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August 07, 2005

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Comments

Geek, Esq.

Argh, TM.

That Reuters story, which is much more clear as to what Russert did and did not say, that I linked to the other day should be part of the conversation, no?

peapies

"The document may have been shown by Libby to Miller, or vice versa.  Since the document is mentioned in the subpoena, and Libby has testified, we are inclined to think there is something to this, since who else would know?"

if it were the visa versa...the person(s) who supplied it to Miller?

TM

Geek - you are absolutely right, although it does not change my conclusion.

As I recall, that Reuters story was the Bloomberg story (Boy, I hope I am right about that). I thought it got picked up in my "Isikoff" link, but apparently not.

Here is a link to the Sun-Times, and a link to Bloomberg. The key paragraph:

Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before Fitzgerald that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.

Emphasis added. That source could be a Russo-philic NBC Weasel.

Syl

Rove could be off the technical hook for leaking classified info. (Except maybe what he said to Cooper. But do we know the EXACT words he used?) Rove may really have heard it first from a reporter. And then passed it on in a 'he said', 'I heard it, too' manner.

The INR memo may be another red herring as far as Rove is concerned. It's possible that the Wilson wife thing was deemed important only in that it explained how that hot-headed ambassador made the trip. The memo, and the hustling, at the time had to do with pinning down the Niger intel, getting those ducks lined up again, no? Comparing what Wilson said about the trip and what he learned, to what they knew. So, perhaps, the wife part of the INR memo didn't get passed along to Rove.

(On the other hand the wife bit could have been a gigantic Holy Sh*t and gossiped around to everyone.)

But I'm inclined to be skeptical of a reporter discovering on his/her own that Valery, Joe's wife, recommended Joe for the trip. (Miller, perhaps but I'm not so sure even there.)

Reporters might know that Wilson's wife was CIA, yeah. But how would they know she recommended Joe for the journey? Well, they didn't have to know that actually.

But why would a reporter offer up the info that Valery worked at the CIA out of the blue?

Perhaps a SAO said something like 'Wilson's wife recommended him for the trip' and a reporter said 'makes sense, she's with the CIA' or something like that.

In other words, somebody had to prime the pump. And if the wording wasn't more than that, is that a bad thing? I mean those words could be comprehended as 'Wilson's wife has a close friend in the CIA'.

The specific words spoken are very important to judge legality, I think.

So, I do think folks were trying to get the word out that Wilson's wife sent him on the trip. But one reporter wasn't enough. Reporters aren't going to talk to each other and spread the word (each would want the scoop) and not all reporters are going to take the bait, so more than one is necessary.

Libby talked to Russert (who didn't bite). He talked to Miller (who didn't bite, either). But he may have used a different tactic with Miller. Since she was privy already to a lot of wmd stuff, he may have shown her something that was classified about the Niger intel on the pretext of explaining the intel situation to her in light of Wilson's article. Perhaps she was already a go to in the press for this type of intel. That kind of thing happens more than we'd like to know about.

(Aside, there's a reporter I won't identify that my Joe told me once leaks classified info like a seive. Joe says nobody's ever done anything about it.)

But, whaddya know, Libby didn't redact the stuff about Valery Wilson so she saw that too. Mission Accomplished.

Then Novak.

Libby seems to have been a busy beaver. But, Rove had to be in on it because he'd probably be called for confirmation or clarification or whatever.

Sorry, this is as long as some of JBG's stuff.

Syl

Man, I write a long thing and don't really make myself clear. Rove could be off the technical classification leak hook, but still there is some sort of conspiracy to get the info out there. Being so careful with words shows that he/both knew exactly what they were doing.

Then, the Miller thing, if she was indeed a go to type who got peeks at classified stuff, it wouldn't be in her interest to let that fact go public and it could possibly get her into further trouble. I think neither Miller nor Libby want her to testify.

Jim E.

TM wrote: "The document may have been shown by Libby to Miller, or vice versa."

Yes. But the article, however slightly, emphasizes the likeihood that Libby was showing to Miller over the Miller-showing-to-Libby scenario. It's worth noting, since you did note the article's slight emphasis on Libby's supposed lack of cooperation.

Syl wrote: "Then, the Miller thing, if she was indeed a go to type who got peeks at classified stuff, it wouldn't be in her interest to let that fact go public and it could possibly get her into further trouble. I think neither Miller nor Libby want her to testify."

I agree with this totally. I think both Miller and Libby have incentive for Miller to keep her mouth shut.

Guy

Syl wrote: "Then, the Miller thing, if she was indeed a go to type who got peeks at classified stuff, it wouldn't be in her interest to let that fact go public and it could possibly get her into further trouble. I think neither Miller nor Libby want her to testify."

I agree with this totally. I think both Miller and Libby have incentive for Miller to keep her mouth shut.

This would offer a potential motive for the NYT's head honchos to cover for Miller as well, if they want their reporters to keep peeking at classified stuff. Not sure whether I believe that, but there you go.

Geek, Esq.

You're right TM, that was a Bloomberg story. That's what happens when I post from the office on a Sunday.

My take on the Bloomberg case is that the informant for that piece of information was a "person familiar with the case."

Isn't that code for either someone associated with the prosecutor's office or an attorney for a witness?

My guess is that it's Timmay's lawyer.

boris

The whole thing has many of the characteristics of a big show investigation that's going nowhere fast but has managed to put a lot of players on notice that they've got something to lose. That way when the charade goes bust in the dust everyone will breathe a big sigh of relief and not dig too deep into what went wrong. Meanwhile certain watchers from the balcony are learning who's been naughty and who's been nice for future reference.

Syl

And if true, then she is really, even though we impugn her motives, in jail on principle.

This is truly a first amendment issue.

I've felt it was principle with Miller, rather than something else, but until this aspect of it occured to me (from reading the linked article) the whole thing didn't click.

She's not protecting Libby, she's protecting the journalist/source relationship.

Jim E.

"This is truly a first amendment issue."

Actually, no, it's not.

"she's protecting the journalist/source relationship."

Maybe. If so, this is the principle at stake. Not the same thing as the first amendment.

And if Miller got and shared the info with Libby for the express purpose of helping the administration attempt to discredit Wilson (instead of for a story she intended to write), then she is hardly acting on principle. She wouldn't be acting as a journalist under this scenario. Yes, I'm completely speculating.

In any case, there's way too little information to be giving Miller pats on the back.

TM

This new E&P story belongs in the mix. And this is timely:

Adam Liptak, who reports on legal affairs for The Times, stated to NPR's Terry Gross on August 2: "Judy and her lawyers have declined to answer the question of whether they have done anything at all to contact the source and try to obtain a satisfactory waiver" that would permit her to break confidentiality and testify before the grand jury.
MeTooThen

Syl,

Please.

