Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A few things everyone should know about Andy Card

Before (or while) everyone starts to speculate why Andy Card stepped down as White House Chief of Staff, maybe we can lay a few things out that could let us make educated guesses.  Obviously, unless he is indicted within the next week or 2 (hat tip to seesdifferent), everything will be speculation.

But as far as speculation goes, we do know that he goes way back with the Bushies and we know that you can screw everything up royally and still be just a-ok with Bush crime cartel.  And we also know that Rumsfeld said that he tendered his resignation twice, only to have Georgieboy say no way.

So yes, something seems rotten here.  But let's try to separate the pure wild speculation from the facts.

Personally, I think that this is directly related to the CIA leak investigation, as opposed to his role with the illegal and unconstitutional wiretapping since that doesn't seem to be an issue that concerns Dear Leader and his merry band of criminals.  Additionally, while I am not sure whether Rove would turn against Card (not that I don't think that Rove has it in him, I just don't know if he has any additional "goods" on Card).  I also find it difficult to see Fitzgerald NOT indicting Rove, regardless of how much he is cooperating.  After all, we know that Rove was one of the leakers and he most likely lied under oath to Fitzgerald as well.  And we know how much Fitz hates having sand kicked in his face.

That is not to say that there was some bad blood between Card and Rove.  But Rove is fiercely loyal to Chimpy, and with Card as the Chief of Staff, anything that is between Rove and Card wouldn't be the best reflection on Dear Leader either.  This, to me, seemed more of a "Bush camp" vs. "Cheney camp" issue, although Rove's sliminess can't be disregarded.

So, back to Card.  The man was initially part of Poppa Bush's administration and this doesn't seem to be the "I want to run for office" or "I want to work in the private sector" or "I want to spend more time with my family" situation.  To me, it seems just as "coincidental" as Ari's resigning around the time that the CIA leak investigation started in full force.

My guess:  Card has been cooperating with Fitzgerald for a while, and it is high time that he gets out to avoid jail time, or an indictment or whatever else.  So what do we know about Card?

Well, thanks to the good folks at thinkprogress, we know quite a bit.

For starters, Card was the founder of the White House Iraq Group.

Systematic coordination began in August [2002], when Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. formed the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, to set strategy for each stage of the confrontation with Baghdad. A senior official who participated in its work called it "an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities."

In an interview with the New York Times published Sept. 6, Card did not mention the WHIG but hinted at its mission. "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," he said.

The group met weekly in the Situation Room. Among the regular participants were Karl Rove, the president's senior political adviser; communications strategists Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson; legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; and policy advisers led by Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, along with I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

We also know that at the very beginning of Fitzgerald's investigation, Card and Abu Gonzalez were involved in a very questionable situation regarding the preservation of documents related to the CIA leak investigation.  According to a report by Frank Rich of the NY Times,

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said that he spoke with White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. immediately after learning that the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. But Gonzales, who was White House counsel at the time, waited 12 hours before officially notifying the rest of the staff of the inquiry.  

"I specifically had our lawyers go back to the Department of Justice lawyers and ask them, 'Do you want us to notify the staff now, immediately, or would it be okay to notify the staff early in the morning?' And we were advised, go ahead and notify the staff early in the morning, that would be okay." He said most of the staff had left by the time the Justice Department called and that "no one knew about the investigation."

But he acknowledged telling one person: "the chief of staff. And immediately the next morning, I told the president.  And shortly thereafter, there was notification sent out to all the members of the White House staff," Gonzales said.

Now, for some speculation on my part.  We know that this administration is not to be trusted.  And we don't know who Card spoke with, if anyone, in that 12 hour period.  But we do know that there were 250 pages of emails that were originally deleted and recently turned over to Fitzgerald.  It certainly is feasible that these records were deleted in that 12 hour period, among who knows what else.

Here is a good timeline about the WHIG's activities between 2002 and 2004.  Although not confirmed as to what he said or to whom, it is believed that Card was questioned with respect to the CIA leak investigation.  Card is also one who spoke with Bob Woodward during the June - August 2003 time period, but of course Woodward says that it is nothing to be concerned with:

White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. said that he was a source whom Woodward testified he spoke with during that period. But Woodward said that neither Plame nor Wilson came up during that conversation.

We also know that Card was on the infamous "trip to Africa" aboard Air Force One where the classified State Department Report regarding Plame was circulated.  According to reports:

His inner-circle of confidants is also accompanying him on the tour.

They include Foreign Secretary Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Chief of Staff at the Whitehouse Andrew Card and Deputy Foreign Secretary for Africa Walter Kansteiner.

Card also initiated a conversation between Dear Leader and then-CIA Director George Tenet in late 2003, just as Fitzgerald's investigation was getting underway.  Tenet resigned around 8 months later, and had taken the blame for the Africa uranium lie in the State of the Union speech just two months earlier.

So what does this all mean?  Well, Card goes back to Poppa Bush, and we know what Poppa Bush thinks of Rove.  So my guess is that Card isn't as sleazy as Rove, et al.  However, I think that he is one of the people (like Ari) that was targeted by Fitzgerald early on and has been cooperating with Fitz.  Whether Fitz has the goods on him for directing the deletion of emails, destruction of documents, obstruction of justice or something way bigger such as the lies peddled to the world about Iraq is beyond me at this point (and I would love to see what emptywheel's thoughts are on this).

But Card certainly isn't an innocent figure here - he founded the WHIG, for starters.  He was the only one other than Abu Gonzalez that knew about the document preservation order for 12 hours before anyone else did, and there were emails that were improperly deleted.  He pops up in a number of situations that are questionable, including talking to Woodward around the time that others were leaking Plame's name to him.  He was on Air Force One when the classified State Department document was discussed.  He met with Tenet and Chimpy around the time that all this was coming to a head.

My guess?  Card has been getting the squeeze from Fitzgerald and it is high time that he gets away from the fire.  Just like Ari did.  Just like Matalin did.  Just like Tenet did.  Just like Powell did.

We shall see, but at least we have a good picture of how much he was involved in the CIA leak and the formulation and peddling of the Iraq war lies.

No comments: