Don’t you dare Plame me again: Plame and the great American leak machine

Frankly, I would love to get a peek at the ‘not so polite’ letters being sent to the Washington Post and other media monopolies. If you care to read the rest of this inane apologia, go ahead. But the long and short of it is that the Post still maintains that they did not deliberately mislead their readers. If you read between the lines, what we have here is a failure to communicate the basic truth. Not just about Iraq, but about the Washington Post, and about the lavish quarters they assign to their in-house war party and about their passion for using anonymous senior officials to leak neo-con war party agendas.

Due to the need for brevity, this article or pamphlet will only attempt to address the Washington Post’s dominant position in the leak industry, their role in promoting the Iraq war and their willing collaboration with the ‘evil-doers’ who outed Valerie Plame.

Let me begin by asserting that there ought to be an anti-trust law against a few favored media monopolies controlling the leak industry in Washington. Since that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, a strike against their media products might teach them a few valuable lessons about how to operate responsible leak machines.

In a media environment driven by the imperatives of a 24-hour news cycle, successive administrations have anointed a handful of corporate media giants as the high priests of the leak. They get access to the senior administration officials who insist on anonymity. They get the exclusive interviews. At any press conference, they get to ask the questions. The same media monopolies get the first taste of the latest carefully engineered sound bite. When the folks at Foggy Bottom or the Pentagon want to float a trial balloon, they make sure the wind is blowing in the direction of the front door of the Washington post. The hot air is then carefully calibrated for a precision landing.

All these privileges go right to the bottom line of the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, FOX and CNN. If ever there was a blatant case of corporate welfare, it can be found in the incestuous relationship of the media monopolies and the American Republic.

State controlled media outlets have no choice but to give the gray appearance and predictable substance of a Soviet era Pravda. The neo-conservative cabal, over the course of the last decade, has given us cause to worry about an entirely new political phenomenon. What we have now is a media controlled super power, a post-Pravda neo-orwellian reality that would make Orwell spin in his grave. Welcome to America.CON.

When America.CON decides to go to war, Donald Graham and Rupert Murdoch stand to gain. The war against Iraq might well be the first war staged for Reality TV. As the ‘Shock and Awe’ phase of the campaign was getting launched, CNN’s Aaron Brown smiled into the camera and rhapsodized about what a ‘perfect moment’ it was for journalists. FOX had a ‘special’ story about the oldest rank and file Marine who couldn’t wait to ‘blow things up in the desert’.

When twenty million people around the world staged history’s largest peace demonstrations, a Fox reporter covered the story from the Capitol Mall after the rally was over. He showed up just in time to report on the litter left behind. Murdoch’s morons left the impression that these peace-loving hordes had the audacity to invade America’s sacred capital for the sole purpose of trashing its pristine environment.

All the same, Fox ratings went through the roof and profit margins expanded. For years to come, Time Warner still be marketing tons of ‘exclusive never before seen uncensored’ footage in the wee hours of the morning. The Washington Post volunteered for the role of grand marshal in this jingoistic parade, providing FOX and CNN with erudite commentary from their resident war machine pundits. Krauthammer and his neo-con brethren form The Weekly Standard, a Murdoch publication, were all over the cable talk shows spreading epidemic yellow war fever.

Now, if you believe the mass media morons were motivated by an excessive dose of patriotism, you should consider buying my lifetime pass for a tunnel under the Atlantic. I need to unload it because my car insurance just ran out. If you already have a lifetime pass to the Trans-Atlantic, please consider reading another article.

This is for the rest of you.

Consider the latest felony leak that exposed the identity of a CIA agent. Working on a tip from two senior administration officials, Robert Novak wrote his infamous article identifying Ambassador Wilson’s wife as a CIA operative. A few months later, a scandal gone cold was resurrected. The CIA finally got around to demanding a Justice Department investigation. Ashcroft was now expected to investigate the identity of the two felons who had exposed a highly valued undercover agent specializing in weapons of mass destruction. Apparently, it had taken two months for Tenant to get a clear message from some very angry rank and file spooks.

