disgust within many
government circles about the way the Bush administration was
running things. The mention of Wilson's report came in July
though his name was not disclosed. It suggested corroborative
evidence of criminal, rather than stupid, behaviour by the
administration. The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
A senior CIA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said the intelligence agency informed the White House on March
9, 2002 - 10 months before Bush's nationally televised speech
- that an agency source who had traveled to Niger could not
confirm European intelligence reports that Iraq was attempting
to buy uranium from the West African country.
Note the reference to an Agency source.
It was inevitable that Wilson would move from no comment,
to statements given on condition of anonymity, and finally
into the public spotlight. That he did, in a July 6th New
York Times Editorial titled "What I Didn't Find in
Africa." Soon he was giving interviews everywhere.
On July 14th Novak published the column outing Wilson's wife,
Valerie Plame. As a result, any criminal investigation of
the Plame leak will also go into the Niger documents and any
crimes committed which are materially related to Plame's exposure.
Instead of retreating, Wilson advanced. In Septmeber he went
public, writing editorials and granting interviews which thoroughly
exposed the Bush administration's criminal use of the documents,
Cheney's lies about the mission, and all the other lies used
to deceive the American people into war.
At the moment he went on the record, Wilson became another
legally admissible, corroborative evidentiary source; a witness
available for subpoena and deposition, ready to give testimony
to the high crimes and misdemeanors he has witnessed.
First Clue: James Pavitt was Valerie Plame's boss.
So was George Tenet.
HOW THE TRAP WAS SET
Conflicting news reports suggest that perhaps several sets
of the documents were delivered simultaneously to several
recipients. I could find only one news story (out of almost
60 I have reviewed) which indicated just when the Niger papers
were first put into play. One of the most fundamental questions
in journalism, "when?" was omitted from every major
press organization's coverage except for a single story from
the Associated Press on July 13th.
[T]he forged Niger government documents, showing attempts
by Iraq to purchase yellowcake, were delivered by unknown
sources to Italian journalist Corriere della Sera who gave
them to the Italian intelligence service. She then reportedly
gave them to Italian intelligence agents who gave them to
the US embassy. Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker also
offered this version indicating that the documents had surfaced
in Italy in the fall of 2001.
The fall of 2001. That means that the documents were created
no more than three and a half months after September 11th.
The earliest press report mentioning the documents was a March
7, 2003 story in The Financial Times. On that day,
Mohammed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy
Agency reported to the UN Security Council that the documents
were forgeries. The story contained a revealing paragraph.
"The allegation about the uranium purchase first surfaced
in a UK government dossier published on September 24 last
year about Iraq's alleged weapons programmes, though it did
not name Niger. Niger was first named when the US State Department
elaborated on the allegations on December 19 
Canada's Globe and Mail reported on March 8, 2003
[T]he forgeries were sold to an Italian intelligence
agent by a con man some time ago and passed on to French authorities,
but the scam was uncovered by the IAEA [International Atomic
Energy Agency] only recently, according to United Nations
sources familiar with the investigation. The documents were
turned over to the IAEA several weeks ago.
"In fact, the IAEA says, there is no credible evidence
that Iraq tried to import uranium ore from the Central African
country in violation of UN resolutions.
"Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded,
with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents,
which formed the basis for the reports of these uranium transactions
between Iraq and Niger, are, in fact, not authentic,"
Mr. El Baradei told the UN Security Council Friday
The Chicago Tribune reported on March 13, 2003, "Forged
documents that the United States used to build its case against
Iraq were likely written by someone in Niger's embassy in
Rome who hoped to make quick money, a source close to the
United Nations investigation said.
The Washington Post gave yet a different story,
also on March 8, 2003
Knowledgeable sources familiar with the forgery investigation
described the faked evidence as a series of letters between
Iraqi agents and officials in the central African nation of
Niger. The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors
by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence.
The forgers had made relatively crude errors that eventually
gave them away - including names and titles that did not match
up with the individuals who held office at the time the letters
were purportedly written, the officials said
The CIA, which had also obtained the documents, had
questions about "whether they were accurate," said
one intelligence official, and it decided not to include them
in its file on Iraq's program to procure weapons of mass destruction.
