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January 31, 2005

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Sammler

This smoldering heap of lies is going to resurface again, and again... it will be hard to summon the energy to fight it every time. The timetable is excellent work; might I suggest that you give it more visibility on your main page (distinguishing it as in-house content)?

JorgXMcKie

Aw, c'mon. No fair. You're being rational and using logic. That's like engaging in a battle of wits with a half-armed opponent. (Hmmm. We *are* talking Kossacks, here, I guess. Maybe they are, indeed, half-armed, witwise.)

Sandy P

Want some real fun?

This is from An American Ex-Pat in Southeast Asia 1/14:


"This is Mr. Fred Burks a former translator to George W. Bush who for unknown reasons seems to go out of his way in bending over backwards to help the defense team and goes into great detail about a secret meeting on the evening of 16 September 2002 at the residence of Megawati Sukarnoputri between Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, the Indonesian Expert in the National Security Council (NSC) Ms. Karen Brooks, Mr. Fred Burks and a CIA agent whom Ambassador Boyce introduced as a special envoy to President Bush.

According to Mr. Burks, the CIA agent then informs Megawati that President Bush wants her to arrest Ba'asyir and gives a time deadline that Ba'asyir must be arrested before the APEC Summit Conference in Cabos, Mexico in October 2002. Megawati declines and say that she cannot arrest Ba'asyir or she will face domestic problems because of Ba'asyir's popularity.

Can things get worse? They can if you tell someone the name of a female CIA agent outside the courtroom."


whatever

Snarky, but irrelevant. No wonder Instahack linked to you.

Jeff Gannon (sic) didn't exist as far as we know past 2 years ago. He is the only paid employee that we know of, for Talon News. He gets a prime seat at the White House press room, and gets all these lovely scoops.

Paranoid the Kossacks may be, but it stinks. Snark around the edges all you want, but Jeff Gannon is a plant, unless some reasonable explanation otherwise comes up.

Slartibartfast

Alternatively, we're going to assume a total (but pleasing) fiction until some more fact surfaces. Whatever floats your boat.

SNAFU Principle

Snarkiness is required when an ongoing investigation is still underway and the results may not bode well for the Bush worship crowd.

Worth noting that if it were a Democratic admininstration that was possibly responsible for the outing of a CIA agent, the conservatives would be in full lynch mob mode.

Talon News stinks to high heaven. Another element, if from a Democratic swinging "news outlet", the Freepers and their ilk would be banging the cages screaming for red meat.

Get a grip Americans. Your country is in great danger and all you can do is fight amongst yourselves? Pathetic.

TM

Paranoid the Kossacks may be, but it stinks...

Am I questioning their mental health, or their competence? Maybe they could start by reading the WaPo story in question.

As to whether Talon News stinks or not, that may well be a separate question from the Plame investigation, however earnestly they are attempting to conflate them here.

capt joe

I don't know, Bush is battling in the high hundreds so far.

All this tortured unveiling of the Plame affair seems to be doing in destroying each part ot the Plame side of the equation. So how is that Wilson credibility thing doing?

Even Sandy "party in his pants" the ex NSC under Clinton had his attempts at erasng history blow up horribly in his face.

I mean, besides increasingly discredited testimony, what does the kossacks really have?

Timmy the Wonder  Dog

Tom, they are Kossites not Kossacks and an apology is owed to all of the Kossacks out there.

Sandy P

Of course, Ames or Hanssen could have outed her. We may never know.

Jimmy's Attack Rabbit

Obviously, you've forgotten the Kossites are "reality based" and just by writing that you are "reality based" means whatever you write is correct, (thus no links needed).

TM

they are Kossites not Kossacks...

Does that have anything to do with Kos and Effect?

rhodeymark

Obviously they can't be the Kossholes I've encountered over there...

Robert Crawford

Jeff Gannon (sic) didn't exist as far as we know past 2 years ago. He is the only paid employee that we know of, for Talon News. He gets a prime seat at the White House press room, and gets all these lovely scoops.

Maybe he's one of the few real reporters in the White House press corps?

And, hey, at least "Helen Thomas" isn't around anymore. Christ, you could tell she was a muppet as soon as the cameras turned to her.

capt joe

Reality based, linguisitically means unreal.

Christian Grantham

"Gannon" later went on to say of his interview with Joe Wilson, "Of course, as a journalist there wasn't much I could say without revealing my sources."

Wait "Just One Minute." "Gannon" couldn't reveal that his "source" was the Wall Street Journal? How do you address this?

TM

Do not tax my imagination before you have exhausted your own.

Two obvious choices:

(a) The Wash Post story is quite clear that the memo waas circulated to right wing news services (which could include the Journal, yes?). The Lost Kos crowd said that Gannon had an "exclusive", which I rebutted. Even if he had it too, so what, if it was widely circulated?

(b) Gannon read the Journal, and, being a blowhard, pretended to have a secret source. Inconceivable?

Not to put the Christian on the spot, but is it really that hard to come up with these explanations?

Lloydletta

It's not that hard to comment on Daily Kos - all you need to do is register. I posted a link to your entry here... So hopefully Susan will respond.

Rob W

Hate to burst this bubble, but how do you know that the WSJ and the WaPo memos are the same memo? My understanding is that the Gannon memo is a State Dept. memo. The WSJ memo appears to come from the intelligence community. I'm assuming that there are plenty of memos on this whole thing that got leaked. You just assumed they were the same memo without looking into it.

Nimrod

First, there is no reason to believe that the WSJ had the memo. Here is they key language in the article: "according to two people familiar with the memo."

Oddly enough, when summarizing the memo, Gannon seems to describe the memo he has heard about or the actual memo that he saw (although it may be the same memo.)

More interestingly, if you read Gannon's dsecription, it looks like he is plagarizing the WSJ article....same phraseology.

Gannon's description:

An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports

WSJ description:

An internal government memo addresses some of the mysteries at the center of the White House leak investigation and could help investigators in the search for who disclosed the identity of a Central Intelligence Agency operative, according to two people familiar with the memo.
The memo, prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel, details a meeting in early 2002 where CIA officer Valerie Plame and other intelligence officials gathered to brainstorm about how to verify reports that Iraq had sought uranium yellowcake from Niger.

Ms. Plame, a member of the agency's clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested at the meeting that her husband, Africa expert and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, could be sent to Niger to investigate the reports, according to current and former government officials familiar with the meeting at the CIA's Virginia headquarters. Soon after, midlevel CIA officials decided to send him, say intelligence officials.

Eva Young

Got a response from SusanG here.

Hmmmm .... (none / 1)

I may have made the mistake here of believing Talon News' own report. (Head slap.)

Talon News was the only service identified by the Washington Post as having knowledge of the memo's existence.

Talon News cache.

I'll look into it later unless someone else wants to. If I got it wrong, I want to correct it.

TM

I'll look into it later unless someone else wants to. If I got it wrong, I want to correct it.

Well, good for her - she might want to start by reading the Washington Post story I linked to - it certainly does *not* describe an exclusive release, nor does the WSJ report.

Frm Rob: Hate to burst this bubble, but how do you know that the WSJ and the WaPo memos are the same memo?

Great point! Of course, the Wash Post *says* the memo was distributed to "conservative news outlets", and the WSJ (often considered conservative) *does* describe a memo, and the INR *is* the intelligence wing of the State Dept., but Rob, I like the way you think! Occam's Razor is for folks with no imagination!

More from Rob: You just assumed they were the same memo without looking into it.

And since you have looked into it, Rob, what is your evidence that the memos are different? We eagerly await.

From Nimrod: First, there is no reason to believe that the WSJ had the memo.

Ahh, Nimrod, now I find a real player. David Cloud, the WSJ reporter in question, has never responded to my e-mails (and I only tried a couple of times), but I don't believe he was ever subpoenaed, and it certainly seems that he should have been. So did he see a memo, or what? That has been on my "Frequently Unanswered Questions" for a while.

