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July 22, 2005

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kim

Marianne, when did the scales fall from your eyes?

And the lie underlying this whole shebang is that Saddam need not have been toppled.

When will they ever learn?
==================================================

Tommy V

Walter,

"Can one's position at Langley be classified information but the person not be working undercover?"

I think that is hypothetically true. (I am absolutely no expert, but am strictly using the knowledge I've read)

Information may have been illegally passed on. But it was not the fact that Valerie Plame worked at CIA. It might be what she did at CIA (WMD), or communications she had at CIA, or something along those lines (Maybe a communication in how Wilson ending up going to Niger). I really don't know what the prosecution is looking at.

But every indication is the fact that she worked at CIA was not itself the protected information that would see an indictment come out of this investigation.

But your point is taken that does not mean a crime was not committed,

Jim E.

Speaking of deliberate gross exaggerations:
"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." (We "know"?)

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." ("No doubt"?)

"But we do know with absolute certainty that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon." ("Absolute certainty"?)

And then we have "three decades" instead of "over three decades." Call me crazy, but that one doesn't seem to fit the criteria of "deliberate gross exagerrations." As if that misstatement allowed Johnson to unfairly persuade a single person. Give me (and tommy v) a break.

And why should he correct it when it's clear what he meant to say? Did Jim Lehrer or anyone else interrupt him? I mean, was Lehrer under the impression Wilson married a 70 year old?

ArminTamzarian

But I thought the administration is just a bunch of liars? Are you comparing anyone to them?

Wilson could easily have married someone his own age. I thought his wife was 55 when I heard the "three decades" thing. Guess I'll never trust another CIA man again.

Jim E.

Oops, forgot the ones the first came to my mind:
McClellan: "He wasn't involved." (Speaking of Rove and Plame.)
McClellan: "I've made it very clear, from the beginning, that it is totally ridiculous." (Again, about Rove.)
McClellan: "They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved. I had no doubt of that in the beginning, but I like to check my information to make sure it's accurate before I report back to you, and that's exactly what I did." (About Rove, Libby, and Abrams. This quote might be 1/3rd correct.)

ArminTamzarian

Jim:

Yeah, but I think it's an easier case to make that 15 doesn't equal 30. That's a judicial notice kind of thing.

Jim E.

"I think it's an easier case to make that 15 doesn't equal 30. That's a judicial notice kind of thing."

Huh?

Walter

Tommy, thanks for your patience.

I have wondered why there has been so much mention of the "desk job" and the usual implication (not by you) that it is some kind of lowly clerical job. And that makes me wonder how a mere clerk could have authorized an overseas assignment on behalf of the US government.

The 2nd confusion in my mind is this: Why would the CIA bother setting up a front company like Brewster-Jennings if any columnist could publish that information? If I knew that someone working for a front company was really CIA, I would think there was a good reason and shut up about it.

Third, I've always thought that the CIA is a rather secret organization (like the Secret Service in the UK). There is no published directory of names, positions and telephone numbers. You can't just walk into the CIA and ask to see someone. And I really don't think the CIA would look kindly on someone publishing the names (and spouses names) of all of their 5-day-a-week employees.

To read many of the comments on this blog, you would think that there aren't many secrets at Langley. And that just doesn't seem right.

Tommy V

I think if you're going to state someone lied you should have a strong burden of proof that there was delibrate attempt to mislead from what was known to be a fact by the accused.

The three decades thing is too plausibly explained away. It was also in an interview where people are far more likely to make a mistake or have some verbal slip than they would in the written word.

I don't think the three decades statement is a solid addition to the debate. I think one is free to think it is suspicious, of course, but I also think a reasonable person could see a lack of ill intent as well.

kim

Decades? I thought it was decadents, or decedents.
===================================================

kim

The powers that be and those who know feel a hammer about to drop. The delicious suspense is that no one is certain just where and on whom it will fall. But given the desperate maneuvering by the media, as witnessed by the FOC brief claiming no outing, the reluctance of Miller and Cooper, and the hysterical, virtually baseless, attack on Rove, I can feel the intended target panicking.
===================================================

Marianne

I agree with Walter. Many comments here have been very negative towards the CIA and condescending towards its current and former employees. Particularly one female employee who is being made to pay because her husband is a loudmouth. Can no men among you accept that she had an important job? Some of you make it sound like she is a Receptionist or something.

kim

I insist that V is either the biggest victim of this, or is implicated.
=============================================

Toby Petzold

Powell's the one walking around with this supposedly classified memo on board AF1 and people can read from a distance what its subject was?

That's about as discreet as Sandy Berglar.

Seven Machos

Walt -- If you aren't objectively acting in a way that suggests you are trying to hide your identity, you are not under cover. If you work at Langley for five years, you are certainly not under non-offical cover. How can you be? Also, you mention Porter Goss. Yes, Walt, he "probably works at a desk too as do most of the people at the Langley location." That doesn't make him a bad person. I work at a desk. But he's not under deep cover, is he?

Valerie Plame does an important job. Who would deny that? But she married a washed-up loudmouth who decided to have his 15 minutes bashing the administration, under false pretenses. It naturally got around afterward that the washed-up loudmouth was chosen for a mission nepotistically, because of the wife's job. Nobody committed a crime. (Wilson committed the first material act leading to all this, but I suggest it was not a crime.)

The problem is that the Bush-Rove-evil-bad faction here and everywhere sees this whole sad non-scandal as an opportunity to damage the president politically. Many prominent members of Big Media do, too, so they continuously put Karl Rove (or the administration official du jour, but Rove is clearly the sentimental favorite) front and center though he will be vindicated, and this will be another Rathergate/Enron/Haliburton/Downing Street Memo/fake Thanksgiving turkey non-scandal, at least insofar as the Bush administration is concerned.

I wish the Left would straighten up and fly right. If you idiots would just fight a ruthless War on Terror, you could have your entire domestic agenda on a silver platter.

Jim E.

"washed-up loudmouth"
"you idiots"

And to think the dickhead that wrote those was boo-hooing and decrying the loss of civility just yesterday. He loves to dish it out, but he can't take it.

He'll probably say name calling by others means he "wins," but name-calling by him is totally polite. Just what you'd expect from someone who admits to sometimes blaming rape victims for being raped. No joke. (Also from yesterday.)

Tommy V

From all accounts that I've read Plame was exceptional both in the field and at Langley.

I think the discrepancy is because she is sometimes portrayed as more than something that she is (Wilson calling her Jane Bond, for example) that sometime it sounds like people are minimizing the work she was doing. (And I suppose some ignorant people really are trying to minimize what she's doing).

Walter, from my understanding, the front company was not so much a front company but a name that was used as such. Am I wrong on this? It was just on paper, I thought. I believe it was also established I when she was working under cover overseas or upon her immediate return. I believe, again just my understanding here, that her official status did not change (which is why the CIA made the initial request) even after she started working at Langley permenantly.

While her official status did not change, no one, including herself or her superiors, treated her as if that status was current. This is why Plame did not really speak out of turn when she told Wilson she worked for the CIA on their 3rd or 4th date.

The CIA itself is not as secret as the information they gather. While it is very exotic to work for the CIA in Texas, in DC it is far more common. It's not "just another" bureaucracy, but it is a large bureaucracy, and it is simply not practical to keep people's identity secret who work at Langley. (That doesn't mean they advertise it, or even like it when a name is released).

I am begining to think if this lands on someone it will land on someone unexpected and for something that happened after the fact.

My biggest fear, as a supporter of the President, is that someone did something stupid like lie under oath. Whether they thought they were protecting themselves, or the White House, or just don't know it's wrong, it really doesn't matter. I think you have to prosecute perjury no matter what or why. You just have to.

I am also frustrated by the clear political motivation of the press and the Democrats. But the credibility of both have been hurt by the failed-to-materialize scandels of the last 5 years (Enron, Halliburton, WMD in Iraq, CBS Memo), and unless something sticks here it's going to be very diffcicult to get traction on the next thing they try to run with it. (And that one may even be true!)

Seven Machos

Jim E. -- If you wish to claim that someone is uncivil, you may want to avoid calling them insulting names. If you want to make an argument that others are impolite, you'll fare poorly if you go about it rudely. Also, understatement can be your friend.

As for rape victims, you asked me (for reasons that remain a mystery to me) if I blame them. I responded, "not generally, no."

I think you may be the unreasonable person with the thin skin (and the hair trigger) here.

Walter

Tommy, your helpful comments are appreciated. Sometimes it is difficult for an outsider to get the point when the words liar and traitor are thrown in so often.

I still give the President the benefit of the doubt. In this whole Wilson/Plame/Rove thing, all that the President did "wrong" was to say 16 words that (as Tenet and Rice later admitted) should not have been there. I am sure that the President had confidence in all of the people that had input into that speech. Whether the words were accurate or not isn't the point. The President had every reason to believe those words. For his opponents to dwell on the "liar" charge is unfair and pointless.

