Mark Kleiman of the Self-Invented Reality team blog (previously known to some as Invented Facts, per the url) offered a comical post a few weeks back on the subject of the Wilson civil suit. I offered objections to a couple of his points in the comments thread, and Bruce Moomaw, a frequent blog commenter, emerged to rally to Kleiman's cause. The results are laughable, and I urge you to check them out. However, here is a snynopsis:
1. Who is slavering?
Kleiman's lead sentence was this:
Tom Maguire, Glenn Reynolds, and Mark Levin are fairly slavering at the prospect of defense discovery in the Valerie Plame Wilson/Joseph Wilson civil suit against Rove and Libby.
In his comments I pointed out that my only reference to any discovery problems for the Wilson's came in my post, where I said this:
And a number of commenters focused on the problems the Wilson's might face as they dealt with defense discovery requests (Mark Levin can't wait).
So when you say "Mark Levin can barely wait" you weren't agreeing with his sentiment, but just pointing it out?
Right the first time! Just as in my June post on the Wilson civil suit (to which the July post linked), I said this, after noting the Times coverage of the story:
Sometimes I am on board with Ms. Hamsher and Ms. Merritt, other times not so much. I assume Messrs. Kleiman and Moomaw can tell me whether the above links represent endorsements or denunciations of their positions, but I cannot. I sort of think I am pointing out other interesting viewpoints; evidently I should include a special disclaimer for the Self-Invented Reality readers.
Well, Mark Kleiman has disappeared from the comments, but Bruce Moomaw is continuing the battle to turn one anodyne link to Mark Levin into "slavering" - check it out.
2. Who is going to quash this suit?
In my post I noted that the CIA has been sitting on Ms. Plame's personnel file, without which the civil suit may lack traction. Kleiman proposed a bet:
"Of course, if the Maguire/Reynolds/Levin thesis were correct, the Administration would welcome the opportunity to clear itself in court. That would mean not trying to quash the suit under the "state secrets" doctrine. Would you care to bet on that question, Tom?"
I pointed out that since my position was that the CIA was likely to quash this, and since the head of the CIA is appointed by the President and is part of the Administration, it is hard for me to bet against the idea that "the Administration" will quash this.
And now we get to Moomaw's attempt at a lie. In his first pass at this, he writes that:
I pretty much take for granted that the Administration will hastily abort this trial before it can begin by yelling "state secrets"...
That hardly addresses my point that the CIA leadership is part of the Administration, does it? But after I raise that objection Moomaw solves the problem by simply misquoting himself!
Of course, when I referred to "the White House" trying to quash the suit using the 'state secrets' argument", I did NOT mean "the CIA trying to quash the case using the 'state secrets' argument", given the little fact that this particular White House and the CIA are at open war. I rather doubt that Kleiman was referring to that either.
Well, as noted, he never referred to the White House. When I point that out, Moomaw's response is a classic:
Please, Tom; at least TRY not to act publicly like a moron. You know perfectly well that it isn't the CIA which is "trying to clear itself in court" of the Wilsons' charge that her cover was deliberately blown in order to discredit him; and you know perfectly well that therefore neither Kleiman nor I was referring to the CIA.
Oh, I knew that when he wrote "Administration" he meant "White House"! Is that kind of like when I linked to Mark Levin, Kleiman "knew" I was slavering?
I'll tell you what I know - if the CIA quashes this case, Kleiman and other lefties will blame "the Administration"", and insist that Gen. Hayden is in Bush's pocket. Any questions?
3. Where's Rove?
Mark Kleiman takes us in an odd direction with this passage:
But that's not the best of it. Rove will be asked whether it's true, as Murry Waas reported, that GWB personally ordered him to reveal classified information in order to discredit Joseph Wilson. And when he says "yes," as he presumably will, plaintiffs will then have a strong basis for deposing Mr. Bush himself.
But Kleiman's link is to a Waas article in which the name "Rove" does not appear; the gist of the article is that Bush directed Dick Cheney to counter Wilson.
That does not rebut the point that the Wilson's may have a legal path to deposing George Bush, but some bloggers would consider a rove-Cheney swap to be an error worth correcting. But here is Moomaw's defense:
The fact that Waas didn't explicitly mention Rove in his article (although he did explicitly mention Cheney and Libby) does not, to put it mildly, rule out the possibility that Bush put out the same order to Rove to leak classified information in order to discredit Wilson...
He could have reported it! And since he could have reported it, speculation based on what he could have been reported is A-OK!
I have a better idea - since Waas did *not* report on Bush giving orders to Rove, don't offer him to substantiate an argument. Fair enough? Oh, and by the way, Josh Marshall and Atrios agree with me. Psych. But they could have!
Or we could tackle the "substance" of Kleiman's argument head-on:
Rove and Libby could have claimed that they were acting under orders [to leak Plam's identity], and that the Presidential instruction gave them reason to believe that any information released pursuant to it would not damage the national security, thus refuting the scienter required by the Espionage Act.
Uh huh. But nowhere in Libby's testimony do we see any hint that he *did* testify to that; he essentially limits the Cheney declassification instruction to the National Intelligence estimate and insists that he and Cheney did not discuss Ms. Plame in July. Go fish. Skeptics can check the WaPo or here. From the WaPo:
Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for denying under oath that he disclosed Plame's CIA employment to journalists. There is no public evidence to suggest Libby made any such disclosure with Cheney's knowledge.
Oh, why do I bother? I have been ignoring these clowns for almost two weeks and presumably they have been ignoring basic facts for much longer, so why expose them to sunlight now?
You want the truth? Because I can't find the Tour de France on my Direct TV and I am *not* watching Floyd Landis continue his miracle comeback (mission accomplished!). So these two clowns will have to endure the wrath of a righteous man, or something.
Any bets on whether we see some corrections from Kleiman?