The notion of a journalist "protecting" their source has heretofore meant that the quid pro quo, information-for-anonymity, would be respected at all costs.

In this case, Mr. Fitzgerald already knows who Ms. Miller's source is. In fact, he has already interviewed that source as part of the grand jury.

Furthermore, that source has given their consent to Ms. Miller that she may testify and answer Mr. Fitzgerald's pointed questions.

This is not, in any way, shape, or form, a First Amendment, Constitutional issue.

That members of the press, Ms. Miller and others included, have chosen to claim that is, does not make it so.

Really, now.

TM

I agree with this totally. I think both Miller and Libby have incentive for Miller to keep her mouth shut.

Sign me up to make three. I have said this before - if I were advising Libby, I would not be unhappy with a situation where Fitzgerald is stalled.

Full exoneration would be better, but Miller's memory may be a crapshoot (and who says full exoneration is what her testimony woulddeliver?)

Although having said that, would Libby have testified to committing a crime? And if he had taken the Fifth wouldn't that have leaked? Well, maybe not, if the leakers are all friendly lawyers.

Seven Machos

Oh. My. God. I actually agree with something Jim E. said.

Journalists have no right to withhold information.

TM

Here is the "Meet The Press" transcript for Aug 7 No mention of Plame, Libby, or Fitzgerald.

Les Nessman

"There was apparently .. there may (or may not) be a document involved... may have been shown .. or vice versa. .. we are inclined to think there is something to this,..
..presents both views .. but in my humble right-wing opinion, .. if Fitzgerald orders... may (Miller might argue) be viewed .. suggested motives the Times.. may do an expose ..may not be afraid of four months in jail.

..we fear that he has fallen prey .. A statement issued by NBC at the time suggests ... one person said.... the person said...

..if it were the visa versa ...(Except maybe what he said .. But do we know the EXACT words he used?) ...Rove may really have heard .. may be another red herring.. ..It's possible that ...So, perhaps, the wife part ... perhaps but I'm not so sure ...
..Reporters might know..
...Perhaps a SAO said something like ...or something like that....

..And if the wording wasn't ..words could be comprehended as ... But he may have used ...he may have shown her ..Perhaps she was already a go ...seems to have been a busy beaver...he'd probably be called for confirmation or clarification or whatever....

...Rove could be off the technical classification leak hook, but still there is some sort of conspiracy ... if she was indeed .. a potential motive for the NYT's ...My guess is that.. And if true, ...
..Maybe.... If so,if Miller got and shared... Yes, I'm completely speculating....

..there's way too little information ... may be a crapshoot ... And if he had taken the Fifth ... Well, maybe not, if the leakers ...."

Lord, the speculation.

Syl

Jim E

"Maybe. If so, this is the principle at stake. Not the same thing as the first amendment. "

MeTooThen

"This is not, in any way, shape, or form, a First Amendment, Constitutional issue."

Of course it is.

The principle involved is the protection of the First Amendment rights of sources.

These rights are not limited to stuff like the Pentagon Papers. Even bad politicians revealing nasty things are covered by the First Amendment which doesn't care a whit about motive.

Right now, Miller's source has been identified, but not the content of information that passed between them. Revealing that would betray her source. And if he is betrayed what source would feel comfortable coming forward in the future with the shocking news that Bush burps after every meal.

I had heard that Abrams, Miller's lawyer, had decided to fight this on a First Amendment basis, so that might explain why he will neither confirm or deny any attempt to get a special waiver from Libby, as Tom noted above. I'm assuming he didn't try. They're going for civil disobedience instead. Something I'm sure you'll agree is a 'good thing' rather than a 'bad thing'. After all, dissent is the highest form of patriotism. ::rolling eyes::

Seven Machos

Syl: "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Suppose a guy tells me he committed a crime. I get subpoenaed for the trial I refuse to testify. Is this a First Amendment issue?

It's not. I don't have the right to withhold information from a court of law. Neither do you. Neither does Judy Miller. Neither does anybody, unless they are themselves on trial. The press has no special rights that you and I don't have, particularly in federal court.

Floyd Abrams may be angling to make this a First Amendment issue because he thinks he can pawn that argument off on a sympathetic jury if Miller stays in jail long off such that she becomes eligible for a trial. I'd be shocked if that was the plan, and more shocked if that plan works.

Syl

You'll go to jail just like Judith. There are certain relationships that are protected, or semi protected. Like doctor/patient and lawyer/client. But stuff like a guy telling you he committed a crime is not one of them. I'm sure it's been tested :)

But because of journalism's duty to inform the public and the necessity to protect the first amendment rights of whistleblowers, there are already shield laws in most states.

Abrams is probably angling to be sure there is federal one as well. But there isn't one yet and Judith is doing civil disobedience by breaking the law and sitting in jail.

SamAm

If Russert testified only about what he told Libby and not about where he learned the information (and this is, I hope, a correct understanding) then I think Russert's role in this is being overblown (unless he says he heard it on the cocktail circuit). Likewise with the extreme probability that Libby was walking around with docs that spelled out Plame's status and supposed role and was leaking them. No way Russert knew the specifics of Plame's role. That's why they had the conversation, after all. To inform Russert.

I think the genesis of the information is something of a red herring. Once the information entered the minds and belongings of the SAO's involved, they had a responsibility to protect classified information. That clearly didn't happen, and the "but a few people in DC had some vague knowledge of the matter" defense is pretty weak. You could say that for a whole host of other classified information, but the government doesn't exactly go around dumping secret information from zepplins.

Also, do we have a date for the Russert-Libby coversation? Novak talked to source one on July 8th at the very latest (that was the day he talked to Rove). So obviously this information was being reviewed and passed around the senior echelons of the administration around that time. Russet either told them nothing (bad) or told them something (bad) that was checked against documents we know existed or told them everything in excruciating detail, in which case his source would be in trouble and the WH still would have either known or checked the information (bad).

I don't think Russert matters as much as maybe TM hopes he does. His telling something to Libby doesn't help the White House all that much.

Jim E.

"The principle involved is the protection of the First Amendment rights of sources."

Well, everyone does have first amendment rights, including "sources." But your sentence doesn't make any sense since no one is preventing the "sources'" first amendment rights. The sources' first amendment rights are not at issue. Besides, I thought you were patting Miller on the back (incorrectly) for HER first amendment rights, not her sources' rigihts.

"Judith is . . . breaking the law and sitting in jail."

This is correct. She's breaking the law. Much different than her constitutional rights being violated.

I don't have it in front of me, but I didn't think the NYTimes ever argued -- in its newspages, anyways -- that reporters had special rights not to cooperate with investigations. I know that the NY Times reporter who went to jail in the late 1970s specifically said he never thought he had constitutional protection. He went to jail to protect his source, and always knew it might come to that -- he never thought the First Amendment would cover him.

