In a well-hidden Times Select column, Nick Kristof reveals himself to be a bit of an ironist - he exhorts Dick Cheney to come clean about his role in the Plame leak while lying shamelessly about his own.
Here we go, as quickly as I can type:
I gather from the indictment and other sources that Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were upset in May and June 2003 by a column of mine from May 6, 2003, in which I linked Mr. Cheney to Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger. If Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby thought that my column was unfair, or that Mr. Wilson was exaggerating his role, they had every right to ask for a correction or set the record straight.
But they never raised the issue with me - nor, when Mr. Wilson went public, did they make their case publicly. Certainly the solution was not to leak classified information about Mr. Wilson's wife.
Emphasis added, and indeed not - the solution might have been for George Tenet, then head of the CIA, to issue a public statement explaining Wilson's trip, and noting that, contra Kristof, Wilson had not been sent at Cheney's behest, had not debunked any forgeries (since he had not seen them), and had not provided a definitive report about Iraq's nuclear aspirations. But wait, that is what happened on July 11, just after Wilson went public. Gee, didn't Kristof just say they did not make their case publicly?
Or, the solution might have been for Lewis Libby himself to go on record with a major newsweekly. Maybe he could have gotten himself quoted in TIME magazine. Oh, wait - he did! By the now-famous Matt Cooper, no less. And what did Libby say, on the record and in quotes?
In an exclusive interview Lewis Libby, the Vice President's Chief of Staff, told TIME: "The Vice President heard about the possibility of Iraq trying to acquire uranium from Niger in February 2002. As part of his regular intelligence briefing, the Vice President asked a question about the implication of the report. During the course of a year, the Vice President asked many such questions and the agency responded within a day or two saying that they had reporting suggesting the possibility of such a transaction. But the agency noted that the reporting lacked detail. The agency pointed out that Iraq already had 500 tons of uranium, portions of which came from Niger, according to the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA). The Vice President was unaware of the trip by Ambassador Wilson and didn't know about it until this year when it became public in the last month or so."
Or perhaps the Senate Intelligence Committee report could have provoked a bit of follow-up. Or maybe Mr. Kristof should have been prodded into action when Joe Wilson told Paula Zahn that, as far as Kristof's anonymously sourced columns went "those are either misquotes or misattributions if they're attributed to me."
But no. We are still waiting for Mr. Kristof to come clean about his own reporting - Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard did get an email from Mr. Kristof containing the assurance that he would look into it, but apparently Mr. Kristof's investigative skills have deserted him on this point.
Byron Calame, Public Editor of the NY Times, does not want to add the Kristof Conundrum to the Miller Debacle, but he always enjoys reader email. Add to his burdens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am sure Mr. Calame would be delighted to regale us with an explanation as to why Mr. Kristof published, on Oct 30, a column with the assertion that the Administration did not publicly respond to the Wilson allegations when the facts tells us the opposite. If Mr. Kristof meant to say that he only runs corrections after the subject of his erroneous reporting agrees to a personal interview, he should have said so. However, it was obvious to some observers that the Times had a Kristof problem on this story even back in October 2003.
And if he is on a roll, perhaps Mr. Calame can tell us whether Mr. Kristof proposes to tackle the discrepancies between the story he told on May 6 / June 13 2003, and the stories told by George Tenet on July 11, 2003 and the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee in July 2004. He might even attempt to address Joe Wilson's "misquotes or misattributions" remark, although he won't catch us holding our breath.
Yeah, this will happen.