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Tilting at Windmills

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September 8, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

A TIDBIT FROM THE VALERIE PLAME ARCHIVES....Is the Valerie Plame scandal dead now that Richard Armitage has fessed up to being Robert Novak's source? I know one way to find out.

Those of you who haven't followed Plamegate from the very beginning may not remember this, but although David Corn's column on July 16, 2003, was the first to break the news of Plame's outing, it wasn't until later that the Plame affair turned into a full-fledged firestorm. It was a story in the Washington Post two month's after Corn's column that did it. Here's what it said:

A senior administration official said two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and revealed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife...."Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.

That changed the story completely: instead of one guy talking to one reporter, it was multiple White House officials methodically calling their sources and hoping someone would bite on a juicy morsel designed solely for political revenge. That was a story, and everyone went nuts.

But was it true? Well, three years later we know that Karl Rove spoke to at least two reporters about Plame (Novak and Matt Cooper). We know that Scooter Libby spoke to Judith Miller about Plame. We know that someone else provided the actual name "Plame" to Miller. We know that at least half a dozen reporters were told about the Plame story by one official or another (Novak, Cooper, Miller, Bob Woodward, Walter Pincus, and, perhaps, Knut Royce). We know that Scooter Libby lied repeatedly about his actions to both investigators and a grand jury, something he'd be unlikely to do unless the truth were more damaging than a possible perjury trial.

Circumstantially, then, there's a fair amount of evidence that the Post story was correct. It wasn't just Armitage; there really was a deliberate, systematic plan to out Plame, and it came straight from the White House.

But that's hardly bulletproof confirmation of the Post's story, and it's impossible to find out more because we still don't know who their "senior administration official" was. Why? Because the journalistic code of omerta prevents Mike Allen and Dana Priest from telling us. It prevents us from knowing whether the person who set off the Plame firestorm knew what he was talking about or was just shooting from the hip. It prevents us from ever knowing what really happened.

Too bad, huh?

Kevin Drum 6:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (62)

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Comments

A few other things we know:

We know the leak originated from someone at the State Department, not the White House.

We know that neither Libby nor Rove called any of the reporters they spoke to. Apparently they didn't even bring the subject up.

We know that doing this for "revenge" seems much less likely than an attempt to refute Wilson's charges, at least according to the editors of the Washington Post.

Taken together with the fact that Wilson was probably Corn's source and that all of Wilson's other charges have been debunked (again, according to the Washington Post), the accusation just doesn't seem credible.

Come up with evidence that anyone was calling reporters and forcing the Plame news on them, and then we'll talk.

Posted by: Strick on September 8, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Really too bad we've criminalizied leaking - with the Media's consent.

Posted by: mvdb on September 8, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

So, what we know so far is that Deputy Secretary of State Dick Armitage was the first source for Bob Novak when he outed Valerie Plame. Heres what the Washington Post had to say about it:

"It follows that one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House -- that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plames identity to ruin her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson -- is untrue."

This is bizarre thinking, unworthy of the paper that played such a big role in uncovering Watergate. Of course, that was when Bob Woodward was into the whole Fourth Estate as a check on government abuse of power. Now, hes more into the kissing administration asses to get the scoop, and if necessary keeping the outing of Valerie Wilson on the q.t. to suck up to his handlers.

The Posts argument is that Armitages name-dropping was just a matter of sharing gossip with Bob Novak. Now, maybe the Post doesnt know the difference between gossip and a secret dossier that was created to discredit Wilson, but you can bet your bippie that Armitage does. But more directly to the point, if it is true that Armitages loose lips were just a thoughtless act, how does that discredit the fact that the White House was engaged in a very pre-meditated, coordinated effort to respond to the Wilson article? It doesnt.

The White House no longer denies that Karl Rove was pushing the story. Chris Matthews has said, Karl Rove called [him] up and said that Valerie Plame is fair game. Did Scooter Libby give up Valerie Wilson to the press? What we know so far is that his denials got him indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. We know that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has alleged, and a grand jury has agreed, that there was a concerted effort in the White House to discredit Wilson in the course of which Valerie Wilson, a protected person, had her identity made public.

Joe Conason makes the point eloquently in The Observer, but he, too, is missing a crucial ingredient in this cocktail.