Doctor/patient and lawyer/client laws DO exist and are respected by federal courts, unlike reporter/source laws. But even then, no laws are absolute.

kim

Has Judith Miller broken the law, or is she being held in contempt?
========================================

Jim E.

kim is correct. But my larger points still stand.

jukeboxgrad

Jim E is right. Syl, here's why it's not a first amendment issue. The first amendment guarantees your right to speak up. It doesn't guarantee your right to speak up secretly (i.e., as an anonymous source). Maybe it should. Maybe we wish it did. But it doesn't.

"because of journalism's duty to inform the public and the necessity to protect the first amendment rights of whistleblowers, there are already shield laws in most states."

To some extent the reason why we need, and have, whistleblower laws and shield laws is because the first amendment does not guarantee your right to speak anonymously. Therefore it's incorrect and misleading to refer to "the first amendment rights of whistleblowers." There is no such thing. Whistleblower rights and first amendment rights should be understood as separate matters.

Sam said: "... the genesis of the information is something of a red herring. Once the information entered the minds and belongings of the SAO's involved, they had a responsibility to protect classified information."

This key point is worth repeating because certain people have trouble grasping this.

Syl

JBG

"Whistleblower rights and first amendment rights should be understood as separate matters."

You love making stuff up as you go along. LOL.
You're confused, as usual, and defining things for yourself so you've put the horse behind the cart.

Whistleblower rights are derived from First Amendment rights. Shield laws are to protect journalists who don't want to betray whistleblowers because if whistleblowers are betrayed, journalists can't fulfil their first amendment rights of informing the public.

Trelaney

There has been much focus on the media people we know from television (Bob Novak, Tim Russert) and on some lesser known print reporters (Judy Miller, Walter Pincus, Matt Cooper). And much speculation about Karl Rove and a little about Lewis Libby. This is is all very interesting. But we still don't know any more about how faulty, even forged, intelligence was used to build the case for war in Iraq. The Senate Select Intelligence Committee won't touch this. It will be up to investigative reporters - whether in the MSM or blogosphere - to dig into this issue.

kim

Well, Jim E, what Judith interprets as a constitutional right, to remain silent, is being interpreted by the judge as a contemptuous act. So what is it, a contemptuous right?

By the way, I really like that phrase, a 'contemptuous right'. I claim that one for myself.
===============================================

Jim E.

Yes, the Republican COngress won't question issues of war. But baseball players on steroids -- let's get a committee together! Let's investigate! Maybe Raffy PP committed perjury -- how dare he fudge the truth on such a significant matter!

But questions about war, the most important and serious issue a nation can face? Naaaah. Just irrational anti-Bush hatred. Congress should stick to sports.

P.S. Please ignore Senator Roberts' previous promise to investigate the politicization of intelligence.

P.P.S. Clap louder.

kim

Your bitterness is causing you to rave. Intellignece is always politicized. The politicians are supposed to turn analysis into policy. The question here is why the CIA thought they were politicians to decide policy. Simply put, they were whack.
============================================

Jim E.

"The question here is why the CIA thought they were politicians to decide policy. Simply put, they were whack."

Speaking of "whack," why did Bush give the head of the CIA a medal of freedom?

Jim E.

But thanks for admitting Bush and Co. politicized the intelligence. That's more than they would admit.

Jim E.

Syl wrote to JBG: "You love making stuff up as you go along."

Of course, you're the one saying Miller is constitutionally protected, when she's clearly not. She is in jail, after all. (Then again, you also admit she's in violation of the law, so who knows what you mean to say.)

You compared the reporter/source relationship to the doctor/patient relationship in your make-it-up-as-you-go-along defense of this as a First Amendment issue. How does that make sense? Did Rush Limbaugh argue his (losing) case on First Amendment grounds?

Trelaney

Kim, does intelligence have to be politicized? Policy-making is by definition political. But do we want intelligence gathering to be politicized? And intelligence analysis? Should our Congressmen and the public be allowed to know only those tidbits of intelligence that are "fixed" to the White House policy position? We deserve better. But we won't get it from the current Administration nor from their apologists.

Tulsan

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence should be renamed the "Senate Committee on Selective Intelligence". Their Chairman willingly cooperates with the political use of intelligence. Maybe Pat Roberts regards himself as a loyal American as well as a loyal Republican. That is fine; just don't pretend to be interested in the truth.

The White House selectively leaks information that bolsters their position, often to a group of cooperative reporters of whom Judy Miller is one of the most cooperative. But if anyone publicizes intelligence findings that run counter to the White House position, many commentators here label them as traitors.

j.foster

all i know is , if i'm jammed up i want fitz and company to go after me . it will be decades before i'm charged. i might be able to out run the limitation clause. over two years and millions spent, and it's--quick get the phone logs.

Tulsan

J. Foster - The White House has already figured out that the phone logs show only who outside talked to who inside on calls that were logged. They don't show who said what. Hence the stories that the reporters told the White House officials, not the other way around. The only way for the Prosecutor to dig further is to interview both parties to the conversation, and possibly any third parties that either listened in or heard one side of the conversation. Mr. Fitzgerald needs Ms. Miller to confirm what Mr. Libby has already testified and she refuses to talk. So there is likely only one version of that conversation.

Syl

Jim E

I did not say that Miller is constitutionally protected. I said this is a first amendment issue for her, her source, and her lawyers. As of now she has no protection and is sitting in jail for contempt of court.

j.foster

tulsan. got it. thanks

Syl

Trelany

Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if we found a warehouse of chemicals?

Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if we found that he was bribing people, including UN members, to erode the sanctions?

Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if we discovered there was a make-nukes-easy network that Saddam could partake of after sanctions were lifted?

Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if we found his WMD programs were still in place, though inactive, and ready to get going as soon as he felt safe to start them up? Like when sanctions were lifted?

Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if you believed he was a gathering threat even though he wasn't an imminent one?

Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if you reread all the news articles from the '90's pointing out Saddam's relationship with bin laden?

Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if a Democrat were president?

Tommy V

"Speaking of "whack," why did Bush give the head of the CIA a medal of freedom?"

This has upset a lot of people because of the bad intelligence in Iraq.

Remember, however, that the CIA were the only ones able to put boots on the ground in Afghanistan immediately. While the military needed considerable time to prep, Tenet stepped up and said he could put operatives in Afghanistan and work contacts with the Northern Alliance promptly .

In BUSH AT WAR Woodward illustrates how the CIA stepped up when the military wasn' quite ready and how much it meant to Bush that he was able to do something quickly after September 11th. Afghanistan was primarily a CIA/Special Forces victory.

