The Art Of Misdirection

In the past couple of days, the Bush White House has been frantically contorting itself to explain why they are above the law. Vice-President Dick Cheney claimed that he was not subject to oversight mandated by law because his role as President of the Senate means that he is not a part of the Executive Branch of government. Then the President’s spokesperson said that neither Bush nor Cheney are subject to the oversight provisions of the law because of an executive order exempting them, even though the order does not actually say anything about that. These absurd assertions produce this surreal chronology:

  • On Thursday: Cheney is exempt because he is not part of the executive branch.
  • On Friday: Cheney is exempt because he is part of the executive branch.

Could this get any curiouser? Bet on it.

The CIA has announced that next week they will release a collection of documents that many refer to as the “Family Jewels.” They reportedly contain accounts of clandestine adventures like assassination plots against Castro and wiretapping of journalists.

If you’ve been paying attention so far, you might wonder why an administration that has been so obsessively secretive is suddenly volunteering to throw open the drapes and let a little sunshine in. Why is it that within the span of a few days the administration is openning the door to intelligence confessionals from the past and at the same time feverishly scrambling to conceal its own more recent behavior?

The conspiracy theorist in me cannot help but become suspicious of what the administration does not want us to know, and the lengths to which they will go to keep us from knowing it. The media will be eagerly analyzing the CIA data when it is made available to them. They will assume their pack-mentality posture and focus like a laser beam on these documents to the exclusion of all other events (except, of course, the Paris Hilton liberation, which will squelch all other news items that threaten to emerge).

Consequently, I will be looking intently beneath the surface of the news to see what may be hiding there. While I approve of the CIA disclosures in principle, it is just not credible that this administration decided to be forthcoming at this time without some ulterior motive. They have never been known for their openness or honesty and the machinations evident in the Cheney affair demonstrate their extremism in pursuit of deception and obfuscation.

It would be nice if we had courageous reporters like Jack Anderson or I. F. Stone working to reveal the illicit activities being concealed from us by our disreputable so-called leaders. It would be great if there were patriots like Daniel Ellsberg inside of government willing to expose the criminality ongoing in the White House. We can keep hoping that figures like these will emerge and clean out the rot in Washington, but more likely we will have to rely on ourselves to unmask the offenders.

Next week, when the press is busily dissecting the minutiae that is fed to them, try to stay alert. There is something behind the other door. Like a magician waving a wand in one hand to misdirect your attention from the other hand as it furtively slips into his pocket, the Amazing Bushini, with the aid of his lovely assistant the Media, may be pulling a fast one. So keep your eyes open and maintain a healthy skepticism. One thing we know for sure is that these guys always seem to have something foul up their sleeve.