The Big Story – Retaliation And Intimidation

In his piece, VALERIE PLAME STORY CONFIRMED, Mark A. R. Kleiman outlines the story of the Bush administration “outing” a covert CIA agent in retaliation for her husband’s involvement in the Niger uranium story.

Revealing this identity was a very serious crime, and had a potentially serious impact on national security. This is something that has happened, rather than just a wild charge that was made up – like the “Travelgate” charge, or the charge that Vince Foster was murdered, or that the President was involved with a failed Savings and Loan. But those charges warranted massive, multi-year, multi-million-dollar investigations of the Clintons – and everyone they had ever so much as spoken with. But we all know that this charge that they outed a CIA agent will not lead to an investigation, because the Bush administration controls all of the means of investigation, and they only investigate Democrats. (Who’s indicted, Martha Stewart or Ken Lay?)

Think about that for a minute. Think about the state of the country. When Clinton was President we had eight years of wild-assed accusations that ran as headlines in the newspapers and lead stories on the TV news, leading to massive investigations involving hundreds of FBI agents, dozens of Congressional committees. The full apparatus of the federal government was put to the task of investigating the President, trying to find something – anything – to pin on him.

But now we have a different situation. The president is not even asked tough questions by the press. The worst transgressions are ignored. For example, the administration blocks an investigation into intelligence failures that led to the 9/11 attack – and gets away with it. The President is involved in an insider trading and stock manipulation scandal that mirrors the huge Enron scandal – and it barely gets a mention in the press. Think about what the differences in treatment of the two Presidents says about the state of justice in America.

But wait – there’s more. This was a very serious crime. But let’s look at WHY they committed the crime, because this leads to something that is going on that is even more serious and sinister. This crime was committed as “a shot across the bow” of the intelligence community. It was a warning, an act of intimidation. And it is part of a pattern.

There are other acts of intimidation – a series of them – a pattern. Employees of government agencies who, as part of their everyday jobs release information that contradicts the right-wing ideology of this administration, are transferred or fired. Reporters who ask tough questions are retaliated against – denied access or moved to the back of the room thereby ending their careers. Today, another example of intimidation tactics: Senator Accuses White House of Retaliation.

Even countries that don’t “toe the line” face threats and retaliation. Remember the boycott of French goods? Remember the threats the President made against Mexican citizens living in the U.S.?

Threats and intimidation are the M.O. of the people now “governing” us, and they continue to get away with it. Just how strong are our Deomcratic institutions, that we have fallen this far?