The medal was most likely for that. One can argue all day whether the bad intelligence in Iraq should have canceled out the phenomenal work Tenet did in Afghanistan.

Trelaney

Syl, I'm OK with a lot of scenarios for taking down Saddam starting with when we should have done it in 1991. What I'm not OK with is being lied to and (the same thing really) being shown selective evidence. Beyond that, I'm not OK that we have so badly bungled the occupation at tremendous cost in lives and money. Now that we all know what the Administration knew then, there was no reason to rush into war without an adequate plan and without sufficient troop strength and equipment.

Syl, are you OK with having half of our combat troops tied down in Iraq 27 months after the "end of active combat operations" at a cost of $1,000,000,000 every week?


spongeworthy

I'm curious about this line of off-topic blather from the site-lefties. Do you maintain that the CIA was "fixing" WMD intel at the behest of the White House? How do you explain the very same intel, which brought forth the very same conclusions regarding WMD's, from the prior administration?

You guys want to keep after the Bushies for trying to influence the intel, yet you can see the very same conclusions wrought from the very same intel from the Clintons. How exactly does this scenario work?

I don't need to waste bandwidth posting that list of quotes from various CA poobahs, do I?

spongeworthy

Syl, are you OK with having half of our combat troops tied down in Iraq 27 months after the "end of active combat operations" at a cost of $1,000,000,000 every week?

Can't speak for Syl, but at least they accomplish something. They were massed at the border for months waiting for the U.N. and the noble human shields to get Saddam to comply and accomplished nothing at tremendous expense. You can lament the cost, as I'm sure we all do, but waiting around for Saddam to comply was too expensive and too humiliating for the world's best military.

I don't think Americans are up for too much jacking around by Arab strongmen, especially after 9-11.

Jim E.

"waiting around for Saddam to comply was too expensive and too humiliating for the world's best military."

Slowly but surely, Saddam WAS complying and amassing troops at the border was way, way cheaper in terms of blood and treasure than what is currently happening. In terms of "humiliation," I think the military is doing a great job in Iraq. The credibility of the U.S. as a whole, however, is taking a beating, and if things don't get better in Iraq over the next 5-10 years, the U.S. will definitely suffer humiliation that was totally unnecessary.

Besides humiliation, what about national security and military preparedness? In 2000, Bush accused the Clinton administration of thinning out U.S. troops too much. Given what's going on now, that charge by Bush is laughable. We don't have enough troops now; what if something else heats up elsewhere?

Jim E.

"Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if a Democrat were president?"

If the left has any credibility at all, it is the willingness of it to blame its own for military fuck-ups. See Chicago, 1968.

Syl

"Syl, are you OK with having half of our combat troops tied down in Iraq 27 months after the "end of active combat operations" at a cost of $1,000,000,000 every week?"

I'm not happy with war. Period. But if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes. I agreed on the whole get rid of Saddam thing and democracy for the Iraqi people because all through the '90's I remember hearing about how dangerous and what a bad guy Saddam is.

Leaving Saddam in place would be like running away before the job was done. After 9/11 it was imperative to be the strong horse and rid the world of a gathering threat. Iraq was the best of a bad lot of choices.

And, what Spongeworthy said.

kim

Jim E, and Trelaney. The CIA had politicized the analysis of intelligence. The Admin, the politicians, the ones charged constitutionally with turning analysis into policy shouldn't be criticized for politicizing things; that's their role. You seem to object to them refusing to let the CIA politicize its work. You have things backwards.
=

Syl

JimE

"The credibility of the U.S. as a whole, however, is taking a beating,"

Wishful thinking on your part. I call bs.

If your expectations haven't been met yet, then that only says something about your expectations. Bush always said this would be a long hard slog.

Trelaney

Even though the CIA took the hit for the bad intelligence, much of the worst stuff didn't come through them at all. The forged documents related to Niger yellowcake came through Defense Intelligence. Other information (aluminum tubes, mobile labs) was fed by Chalabi's people to anyone and everyone who would buy off on it, including (to get back on track here) the inestimable Judy Miller.

The CIA should not be politicizing intelligence any more than the Administration.

kim

The CIA should not politicize intelligence. The administration should. Those are their respective jobs.
====================================

Tulsan

How inept are our intelligence services? We got forged documents from Italian intelligence, weak confirmation about African uranium from the British (although they wouldn't actually show it to us), self-serving intelligence from Chalabi's exiles, a 3rd-hand report from the Czech Republic that Atta had been in Prague.

But the scariest thing is that Judith Miller's reports in the New York Times seemed to have more new information than was coming through the intelligence services. (Never mind that few of her scoops stood up to the light of day.) I can just imagine the spooks at Langley logging on to the Times website when the new stories are posted late in the evening, so they can brief the Director the next morning.

Trelaney

Kim, with respect to intelligence, should the Administration not have a practice of just telling the truth to Congress and to the people?

spongeworthy

Boy they duck that Clinton question, don't they? That's the wrench in the works for their half-baked theories. In the lefty reality warp, those documented statements from various Clinton Administration poobahs regarding Saddam's WMD's just don't register. Hell, Clinton bombed the bejeezus out if Iraq using those same WMD's as justification!

You cannot sell this intel "fixing" without accounting for these statements. And that's why no one's buying.

kim

You probably think that is a joke, Tulsan; I'll bet it was done.

Trelaney: Of course, the truth. You and I probably have a different idea of it. So which should they tell Congress and the people.

Again speaking of truth: Shouldn't the author of 'Politics of Truth' have some passing familiarity with his subject?
=================================================

Jim E.

Syl,
So any criticism of the Iraq war makes me anti-American? You think I hate America? You think American credibility HASN'T suffered since spring 2003? (There are many prominent right-wing hawks who have made my same point in print. Do they hate America, too?)

I suppose I was wrong to not lump you in with the likes of Machos and kim. Sorry for the confusion. For the record, I don't appreciate your questioning of my loyalty for mere the offense of not following the (Republican) party line. For you to do so is beneath contempt and is befitting of a scoundrel.

spongeworthy

Our objectives in this military action were clear: to degrade Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction program and related delivery systems, as
well as his capacity to attack his neighbors. It will take some time
to make a detailed assessment of our operation, but based on the
briefing I've just received, I am confident we have achieved our
mission.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/1998/98121913_tlt.html

kim

They're just such desperate hypocrites. Clinton was a lot more deceptive with his foreign policy. Krugman thought SS was in crisis 8 years ago. Berger probably distinctly hampered our ability to figure out how bad policy is made from analysis. Wilson thought Saddam had WMD pre-war. Kerry trusted the French who were in Saddam's pocket. Theresa was an effective Republican, for God's sake.
===============================================

Syl

Kim, I think you missed a step. The CIA has intelligence, the administration makes POLICY from the intelligence. Then the administration politicizes the POLICY.

