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July 15, 2004

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» NRO: The Wilson Plague On All Their Houses from Captain's Quarters
Now that the the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on pre-war intelligence and the UK's corresponding Butler report both point to the uncomfortable conclusion that Joe "Restore Honesty" Wilson lied about his wife snagging him the Ni... [Read More]

» NRO: The Wilson Plague On All Their Houses from Captain's Quarters
Now that the the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on pre-war intelligence and the UK's corresponding Butler report both point to the uncomfortable conclusion that Joe "Restore Honesty" Wilson lied about his wife snagging him the Ni... [Read More]

» SPINNING, SPINNING, ALWAYS SPINNING . . . from Pejmanesque
Having met Kevin Drum, I certainly won't call him "dense" (he's far from it), but he continues to recycle the old conventional wisdom regarding the Wilson/Plame story. Kevin cites this story and the following excerpt as supposedly exculpating Wilson re... [Read More]

» SPINNING, SPINNING, ALWAYS SPINNING . . . from Pejmanesque
Having met Kevin Drum, I certainly won't call him "dense" (he's far from it), but he continues to recycle the old conventional wisdom regarding the Wilson/Plame story. Kevin cites this story and the following excerpt as supposedly exculpating Wilson re... [Read More]

Comments

Howard Cornell

At an early point, we (most of us) suspected that our intelligence (about al-Qaeda and terrorists) was faulty and that our security suffered. Politicians have gotten in queue to point this out. We (and they) ought to have figured out that Joe Wilson and the intelligence he brought with him and the security provided by Richard Clarke were inept, inadequate, and in need of overhaul.

Crank

Glad you wrote this post. I think I might be vulnerable to a wee bit of the hypocrisy charge if I started demanding Kleiman blog about stuff . . .

Mark Kleiman

As you note, I guessed some time ago that Wilson was a flake and a publicity hound. Nothing in the Senate report causes me to change that assessment.

But Joe Wilson isn't running for anything. George Bush is. We know, without any need to believe anything Wilson says, that senior members of Team Bush illegally revealed the identity of an extremely covert CIA officer working to prevent the accquisition of WMDs by rogue regimes and terrorist groups. Some of them are likely to go to prison for it. That was, and is, the main story.

Other than that, I have nothing to add to Josh Marshall's analysis. I expect to have more to say when the indictments come down, which I would expect to be any day now.

[Unlike the Crank, I have no objection to someone pointing out my silence on a story with which I had been identified. But now that you know my views, I'd like to have yours. Do you regard the President's transparent indifference to a serious national security breach committed for political reasons by senior members of his staff as a serious reason not to vote for him this year? If not, why not?]

Mark Kleiman

As you note, I guessed some time ago that Wilson was a flake and a publicity hound. Nothing in the Senate report causes me to change that assessment.

But Joe Wilson isn't running for anything. George Bush is. We know, without any need to believe anything Wilson says, that senior members of Team Bush illegally revealed the identity of an extremely covert CIA officer working to prevent the accquisition of WMDs by rogue regimes and terrorist groups. Some of them are likely to go to prison for it. That was, and is, the main story.

Other than that, I have nothing to add to Josh Marshall's analysis. I expect to have more to say when the indictments come down, which I would expect to be any day now.

[Unlike the Crank, I have no objection to someone pointing out my silence on a story with which I had been identified. But now that you know my views, I'd like to have yours. Do you regard the President's transparent indifference to a serious national security breach committed for political reasons by senior members of his staff as a serious reason not to vote for him this year? If not, why not?]

TM

Crank - you say "wrote", I say "stole". Whatever.

Mark - No.

But first, who is this:

"...extremely covert CIA officer working to prevent the accquisition of WMDs by rogue regimes and terrorist groups."

This person?

Secondly, when you say "We know... that senior members of Team Bush illegally revealed the identity...

Who is "we", and is that "know" as in "I know that 2 + 2 = 4, or is that "know" as in "I know Kerrry would be a better President than Bush"? I think it is helpful to folks who might sensibly view you as an expert on this to distinguish between fact and opinion.

As to what we do or don't know about illegal activity, I will believe a crime has ocurred when I see indictments (a very fashionable Dem position a few years ago, IIRC). Ms. Plame was in a liason role, moving to State Dept cover; her husband was ex-State; someone may have heard she was involved in suggesting him without guessing she was CIA (and you can see the original Novak, with the ambiguous sourcing.) The leaker may have lacked intent, and a "reckless disregard" prosecution may fail, or not be attempted; Novak may have picked up her CIA connection elsewhere; there are exculpatory scenarios. IMHO.

And I don't think the President had any obvious recourse other than to let the system grind through this - Ashcroft has recused himself and the special counsel is serious talent.

Some folks say "the President could have solved this with one phone call". OK, maybe a few phone calls. Ridiculous. If Bush had announced in the first week of this that, after a White House review, the following two aides were being sacked, what would have happened?

Dems would have thanked him and sent him two dozen roses? Wrong.

Schumer and many other Dems would have screamed for a proper investigation, pegged the two offered up as sacrificial lambs ("who are they protecting"?), cried cover-up, and alleged obstruction of justice by the President himself, since he had ordered an improper in-house review in order to coordinate stories and tamper with evidence. That is my guess, anyway.

The President had to let the professionals handle it.

Why the wait until September? Tenet meets with the President daily, and didn't raise it. Maybe Bush took Tenet more seriously than he took Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd - his mistake.

My aproach has been Congressional hearings and a possible public flogging; my suspicion is that the current path will never result in indictments, but Dems don't care since all the headlines are good. (Some Reps don't care, because they will claim "if they don't indict, it's alright", aka, the Hillary standard.)


I missed your answer to the question of whether Kerry should announce that Wilson is no longer with the campaign.

And a bonus question - are you seriously pretending that this issue was the deal-breaker for you, that otherwise you might have considered Bush?

TM

I will believe a crime has ocurred when I see indictments.

That's right! The suspense of a trial vexes me!

OK, I believe something meriting investigation has occurred. I'll believe we have crossed a criminal threshold when we see indictments, which I think won't happen.

I don't think they had criminal intent, and it strikes me as plausible that they didn't know her covert past, had no reason to suspect it, viewed her as incidental to the story, and made a mistake.

If I were going to vote not-Bush because of his mistakes, this is not the one I would focus on.

Paul Zrimsek

The theory that Plame's role in recommending Wilson was more widely known than her secret CIA identity gains a bit of support both from the fact that she'd also gotten him sent on an earlier trip, and from the apparent casualness with which the "crazy" Niger intel was treated within the agency. (I can imagine her eagerness to have hubby sent abroad being the subject of water-cooler humor in spook circles: "Old Joe should try coming back a day early from the next one. He might find out more than he learns on the junket.")

Kleiman's certainty regarding the legal issue continues to mystify.

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