Those of you who are not steeped in the arcana of the Plame story may be wondering why all the speculation about the White House Iraq Group being implicated in a widening Fitzgerald investigation has bloggers salivating.
Read this (pdf) report called "Truth from These Podia: Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II," written by Colonel Sam Gardiner who identified 50 false news stories created and leaked by a secretive White House propaganda apparatus. Here's a news story about it:
According to Gardiner, "It was not bad intelligence" that lead to the quagmire in Iraq, "It was an orchestrated effort [that] began before the war" that was designed to mislead the public and the world. Gardiner's research lead him to conclude that the US and Britain had conspired at the highest levels to plant "stories of strategic influence" that were known to be false.
The Times of London described the $200-million-plus US operation as a "meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress, and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein."
The multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign run out of the White House and Defense Department was, in Gardiner's final assessment "irresponsible in parts" and "might have been illegal."
"Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to the right decisions," Gardiner explains. Consequently, "Truth became a casualty. When truth is a casualty, democracy receives collateral damage." For the first time in US history, "we allowed strategic psychological operations to become part of public affairs... [W]hat has happened is that information warfare, strategic influence, [and] strategic psychological operations pushed their way into the important process of informing the peoples of our two democracies."
It was this story that the White House didn't want exposed and when Joe Wilson started making noises about Dick Cheney and yellowcake, they got very nervous. After all, the WMD's weren't turning up in Iraq.
On August 10, 2003, just a month after Wilson's op-ed, Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus, wrote an article in the WaPo:
IRAQ'S NUCLEAR FILE : Inside the Prewar Debate, Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence
This article is based on interviews with analysts and policymakers inside and outside the U.S. government, and access to internal documents and technical evidence not previously made public.
The new information indicates a pattern in which President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their subordinates -- in public and behind the scenes -- made allegations depicting Iraq's nuclear weapons program as more active, more certain and more imminent in its threat than the data they had would support. On occasion administration advocates withheld evidence that did not conform to their views. The White House seldom corrected misstatements or acknowledged loss of confidence in information upon which it had previously relied
This story has never been fully aired to the public for reasons the mainstream press has to answer for. If the Iraq Group (WHIG), which implicates all the big players in this, possibly even the president, becomes a part of a federal criminal case, it will likely also become the subject of intense media scrutiny.