How did it help the White House to out Valerie Plame? The main theories put forward are (1) that it was simply to punish Joe Wilson, (2) it made Wilson look like a girly-man because his wife got him a gig, and (3) by portraying the trip to Africa as a junket they could deny that there was any fact-finding mission, at all. None of these make any sense, and it amazes me that they are accepted so uncritically.

Since "The Price of Loyalty", at least, we have known that these are mean bastards in the White House. But would they destroy a CIA secret operative, engaged in learning about Iranian nuclear plans, to punish Joe Wilson, even in light of the damage that it did to ongoing operations by destroying her cover and exposing her contacts? Nah. They could have punished Wilson much more directly, for example, by trumping up some charges against him for revealing his secret mission. That would have bankrupted him.

Did you, dear reader, have the least bit of a negative reaction to Joe Wilson upon hearing that his wife may have played a role in sending him to Africa? Me, neither. Its absurd to think that as buffoonish as these guys are, they would think, Hey, once people learn that this former ambassador is married to a sexy spy, who sent him on a secret mission, people are just going to just think hes a pussy and not pay any attention to him. And how did it work out for them?

What about after you learned that when Saddam Hussein threatened to hang Ambassador Wilson, he put a noose on as if it were a necktie, and said, I wanted Saddam to know that if he was going to hang me, I would bring my own fucking rope. It was for this that Geo. Herbert Walker Bush called him, a true American hero.

Even if it were a junket, so what? Does that undermine the credibility of his findings? Nope. To do that, you have to attack Wilsons credibility. There was plenty of that, to be sure, but it didnt necessarily involve the Valerie Wilson connection. Also, notwithstanding the fumigations of the Washington post, none of it stood up.

When the White House launched the attack on Joe Wilson the war in Iraq was pretty much a done deal. And by the time the war came, the Bushies had acknowledged that the 16 words shouldnt have been in the State of the Union address, and pretty much dropped the nuclear threat as a cause for the war.

So why did the White House attack Wilsons wife? It was for one simple reason: the Bushies knew that Cheney had let King George make a State of the Union speech that he knew was bullshit. It wasnt about hurting Wilson: it was about protecting Dick Deadeye. And so it was that Rove and Scooter were sent out to make the case that they had no idea about what Joe Wilson didnt find in Africa.

It is crucial to understand that Darth Cheney thought that the article had stated that the he had personally sent Wilson to Niger. Wilson never said that, and what he did say was true, to wit: in response to questions raised by the Vice President, the CIA sent him on a mission to Niger. And so, when the veeps clipping service sent him Wilsons article, he scribbled some brainstorming ideas on how he can maintain plausible deniability regarding his knowledge of Wilsons trip. Was it a junket? Is it unusual to send a former ambassador on a trip like this? You get the idea.

In order for Big Mitchs theory to hold, you would want to see some evidence of Dead-eye Dick actually using plausible, but false, statements to deny his knowledge of Wilsons trip. I posted it on my blog long ago, but here it is again
:
This is from [Cheneys] September 14, 2003 appearance on Meet the Press:

I dont know Joe Wilson. Ive never met Joe Wilson. A question had arisen. Id heard a report that the Iraqis had been trying to acquire uranium in Africa, Niger in particular. I get a daily brief on my own each day before I meet with the president to go through the intel. And I ask lots of question. One of the questions I asked at that particular time about this, I said, What do we know about this? They take the question. He came back within a day or two and said, 'This is all we know. Theres a lot we dont know,' end of statement. And Joe WilsonI dont who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report -- that I ever saw -- when he came back."

How is that possible? Well, for an answer lets look again at what Wilson said in the now famous article in the Times:

"Though I did not file a written report, there should be at least four documents in United States government archives confirming my mission. The documents should include the ambassador's report of my debriefing in Niamey, a separate report written by the embassy staff, a C.I.A. report summing up my trip, and a specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president (this may have been delivered orally). While I have not seen any of these reports, I have spent enough time in government to know that this is standard operating procedure."

You may say that this concern for Dick Cheneys credibility is rather extreme. And you would be right. But extreme times call for extreme measures. Dont forget that the bottom line on Joe Wilsons argument is that the claim that Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear weapons was false, and Cheney knew it. Long ago, a majority of Americans came to the conclusion that if they lied us into a war, they ought to be impeached.

What happens when you get rid of a criminal vice-president who is the main reason for not impeaching the President of the United States? Ask Spiro Agnew.

Visit the Schapira blog, "What we know so far ..." at http://schapira.blogspot.com

and tell em Big Mitch sent ya!

Posted by: Mitchel Schapira on September 8, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Everything that "Strick" said "we know" in the first comment on this thread is a lie, and no doubt Strick "knows" that very well. He's just another Bush-bootlicking mental slave regurgitating scripted Republican propaganda talking points.

Kevin wrote: "... David Corn's column on July 16, 2003, was the first to break the news of Plame's outing ..."

That doesn't make sense. Plame was "outed" by Robert Novak, in one of his columns, so it was Novak who "broke the news of Plame's outing" by the very act of "outing" Plame in his op-ed column.

What Kevin may mean is that David Corn was the first journalist to point out that whoever revealed Plame's name and CIA position to Robert Novak might have committed a federal crime by doing so.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, David Broder's still waiting for you to apologize to Karl.

Posted by: johnr on September 8, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Is the Valerie Plame scandal dead now that Richard Armitage has fessed up to being Robert Novak's source?

Of course it's dead. David Broder, the conscience of all the beltway, has already declared it dead in the liberal Washington Post.

Link

"For much of the past five years, dark suspicions have been voiced about the Bush White House undermining its critics, and Karl Rove has been fingered as the chief culprit in this supposed plot to suppress the opposition."
"Now at least one count in that indictment has been substantially weakened -- the charge that Rove masterminded a conspiracy to discredit Iraq intelligence critic Joseph Wilson by "outing" his CIA-operative wife, Valerie Plame."
"No one behaved well in the whole mess -- not Wilson, not Libby, not special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and not the reporters involved."

Give up Kevin. You're just like Dan Rather trying to "prove" that Bush skipped serving in the National Guards when we know he really had. Your constant clamoring about Plame only undermines your credibility more.

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

What if the Washington Post knows nothing more than what we know publicly and the general operating procedure of the White House and how it works. Who said it had to be bullet proof or that there is going to be a smoking gun?

We also know that Cheney wrote out perhaps by complete "coincidence" the line of attack against Wilson.

"Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. [sic] to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

How did "Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. [sic] to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

How did Armitage come to have this information in the first place? How does it happen that his story matches Roves and Cheneys when it isnt even true. Plame did not pick her husband or send her husband on the junket. How did they happen to settle on the same false story? Who else did Armitage speak to? Did Armitrage have any official reason to be familiar with Plames undercover status and whether or not she was involved in the selection. How did this alleged gossip get this piece of gossip in the first place?

Posted by: Catch22 on September 8, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Bush did skip out on his service. He's a big pussy. Rather doesn't have to prove something that most know did happen. Rove needs to die.

Posted by: dee on September 8, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

I am reminded of OJ Simpson case here....

Posted by: Trinary Suka on September 8, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'll tell you what's dead-Al's brain.

Posted by: I'm HozenAl on September 8, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

It wasn't just Armitage; there really was a deliberate, systematic plan to out Plame, and it came straight from the White House.

Yeah, there was a deliberate systematic plan. But, as it happens, the person who actually outed Plame to Novak is war critic and Cheney opponent.

Riiiight. Funny how there's that whole alleged conspiracy to out Plame, but it's so incompetent that they couldn't actually get any reporters to actually out her, but Armitage (who isn't plausibly part of the conspiracy) DOES get someone to out her. Too funny, Kevin!

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

I am reminded of OJ Simpson case here

Yep. Kevin's just like OJ looking for the real killers. Too funny!!

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Now Al is saying that Kevin is the leaker. Too funny!!

Posted by: Disputo on September 8, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Does that mean no Fitzmas this year? :(

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Give up Kevin. You're just like Dan Rather trying to "prove" that Bush skipped serving in the National Guards when we know he really had. Your constant clamoring about Plame only undermines your credibility more."

The problem is that everyone knew Bush skipped service because he was high on cocaine, and forced a prostitute he got pregnant to have an abortion. There was really no reason for CBS to use fake documents because this was already common knowledge.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is relentless on this obsession. Since their story, Allen and Priest have not hinted that this information is actually true. No evidence supports the allegation, which by its own terms reflects hostility toward the administration. Kevin, be rational, and let this drop unless you find some real evidence instead of your conjecture and, now, raising an issue that you now cannot be confirmed one way or the other due to annonymous sourcing.

Posted by: brian on September 8, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

We know that doing this for "revenge" seems much less likely than an attempt to refute Wilson's charges,

. . . because, as we all know, Saddam did buy yellow cake from Niger. So much, in fact, that they've got photos of him snorting lines of the stuff with George Bush, Osama bin Laden, and Elvis Presley. Joe Wilson's just jealous because by the time he had got to the party, Bush had bogarted the whole baggie, and was licking the mirror. So he made up the story about the forged document. Really, Saddam DID have an IBM Selectrix equipped with scalable type using a version of Press Roman.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if I like the sound of this:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060908/pl_nm/sept11_dc_3

"Political Turmoil Engulfs U.S.. . . "

WTF? What turmoil? This has been business as usual for the past 6 years. This sounds like a lame attempt to build up an excuse to postpone elections.

Posted by: Jake on September 8, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

40 years from now Kevin will be in a Home eating his gruel and mumbling endlessly about 'da Plame, da Plame' and everyone will think he is reliving episodes of Fantasy Island.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 8, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ahh, but the strawberries that's where I had them! They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist, and I'd have produced that key if they hadn't of pulled the Caine out of action...

Posted by: Philip on September 8, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

We don't really know that Armitage was Novak's primary in the sense of first source. We know Armitage might think that, but it is also possible that the first leaker steered Novak to the inveterate gossip Armitage. We also know that he wasn't Novak's primary in the sense of most important source. We do know that Armitage didn't give Novak Valerie's undercover name (Plame) or that she was still covert, and in the Directorate of Operations. Someone else gave Novak that crucial information. So that leaker is still out there (or is Rove or Libby).

The idea that Armitage talked to Novak off-handedly therefore there is no story is just more Administration BS.

Posted by: Mimikatz on September 8, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

40 years from now Kevin will be in a Home eating his gruel and mumbling endlessly about 'da Plame, da Plame' and everyone will think he is reliving episodes of Fantasy Island.
Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 8, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

That's okay.

I believe you Kevin. Never give up the faith! (but deep inside, I always knew that the advantage was on the Bush Junta's side, because they can pretty much do or say whatever the fuck they want at this point - they succeeded in kicking sand in the umpire's eyes; there's really no point in pursuing the Plame issue, just like the Secret Energy Dept meetings, TANG records, and every other situation they've lied, executive privileged, and scammed their way out of, and at the end of the day, they've always got the Bush Pardon in their back pockets).

It was a Rove-a-dope that almost got out of their control. They're getting less adept at it too. Witness the collapse of their latest propaganda attempts:

Bush: "democrats want to set KSM free, and keep us from torturing him!"
- denied: the story actually became "Bush is cranking up the rhetoric for the election, and he lied".
Rummy: "things are getting better in Iraq."
- denied: August deaths are up over July, and three times higher than the original, inaccurate number.
ABC: "Bill Clinton ordered the attacks on 9/11."
- denied: Scholastic won't touch this "event" with a ten foot pole, and it turns out that the director of the film is a shameless evangelical propagandist from "The Film Institute" -
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/001491.php


Clearly, they've got a lot of momentum built up, and the Dems are really going to have to get their mojo working to pull of any real gains this fall.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Whoever was Allen and Priest's "senior administration official" has been cooperating with Fitzgerald the entire time. It will all come out at the Libby trial - unless he is pardoned after the election.

Posted by: lina on September 8, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Oh Fuckity fuck, fuck.

If anyone doesn't fucking KNOW, JUST FUCKING KNOW, that these asswipe motheruckers conspired to ratfuck Wilson, they are fucking goddamned braindead.

Look at the history of this bunch of gangsters for Christ's sake.

It is their M.O.

If you believe otherwise you have drowned on their fucking kool-aid.

