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November 06, 2003


Paul Zrimsek

I've said a few times in the past in various places that we should be wary of putting too much weight on "smoking gun" internal e-mails when it comes to corporate scandals-- they tempt us to mistake the posturing of some underling for company policy. I think the same warning applies here.


A possible theory is that this memo was delivered by some concerned Dem staffer as a "death by premature exposure" leak.

I don't think for a moment that every Senator on the Dem side has gone hopelessly partisan. Maybe some staffers have, and a stray Senator; some graybeard figured this leak would embarrass them and shut them up.

But even at that, it makes close bipartisan cooperation on the Plame thing difficult, since folks like Joseph Wilson are so clearly partisan about it.

As to sources for the memo, I invite further speculation.

Jon Henke

Hannity, the recipient of the leak, says he won't reveal the leaker, but he also says the leaker indicates that Rockefeller directed the memo be written.

In other words, the leaker must be somebody who knows the details of that office intimately. Seems to me that makes it unlikely to be a GOP staffer.

And if Rockefeller authorized the memo.......


I've read the memo several times and can't find a single implication that the Dems are using the issue for their advantage.

If the Administration did indeed make misleading and flagrantly dishonest statements to get us into war, yes, that would work to the democrat's advantage.

But gee. Who did them in the first place? And wouldn't you want to know now, rather than later?

I mean, it's not like the Rove PowerPoint presentation which said 2002: Use the war for our political advantage.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


I will guess that section (3) is most annoying:

3) Prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation at any time-- but we can only do so once. The best time to do so will probably be next year either:

A) After we have already released our additional views on an interim report -- thereby providing as many as three opportunities to make our case to the public.... or,

B) Once we identify solid leads the majority does not want to pursue.

This seems to say, regardless of what we find or how much cooperation we get, we will call for an independent commission.

The rest, such as researching misleading statements by Admin officials, sounds like DNC work rather than the task of an ostensibly bipartisan group.

Alex Parker

I'd like to know exactly when the Congressional Intelligence Committees had this golden age of nonpartisan deliberation.

I thought it was the default position of conservatives that the Church Committee unfairly shackled intelligence operations out of ideological fervor and pandering.

More to the point, Roberts has been using his committee to carry quite a bit of water for the administration lately, trying to hoist all blame for the missing WMDs on the lap of the CIA. I continue to look at the Hersh New Yorker piece more and more as a "CIA CYA," but still there must be some truth to it. What is more likely, that the adminstration--filled with hawks who have been advocating the ovethrow of Saddam for decades--was lead unwillingly to support an invasion by the CIA? Or that those hawks manipulated their available intelligence, either consciously or through self-delusion, to support such a war?

My point is, there is quite likely a memo floating around the Republican side of the Senate Intel Committee to the effect of, we must make sure that the blame is placed mostly on the CIA agency, with little or no mention of higher administration involvement.

Cecil Turner


If the CIA incorrectly overstated the status of WMD programs in Iraq, it’s the CIA’s fault. If the Administration’s decision to go to war was faulty, it’s the President’s fault. The problem with the latter argument is that it appears to rely almost exclusively on the “imminent threat” standard of the antiwar types. And that’s a losing argument. Pointing out the faulty intelligence in the CIA’s estimates is perfectly proper.

So far, the evidence of “manipulated intelligence” is awfully sparse. The oversight folks interviewed scores of analysts and found nothing to suggest the Administration was exerting pressure to get the desired products. So now Rockefeller wants to investigate the way the Administration used the intelligence . . . which is hard to fit into the intelligence oversight concept.

The latest memo makes it clear the Dems are using the process to their political advantage, and is likely to dry up GOP cooperation. And without the committee chair’s concurrence, they can’t subpoena records. Letting it out was a spectacular blunder, and is likely to cost them most of the political advantage they’d hoped to secure.


TM: "This seems to say, regardless of what we find or how much cooperation we get, we will call for an independent commission."

Uh, no it doesn't. It says:

We're being stonewalled. When we have used up all attempts at peaceably trying to get the information, we should pull the trigger on an independent investigation. We should do this:

a) after we have publicly made our case 3 times


b) we have dead to rights, undeniable proof that they are stonewalling that will stand up to the RWAP glare

I mean, what else would you say if you believed you were being stonewalled? Really, I'd like to know.

It's certainly adversarial, but given the absolute lack of any cooperation forthcoming from this administration, what else do you call it?


It's probably worth remembering that the Senate Committee is not part of the Administration. If the Chairman is stonewalling, that is a separate question, but the memo suggests they are getting reasonable cooperation from him.

But don't ask me. Ask former Dem Presidential candidate Bob Kerrey, who is also a former vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.


More and more, Wilson and Plame want to have their cake and eat it too... "We just want anonymity back... pardon the Vanity Fair photo shoot..."


Thanks, Hammer.

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