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July 19, 2004

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Matt

An old point, but it's also interesting that the "well founded" claim didn't survive long enough to find its way into Powell's UN presentation a few days after the SOTU. Count me as someone who thinks that the UK needs to show us the details on the non-forged intel before a final judgement on the validity of the "16 words"
can be made.

Jeff

I haven't been following this new wrinkle closely. Is there anything in the story that makes the Plame leak anything less than the felony it's always been? If Joe Wilson's a charlatan, isn't he a charlatan that pissed off the White House enough to issue a little payback?

EGC

Jeff -- the problem with your question is that we DON'T know that it was indeed a felony -- we don't even know the exact status of Ms. Plame, i.e., whether or not she actually qualified as a "covert operative" or not.

There is a good discussion of this very topic at the WSJ here:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110005343#kerfuffle

I think the silence of the administration may be partly explained by the fact that the blogosphere picked up the story and started Fisking Wilson so quickly. And if the blogs can do Karl Rove's work for him, why not let them?

That strategy was working pretty well with the Richard Clarke implosion --- until Abu Ghraib came out.

For me, THAT was the moment the war became a disaster. And it has put me on the brink of not voting for Bush...which doesn't mean I'll vote for J-Squared.

Where, oh where, have the George Mitchells of the Democratic Party gone? Guys you might not agree with, but you can still trust...?

IceCold

Matt, the validity of the Sixteen Words was never in question. That's the whole point -- and that was clear on July 6, 2003. There was no reason to think that Wilson, based on what he said/wrote at the time, was telling us anything of note about the British assessment referred to in the SOTU. Much less that he had any basis to make the outrageous charge of deception or manipulation by the administration. We're only discussing Wilson today because of his invidious and contemptible allegations, not because he shed any light on any aspect of pre-war intel. He didn't.

The recent reports have only indicated
what (under-reported) British statements started to make clear immediately after the start of this non-event -- that there was a substantial basis for the Africa/uranium assessment.

I have no idea what your initial take on Wilson's claims or the Sixteen Words was. However, if you're now requiring to see the full intel file on the matter to decide -- I'm assuming you were even more non-committal back then, since anyone familiar with the subject and with the intel process saw nothing particularly compelling in Wilson's op-ed.

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Wilson/Plame