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Did Libby/Cheney Hate the CIA or Joe Wilson More?

Did Scooter Libby get himself indicted because he hated Joe Wilson so much? I don’t think so. It’s more likely that Libby hated the CIA that much, and that he saw Joe Wilson as the CIA’s representative or front man in a battle between the CIA and the White House. I first heard this idea from Mort Zuckerman on the McLaughlin Group, and then found it in an op-ed by David Ignatius in the Washington Post.

Although Joe Wilson was an ambassador to an African country, he was not one of the top tier of career Foreign Service officers. He was more or less equivalent to a midlevel general in the military, most of whom are never heard from again after they retire. He seems to have some political connections, but again, not of the highest level. He did not have the personal clout to threaten the White House. He wrote an op-ed attacking the White House’s WMD justification for the Iraq War, but a lot of other people — academics, think tank staffers, other retired government officials — wrote articles attacking various aspects of the Iraq War, presumably without attracting the vicious attacks from Libby, Rove and Cheney that Wilson did.

Therefore, it makes sense to me that the White House saw the CIA as undercutting the White House rationale for the war and thus as a major bureaucratic enemy in Washington. When the White House staff found out that Wilson was married to a CIA agent, they assumed the worst: that he had been put up to his attack on the White House by the CIA. Thus, as a representative of the CIA he came under the kind of attack usually reserved for major Washington players, which he personally was not.

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