Posted by: angryspittle on September 8, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Drum: [W]e know that Karl Rove spoke to at least two reporters about Plame (Novak and Matt Cooper). We know that Scooter Libby spoke to Judith Miller about Plame.

I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors. (George Bush, 41st President of the United States, 26 April 1999)

Posted by: God on September 8, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

angryspittle: Are you unable to express yourself forcefully without using repetitive profanity? If so, you have my pity; and also a wish that you continue to speak from the left.

Posted by: Old Coot on September 8, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

We know that Scooter Libby lied repeatedly about his actions to both investigators and a grand jury, something he'd be unlikely to do unless the truth were more damaging than a possible perjury trial.

Since none of the witnesses has been cross-examined under oath, and since witnesses who might disagree have not testified under oath, we do not actually "know" what you say we know. A while ago I thought that Libby might be convicted of perjury, but probably not obstruction of justice. Now I think it likely that he'll not be even tried, and I think that somebody will charge Fitzgerald with prosecutorial misconduct. He is not guilty of that charge, but it does look like he might have been more forthcoming about exculpatory evidence.

This looks mostly like political hardball, pitting the team of CIA, Plame, Wilson, Powell and Armitage against the White House. And it looks like Plame and Wilson went on the offense first, and it looks like the very first literal "lie" was by Wilson, whereas the "16 words" were literally true but poorly sourced (i.e., noit contradicted by Tenet.) Plame jeopardized the quality of her work by getting involved in the political game from the beginning.

If Libby is ever conviceted, then you might "know" that he was lying. But his motive was to hide a defense against a lying campaign that originated in the CIA.

Another explanation is that Armitage took the bait in a trap set by the White House; in that case, the trap was placed as a defensive maneuver after the CIA went on offcnse against the President.

Posted by: republicrat on September 8, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

oh. The "prosecutorial misconduct" was mentioned in articles by WaPo and NYT. I don't think Bushies are behind it.

Posted by: republicrat on September 8, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

"It wasnt about hurting Wilson: it was about protecting Dick Deadeye".

Ah, you guys are all sexists. It was about hurting PLAME--she was punished for not finding weapons of mass destruction (which was the task group she was heading up) by being outed and also tagged as venal for getting her husband a junket. Wilson was collateral damage.

Posted by: lahke on September 8, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Plame, schmame. Interesting trivial pursuit topic, but the important fact is the Bush screwed up - big time. He said we needed to invade Iraq because it had WMDs, and it didn't. So far he's gotten thousands of Americans killed and spent hundreds of billions of dollars.

Whether he did this because of other motives, bad intel, and whether he believed it or lied through his teeth, is immaterial.

President: big job, big responsibilities. You don't get an A for effort. He screwed up - big time.

Posted by: alex on September 8, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

At the risk of bodily harm...

Kevin, there is one problem with your argument, Fitzgerald disagrees with you and has found no crime, and knew it from the BEGINNING. There was no crime, but damn a lot of money was spent to try to get Rove. 3 years go down in the history books and the closest that Fitzgerald can get is that Libby lied to the Grand Jury. I suppose the next investigation will be how Rove and the Bus Administration got to Fitzgerald and the conspiracy behind the "no Rove indictment." Man, I feel sorry for you Rove 'conspiracy theorists', now you've all moved on to "The Path to 9/11."

Posted by: Neophyte Pundit on September 8, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, it's completely clear that it was a hatchet job on Wilson, organized by the White House. But I now have faint hope that anyone other than perhaps Libby will serve time for it.

Maybe Fitz can come up with something, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Or maybe he's playing some deep strategic game that I can't comprehend.

Who knows, maybe he's stalling, waiting for Bush to leave office and lose the power to pardon folks.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on September 8, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

You wing-nuts remind me of that "I Love Lucy" episode where she(you) had to keep eating all the chocolates falling off that conveyor belt so no one would notice she was fucking up...that shit is still funny.

Posted by: elmo on September 8, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

If Fitzgerald knew all along that it was Armitage that spread the word, and after months of investigaion, why did Rove have to make those last minute visits to Fitzgerald and the Grand Jury to "clarify"?

Posted by: notthere on September 8, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Al is Kevin Drums sockpuppet..Dualistic journalism at its worst..