Not long after Tenant made his move, a front-page story in Novak’s very own Washington Post, contained another leak from yet another ‘senior administration official’. In the leak business, timing is everything. This particular unidentified official had the odious task of leaking on the leakers. Is there no honor among leakers?

This third leaker reported that the two anonymous ‘Novak’ felons had exposed the CIA agent to five or six other journalists. That adds up to three leakers and six of the monopoly media lads, without counting Dana Priest and Mike Allen. None of the six anonymous journalists have yet to surface. Although Andrea Mitchell of NBC has been mentioned.

Besides, no one can be certain if they were a dirty half dozen or a dirty dozen or more. These days, Washington is a city inhabited by invisible anonymous leak gangs. But it must be obvious, at this stage of the game, that revealing the identity of these journalists and their monopoly media mother ships would cause no harm. Certainly nothing close to the harm inflicted on Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV and Valerie Plame.

Does anyone in Beltway circles recall Martha Mitchell’s role in exposing the Watergate scandal? My point is that, unless all eleven of these characters are living as hermits, there are more than eight journalists and three leakers involved in this caper. One can only hope that some of their spouses or significant others have a mouth like Martha’s. And we can always depend on Benjamin Franklin’s wisdom that “three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead”.

Moving on. Novak wrote his article long after it became clear that Joseph Wilson was right on the mark. The intelligence community had already verified that the ‘yellow cake’ uranium story was a blatant fraud. By his own account, Novak wanted to make the point that Wilson was unqualified to come up with correct conclusions. The inference is, if it had not been for nepotism at the CIA, a different more ‘qualified’ investigator might have arrived at the wrong conclusions. This would have had the desired effect of giving more weight to the war agenda promoted by the Likudnik cabal in Cheney’s office and the Pentagon’s Office for Special Plans.

Novak was apparently distraught that the administration had made the mistake of sending a ‘liberal’ to Niger. The kind of liberal who had donated money to the Bush campaign. The same kind of liberal who served with honor as the last senior American diplomat to leave Baghdad before the First Gulf War.

The real problem Novak had with the good Ambassador was that Wilson didn’t seem to understand that the purpose of his Niger mission was to arrive at the wrong conclusion. Further, when the administration insisted on sticking to the ‘yellow cake’ scam in a major presidential speech, Wilson had the audacity to break his silence. By Novak’s measure, Wilson IV deserved retribution for not demonstrating loyalty to Bush II and his determination to mislead the nation into war.

Novak now claims that outing Wilson’s wife was no big deal. He had first confirmed the story with the CIA, who asked him to put a lid on it. The unidentified CIA source made it clear that such a leak might cause ‘difficulties’ if Plame wanted to travel abroad. In any case, his source at the CIA volunteered; Plame would never get another foreign assignment. A little translation should help. Valerie Plame was already getting an unhealthy dose of punishment for having a spousal relationship with Ambassador Wilson. Novak ignored the warning and went ahead with a mission designed to cause more collateral damage to the Wilson clan. It was a revenge thing that we all understand and the Post editors gave Novak plenty of space to administer the punishment.

The most baffling thing about this whole affair is that Novak is not a neo-conservative and was adamantly opposed to the war. That explains why a number of authentic conservatives and libertarians like Patrick Buchanan and Justin Raymondo are circling the wagon to protect Novak.

In a number of articles before the invasion of Iraq, Novak made it clear that the war had a lot to do with the Likudnik vision of reengineer the Middle East for the greater glory of Ariel Sharon. Like most traditional conservatives and Libertarians, Novak subscribes to an ‘America First’ agenda. As opposed to the Israeli First cabal that masquerades as neo-cons. These Likudnik fanatics, led by Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Bolton, Abrams and Libby consider it a profitable transaction when Israel gains an inch and America loses a yard.

