We seem to be approaching agreement on the issue of whether Ms. Plame was involved in the selection of her husband to go to Niger.
Let's hear from Larry Johnson, ex-CIA, writing at the well-regarded Talking Points Memo Cafe:
The Big Lie About Valerie Plame
...don't take my word for it, read the biased Senate intelligence committee report.
The Republicans insist on the lie that Val got her husband the job. She did not. She was not a division director, instead she was the equivalent of an Army major. Yes it is true she recommended her husband to do the job that needed to be done but the decision to send Joe Wilson on this mission was made by her bosses.
Emphasis added twice. Mr. Johnson's suggestion to read the "biased" Senate report is an excellent one, and represents advice he would have been well advised to follow.
Let's turn to the supplementary views offered by Subcommitte Chairman Roberts, Sen. Hatch, and Sen. Bond, Republicans all, and see just what they "insist" upon. This is p. 443 of the report, or p. 453 of the .pdf file:
While there was no dispute with the underlying facts, my Democrat colleagues refused to allow the following conclusions to appear in the report:
Conclusion: The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee.
The former ambassador's wife suggested her husband for the trip to Niger in February 2002. The former ambassador had traveled previously to Niger on behalf of the CIA, also at the suggestion of his wife, to look into another matter not related to Iraq. On February 12, 2002, the former ambassador's wife sent a memorandum to a Deputy Chief of a division in the CIA's Directorate of Operations which said, "[m]y husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." This was just one day before the same Directorate of Operations division sent a cable to one of its overseas stations requesting concurrence with the division's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger.
Hmm, so the Republicans could not get Democrats to vote out a conclusion that included the word "suggested". But Mr. Johnson has graciously broken that log-jam, by admitting that "it is true she recommended her husband to do the job". Pity that he misremembered, or chose to mis-state, the Republican position.
I would urge the Talking Points team to harmonize their talking points.
MORE: Hey, There, Lonely Guy...
For completeness, let's remind ourselves of Joe Wilson's position. This is from his book, drolly titled "The Politics of Truth":
Apart from being the conduit of a message from a colleague in her office asking if I would be willing to have a conversation about Niger’s uranium industry, Valerie had had nothing to do with the matter.
Or, to Matt Cooper of TIME magazine in July 2003:
In an interview with TIME, Wilson, who served as an ambassador to Gabon and as a senior American diplomat in Baghdad under the current president's father, angrily said that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to Africa. "That is bulls__t. That is absolutely not the case," Wilson told TIME. "I met with between six and eight analysts and operators from CIA and elsewhere [before the Feb 2002 trip]. None of the people in that meeting did I know, and they took the decision to send me. This is a smear job."
We have no idea why Larry Johnson has abandoned him on this point. Other than common sense.