Nobody is politicizing intelligence.

Syl

Jim E, I never said anywhere that you hate America. I questioned the statement you made. Yes, I called it wishful thinking. That doesn't mean I think you hate America, just that you'd probably like to see Bush fail.

Not the same thing.

kim

SW: The Iraq War has actually been a remarkably effective and effecient action. It has not met the standards of perfections required of gamers, all pseudo-warriors, including much of the patriotic left.
=================================================

Jim E.

"Boy they duck that Clinton question, don't they?"

Clinton invaded Iraq? No, he didn't. And yes, both Clintons supported the war. So what?

"Hell, Clinton bombed the bejeezus out if Iraq using those same WMD's as justification!"

Oh, I thought Bush said he merely fired a missile up a camel's butt, or something like that. "Bombed the bejeezus"? I don't think so.

"Bush always said this would be a long hard slog."
No, I think Rummy said that, and only after it was clear we'd stepped in it. Before the war, Cheney wouldn't say how long the war would last. He said it might take 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months, but shorter rather than longer. As for Bush -- well, he's already said "Mission Accomplished." If the adminstration prepped the American public so well, why do 60 [percent disapprove of his handling? (Oh wait -- the libera media, right? I saved you the bother of responding.)

jukeboxgrad

SYL: "You love making stuff up as you go along."

I'll stop laughing when you provide a basis for your peculiar concept of "public source."

"Whistleblower rights are derived from First Amendment rights"

To the extent that a whistleblower is someone who speaks up publicly, and wants to avoid retaliation, the connection you describe is valid. To the extent that a whisteblower is someone who wants to remain anonymous, the connection is tenuous, at best. I would be interested if you could refer me to a resource that makes a serious argument to the effect that the first amendment provides a right to speak up anonymously.

"I did not say that Miller is constitutionally protected. I said this is a first amendment issue for her"

Sorry, this is a bit confusing. Last time I checked, the first amendment was part of the constitution. So are you claiming that she's protected by the first amendment, or not?

"Would you be okay with taking Saddam down if ... "

It's not a question of what conditions would justify taking Saddam down. It's possible to be perfectly happy that we took Saddam down, and still be viciously upset that our government lied in order to do it.

"all through the '90's I remember hearing about how dangerous and what a bad guy Saddam is."

What a darn shame that certain folks seem to show striking flexibility on that score.

"running away before the job was done"

Do you mean like what we now seem to be preparing to do, just in time for our elections next year?

Or do you mean like the way we let OBL get away, instead of finishing the important job of capturing him?

"Iraq was the best of a bad lot of choices."

Aside from the very relevant fact that a big war is a much better business opportunity than a small war, why was getting Saddam more important than getting OBL?

Jim said: "The credibility of the U.S. as a whole, however, is taking a beating,"

You responded: "Wishful thinking on your part. I call bs."

Sorry to burst your cozy little bubble: "America's reputation has suffered as a direct result of the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. conduct of that war, and the overall war on terrorism" (link).

"Bush always said this would be a long hard slog."

I guess that's why Rummy said the war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months" (link). Cheney said "we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months" (link). Wolfowitz said "The notion that it would take several hundred thousand American troops just seems outlandish" (link). More of this sort of thing, including some very interesting (interesting because they're so wrong) projections regarding the dollar cost of the war, can be found here.

Bush didn't have to tell us it would be easy; he was able to send his hired hands out to spread that propaganda for him.

By the way, Bush never made a statement even hinting that fighting might go on for years. So much for "long hard slog." Bush's message was more like "mission accomplished," time for another long vacation.

"The CIA has intelligence, the administration makes POLICY from the intelligence."

Unfortunately in this case Bush picked a policy and then counted on certain reliable allies (like Chalabi and Miller) to deliver the intelligence he needed to justify the policy.

kim

Of course, Syl, and any objection to it is really just sour grapes.
===============================================

jukeboxgrad

SPONGE: "How do you explain the very same intel, which brought forth the very same conclusions regarding WMD's, from the prior administration?"

This is what Bush suggested we were going to find: "500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, several dozen Scud missiles, gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, 18 mobile biological warfare factories, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles to dispense anthrax;" link.

Let me know which prior administration stated those "very same conclusions."

"you can see the very same conclusions wrought from the very same intel from the Clintons"

Clinton didn't invade Iraq. Bush did. If it had gone well, Bush would deserve the credit. It hasn't gone well, so he deserves the blame. What is it about simple concepts of accountability that you don't understand?

"at least they accomplish something"

Yes, they've accomplished making Iran very, very happy. Instead of Iraq being a counter to Iran's power, Iraq is now becoming a client state of Iran. Twenty years ago Iran spent enormous resources trying to defeat Saddam, and failed (in part because we were propping him up at the time). Now we've done for Iran what they couldn't do on their own: get rid of Saddam. What a generous gift on our part.

It's only a matter of time before the Iraqi army (which we are currently training and equipping) is used against US interests. Then it will be time for another highly profitable war, also financed by bonds we sell to China.

"They were massed at the border for months waiting for the U.N. and the noble human shields to get Saddam to comply and accomplished nothing at tremendous expense."

They accomplished far from nothing. They got Saddam to comply with inspections. This was a major achievement. It's too bad Bush didn't quit while he was ahead.

And as Jim said, as far as "tremendous expense," the cost of keeping them "massed at the border" was utterly trivial, compared with the cost of almost two thousand US troops dead and more thousands maimed, with no end in sight.

kim

JBG, your last paragraph is a guess. He had more sources of intelligence than the CIA, and they may have been more or less reliable than the CIA. It was not just Chalabi who was informing him about Saddam. Bush called Saddam's bluff, without knowing what was in his hand. We are lucky he was bluffing. Joe is criticizing Bush for not knowing what was in Saddam's hand, the fool(Joe). Had Saddam pulled off his bluff, and stayed in the game, he would now be even more dangerous than we imagined then.
===========================================

Jim E.

I can read, Syl. This is what you wrote:
"Jim E. 'The credibility of the U.S. as a whole, however, is taking a beating,'

'Wishful thinking on your part. I call bs.

'If your expectations haven't been met yet, then that only says something about your expectations.'"

You were clearly refering to my discussion of U.S. credibility. That is, I was referring to the country, not a temporary administration. You clearly and explicitly wrote that I wish for U.S. credibility to be harmed. Besides, if Bush fails in Iraq, America fails in Iraq. Same damn thing. Yes, you wrote that I wish America harm. Have you no shame? (Wait, don't bother answering that. Anyone bothering to read this already knows the answer.)