From here, things get real ugly. On October 1, 2003, again in the Washington Post, Novak wrote that ‘the published story that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me is simply untrue’. Novak failed to mention that this ‘simply untrue’ statement was a front-page Washington Post story by Mike Allen and Dana Priest. Now, it is a fair assumption that all three Post journalists occasionally share the same dining facilities. So, Allen and Priest might very well be sitting two tables over from Novak devouring a pastrami sandwich. Why doesn’t Novak just walk over to them and ask them for the beef or offer to grease their hair with a little mustard? Besides, Don’t they hang around water coolers at the Post?

If Novak is not a neo-con, Dana Priest might very well have such affiliations. It is worth noting that, until 2002, she was a ‘guest scholar’ at a taxpayer-supported outfit called the United States Institute for Peace. Sitting on the board of this Orwelian neo-con scam is one Harriet Zimmerman, the current vice president of AIPAC, the mother ship of the Israeli lobby. Douglas Feith is listed as a former director. According to Jim Lobe, Feith’s law partner in Israel is a spokesman for the settler movement. Another current director of this ‘Peace Institute’ is the xenophobic one-man hate machine and ‘total war’ advocate, Daniel Pipes.

The Pipes/Priest connection to the United States Institute for Peace offers an intriguing case study of the extent of Washington Post influence on Beltway politics. It also demonstrates the strength of neo-con influence at the Washington Post. Appointments to the board of the United States Institute for Peace must receive Senate confirmation. When Pipes’ nomination came up, a number of Senators reviewed his most blatantly racist writings. Based on their findings, the Senate of the United States of America, in a highly unusual move, declined to confirm Pipes. A few days later, Bush got his marching orders from Charles Krauthammer, the arch neo-con. In his regular Washington Post column, Krauthammer advised the president to ignore the Senators and appoint Pipes during the congressional recess. As it was written, so it was done. Bush always follows the advice of the Sharon worshipping media operatives at the Post.

Neo-cons, all fifty of them, firmly believe that they are smarter than the rest of the country, understand the world better than their fellow Americans and know how best to finesse the details of America’s foreign policy to suit the state they worship, Israel.

If you’ve never met a real live neo-conservative, don’t fret. Most Americans have also never met a neo-con, don’t know what a neo-con is, don’t care to know what a neo-con is and will probably never encounter another American who gives a rat’s ass about neo-cons. However, it might serve them well to take a little notice of what neo-cons do to the rest of us.

Take a look over your shoulder at Max Boot working on his latest neo-con assignment. This former Wall Street Journal editor is busy dismissing the seventy per cent of Americans who want an independent investigation of the Plame affair. In an insolent article in the Los Angeles Times he dismissed the public’s interest in getting to the bottom of this scandal. Old Boot advised America that the whole matter ‘was a complicated incident that no one outside the Beltway understands’. In the same article (LA Times, 10/2/2003), Boot couldn’t resist taking a slap at the CIA agents who want to make a fuss about the two felons who outed one of their comrades. He opined, in an accent loaded with disdain, that “the failures of the intelligence community constitute a major scandal that’s not getting nearly enough attention”.

Here is a little good news for Max. Most Americans agree with him that they don’t have a clue about operating Beltway machinery. Yet they instinctively understand that Ashcroft is not a suitable candidate for this mission and that his only purpose will be to put this scandal to sleep. He is now performing a special dance called the Ashcroft trot. One step forward in the fall, another step forward by spring, two steps back by late summer, and two steps to the extreme right after the election.

Now comes the bad news for Max Boot. A clear majority of Americans will continue to insist on an independent legal process to probe the Plame affair. And if the Beltway machinery gets in the way, they might very well react with the passion of a Luddite mob.

As for intelligence failures, Max Boot certainly must know that they were deliberately engineered ‘failures’ that resulted from the cherry picking of solid CIA and DIA intelligence findings. After all, it was his neo-con buddies, Libby and Feith and Wolfowitz, who insisted on planting the cherry orchards at the Pentagon and in Cheney’s front yard. The only part of the intelligence community that needs intense scrutiny is the Office of Special Plans, an intelligence unit set up by Wolfowitz and headed by Abram Shulsky. It is common knowledge among Max Boot’s Beltway crowd that the mission of this unusual ‘intelligence’ unit was to debunk, degrade and dumb down solid intelligence findings from the CIA, the DIA and the State Department.