I agree with you that someone may have done something stupid to protect the President. If so, there should not be a coverup no matter who is involved.

It would be best if all of the facts came out - from the White House, CIA and from the Press. Otherwise the issue will hang over America like a dark cloud on a windless day.

jukeboxgrad

STEEL:"Ray McGovern is a partisan hack who along with the rest of the VIPS crew gets his talking points from Alex Cockburn & Counterpunch."

Ah, character assassination and guilt by association. The last refuge of those who can't argue via facts. McGovern can't be trusted because he's part of a group that also has a member who supports an organization that is also supported by Barbara Kingsolver, who actually wrote a book called Animal Dreams. Darn commie. Did you follow all that?

So what if the guy served his country in the CIA for 27 years, which included briefing top Reagan officials. That doesn't count for anything. Let's do whatever we can to slander the guy because we don't like his politics. That's what it means to have a free country, right? Free to slander those who dissent.

Hey, if guilt by association is what makes your world go round, here's a scary connection to ponder, and it requires negotiating many fewer jumps.

Then again, you have to wonder about someone who gets cozy with folks that do stuff like this and this.

jukeboxgrad

TOMMY: "his wife ... suggested his name for the trip.""

I addressed that here. I already told you this. You seem to be pretending you don't know this.

"there's this crazy report"

She's entitled to express her opinion. How does this represent proof that, as Rove apparently said, she "authorized" the trip?

"Wilson failed to mention those other parties in the inquires as well"

Those other parties are State and DOD. You're suggesting that maybe those parties were really the impetus behind Wilson's trip, not Cheney. Well, here's how State felt about the matter: "the INR analyst at the meeting opposed Wilson's trip to Niger because the State Department, through other inquiries, already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger" (link). Still want to claim that maybe it was really State behind the trip, not Cheney?

By the way, notice the timing. Cheney made his request for "CIA's analysis" on or shortly after 2/12. On 2/19, Wilson was at CIA discussing his trip. This tends to create the impression that calling in Wilson was something that happened as a direct and immediate result of Cheney making his request.

"You also left this part out"

I left out State because, as I've shown, it's clear that State was not the impetus for the trip. By the way, note that SSCI (in the passage you criticize me for omitting) lists Cheney, State and Defense, in that order. If Defense was a major factor, it's a bit odd that they were listed last, after State, which wasn't a factor at all. Hmm, I wonder why SSCI put Cheney at the top of the list. Could it mean that his inquiry was really the impetus for the trip? Nah, why would anyone think that?

By the way, why did you leave out the part about how Wilson was called in just a few days after Cheney made his inquiry?

"what he said to have NOT found did not contradict what the administration said in the state of the union address"

Bush said "recently" and "significant quantities." Wilson found that this "was not borne out by the facts" as he understood them. Wilson was right.

By the way, please indicate where in SSCI or Butler (or anywhere else, for that matter) support can be found for "recently" and "significant quantities."

"Wilson implied by association"

Sorry, that's nonsense. WIlson said what he said. A lot of people have been trying to put words in his mouth.

"This implication is why the press corps, after reading the op ed, took from it, ike many others did that Cheney had sent Wilson."

Wilson is responsible for his own statements, which were quite clear. He is not responsible for statements or assumptions made by the press or anyone else.

A lot of people have the wrong idea about what Wilson said because they read outright lies such as this: "Wilson Falsely Claimed That It Was Vice President Cheney Who Sent Him To Niger." That's hardly Wilson's fault.

"Wilson lied that his wife had nothing to do with him getting the assignment"

Nice job pretending I didn't already address that here.

By the way, how interesting to notice that you're the guy that said this: "I think if you're going to state someone lied you should have a strong burden of proof that there was delibrate attempt to mislead from what was known to be a fact by the accused." You should also be careful not to quote the accused out of context.

"the conclusion he wanted us to draw was quite clear."

I'd like to see your mind-reading credentials.

"Actually, Walter, that's not true. The investigation is one to determine if a crime was, in fact, committed."

If it was clear, as you say, that she was simply not undercover, Miller would not be in jail and the investigation would never have gotten nearly this far.

"every indication is the fact that she worked at CIA was not itself the protected information that would see an indictment come out of this investigation."

I guess that explains this: "At CIA Director George J. Tenet's request, the Justice Department is looking into an allegation that administration officials leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer to a journalist, government sources said yesterday."

"Every indication" except that one, I suppose.

jukeboxgrad

ARMIN: "Cheney meant 'nuclear weapons program.' He simply misspoke."

Funny thing that he took several months to get around to speaking up about it, given the importance of the matter. Infinitely more important than "three decades."

"Don't you think Chris Matthews would have said something if he though Cheney actually meant 'nuclear weapons?'"

This WaPo report ("Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq") took Cheney at his word. By the way, this has been discussed quite thoroughly here.

"'For three decades' isn't a simple misstatement. It's deliberate gross exaggeration."

Let me know how you feel about "We found the weapons of mass destruction," and "he [Saddam] wouldn't let them [UN inspectors] in."

""three decades" just tells me he's a bullshitter with an agenda."

How does that make him any different than you?

"But I thought the administration is just a bunch of liars?"

That's obvious, but we expected something different, since this is the crowd that promised to "restore honor and dignity to the White House" (link).

Neo

The real target of Patrick J. Fitzgerald is Joe Wilson. His Op-Ed piece put CIA efforts in jeparody.

Seven Machos

Neo -- I have long suspected this. What do you think the Left's reaction will be?

Tommy V

Juke,

You keep saying "I addressed this here" like we're having a one on one conversation.

I simply quoted your links. The links YOU gave me.

And I completly stand by what I wrote. I don't have any interest in repeating those things. You throw out a lot of information in the hopes of smothering people, but it doesn't add up. One moment you're using the SSIC as your source, the next sentence you're challenging it.

You're clearly a smart fellow, and you seem to love that about yourself, but you've invested your ego into the conversation and it's getting you in trouble.

My favorite line of yours is "Nice job pretending I didn't already address that." I believe that this is actually sincere, and that you think your arguments are so powerful we simply have to ignore them.

Yes, that line is my favorite.

Syl

Jukeboxgrad, I've pretty much stopped following your links and reading your scribes. The impression I get is that you're a parser. Grabbing meaning only from the specific words spoken....when done by those on your side.

Words spoken by the other side, however, have importance in their impression. What affect they have on those who listen.

I think both are important.

In Wilson's case, he made the impression that Cheney's office had sent him. It was picked up and reported as exactly that by ABC that night, and Wilson reiterated THAT impression on CNN the next morning. (it's at the Daily Howler).

So the impression was out there and it's the impression that the Whitehouse was pushing back on, not the words...doesn't matter a twit what words specifically Wilson said because people believed the impression left.

Yes, the same case can be made about Bush and his senior administration before the war. They did choose their words carefully, based on what was known at the time, but the effect was to create the impression that Saddam could be dangerous to our security. I agree completely that they wanted to give this impression.

But I don't have a problem with that. A good lawyer would do the same. As long as the words used to create that impression were based on information known at the time. I DO have a problem with people accusing Bush of lying to create that impression (and the overwhelming concentration on this issue to the detriment of everything else about this war).

What I also object to is the media's self-appointed authority to read source material then give us THEIR impression of it without giving us the source material to judge for ourselves. Be it a memo, document, or transcript. It's just sloppy and in a biased atmosphere can be lethal to our political process.

/rant

Back to Plame...

"the RNC is repeating the lie that Valerie was nothing more than a glorified desk jockey and could not possibly have any cover worth protecting."

Well, for Pete's sake, being a glorified desk jockey WAS her cover. Should it be so surprising that it worked and so many believe it?

Hey, Cooper, Wilson's wife is a desk-jockey at CIA headquarters.

That's like saying Clark Kent is a reporter.

The reason we discovered that desk-jockey-Plame was a cover for something else is Joe Wilson himself.

I think Plame may still have been officially NOC at the time of the 'leak' though because, as stated in the Vanity Fair article, the CIA had started the process of moving her from NOC to Official Status in the spring of 2003.

Now, whether she was truly NOC at the point, or hadn't been NOC for a while, but the bureaucracy hadn't gotten around to changing her status, probabaly doesn't matter. Officially, if she was NOC, then someone is most likely in trouble.

Lesley

Much has been made of Rove's deliquency in not inquiring about Mrs. Wilson's possible covert status. Would Rove have even had the the type of security clearance necessary to have made that inquiry and been given an answer?

