Report: Former Dick Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby May Not Have Been Guilty

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A new book argues Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, did not reveal the identity of former CIA undercover officer Valerie Plame.

Libby was convicted on four felony counts of making false statements to the FBI in 2007 and was acquitted on one count of lying. President George W. Bush commuted his sentence, but never issued a full pardon.

But Judith Miller, a former reporter for The New York Times, has published a new book entitled “The Story: A Reporter’s Journey,” where she suggests the prosecuting attorney, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, misled her. Peter Berkowitz has the details in the The Wall Street Journal:

Scooter Libby did not ‘out’ CIA employee Valerie Plame. That was done by then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a critic of the conduct of the Iraq war.

Mr. Armitage disclosed to columnist Robert Novak that Ms. Plame, who at the time held a desk job in the CIA’s Counterproliferation Division, urged the agency to send her husband, retired Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, to Africa in early 2002 to investigate whether Iraq had sought uranium. Presidential aide Karl Rove and then-CIA Director of Public Affairs Bill Harlow confirmed Mr. Armitage’s disclosure for Novak’s July 14, 2003, column.

Miller initially refused to testify in Libby’s trial and was jailed for 85 days. Berkowitz continued:

Ms. Miller’s new memoir recounts that after her conditions had been met and Mr. Fitzgerald asked the court to release her from jail in September 2005, she was summoned to testify before the grand jury.

While Mr. Fitzgerald prepared her, she recalls, his pointed queries led her to believe that a four-word question regarding Joseph Wilson surrounded by parentheses in her notebook—“(wife works in Bureau?)”—proved that Mr. Libby had told her about Ms. Plame’s CIA employment in a June 23, 2003, conversation (well before Mr. Libby’s phone conversation with Russert). She so testified at trial in 2007.

Three years later, Miller was reading Plame’s memoir “Fair Game” and learned she “had worked for the State Department as cover.” This had Miller up in arms as the State Department is organized into “bureaus,” while the CIA is made up of “divisions, which led her to believe that “If Libby, a seasoned bureaucrat, had been trying to plant her employer with me at our first meeting in June, he would not have used the word Bureau to describe where Plame worked.” Berkowitz concluded:

Mr. Fitzgerald, who had the classified file of Ms. Plame’s service, withheld her State Department cover from Ms. Miller—and from Mr. Libby’s lawyers, who had requested Ms. Plame’s employment history. Despite his constitutional and ethical obligation to provide exculpatory evidence, Mr. Fitzgerald encouraged Ms. Miller to misinterpret her ambiguous notes as showing that Mr. Libby brought up Ms. Plame.

If Ms. Miller had testified accurately, she would have dealt a severe blow to Mr. Fitzgerald’s central contention that Mr. Libby was lying when he said he was surprised to hear Russert mention Ms. Plame.

h/t: Right Wing News

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

CIA Cash Helped Fund Al Qaeda

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The Afghan government handed over one million American dollars to Al Qaeda to help pay the ransom for the release of one of its diplomats.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the Afghan government made the ransom payment, totaling $5 million in 2010 for the release of Abdul Khaliq Farahi, who had been kidnapped in 2008. Farahi was serving as Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan at the time of his capture by Al Qaeda and had close personal ties to then-President Hamid Karzai.

The Afghan government used $1 million from a secret fund, bankrolled by the CIA with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul. Other countries, including Pakistan and Iran, provided the remaining $4 million.

The payment of American cash for Farahi came to light due to the cache of computers and documents seized by Navy SEALs during the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Within the treasure trove of information was correspondence between Bin Laden and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a high ranking Al Qaeda leader.

Rahman wrote Bin Laden that, “God blessed us with a good amount of money this month.” He wrote also that he intended to use it to buy more arms and other operational needs, and to support the families of those being held in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden wrote back to be careful with the American money. “There is a possibility — not a very strong one — that the Americans are aware of the money delivery” and might use aerial surveillance to track it. He also encouraged Rahman to exchange the money at banks at least twice to get it to the desired currency. “The reason for doing that is to be on the safe side in case harmful substances or radiation is put on paper money,” Bin Laden wrote.