Max’s boot is treading on wafer thin ice. It would be a cakewalk to investigate the intelligence failures of the dozen analysts who staffed the OSP. Any reader familiar with the work of Karen Kwiatkawski or Jim Lobe will quickly discover that most of these intelligence ‘experts’ were associated in some manner with the Israeli Lobby and the neo-cons.

Jim Lobe has concluded that the “The CIA’s exclusion from this network could help explain why Cheney and his National Security Adviser, Lewis Libby, a long time associate of Wolfowitz, frequently visited the agency in what analysts widely regarded as pressure to conform to OSP assessments”. Kwiatawski, a recently retired ASAF lieutenant Colonel, also reveals in her expose that the OSP regularly leaked their intelligence ‘findings’ to their Likudnik media operatives. Her list of media operatives included Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post.

Perhaps the most damning result of any investigation into the deliberate OSP ‘intelligence failures’ will be the discovery of excessive reliance on sources like Ahmed Chalabi’s National Congress (INC). The mainstream intelligence community dismissed the INC for very sensible reasons. Chalabi, a creature of the American Enterprise Institute, had old associations with neo-cons like Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. His ‘intelligence’ was an echo of their ‘intelligence’ which was an echo of Israeli ‘intelligence’. Judith Miller, Sulzberger’s in-house WMD ‘expert’ at The New York Times, also found it convenient to use Chalabi as a ‘reliable’ source.

It was all a ‘circular’ intelligence scam. First you concoct intelligence using operatives like Chalabi and the INC. Next you discover the intoxicating concoction on the menu at Chalabi’s place. Using his recipe you dismiss the findings of the CIA and DIA as too timid and unworthy of master chefs. You than selectively practice the art of the leak by contacting fellow travelers like Murdoch’s minions at FOX to come over for a taste of Chalabi’s soup de jour. For good measure, Charles Krauthammer and Judith Miller also get invited for the main course. Last, for a final coup de grace, Judith Miller’s WMD stories are put on the OSP lunchroom menu as a new item made of fresh leaks.

The Post, along with the Times and the Wall Street Journal, had full concrete knowledge of the OSP intelligence scam. In fact, many of their reporters took an active part in leaking OSP ‘findings’ or in originating OSP leaks ‘intelligence’. But rest assured that Max Boot already knew that. Bring on the ‘intelligence failure’ investigations, Max, and let the boot kick find a suitable destination,

Needless to say, antiwar conservative pundits like Robert Novak would be left out of the leak phase off this OSP ‘intelligence’ loop. So, when he was lured with the temptation of a hot Plame leak, he must have been ecstatic to be back in the grace of this neo-con dominated administration. Access is everything in the leaking game. After forty years in the leak business, Novak had been neo-conned.

Being an old insider, Novak would be loath to admit that he had lost the house to a couple of neo-con lads in a Three-Card Monty scam. And because the leak business has its own ‘code of honor’, a code rigorously enforced at the Washington Post, Novak is now expected to never reveal the names of his contacts. Thirty years on, Bob ‘Watergate’ Woodward has yet to identify ‘Deep Throat’, although Alexander Haig and Henry Kissinger are prime suspects.

Had the overly optimistic OSP/neo-con ‘vision’ materialized, American troops would have been greeted with rice and roses. It was the same Likudnik fantasy that Sharon sold to Begin before invading Lebanon in 1982. Regardless of outcomes, neo-cons always stick to the same fantasies.

Here is a small and incomplete sample of their other ‘visions’. Bush would launch his re-election campaign by making a spectacular victory speech from an aircraft carrier. Old Europe, led by a humble Chirac, would come begging to join the post-war peacekeeping alliance in exchange for a few scraps of the lavish construction contracts financed by Iraqi oil exports. The Iraqis and other Arabs would bow to the great white imperial master in Washington. The United Nations would show up, hat in hand, with a resolution accepting America’s newest oil colony as a legitimate reality.