Keith

From the opening of Saturday's LA Times article on the subject:

"CIA Probe Moves from Leak Source to Perjury, Obstruction
By Douglas Frantz, Sonni Efron and Richard B. Schmitt, Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON -- The special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation has shifted his focus from whether White House officials violated a law against exposing undercover agents to determining whether evidence exists to bring perjury or obstruction of justice charges, according to people briefed in recent days on the inquiry's status.Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, and his team have made no decision on whether to seek indictments, and there could be benign explanations for differences that have arisen in witnesses' statements to federal agents and a grand jury about how the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent who had worked undercover, was leaked to the media two years ago."

That and the rest of the article seems to say to me that Rove could be in hot water--but he also could just as well NOT be in hot water. The prosecutor just doesn't know yet, and that's why he's tying up the loose ends.

I guess the question is: how hard is perjury and obstruction to prove if you don't have witnesses? Maybe that's why Cooper and Miller are important to him.

My guess is that, since no decision has been made yet, there isn't enough evidence to bring a perjury charge yet. If there was, then the a decision would be more clear.

Seven Machos

My guess is that the LA Times is the most blatant exhibiton on partisan hackery in the country -- worse even than the Washington Times, which at least makes no pretense of neutrality.

jukeboxgrad

TOMMY: "One moment you're using the SSIC as your source, the next sentence you're challenging it."

Some things in that report make sense in the light of other available information, and some things don't. Life is like that sometimes. Are you shocked?

"you think your arguments are so powerful we simply have to ignore them"

Of course you don't _have to_ ignore them. You're simply _choosing_ to ignore them, which is obviously a whole lot easier than addressing them in a substantive, factual manner. That's obviously your choice, but it doesn't help to convey the impression that you actually know what you're talking about.

Speaking of easy vs hard, it's easy to call somebody a liar. It's hard to back up your specious assertion when someone points out you're full of it. I notice that you're willing to do the easy part but not willing to do the hard part.

"I don't have any interest in repeating those things."

No one is asking you to repeat yourself. You're being asked to prove your claims, not repeat them (although maybe that distinction is over your head). I've pointed out where you can look to find proof that your claims are bogus. I notice you're not able to do the same in return.

jukeboxgrad

SYL: "I've pretty much stopped following your links and reading your scribes"

I'm crushed. But I do sort of appreciate the reverse endorsement, if you know what I mean.

"In Wilson's case, he made the impression that Cheney's office had sent him. It was picked up and reported as exactly that by ABC that night, and Wilson reiterated THAT impression on CNN the next morning. (it's at the Daily Howler)."

And this is also at the Daily Howler: "No, Joe Wilson didn’t really say that Dick Cheney sent him to Africa." But that didn't stop the RNC from saying this outright lie: "Wilson Falsely Claimed That It Was Vice President Cheney Who Sent Him To Niger."

"it's the impression that the Whitehouse was pushing back on"

That doesn't explain why Plame was mentioned. If the message Rove wanted to deliver was "Wilson was not sent by Cheney; rather, he was sent by slimy traitorous insignificant low-level operatives who might actually be members of the Democrat party," let me suggest the following way he could have said that, which would not have posed any threat to our national security: "Wilson was not sent by Cheney; rather, he was sent by slimy traitorous insignificant low-level operatives who might actually be members of the Democrat party." Please explain the critical importance of Rove using words such as "Wilson's wife" as part of that sentence.

By the way, if you want to hold Wilson responsible for every "impression" he created, I hope you also apply that standard to Rice. She said "No, this is simply not true [that 'it came at the request of the VP']." An honest answer would have been "Cheney did not send him, but he was sent by the CIA as a result of a request by Cheney" (since that's what SSCI indicates).

You're suggesting that many people listened to Wilson and ended up with the impression (although he never said it) that he was personally dispatched by Cheney, which is obviously not the case. How do you feel about all the people who listened to Rice et al and ended up with the opposite impression, that Cheney had no connection whatsover to Wilson's trip? Why is that OK with you?

"I don't have a problem with that ... As long as the words used to create that impression were based on information known at the time."

Let me know how you feel about "we found the weapons of mass destruction," and "he [Saddam] wouldn't let them [UN inspectors] in."

"What I also object to is the media's self-appointed authority to read source material then give us THEIR impression of it without giving us the source material to judge for ourselves."

How do you feel about the fact that the famous 16 words included these: "recently" and "significant quantities," even though I can find no basis, in SSCI, Butler, or anywhere else, for those words. Are you under the impression that on this point we've ever been given "the source material to judge for ourselves," even now, years later?

"The reason we discovered that desk-jockey-Plame was a cover for something else is Joe Wilson himself."

Plame's cover was blown the instant Novak identified her as a CIA "operative," which is commonly defined as "a secret agent; a spy."

You also may not realize that even after Novak let the cat out of the bag, Wilson tried to be discreet. Here's what Wilson said to Blitzer on 8/3/03: "with respect to my wife, I don't answer any questions. And anything that I say with respect to that, the allegations about her are all hypothetical. I would not confirm or deny her place of employment. To do so would be, if she were, a breach of national security; and if she were not, at a minimum, what they have done is they have forced her to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions from neighbors and friends and whatnot."

jukeboxgrad

LESLEY: "Would Rove have even had the the type of security clearance necessary to have made that inquiry and been given an answer?"

I'm pretty sure the answer is yes. However, imagine that the answer is no, and further imagine that Rove had called the Agency to ask about Plame. Here are the possible answers: "no problem, you can say whatever you like about her," or "the question you're asking is not something I'm authorized to discuss with you."

If he had gotten the latter answer, that would have been more than enough to know that if the CIA didn't want to discuss Plame with Rove, then Rove certainly should not be discussing Plame with Cooper et al.

Seven Machos

When either a journalist or Wilson is indicted, Juke is going to be mighty embarrassed. All that effort, wasted.

Lesley

Juke: I'm not sure what to think and unfortunately we don't appear to have anyone on this blog who is familiar with the various clearance levels of White House officials. I just can't imagine Rove has the type of clearance that allows him to pry into the depths of CIA, either of its employees or its operations. Doesn't make sense, thus, the idea that he would call CIA and inquire or else inquire of someone with that clearance to give him that info which would be in violation of their clearance, etc etc I think you get my drift. I know you don't care for Rove but I think we should mull this over a bit longer. Hopefully, someone will be able to enlighten us.

Syl

Jukeboxgrad

Your pettyparsing makes no distinction between creating a false impression and replacing that with an impression closer to the truth.

Wilson created the impression that Cheney was directly involved in sending him, personally, to Niger, thus giving his trip, and therefore findings, more importance with this appeal to authority. This impression also sets Cheney up to take a fall for not heeding Wilson's report (which was inconclusive, but Wilson created the impression that it debunked claims).

There are a heckuva lot of impressions to push back on there.

But the pushback (from the RNC, not officially from the administration) was "Wilson Falsely Claimed That It Was Vice President Cheney Who Sent Him To Niger." is criticized because it's not literally true. But the impression it creates that Cheney did NOT send Wilson and therefore Wilson's statement was basically false...is true. Fight an impression with an impression. I would have liked the wording to be different, but, hey, this is politics too.

So..what's the beef? Parse everyone's words and pay no heed to how they're interpreted and disseminated and our political discourse basically ceases to exist. Parsing has its place and uses BUT it is only relevant within the context of the entire discourse.

Then you go on to criticize Rice because she didn't iterate the myriad steps of people involved between Cheney asking what we know about the Niger thing and Wilson sipping his tea. Why should she? She was countering a specific impression out there, not addressing how the many questions that Cheney must have asked during the whole Iraq process got answered...Wilson's role only being a small part of the entire thang.

I'm really tired of pettyparsing. Words out of context. Existing impressions ignored. And I'm going to ignore the rest of your pettyparsing examples and give an example of why pettyparsing is such a dangerous thing to mire oneself in.

One great example of this type of thing is a column written by Dana Milbank in WaPo in the fall of '03 concerning American perception that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. He parsed several statements Bush had made and claimed that these statements were the reason the American public believes there is a connection.

That's your type of thing to do, jukeboxgrad, and I tell you it's a dishonest approach unless you have all the facts and understand the beliefs and impressions rolling around in the public and the press and what people are arguing and fighting back on.

In August '03 a poll had come out, in the WaPo, which Milbank cited and it said that a full 69% of the American public believed that Saddam somehow had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. (Shock! It's Bush! It's Foxnews!) Milbank cited several Bush statements which he said could give the American public the perception that Saddam was involved..not directly, but, well, indirectly. And he carefully noted Bush's wording.

But here's the rub. On the same page you find that poll, there are results from prior polls and on September 13, 2001, before Bush had uttered a word about Iraq, the percentage of people who thought Saddam had something to do with 9/11 was.......

78%

Did Milbank see that earlier poll and ignore it? Or did he honestly believe Bush convinced the public that Saddam had something to do with 9/11? And if so, it was through pettyparsing that he made his case and he was 100% WRONG!

