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November 23, 2005

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Jeff

TM - I've been wondering about possible discrepancies between what Wilson told his debriefers and what ended up in the report for a while. What I'm not sure I get is why you seem sure that the explanation is entirely a matter of Wilson's faulty and wishful memory, rather than the possibility that Wilson really did give a more fulsome account to his debriefers than ended up in the report, because, say, those two happened to know what was desired at the end of the day, or they judged that Wilson was a blowhard, or whatever.

epphan

Jeff:

...Or more likely...a combination?

Barry  Dauphin

Everybody has a wishful memory. That's why there should be written reports of such investigations.

Tom Bowler

Did the CIA not hear Joe as he spoke, did they deliberately suppress some of his more convincing claims, or did his memory trick him a bit

I think Wilson was very careful about the accuracy of his official communications, like his report and his Senate testimony. It's his unofficial communications like his editorial and whatever he might have said to reporters that's open to question. He could go to jail for lying to the Senate, but he can say whatever he wants in an opinion piece. The CIA got the straight story. The public got Joe's version of what he said to the CIA.

As for everybody switching sides, it was opportunity followed by a feeding frenzy. Finally! They had something to pin on the Bush Administration! Who could resist.

Also, it's either AJ Strata or MacRanger who points out Joe's story changed earlier. He made no mention of the January State of the Union until May which was about the time he joined up with the Kerry campaign. Then voila! We've all been misled.

Cecil Turner

Did the CIA not hear Joe as he spoke, did they deliberately suppress some of his more convincing claims . . .?

Wilson's only convincing claim was that the documents were forgeries (“dates were wrong and the names were wrong”) a year prior to them being identified as such by the IAEA. Unfortunately, since he admitted never seeing the documents, it's obviously not correct (and either he "misspoke," "may have become confused," or flat-out lied). In any event, it's hard to pretend he retains some credibility on a point he's already admitted is false.

SteveMG

Jeff:
why you seem sure that the explanation is entirely a matter of Wilson's faulty and wishful memory

One could note the repeated instances where Wilson says he has been "mis-quoted" or where he "mis-spoke" to someone? Cf., Pincus, Kristoff, Judis, CIA de-briefers, et cetera, et cetera.

That's a lot of "mis-speaks", so to speak.

At least in the world-according-to-Joe.

More important, has Wilson ever stated that the CIA report on his mission was incomplete or inaccurate? Seems to me that Wilson is not particularly shy about going before the press and claiming that he was "mis-quoted".

Davebo
But the C.I.A. appears not to have concluded that the story was unreliable. As a result, no effort was made by administration officials to keep it out of speeches and documents dealing with Iraq, including the State of the Union address.

But an effort was made by the CIA to keep it out of Bush's Cincinnati speech.

CIA Director George J. Tenet successfully intervened with White House officials to have a reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger removed from a presidential speech last October, three months before a less specific reference to the same intelligence appeared in the State of the Union address, according to senior administration officials.

This despite the fact that Wilson's report allegedly made them more confident in the rumor.

JayDee

God, that 2003 Keller quote really exposes the insanity of the pick-your-own war rationales that got us into this disaster:

And at the end his brazen defiance made us seem weak and vulnerable, an impression we can ill afford.... The important thing to me was never that Saddam Hussein's threat was "imminent" — although Sept. 11 taught us that is not such an easy thing to know — but that the opportunity to do something about him was finite. In a year or two, we would be distracted and Iraq would be back in the nuke-building business.

We went to war - weakening our military capabilities and increasing the terrorist threat - all so we wouldn't "seem" weak. It isn't whether or not we are vulnerable, but only how we seem. I beleive this is pretty much the same logic that gets teenage boys in so much trouble with the local cops.

I particularly love how we would inevitably become "distracted", as if we were all helpless children who might be given new video games that would make us forget to protect our national security. This is what passes for intelligent insight in American media these days...and in American politics!

Dwilkers

"And retracting the retraction a week later did not enhance the picture..."

Personally, I think they should issue an authoritive retroactive retraction of the retracted retraction correcting the original assertion since it turned out to be correct.

Um, or er...something...

Boy do I wish I had taken the blue pill.

cathyf
We went to war...all so we wouldn't "seem" weak. It isn't whether or not we are vulnerable, but only how we seem. I beleive this is pretty much the same logic that gets teenage boys in so much trouble with the local cops.
Of course the fact that our weakness in the face of two dozen islamofascist attacks (mis)led al Qaeda to believe that smashing airplanes into the WTC, pentagon, etc. was a good idea means nothing to you. Because, after all, that would mean that you would have to admit that there is a big world out there, and there are people that you don't really care about and don't want to understand who nonetheless very much want to kill us. And that the whole world is not about some weird freudian tableau where you have displaced your unresolved anger towards your father onto George Bush, and the people who worry about islamofascists are the crazy people with the delusions that the islamofascists want to kill us.

So wait a minute -- who's the teenaged boy here?

cathy :-)

Rick Ballard

cathyf,

I thik of it as trustafarian angst. It's a feeling disorder rather than a thinking disorder. There is no thinking involved.

Dorf

here's what changed: Joe joined the Kerry campaign.

clarice

Is it possible that the more florrid aspects of the Pincus /Kristof pieces were supplied by others--Johnson or McGovern, for example, and Wilson, basking in the fame generated by the more sensational reports adopted them as his own until they were debunked by the SSCI?