American troops would head home for a ticker tape parade down 5th Avenue and would be treated to yellow ribbon festivities in their hometowns. 30,000 Army regulars would remain in Iraq to lead a multinational force under the leadership of an American general. An American czar would become defacto head of state. Chalabi would accept the role of puppet president on a neo-con string.

If WMD arsenals were not found, a triumphant America would lose interest. No Bin Laden or 911 connections. No worries. And the neo-cons would go back to their drawing boards sketching the invasion of Syria or Iran. The choice would be left to Sharon. It was these visions that were sold to the public by the Washington Post and their partners in crime at FOX, CNN, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In the event that the results of the Iraq campaign got out of sync with their intelligence expectations, The neo-cons in the OSP and the media war rooms had a backup plan already in place. For while decisive victory has many fathers, quagmires are orphans. Fortunately, Chalabi, had already volunteered to play his part as the ‘quagmire’ orphan. Chalabi would take the blame for feeding unreliable information to intelligence agencies and to his media contacts like Judith Miller. But because he was an orphan who was willing to go to any lengths to liberate his country from Saddam’s tyranny, the judges would be lenient. Orphan or not, as the pet child of Wolfowitz and Perle, he would still be installed as the puppet president of a grateful Iraq. When things went seriously wrong, Chalabi was properly reprimanded in a public flogging. Even Judith Miller gave him a few ceremonial lashings.

But events outpaced the worst case scenarios of the OSP. Their post-war plan was a joke, the hallucination of an ugly Likudnik mind. And there was a serious glitch in the OSP backup plan to pin all the ‘intelligence failures’ on Chalabi. The yellow cake uranium scam did not originate from Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. It had started with reports in Italy about a burglary at Niger’s embassy. Fraudulent documents bearing Niger’s official stamp were then crudely leaked to an Italian journalist. She thought they were a joke and they were. When the scam made its way to Langley via Italian intelligence, Cheney asked the CIA to follow up on the Niger yellow cake ‘lead’ that would ‘prove’ Saddam’s nuclear ambitions.

So, the CIA dispatched Ambassador Wilson to Niger to investigate if there was any substance to the story. He reported back that it was a crude fraud. The mainstream intelligence community concurred, except that the OSP conveniently ‘forgot’ the CIA’s finding. Wilson got irked when Bush used the famous sixteen yellow cake words in a speech to the nation. He wrote a critical article challenging the President and Bush was forced to eat all sixteen words.

Tenent gallantly came forward and took the blame for this intelligence ‘failure’. Like Chalaby, he also volunteered for a public flogging and the honor of administering the ceremonial lashes went to Condi Rice. Because her lashes where less than gentle, Tenent demanded that Condi also volunteer for a flogging. In Condi’s case, the ceremonial lashes where administered by an unidentified senior administration official.

With in a week, the whole nasty Wilson affair had been put to rest. The clean up crew at FOX reduced the scandal to the number of letters in sixteen words. The neo-con pundits were outraged that anyone would use new math to arrive at some moral equivalence between sixteen lousy words and the Clinton stain on Lewinsky’s dress. Wilson’s gripe was thrown in the heap the neo-cons label ‘the dustbin of history’. The whole matter was soon forgotten. Wilson had his fifteen minutes of fame and America moved on.

The Wilson story could very well have ended up as a single footnote in this saga of war and deception. Hans Blix and many others had already taken more serious swipes at the administration. But the White House neo-cons, arrogant as ever and addicted to a doctrine of revenge, decided to get even with Wilson. By their calculations, if they let Wilson off the hook, others might make similar attempts to snatch the truth from the claws of the neo-con establishment. This led to a fatal tactical error. They chose Plame as the vessel of their vengeance. To cover up the neo-con trail, an anti-war conservative pundit, Robert Novak, got the call to smear Wilson with Plame. The first blow in the smear campaign against the Wilsons found a willing publisher in The Washington Post.

