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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What We Ought to Ask

Building on Swopa's "empty suit" theory, I've been contemplating a lot of the issues that need to be addressed, the questions that need to be asked in light of the latest series of leaks and revelations in Traitorgate (and, frankly, with a lot of the other things we've seen the last few years).

While I'm thinking about this post, I'm sitting in my kitchen with the TV on MSNBC, waiting for my tea kettle to heat and for my toddler to fall asleep, and Chris Matthews comes on with a mini-update and addresses the same exact points I've been contemplating. And more succinctly. Man, Tweety has been on fire lately.

Matthews raised a number of issues, and I've got a few of my own, so I'm going to paraphrase and add to them here. This ought to be something we are all asking ourselves and talking about around the country.

It goes something like this:

*Did Cheney know that the Niger documents were fake, and told the President, and then that information was still included in the run-up to war?

*Did Cheney know the information that the Niger documents were fake, chose not to tell the President, and allowed him to make those claims in the State of the Union, knowing that it was false?

*And if he chose not to tell the Preznit but allowed him to go out in front of Congress and the American people and perpetuate a lie, what does that say about Cheney?

*What does that say about the Preznit? Is the "empty suit" theory really the truth?

*Why would Cheney ask about this Niger information from the CIA, and then never bother to follow-up with them to see if he got an answer? (Matthews said that he had asked Tenet about this and his response was "Ask Cheney what he knew." Matthews then said he'd like to have both of them in a room under oath together to find out what had happened with this, and so would I. Would that Congress was actually doing some oversight, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Maybe I can add this to my Fitzmas list.)

*If Cheney was involved in looking into Wilson's background for a political hit (and I think it's pretty clear that he was, based on everything we know from leaks and information in the public domain), what did he tell the President about all of this?

*If he told him nothing, again what does this say about the Preznit and his empty suit-ness?

*What does it say that, if Cheney didn't say anything to the Preznit, that he thought he could just get away with this kind of political payback? Was this so routine that they didn't even bother discussing something like this? I mean, we know that this was Rove's MO and that they never really got out of campaign mode, but was there a concerted effort to keep the Preznit out of the loop to insulate him from political or criminal blowback if there was a problem? Or did they just not even think about adding him in because he wouldn't have added anything to the thought process -- or because he routinely is left out of the loop? And if so, why would that be?

*What sort of odd dynamic is there between the Preznit and the VP -- who actually runs the show? How much of the foreign policy and defense decision-making has been the VPs portfolio this whole time? I am reminded of the whole question of Cheney supposedly directing defense decisions from the bunker under the WH while Junior was flying around in the midwest in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Is that something that has been a lot more usual than we all know publicly? And how much does the press know about this, and haven't reported it? Or if they don't know, why hasn't that been something more explored in this current mess?

And that's just a start to the list of questions. There are so many more, and the only answers that I can come up with are so co-dependent and screwed up in terms of how things have been potentially operating, that it makes my brain spin.

But that's a good start for conversation on this. Will add more if I get another burst of inspiration.

In the meantime, Froomkin is again excellent today. Definitely worth a read.

And Richard Sale has updated his report that was being discussed in comments earlier. Thought everyone would like a heads up for the update. (Ooops -- forgot to link. The update is on Booman and also on Sic Semper.)

Will post more news as we get it.

UPDATE: Via Atrios, CNN is reporting that Fitz met with the presiding judge for 45 minutes after the jury adjourned for the day.