WND is seizing upon the oddly worded "and his wife" in Kristof's first story to suggest that the wife was Wilson's and Plame broke agency regs by an unauthorized meeting with a reporter. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47550

JayDee

Because, after all, that would mean that you would have to admit that there is a big world out there, and there are people that you don't really care about and don't want to understand who nonetheless very much want to kill us.

cathyf, the good thing about reading your changeless screeds is realizing how marginalized this kind of condescending fearmongering has become in American discourse.

How patronizingly asinine of you to think that only hysterical fearmongers of the right have any comprehension of the dangers facing our country. Let's see: your party made all the WRONG decisions about our national security, bankrupted our country, increased the spread of terrorism, destroyed our moral reputation as a nation and undermined our military capability. Yet you STILL feel comfortable lecturing others for not being realistic. If you want to talk psychobabble, think adult children of alcoholics - still making excuses for daddy even after he burns down the house and kills your mom.

Dorf

JayDee: you need a drink.

vnjagvet

Dorf:

Or a tranquilizer.

This poor fellow should not be reading this thread. It makes him craaaaaaaazy. And shrill as well.

j2

The Wilson Op-ed your post links to is not the original Times article but one that is annotated to correct his 'misrememberings', such as review of the documents.

noah

JayDee:

You might have a point if your factoids were actually facts:

1) All the WRONG decisions re national security?? Who is to say but it is dubious that history will conclude that Bush never got lucky and made a right decision on the subject.

2) Weakened the military???? The military is far stronger today than on 9/11. Just ask Anthony Zinni.

3) Bankrupted the counry???????? It is an extremely dubious idea that we COULD in fact go bankrupt in any meaningful sense.

4) Increased the spread of terrorism? Opinion of yours obviously. We are in a WAR. We fight them...they fight back...more likely it is evidence that Bush is right: we are in a war.

5) Destroyed our moral reputation? A few soldiers at Abu Ghraib, fake studies in the Lancet, Turbin Durbin and Michael Isikoff with their Gitmo lies, relentless lying about 'Bush lied' endlessly repeated by the MSM,...I guess he had a lot of help after all.

I wonder how you could be so wrong. Could it be that BDS got you?

BurkettHead

It it was Kristof's wife at breakfast, rather than Plame, wouldn't we have heard all about that by now?

owl

clarice.....look under the Nick Kristof...my comments 11/22 at 7:42 and 9:50. That is the conclusion I finally drew. Since Wilson joined the Kerry campaign in May, Wilson was in all out attack mode for DNC. From what we know, Plame and Wilson were together with Kristof AND Pincus. Now he was discussing the Niger forged doc. She is there. That was classified info. Why would a SP be looking at a non-outing instead of a real crime? All these leaks and it looks as if one of them finally screwed up and got caught.......co-conspirators with the DNC to bring down an elected President? Of course, could not do it without the trusty MSM, who if you look under all the bedsheets, you find a Democrat who is either in media or connected to the DNC.

Okay.....I just laid out what actually happened in Reality World, not what that little storyteller SP said to his back patting MSM new buds. And no, I seldom hit WND because it is hard to sort the good from the bizare. But I smoked them by 3 hours...LOL.

Harry Arthur

JD, How patronizingly asinine of you to think that only hysterical fearmongers of the right have any comprehension of the dangers facing our country. Let's see: your party made all the WRONG decisions about our national security, bankrupted our country, increased the spread of terrorism, destroyed our moral reputation as a nation and undermined our military capability. Yet you STILL feel comfortable lecturing others for not being realistic.

While we're on the subject of patronizing assinity, perhaps you might benefit from the same introspection. As I recall from about the last 35 years or so, at least since Viet Nam, the left has had precisely that mindset.

And while you're on the subject of what the right has gotten wrong of late, I'd suggest that should you take the time to think about your observations in an historical context you might include the entire cold war period and misassessment of virtually every socialist/communist regime in the world by the left as additional examples of "getting it wrong". I'd recommend Mona Charen's book, Useful Idiots if you'd care to follow my line of reasoning further, but I suppose that's a bit much to expect.

The country is now bankrupt? Unsubstantiated assertion. News to me.

Increased the spread of terrorism? Unsubstantiated assertion.

Undermined our military capability? Unsubstantiated assertion.

Made all the wrong decisions about national security? Sorry, that's one for the history books. Don't think we can be all that certain just yet about the long term implications of the loss of the Taliban bases in Afghanistan, their transition to a democratically elected government, the loss of Iraqi support for terrorist organizations, their transition to a democratically elected government, the impact on Ghadafi's Lybia, Lebanon's transition to a democratically elected government, upcoming elections in multiple ME countries, or the impact on the greater Middle East.

It's wonderful to make a number of unsubstantiated assertions but it's just quite frankly too soon to know the full impact of everything we've done in the ME. I'd submit that history will be the judge there.

Destroyed our moral reputation as a nation? I think I heard the same "reasoning" when Reagan had the audacity to put Pershing II missles in western Europe, called the Soviet Union an Evil Empire and demanded that Mr. Gorbachov "tear down this wall". How confrontational! How dare he say these things to all those nice communists on the other side of all those walls! How dare he suggest that the Czechs and others in the easter bloc be free?