This time the neo-cons had gone too far. As they say in Three-Card Monty business, they were out of luck. If only because men like Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV don’t take kindly to some neo-con Likudnik operative assaulting the career of their beloved AK-47 wielding Jane Bond wives.

So, the Wilson clan took up arms and a whole bunch of livid former intelligence agents joined the fray. An unmarked line in the Beltway swamps had been crossed. And we are no where near the final chapter. It is going to get uglier still. While active CIA agents and analysts are averse to any involvement in domestic politics and keen on maintaining their secret identity from their mother-in-law. Their former colleagues, now retired, have been itching for this fight. It is worth noting that the reputation of these guys is that they are willing to kill a man just to practice killing a man for their country.

In this national security scandal, all roads lead to the Washington Post Company, The Great Monopoly Leak Machine. The Post, which also runs NewsWeek, is the property of Donald Graham, the son of Katherine ‘Watergate’ Graham. It is still the home of Bob ‘Watergate’ Woodward. It is also the central repository, which contains the identity of the original two leakers and the leaker who leaked on the leakers and the other monopoly media operatives who were leaked upon.

The Washington Post, a giant leak machine that was never much of a newspaper, is an integral part of an elite apparatus that controls the state. It is an apparatus that we common folks never have a chance to dump at the polls. All too often, it becomes difficult to determine if the mass media operatives are embedded in the state or if the state has evolved into a mere extension of the mass media empires ruled by Graham, Sulzberger and Murdoch.

At this point, it is worth taking a little side trip to consider a few quotes from Bob Woodward on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Watergate scandal:

“Nixon was willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.”

“The Watergate burglary was just the tip of the iceberg.”

“Watergate was part of a scheme and a series of illegal activities that amount to a subversion of government”.

“Newspapers that are truly independent, like the Washington Post, can still aggressively investigate anyone or anything with no holds barred”.

Where is Bob Woodward when you need him to do some heavy lifting? Well, he still hangs his hat at The Washington Post. It must be his back or his backbone. They are the first to show the signs of age.

In any case, it should come as no surprise that the New York Times would rush to the rescue of one of its rivals, all in the name of protecting sources. Sulzberger’s lads came up with this bit of chicanery: “As members of a profession that relies heavily on the willingness of government officials to defy their bosses and give the public vital information, we oppose "leak investigations" in principle. There is important First Amendment issues at play. But in writing this law, Congress specifically barred prosecuting a journalist who got the name of a covert operative from a government official. Consistent with that, the Bush administration should not use the serious purpose of this inquiry to turn it into an investigation of Mr. Novak or any other journalist, or to attempt to compel any journalists to reveal their sources. The Justice Department should focus its attention on the White House, not on journalists.” (NY Times editorial on 10/3/2003).

What a self-less act of comradeship? One Likudnik media monopoly stretching out a helping hand to another Likudnik media monopoly, all in the name of protecting the public interest and the profession’s ‘integrity’. It takes a mescaline-induced imagination to believe that any journalist with integrity would have his good name soiled by association with the Washington Post, CNN or the New York Times. It takes a fatal dose of the same substance to imagine that any real journalist would consider even working for Rupert Murdoch.

Forget about revealing sources. How about just revealing the identity of the six other journalists who were on the receiving end of the leak. Why were they entitled to such privileged consideration by two felon leakers out to settle a score with the Wilson clan?

Novak and other Beltway ‘journalists’ should consider defying their bosses, like the Times editorial suggests. They can start by injecting a little dose of honesty and integrity into their brew. It would do wonders for their product, the nation and the world. This is hardly the time to hide behind the First Amendment and their ‘mission statement’. Besides, it was Wilson who had the guts and took the risks to defy his bosses, not the criminals who exposed Valerie Plame.