In a follow-up story on March 13th the Post reported
It's something we're just beginning to look at," a senior
law enforcement official said yesterday. Officials are trying
to determine whether the documents were forged to try to influence
U.S. policy, or whether they may have been created as part
of a disinformation campaign directed by a foreign intelligence
The phony documents - a series of letters between Iraqi
and Niger officials showing Iraq's interest in equipment that
could be used to make nuclear weapons - came to British and
U.S. intelligence officials from a third country. The identity
of the third country could not be learned yesterday.
What if it wasn't a foreign intelligence service? I had been
suspicious that a Watergate-like coup was forming immediately
after reading the first few stories about the documents. I
was convinced when the AP reported on March 14, 2003 (just
days before the Iraqi invasion) that the ranking Democrat
on the Senate Intelligence Committee had called for an FBI
investigation of the documents' origins. The Boston Globe
reported two days later that the Senator was specifically
seeking to determine whether administration officials had
forged the documents themselves to marshal support for the
The request was not nearly as significant to me as who it
had come from - Jay Rockefeller of the Standard Oil Rockefellers.
An oil dynasty was calling for an investigation of a bunch
of oil men. Somebody was screwing up big time.
Seymour Hersh dropped a major bombshell that went virtually
unnoticed, 54 paragraphs deep into an October 27, 2003 story
for the New Yorker titled "The Stovepipe."
Who produced the fake Niger papers? There is nothing approaching
a consensus on this question within the intelligence community.
There has been published speculation about the intelligence
services of several different countries. One theory, favored
by some journalists in Rome, is that [the Italian intelligence
service] Sismi produced the false documents and passed them
to Panorama for publication.
"Another explanation was provided by a former senior
C.I.A. officer. He had begun talking to me about the Niger
papers in March, when I first wrote about the forgery, and
said, 'Somebody deliberately let something false get in there.'
He became more forthcoming in subsequent months, eventually
saying that a small group of disgruntled retired C.I.A. clandestine
operators had banded together in the late summer of last year
and drafted the fraudulent documents themselves. [emphasis
Hersh's revelation provided corroboration for something I
and others, like the renowned political historian Peter Dale
Scott, had been suspecting for a long time. The CIA was fighting
back. This was a well orchestrated, long-term covert operation
- exactly what the CIA does all over the world.
POINT OF NO RETURN
Willing disclosure of the identity of a covert operative is
a serious felony under Federal law, punishable by fine and/or
imprisonment. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of
1982 makes it a crime for anyone with access to classified
information to intentionally disclose information identifying
a covert operative. The penalties get worse for doing it to
a deep cover Directorate of Operations (DO) case officer (as
opposed to an undercover DEA Agent).
After John Ashcroft was forced to recuse himself from the
case, Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, was
transferred to Washington and appointed special prosecutor
in the Plame case.
Robert Novak, rightly standing by the journalistic code of
ethics, has steadfastly refused to identify his White House
source. We would do the same thing in his shoes. The investigation
is nearing a climax with pending issuance of criminal indictments.
Press reports citing sources close to the investigation have
directly and indirectly pointed fingers at Dick Cheney and
his Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, as suspects.
Second clue: The criminal investigation of the Plame
leak was investigated after a September 2003 formal request
from the CIA, approved by George Tenet.
Not only was Plame's cover blown, so was that of her cover
company, Brewster, Jennings & Associates. With the public
exposure of Plame, intelligence agencies all over the world
started searching data bases for any references to her (TIME
Magazine). Damage control was immediate, as the CIA asserted
that her mission had been connected to weapons of mass destruction.
However, it was not long before stories from the Washington
Post and the Wall Street Journal tied Brewster,
Jennings & Associates to energy, oil and the Saudi-owned
Arabian American Oil Company, or ARAMCO. Brewster Jennings
had been a founder of Mobil Oil company, one of Aramco's principal
According to additional sources interviewed by Wayne Madsen,
Brewster Jennigs was, in fact, a well-established CIA proprietary
company, linked for many years to ARAMCO. The demise of Brewster
Jennings was also guaranteed the moment Plame was outed.
It takes years for Non-Official Covers or NOCs, as they are
known, to become really effective. Over time, they become
gradually more trusted; they work their way into deeper information
access from more sensitive sources. NOCs are generally regarded
in the community as among the best and most valuable of all
CIA operations officers and the agency goes to great lengths
to protect them in what are frequently very risky missions.