So take your pettyparsing and, er, um, shove it.

Syl

Found the link to the poll page....

WaPo Poll

Lesley

Juke, stop, think about what you just wrote.

"If Rove didn't have clearance he should have known the CIA didn't want to discuss Plame with him and he certainly shouldn't not be discussing Plame with Cooper et al."

Let's put it in this context: I don't have clearance, you don't have clearance, and we decide to call the CIA up on a whim and ask about Valerie Plame and they tell us that they are not authorized to give us that information (because we are not authorized to receive it) and therefore you and I should just automatically know that something hush/hush is going on and we'd better not discuss her with reporters? Juke, that's silly. If you don't have clearance, you don't have clearance, PERIOD, and the CIA is obviously not authorized to give out any information, whether its you, me, or Karl Rove. How you can make the jump from "I am not authorized to give you that information" (because you are not authorized to receive it) and then impute from that that Rove should have known not to talk to reporters? Is "I am not authorized to give you that information" super secret CIA doublespeak for: "you've stumbled upon a covert agent and you'd better hush up"? C'mon Juke.

Tulsan

Before you leave Ari Fleischer I would like to add my vote... He's been gone for 2 years so he's expendable ... We need to keep Libby to gather the intel about IRAN's WMD's, and we need Bartlett and Rove to sell the idea ... Sorry, Ari.

Graciela

This article is worth re-reading: NICHOLAS KRISTOF - 10/14/03

"I know Mrs. Wilson, but I knew nothing about her CIA career."

("Mrs. Wilson was not a source for this column or any other that I've written about the intelligence community.")

"Second, as Mrs. Wilson rose in the agency, she was already in transition away from undercover work to management, and to liaison roles with other intelligence agencies."

Third, Mrs. Wilson's intelligence connections became known a bit in Washington as she rose in the CIA and moved to State Department cover, but her job remained a closely held secret."

My question to Mr. Kristof, while you did not know the details of Mrs. Wilson's career at the CIA, did you know she was an employee of the agency when you interviewed her husband for the article published in May 6 2003?

Does it matter that Valerie Wilson played a role in the decision to send Joseph Wilson to Niger? If it does matters, does Valerie Wilson's role in intelligence gathering trump the public's right to assess whether a critic (or the agency itself) is seeking to undermine the Administration's decision to take this country to war (2 1/2 months into the war.) The Administration relied on the intelligence (slam-dunk per Tenet) and now it appeared critics within the Agency were publicly and vociferously back-pedalling.

Jim E.

Seven Machos,
I wasn't the one decrying the lack of civility, you were. You're the one that bemoaned the heated rhetoric, not me. All I'm doing is pointing out what a hypocrit you were and are. You are perhaps the rudest regular poster on this cite, and I find it funny that it would be you -- of all people -- wringing his hands about name calling. (You apparently think it's civil to call non-Republicans "idiots.")

To say you "usually" don't blame a rape victim, means you sometimes DO blame a rape victim. I asked that of you because you implied that Plame deserved to be outed due to her husband's manners. That's a non-sequitor, just like blaming a crime victim for being a crime victim (rather than the criminal).

Mackenzie

The attacks on Valerie Wilson have 2 objectives: (1) to belittle her husband by insinuating he couldn't find work without his wife helping him (never mind that he wasn't paid) and (2) to build a conspiracy case - that some in the CIA were in cahoots with Joe Wilson, setting up the Africa trip to embarrass the President.

Remember that Joe Wilson's assignment in February 2002 was just 5 months after 9/11. This was a time when the whole country was behind the President. Everyone wanted to track down the terrorists and prevent another attack. The war in Iraq wasn't yet on the horizon. It was only natural that the CIA would, as one part of their investigation into the alleged Niger uranium agreement, send someone with knowledge of that obscure country as well as many contacts there (gained during his 22 years as a diplomat, all involving Africa and the Middle East).

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Wilson was anything but a loyal American who, a few months after we had been attacked, was willing to draw on his experience and tap his extensive contacts in order to help his country. To suggest that the trip was part of a conspiracy is ridiculous.

A partisan might question his motives in speaking out in July 2003 against the Adminstration's WMD claims. But the February 2002 trip? No way.

SteveMG

Hey, Tom:
If you read this far down on the postings, thanks for the blog.

We appreciate it.

It's getting nasty up there. Lots of friends being made. Amazing how the information revolution and the Internet have broken down barriers between people.

If you put up a Paypal link, I'll divert some of Bush's tax cut your way. Perhaps the lefty posters will donate too to at least assuage their guilt, if nothing else.

SMG

Dwilkers

Parsed to death am I. I think we need to step back from the trees and look at the forest.

Miller

The trees are Rove and Fleischer. The forest is Cheney, Libby and the exaggerated WMD threat. Don't focus on the coverup. The coverup was merely an attempt to deep six the underlying story. All the chatter about who said what to the Grand Jury or Prosecutor, and all the speculation about who in the Press knew what when..that is all a side issue.

Les Nessman

"Juke,

You keep saying "I addressed this here" like we're having a one on one conversation.

I simply quoted your links. The links YOU gave me.

And I completly stand by what I wrote. I don't have any interest in repeating those things. You throw out a lot of information in the hopes of smothering people, but it doesn't add up. One moment you're using the SSIC as your source, the next sentence you're challenging it.

You're clearly a smart fellow, and you seem to love that about yourself, but you've invested your ego into the conversation and it's getting you in trouble.

My favorite line of yours is "Nice job pretending I didn't already address that." I believe that this is actually sincere, and that you think your arguments are so powerful we simply have to ignore them.

Yes, that line is my favorite.

Posted by: Tommy V | July 22, 2005 10:15 PM

Jukeboxgrad, I've pretty much stopped following your links and reading your scribes. The impression I get is that you're a parser. Grabbing meaning only from the specific words spoken....when done by those on your side.

Words spoken by the other side, however, have importance in their impression. What affect they have on those who listen....."


Why does every interaction with Juke seem to end this way? Is it just him or is it everybody else? Seems to be a pattern here.

Tulsan

It wouldn't be such a bad thing for the White House if one of their people was charged with perjury or obstruction. Especially an ex-employee (Ari Fleischer anyone?) A conviction would be difficult.

If someone is charged, they will be a hero to their own people for going to the mat for the President (Ollie North anyone?).

The matter will die down and the Press will lose interest in the whole reason for the Wilson article - exaggerated threats of Iraq WMD's.

Davis

There is a big food crisis in Niger. Maybe Joe Wilson can take his wife over there and help out. Neither of them is helping our President fight the War on Terror, so maybe they can be of more use in the War on Poverty.

But wait a second - do we have an extradition treaty with Niger? Just in case they are both needed back here to testify how much they leaked themselves.

Jim E.

Are you writing in from the barracks in Iraq right now, Davis?

Tommy V

"Why does every interaction with Juke seem to end this way? Is it just him or is it everybody else? Seems to be a pattern here."

It's Juke. I've had and have seen a lot of good conversations with other people.

There are definitely some misconceptions and flawed reasoning on both sides, and a lot of times exchanges help to clear these things up.

Juke is trying to "win", and uses some less than honest means to have such a judgement in his own mind. It reminds me of High School Debate comepetitions that I enjoyed so much when I was younger. There were lots of tricks used to appear to "win" to a 3rd party judge (in this case, an imaginary one).

Parsing (information out of context) was one of those tricks, as was attributing an argument to your opponent that he did not advance, and then proceed to tear it down (the straw man argument), the use of literal translations instead of the collected impression the words were meant to represent (If there was no creek, and no boat, how could you possibly be without a paddle? It doesn't make sense!).

I tend to get suckered into those conversations until I realize what the person is doing. Sorry, I get excited sometimes.

But finding other people who actually expand your point of view, as well as being able to correct other people's misperceptions makes it worth it.

bethl

Bloomberg sometimes gets things wrong---e.g.he says Cooper testified that he did not talk to Rove on welfare reform, yet Rove had turned over an email to Hadley (from the time
of their conversation) saying Miller would have a Welfare reform story in a couple of months-----he can't be that much of a genius.

We won't know whats going on with this story for sure until the end of the grand jury term-------but the one thing we should all be able to see clearly is how seriously screwed up the CIA is.
Dear Valerie---probably outed by Aldrich Ames early nineties, outed by the Cubans because of sloppy document handling (not her doing) and the CIA still uses her?
Several former CIA operatives claim to know she was still covert-----why do they know this? Who in the CIA told them---this is bad,bad policy.
She herself evidently had no concern for her sources---otherwise she wouldn't---even after her name was known---let her picture be plastered all over Vanity fair and other publications.
As a further question why didn't the CIA fill out the portion of the complaint that would have answered the question --- is she or has she been in regards to the statue covert?