Let us not soon forget that these media monopolies, with a full deck of Likudnik neo-con pundits, along with their ‘anonymous’ government sources, combined forces in a joint operation to market this war. They most recently used their First Amendment rights to warp the public perception of the reasons for the war against Iraq. Thanks to the ‘integrity’ of their journalism, the majority of Americans continue to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They also believe the canard that Iraq was actively marketing them at discounted prices to Bin Laden. These media tycoons had young American soldiers going to battle with pictures of the WTC in flames, believing that Saddam was behind 911.

As things now stand, there is nothing in the law that prevents Novak from revealing the name of these criminal elements who continue to hold senior positions in the Bush administration. It should be obvious that they are still capable of inflicting further damage to national security. The vast majority of Americans, including the Wilson clan, will hail Novak as a national hero if he defies his conspiratorial bosses at the Washington Post. Dana Priest should also come clean with the names of the other journalists who were designated receivers of this leak. The Pollard clones in this administration need to be exposed for the greater good of the nation. Let the mass media monopoly chips fall where they may.

Out the leakers, Novak. And expect a grateful nation to embrace you with open arms as a genuine ‘America Firster’. On receipt of the leak, you had a moral and legal obligation to expose these felons and protect Valerie Plame. Instead, you chose to expose Plame and you continue to protect the identity of two senior administration officials involved in an act of treason. You still have choices to make, Robert. Defy your bosses and strike a blow for clean government and responsible journalism.

Should Novak and Priest decline this very generous offer, there are other ways to convince The Washington Post to come clean. For starters, Pentagon, CIA and State department officials can stop lavishing leaks on the Post and NewsWeek. American soldiers and officers in Iraq can refuse to deal with their correspondents. Consumers can boycott the paper and the companies who advertise in The Post and NewsWeek. Corporate advertisers can cancel their contracts. Stockholders in the Post can dump the stock. CNN consumers and advertisers, the other home of Robert Novak, can also pitch in. Within a few months, the Post and NewsWeek will be reduced to a heap of scrap metal that used to function as printing presses. CNN could return to its roots as a medium sized Atlanta billboard company. And Murdoch will be living out his retirement days on a meager Australian pension. As for Sulzberger’s New York Times, it would be just as well if it was reduced to a minor league provincial rag.

Out the leakers, Robert. Help lead the Luddite revolt against the Beltway Monopoly Leak Machine.

Novak need not bear all the burdens of getting to the bottom of this scandal. If Donald Graham were to suddenly experience a Beltway minute of journalistic ‘integrity’, this story could break by the next edition and we would all become party to the truth. We must urge The Washington Post to resolve this matter and spare us all the agony and expense of the Ashcroft Trot. While American soldiers are enduring lethal daily attacks from the Iraqi resistance, we have a president who displays a suspicious casual apathy about uncovering the national security threats lurking within the walls of the White House.

The White House legal staff has already started using obstructionist tactics by making claims of executive privilege. If Bush was serious, he would already have called Donald Graham and asked him to prevail on Novak and Priest to reveal what they know or face retaliatory measures from the White House. George Bush, the national security President, could instruct White House staff and government departments to stop all contacts with the Washington Post until they hand over the names of the two senior officials who have committed this act of treason.

The appointment of a special prosecutor will only delay the process of discovery. An outsider will face a same obstructionist ‘executive privilege’ wall of silence, built twice as high. He will be provided with a few U-hauls full of redundant banal documents that will take years to sort out. Results will come in just as Bush is heading back to Texas at the end of a second term in office.

Bush has yet to find Bin Laden in Afghanistan or Saddam in Iraq. He has not found the WMDs. This is his opportunity locate national security ‘evil-doers’ right in his back yard. He can immediately start an investigation of the dozen OSP operatives. He can subject his staff to lie-detector tests.

Ashcroft should not have waited two months to figure out that a crime had been committed. He did not have to wait for a legal brief from the CIA. His pace suggests a cover-up in the works. He too can initiate contact with Donald Graham to resolve this matter ASAP.

Out the leakers, Donald. Or face the financial consequences from a very irate public.