By definition, Valerie Plame was an NOC. Yet unlike all other
NOCs who fear exposure and torture or death from hostile governments
and individual targets who have been judged threats to the
United States, she got done in by her own President, whom
we also judge to be a domestic enemy of the United States.
Moreover, as we will see below, Valerie Plame may have been
one of the most important NOCs the CIA had in the current
climate. Let's look at just how valuable she was.
According to an April 29, 2002 report in Britain's Guardian,
ARAMCO constitutes 12% of the world's total oil production;
a figure which has certainly increased as other countries
have progressed deeper into irreversible decline.
ARAMCO is the largest oil group in the world, a state-owned
Saudi company in partnership with four major US oil companies.
One of them is ExxonMobil which gave up one of its board members,
Condoleezza Rice, when she became the National Security Advisor
to George Bush. All of ARAMCO's key decisions are made by
the Saudi royal family while US oil expertise, personnel and
technology keeps the cash coming in and the oil going out.
ARAMCO operates, manages, and maintains virtually all Saudi
oil fields - 25% of all the oil on the planet.
It gets better.
According to a New York Times report on March 8th of
this year, ARAMCO is planning to make a 25% investment in
a new and badly needed refinery to produce gasoline. The remaining
75% ownership of the refinery will go to the only nation that
is quickly becoming America's major world competitor for ever-diminishing
supplies of oil: China.
Almost the entire Bush administration has an interest in ARAMCO.
The Boston Globe reported that in 2001 ARAMCO had signed
a $140 million multi-year contract with Halliburton, then
chaired by Dick Cheney, to develop a new oil field. Halliburton
does a lot of business in Saudi Arabia. Current estimates
of Halliburton contracts or joint ventures in the country
run into the tens of billions of dollars.
So do the fortunes of some shady figures from the Bush family's
As recently as 1991 ARAMCO had Khalid bin Mahfouz sitting
on its Supreme Council or board of directors. Mahfouz, Saudi
Arabia's former treasurer and the nation's largest banker,
has been reported in several places to be Osama bin Laden's
brother in law. However, he has denied this and brought intense
legal pressure to bear demanding retractions of these allegations.
He has major partnership investments with the multi-billion
dollar Binladin Group of companies and he is a former director
of BCCI, the infamous criminal drug-money laundering bank
which performed a number of very useful services for the CIA
before its 1991 collapse under criminal investigation by a
whole lot of countries.
As Saudi Arabia's largest banker he handles the accounts of
the royal family and - no doubt - ARAMCO, while at the same
time he is a named defendant in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed
by 9/11 victim families against the Saudi government and prominent
Saudi officials who, the suit alleges, were complicit in the
Both BCCI and Mahfouz have historical connections to the Bush
family dating back to the 1980s. Another bank (one of many)
connected to Mahfouz - the InterMaritime Bank - bailed out
a cash-starved Harken Energy in 1987 with $25 million. After
the rejuvenated Harken got a no-bid oil lease in 1991, CEO
George W. Bush promptly sold his shares in a pump-and-dump
scheme and made a whole lot of money.
Knowing all of this, there's really no good reason why the
CIA should be too upset, is there? It was only a long-term
proprietary and deep-cover NOC - well established and consistently
producing "take" from ARAMCO (and who knows what
else in Saudi Arabia). It was destroyed with a motive of personal
vengeance (there may have been other motives) by someone inside
the White House.
From the CIA's point of view, at a time when Saudi Arabia
is one of the three or four countries of highest interest
to the US, the Plame operation was irreplaceable.
Third clue: Tenet's resignation, which occurred at
night, was the first "evening resignation" of a
Cabinet-level official since October 1973 when Attorney General
Elliott Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, resigned
in protest of Richard Nixon's firing of Watergate special
prosecutor Archibald Cox. Many regard this as the watershed
moment when the Nixon administration was doomed.
Given that energy is becoming the most important issue on
the planet today, if you were the CIA, you might be a little
pissed off at the Plame leak. But there may be justification
to do more than be angry. Anger happens all the time in Washington.
This is something else.