Tulsan

There are more stories about Ari Fleischer in the mainstream press ... looks more like he is the designated diver. Let's hope for his family's sake that he is lawyering up. There must be hundreds of lawyers representing the myriad of witnesses, "subjects of investigation", maybe even "targets of investigation" ... lucky there are enough lawyers in Washington.

Tommy V

Everytime there's a new development it seems to get fisked pretty good and doesn't end up sticking at all.

Tulsan, there may be more stories about Ari in the press, but remember, 2 weeks ago there more stories about Karl Rove in the press, and that seems to be fading fast (That Time cover picture of Rove is embarrassing.). Libby was the big revelation and that has since faded.

This is a story in search of a story, and I have no idea where it is going to end. I am convinced now that if charges come down on anyone it is going to be a surprise who it is, and it will not be for what the investigation was originally formed for.

Mackenzie

Bethl, Cooper had contacted Rove earlier in the week of his telephone conversation, mentioning his working on a welfare reform story. That doesn't mean that Cooper and Rove discussed it verbally. There could hardly have been time in a 2 minute conversation to cover welfare reform and then point out the identity of a CIA employee.

By the way, do you know exactly what Valerie Wilson had been working on at the CIA in July 2003 and in the months prior, before her identity was published in Novak's column? What she was scheduled to work on the rest of that year? The name she was known by with her outside contacts?

Tulsan

Tommy V. There are 2 stories... One relates to the revealing of the identity of Valerie Wilson, which may have been an illegal act; also to possible perjury or obstruction with respect to the dissemination of that information. This first story will live or die based on charges being laid and tried.

The 2nd story is the reason that Wilson wrote his article ... the alleged "twisting of intelligence". This story will only have legs if there is substantial new information. There won't be any further Senate or House investigations because the Majority Leaders and Committee Chairmen won't allow it... Senator Roberts has already killed the promised 'Part 2" investigation of the politicization of intelligence.

The Niger yellowcake is but one small part of the overall case for WMD's, but is the specific point raised by Wilson ... We know that Rice, Tenet and Fleischer all said in July 2003 that the "16 words" should not have been in the SOTU Address ... We know that certain key documents were known to be forgeries at least as early as February 2002 by the INR at State and that March by the CIA ... But John Bolton was still pushing the theory in December 2002 and the President mentioned "uranium from Africa" a month later ... The Butler report and the Senate Select Committee both had the opinion that there was some basis for the "uranium from Africa" claim. The Iraq Survey Group didn't find any eveidence.

So there is no clearcut answer, and each side will continue to selectively choose its facts. It would be best for the country if all of the facts were known. If the President had faulty or hyped intelligence fed to him, we should know that. But more importantly the President should know. At this point it appears that he isn't even interested in finding out.

One can only

SteveMG

Tusan:
"If the President had faulty or hyped intelligence fed to him, we should know that. But more importantly the President should know. At this point it appears that he isn't even interested in finding out."

Actually, Bush appointed what was called the Silberman Commission to investigate the matter.

http://www.wmd.gov/report/wmd_report.pdf

Judge Richard Posner had a good piece here on the matter:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28418-2005Apr5.html

and also here (this is really interesting)

http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/pubaffairs/we/2005/posner06.html

This whole matter, i.e, failed intelligence, is being looked at. It's just not getting the attention it deserves.

SMG

richard mcenroe

I'll tell you the one real victim of the Valerie Plame scandal... poor Tom Maguire. At this point, the poor bastard could get free of this tar-baby with a tow truck...

Tommy V

Tulsan,

The administration did back off of those 16 words, but they since backed off of that once they got their act together. You will notice that all the "backing off" quotes were in a one week span, and have not been repeated since. This "backing off" was initiated by the press assumption that the claim was based on the forged documents and all the hoopla around it. It was a political mistake, and it really pissed off the British.

Tenent did not back off of the accuracy of the lines, but made it clear that the threshhold for a state of the union address is too high to be using foreign sources.

Wilson did not "twist intelligence" (that's a bad accusation, because it is not true). What Wilson did was pull a bait and switch. He said that there was no evidence that Iraq puchased yellowcake from Niger. This is absolutely true.

However, the President did not claim that in those 16 words. He claimed that Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Africa. Something Wilson did discover was true, according to the SSIC, during his trip. So whle Wilson was saying he was correcting the President's speech, he was not.

This so-called discrepency (that wasn't) had the White House on its heels for a couple weeks there. My feeling was that the White House assumed Wilson was telling the truth and they were trying to figure what went wrong and how they screwed up so badly.

If Wilson had not actually determine on his trip that there were these attempts by Iraq to purchase materials, one might think this was an honest mistake on Wilson's part. But he actually concluded that the words were probably true, but still mislead readers in his article that he was, not only correcting the President's speech, but that the administration knew it wasn't true.

A pretty strong accusation, and why the White House was reeling tryong to figure how they missed Wilson's conclusions (conclusions that weren't).

Note, Wilson did not say that the President's words were "techincally true", but exagerated as we know Iraq was not able to complete any sale. Wilson did not say that, he said that the White House should have known those words were inaccurate, and used them anyway.

That is why people suspect malice on Wilson's part. His reaction afterwards did not help either.

But I disagree that this is a story. I don't hear anyone talking about this except as a defense of the administration. The press has no interest in this aspect of story. Frankly, why would they? Wilson is a private citizen and his whims and miscues should not be a big deal. But he shouldn't have much credibility with the press either.

Also. your information about the SSIC and the Survey Group is unintentionally misleading. They didn't' disagree.

The SSIC concluded that no sale was made, but there were probable attempts to purchase uranium. The Survey Group concluded that Iraq was not in possession of nuclear material, but was prepared to begins WMD production as soon UN snactions ended.

SteveMG

"I'll tell you the one real victim of the Valerie Plame scandal... poor Tom Maguire."

Well, there's a fine line between a visionary and someone hallucinating things.

I'm not sure on which side of the line Tom is on right now.

As for me, I'm just loopy over this whole matter and have completely given up. When it starts to become a debate over the meaning of criminal statutes, I'm bailing out.

SMG

Lesley

Hugh Hewitt gave us Plame Watchers a nip by stating this mess certainly is not as "worthy" a story as the WOT or the Roberts nomination. He has a point, however, I think most of us are quite capable of multi-tasking the news and prioritizing the issues. Nevertheless, the Plame Tale does contain, in an of itself, both the ingredients of the WOT and the Roberts nomination: ie national security/CIA and the way our government works, in this case the administration (vs the Supreme Court) which influences policy in/future of/ our country. They are all leadership issues and, to my way of thinking, interconnected.

So, please Tom, do not throw your hands up in despair lamenting that you are not Wretchard (whom we all love but is entirely beside the point). Hugh's same argument could have been made about Woodward and Bernstein at the time. Every serious person reflecting on matters of national interest has a contribution to make. Your time has been most well-spent and we are grateful to you.

kim

The connection is the Yellow Cake Letters. There is too much evidence that these letters have more importance than has yet been revealed.
================================================

MeTooThen

Kim,

You remain hilarious.

Really.

Tommy V,

What you said.

...

And yes, those of the McHalliNaziChimpBurton RovEvilGenius crowd will be disappointed when Karl is not indicted.

It remains to be seen if the Special Prosecutor will allow for the testimony of witnesses or any findings of fact to be made public.

Hmmm.

I believe the amicus brief says it all; no crime was committed.

Having said that, does anyone really believe that the NY Times would rather try to "protect a reporter" than allow for it to be revealed that RovEvil did it?

Are you joking?

Nope, Ms. Miller knows something else, and what she knows exonerates Rove.

Again, for those who believe, nay, know in their hearts that Rove did it, and what he did was bad, you are obliged to demand that Judith Miller testify before the grand jury.

I'm just sayin'.

pgl

Is this the butler did it defense? Hey, why don't you just come out and say it. You are not bothered by the outing of a CIA agent - so long as it was done by your GOP heros. Go read the testimony of those CIA agents who are (talkleft has the links).

kim

In this case it's Sultzbutler.

Prost, we two, then.
===================================

david53

How about those forged documents.Everyone agrees they're forged and poorly at that:wrong names on the wrong dates.I read early on that it was probably someone just trying to make some money on the side,connected somehow with Italian intelligence.O.K. by me,but it's interesting how these universally discredited documents have cast a shadow over the story.Reading the timeline of events McGuire put together recently here, those bogus documents slowed me down for minute,and had me thinking maybe they were meant to cast that shadow.

Dwilkers

"Nope, Ms. Miller knows something else..."

Yes indeed.

kim

Forged as poorly as the TANG Rathergate billets. That was stupidity. Were these cupidity?
===========================================

jukeboxgrad

LESLEY: "unfortunately we don't appear to have anyone on this blog who is familiar with the various clearance levels of White House officials."