As to the possibility that Gannon just clipped the WSJ story and pretended he had a secret source - could be, but wouldn't he have told the Feds? Or maybe he did tell the Feds - maybe getting subpoenaed was kind of cool to talk about atparties, and now he's back to doing whatever he does.

Well, when I indulge myself, I can conjure theories even faster than Rob. I'm inclined to accept the WaPo version that a State Dept INR memo circulated, the WSJ seems to have seen it (or heard about it), and Gannon says he saw it, so maybe he did.

But the idea that he had an exclusive peek at a memo different from the WSJ memo, but which read just the same and described the same thing? Tough sell.

Eva Young

The point is, she believed Gannon's own claim.... From the story (linked to the word "cache" in my post above):

Federal Grand Jury Could Subpoena Talon News Correspondent
By Jim Hauser
Talon News
March 9, 2004

WASHINGTON (Talon News) --

**************snip****************

According to a subsequent Talon News story by Bobby Eberle regarding the Washington Post piece, "The Washington Post cites an unnamed source who says, 'The CIA is angry about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets.' They point to a memo referenced in a Talon News interview of Wilson that suggests his wife was instrumental in his selection for the fact-finding trip to Africa."

Talon News was the only service identified by the Washington Post as having knowledge of the memo's existence.

"I will tell you that the information did not come from inside the administration," Gannon told Talon News. "For something that is supposed to be classified, it seems that this document is easily accessible."

*****************
That's what she's looking into. She answered relatively quick.

Eva Young

I mean - she's looking into this further - because she took this from a Talon News claim..... And she didn't research to find an actual WaPO article that it referred to. So if she was wrong to believe Talon News on this, I'm sure she'll issue a correction.

TM

Eva, I appreciate your effort here, and I know SusanG has done a lot of work on this, and I know there are lots of loose ends she has been following, but... I started poking into this because I was getting some traffic on my Valerie Plame timeline from the Kos site. I read her post, saw her reference to a WaPo story describing a Talon News exclusive, and was reading the WaPo story itself maybe five minutes later. Maybe ten minutes? Not long.

I think if I were doing a story about somebody, and my central theme was that he was a conniving, duplicitous hack, I might take a moment to verify the stuff he writes. Maybe.

That said, I had a *huge* advantage - I knew about the WSJ story, so I knew the *exclusive* angle was, at a minimum, very odd. Which meant I really wanted a look at that WaPo story.

Well. Spiderleaf picked up the WSJ angle a bit later, and the summary I saw today mentioned that Gannon was subpoenaed, but did not claim he had an exclusive, so the possibility that there was a non-exclusive leak of the memo seems to have penetrated. Fine - the system seems to have worked.

AND you managed to out a gay guy! A red-letter day over at Kos.

Eva Young

Here's more:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/5/212837/3714

March 9, 2004 - Gannon gets into a heated exchange with another poster of FreeRepublic.com regarding the Grand Jury subpoena... and Gannon sticks to his talking points - Plame wasn't covert.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1093819/posts

To: Peach

You are kind. What is interesting about this is that I have become ensnared in this matter because I asked questions of my government.

This may a chilling effect on freedom of the press.

All this commotion, but the central question has yet to be answered: At the time that Robert Novak's column was published, was Valerie Plame a "covert operative"?

The CIA has refused to comment on this very important point.

If she was not, then no crime has been committed and all communications between the administration and reporters is just gossip. ---Jeff Gannon

....

To: Jeff Gannon

That is simply not true, Jeff.

You are ensnared because you made reference to a government document, which appears to have been a forgery. You need to tell the Grand Jury who made you privy to that document. ---JohnGalt

To: Jeff Gannon
What was the document you referred to in the interview with Wilson? ---JohnGalt

To: JohnGalt

I disagree with your characterization of the document itself, but that aside, I maintain that I am under no obligation whatsoever to reveal my sources. That is a fundamental element of maintaining a free press. ---Jeff Gannon

Oops. Now that was a sloppy mistake Jeff. How can you disagree with the characterization of a classified document that you hadn't seen? Looks like you were leaked it after all... or you really trust your source...

