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February 21, 2006

Exactly WHAT Is Fred Malek Advising Scooter Libby To Do?

What White House staffer wrote a memo saying this?

No written communications from the White House to the Departments -- all information about the program would be transmitted verbally... documents prepared would not indicate White House involvement in any way.

That was by Fred Malek, during the Nixon administration. His official title was "Special Assistant to the President."

Malek was writing to H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's Chief of Staff, about Nixon's "responsiveness program." This was a scheme to politicize as much of the federal government as possible in support of Nixon's 1972 reelection campaign. As the memo shows, Malek was extremely concerned that the program not be traced back to the White House. Unfortunately for Nixon, it was discovered and investigated as part of Watergate. (More details can be found in a recent Colbert King column.)

So, what's Malek doing these days?

Well, he's long been an influential member of the Republican establishment. (His rise was only slightly slowed when it turned out he'd carried out an order by Nixon to tally the number of Jewish staffers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in search of a "Jewish cabal.")

And as Scooter Libby's new website shows, Malek is part of the Libby Defense Fund's "Advisory Committee."

Which raises a natural question:

Why does Scooter Libby want the support of a political hatchetman from the Nixon administration who not only engaged in extremely unsavory activities, but then was caught trying to cover them up?

Is it because Fred Malek has completely changed since 1972, and Libby's completely innocent, so they can have long discussions about the importance of ethics in governmental service? Libby hoping for advice from Malek on how to avoid the mistakes he made?

In any case, the hubris of the Republican machine is flabbergasting. Again, Malek was Special Assistant to the President...while Libby, in addition to being Cheney's Chief of Staff, held the title of "Assistant to the President."

You'd think—just for the sake of PR—they'd want to keep Libby away from predecessors who'd done horrible things for presidents who later had to resign to escape impeachment. But apparently, no.

BONUS FOOTAGE: It takes a special kind of man to write a memo saying "be sure not to write anything down."

Posted at February 21, 2006 10:56 PM | TrackBack

For Fred is an honorable man/
So are they all, all honorable men

btw, some people got upset at my use of 'Herr' in a recent comment, but they would do well to read what Fritz Stern, a German Jewish refugee from Nazism said in a speech recently:

Umberto Eco, someone else who had first-hand experience with the Real McCoy, also wrote a disconcerting essay entitled 'Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism' which appeared in NY Review of Books in 1995. Here's an excerpt: can play the Fascism game in many ways and the name of the game does not change. According to Wittgenstein, what happens to the notion of "Fascism" is what happens with the notion of "play". A game can be competitive or otherwise, it can involve one or more people, it may require some particular skills or none, there may be money at stake or not. Games are a series of diverse activities that reveal only a few "family resemblances"...

More recently, another Italian Giorgio Agamben has been shining shafts of light into the dusty foundations of Western jurisprudence by his sobering investigation into the 'State of Exception' and the susceptibility of systems grounded in it "to be transformed into totalitarian schemes if conditions become favorable to it":

As to the specific paranoid projection of Rummy about mass media in the Islamic world running wild and spewing out hatred, this is a "big lie" from my own recent experience, having just spent 4 weeks in 2 Islamic countries, tho I don't claim to have made anything like a random sampling of local print and electronic media (which was in English and also in local languages that I can follow in varying degrees of comprehension)...

Posted by: sk at February 22, 2006 12:41 AM

One of the names on that committee is Francis Fukuyama...interesting bit about him here:

Neocon architect says: 'Pull it down'

NEOCONSERVATISM has failed the United States and needs to be replaced by a more realistic foreign policy agenda, according to one of its prime architects.

Francis Fukuyama, who wrote the best-selling book The End of History and was a member of the neoconservative project, now says that, both as a political symbol and a body of thought, it has "evolved into something I can no longer support". He says it should be discarded on to history's pile of discredited ideologies.

In an extract from his forthcoming book, America at the Crossroads, Mr Fukuyama declares that the doctrine "is now in shambles" and that its failure has demonstrated "the danger of good intentions carried to extremes".

(. . .)

Mr Fukuyama once supported regime change in Iraq and was a signatory to a 1998 letter sent by the Project for a New American Century to the then president, Bill Clinton, urging the US to step up its efforts to remove Saddam Hussein from power. It was also signed by neoconservative intellectuals, such as Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, and political figures Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the current defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

However, Mr Fukuyama now thinks the war in Iraq is the wrong sort of war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

"The most basic misjudgment was an overestimation of the threat facing the United States from radical Islamism," he argues.

(. . .)

Mr Fukuyama, one of the US's most influential public intellectuals, concludes that "it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention [in Iraq] itself or the ideas animating it kindly".

Going further, he says the movements' advocates are Leninists who "believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practised by the United States".

Posted by: BA at February 22, 2006 10:30 AM


So many tiny, little details to keep track of -- er, of which to keep track ?

Nevertheless, how many of Nixon's administration and hangers-on can we tie to the BCCI scandal, or Arms-for-Hostages, or Iran-Contra? Of course, in their logic, the reason they don't succeed is that they haven't been supported enough by us normal citizens.

Maybe there's a reason we don't support them?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at February 22, 2006 11:38 AM

Why are some "Mr" and some "Honorable"? Is there an objectively distinguishing feature that I'm unaware of, or is it a matter of personal preference?

Posted by: AlanDownunder at February 25, 2006 07:32 PM

Sweet. (nice catch).

Perhaps a few exorcisms would be in order...

Posted by: JDMcKay at February 25, 2006 10:58 PM