Not long ago Rove was promoted. "Rove's new title, deputy White House chief of staff, also puts him in charge of coordinating policies developed by the: National Security council..." Rove was also a member of the White House Iraq Group. Rove has also been one of Bush's closest advisers for a long time. All this tells me that it's reasonable to guess that he's always had a fairly high security clearance.

"I just can't imagine Rove has the type of clearance that allows him to pry into the depths of CIA, either of its employees or its operations."

Even if Rove had no security clearance whatsoever, he was still perfectly able to call the CIA and say "I'm thinking of telling one or more reporters that Joe Wilson's wife works for the CIA." Asking that question requires no security clearance whatsoever. Once the question is asked, it's up to the person on the other end of the phone to decide how they want to respond. Trouble is, there's no sign Rove ever lifted a finger to make such a call.

By the way, Rove's responsibility went even further. When Rove first heard a reporter say something about Plame, the proper response would have been "you're talking about something that might be classified, so you should stop, and I have to get off the phone now to call the Agency so they can investigate what you're doing, and where you got it."

Speaking of making such a phone call (to inquire), Novak made exactly such a call. Presumably Novak has no security clearance whatsoever (which underlines my point, that even if Rove lacked a security clearance, that was no excuse to not make a phone call). And Novak was told to not publish Plame's name. And he did anyway. Novak admitted this.

"Juke, stop, think about what you just wrote. 'If Rove didn't have clearance he should have known the CIA didn't want to discuss Plame with him and he certainly shouldn't not be discussing Plame with Cooper et al.'"

Lesley, stop and think about what you just wrote. You presented a passage surrounded by quote marks, which created the impression you were quoting me directly. However, you were doing anything but quoting me directly. On the contrary; you were presenting some kind of loose paraphrase of what you think I was trying to say.

I strenuously object.

By the way, one clue that your quote is made up is that phrases like "shouldn't not" are not a normal feature of my writing.

"I don't have clearance, you don't have clearance, and we decide to call the CIA ... and ask about Valerie Plame and they tell us that they are not authorized to give us that information (because we are not authorized to receive it) and therefore you and I should just automatically know that something hush/hush is going on and we'd better not discuss her with reporters?"

As I pointed out, it seems Novak made exactly that call. He was given a simple answer (paraphrase): "please don't publish her name."

"and then impute from that that Rove should have known not to talk to reporters?"

Rove "should have known not to talk to reporters" because he signed a form that said: "I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it" (link).

It's simply a matter of common sense to understand that information about a CIA employee _might be_ classified information. If Rove was _certain_ that Plame had no covert status, then maybe he's off the hook. However, there's no indication he lifted a finger to check (in particular, no indication that he even went as far as Novak, who at least called the CIA to inquire further).

One clue that Rove didn't lift a finger to check is this: he presumably would have gotten the same answer Novak was given: the CIA did not want Plame to be publicly identified as a CIA operative.

jukeboxgrad

SYL: "Your pettyparsing"

What you call my "pettyparsing" is simply the practice of paying close attention to what the principal actors actually say (as compared with focusing on all sorts of vague impressions and third-hand misquotes, which is what some people seemingly prefer). You might try it some time.

"Wilson created the impression that Cheney was directly involved in sending him, personally, to Niger"

Daily Howler is not known as a lefty blog, but even they acknowledged: "No, Joe Wilson didn’t really say that Dick Cheney sent him to Africa."

Let me know when we can start applying your standard to Bush: that he is responsible not only for what he actually says, but also for the fact that certain folks might claim that he gave them a certain "impression."

"Wilson created the impression that it [his report] debunked claims"

Bush said "recently" and "significant quantities." Wilson found that this "was not borne out by the facts" as he understood them. Wilson was right.

The famous 16 words included these: "recently" and "significant quantities," even though I can find no basis, in SSCI, Butler, or anywhere else, for those words. I've raised this issue here many, many times. The fact that no one has provided a remotely substantive answer is highly revealing.

"There are a heckuva lot of impressions to push back on there."

The fact that they had a desire to "push back" was no excuse to out an agent. I explain this in more detail here.

"But the pushback (from the RNC, not officially from the administration)..."

How nice for Bush that he has an army of surrogates (like the RNC) to do his lying for him.

"Fight an impression with an impression. I would have liked the wording to be different, but, hey, this is politics too."

This is not, let's say, two electoral candidates tangling with each other. This is the president using his entire communications apparatus to tell slanderous lies about an individual, for political purposes. I see this as an intolerable abuse of power. You see this as "politics."

"Then you go on to criticize Rice because she didn't iterate the myriad steps of people involved between Cheney asking what we know about the Niger thing and Wilson sipping his tea."

Nice job resorting to a classic straw-man argument. It would not have been reasonable to expect Rice to "iterate the myriad steps of people involved between Cheney asking what we know about the Niger thing and Wilson sipping his tea" (if there had been "myriad steps;" fact is, there were not). Therefore I did not suggest such a thing. However, I did suggest that she should have said this: "Cheney did not send him, but he was sent by the CIA as a result of a request by Cheney." Very simple, and hardly an iteration of "myriad steps." Why did she fail to make this simple statement, and instead said something highly misleading, bordering on a lie?

By the way, there were not "myriad steps," and it's misleading for you to suggest that. The connection between Cheney's request and Wilson's trip is quite direct. Here's what SSCI said (pdf, p.38-39): "... the DIA wrote a finished intelligence product titled 'Niamey signed an agreement' ... After reading the DIA report, the Vice President asked his morning briefer for the CIA's analysis of the issue ... Officials from the CIA's DO Counterproliferation Division (CPD) told Committee staff that in response to questions from the Vice President's Office ... CPD officials discussed ways to obtain additional information. [portion redacted] who could make immediate inquiries into the reporting, CPD decided to contact a former ambassador to Gabon who had a posting early in his career in Niger."

"Myriad steps" indeed.

"She was countering a specific impression out there, not addressing how the many questions that Cheney must have asked during the whole Iraq process got answered...Wilson's role only being a small part of the entire thang."

What you're doing is called obfuscation, which is exactly what Rice did. "The many questions that Cheney must have asked" is beside the point. The fact is that there is one particular question that Cheney asked, and Wilson's trip was a direct result of that question. Any attempt to deny or obscure this is dishonest.

"Words out of context."

If you can show that I've done that, you should. Otherwise, you should avoid making unsubstantiated allegations.

"One great example of this type of thing is a column written by Dana Milbank ... That's your type of thing to do"

If your claim is that there's something wrong with the way I'm presenting information, you should be able to do better than make a vague comparison with an alleged misrepresentation by a particular reporter.

As I said, if you're in a position to point out where I went off the tracks, you should do so. Otherwise, you should avoid making unsubstantiated allegations. Your tendency to do so only proves how true you are to your leaders.

jukeboxgrad

TOMMY: "'Is it just him or is it everybody else? Seems to be a pattern here.' It's Juke. I've had and have seen a lot of good conversations with other people."

QED. Thanks for clearing that up.

"uses some less than honest means"

I'm impressed by the number of specific examples you offer: zero.

"the use of literal translations instead of the collected impression the words were meant to represent"

Certified mindreaders like you can afford the luxury of focusing on what "the words were meant to represent." Alas, mere mortals such as myself are stuck with the mundane task of actually paying attention to the words. How quaint.

"I get excited sometimes."

That's probably more information than we needed to have about you.

"The administration did back off of those 16 words, but they since backed off of that once they got their act together."

It's a darn shame that getting "their act together" never included telling us where they got "recently" and "significant quantities."

"[Bush] claimed that Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Africa."

Nice job leaving out the key words I highlighted ("recently" and "significant quantities"). In my opinion, those words are at the core of Wilson's complaint, and those words have never been explained. Wilson was right about those words.

In other words, you're pretending Bush made a moderate claim ("Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Africa"), which was supported by the facts. Trouble is, Bush made a much stronger claim ("Saddam Hussein _recently_ sought _significant quantities_ of uranium from Africa;" emphasis added), which was not supported by the facts.

Here's how Wilson put it: "if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them." This statement by Wilson is reasonable, moderate and correct.

If you can show facts which support the statement Bush actually made (not the statement you're pretending he made), that would be helpful.

"The SSIC concluded that no sale was made, but there were probable attempts to purchase uranium."

Please point out where the SSCI report supports the idea that the attempts were "recently" and for "significant quantities."

jukeboxgrad

BETH: "Cooper testified that he did not talk to Rove on welfare reform, yet Rove had turned over an email to Hadley (from the time of their conversation) saying Miller would have a Welfare reform story in a couple of months-----he can't be that much of a genius."

He's not that much of a genius. It also doesn't take much of a genius to pay attention to what Cooper actually said: "earlier in the week, I may have left a message with his office asking if I could talk to him about welfare reform. But I can't find any record of talking about it with him on July 11, and I don't recall doing so." (I notice Mackenzie also addressed this.)

