"I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors." George Herbert Walker Bush, CIA dedication ceremony, April 26, 1999.
When Bush administration officials I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Karl Rove, Richard Armitage and Ari Fleischer betrayed Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a covert CIA operations officer, they fell into the category of "the most insidious of traitors." Now we learn from the president's former press secretary, Scott McClellan, that the president himself "was involved" in sending him out to lie to the American public about the betrayal. If his direction to McClellan was deliberate and knowing, then the president was party to a conspiracy by senior administration officials to defraud the public. If that isn't a high crime and misdemeanor then we don't know what is. And if the president was merely an unwitting accomplice, then who lied to him? What is he doing to punish the person who misled the president to abuse his office? And why is that person still working in the executive branch? Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald made clear his suspicions about the culprit when he said "a cloud remains over the office of the vice president." But we may never know exactly what happened because President Bush thwarted justice and guaranteed the success of the cover-up when he commuted Scooter Libby's felony sentence on four counts of lying, perjury and obstruction of justice.
With the exception of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and the intrepid David Shuster, the mainstream media would have you believe that McClellan's revelation is old news. "Now back to Aruba and the two-year old disappearance of a blond teenager." But treason is not old news. The Washington press corps, whose pretension is to report and interpret events objectively, has been compromised in this matter as evidence presented in the courtroom demonstrated. Prominent journalists acted as witting agents of Rove, Libby and Armitage and covered up this serious breach of U.S. national security rather than doing their duty as journalists to report it to the public.
So far there is no apparent desire for redemption driving the press to report on the treachery of senior officials. Instead, the mainstream press has compounded its complicity by giving the Bush administration yet another free pass and shifting blame. The New York Times failed to publish an article on McClellan's revelation and The Washington Post buried it at the end of a column deep on page A-15 in the newspaper. Earlier in the week, Newsweek magazine, owned by the Washington Post Company, proudly announced the identity of its new star columnist -- Karl Rove, one of the key actors in this collective treason. Robert Novak, who willfully disclosed Valerie's identity, having been twice warned not to do so by the CIA, and who transmitted his column to Rove before it was published, remains a regularly featured columnist in The Washington Post.
With nearly 70 percent of the public now believing that our country is on the wrong track, it is no wonder that many feel let down by major institutions, including the Washington press establishment that increasingly resembles the corrupt Soviet propaganda mill. One reporter from a major news organization even asked whether McClellan's statement wasn't just "another Wilson publicity stunt." Try following this tortuous logic: Dick Cheney runs an operation involving senior White House officials designed to betray the identity of a covert CIA officer and the press responds by trying to prove that the Wilsons are publicity seekers. What ever happened to reporting the news? Welcome to Through the Looking Glass.
Fearful of its access to the powerful, and defensive about its status in the high school social culture that permeates the capital of the Free World, much of the press has forgotten its responsibility to the public and the Constitution.
Presidents and those who aspired to be president in the past once took strong positions in defense of U.S. national security. Today, Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson has tried to build his support through fronting for the Scooter Libby Defense fundraising efforts. Meanwhile, other Republican candidates accuse Patrick Fitzgerald of being "a runaway prosecutor" and remain silent about the stain on Bush's presidency.
Where is the outrage? Where is the "contempt and anger?"
Click here to read more from Valerie Plame Wilson on The Huffington Post.