Eva Young

That's what's good about blogs - is there is a self correcting system there. There's still a question about why someone like Jeff Gannon would get a lead of a classified document. This is a very wierd story.

TM

One of my questions is, suppose he did see it? We have the WaPo and the Journal suggesting it was circulated, so it was not an exclusive thing. I care that he saw it because...[ ]?

And, if I am following this:

I disagree with your characterization of the document itself...

So he says it was not forged. First, as Dan Rather demonstrated, you can look at a document and not know whether it was forged. Secondly, if his source was the Journal story, why should he admit that when he can play at being a big man with inside sources? (I may try this myself...)

Thirdly, even though the CIA disputed the memo at the time, it jibes well with what came out of the Senate investigation, which was based largely, and by bizarre coincidence, on the statements and notes of... an INR officer!

Eva Young

So do you have some critique of this timeline...

TM

Eva, I don't know if you guys are paying me enough, and I don't have time to argue, but I'll pick out some easily disputed points, and see where we are:

It was quite clear that Novak was trying to discredit the CIA at the behest of "two senior administration officials" by silencing any critics and making the claim that the CIA sent a diplomat vs. an intelligence operative to verify the yellowcake documents for patronage reasons. Novak's CIA source however would not confirm that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.

Novak did talk to his CIA press person, who did not deny she was CIA; in fact(see the WaPo), he told Novak not to publish, but not emphatically.

Fineman of Newsweek (Article originally titled "Vicotria's Secret") talked about alternative motives for the leak, but I understand that the version presented here is a bit of an article of faith with your side.

On September 28, 2003 a source inside the administration tells the Washington Post that at least 6 other journalists were contacted with the leak and claims: "Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge." He stated that he was sharing the information because the disclosure was "wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility."

True, but... the source changed the story about motive a few days later.

On September 29, 2003 Clifford May in NRO tries to insert the claim that Valerie Plame's name "was common knowledge" and that he did not include it in his article on July 11th because he didn't see how it added value to the story. This is obviously a false claim since it definitely would have made a difference in helping to discredit the CIA and push the partisan and patronage claims.

Logical train wreck - if 6 people were leaked to, and it was newsworthy, why did only Novak publish her name? This last bit does explain that her name was news-worthy, yes?

Or, see Kristof from October - her role may have been less of a secret than advertised.

Perfect timing on Jeff's part... push the `real story' of why Wilson was chosen. However, it also shows that Gannon has no inside knowledge of the memo purporting to `prove' why Wilson was chosen.

Huh? On the one hand, *I* knew enough by Sept 30 to think of that as a reasonable question, and I had not seen a memo.

OTOH, even if I had seen a secret memo, I might have been coy about it (I am oftentimes *not* an idiot).

I would say the question and the memo don't connect here.

And this is where Gannon becomes extremely useful. Novak and NRO are well known "conservative" mouthpieces and therefore their claims to have known all about Plame can be questioned. But if a new, fresh off the boat journalist at an unknown news organization knew about her too... well, then it was common knowledge and therefore no crime was committed by leaking her identity.

Oh, boy - I once followed Google to a Talon News story - it took me maybe ten seconds to realize it was a partisan hack site with a GOP USA connections. Your thought is that no one in Washington could figure that out? I mean, how dumb do you think your side is? (Don't answer).

Other operatives may have been put in harms way with the exposure of Plame's name and the front company she used as cover, as reported on October 4th... and of course Novak's column of October 4th reveals the front companies name to the world,

Interesting follow-up to that:

Former intelligence officials confirmed Plame's cover was an invention and that she used other false identities and affiliations when working overseas. "All it was was a telephone and a post office box," said one former intelligence official who asked not to be identified. "When she was abroad she had a more viable cover."

On October 6th, Gannon weighs in again and confirms by his tone that he still doesn't know more than what has been in the press reports, but, he knows enough to push the partisan politics meme with this statement:

...Yet, between 15 and 21 days later when Gannon conducts a phone interview with Wilson, Gannon references the 2002 CIA memo definitively.

Awkward moment here - the WSJ story about the memo came out on Oct. 17. Maybe Gannon *still* doesn't know anything more than what he reads in the news.