The correspondence between Rahman and Bin Laden became declassified when offered as evidence in the trial of Al Qaeda operative Abid Naseer, who was convicted this month in a Brooklyn court of supporting terrorism. Rahman was killed in a drone strike in 2011.

Payments to the Afghan government of between a few hundred thousand to over $1 million per month continued to be dropped off at the presidential palace until Karzai left office last September. He used the cash to help fund the vast patronage that kept him in power.

An Afghan official said the American CIA cash flow has slowed, but continues to trickle in.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

What The CIA Just Claimed Sheds A Strange New Light On What Many Americans Think About UFOs

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Did you even know that the Central Intelligence Agency has a twitter feed? Well, it does, and what the CIA just tweeted could create quite a stir among UFO believers, researchers and skeptics.

No, the spy guys haven’t admitted that flying saucers are real and that government agencies have long conspired to cover up their existence. In fact, what the CIA just announced is pretty much the opposite — that at least half the supposed UFO sightings in the 1950’s could be attributed to super-secret agency activity.

The Daily Mail reports on the CIA’s claim that much of the mysterious activities people saw in the skies decades ago were really the high-altitude flights of new spy planes being tested.

The CIA explained that the UFO sightings of the past were were directly correlated to them testing U-2 spy planes at altitudes of over 60,000 feet, once thought an impossible height to fly.

And how has the CIA come to the conclusion that numerous reported sightings of alien spacecraft were really U-2 spy planes on test flights? Again, from the article at dailymail.co.uk:

UPI reports that the CIA soon realized that UFO sightings lined up with the place and time the U-2 planes were flying but that they purposefully chose not to let people know that what they were seeing were not aliens but spies.

Many people may recall that the U-2 spy plane was a Cold War aircraft developed to photograph enemy targets from extremely high altitudes. They flew out of top-secret military bases in California and Nevada, states where many of the UFO sightings were reported.

Of course, with the skepticism among many doubters as to the truth-telling habits of the CIA, this new revelation from the spy agency may simply reinforce the belief that those mysterious objects in the skies during the ’50’s really were UFOs.

 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Is Government Ever Faithful To The Constitution?

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When the government is waving at us with its right hand, so to speak, it is the government’s left hand that we should be watching. Just as a magician draws your attention to what he wants you to see so you will not observe how his trick is performed, last week presented a textbook example of public disputes masking hidden deceptions. Here is what happened.

Last week was dominated by two huge news stories. One was the revelation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of torture committed by CIA agents and contractors on 119 detainees in the post-9/11 era — 26 of whom were tortured for months by mistake. In that revelation of anguish and error were the conclusions by CIA agents themselves that their torture had not produced helpful information. President Barack Obama acknowledged that the CIA had tortured; yet he directed the Department of Justice not to prosecute those who tortured and those who authorized it.

The other substantial news story was the compromise achieved by Congress and the White House to fund the government through the end of September 2015. That legislation, which is 2,000 pages in length, was not read by anyone who voted for it. It spends a few hundred billion dollars more than the government will collect in tax revenue. The compromise was achieved through bribery; members of Congress bought and sold votes by adding goodies (in the form of local expenditures of money borrowed by the federal government) to the bill that were never debated or independently voted upon and were added solely to achieve the votes needed for passage. This is how the federal government operates today. Both parties participate in it. They have turned the public treasury into a public trough.

Hidden in the law that authorized the government to spend more than it will collect was a part about funding for the 16 federal civilian intelligence agencies. And hidden in that was a clause, inserted by the same Senate Intelligence Committee that revealed the CIA torture, authorizing the National Security Agency to gather and retain nonpublic data for five years and to share it with law enforcement and with foreign governments. “Nonpublic data” is the government’s language referring to the content of the emails, text messages, telephone calls, bank statements, utility bills, and credit card bills of nearly every innocent person in America — including members of Congress, federal judges, public officials, and law enforcement officials. I say “innocent” because the language of this legislation — which purports to make lawful the NSA spying we now all know about — makes clear that those who spy upon us needn’t have any articulable suspicion or probable cause for spying.

The need for articulable suspicion and probable cause has its origins in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which was written to prohibit what Congress just authorized. That amendment was a reaction to the brutish British practice of rummaging through the homes of American colonists, looking for anything that might be illegal. It is also a codification of our natural right to privacy. It requires that if the government wants nonpublic data from our persons, houses, papers or effects, it must first present evidence of probable cause to a judge and then ask the judge for a search warrant.

