"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Summer Heat and the Press

Please correct me if I'm wrong---it hardly would be the first time---but the NY Times and the rest of the mainstream press, having proclaimed the Valerie Plame affair at the outset to be a crime, then not a crime when the special prosecutor began to demand their notes and the identities of their sources, now argue again that it was a crime, as Dr. Evil, aka Karl Rove, has proven to be involved. Even more amusing is the spectacle of the press---the ineffable LA Times is particularly egregious on this point---complaining about the impropriety of leaks. And the central reality is that Rove's "leak"---it was nothing of the kind, in that Time's Cooper sought him out rather than the reverse---actually was truthful, an adjective that never again will be associated with the name Joe Wilson. Actually, the "leak" was both truthful and not criminal in terms of the plain language of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act; and neither Dick Cheney (Halliburton Professor of Evil) nor the Director of Central Intelligence (I don't want to reveal his name) were involved. Instead, it appears clear that Rove revealed the nepotism involved in terms of Plame's suggestion of Wilson for the Niger trip, which Wilson then used as a platform for a disinformation campaign.

So: Has the summer heat affected the Beltway press? It is not even August yet! Or has the illusory press bias about which the vast right-wing conspiracy complains so much revealed itself yet again? Naaaahhhh.

34 comments:

James Elliott said...

From what I understand, Valerie Plame had nothing to do with Wilson's selection for the fact-finding mission to Niger other than to say, "Hey, my husband was ambassador to Niger."

While your parsing phrases desperately to protect ol' Turd Blossom, perhaps you might realize that it's a far cry from "Oh, my husband was ambassador there" to "Leave everything in my hands, I'll just hire my husband."

What a difference a day makes. Once it's been revealed that Rove is a "subject" in the investigation - the stage before indictment, by the way - he becomes a hero whistleblower non pareil.

Sigh. I have given up any hope of finding any coherent ethical behavior on the Right.

James Elliott said...

"Platform for a disinformation campaign?"

Wilson wouldn't have even come forward if the Administration hadn't flat-out lied about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger.

You people are all insane in your fanatical devotion. Seriously. Frothing at the mouth insane.

Let us repeat: Suggesting someone who has prior relationships and knowledge of the country under investigation is not nepotism, ESPECIALLY when you lack the ability to hire that person.

Has everyone lost their fricking mind?

Locke said...

Yes, it makes perfect sense for those with loyalties to the President and his party to assume all the facts pertain to Mr. Rove in their worst possible light. Why aren't we running around tearing our hair at the obvious?

Kathy Hutchins said...

From what I understand, Valerie Plame had nothing to do with Wilson's selection for the fact-finding mission to Niger other than to say, "Hey, my husband was ambassador to Niger."

Maybe you should take a look at the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report of last summer. Yeah, it's 500+ pages long, and it's written in the worst sort of legislative branch bureaucratese. What's worse, the stupid GPO distributed it as an image file in PDF instead of running it through an OCR, so you can't search for text strings. What a pain. The problem is, if you rely on the WaPo or Time to tell you what's in it, you're going to get it wrong.

I'll help you out -- the stuff on Wilson is on page 39 of the report, which is page 49 of the pdf.

Wilson was claiming that he'd been sent to Niger by Dick Cheney, and that when he got back, Cheney ignored his conclusions. In fact, he was suggested and pushed for the post by his wife, as she had pushed him for a past trip in 1999. Also on page 39. I don't think you understand we're not trying to nail Valerie Plame for nepotism -- we're trying to get people to remember than Joe Wilson has lied about every single aspect of this Niger trip, up to and including claiming that his wife had absolutely nothing to do with his being chosen when in fact she promoted his choice by word, in a memo, and by convening a meeting.

Oh, and Wilson was never the Ambassador to Niger. He was Ambassador to Chad, but had been posted to Niger "early in his career" -- I have no idea if that means he was a junior diplomat or if he was serving sweet mint tea in the commissary.

