Sunday, January 30, 2005

Gannongate - Follow This Story

I first mentioned this breaking story yesterday. Well, it still hasn't officially "broken", but it has produced a flurry of research-related activity on the Daily Kos, and some attempts to cover up the trail. The current summary of the story is found here: Plame Leak/Fake News, Summary/Process: Part V. A summary on what has been found on Jeff Gannon is also reported in the dkosopedia.

This is a pretty ground breaking method of research, and I have to admit that I am pretty excited at the development. We can no longer rely on the mainstream media to make any effort to cover the difficult story. Instead, we have possibly thousands of individual Kossacks (members of Daily Kos) volunteering their time and working together to put together the background research on this story.

So, what is the major background on this story? Jeff Gannon, presumed to be a pseudoname, based on an article by Atrios, was somehow given Whitehouse Press Credentials, despite having no valid press credentials. Gannon has been known to provide very easy softball questions to the Bush Administration during press conferences, like this one during President Bush's January 26th Whitehouse News Conference:

Thank you. Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid [D-NV] was talking about soup lines. And [Senator] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work -- you've said you are going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?

It is now being assumed that the Whitehouse purposely set up Jeff Gannon, along with a fake news agency, Talon News, to provide these planted softball questions during Bush's press conferences. Jeff is not a legitimate journalist, and should never have been granted Whitehouse Press Credentials - generally only provided to the cream of the crop among all journalists. Jeff's only journalism training was from a 2-day course at the Leadership Institute which cost a whopping $50.

One of the key issues in the matter is that it Gannon self-implicated himself as having access to a internal government memo that named Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a covert CIA agent. If you recall, Robert Novak was singled out for having revealed the identity of Valerie Plame, an act thought to be in retaliation to Wilson for contradicting the Bush Administration's use of false information in providing for the War in Iraq.

Since the story first broke on Daily Kos on Friday, it has turned into a large tangled web of leads, ideas, and assumptions. It is apparent that somebody is trying to cover their tracks -- taking down content from websites published by Jeff Ganon, and changing the content of WHOIS records, which record the contact information for the registrant of said websites. There is also some speculation that the pen name Jeff Gannon, make have come from Gannon International, a company with apparent ties to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth organization.

So, where does this all leave us? Look for this story to begin developing legs this upcoming week. After the Kossacks begin to feel confident that they have covered most of the loose ends to the story, they will present the ideas to someone in the mainstream media. Early suggestions include David Brock, from, who wrote about Gannon late last week, and actually have a section entitled Gannongate on the front page of their website; Joe Conason, Eric Alterman, the New York Times, or Keith Olbermann. After the recent revelations involving taxpayer funded propaganda, with Karen Ryan, Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher,
and Mike McManus, the Bush Administration will not be happy to have this story break.

...and, neither should the public of the United States. How sick does the story have to get before the American Public actually begins to feel outraged. Let's look at the big picture here:

-To start with, Feb 16, 2003, millions of people around the world gathered in protest of the Bush Administration's plans to go to war in Iraq. The Bush Administration knew they were in tough - They decided to plant a fake news reporter into the Whitehouse Press, so that they could have easy planted questions, which would help them control the flow of the press conference proceedings. Taxpayer funded propaganda ensued. The Bush Regime began to lied repeatedly about the motivations and evidence to go to war. They lied specifically about the aluminum tubes and supposed uranium yellowcake transactions in Niger. Joseph Wilson attempted to reveal to the American public that the Bush Administration was lying, in a New York Time Op-Ed entitled, What I Didn't find in Africa.

The Bush Administration needed a quick way to marginalize the Wilson story before it grew out of control. They neoconservative think tanks quickly put together a plan to plant a story that Wilson's wife, Plame, helped set up Wilson in the roll of the Niger investigation, doing their best to cast Wilson as a partisan attempting to ruin the Bush Administration's credibility. This is the key: In revealing the identity of Valerie Plame, the administration put the lives of many covert operatives at risk, and hampered their ability to conduct their own war on terror. By using a hand-selected and placed shill, the administration also undermined the trust of the American People, and undermined the ideals of democracy -- this runs counter to everything the Bush Administration claims to stand for. This is an insane breach of trust to the American people - I'm talking Worse than Watergate.