How dare we act without the permission of the UN? That would have kept our "moral reputation" in tact. How dare we resume hostilities with a country we defeated that refused to abide by the terms of the cessation of hostilities? We should have listened to France.

"...burns down the house and kills your mom ..."? Now there's a cogent and reasoned response.

But let's assume you're totally correct on each ridiculous assertion. Up to this point we've been arguing history. Nice argument but largely pointless. There is only one really important question: What do we do now?

Make your case. What do we do now? In all due respect, I'd suggest you should justify your answer. So, ... what do we do now?

TM

What I'm not sure I get is why you seem sure that the explanation is entirely a matter of Wilson's faulty and wishful memory...

Well, he has not been pounding the table saying that the CIA report is an unfair representation of his report.

And instea dof saying, "they jolly welll did discuss names and dates with me, classified or not, and regardless of their currebnt denials", he bacxkpedaled to "a little leterary flair".

Now, maybe he is just covering for his wife and/or her colleagues. But the upshot remains - whatever he said, the CIA did not circulate it - hard to blame that on Bush.

Oh, bonus as to what changed, and why Wilson came forward - joining the Kerry campaign may be a part of it, but Kevin Drum made a very accusatory point - the CIA concluded, internally, on June 17 that Saddam had no nukes on the drawing board.

From Drum:

Here's the question: the first time that Wilson directly charged that the African uranium story was false — and that George Bush had known it when he delivered his State of the Union address — was in anonymous comments to Nick Kristof published on May 6. Why did he wait until then? And why did he wait until July 6 to talk openly about it (in an op-ed in the New York Times)?

Here's a frankly speculative guess: it was because he didn't know until May that the CIA had concluded that the African uranium story was false. He knew that his own trip had produced no evidence, and he also knew there were other negative pieces of reporting, especially at the State Department, but he didn't know for sure what other evidence the CIA had. So he wasn't completely certain that the Africa uranium story had been conclusively debunked.

...This [June 17] CIA memorandum is a key document (and one that's never been publicly released). After taking into account all the bits and pieces of data floating around, the CIA's final judgment was that there was no good evidence that Iraq had sought uranium "from abroad" — not from Niger and more generally not from Africa either. And since Wilson's wife worked in the WMD section of the CIA, it's possible that she saw a draft of this memo in May and mentioned its conclusion to Wilson. This in turn might have convinced him that it was safe to flatly tell Kristof that the uranium story was bogus.

r flanagan

If Wilson's op ed was badly flawed why didn't the Administration just point that out ? In fact its problematic campaign of leaks to Novak et al constitute a backhanded endorsement of Wilson's information.

TP

One can understand the anger the editors have at Judy Miller. She has opened the back door to all kinds of questions of what they knew and when they knew it. If Mata Hari was leaking information thru Joe, her outing could be perceived as a relatively gentle rebuke, if not a civic duty. The editors must have had some kind of proffer from Joe.

It would seem that the Times, unlike the WaPO is central to the government case against Libby. I wonder what their current position is on "The Public's Right To Know".

TM

why didn't the Administration just point that out ?

Tenet's letter of July 11 did exactly that.

However, since the Admin also admitted that the 16 Words were an error, that is what got all the play.

COnsequently, Wilson's distortions about "the behest" of Cheney's office, a widely circulated conclusive response, and the debunking of the forgeries were all ocverlooked.

TM

I have a bonus question for Wilson's defenders.

Let's suppose he is telling God's truth about the forgeries.

Then clearly, there was some tap-dancing by others in the Senate probe - the DO (Director of Operations?), we are told, insisted that the contents of the cable, including names and dates, was classified, and that no classified info was shared with Joe.

However, others at the meeting seem to disagree.

SO, the CIA lied about that to the Senate.

They also failed to circulate Wilson's report in March 2002 that the documents were forged.

Finally, when they got "originals" in Oct 2002, they forgot to look at them to confirm the theory that they were forgeries.

Is that *all* due to Bush, Cheney, and Libby pressuring them, or might this be described as a colossal screw-up?

And why is Joe now hiding behind "misquoted", "misattributed", "literary flair", etc., instead of insisting that the CIA is wrong and he *did* debunk the forgeries?

A sudden wave of shyness?

Or to protect, hmm, his wife, whose unit completely mishandled his conclusive report?

Just wondering - did Joe exaggerate his discovery of the forgeries, or is he participating in a CIA cover-up?

Or is there some third choice?

Jim E.

Timmeh was apparently on Imus this morning and he came clean about his Libby phone call. Ha -- got ya! Like Russert would come clean and report news or something.

But, really,he was on Imus. He stonewalled, and was vague, but he did hint at why he specifically remembered the phone call. Did Libby use four-letter words with Timmeh??

Check it out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-amato/tim-russert-stonewalls-ag_b_11143.html

Harry Arthur

In fact its problematic campaign of leaks to Novak et al constitute a backhanded endorsement of Wilson's information.

This bit of circular reasoning assumes that the administration actually had a "campaign of leaks" which has not been substantiated to date at least as far as I have seen here or elsewhere. It has clearly been asserted, but that is not the same as some evidence of a "campaign."

