I'm now hearing that the [Plamegate] investigation may be inching closer to never-confirmed UN Ambassador John Bolton.
That doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me, and I doubt it surprises anyone else who visits this site. Bolton was, after all, a signatory on the Project for a New American Century letter that established ousting Saddam Hussein with military power as the key component of the neocons’ foreign policy plan. And he was a major player in cooking the Iraq WMD intelligence from the State Department’s side of the equation.
Arianna exposes another dot in the connection that I was previously unaware of: Fred Fleitz, Bolton’s former chief of staff.
He is a career CIA agent who Bolton handpicked to join him at Foggy Bottom, having gotten to know him during the administration of the first President Bush. While working as Bolton's top aide, Fleitz also continued his work in the CIA's WINPAC division, the group responsible for some of the worst prewar intelligence on Iraq (they were, among other things, big fans of Curveball and had "high confidence" in the presence of WMD in Iraq)…
…Over the years, Fleitz earned a reputation as Bolton's chief enforcer, a swashbuckler willing to go the extra mile to make the intel fit the desired policy -- even if it meant knocking a few heads.
So it sounds like Fleitz fit right in with the rest of the neo-cabal.
Arianna makes a point that Frank Rich and others (including little old moi) have been asserting for months, but that deserves repeating:
So when Joe Wilson started making a stink about faulty intel, you can bet that those whose raison d'etre had been spreading faulty intel would move mountains to discredit him. This is a key point because, in the end, Plamegate isn't about the outing of Valerie Plame or the sliming of Joe Wilson. It's about Iraq and the White House's attempt to slam the door on questions about the corrupted intelligence that was used to lead us into a disastrous war. Intel that Fleitz and Bolton played a key role in shaping.
Intel that supported a policy and strategy that Bolton played a key role in formulating.
Of the myriad challenges America faces now, I think none is more important than preserving our constitutional republic. And nothing, I believe, will substitute in that regard for putting the sinister (yes, I said “sinister.” The term applies perfectly) ideologues who put us in the untenable situation we’re in today behind bars.