Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Plumber Problem

Aside from its titillation value, the Fornigate scandal (hat tip to Billmon for coining the phrase), is the join between the general corruption issues in the Rethuglican Congress and the fascist coup the Cheneyites are trying to enact by militarizing the government and the nation into a Forever War.

Billmon nails it here:

I'd say it would take years for the agency to recover, but my suspicion is that it will never recover, as its missions and resources continue to flow towards the Pentagon, like stars being sucked down a black hole. Rather than being a hatchet man, like Schlesinger, or a caretaker, like Carter's CIA director, Stansfield Turner, Goss's successor may be more in the nature of an undertaker, charged with the continued, gradual dismantling of the agency -- taking the C out of CIA.

And that may be the bigger story here. What's been happening over the past decade -- or longer, according to Andrew Bacevich -- has been a relentless expansion in the authority and functions of the military services, and of their civilian overlords in the Secretary of Defense's office, at the expense of the CIA, the State Department, the NSC and the other bits of alphabet in the national security soup. Years ago I saw an editorial cartoon that showed the Pentagon attached to the White House as its new west wing. We may be nearing the day when it's actually the other way around. And Porter Goss has done his part to bring that day closer.

The Night Porter Checks Out

Dick Cheney ==> Porter Goss ==> Dusty Foggo ==> Brent Wilkes ==> War profiteering and general K-Street corruption racket. The key is that it also goes War profit/K Street ==> Wilkes ==> Foggo ==> Goss ==> Cheney. Hmm, where have we seen that pattern before? Be sure to read this series of articles on TPM Muckraker to get the background on all the twists and turns of the situation. While it is a lot of information, it is in bite sized posts.

The way that the Cheney administration is getting Congress and business to go along with the fascist conversion is by buying them off with military contracts. Period. Yes, there are some true believers in the mix who really do want to see the US become a military-backed dictatorship (including some very high-ups in the US military), but most are just in it for the money.

That's why the limousine company at the center of the scandal is so darn important. They are the equivaent of the Watergate plumbers. They were transporting congress critters to dens of iniquity, but they were also (and far more importantly) in the employ of the Cheney secret government apparatus, transporting Cheyney's people around. And where were they going? To meetings and locations Cheney doesn't want people to know about. If all that was at stake was some hick politicos getting to play poker and fuck a few whores in exchange for an earmark, Porter Goss would not be leaving. Trading votes for moeny is standard operating procedure and no Cheneyite would ever be removed for it.

The abruptness of Goss' departure is also important. While I do believe there is some major internecine battles being waged within the fascist party (they live for power and bloodshed, after all), it is telling that Cheney is obviously scrambling to prevent something really bad from getting out. Check out Laura Rosen's post from this morning:

So then he was forced out on very short notice? No notification to the House Intelligence committee? What about the months of press about the suddenly well-known tension between Goss and Negroponte, with Negroponte ascendant? Not really. (Indeed check out the recent coverage about Congressional raised eyebrows over the empire Negroponte is building, and his alleged frequent lunchtime visits to a fancy DC club for swim and cigar breaks).

The story line until today has been far different: that much of the operative camp of the Agency perceived Goss as a political enforcer, someone who wasn't seen to be looking out for them but for the White House's interests; that Goss was rather passive and out of touch and overly delegated day to day affairs to his staff, "the Gosslings," led by the fiercely partisan Patrick Murray. I don't believe I have ever heard from people in that world a sense that Goss was looking out for them. The newspaper coverage has suggested rather that a lot of the experienced bench strength cadre at the Agency had left in fights with Goss and his staff during his rocky tenure, and that the Agency had never been more demoralized. So all that time, during all those departures, Goss was covertly fighting for his folks against the new intel reorganization? He was a misunderstood champion of the Agency?

Does something about this story line that Goss suddenly left because of his long-standing tension with Negroponte, his fraternity brother from Yale, over Goss fighting to hold CIA turf seem a bit canned to you?

And also Kevin Drum's follow up about whether there have been any hints of this alleged falling out:

But, yeah, it doesn't seem very likely, does it? After all, as Laura points out, the press seems to have rather suddenly discovered this turf war. In fact, I just checked Nexis, and here's what I found: in the week before Friday's announcement, not one single reporter even mentioned the names Porter Goss and John Negroponte in the same story. In the month prior, there was only one piece that mentioned the phrase "turf war," and it wasn't being used to describe problems between Goss and Negroponte. On Thursday, a mere 24 hours before the Goss announcement, the Washington Post's Dana Priest did a one-hour online Q&A and never alluded to tension between Goss and Negroponte, even though she had several chances to do so.

So what's the deal? For the past several months, the consensus word on Goss has been that he's loyally protecting George Bush by aggressively tracking down the leakers who are undermining his ability to torture prisoners in Eastern European prisons and firing all the CIA's closet Democrats. That seems like sterling service. But now, out of the blue, we're supposed to believe that Bush woke up Friday morning and suddenly decided that some previously unreported bureaucratic turf war finally needed to be stopped? Who exactly is the source for this theory? Whoever it is, he seems to have been a busy boy on Friday.

No, boys and girls, something very dangerous to the Cheney silent coup has just occured. They didn't mobilize this fast over the Plame counter-punch, though perhaps they take the threats a little more seriously given the effectiveness of Fitzgerald's prosecution. They have a plumber problem at a time when the vast majority of the public is not very happy with what they are doing and there is a very real possibility that they will lose one or even both houses of Congress. Can we say subpoena? I knew you could.

I think we are looking at a very dangerous time in US government. We have a gang in office that thinks dictatorship is a reasonable way to govern, and is not opposed to dirty wars against citizens. After all, they have directly supported them in Central and South America. They can't just shrug and leave their considerable policy and economic failings for the next administration to clean up (and become unpopular in the doing). They need to avoid anyone looking into what the plumbers have been doing.


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