In fact, if we are to believe Woodward, this was all so much "chatter" as opposed to some organized program to "out" anyone or to destroy anyone's credibility.

On the other hand, it seems to me that the administration has clearly been deficient in its ability to debunk the preponderance of Joe Wilson's, and others', assertions regarding this and other intelligence.

r flanagan

TM
RIGHT ,LET'S STIPULATE THE ADMINISTRATION
FULLY REBUTTED WILSON VIA TENET. THAT STILL LEAVES OPEN THE QUESTION OF WHY IT FIRST TRIED THE RISKY PLAME LEAKS. SMART GUYS LIKE SCOOTER DON'T TAKE BIG RISKS FOR SMALL
REWARDS .

AS FOR THE BONUS QUESTION-IT'S ABOVE MY
PAY GRADE BUT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING BILL
KELLER WOULD WANT TO LOOK INTO . NOT.

SteveMG

Let's see: your party made all the WRONG decisions about our national security, bankrupted our country, increased the spread of terrorism, destroyed our moral reputation as a nation and undermined our military capability.

Oy, and he lectures others on "fear-mongering", "hysteria" and exaggerations of the terrorist threat to the Republic.

I guess some hysteria is more equal than others.

SMG

TM

Did Libby use four-letter words with Timmeh??

According to Mickey from a few weeks ago, Libby accused Matthews of anti-Semitism. It was a reprise of the argument from the spring of 2003 that attacks on the neocons are veiled attacks on Jews.

And I can easily see why Russert would remember it, tell the head of NBC News, not tell Matthews, and not want to talk about it - it makes either Libby, or Matthews, or both look terrible.

And for a measure of the temper of the Times, here is David Brooks from Feb 2003:

...Now I get a steady stream of anti-Semitic screeds in my e-mail, my voicemail, and in my mailbox. It transpired that I couldn't have been more wrong. Anti-Semitism is alive and thriving. It's just that its epicenter is no longer on the Buchananite right, but on the peace-movement left.

"Hello. I'm a grandmother from Minnesota. I want to thank you for taking my call," a voicemail on my machine began recently. When you hear a message like that you sort of settle back and prepare for some civil sentiment. Then it continued. "I just wanted to know: Are you related to Paul Wolfowitz and Ari Fleischer? I can usually smell you people. . . ." At that point I deleted the thing.

But it's like that week in and week out. And I'm best known for appearances on PBS and NPR, which surely have the most civilized audiences in the land. Nor is this a fringe phenomenon. Lawrence Kaplan recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, gathering some of the highly questionable statements politicians and columnists have made over the past few weeks, accusing Jews of dual loyalty and worse. I occasionally get reports about conversations at sophisticated Washington dinner parties that turn into gripe sessions about the Israeli agents who have grabbed control of President Bush's brain. Accusing Jews of twisting U.S. policy to suit Israel is the same as accusing Catholics of taking orders from the Pope. It's also logically absurd, since Israelis are far more concerned about Iran and Syria than Iraq. But it's become commonplace nonetheless.

Not long ago I was chatting with a prominent Washington figure in a green room. "You people have infested everywhere," he said in what I thought was a clumsy but good-hearted manner. He listed a few of "us": "Wolfowitz, Feith, Frum, Perle." I've never met Doug Feith in my life and Wolfowitz and Perle I've barely met. Yet he assumed we were tight as thieves. After a few minutes of jibing I finally pointed out that there were many non-Jews who support the president's policy against Iraq. I mentioned Bob Kerry. "He's a shabbas goy. He's got a lot of Jewish money supporting that school" he shot back. Shabbas goys are Christians who perform tasks for observant Jews on Saturdays.

Well, if you Google around you will find Chris MAtthews mentioned as one of the "giving offence" media figures out there (I lack the time to recreate that Google experimne just now.)

SO, Libby may have done just that.

And I have been sitting on some interesting speculation on that point for several weeks, figuring partly that it lacked topicality, and partly that the whole anti-Semitism thing is so alien to most people, and so awkward.

But I may bash ahead!

Lew Clark

Maybe the CIA "blew off" what Wilson said back then because they knew him then as well as we know him now and didn't put much faith in anything he said.

G Wiz

What is everyone's opinion on Libby being found guilty or going to trial at all after the Woodward revelation. Sorry if this question is too basic, but I'm just curious.

Toby Petzold

From the NYT op-ed of 12 July 2003:

Mr. Wilson has said he is confident that his concerns were circulated not only within the agency but also at the State Department and the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Once again, we have a guy who was never asked to sign a confidentiality agreement who also just happens to know the ongoing status of his debriefing within the CIA, as well as at State and the White House itself.

It isn't the competence of Tenet's or Powell's people that needs to be questioned; it's their connivance.

Why doesn't Fitzgerald investigate some of these government officials who must have been communicating with Wilson? Were they doing so through his wife? Then investigate her, too.

Jor

maybe we should bomb some outlets that are too "friendly" to wilson?

Jim E.

Oh yeah, I forgot about Kaus' anti-Semitism rumor. I suppose that would help Russert remember the call, wouldn't it? Too bad for Libby.

PaulV

Jim E.,
Unless Tim was too upset at accusation that he would have trouble remembering anything else about conversation. I imagine Tim's blood pressure shot up,

BurkettHead

G Wiz asked for opinions on what The Woodward Revelations mean for Libby.

