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January 23, 2004


Cecil Turner

Frankly, the political upside or downside of all this isn't terribly concerning. The White House has egg on its face, and probably should. But this increasingly looks like news management, was never a case of outing an overseas agent, and the chances of getting a conviction are slim. Absent new revelations or evidence of a cover-up, it's not passing the yawn test.

The part that is interesting is how Wilson got involved in the first place. His assignment certainly seems irregular, as was his op-ed (and now we know he was the source for several earlier editorials), and his story doesn't make a lot of sense on its face.

I've long suspected the real story was Plame and some like-minded co-workers, disgruntled over the NIE (a la Dr Kelly and the Brit dossier), using Wilson to air dirty laundry. The behavior of the folks involved, including the recent letter to Hastert, tends to support that interpretation. If so, it's a far more serious case of malfeasance, and I'm not sure there's even an investigation ongoing.


Jesus, Cecil, you never get tired of carrying the water do you?

The fact is there is a grand jury. The fact is there are some very frightened people in the WH. The fact is the intelligence community is really mounting a full court press on this issue.

Yet, you dismiss these facts with a wave of your hand and demand that we pay attention to some tinfoil hat theory that has no basis in reality.

Cecil Turner


The senior representative of the intelligence community is George Tenet. I don't see him leading "a full court press."
The ex-CIA peaceniks trolling for support out of proper channels don't qualify.

As to tinfoil hats, I think that ought to be reserved for those who can divine the fear level at the White House. (Or for that matter, the motives of leakers or the state of Iraq's uranium procurement efforts from the Niamey mint-tea circuit.)


Of course, Calabresi & Dickinson (the first to out
Plame in Time magazine, aren't in the dock, neither is Royce, Mitchell, or any of the
others who obviously know the leaker. So how
effective is this probe; Now I don't say the
treatment of Juliet O'neil by RCMP is appropriate, yet. . .


Saying Tenet represents the entire intelligence community illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the intelligence (or any other large bureaucracy) community. It is the career professionals--not the political appointments--who are the 800 lb gorillas.

And they are doing something very uncharacteristic of career professionals; they are circumventing the command chain and taking this matter public.

As to Grand Juries, they do make people extremely nervous, especially in political circles. Because lies and 'spin', in court, don't earn 'tut-tuts' from Tim Russert--they earn fines and sentences under oath. They require those who appear before them to obtain very expensive legal representation.

Again, Cecil, you seem intent on trying to blame Joe Wilson for his wife being exposed. And the fact remains, you have no credible evidence to back this assertion.

It's a little like those wags who claimed Salvatore Allende died from a "self-inflicted airstrike."

Cecil Turner

You assert a "full court press" by the intelligence community, but the only evidence is a small group of intel peaceniks. The fact that their opinions conflict with the NIE shows they didn't manage to convince their co-workers . . . not having the CIA chief on board is icing on the cake. It's obviously not a unanimous position.

That Wilson conducted a CIA mission and wrote an op-ed is not an "assertion," that's fact. As it is a fact that his wife works in the same field and was at least tangentially involved in his assignment. His assignment appears questionable, and the op-ed appears to conflict with the standard non-disclosure agreement. The "why" is conjecture (but makes a lot more sense than his "outing Plame for revenge" theory).

Giving Wilson first claim to victimhood status isn't a compelling argument. If news reports are correct, Plame was in transition to an analyst/management position, and has been a desk jockey for nearly all the five-year period covered by the statute. Judging by their actions, neither she nor her husband take her anonymity seriously. I don't see why we should.


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