Saturday, November 12, 2005

They're Shocked, SHOCKED, To Find There's a Torture Story Leaking Out!

Think Again: Cheney and the Intel Reporting: What's New, Pussycats?

by Eric Alterman
November 10, 2005

On Tuesday, Senator Bill Frist and Representative Dennis Hastert, responding to a story written by The Washington Post's Dana Priest on secret CIA "black site" prisons scattered throughout the globe, demanded a joint investigation into the origin of the article. The two sent a letter to the chairmen of the Congressional Intelligence Committees, saying that "such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks." Right-wing blogs and pundits immediately declared their support for such an inquiry, smelling blood in “so-called liberal media" waters.

Only problem for Hastert and Frist, as we've seen time and again with foreign policy screw-ups in this administration, is that all roads tend to lead back to the vice president – the present case being no exception. Trent Lott, who appears to be about as far off the Republican reservation as one could get, spilled the beans on Wednesday that "a lot" of the details in the Post story were identical to information the vice president had shared with a group of Republican lawmakers a day before the story appeared. Oops. As Lott told The Los Angeles Times, "Information that was said in there, given out in there, did get into the newspaper.... I don't know where else it came from ... it looked to me that at least one of those reports came right out of that room."

But this is no joke – especially to Vice President Cheney, who first disseminated the information to Republican senators, one of whom – or one of whose aides – presumably leaked the story to Priest. As the Post noted on Wednesday, the CIA General Counsel's Office has already contacted the Justice Department to inform them that classified information was released in the Post story.

With this newest revelation, we again find the vice president in the middle of an investigation centering on leaked intelligence. The "black sites" case and the Libby indictment, which came only weeks before, have led the media to finally begin to take a hard look at how the Bush administration has handled sensitive intelligence information in the past, primarily in regard to the intelligence they used to construct a case for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It's heartening to finally see some mainstream attention paid to these issues, but too many reporters are treating the story like it’s new, when in fact we've known about the slapped together intelligence for a few years now.
So now, I'm *guessing* that, if Condi is Darth Jemima, we can finally confirm as fact that Dick Cheney is in fact, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Stentius...