For the two years since he left the White House - on the very day in July 2003 that Robert D. Novak printed the name of a Central Intelligence Agency operative in his syndicated newspaper column - Mr. Fleischer has been caught up in the investigation of who supplied that information to the columnist and whether it was a crime. The prosecutor in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, called Mr. Fleischer to appear before the grand jury that is investigating the leak.
[. . .]
In the week that followed Mr. Wilson's assertions in an Op-Ed article in The New York Times, Mr. Fleischer played a central role as the White House acknowledged that six months earlier, President Bush should not have cited intelligence about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Africa in his State of the Union address.
[. . .]
As the investigation has progressed, according to people who have been officially briefed on the inquiry, investigators have lessened their interest in Mr. Fleischer's activities and those of other top White House press aides at the time as more senior administration figures have attracted greater attention. Those figures include Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, and I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
The above is from Anne E. Kornblut's "Ex-White House Aide on Periphery of Leak Inquiry" in this morning's New York Times.
Add to the above with the Washington Post article that Martha e-mails to note, Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei's "Prosecutor In CIA Leak Case Casting A Wide Net: White House Effort To Discredit Critic Examined in Detail:"
In doing so, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked not only about how CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was leaked but also how the administration went about shifting responsibility from the White House to the CIA for having included 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union address about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Africa, an assertion that was later disputed.
Most of the questioning of CIA and State Department officials took place in 2004, the sources said.
Prosecutors have questioned former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials, and even a stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street.
Back at the Times, we'll also note an AP article that Erika e-mailed available currently online at the Times' web site entitled "Gonzales Says Roe Can't Bind Current Court:"
A right to abortion is settled law for lower courts, but the Supreme Court "is not obliged to follow" it, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said Tuesday as the Senate prepared to consider the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to be associate justice.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Mr. Gonzales said a justice did not have to abide by a previous Supreme Court ruling - in this case Roe v. Wade - "if you believe it's wrong." The comment suggested that the attorney general believed Judge Roberts would not be bound by a statement he made in 2003 that a right to abortion was now settled. Judge Roberts made the statement at a hearing on his confirmation to his current seat on a federal appeals court in Washington.
"If you're asking a circuit court judge, like Judge Roberts was asked, yes, it is settled law because you're bound by the precedent," Mr. Gonzales said. "If you're a Supreme Court justice, that's a different question, because a Supreme Court justice is not obliged to follow precedent if you believe it's wrong."
Erika wonders whether Gonzales is attempting to torpedo Roberts or if he's providing cover for Roberts?
The Times has a story on the IRA and violence, but as Dominick notes, they somehow managed to miss the following:
LOYALISTS were accused yesterday of raising sectarian tensions after being blamed for a series of attacks on Catholic bars and churches in Co Antrim. One pub was set on fire and a second slightly damaged when hit by petrol bombs.
Two Catholic churches in Ballymena were smeared with paint just hours after a blast bomb exploded at a house, forcing the evacuation of a dozen families in the town. Nobody was hurt in the fire which swept through a bar at Martinstown. The remains of two petrol bombs were found outside the second bar at Rasharkin, where there was slight damage.
The above is from Deric Henderson's "Pressure on loyalists over attacks" from the Irish Examiner.
Dominick: In the eyes of The New York Times, violence in Ireland only happens when the IRA is involved or are alleged to be involved. Any violence that happens which can't be attached to the IRA doesn't make it into The New York Times.
Reminder Democracy Now!'s planned line up for today includes:
As Cuban-born, anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles is denied bail, we'll speak with Venezuela's lawyer on why Posada should be extradited. And, the latest on the Rove/CIA scandal with investigative reporter Bob Parry.
From Robert Parry's "Bush's Grimmer Vision" [Correction: Nat Parry is the author of the piece. My apologies.]
Since then, the dots have not only been connected, but many of the shapes have been colored in. The immediate fear and anger following the Sept. 11 attacks have given way to the grinding permanence of a never-ending state of emergency. In many ways, the reality has turned out worse than the article's expectations.
For the last two-plus years, the bloody war in Iraq has raged with no end in sight, as more evidence emerges daily that the Bush administration misled the nation into the invasion through a mix of false intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and clever juxtapositions that blurred Iraq's Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden.
The war – and the animosities it engendered – have, in turn, added to the likelihood of terrorist attacks, like the July 7 bombings in London, which provide further justification for more security and greater encroachments on individual liberties.
Already, the Iraq War has deformed the democratic process in the United States, even as Bush claims that his goal is to spread democracy in the Middle East. At home, his operatives have demonstrated that when fear-mongering isn't enough to scare the American people into line, bare-knuckled bullying is in store for those who speak out.
That is the real back story of the investigation into whether Karl Rove and other senior Bush aides unmasked CIA officer Valerie Plame in retaliation against her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for being one of the first mainstream figures to accuse Bush of twisting the intelligence about Iraq and nuclear weapons.
Bush's "grim vision" always recognized that the "war on terror" abroad would require restricted freedoms at home – as well as expanded powers for the police and military. So, just as in 2002, when the "Bush Doctrine" on preemptive wars laid the intellectual groundwork for invading Iraq, new doctrines are now being promulgated to justify the creation of a full-scale "security state" inside the United States.
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[Note: This post has been corrected to give Nat Perry proper credit for writing "Bush's Grimmer Vision."]