Thursday, July 14, 2005

Frogmarch watch: The White House Iraq Group is the story behind the story 

Times "scoop" a distraction (naturally)
The Times doesn't have a scoop—it has a damp squib. Since Drudge was pushing it, that was obvious. At most, it means Rove and Bush are moving into the modified limited hangout stage. Yawn.

The White House Iraq Group
Billmon's right (via Armando):

By defending the Wilsons, Left Blogostan simply helps Right Blogostan keep the focus off of Rove and his White House dirty tricks operation. It boggles the mind that more than a year after Fitzpatrick subpoened the records of the "White House Iraq Group," and nearly a week after the Newsweek story highlighted the obvious connection between Plame's outing and the administration's WMD disinformation campaign, virtually nothing about this shadowy committee has appeared in the mainstream press.

Because the White House Iraq Group is where Wilson is trying to point us. Of course, he has to go to Raw Story to do it:

Raw Story: Let’s start with what your theory is on how the highly classified status of your wife as a NOC (a person of Non-Official Cover and a high level CIA asset) was leaked to others outside of the CIA. What is your theory and how have you come to it?

Wilson: Well, my view of this is based on what people have told me. It is not so much my theory but what others have told me about this.

Shortly after Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei (Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency) announced to the UN Security Council in March, 2003 that the documents that the State Department provided him were forgeries, I went on CNN and said that I thought the government new more about this than it was letting on.

My understanding is that shortly thereafter, a meeting was held - sometime in March of 2003 - in the offices of the Vice President at which it was decided to do a “work up” on me. A work up means to run an intel op to glean all the information you can about “me.” My understanding is that at a minimum, [Cheney's chief of staff] Scooter Libby was at this meeting.

But in retrospect looking at this, the natural group [of people] who would meet to discuss something like this would be the White House Iraq Group (WHIG).

Raw Story: Right, and the group includes Karl Rove as part of that main group of six.

Wilson: Yes, that would include Rove. I believe it is Rove, Karen Hughes, Libby, and others.

Raw Story: Also: Andrew Card, Mary Matlin and James Wilkinson as well as others who advised then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy Stephen Hadley.

Wilson: [The White House Iraq Group] would be the natural group because they were constituted to spin the war, so they would be naturally the ones to try to deflect criticism. Now, some of those people would have very high security clearances.

Connecting the dots
OK. Finally we've got some names. The W.H.I.G. was in charge of "fixing the facts and the intelligence around the policy." The ringleaders are Hughes, Libby, Card, Matalin, Wilkinson, and, of course, Rove.

A scenario: Wilson's Op-Ed on the fake yellowcake story appears. For once, someone tells the truth, and that throws the process of "fixing" the facts into jeopardy. So the W.H.I.G. commissions a workup on Wilson [tinfoil hat time: Using echelon intercepts obtained through John Bolton]. The work-up reveals that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was in the WMD section of the CIA. So, for W.H.I.G., it's a two-fer: Take down one truthteller, Wilson, by smearing him, saying Plame got him a choice foreign posting (to Niger?! Never mind). And take down a second truthteller, WMD expert Plame, by outing her while smearing Wilson. A classic Rovian bankshot! And a second bankshot: Rove plants the smear with some lackey in the press [tinfoil hat time: on the payroll; Ketchum? Iraqi National Congress? See below], it echoes round to Novak, Novak calls Rove, and Rove confirms it. Mission accomplished!

You lift up the rock just a little bit, and Wow! Look what scuttles out!

The connection to make here is W.H.I.G. to Colonel Gardiner's resarch (here (back) and here):

My research suggests there were over 50 stories manufactured or at least engineered that distorted the picture of Gulf II for the American and British people.

We've seen that the Bush White House has been conducting a PsyOps campaign: Information Warfare against the American people. Manipulating the terror alerts during Election 2004 was one front of the campaigm (timeline, back). Planting all those news stories (aluminum tubes, biological warfare trailers, all that crap) was another. [It felt like whack-a-mole at the time; this was the summer when we were all just starting out at Eschaton, and as soon as we'd smash one story, another one would pop right up! Well, surprise! It didn't just feel like whack-a-mole—it was! And the general in charge of both fronts? Why, Karl Rove.]

Outing Valerie Plame and smearing Joe Wilson was just one, very small W.H.I.G. operation. There are plenty more such operations to be discovered.

Follow the money?
What I would like to know—trying to think like Jeff "8-inch, cut" Guckert here for a moment—is whether any of the writers (or editors) of the 50 planted stories were actually, er, funded. Suppose W.H.I.G.—Hughes, Libby, Card, Matalin, Wilkinson, and Rove—had a $50 million slush fund to spend on "fixing the facts and the intelligence." (With over $8 billion "missing" in Iraq, certainly a slush fund of that size is quite a reasonable assumption.) If Armstrong Williams charged the going rate, $50,000,000 / $250,000 = 200, um, assets. Of course, 500 people in the Beltway control our national discourse, and that would mean that almost half of 'em were on Rove's payroll. Yeah, maybe my tinfoil hat is a little too tight... But that would explain why the role of W.H.I.G. isn't part of the story. Eh?

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