I've concluded that The Woodward Revelations must be good for Libby. What I've seen from the pro-Wilson folk is a technical defense of the Libby indictment that gets narrower & narrower. What I haven't seen is an argument that Fitz's strategy of indicting Libby to get him to deal & roll over on his co-conspirators is working.

Of course, this all depends on whether Woodward's source was ever interviewed by the FBI or testified before the grand jury. If Fitz didn't identify Woodward's source because he didn't ask the right questions of the right people, then that seems to help Libby, even if it's not directly related to the counts of the indictment for lying or perjury, as it shows Fitz wasn't very thorough. That could do in the obstruction count, as the sand Libby threw in Fitz's face didn't really obscure or obstruct anything - it's not Libby's fault if someone else sold Fitz the wrong storyline & he bought it. Interestingly enough, if Fitz had pursued that wild goose chase & looked at reporters in greater depth, he would probably have found Woodward's source all on his own.

However, everything could be very different if Fitz did ask the right people the right questions, but they gave him the wrong answers. If so, there could be additional indictments for lying, perjury or obstruction. And possibly more (though it seems to me that if Fitz didn't indict Libby or Novak's source under IIPA or the Espionage Act, for whatever reasons, he probably won't indict anyone else under those statutes for similar reasons - probably). While Libby might like some company, even if it's Armitage (especially if it's Armitage?) that wouldn't seem to affect Libby's indictment.

I suppose there's an argument that The Woodward Revelations are evidence that there is a conspiracy that it's finally beginning to unravel, but I have yet to hear anyone make a good case for that.

TP

Jim E. If you follow the Chris Matthews denial that Russert talked to him, you eventually run in to the hint that Shapiro did talk to Matthews after his conversation with Russert.

Jim E.

Burkethead wrote: "What I've seen from the pro-Wilson folk is a technical defense of the Libby indictment..."

Pro-Wilson folk? One can believe that Libby committed perjury AND remain agnostic, or even be hostile, towards Wilson.

TP

Burkett-Head. Don't you think that Fitz must have concluded early on that DOJ guidelines were not going to give him much leverage with the press? He should have known this from his previous encounter with Judith Miller. I almost wonder if the Libby indictment wasn't the result of a couple of things:
1. Public pressure to do something
2. Leverage to allow him to roll up other people in the WH, or, if they couldn't be rolled up, to force them to do the investigation for him.
3. Throwing up his hands and calling it a day.

Jim E.

TP,
Yes, I'm aware that Shapiro or Russert (I'd always assumed Russert) later told Matthews about the phone call. Wouldn't the implication be that Shapiro would be a corroborating witness (listener?) with regards to the call, depending on how detailed Russerts retelling of it was? Russert says he called Shapiro about it right after hanging up with Libby. And it seems that either Russert or Shapiro eventually passed along the content of the call to MAtthews.

Again, this seems like only bad news for Libby. People would tend to remember being called a bigot.

BurkettHead

Jim E
You're correct. Not a good characterization on my part. Thanks.

TP
I don't really know what to make of Fitz vs. reporters. Pure speculation, but I don't get the impression he tried very hard. Maybe he did with Miller, but it sure didn't get him anywhere. It will be interesting to see what he does with the New & Improved Grand Jury.

It doesn't seem that anyone was very happy with the results the first time around. It would have been incredibly frustrating if he had just thrown up his hands & said "Nobody on anyside gets anything for Fitzmas this year!"

SteveMG

Again, this seems like only bad news for Libby. People would tend to remember being called a bigot.

Well, unless they're actually bigots; then it's another day at the office.

Not including Matthews in that j'accuse but I find it interesting that for about a year he had frozen Buchanan out of the show, especially right after Pitchfork Pat's absurd argument that the US should have stayed out of WWII and allowed Stalin and Hitler to bleed each other white. Matthews openly ridiculed Buchanan about that thesis.

Then, when Buchanan really went on the "neocons are destroying the world" jihad, Matthews has him back on.

Not a coincidence, it seems to me, since Matthews often sounds like a paleo-con when it come to discussing Kristol et al.

SMG

TM

Again, this seems like only bad news for Libby. People would tend to remember being called a bigot.

My very first reaction to this story was exactly that.

However, it may be, as noted previously, that it distracted Russert from the rest of the call.

And it makes it more plausible that Libby and Russert discussed some aspect of the Wilson trip, since the "anti-neocon = anti-semitism" theme is certainly tied to Matthews' daily rants about Wilson and the war.

And, to sneak preview my post (if I ever write the darn thing) - *IF* Libby thinks that way, why would Matthews be the only one offending him? Maybe (the case can be made!) Libby also thinks Wilson is anti-Semitic.

I *DO NOT* endorse that argument, or that conclusion - I am not alleging that Wilson is anti-Semitic, only speculating that Libby thought so.

TP

Does anybody have a link to the transcript of the Matthews show?

JM Hanes

TM

On possible anti-semitic assumptions about Wilson, I tend to think not. Wilson seemed pretty fixated on Cheney & Rove, while Matthews was practically promoting the Cabal theory. I never had the impression that there was anything anti-semitic in his take on it though. He was selling a dumb President surrounded by powerful neo-cons. The anti-semitic slant came more directly, it seems to me, from the folks who introduced "Staussian" into the colloquial political patois.