If Wilson thinks Dick Cheney is his wife, he's even dimmer than he appears.

Kathy Hutchins said...

a crime, then not a crime when the special prosecutor began to demand their notes and the identities of their sources, now argue again that it was a crime...

I'm not an insider like Bill Kristol or anything. I'm just relying on a historical sense of how things like this play out in the hothouse BosWash press. I predict that when we finally get to hear the details of Novak's testimony, and when Miller finally talks, there will be so many cases of whiplash among the MSM that they'll need a team of personal injury lawyers from the high end plaintiffs' bar to handle the claims -- it'll be a class action. Hey, isn't John Edwards avaikable now?

James Elliott said...

None of which refutes the fact that Wilson was right and Iraq never sought yellowcake uranium from Niger.

And now people here are quoting Limbaugh and Coulter. Don't you realize that these two just make crap up?

It's a wild and ca-razy time here in Righty Land.

Locke said...

Kathy quoted a Senate committee and presented strong information that makes your righteous indignation wear a tad thin, Mr. Elliott.

Hunter Baker said...

James, you're act is looking a little threadbare. See you at commondreams.org.

James Elliott said...

Kathy, thanks for the link to the report. Here's something from page 52:

From the then-ambassador to Niger: "Ambassador Wilson reached the same conclusion that the Embassy has reached that it was highly unlikely that anything between Iraq and Niger was going on."

The indpendent findings of Major General Fulford, Deputy Commander United States European Command, mirror those of Ambassador Joe Wilson.

A CIA case officer, Larry Johnson, has confirmed that Valerie Plame was a Non-Offical Cover (NOC) agent with CIA, employed by a front company at the time of her "outing," and has been a CIA agent, not desk analyst or officer, since joining the agency in 1985.

Booya.

Kathy Hutchins said...

None of which refutes the fact that Wilson was right and Iraq never sought yellowcake uranium from Niger.

For the analysis of that, you would have to skip ahead to page 73 of the report:

The report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002, did not change any analysts' assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original CIA reports.

Keep the timeline in mind. Wilson went to Niger in February 2002, and his report was circulated within CIA in March 2002. Nothing in the document changes anyone's mind in CIA, because they have other evidence of Iraq's activities in Niger. It is not until October 2002 that the Italians' concern about the provenance of one set of documents comes to light, and CIA are still evaluating whether the documents are or are not forgeries at the time of the 2003 State of the Union speech. In June 2003, over a year after Wilson returned from Niger, he publishes an op-ed in the Washington Post claiming that Bush intentionally lied in the State of the Union speech and Wilson knew it was a lie because Wilson had gone to Niger and come back with proof that Iraq had never ever sought to obtain uranium from Niger.

I know I've been cautioning against relying on others' summaries, but on page 44 of the report the Committee reviews the entire Wilson episode, including the discrepanices between Wilson's testimony before the committee in 2003 and the documentation from CIA and State of the same incidents, and concludes, in essence, "Joe Wilson: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire."

Somebody who's hanging a conclusion on Joe Wilson's word after all this has come to light has no business accusing Rush Limbaugh of "making things up." (FWIW: Al Franken has a much worse record of "making stuff up" than either Limbaugh or Coulter. Also, Rush is no longer fat.)

James Elliott said...

Dammit, I let you all pull me right into this. The issue is not what Wilson said or didn't say, it's that Rove outed a CIA agent.

We can argue about the politics involved and whether or not Rove was merely "warning" against Wilson or not, but that's not the issue. The issue here is that he flat out caused an undercover CIA agent to be exposed.

So, the real question is whether or not the White House has a shred of dignity left, or if it's just all blatant political opportunism from here on out.

James Elliott said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Elliott said...

I know it's just peeing in the wind, but here's some more refutation:

From Wilson's now-famous NY Times op-ed: "In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. . . . The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office."

As for the CNN thing, here's what RNC says Wilson said: "What they did, what the office of the vice president did, and, in fact, I believe now from Mr. Libby's statement, it was probably the vice president himself."

And here's what he actually said to CNN: "Well, look, it's absolutely true that neither the vice president nor Dr. Rice nor even George Tenet knew that I was traveling to Niger. What they did, what the office of the vice president did, and, in fact, I believe now from Mr. Libby's statement, it was probably the vice president himself . . . . They asked essentially that we follow up on this report -- that the agency follow up on the report. So it was a question that went to the CIA briefer from the Office of the Vice President. The CIA, at the operational level, made a determination that the best way to answer this serious question was to send somebody out there who knew something about both the uranium business and those Niger officials that were in office at the time these reported documents were executed."

Wilson says that agency officials asked him to contribute to a report requested by Cheney's office. That's a far cry from saying Cheney sent him.

Tlaloc said...

"And the central reality is that Rove's "leak"---it was nothing of the kind, in that Time's Cooper sought him out rather than the reverse"

Uh no, Rove and at least one other White house staffer went out to five or six reporters with Plame's identity, but most of them didn't bite.



"Instead, it appears clear that Rove revealed the nepotism involved in terms of Plame's suggestion of Wilson for the Niger trip, which Wilson then used as a platform for a disinformation campaign."

Except there was no nepotism and Wilson's report was true. Or have we found tons of yellowcake in Iraq and I missed it? Nope didn't think so. The senat committee briefing Kathy refers to was a hideously slanted affair and even it couldn't deny that his conclusions were backed up by others knowledgable of the issue (as JE quotes above).



"Or has the illusory press bias about which the vast right-wing conspiracy complains so much revealed itself yet again? Naaaahhhh."

Bull. Clinton had a huge scandal and an impeachment over a stupid blow job. Rove blows the cover of a CIA operation (not just Plame) and endangers National Security and gets away with it for two years.

Tlaloc said...

"Uh no, Rove and at least one other White house staffer went out to five or six reporters with Plame's identity, but most of them didn't bite."

and lest you think I'm exaggerating:

"Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A11208-2003Sep27¬Found=true

Hunter Baker said...

If you want to talk about Clinton, what about the question of whether he compromised our security with regard to the Chinese from whom he accepted campaign donations. We never got to the bottom of that one due to paucity of those who would talk? We need not pre-occupy ourselves with the conduct beneath the dignity of the office to get to administration scandals. Or what about Hillary ordering FBI info on her enemies?

Tlaloc said...

"Or what about Hillary ordering FBI info on her enemies?"

Never happened. See the OIC's report:
"The Final Report in the FBI Files matter concludes that there was no substantial and credible evidence that any senior White House official, or First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was involved in seeking confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") background reports of former White House staff from the prior administrations of President Bush and President Reagan."
http://www.oic-starr.gov/p000728b.htm

So I've disproven three republican lies in the last twenty minutes. One from Limbaugh, one from Coulter, and this one. At what point do you realize that you are being lied to on a daily even hourly basis by the people you trust?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Limbaugh simply played the sound clips of Harry Reid (and the lib echo chamber) misquoting Bush, so I properly credited him. It was a mistake, because it obscured the actual point:

THE PRESIDENT: If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is -- and if the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.


REID: The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair they would no longer be in this administration, his administration. I trust he will follow through on this pledge.

Strike One, Mr. Tlaloc.


Coulter stated that Wilson got an unpaid gig with John Kerry after his op-ed. (Kerry dumped him, apparently knowing a loose cannon when he sees one. Wilson's erstwhile website, RestoreHonesty.com, which Coulter notes was bought and paid for by the Kerry campaign, now links directly to JohnKerry.com. [Try it.] Backs up Coulter pretty well. Still it was a mistake to credit her as well, since it also made it possible to obscure the actual facts. That's what I get for breaking my rules.)

Strike Two.


"No substantial and credible evidence" against Hillary on Filegate isn't a vindication. Many things from that era slipped through as "not proved." Hillary learned her lessons from Watergate well, and left few smoking guns lying about.

Fouled off. The count remains 0-2.


But enough of this trivia. Ms. Hutchins' contribution of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report is far worthier, a high hard one. Swing away, Mr. T.

Tlaloc said...

"Strike One, Mr. Tlaloc."

Uh no because I gave you the OTHER Bush quote, the one where he directly says he'll fire anyone who leaked the info. I gave you the STATE DEPARTMENT TRANSCRIPT website url it came from. Any further pretense on your part that bush hasn't made this claim is utterly ridiculous.



"Strike Two."

I didn't even say anything about that claim of Coulters. Did you even read my post?



""No substantial and credible evidence" against Hillary on Filegate isn't a vindication. Many things from that era slipped through as "not proved." Hillary learned her lessons from Watergate well, and left few smoking guns lying about."

So even though a massive investigation didn't prove a thing you feel free to call it a fact that it happened? Sorry, no. They claimed a crime, investigated and she was acquitted.



"But enough of this trivia. Ms. Hutchins' contribution of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report is far worthier, a high hard one. Swing away, Mr. T."

I'm sorry but when you ignore direct citations, claim I made arguments I didn't, and then pretend you can hold any argument regardless of the lack of proof I have to give up on you. Obviously you are way too deep into the talking points from the right.

Tlaloc said...

Since you are apparently in denial here's the quote again:

"Q: Given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President [Dick] Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name?

BUSH: That's up to --

Q: And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?

BUSH: Yes. And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts."
http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/rm/33463.htm
(June 4th 2004 press conference)

Feel free to go to the state department transcript if you don't trust me but it's real and it shoots down the argument that bush only said he'd fire someone for breaking the law. He absolutely clearly says here that anyone having leaked the name would be fired.

Tom Van Dyke said...

OK, fair's fair, Mr. T, I'll give you that one.

Of course the reporter trapped him, by referring to something the president didn't actually say.

Still, you are entitled to a victory lap.

Tlaloc said...

"Of course the reporter trapped him, by referring to something the president didn't actually say."

Isn't it what he should say? I mean how can you actually advocate not firing the person who intentionally gives up a CIA operation? How can that not be a firing offense?

Hunter Baker said...

That's big of you, TVD, I don't think Tlaloc has ever yielded a point in his entire career in this forum, which is not something that adds to his credibility.

Kathy Hutchins said...

I don't think Tlaloc has ever yielded a point in his entire career in this forum, which is not something that adds to his credibility.

I hope everyone noticed that when I bitch-slapped him with the same UN population figures he'd been tossing around, he just changed the subject.

Tlaloc said...

"That's big of you, TVD, I don't think Tlaloc has ever yielded a point in his entire career in this forum, which is not something that adds to his credibility."

False hunter, in fact not only that I self correct when I'm wrong. Go look at the "In defense of MR. Rove thread" if you don't believe me.

Tlaloc said...

"I hope everyone noticed that when I bitch-slapped him with the same UN population figures he'd been tossing around, he just changed the subject."

Wow I'm stunned you didn't learn your lesson the first time. You screwed up hideously. You claim no population crises and when the figures show the population is still skyrocketting you claim that doesn't matter because at some hypothetical time in the future our population would come back down.

Neat. Retarded but neat.

The reason it's retarded for you to make this claim (and repeat it! that blows me away) is that it shows you have no idea that 9 billion plus people is kind of a problem. It is in fact that population crises you insisted didn't exist. So you've now proven my point and your incompetence not once but twice.

Frankly I think I'm just going to have to leave you alone if you are going to be so transparently feeble at debate. I never liked picking on slow ones.

Anonymous said...

Tlaloc wrote, "The reason it's retarded for you to make this claim (and repeat it! that blows me away) is that it shows you have no idea that 9 billion plus people is kind of a problem. It is in fact that population crises you insisted didn't exist. So you've now proven my point and your incompetence not once but twice."

The reason it's retarded for TLALOC to make this claim (and repeat it! that blows EVERYBODY WITH A BRAIN away) is that it shows HE HAS no idea that 9 billion plus people is NO problem AT ALL. It is A fact that THE population crises HE INSISTS EXIST ARE BASED SOLELY ON A REFUSAL TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT A GROWING HUMAN POPULATION CONTINUOUSLY INCREASE BECAUSE OF HUMAN INGENUITY. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND OVERALL HUMAN USE OF THE WORLD'S RESOURCES BECOME MORE EFFICIENT EACH YEAR, FASTER THAN THE POPULATION RISES. So TLALOC HAS now proven HIS OPPONENTS' point and HIS incompetence not once but twice.

Tlaloc said...

"The reason it's retarded for TLALOC to make this claim (and repeat it! that blows EVERYBODY WITH A BRAIN away) is that it shows HE HAS no idea that 9 billion plus people is NO problem AT ALL."

I didn't know denial came in such heavy doses. Look I'm really sorry that this whole "you're destroying the planet" thing is a bummer for you. I'm sorry it means you'll not get to rape and pillage like your industrialist forefathers. The party is over and they left you holding the tab and a mop.

That sucks, dude. You have my sympathies. But it's time for you to move past denial and into anger. Anger's much better than denial. Course afte the anger you might feel a bit weepy and like you want to make a deal but it's all good in the end.

Anonymous said...

You certainly know about the anger part. Too bad you're incapable of grasping simple facts and reasoning from them.

Tlaloc said...

"Too bad you're incapable of grasping simple facts and reasoning from them."

Gosh it's a good thing then that I'm the one agreeing with all the scientists rather than the ones denying their claims.

By the way what exactly are the recent developments that have incresed food production so that it exceeds population growth? Strangely I haven't heard of any. Especially none that are so amazingly good they'll make up for the collapse of the oil economy which wll take away the two primary farming technologies (the tractor and petroleum based fertilizers). I'm fascinated to hear your explanation that supports your contention...

Kathy Hutchins said...

The problem with your argumentation, Tlaloc, is that you simply assert what you believe to be unnecessary of proof, and then call everyone else a moron for not accepting what you say. You have repeatedly asserted that a population of 9 billion is unsustainable and that the petroleum economy is going to collapse. But when someone makes an economic argument, especially one incorporating insights of anyone from Becker forwards, your response is that economics is stupid. Maybe you could clue us in as to what other analytic framework you propose to use to study resource allocation, technology development, and information flows. 'Cause "It's obvious to anyone with a brain" isn't an analytic system. Although if you put enough exclamation points in, a la Lester Brown, it does seem to sell books.

Oh, and I don't "worship economics" you silly boy. I'm a Catholic; I worship statues.

James Elliott said...

I thought you worshipped some chick named Mary and guys in pointy hats?

Oh, and Evil Anonymous, if you're going to type in CAPS for emphasis, could you please make sure that the flow of your emphasis makes some kind of sense? Your cadence was totally off.

Anonymous said...

The caps were not for emphasis but to indicate the variations from Tlaloc's post, which should have been evident had you taken a moment to compare the two.

Kathy Hutchins said...

I thought you worshipped some chick named Mary and guys in pointy hats

Nah, just statues of Mary and guys in pointy hats. I can't believe there's so much ignorance out there about the Church.

Old, old Catholic joke: a Protestant on a tour of Europe stops at a shrine to Our Lady Of Lourdes and St. Bernadette Soubirous, depicting in marble the moment when Berndatte fell to her knees at the first appartition of Our Lady in the grotto. The Protestant turns to his wife and exclaims, "Good God, Ethel, even their statues worship statues!"