If no news is good news, what’s old Fawn Hall news?

Published 3:45 pm Monday, July 16, 2007

By Staff
President Bush doggedly stays the course except when it came to the CIA leak case, which he brushed off July 12 as old news.
Bush, whose 33-percent approval rating looks pretty good next to Congress at 24 percent, previously insisted he wanted to wait to talk about it until after the investigation concluded into his administration's role.
Now that day's finally here, he says skip it. "It's run its course. Now we're going to move on."
That's not his only masterful mixed message during a rare news conference in the White House press room.
Back when the leak case was new news, Bush bristled with bravado when it came to denouncing leaks. Then we got to the bottom of it, which revealed the undisputed fact that people working for him were indeed the source of the identity of Valerie Plame, a former CIA operations officer who served overseas and is married to Joseph Wilson, a critic of his administration's handling of the Iraq war.
White House political adviser Karl Rove and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage were the primary sources for Robert Novak's 2003 column outing Plame. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also admitted telling reporters about her.
But after an expensive two-year investigation, only Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted – on charges of obstructing justice and of lying to investigators and to the grand jury.
Jurors in March convicted Libby of all but one count, but Bush commuted his 30-month prison sentence and has not ruled out eventually pardoning him.
Quite a distance from the Bush who wanted to "know the truth" and vowed to fire anyone who leaked.
But that's old news.
Here's some new news: U.S. intelligence analysts conclude al-Qaida has in six years rebuilt its capability to a level not seen since just before Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
How do we know this besides Michael Chertoff's gut?
Because of a "secret report that remains classified." Why are we reading it if it's classified?
Can't Cheney stamp that "Treated As Top Secret/SCI" like he does talking points for reporters and stash the document in his man-sized office safe?
It would take another two years to determine how The Associated Press "learned" this and then it would be old news that the leaker worked for the Bush administration.
Here's the top old news of the week: I saw Fawn Hall!
Or at least I thought I did, except Sara Taylor's blonde hair hangs straight, where Lt. Col. Oliver North's secretary in the mid-1980s had locks that tumbled behind her in a curly mane.
Hall was embroiled in the infamous Iran/Contra scandal. She smuggled secret documents out of North's office, shredded others and was later given immunity for her testimony.
I lost track of her after she married former Doors manager and Jim Morrison biographer Danny Sugarman, who died in January 2005. Early in their relationship they entered drug and alcohol rehab together.
There ought to be a place for Hall in the secretive Bush administration, where shredding has given away to the technological advance of losing e-mail.
Taylor, Bush's former political director, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing July 11 on fired federal prosecutors, including former Cass County prosecutor Margaret Chiara.
Taylor said she knew of no involvement by Bush.
Former counsel Harriet Miers was ordered to defy a congressional subpoena and could be cited for contempt because Bush claims executive privilege.
The controversy has hobbled the Justice Department and embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales all year, but that's old news, too.
Quips, quotes and qulunkers: "It's true that the Libby affair pales beside other recent abuses of power – the war in Iraq, intrusive domestic surveillance, secret CIA prisons, Guantanamo, torture 'lite' and whatever else Bush and Cheney have done to the Constitution that we don't know about yet … Isn't the rule of law an aspect of our way of life that's worth defending? A duly constituted jury of his peers found Libby, who was a top-notch lawyer before joining the administration, guilty of serious charges."
– Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson
"George W. Bush once promised that anyone in his administration who broke the law would "be taken care of." At the time, he appeared to mean they would face the consequences of their actions. Then he took care of Libby, and all at once, his words assumed a somewhat different tone."
– Time magazine, July 16
"I'm more of a man than any liberal."
– Ann Coulter
"It's hard to shine when you stand next to the sun."
– David Axelrod, Barack Obama's chief strategist, on former president Bill Clinton campaigning in Iowa with his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
Anniversaries: Cameron Crowe, 50.
Obits: Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette died July 10 in a Mississippi crash. He was 57. Marlette, who divided his time between Hillsborough and Tulsa, Okla., visited Mississippi to help a group of Oxford High School students with the musical version of his syndicated comic strip, "Kudzu." July 6 he delivered the eulogy at his father's funeral in Charlotte, N.C. Marlette spoke daily with 2000 Dogwood Visiting Author Pat Conroy, who called his death "a shock of all shocks." Marlette, who also published two novels, was the passenger in a pickup truck driven by Oxford High's theater director which hyroplaned in heavy rain and hit a tree.
Former first lady Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, 94, died July 11 at her home in Austin, Texas. Her national beautification efforts signed into law in 1965 was the first major legislation campaign launched by a president's wife and paved the way for the 1970s environmental movement.
Her husband, 36th President Lyndon Baines Johnson, died in 1973. Not only did she write his immortal words, "I will not seek, nor will I accept, the nomination of my party" in 1968, she built a radio station into a broadcasting empire worth millions.