"but the one thing we should all be able to see clearly is how seriously screwed up the CIA is."

Then maybe you should ask Bush why he gave the head guy a medal. Then again, maybe it wasn't Tenet who messed the place up. Maybe it was Dubya's dad, when he ran it.

"She herself evidently had no concern for her sources---otherwise she wouldn't---even after her name was known---let her picture be plastered all over Vanity fair and other publications."

She still works there. I guess you happen to know that she did this without the approval of her superiors? Oh, you don't actually know, but you're just making an allegation based on a wild guess? Just curious.

jukeboxgrad

TULSAN said: "But John Bolton was still pushing the theory in December 2002 and the President mentioned 'uranium from Africa' a month later"

Bush et al have a history of repeating lies even after the lies are proven to be lies. A pretty dramatic example is described here.

GRACIELA: "Does it matter that Valerie Wilson played a role in the decision to send Joseph Wilson to Niger? If it does matters, does Valerie Wilson's role in intelligence gathering trump the public's right to assess whether a critic (or the agency itself) is seeking to undermine the Administration's decision to take this country to war"

It was a WSJ reporter, oddly enough, who answered your first question: "That Ms. Plame recommended her husband doesn't undercut Mr. Wilson's credentials for the job of trying to figure out whether Saddam Hussein was seeking the raw material for a nuclear weapon in Africa."

If Wilson was wrong, Bush et al should have presented facts to show that he was wrong. They didn't have such facts, so instead they invented a massive distraction involving such irrelevant factors as the story of how his trip came about. Many people were indeed distracted, and still are. You seem to be one of those people.

LES: "Why does every interaction with Juke seem to end this way?"

I hope we can continue to count on you to keep a running tally of all the folks who don't want to be confused by the facts. As I've said, I appreciate the reverse endorsement.

jukeboxgrad

METOOTHEN: "I believe the amicus brief says it all; no crime was committed."

A darn shame the judges didn't see it your way (if they had, Miller wouldn't be in jail). Funny thing: they've seen a lot of evidence that is still not public.

"Having said that, does anyone really believe that the NY Times would rather try to 'protect a reporter' than allow for it to be revealed that RovEvil did it?"

You must mean the same NYT that handed Miller and Chalabi the keys to the car during the prewar WMD hysteria. (Of course it's also the same NYT that virtually ignored the DSM for the first month, along with most of the MSM.) That darn liberal media.

Do you consider the possibility that the Times might be hiding information that will prove even more clearly what whores they were at the time? Nah, that couldn't be it.

"Ms. Miller knows something else, and what she knows exonerates Rove."

How odd that Luskin, who has been dropping leaks left and right, has never said anything to support your theory. But hope springs eternal, I guess.

It's particularly odd that Luskin said "if Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source, it's not Karl he's protecting," and has never made such a statement about Miller. I wonder why not? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Luskin put his foot in his mouth, and doesn't want to compound the error.

"for those who believe, nay, know in their hearts that Rove did it"

It's already clear that Rove gave Cooper information Cooper didn't already have: that "Wilson's wife" worked for the CIA, regarding WMD. I haven't heard anyone seriously dispute that. It's also already clear that the White House has been lying about this for a couple of years. I haven't heard anyone seriously dispute that, either.

We don't need Fitz to know that stuff. We just need Fitz to get people out of office and into jail.

Tommy V

Ugh.

It took me forever to get past that and I wasn't even reading, I was scrolling!

Lesley

Thanks Juke. I learned something.

I had no idea that a person without proper security clearance can walk into CIA and have some designated official give them information about a covert agent (as per the Novak article). There is no sarcasm in my comment.

Mind boggling.

kim

I'll ask again since you ignored it last time. What would give you the idea that 'commercial' amounts of Yellow Cake are 'insignificant'. And in the time course of Saddam's reign, recently can go back a while. Since Bush's words don't mean what you think they mean, he mispoke?

And I love your brilliant deconstruction of someone's point that the CIA is messed up. "It can't be, Tenet got a medal", or "It's B1's fault". Utterly merciless logic.

Your world and welcome to it.
===================================================

kim

Though there may be other sources, Wilson's own report documents 'recent' and 'significant'.
=================================================

Cecil Turner

"Though there may be other sources, Wilson's own report documents 'recent' and 'significant'."

If you're looking for the source of the "sixteen words," it's from the UK's unclassified "Iraq Dossier" (Executive Summary para 6):

"As a result of the intelligence we judge that Iraq has: [. . .] sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it;" [emphasis added]
That same quote is also in the Butler report twice, in para 496 and Annex B. Butler also has an additional Blair quote:
In addition, we know that Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Africa, although we do not know whether he has been successful.

jukeboxgrad

LESLEY: "I had no idea that a person without proper security clearance can walk into CIA and have some designated official give them information about a covert agent"

Just to be clear: As far as I know, Novak called (didn't walk in). It's also not clear to what extent he was given "information about a covert agent."

I think this CIA-Novak conversation is an important part of the whole story, and yet it is much-overlooked and misunderstood, so I think it's worth looking at closely.

Try to imagine what it was like for the person talking to Novak (I'll refer to that person as "you"). First of all, Novak is not Joe Blow. Novak is a very well-known, senior journalist. Not just that; he is known to have close ties to the White House, via Rove if not also via other channels. (One interesting little benchmark of Novak's long track record with Rove: in '92 it seems Rove leaked something to Novak that resulted in Dubya's dad firing Rove. [link])

So as soon as you hear Novak's voice, you understand that this is an important call and you have to be very careful to walk a fine line. Of course you don't want to say too much (and leak classified info). But if you say too little you might piss off someone who possibly has the ability to hurt your career.

Also, my educated guess is that Novak started the conversation somewhat as follows: "a very senior White House official (Novak might even have mentioned Rove by name, or dropped a strong hint it was Rove; note Novak's long track record with Rove) seems to have coyly confirmed what I already heard elsewhere: that Wilson's wife works at the Agency, regarding WMD. Is that true?"

You're hardly in a position to say what you're probably thinking: "Rove is a jerk for saying anything to you about Plame, and I'd like to wring his neck."

I think it's also very important to note that you realize that Novak is
completely free to print anything you say, and there isn't a darnn thing you can do about it. So let's imagine you say "no comment." Imagine how Novak will write that: "I asked about Plame, and all they said was 'no comment.'" Readers will see this is a confirmation that Plame is covert.

Let's imagine you just say "please don't print any information about Plame." Same problem, basically. So what do you do? You try to gently guide Novak away from the story, while also saying as little as possible to add to what he already knows.

In short, I think it's unfair of you to suggest that the CIA person had any good choices, or could possibly have handled the situation any better. I would be sincerely interested if you can suggest another approach that I haven't thought of, that you think would have been a more effective way for the CIA to handle this call from Novak.

By the way, I think it's peculiar that you're aghast at the CIA person (who in my opinion did their best to try to salvage what was already a very bad situation, created by people much senior to them) but can't spare a breath (as far as I've noticed) to condemn Novak's execrable behavior.

kim

Bah. Parsiflage, plain and simple.

Joe Wilson is a man whose lies exposed his wife, whose understanding of his own report is erroneous, whose political attack wrongheadedly assumed that going into Iraq was a mistake, and liberals and Democrats are defending him? I worry about the Party. America's vitality has been dependent upon a competetive two party system. By being unserious about security, the Democrats are taking themselves out of contention.
================================================

jukeboxgrad

TOMMY: "It took me forever to get past that and I wasn't even reading, I was scrolling!"

Thank you for that important information, which represents a significant advance in our collective enlightenment. Helpful hint: try tapping the space bar.

CECIL: "sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa"

I'm well-aware that those words (or very similar words) can be found in the "Iraq Dossier" (pdf), Butler (pdf), and in Blair's mouth. They were also once found in Bush's mouth. So what? Trouble is, none of those places provide details that back it up in any remotely serious way. Let me know what I missed.

By the way, even those sources don't provide support for Bush's "recently." Do you think most people hearing Bush speak in 2003 were realizing that his idea of "recently" meant (at best) 1999?

KIM: "What would give you the idea that 'commercial' amounts of Yellow Cake are 'insignificant'."

Where did you ever find a reference to "'commercial' amounts of Yellow Cake?" Perhaps you're referring to this vague phrase in SSCI (pdf, p.43): "expanding commercial relations." If so, let us know how this translates into "'commercial' amounts of Yellow Cake." Or if you have some other secret source (other than your vivid imagination), let us in on your secret.

"in the time course of Saddam's reign, recently can go back a while."

You didn't answer the question I've asked several times: do you think most people hearing Bush speak in 2003 were realizing that his idea of "recently" meant (at best) 1999?

"Since Bush's words don't mean what you think they mean, he mispoke?"