Posted by: Trinary Suka on September 8, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

...instead of one guy talking to one reporter, it was multiple White House officials methodically calling their sources...

Other way 'round. The White House officials *were* the "sources."

What I want to know is, who was the "senior administration official" who first claimed that this was a revenge plot??

Posted by: Grumpy on September 8, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

angryspittle: Are you unable to express yourself forcefully without using repetitive profanity?

Mommy! Mommy! Cover my ears! Somebody said a bad word!

Get over it, old coot, that's angryspittle's shtick.

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on September 8, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum... Stuck. On. Stupid.

Posted by: Birkel on September 8, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

1. We needed false info to fool the country into our war.

2. We knew it wouldn't be long before it would be proven false so we set up Tenet and the CIA to take the blame for the false intel and leave the impression we didn't know it was false. The press took that lie and ran with it giving the impression we were innocent victims of bad intel, LOL!!!

3. Wilson exposed the fact we knew it was false before we started our war and threatened our ability to escape blame for lying and knowing the intel was false from the beginning.

4. Therefore we had to take down a CIA operative to prevent any others there from exposing us. When they saw what happened to her do you think any of them would think twice about exposing us?

Worked like a charm. Knew we're above the law and no prosecutor could touch us, especially with a republican congress and compliant press (thanks David Broder and special shout out to Bob Woodward and Timmie for all your hard work).

Posted by: Miss Piggy on September 9, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon kevin stop the 'centrist' bullshit and speak YOUR mind, tell us YOUR view, not Wapos view.
Otay buttwheat?

Posted by: Trinary Suka on September 9, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

I served in the U.S. intelligence community years ago. I know how seriously members of this community take national security issues, especially where covert, top-secret assets are concerned.

Valerie Plame was a covert, top-secret asset...which the Bush administration outed for whatever reason...thus endangering every man, woman and child in America...since her specialty was tracking clandestine WMD networks around the world.

So, the people atop the CIA got pissed. They referred the outing of one of their best, covert, top-secret agents to the Justice Department, because there were (and still are) traitors in the Bush administration.

As there are, apparently, Bush administration traitor sympathizers posting comments on this blog. Who also are endangering every man, woman and child in America. Through their blind allegiance to the most traitorous and evil administration our country has ever seen.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: The Oracle on September 9, 2006 at 3:40 AM | PERMALINK

I see "rdw" is apparently now using the identity of "strick."

Neophyte Pundit, WRONG. Fitz has NEVER said he "found no crime." The only thing he has INDICATED (and never said) by not charging Libby with the crime of revealing Plame as CIA is that it would be tough sledding to actually try it out in court. That's ALL, you wingnut.

Lahke - nice feminist take on the situation, but it's thinking WAYYYY too small as far as how neocon circles within circles turn, and at bottom line, it's just wrong.

MHR... nice crack smoking. Can I have the same drugs you take to make you think Matthews is a left-winger? Pull your head out of your ass, look around, realize you're a blind, babbling idiot, then stick your head back in your ass.

Republicrat... nice... you're the Marcia Clark of Plamegate armchair lawyers with such brilliance. Fitz guilty of prosecutorial misconduct? You must be bogarting hits on MHR's crack pipe. Double dittos for your ludicrous comments about a "CIA offensive."
You weren't one of Cheney's stovepipers by any chance, were you?

Posted by: Socratic Gadfly on September 9, 2006 at 4:04 AM | PERMALINK

Strick: "Taken together with the fact that Wilson was probably Corn's source and that all of Wilson's other charges have been debunked (again, according to the Washington Post), the accusation just doesn't seem credible."

The Washington Post's editorial board and its news division are hardly one and the same. Apparently, that board failed to consider the extensive reporting of this story by its paper's own journalists.

What is the basis for your claim that Joe Wilson is David Corn's "source"? Since when did right-wing rumor and wishful thinking become "fact"?

Joe Wilson's original charge -- that the White house knowingly allowed President Bush to falsely claim in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq attempted to buy uranium in Niger -- is incontrovertably true. The White House admitted less than one week after Wilson's July 6, 2003 New York Times editorial that this particular claim "failed to rise to the standards of a presidential speech."