I do remember thinking that I'd like to see the folks who thought the Prez was in Israeli pockets duke it out with the folks who claimed he was a Saudi dupe!

Truzenzuzex

TM (quoting from Kevin Drum):

And since Wilson's wife worked in the WMD section of the CIA, it's possible that she saw a draft of this memo in May and mentioned its conclusion to Wilson. This in turn might have convinced him that it was safe to flatly tell Kristof that the uranium story was bogus.
Well, let's see. Wilson's wife is a CIA analyst working on WMD, Wilson knew things he hadn't actually seen... Hmm, what could this mean?

I know! Valerie was passing CIA information to Joe!

Maybe that is how Wilson found out about the whole signature mismatch thing - from his wife. He then embellished it a bit by suggesting that he had actually seen them when in actuality it was Valerie.

It seems likely, given the things Wilson knew that he shouldn't have known that his wife told him at least some of these things.

Maybe the reason Wilson wrote things in his op-ed that were at odds with his oral report was that his wife was feeding him some of the CIA take on the whole situation, encouraging him to remember things that were, well, wrong.

And maybe we just don't know why Wilson said what he said - maybe he just gilded the facts to make Bush sound more like a liar. The only thing I know for sure is, only Wilson (and maybe Valerie) knows for sure...

max

OT to this thread, but perhaps not to the site -

An amazing coincidence -

"Tom Maguire, proprietor of the Bush Street Theater and the Grand Opera House"

http://www.nealauction.com/indexie.html - Lot 469.

SteveMG

JM:
I'd like to see the folks who thought the Prez was in Israeli pockets duke it out with the folks who claimed he was a Saudi dupe!

That was always one aspect of this "neocons are running the Administration" charge I never understood.

As you well know, the neocons have been arguing for years that the Sauds are one of our enemies - well, adversaries at least - and that we needed to re-evaluate our relationship with them.

And yet Bush has been a (near) complete apologist for the Royal Family. [Hmm, is Royal Family lower- or upper-case?]

Where was Wolfowitz when we needed him?

Of course, this emanates from the other curious charge from the left. That the US is craven to the oil companies and that's why we support these brutal regimes. And yet the US is also in the pockets of AIPAC and Israel, which of course has no oil.

If Chevron was really pulling Washington's strings, we would have cut Israel off at the knees a long time ago. And if AIPAC were running things, we'd have cut off our support for the House of Saud decades ago as well.

I guess promoting conspiracy theories to explain "How the World Works" is like eating potato chips. You just can't stop at one.

SMG

cathyf
Again, this seems like only bad news for Libby. People would tend to remember being called a bigot.
...and forget the less-emotionally-charge parts of the conversation completely.

So imagine Libby is on a tear, ranting about bigots, nazis, hitler. Throws in a line about how they are all so blinded by anti-semitism that they believe a total flake like Wilson when he says that Cheney sent him. Russert responds that all the reporters know that Cheney didn't send Wilson -- Wilson was sent by his wife, who works for the CIA. Then Russert keeps on talking, highly defensive, very upset over being accused of bigotry, and his thoughts are full of coming up with arguments to counter Libby's accusations of anti-semitism. With all that adrenaline going he completely forgets that he said anything about Wilson's wife in the heat of the (very heated) moment. Also completely does not notice that Libby got very quiet, or just assumes that Libby is letting him talk, and his defense is being effective and Libby is getting calmed down. And Libby is sitting there not paying attention at all to what Russert is saying, having his own adrenaline-soaked moment, thinking to himself, "How the **** did he know that?!? And everybody?!? What the ****?!? And [deep breath, count to 10] how do I pretend I don't know what the **** he is talking about?!?! Ok, deep breath, empty your mind, don't react, you don't know any of this..."

Yeah, wouldn't take too much lawyerly flourish to plant reasonable doubt...

cathy :-)

topsecretk9

I *DO NOT* endorse that argument, or that conclusion - I am not alleging that Wilson is anti-Semitic, only speculating that Libby thought so.

I would not either BUT his Epic Speech isn't easily characterized as PRO-Semitic...that speech does make eyebrows raise on this subject.

Jim E.

When PaulV above brought up the Timmeh-got-the-vapors theory, I assumed he was joking. I guess you folks think that would be a convincing defense? Blame timid ol' Russert? Like Russert's a newbie to the political big leagues.

It was Libby, not Russert, whose blood pressure was likely quite high about the Wilson stuff. In that case, to borrow TM's early tongue-in-cheek proposal, Libby would have to rely on the insanity defense: "I went crazy, got all emotional, and accidentally mischaracterized the content of several conversations." That makes exactly as much sense as saying Russert was so shocked he forgot the most important part of the phone call. NOt much sense at all.

TS9,
I can't remember the last time I made a PRO-Semitic comment here. Uh oh. Are eyebrows raising? Now that you bring it up, it occurred to me that your posts are devoid of PRO-Asian comments. Hmmmm... (sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm)

P.S. My previous paragraph was meant as sarcasm

Special comment for TS9: Please see my P.S.

Steve J.

Wilson's only convincing claim was that the documents were forgeries (“dates were wrong and the names were wrong”) a year prior to them being identified as such by the IAEA. Unfortunately, since he admitted never seeing the documents, it's obviously not correct

The TEXT of the documents was available to Wilson and that would be enough for him to make those determinations.