Not only are you a scoundrel, you are a liar. If you weren't going to apologize for your obvious slur against me, it would have been better that you didn't respond at all.

Trelaney

In the case of the present Adminstration, I would define "politicizing intelligence" as setting policy first, and then releasing to Congress and the public only those parts of the wide body of available intelligence that support the predetermined policy ... This can sometimes mean suppressing intelligence that does not support the policy (such as the Energy Department's objections about the purported nuclear purpose of the aluminum tubes)... It can also mean politicans leaking intelligence to reporters like Judy Miller in order to put out a story that could not withstand scrutiny if presented to a Congressional committee or in a public statement.

Congress is entitled to know the truth when they are being asked to sanction war and approve billions of dollars of expenditures ... The public is probably not entitled to the level of detail the Congressmen need, but the public should be given an honest overview of the reasons they are being asked to make sacrifices.

spongeworthy

jbg

What makes you think I'm even going to begin to chase your links? I've done it before and caught you Dowd-ifying and even posting links that speak directly to the point you're tring to refute. You are not good at this--leave linking to those who know what they're doing.

Clinton didn't invade Iraq. Bush did.

Lamest yet. So you believe that the Clintons knew they were lying but did nothing about it (except bomb the shit out of a sovreign nation) but Bush knew it was a lie and should be damned for actually doing something about it? This is actually what you call a position?

You've got a tough row to hoe tring to patch up the disjoint here. The Clintons got their intel from the same folks the Bushies did, and they got the same intel. They drew the same conclusions. The fact one group acted one way and the other group another does not make one group pure and the other liars.

You have to reconcile this to be taken seriously. You have to know this. "Clinton didn't invade Iraq" just doesn't get the job done.

Consider haunting a less informed blog perhaps.

owl

Yep to Spongeworthy.

I do not buy that many reporters did not know Wilson's wife was responsible. To not know this would show extreme laziness on their part, or at the very least to not be interested in gossip. When someone is listed in Who's Who, driving in the front gate and they are a couple around town, what's not to know? Is someone trying to convince me that reporters don't know who the leaks are at the CIA and not familar with the workings? I think they all knew this was a "gotcha" by Wilson & Co. It felt almost like the AWOL (July 2003) with some players changing seats. Election ya know?

How many CIA leaks did we see in 2003 hit the front pages? July 2003 people were scrambling trying to kill off Swifties. I assume this is to make us question the war. Spongeworthy addressed that end of it. Policy change was made by Clinton. Same CIA, same intell, just different president.

How worked up can you get over a fake outing? Or more leaked CIA info, when several have even written books (including Wilson). Sure hope that intell memo passed around or shown to Miller did not come out of someone's socks.

Marcel

For the White House apologists commenting today, one can tell that the arguments aren't going so well when the name Bill Clinton is invoked. But on a day when the current President's approval ratings have reached an all-time low, it is a nice attempt at a diversion.

Jim E.

Who said Clinton lied about Iraq? All I'm saying is he didn't think the intelligence merited invasion. I also plainly wrote that I wouldn't be persuaded if Clinton were the one doing the invading either. And in case it wasn't clear enough for you: I wouldn't be persuaded if Clinton were the one doing the invading either.

As for bragging about how "informed" the commenters on this blog are, have you read the collected works of Machos, kim, Tommy V, spongeworthy, and boris? I generally only respond to the low-hanging fruit, which is why I sometimes comment so much around here. (And I did say "generally" since there's many, including TM, that I find worthwhile to read and debate with.) But if there's any word I wouldn't use to describe the loonies here on the right it is "informed." kim, who repeatedly declared Wilson a traitor and a liar, actually mocked "facts" a few weeks ago, claiming they were overrated. owl is now claiming Plame was never outed. Give me a break.

P.S. I wouldn't be persuaded if Clinton were the one doing the invading either.

kim

Not invoking Clinton in any of the hackneyed ways. Someone just pointed out that Clinton and Company basically believed the same about Saddam, just acted differently. That is hardly a diversion, but your response sure is.
===========================================

kim

The 'facts' I mocked, Jim E, were the soundbites of daily leaks. I still insist that instinct is a better guide to this affair, if only because the investigator has been so good at investigating cryptically. It is your choice to misunderstand me(well some of it is your choice, that which is not inevitable) but you may not choose to misrepresent me without risking playing the fool. Besides, misrepresenting me just highlights your lack of response to my ideas.
================================================
==============================================

Cecil Turner

"Even though the CIA took the hit for the bad intelligence, much of the worst stuff didn't come through them at all."

The CIA "took the hit" because it was their responsibility. It's their function to assess and evaluate all applicable information and process it into a useful intelligence picture . . . which policy makers use as a basis for their decisions. In the case of Iraq, that picture was encapsulated in the National Intelligence Estimate--which was clearly flawed, and entirely the CIA's responsibility.

That said, trying to penetrate an enemy's security apparatus to evaluate their most sensitive programs is a difficult task. The introduction of the Butler Report provides an excellent overview and makes some good points about the dangers of relying too heavily on estimates. It also points up that what may appear to be presenting a misleading picture is often a natural result of the analysis process:

The most important limitation on intelligence is its incompleteness. Much ingenuity and effort is spent on making secret information difficult to acquire and hard to analyse. Although the intelligence process may overcome such barriers, intelligence seldom acquires the full story. In fact, it is often, when first acquired, sporadic and patchy, and even after analysis may still be at best inferential. . . . The very way that intelligence is presented can contribute to this misperception. The necessary protective security procedures with which intelligence is handled can reinforce a mystique of omniscience. Intelligence is not only – like many other sources – incomplete, it can be incomplete in undetectable ways. There is always pressure, at the assessment stage if not before, to create an internally consistent and intellectually satisfying picture. When intelligence becomes the dominant, or even the only, source of government information, it can become very difficult for the assessment process to establish a context and to recognise that there may be gaps in that picture. [emphasis added]
And though CIA-bashing on this subject is certainly warranted, it's also worth noting they had some outstanding successes recently (most notably the AQ Khan/Libya operation).

Marcel

Kim, you have taken the bait and acknowledged that you are a White House apologist. You should be commended for your loyalty.

Trelaney

Great post, Cecil. Yes, the CIA was supposed to be the "central" point of intelligence gathering and analysis. But their role was to a large extent usurped by the Office of Special Plans and other ad-hoc groups.

The CIA, as TommyV noted earlier, was very involved in Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002. Then the focus switched to Iraq. The Iraq intelligence, such as it was, came largely from the exile groups and was channeled not through the CIA (which distrusted Chalabi) but through Defense Intelligence and other individuals and agencies with whom the exiles had contacts. Including, of course, Judy Miller.

kim

The White House is central to the Yellow Cake/CIA/Wilson/War justification matter. They are peripheral to the 'outing' matter. I'm not apologizing for anything. I'm trying to clue you in, Marcel.
===========================================

jukeboxgrad

SPONGE: "What makes you think I'm even going to begin to chase your links?"