Further, Vice President Cheny's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby was charged by aa grand jury with five felony counts of obstruction of justice and perjury for a very good reason. He lied to a grand jury about his involvement in pushing the Plame story to reporters.

The Al-bot: "[Kevin Drum is] just like Dan Rather trying to 'prove' that Bush skipped serving in the National Guards when we know he really had."

Really? Then where exactly was LT George W. Bush, TANG, during the eighteen-month period in question? You imply that you know something that Bush's superior officers still don't, since not a single solitary one of them can recall ever seeing him even once during that time.

And the official service record is hardly reassuring, since most of it apparently and conveniently no longer exists. One solitary and questionable record of a single dental exam is hardly proof that Bush reported to Alabama as ordered by his superiors.

Further, the one Alabama Air Nat'l Guard officer who claimed to have seen Bush at his post was proven by military records to have been posted at another base during this particular period.

It therefore strains any reasonable bounds of credulity that a man once mocked by some elderly Alabama socialites as "The Texas Souffle" -- "looked good on the outside but was full of hot air" -- served out his term of enlistment "honorably", when absolutely no member of the Alabama Air Nat'l Guard can even recall having served with a fighter pilot who eventually became the President of the United States.

But then, the American people have been asked by this president over the past six years to believe a whole lot of things about his conduct that simply defy all logic and common sense-- haven't we?

If you two clowns want to continue wallowing in your own willful ignorance, then do it on your own time.

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Posted by: fdfdfd on September 9, 2006 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

republicrat: I don't think....Bushies are behind it.


"I don't think......anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered.." - VP Dick Cheney 6/19/06

"I don't think.......anybody anticipated the breach of the levees..." - President GWB 9/1/05

"I don't think......anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and...use an airplane as a missile." - National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice 5/16/02


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 9, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

birkel: Stuck. On. Stupid.


"I've gone to Karl Rove and Elliott Abrams and Scooter Libby, and they have told me they are not involved in this" - Scott McClellan 9/23/03

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 9, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Circumstantially, then, there's a fair amount of evidence that the Post story was correct. It wasn't just Armitage; there really was a deliberate, systematic plan to out Plame, and it came straight from the White House.

Except that in both accounts, by the reporters own sworn testimony, they (the reporters) are the ones who brought it up. They asked the administration officials about the story rather than the other way around. The respondents comments were off hand and not central to the discussions that started the enquiry.

To this day no one has been charged with the supposed underlying crime Wilson's wife was NEVER an undercover agent Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced in the conclusion of his investigation saying that Plame's employment with the CIA was not undercover.

Joe Wilson (and his nepotism riddled wife & career)was full of B.S. from the beginning with his completely fabricated story What I did not find in Niger The "16 words" in his State of the Union address "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" were spot on true.

Britain's Butler Commission reviewed its government's pre-war intelligence on Iraq and concluded that "the British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium."

It was again proved false when our own Senate Intelligence Committee also concluded, in July 2004, that Saddam Hussein had sought uranium from Niger.

The truth is that Joe Wilson himself outed his wife when he wrote the Op-ed by the New York Times lying about who sent him to Niger. (as well as to what he really found there) Begging the question to the whole world who is this guy and who really sent him to Niger in the first place?

Moron good to know it ended in a big dud. (No Fitz-mass this year)

Posted by: Fitz on September 9, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Here is Tom McGuire's analysis based on Corn's book -- sound like the source of Kevin's fascination is meaningless and the whole issue is just another bad result from the media's addiction to annonymous sources:

The 1x2x6 story (One Administration whistleblower tells the Mike Allen of the WaPo that two White House told the "Wilson and wife" story to six reporters) gets trashed. The key passage from the WaPo, which for a while framed the Fitzgerald investigation:

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.

Emphasis added - in brief, an editor added "before Novak's column ran" to clarify the prose, but had misinterpreted what reporter Mike Allen was trying to say. Apparently the early morning edition of that day's paper are now a Plame Collector's Classic, because they ran "clean". In fact, some of the "Six" were contacted after Novak's column ran. Calling attention to a published story that whacks a critic may be hardball, and it may not be done for the purest of motives, but it is not a crime to exhort reporters to read the newspaper.

'Hubris' also notes that the following day the "senior administration official" was downgraded to an "administration aide", and tell us that the WaPo discussed running a correction but figured, why bother.