Probable cause is a level of evidence that is sufficient to induce a judge into concluding that it is more likely than not that the place to be examined contains evidence of crimes. In order to seek probable cause, the government must first have an articulable suspicion about the person or place it has targeted. Were this not in the law, then nothing would stop the government from fishing expeditions in pursuit of anyone it wants to pursue. And fishing expeditions turn the presumption of liberty on its head. The presumption of liberty is based on the belief that our rights are natural to us and that we may exercise them without a permission slip from the government and without its surveillance.

Until last week, that is. Last week, Congress, by authorizing the massive NSA spying to continue and by authorizing the spies to share what they have seized with law enforcement, basically permitted the fishing expeditions that the Fourth Amendment was written to prevent.

How can the president and Congress defy the Constitution, you might ask? Hasn’t every member of the government taken an oath to uphold the Constitution? Doesn’t the Constitution create the presidency and the Congress? How can politicians purport to change it?

The answers to these questions are obvious, as is the belief of most of those in government that they can write any law and regulate any behavior and ignore the Constitution they have sworn to uphold whenever they want, so long as they can get away with it.

 
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

A Time For Torture

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A poll released this week found 51 percent of Americans approve of the harsh interrogation tactics the CIA used immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Imagine what those numbers would have been on Sept. 12, 2001.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal survey is in sync with the results of similar opinion polls that show a majority of Americans are not naive about what “torture” is or isn’t, or when it should be used.

About half of those polled called the CIA’s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other tough interview methods “torture”; but a majority still approved of it.

About 30 percent of Americans — most of them Democrats — told NBC they think the CIA went too far in the early days of the Bush administration. About 80 percent of Republicans approved the CIA’s tactics.

Dick Cheney got beat up this week by the liberal media, Senate Democrats, and the holier-than-thou crowd for refusing to use the word “torture” to describe the CIA’s methods of extracting information from evil people who wanted to kill us or who knew where Osama Bin Laden’s home address was.

As for the future, 45 percent of those polled say the CIA should continue to use the same interrogation tactics, while 28 percent said they should not.

Interrogating our enemies during war is a dirty business.

It’s not anything like that classy old 1950s quiz show “What’s My Line,” where a panel of well-dressed celebrities like Steve Allen had 10 questions to figure out the occupations of the mystery contestants.

“Mr. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, did you ever mastermind a plan to blow up the World Trade Center?”

“No.”

“OK, panel. Eight down and two to go.”

I have a little story for anyone who thinks America’s rough interrogation tactics really deserve to be called “torture.”

During the mid-1980s, when I was on a vacation in Italy, my wife and I were being protected by the U.S. Secret Service and its Italian equivalent.

A few years earlier, the leftist Red Brigade had been terrorizing Italy, assassinating people, kidnapping business executives, setting off bombs, robbing banks, and blowing off people’s kneecaps as they walked down the sidewalks.

In 1981, after the Red Brigade kidnapped U.S. General James Dozier, it took Italy’s counter-terrorism agency 42 days to rescue him — without firing a shot.

I asked one of the unshaven, rugged, glass-eating Italian secret servicemen working in our motorcade detail how they finally found out where General Dozier was being held.

He told me that after his colleagues caught a few members of the Red Brigade, they were taken to the basement and interrogated.

The terrorists became very talkative after their genitals were placed in a vise.

The agents who used this persuasive technique — which also led to the capture of hundreds of Red Brigade members and put the deadly terrorist group out of business — were disciplined by their superiors.

They were suspended for five days and went to the beach.

As the Italians proved, sometimes in war you have to use “enhanced” interrogation methods to get the successful ending you want.

In 2001, we found ourselves in a bloody war against terrorists. The White House knew it. The CIA knew it. Even the media and Democrats in Congress knew it. The American people figured it out too.

What the CIA did to extract information from the Islamist terrorists was not nice, but it was not really torture.

We shouldn’t be second-guessing and beating up on the CIA, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and all the other men and women who’ve helped to keep us safe for the last 14 years.

We should be thanking them.

Merry Christmas.

 

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom