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Tilting at Windmills

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August 28, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

PLAME AND ARMITAGE....Catching up with the weekend news, I see that David Corn and Michael Isikoff have definitively named former State Department #2 Richard Armitage as the guy who leaked Valerie Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak three years ago. Apparently it happened on July 8, 2003, two days after Joe Wilson published an op-ed in the New York Times about his prewar trip to Niger to investigate the "uranium from Africa" story.

This opens up a can of worms, no? In one sense, it's no surprise, since Armitage has been on the short list of suspected leakers for quite a long time (see this from November 2005, for example, though suspicions about Armitage go back well before that). And it certainly doesn't bolster the argument that the leak was part of a White House conspiracy to punish Joe Wilson, since Armitage was relatively dovish on the war and has never been considered a hardnosed, Rovian political player. As Isikoff and Corn put it, he was just a "terrible gossip."

And yet, there are still some pretty crucial questions remaining:

  • Who gave Novak the name "Valerie Plame"? This has always been at the heart of the mystery, and it still is. You see, Armitage apparently learned about Joe Wilson's trip to Niger on July 7 from a State Department memo that (incorrectly) suggested he had gotten the assignment because his wife, a CIA analyst, had recommended him. But that memo referred to Wilson's wife as "Valerie Wilson," not Valerie Plame.

    So why did Novak call her by her maiden name, despite the fact that she used her married name routinely? Did Armitage give it to him? That seems unlikely if he had only learned of her existence from a memo the day before. Was it Karl Rove, Novak's second source? The evidence suggests not.

    So it's somebody else. But who? Judith Miller wrote Plame's name in her notebook weeks before Novak's column appeared, but says she can't remember who gave it to her. Novak isn't talking either. But it's a key part of the mystery. Whoever gave up Plame's name not only knew about the Niger trip, but also knew that she used her maiden name when she was engaged on CIA business and deliberately leaked that name. There was malice of some kind involved in that.

  • When did Armitage realize he had screwed up? Isikoff reports that Armitage realized he was Novak's source after Novak wrote a second column on October 1 claiming that his original source was "not a partisan gunslinger." Isikoff says that after Armitage read this second column, "he knew immediately who the leaker was.....'I'm sure he's talking about me.'"

    Give me a break. Armitage talked to Novak on July 8 about Plame, a week later Novak's original column hit the street, and Armitage didn't realize then that he was probably Novak's source? That hardly seems likely.

  • Why didn't Armitage fess up earlier? Even taking Armitage's claim at face value, why didn't he go public in October about his role in the Plame case? The Justice Department had only barely started its investigation and a special prosecutor was still months in the future. Armitage could easily have spun his role as innocent, and it might have spared the White House its past few years of turmoil. Why the silence?

    The obvious answer is that Armitage is hardly the end of the story. Whether his gossiping was innocent or not about which I remain agnostic the fact remains that several other people were also aggressively talking to multiple reporters about Plame's role at the same time. If Armitage really didn't have any malicious intent, it's a helluva coincidence that he happened to be gossiping about the exact same thing as a bunch of other people who did have malicious intent.

  • When did Corn and Isikoff learn all this? Hey, we all have to make a living, but Armitage's name was swirling around the rumor circuits just a couple of months ago. Being magazine reporters and all, shouldn't they have written about this at the time instead of saving it up to help promote their book? Just asking.

That's it for now. I'll probably think of more questions later. But the bottom line is that this case is far from closed.

Kevin Drum 12:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (139)

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Comments

The problem with all this deep-diving speculation is that it leaves out one very likely hypothesis: all the key players are lying. Lying very deeply and very thoroughly. And now that Rove is not-indicted and has "spring in his step", they know quite well that there will not be a 2nd round of indictments and there will be no penalty for lying. So if they were skirting on the edge of lying before, they are doing it full-bore now.

Just as with Iran-contra, BCCI, and various other deep scandals we will _never_ know what actually happened. If any criminal acts did occur, they will _never_ be made public much less published. Speculate away, but it is all grassy knoll from this point forward.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome back Kevin.

For a good article on Armitage and Plame, read Byron York at the National Review.

Link

"Ultimately, Libby was indicted on perjury and obstruction charges. But at the time Fitzgerald indicted Libby, at the end of October 2005, he did not know that Armitage had not told investigators about his, Armitages, conversation with Woodward. According to Hubris, Fitzgerald then re-investigated Armitage, finally deciding not to charge him with any crime.

Why? Certainly it appears that no one committed any crimes by revealing Plames identity, and one could argue that the Justice Department should not have gone forward with a wide-ranging investigation after it discovered Novaks sources. But if Fitzgerald was going to indict Libby, then why not Armitage, too?

Fitzgerald may have chosen the course that he did appearing to premise his investigation on the conspiracy theorists accusations because he was pointed in that direction by the White Houses enemies inside and outside the administration."

Posted by: Al on August 28, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Another crucial question:

Who was the primary source for the other reporters who were leaked the same or similar information but decided not to print it?

The evidence suggests that Novak wasnt the only reporter columnist or pundit to whom this information was given, but rather he was the first to publish.

Posted by: Catch22 on August 28, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Of course this case is far from settled. We don't know where to bomb, because the Iranians dismantled and moved almost all the facilities that Plame and Brewster-Jennings were interested in and knew about. The bush administration blew at least a decade's worth of WMD counter-proliferation work by doing that.

Posted by: Peter on August 28, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Question for Mr. Armitage: Would you like to be bunk mates with Rove in prison?

America's Least Wanted

Posted by: budpaul on August 28, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm confused. If Armitage was cleared to know classified information such as Valerie Plame's CIA work, didn't he sign some sort of nondisclosure agreement against "gossiping" about it? If he broke such an agreement why wasn't he disciplined for breaking it? If he was given her name, but not its classified status, by someone else (*cough* Karl Rove *cough), shouldn't somebody have been punished for a massive and damaging security leak?

How could the leak have happened and no one be at fault? What kind of rinky-dink security structure is there that can break down so badly without anyone being held accountable?

Posted by: jimBOB on August 28, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

And it certainly doesn't bolster the argument that the leak was part of a White House conspiracy to punish Joe Wilson, since Armitage was relatively dovish on the war and has never been considered a hardnosed, Rovian political player. As Isikoff and Corn put it, he was just a "terrible gossip."

Sure it does...Armitage worked for the Administration, and his being a "terrible gossip" simply provides plausible deniability -- which you seem rather quick to accept, Kevin -- to the smear operation.

Then again, what was a "terrible gossip" doing as the #2 man at the State Department? (I know: A heckuva job.)

Posted by: Gregory on August 28, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, that old chestnut. For the 20 millionth time, if she wasn't covered, the CIA would never have asked Fitzgerald to investigate (and prosecute) the leak.

Zombie rightwing talking points.

Posted by: jimBOB on August 28, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas, there were more than 270 targets that need to be destroyed in order to shut down Iran's nuclear industry. Many have been moved, with the old buildings bulldozed flat, in the years since the leak happened.

Posted by: Peter on August 28, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Novak said he got her name from Wilson's entry in Who's Who in America.
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=15988

Posted by: Art Vandelay on August 28, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

I do agree this certainly doesn't bolster the argument that the leak was part of some grand, nefarious White House conspiracy to punish Joe Wilson -- and I agree with Isikoff and Corn this was most likely just "terrible gossip" -- nothing more or even illegal.

Kevin, if you have Charlie so quick to agree wit hyou -- and what is that clown doing still posting here, by the by? -- that's a pretty sure sign you've given undue credit to GOP talking points.

Posted by: Gregory on August 28, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why isn't Karl Rove in jail about this?

Posted by: POed Lib on August 28, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

In an older post from a year ago, I pointed out what the Plame outing cost us:
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_05/008726.php#878517

Other than the reactors at Bushehr, the newly opened heavy water plant, and maybe 1 or 2 other sites, most everything else has been reduced to potemkin sites with just enough traffic to look alive.

Posted by: Peter on August 28, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

ah, the old Brewster-Jennings canard.

Peter: the claim that Plame and Brewster-Jennings were working on Iran and running agents came from Wayne Madsen. hardly a reliable source (actually a dipshit crazy source).

in reality, BJ was a nominal cover and Plame was its sole employee.
http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2003/10/10/apparent_cia_front_didnt_offer_much_cover/

JimBob:

if you'd actually read the links you would find out that Armitage found out about Wilson/Plame from a memo, which didn't mention her name being classified.

Posted by: Nathan on August 28, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

I believe Robert Novak did not refer to Wilson's wife by name in his article. Her name was revealed a week later by David Corn.

Posted by: Joe on August 28, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

It is correct to say Wilson recommended her husband for the trip. That fabrication was long ago debunked. Please stop misleading your readers.

Meanwhile, all your Fitzmas dreams have turned to naught. There really is no Fitzmas Claus, Kevin.

Sorry about that.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

The Yellowgate road winds and wends but will get us all there in the end. Novacks first published story mentions a ' Flame' and Judith Miller wrote down ' Flame'. So even if Rove was tasked with Novack and Libby with Miller that still means criminal conspiracy...actually no scrub all that...it's frobably all just a coincidence.
I like the idea that the coven think their crude cover up of the BIG LIE about the smear-on-Niger and Judies little-tubes-of-terror is holding. It makes them cocky and arrogant. ( Well slightly MORE cocky and arrogant )
Yellowgate is bigger than Watergate and even bigger than Iran/contra. There's lots more to see here.

Posted by: professor rat on August 28, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I wasn't clear enough above. Valerie did recommend Joe for the junket.

A congressional inquiry found as much.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, KD isn't such an easy logroller for other left of center writers.

Posted by: Cynical Energy Drink on August 28, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel:

to be precise, the inquiry found it more than a coincidence that he was picked at a meeting where she was present. she denies recommending him...others think that she at least offered his name in a roundabout fashion.

in other words, we don't know exactly what happened. she didn't have the authority to send him on her own. but, yeah, it's hard to believe that she didn't proffer his name.

Posted by: Nathan on August 28, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

the inquiry also found it of interest that Wilson appeared to know classified information that his wife had clearance for.

Posted by: Nathan on August 28, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

"But the bottom line is that this case is far from closed."

Yes it is, Kevin. If Armitage was the one who gave Novak the information, and Fitzgerald knew this very shortly after he became the Special Prosecutor and yet, chose not to indict him over the leaking of Ms. Plame's covert status, then there was no crime committed by anyone. Case closed.

Do yourself a favor and don't give this matter another thought. It will make the absence of "Fitzmas" much easier for you to take. lol

Posted by: Chicounsel on August 28, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

But the bottom line is that this case is far from closed.

Well, I sincerely hope that is the bottom line, but I'm not so sure.

I do not admire the fact that Karl Rove can out a CIA operative with impunity. That's pretty pathetic. The President absolutely condones his behavior by keeping him on staff. And the issue just kind of dies away.

I tell you, this is one sorry episode for people who would like to see a certain respect for government employees.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 28, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting that Byron York is now suggesting that Fitzgerald was persuaded to unfairly indict Libby by the "White House's enemies inside and outside the Administration", when (A) Fitzgerald is a long-time Republican, and (B) Andrew McCarthy (who has known Fitzgerald for years) wrote a Corner piece as soon as he was selected declaring that Fitzgerald was absolutely honest and totally non-swayable by unfair or bigoted players.

As for why Libby might have been covering something up despite the fact that Fitzgerald never indicted someone for actually leaking Plame's identity: note the fact pointed out at length by a piece in Knight-Ridder a couple of months ago -- that the White House spent the entire 2004 general election campaign solemnly and repeatedly denying that Karl Rove had ever talked about Valerie Plame to reporters AT ALL, at exactly the same time that Rove was saving himself from a perjury indictment by privately testifying to Fitzgerald that he had done precisely that.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

As for this thread's right-wing visitors gleefully declaring that "nothing illegal was done": how odd that Fitzgerald himself seems to think otherwise where Libby is concerned. It will be interesting to see just what comes out during that trial, since Fitzgerald has a long-time reputation as an extremely unsloppy prosecutor (see the Andrew McCarthy reference above). Was Libby trying to cover for Rove -- and for the White House's campaign propaganda -- BEFORE Rove himself had decided to 'fess up to his role? I haven't yet looked at the timeline on their testimony to Fitzgerald.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

It has taken about a year, but you lefty knuckleheads are starting to figure this out. Plame wasn't covert, outing her wasn't a crime. This entire investigation was scam brought on by Joe Wilson/Larry Johnson and other John Kerry cheerleaders at State and CIA and propagated by the dem friendly media. Larry Johnson feeds horseshit stories to Jason Leopold and Moonbattia (including Fitzgerlad) bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Posted by: BlaBlaBla on August 28, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce Moomaw,

Fitzgerald thinks that nothing illegal happened RE: the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's name. Thus, no indictments to that effect.

Fitzgerald thinks there was false testimony knowingly given to the grand jury because it conflicted with other testimony. It's nearly the same charge as the one faced by former president Clinton when he lied about matters before a grand jury. And you supported that prosecution, right?

P.S.
If Fitz is correct about Libby perjuring himself I hope Libby is convicted and punished appropriately. If he's wrong I hope a fair trial exonerates Libby. Funny how I can remain consistent in these matters because my hope is justice instead of political victories.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Plame wasn't covert

The CIA (and Fitzgerald) have reiterated the fact that she was covert. What's your problem?

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 28, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan,

if you'd actually read the links you would find out that Armitage found out about Wilson/Plame from a memo, which didn't mention her name being classified. - Nathan

Did you actually read it?
From the first paragraph of the link provided on the memo:

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Whats your intended point Nathan? It certainly sounds like you are intentionally misconstruing the content of the provided links.

Posted by: Catch22 on August 28, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

The problem, little ole jim, is that you're wrong, in fact.

She didn't meet the statutory definition of covert even if she met some dictionary definition. Statutes are really funny animals that way. They're very picky about language.

And Fitzgerald specifically disclaimed any statement that Valerie Wilson was covert at his press conference announcing the charges against Libby.

Keep bringin' the crazy. It's amusing.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

> Fitzgerald thinks that nothing illegal
> happened RE: the disclosure of Valerie
> Wilson's name. Thus, no indictments to that
> effect.

I was re-reading the Fitzgerald press conference transcript this morning to get some quotes, and I must say that guy is one slipprey eel. Unless he says "the next 30 words are a declarative statement" then you cannot pin him down on anything. Which I imagine is what he intends.

However, my interpretation is that three times he was asked the question of whether or not there was a direct national-security crime committed as part of Plamegate. And all three times he used the same "neither confirm nor deny" language that the Air Force uses to discuss nuclear weapons. He didn't say there was. But he very definitely did NOT say there wasn't, either, regardless of what the Radical trolls here (and elsewhere) are saying. He used a lot of words and a long baseball analogy to say exactly nothing on that topic. Nothing, as in black hole nothing: zero information.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

So Cranky, taken what you've written as true, arguendo, and the fact there is no indictment does that make it more or less likely that a crime occurred as to the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's name?

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of the same intellectual lightweights who think Geraldo "found teh WMDs!!1!" last month now have themselves convinced this is all going to blow over based on Corn's book -- and without even reading the book. Maybe they can buy a clue at the same place they get Hubris? I'm quite sure confident predicting the same crowd will then impeach the source after reading it -- it's boringly predicatble.

From Corn's article it's clear the book has quite a lot of 'evidence of malice'. It's already on the record that a conspiracy was present, and there's also no question about the damages caused to Wilson, Plame, and the national security.

Better get fresh diapers for the civil suit, kids.

Posted by: melior (in Austin) on August 28, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I always considered Fitzgerald an 'independent' prosecutor, i.e., unbiased politically. But now I'm beginning to have my doubts. Anybody given this any thought, given the outcome of the investigation?

Posted by: nepeta on August 28, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Er, Thomas. I'm well aware that Libby was not charged with leaking classified information; Fitzgerald made that absolutely clear at the time. He also made it absolutely clear that he thought Libby was committing perjury to cover up for SOMEONE ELSE -- and if Libby was trying to cover up for Rove and the White House's campaign propaganda BEFORE Rove decided to save his own skin by 'fessing up to Fitzgerald that he really had discussed Plame's job with those reporters, that explains the puzzle right there.

As for Clinton: please, Birkel. I opposed his impeachment because the law he violated was the thoroughly halfwitted one declaring that anyone sued for sexual harassment must also testify about all the sexual affairs he had that were totally VOLUNTARY on both sides, despite the obvious irrelevancy of said affairs to the case. I would have had no trouble supporting Clinton's indictment after leaving the White House for such a "low crime" below the impeachable level, but you'll recall the itsy-bitsy fact that no actual prosecutor thought it worth his time either. (I must admit, though, that my sympathy for Clinton took a nosedive after "Jane Galt" pointed out that that idiotic law had been pushed into law and signed in 1993 by one William Jefferson Clinton, as a bone tossed to his feminist supporters. Talk about being hoist on your own petard -- and that strengthens the argument that he SHOULD have gotten the boot.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

> I always considered Fitzgerald an 'independent'
> prosecutor, i.e., unbiased politically. But now
> I'm beginning to have my doubts. Anybody given
> this any thought, given the outcome of the
> investigation?

I have wondered myself, but I was threatened with lifetime banning from Firedoglake unto the end of the IPV6 address space for even daring to mention it.

But here it is: was Fitzgerald called in as a dutiful Republican sweeper to clean up after the parade? One sacrificial lamb and he's outta there?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Many commentators continue to complete ignore the fact that Robert Novak was not the only journalist to whom Plames classified employment was leaked to.

Any leaks prior to Novak's column to other journalists were also crimes whether they opted to publish or not. Many people seem to confuse the fact that Novak was the only person that published with the conclusion that its the only unauthrorized disclosure.

This is why the question I raised above remains essential. For example, who was the source for Miller, Matt Cooper and Bob Woodward?

It is known that Rove spoke to Matt Cooper about Plame before Novak's column and her alleged role in picking her husband. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8525978/site/newsweek/

Novak was just one of at least 4 people with whom information was shared, we dont know the extent of the information.

Posted by: Catch22 on August 28, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Catch22:

since the memo hasn't been declassified there have been differing accounts as to what it contained.

the Isikoff link that Kevin provided above indicates that her status was not listed as classified (other details were)...which jibes with some accounts.

but, the best indication of this is one simple fact: Armitage wasn't indicted.

Birkel:

Plame's ID was classified. She had a nominal cover since her marriage to Wilson and retirement from the field (where she had a more robust cover).
that would be sufficient for the IPA. however, Fitzgerald apparently couldn't prove that anyone who revealed Plame's ID was aware that her status was still classified...or, alternatively, he determined that such disclosure was inadvertent.


on the whole, I think there was a partisan effort to tarnish Wilson (who does have credibility problems) on the part of some administration officials. however, this effort appears to have been on the unseemly but not illegal level of pushing reporters to dig up information on their own. which is exactly what happened. journalists went digging and, as is their wont, found a loudmouth who unwittingly gave them the info.

Posted by: Nathan on August 28, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Fitzgerald thinks that nothing illegal happened RE: the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's name. Thus, no indictments to that effect."

Nice try. Unfortunately for your theory Fitzgerald actually *explained* why there were no indictments to that effect. And it wasn't because he thought nothing illegal had happened.

Posted by: chaboard on August 28, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce Moomaw,

Oh, I get it. You didn't like the law used to compel former president Clinton to testify under oath so you thought he shouldn't have been prosecuted for lying to the grand jury.

But it's okay to prosecute Scooter Libby for lying to the grand jury because you approve of that law.

Red Riding Hood: My, grandma, what fine principles you have.
Big Bad Wolf: All the better to win elections with, my dear.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

> nd the fact there is no indictment does
> that make it more or less likely that a
> crime occurred as to the disclosure of
> Valerie Wilson's name?

Black hole = event horizon = null information. Null in the mathematical sense meaning doesn't exist, can't be used as evidence either way.

I will say this: any prosecuting or defense attorney will tell you that plenty of events that are known to investigators to be crimes are never prosecuted or even brought before a grand jury. National security might dictate an investigation be squashed. Or as with a Mafia crime there just might be zero possibility of getting anyone involved to talk. So the "no indictement = no crime" theory is just as much of a black hole as Fitzgerald's press conference.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

" was Fitzgerald called in as a dutiful Republican sweeper to clean up after the parade? One sacrificial lamb and he's outta there?"

Yep, Cranky, that's the question.

Posted by: nepeta on August 28, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

catch22:

seriously, why not read Kevin's links? you obviously haven't.

Armitage was also Woodward's source.

Miller's source is undetermined (though Fitzgerald may know)....maybe someone at the CIA? maybe Armitage?

as for prosecution of other sources, as with Armitage, if they were unaware of Plame's status, they didn't violate the IPA.

Posted by: Nathan on August 28, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Could those who believe Plame did not meet the definition in the statute explain why the CIA referred it to the DOJ and the DOJ started an investigation?

Birkle,

You wrote:

"Keep bringin' the crazy. It's amusing." - Birkle

So what is your explanation as to why the CIA referred the case to the Department of Justice for charges to be brought if you are correct in your allegation that Plame does not meet the statute?

What is your explanation as to why the Department of Justice accepted the recommendation from the CIA and instituted an investigation if you are correct in your allegation that Plame does not meet the statute?

Why do you think you know more about Plame than the CIA or DOJ?

You are the one that is spouting crazy unsubstantiated theory and pretending its established fact.

Posted by: Catch22 on August 28, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce:

actually, Libby's alleged perjury was for statements aimed at protecting himself, not others. read the indictment.
the irony being that Libby didn't need to protect himself....but, if he committed perjury, it appears to been simple petty (and irrational) fear on his part.

Posted by: Nathan on August 28, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

> Larry Johnson feeds horseshit stories to
> Jason Leopold and Moonbattia (including
> Fitzgerlad) bought it hook, line, and sinker.

That IMHO is an interesting observation, if wrapped in the usual Radical spin. Someone has fed a lot of disinformation to a lot of conduits since the NYT first told the White House they had the story. Fitzgerald should think long and hard about the old story about looking around the room for the smartest guy whenever he is dealing with Rove. Assuming Fitzgerald is clean, he might very well have been manipulated via his strength by someone smarter than he is. Who makes a career of destroying other's strengths.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Catch22,

Please spell my name correctly.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel:
Look at this:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11179719/site/newsweek/

The only questions are can a prosecutor prove the Libby, et. al., knew she was covert, or can some other loophole save them. There is no question that she was covert.

You are ill-informed. Or, maybe just scared of information you don't want to hear.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 28, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

As to the lack of substance in your post, Catch22, I suggest you learn what purpose a criminal referral serves vis-a-vis a crime actually being committed.

You're simply ignorant.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

For some Lefties this term "loophole" is used as a synonym for "the law".

It's a wonderful twist of logic and I applaud you for your flexibility.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

My, Birkel does have a penchant for foaming at the mouth under pressure, doesn't he? I said, explicitly, that I didn't favor Clinton being REMOVED FROM OFFICE for his extemely minor legal violation -- NOT that I didn't favor his being indicted for it as soon as he left office and it was legally possible to indict him. (The Founders, you'll recall, did make that itsy-bitsy distinction themselves with that reference to removal for "high crimes" rather than for "any crime".) I also pointed out that it was America's PROSECUTORS -- not me -- who decided, to a man, that Clinton's crime wasn't even worth prosecution.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel, did you ignore Catch22's point on purpose? The point is that it is the CIA who gets to classify it's operatives, not you, not me. If the classify Plame as covert, then she's covert. The criminal referral explained that one of their operatives had been compromised.

Convicting Libby of a crime is a different matter, sure, but you are arguing the unarguable. She was convert man.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 28, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I've got to admit, my interest in the whole Plame case has dwindled since Bush has self destructed so obligingly on all his own. Approval ratings in the mid thirties? How does it get better?

Who needs Fitzmas anymore when you've got Bushmas every day?

Posted by: frankly0 on August 28, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

No, man, the question is whether she was protected under the statute. It's okay that you're too ignorant to understand that.

Go to beddy by. Your head will feel better after a little nappy time.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and, Birkel: Lest we forget (or lest anyone else besides you make themselves severely mentally retarded through hysteria): there are plenty of unsolved crimes, including murder, in which no indictment can be brought. Fitzgerald, in his press conference, went on at great length about the role of perjury like Libby's in concealing who actually dunnit in a great many cases.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

franky0:
Yeah, but there are plenty more Rove's where this one came from. It will be even easier to out an agent with impunity next time.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 28, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

I see that Thomas has oblingingly dug out Fitzgerald's statements on that subject. (As for Birkel, since he's now firmly established his identity as a hysterical troll, why are any of us wasting our time with him?)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

And, btw, here's the court filing referred to in the Isikoff piece linked above without Isikoff's filter to distract.

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/files/Libby_060216.pdf

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

> Very rarely do you bring a charge in a
> case that's going to be tried and would
> you ever end a grand jury investigation.

Yeah. Except for that minor little George Ryan prosecution in Illinois, which IIRC used 14 grand juries and 12 "independent" trials before the target - Ryan - was indicted. Now who was the prosecutor in that case again?

That is what I mean about the press conference. At certain points Fitzgerald says, "this is what I am going to say". The sentences after that I take as fact. Everywhere else is pure nothingness; by design I am sure. It is a black hole that every commentator is treating as a blank canvas. It is not a blank canvas; it is a black hole and everything painted on it just disappears.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Now you agree with me. Glad you came around.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 28, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, while we're on the subject of Byron York: he himself wrote a "Corner" item at the time of Libby's indictment declaring that the legal authorities he respected were absolutely confident that Libby -- for whatever reason -- really had committed perjury. (This item of his was linked to at the time either by Kevin or by Josh Marshall.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

hysterical, no

laughing at you, yes

Merry Fitzmas to one and all. And to all a good night.

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Probably my last comment: we will never know what happened. There will be no more indictments. After Libby is pardoned, all the GJ and Justice documents will either be destroyed or sent to the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" warehouse with a 300-year seal on them. In his second term in office, President George Herbert George Jeb Jeanna Karl George George Bush XXXIIIrd will declare that they be sealed for another 1000 years.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Odd; Birkel didn't sound to ME like he was laughing... (Of course, it also doesn't sound like he has any actual answers to our points either. Maybe after he has a good night's sleep under the bridge, his mind will clear.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Drum -

Who gave Novak the name "Valerie Plame"? This has always been at the heart of the mystery, and it still is. You see, Armitage apparently learned about Joe Wilson's trip to Niger on July 7 from a State Department memo ... But that memo referred to Wilson's wife as "Valerie Wilson," not Valerie Plame. So why did Novak call her by her maiden name, despite the fact that she used her married name routinely? Did Armitage give it to him? Was it Karl Rove, Novak's second source? The evidence suggests not. So it's somebody else. But who? Judith Miller wrote Plame's name in her notebook weeks before Novak's column appeared, [blah blah blah]

HUH? Whether you believe Novak or not, Novak himself declared in October 2003 one could easily obtain Plame's name by referencing Wilson's entry in "Who's Who in America", as he does here:

Republican activist Clifford May wrote Monday, in National Review Online, that he had been told of her identity by a non-government source before my column appeared and that it was common knowledge. Her name, Valerie Plame, was no secret either, appearing in Wilson's "Who's Who in America" entry.

That, as Novak confesses in this July 12, 2006 column, he did just that:

In my sworn testimony, I said what I have contended in my columns and on television: Joe Wilson's wife's role in instituting her husband's mission was revealed to me in the middle of a long interview with an official who I have previously said was not a political gunslinger. After the federal investigation was announced, he told me through a third party that the disclosure was inadvertent on his part.

Following my interview with the primary source, I sought out the second administration official and the CIA spokesman for confirmation.

I learned Valerie Plame's name from Joe Wilson's entry in Who's Who in America.

Which Novak subsequently reiterates in his July 16, 2006 appearance on Meet the Press:


MR. RUSSERT: In fact, you wrote, I learned Valerie Plames name from Joe Wilsons entry in Whos Who in America. And here is the Whos Who from 2003, Wilson, Joseph Charles IV, ambassador, married to Valerie Elise Plame August 3, 1998. Was that the very first time you had seen or head the name Valerie Plame?

MR. NOVAK: Yes.

MR. RUSSERT: No one told you?

MR. NOVAK: No.

MR. RUSSERT: But they did tell you his wife.

MR. NOVAK: He told me his wife worked in the counterproliferation division of thethey did not say she was a covert operative, didnt say she was a covered operative. A lot of people say, Well, whyd you call her an operative in the column? I call all kinds of politicians operatives. Its maybe a bad habit, Ibut I still do it. I see somebodys running a congressional campaign in Wyoming, Id call them an operative.

"This has always been at the heart of the mystery, and it still is."

Drum's obtuseness has always been at the heart of his column and still is. Just as Novak's mendacity has always been at the heart of his fucktwittery and still is, especially and evidently when Novak dissembles on the meaning or intent of "agency operative."

Posted by: tartuffe on August 28, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

> Whether you believe Novak or not, Novak
> himself declared

"Whether you believe Novak or not" is a bit of a critical item you are glossing over there. Just the public record seems to indicate that Novak, Woodward, and Miller lied about this entire incident from day 1, and the NYT management structure from about day 2. So we really can't depend on any of those statements.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I said, explicitly, that I didn't favor Clinton being REMOVED FROM OFFICE for his extemely minor legal violation -- NOT that I didn't favor his being indicted for it as soon as he left office and it was legally possible to indict him. (The Founders, you'll recall, did make that itsy-bitsy distinction themselves with that reference to removal for "high crimes" rather than for "any crime".)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 2:55 PM

No offense Bruce, but that is the dumbest statement, well maybe one of the dumbest statements, regarding the impeachment of Clinton that I've heard in a long time.

You are flat out wrong that a sitting President cannot be charged with a crime. If the President hired someone to murder a political opponent, the President could be charged with conspiracy to commit murder and be arrested and taken from the White House in cuffs by the DC police. He would remain President until he was impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate.

And your claim about the distinction made by the Founders is also incorrect. The standard for impeachment is for "high crimes AND misdemeanors." Since public littering or jaywalking is a misdemeanor, Congress could impeach the President solely on that basis if they so desired. So whether it be a high crime (felony) or a low crime (misdemeanor), would appear to encompass ANY crime committed by the President.

Clinton was rightly impeached because he violated his oath of office to uphold the Constitution by lying in a deposition. He was found in contempt of court by a US District Judge and fined $800,000. Because the majority of the House found that to be an impeachable offense, it was a "high crimes and misdemeanors" to warrant impeachment.

Posted by: Chicounsel on August 28, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the question there is whether the word "high" distributes over just "crimes", or over "misdemeanors" as well. That is, is it {high crimes, misdemeanors} or {high crimes, high misdemeanors}. Jaywalking would be covered under the former, but not under the latter interpretation.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Whether you believe Novak or not" is a bit of a critical item you are glossing over there. Just the public record seems to indicate that Novak, Woodward, and Miller lied about this entire incident from day 1, and the NYT management structure from about day 2.

Are we "glossing over" the affliction you share with Drum? Hardly.

If Novak "lied" about the discovery of Plame's name in "Who's Who", he also lied to Fitzgerald. We'll wait for Fitzgerald's final report -- if there is one -- to arbitrate gloss factors.

So we really can't depend on any of those statements.

Outing context aside, Novak's statements are largely irrelevant to the fact that anyone could discover Plame's name through Wilson's entry in Who's Who in America 2003.

No "m-y-s-t-e-r-y."

Posted by: tartuffe on August 28, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

> We'll wait for Fitzgerald's final
> report -- if there is one -- to arbitrate
> gloss factors.

Not reading the documents very closely, are we? You might want to start by going back and reading the press conference transcript very carefully 2 or 3 times.

I have no idea how Novak obtained Plame's name, although he might well be lying about that too. At a minimum he certainly did a lot of misdirecting throughout this affair (and continues to do so), which is a bit of a problem for someone who claims to be a "journalist" (for whatever that means these days).

The sad thing is back in the 1980s I actually respected Novak as a trustworthy conservative reporter. His performance throughout this episode has been sickening.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Fitzgerald's press conference suggests extremely strongly not that he thought Plame wasn't covert, but that he thought that whoever leaked Plame's identity to Novak might have done so innocently without knowing that she was covert:

" The laws involving disclosure of classified information in some places are very clear, in some places they're not so clear. And grand jurors and prosecutors making decisions about who should be charged, whether anyone should be charged, what should be charged, need to make fine distinctions about what people knew, why they knew it, what they exactly said, why they said it, what they were trying to do, what appreciation they had for the information and whether it was classified at the time...That's why it's essential when a witness comes forward and gives their account of how they came across classified information and what they did with it that it be accurate...

"If you saw a baseball game and you saw a pitcher wind up and throw a fastball and hit a batter right smack in the head, and it really, really hurt them, you'd want to know why the pitcher did that. And you'd wonder whether or not the person just reared back and decided, 'I've got bad blood with this batter. He hit two home runs off me. I'm just going to hit him in the head as hard as I can.' You also might wonder whether or not the pitcher just let go of the ball or his foot slipped, and he had no idea to throw the ball anywhere near the batter's head. And there's lots of shades of gray in between." (Note that he never once said anything about the batter not actually getting hit in the head.)

But the fact pointed out by "Catch22", that the State Department memo which Armitage apparently used as his source did have that big red "S" all over the passages having to do with Valerie Plame's job, makes it even odder that Fitzgerald didn't indict him -- if, that is, Isikoff and Corn's story is correct.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

> Fitzgerald's press conference suggests extremely
> strongly not that he thought Plame wasn't covert,
> but that he thought that whoever leaked Plame's
> identity to Novak might have done so innocently
> without knowing that she was covert:

You know, I am a big skeptic of the theory of Roersch blots, but I am starting to wonder...

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Not reading the documents very closely, are we? You might want to start by going back and reading the press conference transcript very carefully 2 or 3 times.

We have. Have you? Else point, quote, cite that portion of any document where Fitzgerald impeaches Novak's testimony regarding Novak's discovery of Plame's name.

I have no idea how Novak obtained Plame's name, although [blah blah blah]

Do I give a fuck about your opinion of Novak? No. I've already shared by impression: Mendacious fucktwit.

But do carry on.

Posted by: tartuffe on August 28, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

So Tartuffe, where did Miller get "Valerie Flame"?

Posted by: Jeff on August 28, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

> We have. Have you?

Oh really? I guess you just missed the little part where Fitzgerald explained that the law that required a "report" had expired, that there would be no report outside of any indictments, and that his notes and the GJ proceedings would remain secret.

You have no idea what happened in the GJ room with Novak or any other witness, what Fitzgerald knows or what he doesn't know, or what Novak knows that he is lying about. But you are quick to pass judgements on others, eh?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I am a big skeptic of the theory of Roersch blots,

You should be. Try analyzing the shit stains of your buffoonery before matriculating to "Rorschach" blots.

> Fitzgerald's press conference suggests extremely
> strongly not that he thought Plame wasn't covert,
> but that he thought that whoever leaked Plame's
> identity to Novak might have done so innocently
> without knowing that she was covert:

Wow. Now that's what I call impeaching Novak's statement re the discovery of Plame's name in Who's Who.

Not.

Posted by: tartuffe on August 28, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel, it was pointed out by one goddamn political scientist after another during the Clinton impeachment that "misdemeanor" had a completely different meaning to the Founders than "minor crime" -- it meant "misbehavior". That is, they were saying that the President can be removed from office for acting seriously irresponsible, even if he did not commit any legal crime -- such as, say, refusing to spend a penny on this nation's defense, or deliberately pardoning one major criminal right after another. (You'll recall -- or maybe YOU won't recall -- that the Tennessee legislature held an emergency session in 1979 to remove Gov. Blanton from office for doing just that, although it was unquestionably not a crime on his part.)

Which, really, is not that hard to deduce even if you are not a political scientist. If the Founders had meant that the President could be removed for "high or minor crimes", they would have simply said "removed for crimes" instead of sticking in that unnecessary phrase about "high crimes".

As for it being impossible to indict a sitting President for a crime: I'm quoting the legal scholars who said -- at the time that there wre rumors that Fitzgerald might indict Cheney -- that it's generally accepted (for reasons which admittedly remain mysterious to me) that a sitting President cannot be indicted, but that a sitting Vice President CAN be.

Meanwhile, pardon me if I remain skeptical of the idea that Clinton must have committed an impeachable crime because almost all the House Republicans said he HAD committed such a crime while almost all the House Democrats said he HADN'T. The biggest mistake the Founders made in writing the Constitution -- which came within a hair of totally destroying the nation as early as 1800 -- was their bizarre belief that political parties could and should be kept from coming into existence at all, an error which they were forced to face up to about a week after the govenment was up and running. Nowadays, of course, we have a situation in which the President's party would cheerfully refuse to impeach him for eating a live baby on television, while the opposition party would cheerfully impeach him for leaving the White House toilet seat up. All of which just proves yet again that we badly need some major modifications in the Constitution.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta love this tartuffe guy: whenever he is caught with his facts down, he reaches for the _Dictionary of American Insults_. Are you Novak himself by any chance, or just working for the Counter-Blogging Project this summer?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Me - "Whether you believe Novak or not ..."

Novak - "In my sworn testimony, I said ...I learned Valerie Plame's name from Joe Wilson's entry in Who's Who in America."

Fact - "Who's Who in America 2003: Wilson, Joseph Charles IV, ambassador, married to Valerie Elise Plame August 3, 1998."

Me - Novak, "mendacious fucktwit."

Fact, ibid. - "Who's Who in America 2003: Wilson, Joseph Charles IV, ambassador, married to Valerie Elise Plame August 3, 1998."

Cranky Obverter [sic] - empty noise.

Posted by: tartuffe on August 28, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Me - "Whether you believe Novak or not ..."

Novak - "In my sworn testimony, I said ...I learned Valerie Plame's name from Joe Wilson's entry in Who's Who in America."

Fact - "Who's Who in America 2003: Wilson, Joseph Charles IV, ambassador, married to Valerie Elise Plame August 3, 1998."

Me - Novak, "mendacious fucktwit."

Fact, ibid. - "Who's Who in America 2003: Wilson, Joseph Charles IV, ambassador, married to Valerie Elise Plame August 3, 1998."

Cranky Obverter [sic] - noise.

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: tartuffe on August 28, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Good grief, Kevin! Do you not read? Novak himself has told you were he learned the name "Valerie Plame", and it is fairly certain that he is not lying about that. If he had been given the name she actually used herself, Valerie Wilson, then it is certain he would have used that name in the original article. I suspect that Armitage told Novak that "Wilson's wife" was the reason Wilson was selected, and that Novak would have gone to a public source to find out who Wilson was married to.

I really don't see how this can be described as some mystery.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on August 28, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky,

This is just another loser for you so do yourself a favor and forget about the story. The last thing Libby wants is a pardon. If nothing else we know at a minimum Armitage proves the story was bouncing around town before the story broke and that will be reiterated by Bob Woodward among others.

Fitz has no case against Libby. He can prove Fitz had a different story of trivial events and two reporters. Scooter cam prove 20 reports had different versions of events then each of their sources. This case might not even go to a full trial.

He's managed to make Scooter a famous and wealthy man. He immediately landed a job at a think tank making a great deal more money and has a trust fund established for his defense. There will obviously be the book deal followed by the endless paid speaking engagments that will place him in demand for years. In the year 2025 you'll be able to name only one VP chief of staff from the last 5 years. That's Scooter Libby.

Posted by: rdw on August 28, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

BDS sufferers unite?

Or is that untie!

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce:

I understand that the Founders may have used "misdemeanor" as a synonym for misbehavior. But with that understanding of the term, the case for Clinton's impeachment gets even stronger. If you believe that lying under oath in a deposition is not a "high crime," (I suggest that you try it to see what happens to you lol) then you will have to concede that it is "misdemeanor," in that it is an example of Presidential misbehavior or as you put it "acting seriously irresponsibl[y]."

As to your skepticability as to the partisan nature of impeachment, it was intended by the Founders to be a political matter. That's why it is placed entirely within the legislative branch and not the judiciary. It is not a legal question at all.

Finally, I do not know of any legal scholars who argue that the sitting President cannot be indicted for a crime. But I find it hard to believe that if President Bush were to leap over the podium during a prime time press conference and strangle Helen Thomas to death, there would be legal scholars who would claim that he could not be arrested and charged with first-degree murder until he was out of office. At all, in the words of the judge who struck down the NSA surveillance program, we have no "hereditary kings" in America.

Posted by: Chicounsel on August 28, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK


yancy: I suspect that Armitage told Novak that "Wilson's wife" was the reason Wilson was selected, and that Novak would have gone to a public source to find out who Wilson was married to.

I really don't see how this can be described as some mystery.


except...novak doesnt say that's what he did...

"I didn't dig it out, it was given to me... they gave me the name and I used it." - Novak, Newsday, 7/22/03

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 28, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

"the President could be charged with conspiracy to commit murder and be arrested and taken from the White House in cuffs by the DC police."

Haha. The Unites States Secret Service and the United States Marine Corps disagree. The DC police? What a hoot!

Posted by: Rat on August 28, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Novak already answered the question of where he got her name i.e. Valerie Plame, "Who's Who".

Your conspiracy is looking pretty thin right now but keep hope alive.

Posted by: lonetown on August 28, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Disappointing post by Kevin. Of all the liberals, he probably would be the most likely to now honestly acknowlege that, while Plame was an interesting story, it now has amounted to nothing legally and all the charges about purposeful "outing" and "treason" were false.

Armitage of course looks awful in hiding his role and seeing others suffer -- why is there so seldom any honor among those active in politics (on both sides)?

And Kevin's strained effort to aruge there is significantly more to come is all the more lame because he forgot that Novak already has offered a logical and credible explanation of where he secure the name. I don't see that Novak has any incentive to lie about any of this, and certainly not now.

The one remaining interesting question is why Fitzgerald pursued the matter after Armitage had fessed up and it was clear that no one had intentionally "outed" a "covert" agent. I assume Fitzgerald has a good explanation for that, but since he wound up indicting no one for the disclosure of Plame, his explanation likely will reveal that his decision to pursue it was ill advised.

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Lame

Posted by: Fitz on August 28, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think Novak looked up Wilson in Who's Who.

Posted by: jim on August 28, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Thomas1,

'Cause Russert isn't an interested party what with his testifying to the grand jury and all.

Seriously...

Posted by: Birkel on August 28, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel: The Founders intended impeachment to be a "political matter" instead of "a legal matter" because, and only because, of the reason I stated -- they totally failed to foresee the rise of political parties in the US. That failure, to repeat, came literally within a few days of destroying the US during the jam-up after the Presidential election of 1800, and it hasn't done us much good since then either. Had they foreseen this phenomenon, they would no doubt have designed a considerably different governmental system. (For instance, we could definitely use a Constitutional amendment requiring a Congressional supermajority to confirm - and, at intervals, reconfirm -- the Attorney General.)

As for Clinton's impeachment (as opposed to his possible criminal prosecution after leaving office): that one is a judgement call, but I will repeat that that law -- which, to repeat, he himself apparently rammed through -- is absolutely idiotic. The laws against spilling the identity of this country's covert intelligence agents -- or collaborating in attempts to protect the people who do so -- are most definitely NOT idiotic, even if you agree that there are too many classification laws in this country and that the people who leaked the existence of our network of Totture R Us centers and Bush's warrantless wiretaps peformed a national service through their lawbreaking (something which Sen. McCain, by the way, agrees with).

As for Ishmael: why is there never a Moby Dick around when you need one?

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Shucks, Birkel, all Russert did was ask Novak why he said in other places that he DID get Plame's "name" from his source over the phone, and Novak responded with an explanation for the seeming contradiction which may or may not be true and which Russert did not call a lie. Simply dreadful of Russert to ask that question at all, I agree... Evidently Birkel's nap under the bridge didn't do as much to restore his mental stability as I had hoped.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on August 28, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ann Althouse, who has a very good moderate blog (http://althouse.blogspot.com/), made the following on point comment about liberals today:

"Can you never back off and say that your side overdid it? It would improve your credibility you know."

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

I am not sure what point Thomas1 was trying to make, but for me he illustrated the problem with taking anything Novak says seriously unless he is under oath.

If I spoke to Charles Devol (back from the grave) and later found out he had lied to me I would say hmmm, professional gambler. Of course he lied to me. If I spoke to Bill Clinton and John McCain and later found out they had lied to me I would say hmmm, professional politician. No surprise that they lied to me.

But Novak claims to be a journalist. Journalists _might_ be able to get away with fibbing by omission. But they can't outright deceive, get caught, go back on their statements (all on tape!) and expect to have any credibility ever again. I don't believe a word Joe Klein says and I don't believe a work Novak says, particulary about Plamegate. Let's see him on the witness stand, under oath, in pubic: then there might be a 50% chance we are hearing the truth.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

What is Novak's motivation to lie?

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

> What is Novak's motivation to lie?

What was the NYT's motivation to hold the NSA story until after the 2004 election? I don't know myself, but clearly they did. I can't claim to speak for Novak; only to comment on his observed (and taped) behaviour.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 28, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

So Thomas1, when did Novak get Plame's name from Wilson's Who's Who? During the brief window of time between when he talked with Armitage on July 8 and later that day when he used her first name with a stranger on the street as he called Wilson an asshole and said his wife, Valerie, was CIA and sent him on his mission - a stranger who turned out to be a friend of Wilson's? Why did Novak use "Valerie Plame" when Who's Who would have told him that Joe Wilson was married to Valerie Wilson, whose maiden name was Valerie Plame?

And finally, where did Miller get "Valerie Flame" from? Surely not Who's Who? And you think Novak got the name from Who's Who but coincidentally Miller got a slight variation of the name from a source - even though Joe Wilson's wife name was actually Valerie Wilson, not Valerie Plame, except, apparently, for the purposes of her covered CIA work?

Posted by: Jeff on August 28, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Rove & Co. got wind of Armitage's slip and used it as cover for their own dirty tricks? That would explain a lot.

Posted by: Wally on August 28, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

One of the "troubling questions" raised in this article is, OK, so Armitage told Novack Wilson's wife worked at CIA, but how did Novack get her actual name, and why did he use her maden name. Novack has repeatedly said he got the name from Wilson's entry in Who's Who in America. Did you actually not know that?

But none of this sort of thing matters, because those of us in the fact-based party are impervious to any and all facts in this matter. We all know it was Mephistopheles Rove. That's what's great about conspiracy theories: you simply incorporate all contradictory facts into your little fable. We don't care what the facts are or what the law says, because we beli-e-ve. That's just what Rove w-a-a-ants us to think! See? We need to continue to ignore all the substantive, important criticisms of Bush's policies and continue to obsess on our adolescent conspiracy theories. It's helped us so much at the ballot box.
How unspeakably pathetic.

Posted by: victor erimita on August 28, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Guys, take Althouse's advice and back off.

Novak was not even in favor of the war, and no one offers an explanation of his reason to lie.

As to the NYT, I can't believe Keller's "inelegant" statement that the Times had held the NSA story for a year, when it actually held the story for more 14 months and had it before the election, has not received more attention. There is a stonger case for Keller having "lied" in the written Times' story than Novak having "lied" in contemporaneous oral remarks about being given Plame's name.

However, it is virtually inconceivable that Keller and the NYT wanted Bush to win. To the extent holding the story before the election was politically motivated (rather than based on concerns about national security), I think Keller probably was telling the truth when he recently said that he thought the story would have helped Bush in the election. Thus, if the holding was political, it was to help Kerry. Remember, the week before the election the Times was hyping a story about Bush supposedly allowing WMD to be stolen from some facility in Iraq - which of course would be a story that helped Kerry. Intesting how that story dissappeared after the election. In hindsight, it sure seems like a story that was designed to hurt Bush.

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Drum: you said: Who gave Novak the name "Valerie Plame"? This has always been at the heart of the mystery, and it still is. You see, Armitage apparently learned about Joe Wilson's trip to Niger on July 7 from a State Department memo that (incorrectly) suggested he had gotten the assignment because his wife, a CIA analyst, had recommended him. But that memo referred to Wilson's wife as "Valerie Wilson," not Valerie Plame."

In fact Armitage knew of Valerie long before July 7. According to Woodward, Armitage revealed her connection to him in June 2003.

Posted by: Matt on August 28, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

The BDS* loons are out in force
Looking back over the Bush-friendly Washington Post articles, one notes that
1. Others besides Richard Armitage leaked information. Those others included Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
2. The original case became impossible to prosecute because of the lies and obstruction of justice of Bush's minions.
3. More information is unknown then is known due to the refusal of Congress to conduct its constitutional oversight duties.
4. Bush clearly lied when he claimed not to know and that he would fire those responsible.
5. The exposure of Valerie Plame and her cover revealed CIA assets.
6. It is a given that, had a Democratic administration outed a CIA agent for political revenge or gain, the same rightists* who are now saying no foul would be foaming-at-mouth batshit insane screaming for investigations and impeachment.
7. (other points too numerous to rehash)

Guys, take Althouse's advice and back off. brian 9:33PM

That would be Ann Althouse whose recent op-ed attacking Judge Taylor was so bereft of factual material that it was widely ridiculed. No, she speaks to you and for you, but not to rational people.

* Bush Derangement Syndrome, BDS, is a mental affliction characterized by the compulsion to defend the object of one's political value system against all factual examples of failure. For many suffers, that defense is motivated more by hatred of anyone who dares to point out those failures than by adherence to their supposed "core principles." This obsession to defend is actually Stalinist in its manifestation because the believers will hold two mutually contrary beliefs concurrently. An analysis of those with BDS has found that, for the most part, they are immature white males with a decided lack of empathetic qualities and a laughable overestimation of their own abilities. Those with BDS generally feel powerless when confronting complex social issues.

Supporting politicians who spout simplistic sound bites gives them feeling of superiority: intellectual, racial, and cultural.

Those with BDS are authoritarian people who do not need a charismatic or articulate leader, only one who can play the role while others actually make policy decisions.

BDS sufferers will proclaim their support for such noble ideals as egalitarianism, democracy, godliness, liberty and patriotism, but their support for privileged aristocrats shows the cynical hollowness of their ideology. When challenged to defend their professed principles, those with BDS will instead attack the supposed failings of their opponents, hoping thereby to change the subject.

Posted by: Mike on August 28, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: lami on August 28, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

You can't be serious about Judge Taylor. The lack of lagal quality in her opinion is recognized by virtual consensus, even amoung those who agree with her end result. Her opnion is a step back for liberals and democrats, as well as those who genuinely believe the NSA program goes too far.

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Whoever gave up Plame's name not only knew about the Niger trip, but also knew that she used her maiden name when she was engaged on CIA business and deliberately leaked that name. There was malice of some kind involved in that."

Drink some more kool-aid, drummy.

Posted by: p on August 28, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, that old chestnut. For the 20 millionth time, if she wasn't covered, the CIA would never have asked Fitzgerald to investigate (and prosecute) the leak.

Nonsense. It's entirely possible that the CIA might have wished to punish its administration enemies by making an illegitimate claim that Plame was covered under the relevant statutes. The CIA, in other words, isn't infallible.

Posted by: backspace on August 28, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not expert on the issue, but it does not seem to me that the CIA would decide who is covert as defined in the relevant statute. That seems to clearly be within the domain of the courts.

I assume that CIA would generally be aggressive in referring matters to the DOJ, in order to challenge and perhaps deter leaks, regardless of any CIA political motivation and regardless of whether the agent was sure to be considered covert by a court.

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Plame was never outed. She was not covert, her name was a household item throughout Washington. She set up her liar husband to discredit the President with lies about his African safari. It backfired on her and her husband, prompting the impossible-to-embarass demo-commie-crats to go on the offensive, which effort has successfully obfuscated their culpability, but failed to get any traction except with the feverish media. The commie-crats don't care, they always knew there was nothing to this pile of crap, the point was to divert atteniton away from their and the Wilsons' treason.

Posted by: doctorfixit on August 29, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

"If Armitage really didn't have any malicious intent, it's a helluva coincidence that he happened to be gossiping about the exact same thing as a bunch of other people who did have malicious intent."

I have no idea where you get "malicious intent" from at the same time that you are placing other sources in some grassy knoll somewhere. Its over, time to walk away. A quick note to Joe Wilson as well while I'm here, the role of Walter Mitty has already been cast and your 15 minutes are up, hit the light on the way out as well.

Posted by: Deano on August 29, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

I do think it is humorous the way Political Animal ends up with at least 5 times as many trolls as normal every time the Plame case or pre-war intelligence comes up.

You might think they are worried about something.

Posted by: tanj on August 29, 2006 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

Now I understand how Copernicus might have felt contemplating the latest epicycles within epicycles within epicycles necessary to keep the sputtering Ptolemaic system rasping for breath. Rasp away people. The rest of us realize this key fact. There was never any there, there. Your NEED TO BELIEVE keeps you going. WHO REVEALED HER MAIDEN NAME? What a cult film it will make. Yawn.

Posted by: Jonathan Burack on August 29, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

You might think they are worried about something


You bet! Now that Fitzmas ended with a great big dud they're really worried. Look at how it hurt GWB. He was reelected with only 22% more of the vote. This has been devastating for the GOP.

Posted by: rdw on August 29, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

And yet, her decision will NOT be overturned--the government did NOT issue any significant challenge in the case involved and she ruled correctly.

Jason, you need to get out of the liberal blogoshpere periodically to understand the issues.

Taylor's decision was a gift to the GOP on several levels. The decision was extremely poorly reasoned and written. She's getting excoriated as she should for being well over her head legally and as for being a political hack. Her decision had nothing to do with the law.

As you should know it's very easy to motivate the conservative base when it comes to stupid, liberal judges. Judge Taylor is exhibit A.

It has always been understood this issue will be decided by the Supreme Court. Taylor has merely delayed this process while giving Karl Rove great material. She is lucky this won't make the Supreme court. It will be reversed by the appelate court. I'd like to see it make the supreme court. Scalia would tear her a new assh*le with Roberts and Alito joining the fun. They would make this the most ridiculed decision of all time.

One of the more interesting press reactions was the NYTs writing an editorial praising the 'well grounded' decision while their own reporters were trashing it in the same issue.

This is why the MSM loses over 5% of their readers and viewers each year. This is why Rush is the king of all media. The good Judge has been a useful idiot.

Posted by: rdw on August 29, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

I hope you don't soil yourself in a few years when a Democratic President is sending the Federal Marshals to arrest you, based on what you've been writing on this blog and transmitting on the Internet.


I think I'll manage to avoid all that. Taylor is a gift. Scalia will probably even use her as an example when they reverse affirmative action of the incompetence of the program.

Posted by: rdw on August 29, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

For an update, see today's shrill apologia for the Administration by Chris Hitchens (http://www.slate.com/id/2148555). Can he really show that Saddam's agent's went to Niger or etc. after all searching for uranium?

Posted by: Neil' on August 29, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

It must gall you that this 'uppity' African-American judge rendered the correct decision.

Not even a little bit. Those wishing to trash affirmative action as a racist decacle itself needs good examples. Judge Taylor is a stellar example.

That was a fairly racist thing to assert, by the way. Resorting to racism in the face of your inability to debate the actual facts?

It wasn't remotely racists. Uppity is racists. As a conservative I don't suffer from liberal guilt. I am not and will never be PC. I realize in your circles it's immoral to attack blacks but I was born with a spine.

Princess issued an egregiously bad ruling by every measure. Don't take my word for it read any NYTs or WashPost columnists, Powerline, national review online, etc. Even her defenders are not defending her. She was appointed by jimmy carter obviously due solely to the color of her skin rather than any suggestion of legal expertise. In fact, her selection isn't so much an example of her incompetence but his. There's no shortage of competent black candidates. As it happens at the time she was appointed Clarence Thomas was available and that twit still chose her.

Posted by: rdw on August 29, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

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au68ge-1 Posted by: 44 on August 30, 2006 at 3:47 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: sdfsd on August 30, 2006 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

This is what is so cool about the 2006 media world. Ann is both a more professional, more accomplished lawyer and far less a politcal partisan than Greenwald. IN 1992 we'd never read about Ann. In 2006 An is one of the most effective voices on Judicial competence. Taylor is a hack who attained her position for one reason only. She was a Jimmy Carter affirmative action override and is clearly well over her head.

The good news is in 2006 we all know it. The better news is the PC crap that in the past prevented criticism of a minority is now laughed at because it's obviously the only argument liberal whites, consumed by their own racist guilt, and that of their parents, can use.

This case was always destined to go to the Supreme Court where Roberts and Alito are certain to restore Presidential Powers. In the meantime the GOP got a break with such stunning judicial incompetence. Voters do not trust liberals with National Security nor on the courts.

BTW: this is off track but does it occur to you our judicial system has more strenuous sentencing guidelines today than at anytime in our history? I'm no fan of Bill Clinton but when it comes to harsher sentencing guidelines, 3-strikes, the death penalty, prison construction and spending, policy spending, etc., Slick Willie was OK. In 1992 the NRA was possibly the most powerful lobby in the USA. Today they have nothing to do and are nearly invisible. Can Carry laws have become the rule while gun control remains a favored policy only in large cities where crime is exploding.

Has there ever been a better example of the dominance of one ideology (conservative) over another (liberal)? Think about it. The only places where crime rates are high and increasing are cities under the control of liberals. The level of denial is incredible. I grew up in Philly and have sinced moved a distance away. The murder rate is soaring and the mayor is calling for gun control. NYC is one of the safest big cities in the world. Even liberal LA has decided liberalism doesn't work.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

(Thanks, Neil)

Plame Out

The ridiculous end to the scandal that distracted Washington.

By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006, at 1:02 PM ET

I had a feeling that I might slightly regret the title ("Case Closed") of my July 25 column on the Niger uranium story. I have now presented thousands of words of evidence and argument to the effect that, yes, the Saddam Hussein regime did send an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat to Niger in early 1999. And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention. But there was always another layer to the Joseph Wilson fantasy. Easy enough as it was to prove that he had completely missed the West African evidence that was staring him in the face, there remained the charge that his nonreport on a real threat had led to a government-sponsored vendetta against him and his wife, Valerie Plame.

In his July 12 column in the Washington Post, Robert Novak had already partly exposed this paranoid myth by stating plainly that nobody had leaked anything, or outed anyone, to him. On the contrary, it was he who approached sources within the administration and the CIA and not the other way around. But now we have the final word on who did disclose the name and occupation of Valerie Plame, and it turns out to be someone whose opposition to the Bush policy in Iraq haslike Robert Novak'slong been a byword in Washington. It is particularly satisfying that this admission comes from two of the journalistsMichael Isikoff and David Cornwho did the most to get the story wrong in the first place and the most to keep it going long beyond the span of its natural life.

As most of us have long suspected, the man who told Novak about Valerie Plame was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's deputy at the State Department and, with his boss, an assiduous underminer of the president's war policy. (His and Powell'sand George Tenet'sfingerprints are all over Bob Woodward's "insider" accounts of post-9/11 policy planning, which helps clear up another nonmystery: Woodward's revelation several months ago that he had known all along about the Wilson-Plame connection and considered it to be no big deal.) The Isikoff-Corn book, which is amusingly titled Hubris, solves this impossible problem of its authors' original "theory" by restating it in a passive voice:

The disclosures about Armitage, gleaned from interviews with colleagues, friends and lawyers directly involved in the case, underscore one of the ironies of the Plame investigation: that the initial leak, seized on by administration critics as evidence of how far the White House was willing to go to smear an opponent, came from a man who had no apparent intention of harming anyone.

In the stylistic world where disclosures are gleaned and ironies underscored, the nullity of the prose obscures the fact that any irony here is only at the authors' expense. It was Corn in particular who assertedin a July 16, 2003, blog post credited with starting the entire distractionthat:

The Wilson smear was a thuggish act. Bush and his crew abused and misused intelligence to make their case for war. Now there is evidence Bushies used classified information and put the nation's counter-proliferation efforts at risk merely to settle a score. It is a sign that with this gang politics trumps national security.

After you have noted that the Niger uranium connection was in fact based on intelligence that has turned out to be sound, you may also note that this heated moral tone ("thuggish," "gang") is now quite absent from the story. It turns out that the person who put Valerie Plame's identity into circulation was a staunch foe of regime change in Iraq. Oh, that's all right, then. But you have to laugh at the way Corn now so neutrally describes his own initial delusion as one that was "seized on by administration critics."

What does emerge from Hubris is further confirmation of what we knew all along: the extraordinary venom of the interdepartmental rivalry that has characterized this administration. In particular, the bureaucracy at the State Department and the CIA appear to have used the indiscretion of Armitage to revenge themselves on the "neoconservatives" who had been advocating the removal of Saddam Hussein. Armitage identified himself to Colin Powell as Novak's source before the Fitzgerald inquiry had even been set on foot. The whole thing couldand shouldhave ended right there. But now read this and rub your eyes: William Howard Taft, the State Department's lawyer who had been told about Armitage (and who had passed on the name to the Justice Department)

also felt obligated to inform White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. But Powell and his aides feared the White House would then leak that Armitage had been Novak's sourcepossibly to embarrass State Department officials who had been unenthusiastic about Bush's Iraq policy. So Taft told Gonzales the bare minimum: that the State Department had passed some information about the case to Justice. He didn't mention Armitage. Taft asked if Gonzales wanted to know the details. The president's lawyer, playing the case by the book, said no, and Taft told him nothing more.

"[P]laying the case by the book" is, to phrase it mildly, not the way in which Isikoff and Corn customarily describe the conduct of the White House. In this instance, however, the evidence allows them no other choice. But there is more than one way in which a case can be played by the book. Under the terms of the appalling and unconstitutional Intelligence Identities Protection Act (see "A Nutty Little Law," my Slate column of July 26, 2005), the CIA can, in theory, "refer" any mention of itself to the Justice Department to see if the statutedenounced by The Nation and the New York Times when it was passedhas been broken. The bar here is quite high. Perhaps for that reason, Justice sat on the referral for two months after Novak's original column. But then, rather late in the day, at the end of September 2003, then-CIA Director George Tenet himself sent a letter demanding to know whether the law had been broken.

The answer to that question, as Patrick Fitzgerald has since determined, is "no." But there were plenty of senior people who had known that all along. And can one imagine anybody with a stronger motive to change the subject from CIA incompetence and to present a widely discredited agency as, instead, a victim, than Tenet himself? The man who kept the knowledge of the Minnesota flight schools to himself and who was facing every kind of investigation and obloquy finally saw a chance to change the subject. If there is any "irony" in the absurd and expensive and pointless brouhaha that followed, it is that he was abetted in this by so many who consider themselves "radical."

Posted by: enozinho on August 30, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

enozinho,

The best part of this story right now is that the fun is just starting. Fitzmas was a total disaster. Those celebrating The loss of Scooter Libby don't understand how well Scooter has done since leaving nor the further damage Fitz did to the concept of special prosecutors. He's now seen as just another hack lawyer.

but that's not the fun. The fun is in seeing Richard Armitage humiliated nationally as an old scold, an old gossip and a backstabbing one at that. His reputation has been destroyed as he sat silently as others were slimed and investigated for his actions. It was the ultimate act of cowardice and from a Marine no less. Of course Colin Powell won't do much better. He also sat and watched silently as the administration he was supposed to serve was dragged through the mud. It was a sleezy act of cowardice and each will be remembered accordingly.

It also hurts the State Dept which has all but declared war on the Republican party. The idea here will not be to get mad but to get even. Condi's initial move to transfer positions from comfy Europe to the 3rd world is a small start.

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Posted by: Poker on August 30, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Just a quick FYI to those debating the meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors" - there is a lot of debate about the meaning of the last word in the perspective of those who wrote the constitution - general misbehavior being one option, lesser statutory infractions being another - but I think the legal scholars are in consensus on the first word in the phrase. "High" has nothing to do with the degree of criminality but with the idea that the wrongdoing had to be national/federal rather than state or local. In a post articles of confederation world, there was a lot of fear that an offended state government might try to overpower the national government or simply that unhappy lesser officials would try to disrupt national affairs by prosecution.

So, you might want to start your debate over, setting aside the word "high" and focusing on the 18th century definitions of the rest of the phrase.

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Posted by: lorry on August 31, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Just one question -- who the hell cares anymore? Washington insiders continue to tie themselves up in knots about this, but the rest of the world just couldn't care less. Kevin, drop the attempt at keeping a fake scandal alive and just move on. Continuing to care about who said what when on this subject just does not resonate anymore ... if it ever really did beyond the ussual combatants.

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Posted by: mary on August 31, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Jason:

This thread is about Plame and Armitage, but it is probably dead anyhow. So, I will let you know that one "actual reason" Judge Taylor is wrong is because the United States is at war and she is not the Commander-in-Chief - See Articles II and III of the Constitution. I unfortunately don't have the time to take you through the opinion line by line, but that's at least better than her strawman about we have no "kings" in the U.S. As for "not one shred of proof to support his contention that Iraq dispatched 'an important nuclear diplomat' to Africa", talk about strawmen arguments - no one is saying Saddam personally went mining in Africa either - here's what the Butler Report said:

a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.

b. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Nigers exports, the intelligence was credible.

c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium, and the British government did not claim this.

In fact, the priginal CIA reports officer said he judged that the most important fact in the report by Wilson was that Niger officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Niger prime minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium.

In fact, far from debunking anything, the report on Wilsons trip to Niger 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 on the uranium connection.

Sorry if your really think that not even "one shred of proof" but there's nothing I can do about that. As for Fitzgerald being a registered Republican, I believe it is you who are "ignorant" instead. He has stated publically that he is not registered with either the GOP or Democrats. Keep trying though.

Posted by: enozinho on August 31, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Since we're "off- topic" anyways, I would be interested in your take on this:

Death of a President

http://www.e.bell.ca/filmfest/2006/films_schedules/films_description.asp?id=88

"But its a long leap from [a docudrama hypothetically stopping all of] Britains trains to a gunned-down Commander-in-Chief. Range is up to the task: collaborating with some of the finest special effects wizards in the world, he inserts his characters seamlessly into existing footage. His narrative is also airtight. Cautionary tales are too often flights of fancy; as they push the envelope of credibility, the lessons gleaned from dark speculation become somehow tarnished. Not here. Every moment is completely believable, every comment is somehow appropriate to the point of chilling, horrifying certainty.

As one might expect, Range is ultimately interested in addressing todays political issues through the lens of the future. Xenophobia, the hidden costs of war and the nature of civil liberties in a hyper-media age all come under the microscope. The film is never a personal attack on Bush . . ."

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