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What Happened to "What Happened" on FOX News?

Reported by Marie Therese - November 25, 2007 -

GUEST BLOGGED BY BILL CORCORAN

FOX News has made a name for itself more for what they don't report than for what they do. Never has this been more obvious than in the past week when it was revealed former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has written a book, What Happened, in which McClellan reveals that he was misled by his superiors and inadvertently lied to the press about who was involved in the "outing" of CIA undercover agent, Valerie Plame. The "outing" of Plame by columnist Robert Novak, a close friend of the Bush administration, was precipitated by a New York Times op-ed piece by Plame's husband, Joe Wilson. With video.

Wilson became known to the general public as a result of his controversial op-ed "What I Didn't Find in Africa," published in the New York Times on July 6, 2003, four months after the 2003 invasion of Iraq began. In it Wilson documented his February 2002 mission to Niger on behalf of the CIA to investigate whether or not Iraq purchased or attempted to purchase yellowcake from Niger in the late 1990s. Based on that trip, he concluded that Niger had not, in fact, attempted to purchase the yellowcake. Despite this, the Bush administration ignored Wilson's report and, according to Wilson, "twisted" at least "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program [in order to] to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

A week after the op-ed appeared, on July 14, 2003, Robert Novak identified "Wilson's wife" publicly as "an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction" named "Valerie Plame" in his syndicated column in The Washington Post. Novak's public disclosure led to a major political scandal, the dissolution of a well-established, effective CIA "front" company called Brewster-Jennings and, possibly put CIA agents and their informers in danger.

The scandal resulted in the indictment of Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Assistant to the President of the United States, Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs from 2001 to 2005. He resigned all three government positions immediately after he was indicted on federal obstruction and perjury charges resulting from the grand jury investigation into the CIA identity leak known as the Plame Affair. He was found guilty. President Bush subsequently commuted his sentence, meaning that "Scooter" went free after paying a substantial penalty from his own personal funds. Conservative commentators like Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol believe that President Bush will give Libby a full pardon before leaving office in January 2009.

Fast forward to this past week. Scott McClellan's book publishing company released this three paragraph "tease" about the book which will hit bookstores in April, 2008.

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

"There was one problem. It was not true.

"I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself"

COMMENT

There has been a lot of coverage of this astonishing revelation, especially on MSNBC with Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, but very little on FOX News.

On Tuesday November 20th Brit Hume on his "Special Report" program made only a token mention about the new book and the "leak," maintaining that the information contained in the book is "old news."

John Gibson, who co-hosts "The Big Story" with Heather Nauert, made the following snide comment about the book in his "My Word" segment on Wednesday, November 21.

Adding substance to the claims made in McClellan's new book, and likewise virtually ignored by FOX News, is a two-part video interview with Valerie Plame which can be seen here.

There is also additional evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in the "leak" of Valerie Plame's name to the media.

From Truthout:

"Copies of handwritten notes by Vice President Dick Cheney, introduced at trial by attorneys prosecuting former White House staffer I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, would appear to implicate George W. Bush in the Plame CIA Leak case.

"Bush has long maintained that he was unaware of attacks by any member of his administration against [former ambassador Joseph] Wilson. The ex-envoy's stinging rebukes of the administration's use of pre-war Iraq intelligence led Libby and other White House officials to leak Wilson's wife's covert CIA status to reporters in July 2003 in an act of retaliation.

"But Cheney's notes, which were introduced into evidence Tuesday during Libby's perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial, call into question the truthfulness of President Bush's vehement denials about his prior knowledge of the attacks against Wilson. The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador raises the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame's undercover role with the CIA?"

With all this documentation, which strongly suggests that the Bush White House and especially Vice President Cheney, were behind the "outing" of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame, FOX News has made an editorial decision to all but "spike" the story. Instead, FOX feeds its viewers hours of the latest news about Natalee Holloway and Drew Peterson.

It never ceases to amaze me that week in, week out FOX News has the unmitigated gall to call itself a news organization.

In a sad footnote, by stinting on its coverage of this story, FOX News ignores the fact that 4,000 young Americans having been killed and an additional 28,000 wounded in Iraq as a result of a war that McClellan now admits was started by liars.*


* Original post updated to correct chronological error. HT to Truth, the Anti-Newshound for the catch. - BC & MT, 11-25-07, 4:11 PM EST