Put it another way - if *I* had gotten Wilson on the phone then, I would have asked about the Journal story.

But I would have said I was relying on a news account (I hope, but maybe it has more impact if you go with "I can't describe my sources" - sort of avoids the dismissive "You can't believe what you read in the papers" response.)

Oops, and I see a bit later that Gannon reads excerpts from a Kristof column - he *does* read the news!

Cloud is relying on "two people" who had seen the memo, but presumably not himself.

A penny drops! Looking at the subpoena list that includes Jeff Gannon, I see two WSJ reporters (Gigot and Hitt) that are *not* Cloud. VERY cool, and my Frequently Unanswered Question gets a clue - the "two people" were two other WSJ reporters, and Cloud took the byline. No, I have no proof, obviously, but why were they subpoenaed? A little cloud has lifted (as it were) and this whole exercise has become worthwhile.

As detailed by Cloud above, the CIA (presumably, because he just says "intelligence" officials)

Presume nothing - the State Dept has intel people (INR); the Defense does (DIA); the NEA does (NPR/PBS). Trust no one.

...there is no way he would have known that this was indeed accurate and then his "gotcha" moment (i.e. Wilson lied to me) would have been for naught since no one went on the record (other than Novak's "two senior administration officials") to verify the claim.

So now Gannon has the scruples of a Times reporter (poor example of scrupulous, but...)

Except, once Gannon thought the storm had passed, he reveals that he was leaked the memo, or at least told of its contents...

The notion that he is a diligent reader of the WSJ has not exactly been ruled out at this point, and the internet posting does not dispute that version.

So how is it that a journalist who only set up shop in March 2003 and received WH press credentials on April 3, 2003 and posts regularly on the FreeRepublic.com bulletin boards, was "in the loop" enough to have knowledge of a classified CIA memo by October 2003, that supposedly only "inside-the-beltway types" knew about and no one at the CIA would confirm? There is only one conclusion. He was planted by, and used to help, the administration.

Or, he reads the paper, and is a bit of a blowhard. Or he reads my blog, and is a bit of a blowhard - a "birds of a feather" thing. Nahhhh.

On December 30th two bombshells are dropped. The first is that AG Ashcroft has recused himself from the investigation and the second is that at some point in 2003 Rove (who historically did not agree to interviews with anyone) sat down for a chat with Bobby Eberle of GOPUSA.com.

Three bombshells, actually - I had Pepsi for lunch instead of Coke. C'mon, the Ashcroft news was big. Rove met with a party hack "sometime in 2003"? - be still my heart.

In that exchange Gannon makes a sloppy mistake. How can you disagree with the characterization of a classified document that you hadn't seen? Looks like he was leaked it after all... or he must really trust his source.

Or he is a blowhard. Sorry, terrible word choice given the rest of the story. Totally inadvertent (Freud would beg to differ, but he is dead). Replace with "braggart".

He became incredibly useful in L'Affaire Plame to continue to push the dual stories that a) Plame's name was already common knowledge and therefore `outing' her was not a crime and b) to continue to help discredit the CIA and Wilson.

Except that (a) no one reads Jeff Gannon; and (b) plenty of serious, heavy media pushed those themes - Kristof and Fineman come to mind quickly. Of Kristof, Fineman, and Gannon, who does not belong?

Based on the evidence, I believe the 2002 CIA memo was leaked to Gannon when Novak became unusable and when the `mainstream' reporters with CIA contacts were not pushing the WH's preferred story line. They needed cover, and they got it.

Well, believe what you want. Folks looking for solid evidence will be disappointed, but I can't oppose faith-based initiatives, now can I?

OK, that's it. Thank you, Eva, the possible answer to the Cloud mystery has brightened my day. Tell Susan that with a combination of charm and persistence, you got lots of free (and probably useless) consulting from one of the better-informed righties on the web (for this specific subject).

You're a marvel to put up with my deplorable attitude; I hope you realize I was kidding about NPR/PBS.

Have a nice weekend.

Eva Young

Thanks for the criticism.... I'll let the Kos folks know....

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