One of the most important intelligence prizes today - especially
after recent stories in major outlets like the New York
Times reporting that Saudi oil production has peaked and
gone into irreversible decline - would be to know of a certainty
whether those reports are correct. The Saudis are denying
it vehemently but they are being strongly refuted by an increasing
amount of hard data. The truth remains unproven. But the mere
possibility has set the world's financial markets on edge.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi came to Washington on April 27th
to put out the fires. It was imperative that he calm everybody's
nerves as the markets were screaming, "Say it ain't so!"
Naimi said emphatically that there was nothing to worry about
concerning either Saudi reserves or ARAMCO's ability to increase
production. There was plenty of oil and no need for concern.
FTW covered and reported on that event. Writer and energy
expert Julian Darley noted that there were some very important
ears in the room, listening very closely. He also noted that
Naimi's "scientific" data and promises of large
future discoveries did not sit well many who are well versed
in oil production and delivery.
[See FTW's June 2nd story, "Saudi's Missing Barrels"
and our May 2003 story, "Paris Peak Oil Conference Reveals
Deepening Crisis." In that story FTW editor Mike Ruppert
was the first to report on credible new information that Saudi
Arabia had possibly peaked.]
If anybody has the real data on Saudi fields it is either
ARAMCO or the highest levels of the Saudi royal family.
The answer to the Saudi peak question will determine whether
Saudi Arabia really can increase production quickly, as promised.
If they can't, then the US economy is going to suffer bitterly,
and it is certain that the Saudi monarchy will collapse into
chaos. Then the nearby US military will occupy the oilfields
and the U.S. will ultimately Balkanize the country by carving
off the oil fields - which occupy only a small area near the
East coast. That U.S. enclave would then provide sanctuary
to the leading members of the royal family who will have agreed
to keep their trillions invested in Wall Street so the US
economy doesn't collapse.
So far the Saudis haven't had to prove that they could increase
production due to convenient terror attacks at oil fields,
and more "debates" within OPEC.
Fourth clue: Bush and Cheney have both hired or consulted
private criminal defense attorneys in anticipation of possible
indictments of them and/or their top assistants in the Plame
investigation. On June 3, just hours before Tenet suddenly
resigned, President Bush consulted with and may have retained
a criminal defense attorney to represent him in the Plame
According to various press reports Bush has either retained
or consulted with powerhouse attorney Jim Sharp, who represented
Iran-contra figure retired Air Force Major General Richard
Secord; Enron's Ken Lay; and Watergate co-conspirator Jeb
Stuart Magruder. All three were facing criminal rather than
civil charges. Either way, a clear signal has been sent that
Bush expects to be either called to testify (which was a precursor
in Watergate to a criminal indictment of Richard Nixon) or
be named as a defendant. Either way, the President's men are
falling faster than their counterparts fell in Watergate,
and the initial targets are much higher up the food chain.
Cheney's attorney is Terrence O'Donnell, a partner of the
Williams and Connolly law firm. O'Donnell worked for then
White House chief of staff Cheney in the Ford administration
and as General Counsel for the Pentagon when Cheney was Defense
Secretary under the first President Bush. He has been representing
the Vice President in criminal and civil cases involving Cheney's
chairmanship of Halliburton. These include a Justice Department
investigation of Halliburton for alleged payment of bribes
to Nigerian political leaders and a stockholders' fraud law
suit against Halliburton. O'Donnell also represented former
CIA director John Deutch when he was accused of violating
national security by taking his CIA computer home and surfing
the Internet while it contained hundreds of highly-classified
SPRINGING THE TRAP
Now, seemingly all of a sudden, Bush and Cheney are in the
crosshairs. Cheney has been questioned by Fitzgerald within
the last week.
The CIA Director's job by definition, whether others like
it or not, is to be able to go to his President and advise
him of the real scientific data on foreign resources (especially
oil); to warn him of pending instability in a country closely
linked to the US economy; and to tell him what to plan for
and what to promise politically in his foreign policy. In
light of her position in the CIA's relationship with Saudi
Aramco, the outing of Valerie Plame made much of this impossible.
In short, the Bush leak threatened National Security.
Former White House Counsel and Watergate figure John Dean,
writing for the prestigious legal website findlaw.com on June
4th made some very ominous observations that appear to have
gone unnoticed by most.