Neo

I'm just curious.

When Novak wrote about Joe Wilson's wife, Joe responded quickly that this was the work of Karl Rove and he wanted to see Rove "frogwalked" before the cameras.

Just how did Joe come to the conclusion that this was the work of Karl Rove ? Just a guess based on the "Bush's Brain" meme ? Or was this based on his contacts with Andrea Mitchell ?

owl

Matthews.....he never says anything direct but it does run under the surface. It's there because when he talks about the Israeli/Palestinians, he wants to "understand the Palestinians" so what are you left with? Israel bad. He talks non stop about neo-cons and acts as if Israel runs the WH and all our policies. A person could easily think him a bigot on this subject if he was especially riled up on a certain day.

owl

Matthews called Wilson and told him he talked to Rove and Rove said "Wilson's wife was fair game." So then they did the frog-march shows.

Jim E.

Back to Russert being so distracted by Libby's anti-Semitism charges he forgot the rest of the phone call...

Now that I've thought it over, this theory makes even LESS sense. Libby's defense wouldn't merely rest upon saying Russert "forgot" the rest of the phone call, his defense would have to rely upon saying Russert was perjuring himself. After all, Russert says he had no idea about Wilson's wife until he read it in Novak's column. The anti-Semite charge would cause Russert to forget everything he learned about Wilson's wife prior to the Novak column?

I'm no fan of Russert, but who do you think the jury -- and the country -- would be more likely to believe: Russert or Libby? Aside from a dwindling number of staunch partisans (and NBC's Pete Williams, who seemed incredulous that Fitz would somehow believe Timmeh over Libby), the answer is clearly Russert. Especially since Libby's defense would also claim Cooper and Miller are misremembering (or lying about) the exact same information Russert is misremembering (or lying about). It's much simpler and more likely that Libby's the liar. This proposed theory is too fantastic.

SteveMG

After spending a bit of time with Lexis a la Carte (the poor man's Lexis - searches are free, downloads are $3 each), I have a modest attempt to chart the Niger scandal.

Tom, I have a ProQuest account that gives complete archives of NY Times up through (unfortunately) 2002.

Obviously this is problematic since we're mostly talking about 2003+ stories; but if I can be of help post me.

SMG

Neo

Libby's lawyer doesn't have to prove anything, just make the jury unsure about Fitz's story. In that vein, no proposed theory is too fantastic.

And don't lump the counts against Libby together. Each has it's own special strengths and it's own special weaknesses. The Russert count seems the weakest.

cathyf
Libby's defense wouldn't merely rest upon saying Russert "forgot" the rest of the phone call, his defense would have to rely upon saying Russert was perjuring himself. After all, Russert says he had no idea about Wilson's wife until he read it in Novak's column.
Except that Russert is a journalist, and so Fitzgerald's questioning had to follow special rules. Fitzgerald seems to have only been able to ask "Did you tell Libby that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?" He was specifically not allowed to ask, "Did you know that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and when did you know it?"

So if Russert never testified that he didn't know, there is no perjury for Russert. And if Libby's defense attorney asks him on the witness stand, under oath, those questions Fitzgerald wasn't allowed to ask, and Russert says he did know, and it is possible that he said it and he forgot, he is in no legal jeopardy. Furthermore, if Fitzgerald never asked beyond the simple yes/no question and made no attempt to ask how sure Russert was that it didn't happen vs. not remembering, it pretty much torpedoes the obstruction charges -- Fitzgerald was obstructed by following DoJ guidelines, and Libby had nothing much to do with it.

cathy :-)

TexasToast

Happy thanks giving to everyone.

Many Blessings!

MayBee

[i]And, to sneak preview my post (if I ever write the darn thing) - *IF* Libby thinks that way, why would Matthews be the only one offending him? Maybe (the case can be made!) Libby also thinks Wilson is anti-Semitic.[/i]

And don't forget the WaPo chat!
Someone asks him about Israel. He brings up how Bush is wrong on Palestine, and Lukid is too strongly favored, and how it isn't anti-semitic, it's realistic.

Who found that chat? Clarice? Top? Sue? I can't find it now.
Wilson definitely looked to be veering into the "Israel is running the show" territory.

Oddly, Michael Shuerer (sp), another CIA that was anti-war, also later talked about Israel having too much influence on US Policy.

It seems to me there was a bit of a 'No War For Israel' gang going at the CIA.
Remember, at that time many were faulting Bush for refusing to work with Arafat. Maybe Libby thought Wilson/Plame were part of that group.

MayBee

Here it is:

New York, N.Y.: I'm concerned about the symbolism of placing someone like Gen. Garner, an avid supporter of Ariel Sharon's style of "peacekeeping," in command over the peace in Iraq. Is the U.S. about to get entangled in an intifadah of its own?

Joseph C. Wilson: The fact that GArner signed a letter and went on a trip sponsored by Jinsa is troubling to Arabs and does not help his credibility. A good friend of mine who is a security expert said last night at a meeting exactly that. Watch out for intifadah type activities

...

Arlington, Va.: You say terrorist support is the key to what we do and where we go, but is that support of terrorism against the U.S. or terrorism against Israel? One theme I have seen occur in Iraq from the administration is the blurring of lines between the two, presumably in an attempt to justify using force to confront the latter.

Joseph C. Wilson: You are right on that. And it is not lost on Arabs who suspect we are fighting Israel's battle against supporters of Palestinian resistance, which they do not see as terrorism.

Fairfax, Va.: If Iraq did not support Palestinian suicide bombers, do you think we would be in a war to overthrow Saddam?

Joseph C. Wilson: Saddam's support of Palestinian suicide bombers was not a reason to go to war, just an excuse. The reason for the President, I think was concern that Saddam might transfer WMD to terrorists gunning for us. I think he got bad advice.

Fairfax, Va.: (At the risk of sounding anti-Semitic, which I don't intend), if Saddam didn't support Palestinian suicide bombers, do you think we'd be in a war to liberate Iraq?

Joseph C. Wilson: The literature is clear. His closest advisers have argued for years that the way to peace in the middle east is to crush the palestinian resistance and it supporters. I profoundly disagree with that analysis, but it is not anti semitic or semitic. It is secular and tied to the Likud party


Jinsa = Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs

topsecretk9

Special comment for TS9: Please see my P.S.

P.S.S 。Merlot の素晴らしく大きく暖かく曖昧なsip 楽しみ, あなたについて考えている私はこのまさに時にある! 幸 せなTHANKSGIVING!

Tex Toast! TM and ALL!!!
I hope everyone has a really truly Happy Thanksgiving!

topsecretk9

Jim E. please see my last post...

May Bee...

"A good friend of mine who is a security expert said last night at a meeting exactly that."

My 1st guess LCJ...and Wilson has always incorporated the Isreal aspect into his speech and rhetoric...only NOT when he is on CNN or dusting off his Bush I letters

TM

From Steve J, defending Wilson's ability to debunk the forgeries:

The TEXT of the documents was available to Wilson and that would be enough for him to make those determinations.

Let me repeat my earlier comment:

I have a bonus question for Wilson's defenders.

Let's suppose he is telling God's truth about the forgeries.

Then clearly, there was some tap-dancing by others in the Senate probe - the DO (Director of Operations?), we are told, insisted that the contents of the cable, including names and dates, was classified, and that no classified info was shared with Joe.

However, others at the meeting seem to disagree.

SO, the CIA lied about that to the Senate.

They also failed to circulate Wilson's report in March 2002 that the documents were forged.

Finally, when they got "originals" in Oct 2002, they forgot to look at them to confirm the theory that they were forgeries, as advanced by Wilson in Feb/Mar 2002.

Is that *all* due to Bush, Cheney, and Libby pressuring them, or might this be described as a colossal screw-up?

And why is Joe now hiding behind "misquoted", "misattributed", "literary flair", etc., when asked about his astute debunking, instead of insisting that the CIA is wrong and he *did* debunk the forgeries?

A sudden wave of shyness?

Or to protect, hmm, his wife, whose unit completely mishandled his conclusive report?

Just wondering - did Joe exaggerate his discovery of the forgeries, or is he participating in a CIA cover-up?

Or is there some third choice?

kim

Hypocrisy? Joe? C'mon, now, the bounds of credulity are stretched.
================================================

topsecretk9

TM

Finally, when they got "originals" in Oct 2002, they forgot to look at them to confirm the theory that they were forgeries, as advanced by Wilson in Feb/Mar 2002.

Most excellent point!!! He was afterall the premier bona fide expert on such matters and best to consult right? AND his proud and supportive Wife would be in a position to remind/correct misstatements coming either side.

kim

I go for relative Val innocence, some incompetence and mishandling by her unit, added to Joe's Munchausen Syndrome. Stir briskly, add just a soupcon of Kerry's utterly sinister political tactics, and voila, journalists racing to print. How intoxicating.

Oh what a hangover we'd have if the first hadn't made us vomit.
=========================================

kim

Still, Tenet got his medal and his abrupt retirement just about the time it became apparent that Joe was a big fat liar and that he was not under the control of Tenet.

Just how do prosecutors in general handle the conundrum of spousal immunity?
==========================================

kim

Look guys, if post war analysis showed that Saddam was cowed, and meek, you might have an argument. But to argue that this war was unjust in the light of the revelations about Saddam found in Duelfer and Rosett is actually more than a little absurd. You might argue that Bush was lucky(he is), or right for the wrong reasons, but wrong? Solly, Cholly, the purple finger of fate for you.
================================================

boris

or right for the wrong reasons, but wrong?

Kim kim kim ...

right for the wrong reasons is way way way worse than wrong.

From one of my postmodernism rants ...

That all wrong answers being equally wrong are more worthy in their equality than some privileged correct answer undeservedly selected by an arbitrary question. Yet this elitist answer would be just as wrong were the question fairly posed, which makes it all the more loathsome for its smug hypocrisy.
kim

Uh huh. That's the affirmative vocalization.

My point is that he was right for the right reasons; an opponent might call the reasons wrong, but really can't argue that the denouement is wrong. That would be to affirm murderers and deny purple fingers.
===================================================

boris

A solid argument only if the reality based are reality based. In their reality lucky shots only count if they get credit. Otherwise even the good is bad.

kim

Me good. Them bad and ugly.
=============================

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