And who was the "One"? In a July 2005 reprise of the Plame story Mike Allen revised his source to be a "senior White House official"; per Isikoff/Corn, Adam Levine of the press office had repeated contacts with Allen the day before the story broke and thinks he may be the "One".

That said, Levine did not use the word "revenge", which provided the juicy quote from the original story:

"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.

However, even that was not so clear and subsequent stories back-pedaled from that - by Oct 12, the motive was as "pushback":

That same week, two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to least six Washington journalists, an administration official told The Post for an article published Sept. 28. The source elaborated on the conversations last week, saying that officials brought up Plame as part of their broader case against Wilson.

"It was unsolicited," the source said. "They were pushing back. They used everything they had."

Anyway, there is your Washington math - 1x2x6=0.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

The wingers here are very loud today. Did some nearby construction rouse them from their nests? Or are these the last ones left, resisting leaving the sinking ship?

Posted by: MarkC on September 9, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I know that everyone I knew at the National Press Club either knew that Scooter Libby was leaking info all over the place about Plame before the Post wrote their story or had been called by Scooter Libby.

Posted by: anonymous on September 9, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Valerie Plame looks so chic in Prada. And I hear she can STILL see through buildings with her x-ray vision. And Joe Wilson really puts teeth into his lying. But other than that, nothing. These are vapid and vaccous people.

Posted by: nikkolai on September 9, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

fitz: Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced in the conclusion of his investigation saying that Plame's employment with the CIA was not undercover.

.

the above from anncoulter.com.....lol


By Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 27, 2005; A01

Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative.


who ya gonna believe...ann coulter or a cia spokesman?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 10, 2006 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK


brian: Anyway, there is your Washington math - 1x2x6=0.

In early October 2003, NEWSWEEK reported that immediately after Novak's column appeared in July, Rove called MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews and told him that Wilson's wife was "fair game."

But White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters at the time that any suggestion that Rove had played a role in outing Plame was "totally ridiculous."

On Oct. 10, McClellan was asked directly if Rove and two other White House aides had ever discussed Valerie Plame with any reporters.

McClellan said he had spoken with all three, and "those individuals assured me they were not involved in this."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8445696/site/newsweek/


brian's math: 1+1=0

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 10, 2006 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

"David Broder, the conscience of all the beltway ..."

Funny, but Publicans don't seem to pay attention to this "conscience" when it criticizes THEM.

Broder is just another hack who got his pants in a tizzy cuz Fitz jailed a journalist.

Mitchel's recap is the goods.

They probably showed the report id'ing Plame to Armitage to GET him to gossip about it...

"Fair game" indeed. I've always wanted Tweety to expand on what HE thought about this comment. "Fair game" how? Why? Blowing a CIA investigation into WMD is a good idea because...?

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 10, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

This is the same BS I saw on the Chenney interview today. Cheney clearly states that there are were three issues
Irag relationship to 9/11 - None
Iraq relationship to Al Queda - There was support
Iraq relationship to Terrorist - There was support
Russert - Next question was so why does the administration say there was a relationship between 9/11 and Sadaam.

There is no way to defend a position when the other side will not acknowledge what comes out as truth and agreed to by all parties, and goes back to their own point of view. OBL is right America has no strength or purpose.

Posted by: Sinop85 on September 11, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

I see "rdw" is apparently now using the identity of "strick."

Nope! Wasn't me although a very solid effort. You can tell becuase I would never has said Wilson may have been Corn's source.

Joe Wilson was without question David Corns source.

Posted by: rdw on September 11, 2006 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Matthews: The Conspiracy-Mongering Continues!
09/08 06:22 PM,

Only one day after telling Matt Sheffield that the Plame controversy had gotten too "complicated" to cover on Hardball, Matthews back on the subject on today's program. This time, he hauled out the wackiest conspiracy theory yet:


MATTHEWS: Do you think [Richard Armitage] might have been used by people like Scooter? They put it in front of him knowing he's a blabbermouth?

This is worse than him ignoring it.


The video is available from NR online. You've got to feel bad for Armitage. This is the ulimate humiliation and it's far better than what he'll get from the right.

Posted by: rdw on September 11, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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