What makes you think I give a rat's ass whether or not you "chase" my links?

"I've done it before and caught you Dowd-ifying"

Nice job being specific. I'll wait patiently while you come up with some number of examples greater than zero.

"leave linking to those who know what they're doing"

I sort of have to wonder who you're talking about, since the vast majority of rightys around these parts can't be bothered to lift a finger to back up their sweeping assertions.

"You've got a tough row to hoe tring to patch up the disjoint here."

You're got a tough row to hoe trying claim there's any "disjoint" in what I said.

"They drew the same conclusions."

I cited Bush's "conclusions," here. I'm still waiting patiently for you to show me where Clinton asserted these "same conclusions."

"The fact one group acted one way and the other group another does not make one group pure and the other liars."

True. What makes one group liars is the fact that they lied.

As far as "The fact one group acted one way and the other group another," that's simply a way of saying that one group avoided an unnecessary war, and the other group didn't.

"Consider haunting a less informed blog perhaps."

You must be joking. Let's consider, for example, frequent poster Patrick. Jim didn't mention him, and I wouldn't want Patrick to feel left out. Patrick recently said "it already had gone out on the wire." That assertion is something Patrick pulled out of his hat, as I pointed out here.

Likewise for this assertion of his regarding mysterious cables that travel backwards in time: "The embassy in Niger send a cable saying it ought to be looked into. That PRECEEDED Cheney's inquiries." I addressed this here.

What's hysterically funny is this assertion by Patrick, which appeared just three sentences before his assertion about the time-traveling cable: "the righties have better command of the facts and logic."

You and Patrick are good for a laugh, in other words.

Tommy V

"As for bragging about how "informed" the commenters on this blog are, have you read the collected works of Machos, kim, Tommy V, spongeworthy, and boris?"

Sorry, Jim E, I won't speak for anyone else, but I absolutely stand by everything I write here. When wrong, I promptly admit it, and I can only think of one time where I was wrong.

I think anyone can read my writings here and conclude that I am an able and literate fellow, and I stick to areas where I am informed, and I ask questions in areas where I am not. If you want to respond to me directly please do so, but if you want to mention my name as uninformed please be specific.

I don't mind people disagreeing with me when they have reasons, but I seriously question the sincerity of anyone who wants to question my intelligence. That's just plain wishful thinking.

jukeboxgrad

OWL: "When someone is listed in Who's Who, driving in the front gate and they are a couple around town, what's not to know?"

Number of people who have come forward to specifically describe when and where they heard someone say, pre-Novak, that Plame worked for the CIA: zero. I wonder why?

"Same CIA, same intell, just different president."

Yes. All along the CIA said there wasn't enough scary intel to justify war. Clinton respected that. Bush didn't.

"How worked up can you get over a fake outing?"

I don't know. You tell me. While you're at it, how worked up can you get over a blow job?

KIM: "Had Saddam pulled off his bluff, and stayed in the game, he would now be even more dangerous than we imagined then."

Let us know why you think that an Iraq under Saddam's control in say, 2008, would have been more dangerous to us than an Iraq under Iran's in control in 2008. Unless you want to explain which American army is going to prevent what is already happening, i.e., the development of an Iraqi government that is very cozy with Iran.

jukeboxgrad

MARCEL: "one can tell that the arguments aren't going so well when the name Bill Clinton is invoked"

True. But it's worse than you think. On a nearby thread someone mentioned Carter.

CECIL: "National Intelligence Estimate--which was clearly flawed, and entirely the CIA's responsibility."

Bush hammered on the CIA until it finally gave him what he was demanding (or at least certain people near the top did so, such as Mr. Slam-Dunk medal winner). Now that the shit is hitting the fan as a result, Bush wants the CIA to take the blame.

In other words, before the war the right complained that the CIA was too soft on Saddam. Now the right wants to blame the CIA for being too hard on Saddam.

Seven Machos

Jukemeister: You clearly want people to chase your links. Don't kid yourself. Being LISTENED TO is absolutely essential for someone like you.

kim

JBG: The Iraqi Shia are largely Arab, and the Iranian Shia are Persian. They don't trust each other. Ali-Sistani is the power in Iraq and he trusts us more than Teheran.

So enough gloom and doom about Iraq. It will succeed despite the earnest desires of the left.
=================================================

Syl

JimE

I'm dodging t-storms again.

Please. Don't go off in a huff.

I apologize for using the wrong word. I shouldn't have said 'wishful' I should have said 'negative'.

It's negative thinking that makes all the bad news stand out, it's positive thinking that let's the good news stand out (though you hear little enough of good news in the media). I think it's healthier for everyone and our country to look at everything that is happening. From the deaths of our brave men, to the attitude of the Iraqi people as shown by the election and recent polls. To the slow but steady progress of Iraqi police and military but that it still isn't enough yet.

We can fear an Iraqi civil war, but we have to look at the possibility rationally and not out of panic. Unless Syria and Iran get too much more influence, I think it's a slim chance.

We don't know what the final constitution will be like. That's worrisome until we know for sure (either way).

We should also look at the elements in Arab societies that are hopeful about positive change towards democracy and liberalization of Islam (though that last is almost non-existent so far). And to note there really isn't such a thing as the Arab Street because the Arab world does not have a free press.

The support and adulation for bin laden has dropped like a rock. Even al jazeera has noticed the insurgents in Iraq are killing more Iraqis than Americans. Al Qaeda has begun criticizing its favorite satellite station.

Positive signs. But the insurgency is still going strong. That's not good. Yet our guys aren't sitting around waiting to be blown up, they're out actively pursuing the goons. The River War is ongoing and is an offensive operation. Casualties always rise during those periods.

I don't think America's humiliation is in there anywhere. And I think there are many elements of arab society who view us more favorably than the elites in Europe do. The Islamists don't want any infidel at all on soil they claim as theirs, so they're not going to be happy no matter what we do but they aren't the only game in town in the arab world.

We're giving the arab world a chance, through Iraq, no matter how tribal and dysfunctional their society may be. We had to try.

And, frankly, I don't care if they like us. That would be nice, but I want them to fear and respect us and not think of us as a country that would not fulfill our promises.


Syl

JBG

I suggest you get a life. Your obsession with 'proving' Bush lied is not healthy. What are you aiming for? To yell over and over 'Bush lied' 'Bush lied' until what? Until the polls go down even farther? You think that would mean what? That Hillary would be president in another 3 years? You're willing to shout 'Bush Lied' for Hillary?

