Friday, February 02, 2007

How Libby became Cheney's pawn

How Libby became Cheney's pawn |

Feb. 1, 2007 | Few issues more agitated and preoccupied Vice President Dick Cheney in the early months after the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq than former ambassador Joseph Wilson's disclosure that the intelligence underlying the administration's central justification for the invasion was bogus. So far as the occupation of Iraq was concerned, Cheney was in a triumphal mood. In a speech before a conservative group in Washington on July 30, 2003, he repeated his rationales for the war with a sense of finality: 'In Iraq, a dictator with a deep and bitter hatred of the United States, who built, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction and cultivated ties to terrorists, is no more.'

Behind his serene public face a distressed vice president frantically micromanaged a campaign of press leaks to discredit Wilson. Cheney even scripted talking points to aides about what to tell reporters. And he fretted about what was said on cable TV talk shows like MSNBC's 'Hardball.' His chief agent in this intense effort to discredit Wilson was his chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, finely attuned to his principal's wishes.

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