I assume you’ve heard by now about ex-spook and Bush antagonist Ray McGovern’s rather startling statement on Tucker Carlson’s show that he has evidence Li’l Dick was behind the Italian forgery of the Niger yellowcake papers. I say “rather startling” because anybody who sat down and thought about it for five minutes probably figured it out already, so it’s not exactly striking people as something that came out of the clear blue, more like something they suspected all along.
But there’s something here no one is talking about – the context in which McGovern made his remark, and that context truly is startling, at least to me. You can see the whole interview at Crooks and Liars (where else?), and I urge you to watch it all the way through.
Tucker Gets Suckered
That the right-wing bad boy wanna-be who got his clock cleaned when he tried to get tough with John Stewart last year had the Bush bete-noir McGovern on at all is testament to the desperation of the RWNM to discredit George Tenet, whose new book was the subject of the interview. McGovern went up against the Bushies when they were riding at their highest and became one of the key sources of the Bush decompression when he began poking holes in their Iraq story and for once the press actually listened. He’s not a guy a Tucker Carlson ought to be taking lightly.
He’s a quiet guy, soft-spoken and phlegmatic – on the surface at least – but he doesn’t suffer fools and he doesn’t mince words. Poor Tucker has to sit there waiting for him to trash Tenet while he trashes Bush and his war instead, and Tuck looks like a scared little kid being nice to Sasquatch in the hope he won’t be eaten alive. It’s almost funny. As soon as Ray opens his mouth, you can see Tucker feeling that he would rather be in Malibu sharing a latte with Tim Robbins than sitting opposite McGovern while he explains the silliness of Tenet’s “slam dunk” explanation and calls the Iraq war “an unnecessary war, a war of aggression in the Nuremburg Tribunal terms.”
Even worse, Carlson, following up on McGovern’s reminder that Tenet told the Brits Saddam had no WMD’s well before the invasion, asks why Tenet thought he could make a false statement and get away with it, leaving an opening big enough to drive a truck through for Ray to bring up Bill Casey and wingnut God Ronnie Raygun’s politicization of the CIA in the 1980’s.
It’s at that point, foot firmly in mouth, that Tucker brings up the Niger forgery, asking if anyone is trying to find out who produced it? And here is the context I was talking about:
McGovern responds by mentioning the heroic attempt by Jay Rockefeller, ranking Dem of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, to investigate the origin of the forgery but that he was stopped by the Republican Chairman, Pat Roberts, who said such an investigation was “inappropriate”.
Poor Tuck. He’s having a bad night already and it’s about to get worse.
Tuck: But the CIA doesn’t need to wait for the Senate to investigate….
Ray: Yeah, but it’s the FBI’s job in this country. The CIA has no such authority.
Tuck: (walking into trap) But that memo came from abroad.
Ray: (calmly closing trap) Some of it came from abroad, but you know if you trace the memo back and see the characters who are involved, it’s my appreciation that the memo leads right back to the doorstep of the Vice President of the United States.
Got that? McGovern is saying that the CIA didn’t investigate the origin of the forgery because they knew it was a domestic matter that led back to Li’l Dick, and he’s hinting that the Republican Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee knew the investigation would lead back to Cheney and that’s why he considered it “inappropriate” and shut it down.
That’s a much bigger charge than just saying “Dick did it.” What he’s actually saying is “Dick did it and Tenet knew he did it and probably Georgie told Pat Roberts Dick did it and then the Company and the Pub Congress colluded to hide that information while the Emperor and Darth Veeper ran around using it as an excuse to start an illegal war.”
That makes this much bigger than a black bag job ordered by an out-of-control VP. That makes it a criminal conspiracy to defraud.