This action by Bush is a rather stunning and extraordinary
development. The President of the United States is potentially
hiring a private criminal defense lawyer. Unsurprisingly,
the White House is doing all it can to bury the story, providing
precious little detail or context for the President's action
But from what I have learned from those who have been
quizzed by the Fitzgerald investigators it seems unlikely
that they are interviewing the President merely as a matter
of completeness, or in order to be able to defend their actions
in front of the public. Asking a President to testify - or
even be interviewed - remains a serious, sensitive and rare
occasion. It is not done lightly. Doing so raises separation
of powers concerns that continue to worry many
If so - and if the person revealed the leaker's identity
to the President, or if the President decided he preferred
not to know the leaker's identity. - Then this fact could
conflict with Bush's remarkably broad public statements on
the issue. He has said that he did not know of "anybody
in [his] administration who leaked classified information."
He has also said that he wanted "to know the truth"
about this leak.
If Bush is called before the grand jury, it is likely because
Fitzgerald believes that he knows much more about this leak
than he has stated publicly.
Perhaps Bush may have knowledge not only of the leaker, but
also of efforts to make this issue go away - if indeed there
have been any. It is remarkably easy to obstruct justice,
and this matter has been under various phases of an investigation
by the Justice Department since it was referred by the CIA
On this subject, I spoke with an experienced former
federal prosecutor who works in Washington, specializing in
white collar criminal defense (but who does not know Sharp).
That attorney told me that he is baffled by Bush's move -
unless Bush has knowledge of the leak. "It would not
seem that the President needs to consult personal counsel,
thereby preserving the attorney-client privilege, if he has
no knowledge about the leak," he told me.
What advice might Bush get from a private defense counsel?
The lawyer I consulted opined that, "If he does have
knowledge about the leak and does not plan to disclose it,
the only good legal advice would be to take the Fifth, rather
than lie. The political fallout is a separate issue."
I raised the issue of whether the President might be able
to invoke executive privilege as to this information. But
the attorney I consulted - who is well versed in this area
of law - opined that "Neither 'outing' Plame, nor covering
for the perpetrators would seem to fall within the scope of
any executive privilege that I am aware of."
That may not stop Bush from trying to invoke executive privilege,
however - or at least from talking to his attorney about the
option. As I have discussed in one of my prior columns, Vice
President Dick Cheney has tried to avoid invoking it in implausible
circumstances - in the case that is now before the U.S .Supreme
Court. Rather he claims he is beyond the need for the privilege,
and simply cannot be sued. [Emphasis added]
Suffice it to say that whatever the meaning of Bush's decision
to talk with private counsel about the Valerie Plame leak,
the matter has taken a more ominous turn with Bush's action.
It has only become more portentous because now Dick Cheney
has also hired a lawyer for himself, suggesting both men may
have known more than they let on. Clearly, the investigation
is heading toward a culmination of some sort. And it should
Last and final clue: Under Executive Privilege, a principle
intended to protect the constitutional separation of powers,
officials in the Executive Branch cannot give testimony in
a legal case against a sitting President. The Bush administration
has invoked or threatened to invoke the privilege several
times. Dick did it over the secret records of his energy task
force and George Bush tried to use it to prevent Condoleezza
Rice from testifying before the "Independent" Commission
investigating September 11th.
Former officials of the Executive Branch are, however, free
to testify if they are no longer holding a government office
when subpoenaed or when the charges are brought.
[To learn more about Executive Privilege visit www.findlaw.com]
The Bush administration has proved itself to be an insular
group of inept, dishonest and dangerous CEO's of the corporation
known as America. They have become very bad for business and
the Board of Directors is now taking action. Make no mistake,
the CIA works for "The Board" - Wall Street and
big money. The long-term (very corrupt and unethical) agenda
of the Board, in the face of multiple worsening global crises,
was intended to proceed far beyond the initially destructive
war in Iraq, toward an effective reconstruction and a strategic
response to Peak Oil. But the neocons have stalled at the
ugly stage: killing hundreds of thousands of people; destroying
Iraq's industrial and cultural infrastructure as their own
bombs and other people's RPGs blow everything up; getting
caught running torture camps; and making the whole world intensely
These jerks are doing real damage to their masters' interests.