Do you want our government to say 'Oops, sorry' and put Saddam back in place and bring our troops home and leave the Iraqi people defenseless? Do you want bin laden to say 'Aha! America can't take it'?

I suggest getting another line of work. Maybe obsess over the FCC or the Patriot Act, but this 'Bush Lied' business is getting silly.

Parker

After reading so much lately about Judith Miller's reporting and not remembering her early 2003 articles, a small investment in the NYTimes archives has been a revelation. Her prewar articles "Threats and Responses..." and wartime articles "A Nation at War ..." are full of insider reports from unnamed senior administration officials and high-ranking Iraqi sources. In most articles Miller reveals more deep dark secrets about Saddam's weapons incuding eyewitnesses and actual weapons discoveries. The only problem is that little of what she reported was ever corraborated and there were no weapons. It seems that whatever garbage that they were feeding her, she was not only buying it but was able to convince her editors to print it.

Miller's legal problems may someday be resolved, but she doesn't have much credibilty as an objective reporter.

Syl

JBG

"Aside from the very relevant fact that a big war is a much better business opportunity than a small war...."

Obviously JBG is someone who can't tell the difference between a 5 Billion Dollar contract and actual profits.

Who do you think makes that 5 billion dollars, JBG? Halliburton makes a profit of only a few million a year. It is only profits that go to shareholders. The rest of money goes to sub-contractors and their workers and manufacturing companies and their workers and people like caterers, truck drivers, oilfield guards, and cooks.

I am now putting you on virtual ignore. I've had enough.

kim

He believes that insulting one's opponent strengthens his argument. He'll learn.
================================================

Cecil Turner

"Yes, the CIA was supposed to be the "central" point of intelligence gathering and analysis. But their role was to a large extent usurped by the Office of Special Plans and other ad-hoc groups."

Even assuming that were true, it's hard to see how it would matter much . . . since they were all saying essentially the same thing. The "stovepipe" thesis only makes sense if the rest of the intelligence community was estimating Iraq as a non-threat, and it's clear from the NIE that wasn't the case.

"Bush hammered on the CIA until it finally gave him what he was demanding . . ."

The investigations since have not borne out that interpretation. According to theThe Washington Post :

Congressional and CIA investigations into the prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons and links to terrorism have found no evidence that CIA analysts colored their judgment because of perceived or actual political pressure from White House officials, according to intelligence officials and congressional officials from both parties. [emphasis added]

Trelaney

Is it an surprise that no CIA analysts were prepared to commit career suicide?

kim

Well, Trelaney, have you considered that some colored their judgement, but not because of White House pressure, rather because of political bias.
===================================================

SteveMG

Trelaney:
"Is it an surprise that no CIA analysts were prepared to commit career suicide?"

And, of course, none of the CIA analysts would secretly blab to the press about how their work had been cooked by the White House.

After all, CIA critics of the Bush Administration would never leak to the NY Times.

That sort of thing just isn't done.

SMG

Trelaney

Can anyone comment whether intelligence is being more or less politicised by the current administration as compared to the Reagan, GHW Bush and Clinton administrations? (Maybe I'm just naive thinking that politicians should handle politics and intelligence experts should handle intelligence gathering and analysis.)

Seven Machos

Trelaney -- Think about what you are saying.

All intelligence-gathering and analysis is turned into product for clients. This is how spies talk. Who are clients? Clients are the elected members of government. They are politicians. They politicize intelligence as a matter of course. Politicizing isn't the same as giving up sources or divuling classified information.

If you want to live in a country where the intelligence experts handle politcs, you missed your day in history. East Germany would have been perfect for you.

Tommy V

After the perceived intelligence failure of 9/11 I do not think it's unreasonable to suggest that the intelligence community may have allowed intelligence go through channels a little easier than they may have years earlier.

Remember, not a single intelligence agency around the world believed that Hussein had actually destroyed his WMD. They either concluded he still had them, or had no judgement on it at all.

For the CIA to come out and say that there were no WMDs while every other agency with judgement concluded that he had and then TO BE WRONG was probably pretty unacceptable within the agency. I just don't think they were capable of taking such a risk when so much evidence suggested otherwise (Many people forget that Hussein was actively trying to create the impression that he may or may not have WMD. He was not going out of his way to genuinely convince anyone).

After 9/11, either consciously or not, I am sure analyst erred on the side of caution. Even with the current number of casualties through the war, the perceived cost of being wrong about Hussein's WMD and having them being used against the US was far, far greater.

jukeboxgrad

TOMMY: "I absolutely stand by everything I write here. When wrong, I promptly admit it"

Unless I missed it somewhere, you have still not come clean about this: "You could use unedifying as something other than distasteful depending on the dictionary you use." I wouldn't make a big deal about this if not for the fact that you made a big deal about it. "Fair game," if you know what I mean.

By the way, let us know if this is something you "absolutely stand by:" "Andrea Mitchell has stated that she and others knew Plame worked for the CIA and it was not considered a secret."

"He was not going out of his way to genuinely convince anyone [that he had no WMD]"

That changed once Bush held a gun to his head and Saddam allowed inspections, as a result. Oddly enough Bush seemed to be in a big hurry to chase out the inspectors in order to make sure they didn't get a chance to prove what they seemed to be in the process of proving: that there was nothing there.

"not a single intelligence agency around the world believed that Hussein had actually destroyed his WMD"

Let us know if there was a single intelligence agency, including our own, that assessed the threat as so immediate and dramatic that we couldn't wait another couple of months to let the inspectors continue to work.

jukeboxgrad

SEVEN: "You clearly want people to chase your links"

Good old mind-reader Seven. When I have a chance maybe I'll collect some of your greatest hits as a mind-reader.

Anyway, good job with the sloppy reading and faulty assumptions. I didn't say I didn't care if no one "chased" my links. I said I didn't care if Sponge did.

By the way, since you know so much about my experience, what am I having for dinner tomorrow? I was kind of wondering.

"They are politicians. They politicize intelligence as a matter of course."

Let us know when any previous White House did something along the lines of OSP, which was essentially its own private intelligence shop.

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "The Iraqi Shia are largely Arab, and the Iranian Shia are Persian. They don't trust each other."

I guess that's why the Iraqis elected a president who has close ties to Iran, having spent ten years in exile there. I guess that's also why Iraq and Iran are currently working on all sorts of deals (more here). Not to worry, though, because Iraqis will not soon forget the way we changed their lives.

Seven Machos

Jukemeister -- I would be honored if you would sift through my posts for a greatest hits. You certainly seem to have the time.

Please compile my greatest hits in Word, then copy and paste them one and after another like you love to do.

Also, I'm glad to see you admit that being LISTENED TO is so vital to your sense of your self. I think we've had a breakthrough.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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