The biggest story of the past year shouldn't be Alito, or the unconscionably incompetent Katrina response, or even the NSA's warrantless surveillance of American citizens. It should be the revelation yesterday that Dick Cheney -- the power-hungry Lady MacBeth behind the Boy President's awkwardly-held throne -- expressly authorized his Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, to leak classified information to the media both to advance the White House's case for war in Iraq and to justify that war to critics even after it started. This isn't a partisan issue, it's an American one: the Vice President authorizes secret intel leaks in wartime. Congress, both R and D, should be offended (especially since the White House is acting high-and-mighty about how Congress can't be trusted with intelligence info like the NSA spying program). If Congress takes seriously its oversight role and its duty to the security of the American people, then it should start serious and public investigations to determine how much damage was done, whose security clearances should be pulled, and whether Cheney can be trusted to hold such an important office.
Yet the mainstream media isn't making this front-page news. CNN radio, for example, is leaving Cheney's name out of it, simply saying that Libby's "superiors" gave him that authority. My local paper, the normally center-left Eugene Register-Guard, buried the story on p. A9.
We need to make sure that this story, and our ire at the White House's cavalier treatment of national security, are front page news and land squarely in the center of Congress' agenda.
So, I'm putting our NSA surveillance Game Plan on the back burner (Senate Judiciary Committee staffers tell me there are no NSA hearings on calendar right now anyway) and instead am calling for people to implement a new, hasty-team Cheney-Libby Game Plan as soon as they can. Our goals: to get Letters to the Editor published in papers around the country by Monday, and to take advantage of lower phone rates and the simplicity of leaving voicemails by slamming House and Senate voicemails, emails and faxes tonight and over the weekend.
Our message is simple: we're American citizens; we trust our government to do the right thing; we're shocked and upset by the news that Dick Cheney and others in the White House compromised national security by telling underlings to leak classified information to the press during a time of war; and we want public Congressional hearings on this NOW to make sure that national security isn't compromised further.
Please read the article here to understand the issue. Then please do three things over the next two or three days:
1. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper and ask that they make Libby's revelation a front-page story, and that their editorial board call for Congressional hearings into whether the White House can be trusted with national security secrets.
2. Contact your own Congressperson, both of your Senators, and the Democratic leadership to call for immediate hearings into the Cheney-Libby intelligence leaks.
3. Contact the House and Senate intelligence committees, and each of their members, to call for immediate hearings into the Cheney-Libby intelligence leaks.
Multiple contacts, by email or webmail, fax, and phone calls to both DC and District offices, work best. Contact both Republican and Democratic representatives: this is not a partisan issue. Please report back here if you learn anything solid about their positions, but don't stop calling!
SUPPLEMENT: Congressman John Conyers, who's always reliable on these things, has already sent a letter to the White House asking whether the National Journal report is true. If he's true to form, he'll probably hold hearings -- which won't be attended by any Republicans -- into the matter. I'd prefer he hold off; I want there to be pressure on the Rs to hold official hearings without Conyers' hearings to let some pressure off. But it's good to know someone in D.C. has his act together and is on the case!
Also, Bob Fertik, whom I respect tremendously, says he sees this as a 1-alarm fire, not a 5-alarm fire. To some extent, I agree. I have no expectation we'll turn out an Alito-type response. But I do believe we can move early and strongly enough to let the decisionmakers know that the grassroots -- not just the talking heads -- are getting into this issue, and that we don't want it to disappear. That's a smaller goal than the Alito filibuster, but maybe more attainable, and in terms of immediate national security (and weakening the Rs in an area where they claim superiority), maybe even more important. Just FWIW. (BTW, Bob will be on Laura Flanders' AAR show this weekend, and will be discussing this issue, so listen in!)
Contact info follows:
MAIN CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD: ALL D.C. OFFICES CAN BE REACHED TOLL-FREE HERE:
Where to find out who your Congressperson is
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid:
D.C. and District Office contact info here
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
S.F. District Office: (415) 556-4862
D.C. Office Direct: (202) 225-4965
HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE:
Committee Contact Info
Pete Hoekstra (R-MI-2) (Chair)
Ray LaHood (R-IL-18)
Terry Everett (R-AL-2)
Elton Gallegly (R-CA-24)
Heather Wilson (R-NM-21)
Jo Ann Davis (R-VA-01)
Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13)
John McHugh (R-NY-23)
Todd Tiahrt (R-KS-04)
Mike Rogers (R-MI-08)
Rick Renzi (R-AZ-1)
Jane Harman (D-CA-36) (Ranking Member)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL-23)
Silvestre Reyes (D-TX-16)
Leonard Boswell (D-IA-3)
Bud Cramer (D-AL-5)
Anna Eshoo (D-CA-14)
Rush D. Holt (D-NJ-12)
Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-2)
John Tierney (D-MA-6)
U.S. SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE:
No email given; Committee telephone (202) 224-1700
Pat Roberts (R-KS) (Chair)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Mike Dewine (R-OH)
Kit Bond (R-MO)
Trent Lott (R-MS)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Chuck Hagel (R-NB)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) (Vice Chair)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Have fun and be diligent!!