But (not surprisingly) Tenet and the CIA were and remain much
better at covert operations and planning ahead than the Bush
administration ever was. Tenet and Pavitt actually prepared
and left a clear, irrefutable and incriminating paper trail
which not only proves that they had shunned and refused to
endorse the documents, the CIA also did not support the nuke
charges and warned Bush not to use them.
Where are those documents now? They're part of the Justice
Department Plame investigation - and they're also in the hands
of the Congressman who will most likely introduce and manage
the articles of impeachment, if that becomes necessary: Henry
Waxman (D), of California. If you would like to see how tightly
the legal trap has been prepared, and how carefully the evidence
has been laid out, I suggest taking a look around Waxman's
web site at: https://www.house.gov/waxman/.
There are a multitude of signs that the Bush administration
is being "swarmed" in what is becoming a feeding
frenzy as opposition is surfacing from many places inside
the government, including the military. The signs are not
hard to find.
The June 3rd issue of Capitol Hill Blue, the newspaper
published for members of Congress, bore the headline "Bush
Knew About Leak of CIA Operative's Name". That article
virtually guaranteed that the Plame investigation had enough
to pursue Bush criminally. The story's lead sentence described
a criminal, prosecutable offense: "Witnesses told a federal
grand jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no
action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative's name
to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a
critic of administration policy in Iraq."
A day later, on June 4th Capitol Hill Blue took another
hard shot at the administration. Titled "Bush's Erratic
Behavior Worries White House Aides", the story's first
four paragraphs say everything.
President George W. Bush's increasingly erratic behavior and
wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately
as aides privately express growing concern over their leader's
state of mind.
In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the
President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene
tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies
as "enemies of the state."
Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the
edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and
paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in
Iraq or at home.
"It reminds me of the Nixon days," says a longtime
GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House.
"Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him.
That's the mood over there."
The attacks have not stopped. On June 8th, the same paper
followed with another story headlined, "Lawyers Told
Bush He Could Order Suspects Tortured".
Journalist Wayne Madsen, a Washington veteran with excellent
access to many sources has indicated for this story that the
Neocons have few remaining friends anywhere. All of this is
consistent with a CIA-led coup.
Madsen reported that the Plame probe comes amid another high-level
probe of Pentagon officials for leaking classified National
Security Agency cryptologic information to Iran via Iraqi
National Congress head Ahmed Chalabi. FBI agents have polygraphed
and interviewed a number of civilian political appointees
in the Pentagon in relation to the intelligence leak, said
to have severely disrupted the National Security Agency's
ability to listen in on encrypted Iranian diplomatic and intelligence
Chalabi's leak has once again forced Iran to change equipment,
resulting in impaired U.S. intelligence gathering of Iran's
sensitive communications. The probe into the Chalabi leak
is centering on Pentagon officials who have been close to
Chalabi, including Office of Net Assessment official Harold
Rhode, Director of Policy and Plans officials Douglas Feith
and William Luti, Undersecretary for Intelligence Stephen
Cambone, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. In addition,
some former Pentagon advisers are also targeted in the probe.
Many press reports throughout 2003 indicated that Chalabi,
distrusted and virtually discarded by the CIA, had been resurrected
and inserted into the Iraqi political mix on the orders of
Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the other Neocons listed
Abu Ghraib and Torture
A former CIA official told Madsen that between the Plame leak
and the Abu Ghraib torture affair, the Bush administration
is facing something that will be "worse than Watergate."
PLANNING FOR SUCCESSION
If both Bush and Cheney are removed or resign, what happens?
Madsen reported that lobbyists and political consultants in
Washington are dusting off their copies of the Constitution
and checking the line of presidential succession.
One lobbyist said he will soon pay a call on Alaska Republican
Senator Ted Stevens, who, as President pro tem of the Senate,
is second in line to House Speaker Dennis Hastert to become
President in the event Bush and Cheney both go.
It is one of the greatest ironies of the Plame affair that
the Bush administration, spawned and nurtured by oil, might
have committed suicide by vindictively, cruelly and unthinkingly
exacting personal retribution on an intelligence officer who
had committed no offense, and who was, quite possibly, providing
the administration with critical oil-related intelligence
which the President needed to manage our shaky economy and
affairs of state for a while longer to squeak through to re-election.
In our opinion, nothing better epitomizes the true nature
of the Neocons.
That being said, they have to go. FTW wishes that it was as
certain that what will come after them will be better.