My point is that in the absence of evidence to support "recently" and "significant quantities," Wilson was making a reasonable, moderate and helpful statement when he said "if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them."

"It [CIA] can't be [messed up], Tenet got a medal"

Nice job putting words in my mouth. I'm not saying the CIA isn't messed up. I'm saying I think it's odd that I don't hear major commentators on the right criticizing Bush for handing a medal to a guy who ran an ostensibly messed-up agency.

"Wilson's own report documents 'recent' and 'significant'."

Uh, no. Unless you claim 1999 is "recent," and unless you claim a vague statement about "expanding commercial relations" (which didn't even get to the stage of explicitly mentioning the word "uranium") somehow translates into "significant quantities."

Joe

That's a lovely narrative about the poor CIA shlub just trying to deal with the harsh demands of inside the beltway kung-fu but why do you suppose a guy with the deputy chief of staff to the President on speed dial would only have contact with a lower level functionary in the CIA?

kim

I am finding it more and more plausible that the reason that Fitz is being forced to such extremities of investigative tactics, is that he can be constitutionally stymied from getting the testimony of V and J, about each other.
==================================================

kim

Yes, I claim 1999 was recent, in 2003, when regarded in the timeline of development from Yellow Cake to 'Bigga Bomba Getta You', and I do think the reference to expanding commerce referred to Uranium. Not a whole lot of other Nigerien stuff in demand in Iraq.
Also, that Britain has not further specified their source does not mean it does not exist. They have concerns over revealilng sources that probably have worse consequences than the concerns Miller has. Unless of course she is protecting someone describable as 'The Master of the Bazaar'. But then, we're talking personal safety and Britain was concerned not only about that but about preserving the integrity and the continuity of its sources.

I've certainly wondered whether some of the British rationale was from the Yellow Cake forgeries, but they have been circumspect about that question.
================================================

kim

I've carried the flame for Plame.

I'll say it again:

She is either the biggest victim of this whole shebang, or she is implicated, or instigator.

So let's hear her story.

Judith?......Nick?.......Anyone?

Val? I know, she wrote a piece, censored by her bosses, but has that stopped information distribution in the affair before?

Order in the Court. Monkey wants to speak. Speak, Monkey, Speak.
===============================================

kim

Oh, Ju, when I listen to you talk about messed up CIAs and Tenet's medals, I find myself hauling wooly irrelevancies out of my ears
============================================

kim

I'll knit you a sock you can put in it.
========================================

kim

But who will get to spin the yarn? I guess that's up to Fitz.
===============================================

kim

And we'll have a solemn wooly cerumeny gagging you on your own Rovian fluff.

Sorry about that, Grad. Just a little over the line, personally. Art drove me to it. Yeah, that's the ticket.
================================================

Tommy V

Hey, Juke is right. You can skip past his stuff faster with the space bar!

(Juke, thanks for putting that hint on top of your post or I never would have seen it.)

Iraq was in all probability looking to buy uranium from Niger (the alternatives are not really credible). I think Tenet was probably right that that does not meet a threshhold required to include in a State of the Union address, but that doesn't mean we can't safely conclude since then that all other explanations of the data fall flat.

This is not a huge part of the events that are happening today. the debate is NOT reopened. The SSIC came to conclusions and you either accept their conclusions or you don't. You certainly don't have more information than they did.

The yellow cake debate is the far left clinging to the WMD debacle because they are convinced it was maliciously contrived and not a world wide intelligence failure (that Hussein delibrately helped to advance). They do this because that contrivance is their world view of people working behind the scnes pulling the levers that control everything.

To them, this is just another excuse to bring it up as they ask for someone's head.

1st it was Bush, then it was Ashcroft, then it was Rumsfeld, then it was Bush again and now it's Rove. When this dies down there will be another head wanted on a platter.

(I can't believe we're still talking about yellow cake forgeries. We did not go to war over yellow cake forgeries)

kim

Coiuldn't agree more, TV.

Now. Was the Yellow Cake forgery deliberately created to give the anti-war faction a leg to stand on or is it a false spar, accidently happened upon, that they are clinging to because nothing else in the sea they are swimming in can withstand dry, dispassionat analysis.
===========================================

Syl

jukeboxgrad

Because I don't want to waste anymore bandwidth on pettyparsing with you I'll just ask you a question. Considering this whole Wilson thang occured in 2003, why don't you consider 1999 as recent? The overture from Iraq requesting the opening of secret trade talks with Niger (which Wilson confirmed in his report, but neglected to tell the public) occurred in 1999. And you can google up the CIA Factbook for Niger exports: uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas and onions.

Ciao!

Oh, one more thing. Do you have a life?

Cecil Turner

"Trouble is, none of those places provide details that back it up in any remotely serious way. Let me know what I missed. . . . By the way, even those sources don't provide support for Bush's "recently." Do you think most people hearing Bush speak in 2003 were realizing that his idea of "recently" meant (at best) 1999?"

Not sure what your point is. Bush clearly took the claim of "significant quantities" directly from the British report, so the implication he's trying to mislead with it, or made it up, is nonsensical. (Butler does summarize HUMINT sources on pages 99/100--and the ones found lacking all appear to be in the area of CW/BW production--if you're expecting them to be more specific than that, you'll likely be disappointed.) As to "at best" 1999, that was not the latest date mentioned in the report:

There was further and separate intelligence that in 1999 the Iraqi regime had also made inquiries about the purchase of uranium ore in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this case, there was some evidence that by 2002 an agreement for a sale had been reached.
But in any event, ISTM the most logical definition of "recent" in the Iraq/WMD context would be after the 1998 strikes. Being hung up on those words as evidence of perfidious intent is hard to credit.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'You're hardly in a position to say what you're probably thinking: "Rove is a jerk for saying anything to you about Plame, and I'd like to wring his neck." '

More likely you'd think, "What was that idiot Joe Wilson thinking in writing up a cock and bull story for the NY Times. He's outed his own wife."

'I think it's also very important to note that you realize that Novak is
completely free to print anything you say, and there isn't a darnn thing you can do about it. So let's imagine you say "no comment." '

No, you say, "This is strictly off the record".

Scott Northwood

I have scanned most of the postings on this website, reading some, and skipping others. My question is, why hasn't the President cleared up this issue before now? If the President says he wants to get to the bottom of this why hasn't he? All the postings I've read do not answer this very simple question. Polls show the public thinks the WH isn't cooperating and so the question becomes why? Is the Administration protecting someone, or several people in the White House? Earlier statements from the White House of who was or is not involved are in accurate at best. The Plame matter reflects very badly on this WH, regardless of all the naysayers out there.

jukeboxgrad

JOE: "why do you suppose a guy with the deputy chief of staff to the President on speed dial would only have contact with a lower level functionary in the CIA?"

You're barking up an interesting tree, but unfortunately what you'll find up there isn't what you expect to find up there. You're suggesting I think that Rove doesn't have Tenet's home phone number. On the contrary. I would imagine he does. What's pretty clear is that Rove didn't even try to call Tenet (or anyone at Tenet's level). I think it's interesting to speculate why.

Think about Novak's motivations as he made the call to the CIA. Here's my speculation on that subject. First of all, his top priority was to publish his article, the way he wanted to, and the way he knew his pal Rove wanted him to. In other words, the last thing Novak wanted was to get stymied by the CIA. He didn't want to create a situation where he would have been forced to keep Plame out of his article.

So why did Novak call the CIA at all? Because he had to, in order to maintain some modicum of respectability as a journalist (what little respectability he might still have left, after being a hack for so many years). Novak wanted to be able to say (paraphrase) "I checked my information with the CIA before I published." And he did indeed say that.

If Tenet (or someone else at a high level) had asked Novak not to write about Plame, Novak would have been forced to oblige. That's why the last thing Novak wanted was to pose this question to Tenet. Instead, Novak posed the question to someone at a lower level. This person said please don't publish. Novak published anyway; because the person he was talking with wasn't senior, Novak felt he could get away with ignoring the request. Novak was right (he has indeed gotten away with it, as far as we can tell). In other words, Novak achieved exactly what he wanted by behaving in a shrewd manner.

By the way, there's the question of why the unnamed CIA person didn't escalate the issue (to Tenet, perhaps). Novak suggests that if there was really a concern about Plame, the unnamed CIA person should have had Tenet call Novak. Here's my speculation about why this didn't happen: Novak intentionally left the CIA person with the impression that Novak was taking the warning seriously. Maybe Novak said something weasely like "that's a very important warning you're giving me, and I will be sure to give careful consideration to that warning as I put my article together." I think it's safe to assume that Novak didn't say "I'm going to out Plame even though you asked me not to, so you better have Tenet call me if you're serious about this."

Novak makes no claim along the following lines: "I told the guy if he wanted me to cut her name I would be perfectly happy to oblige, but first he needed to escalate and have Tenet call me" (and that is the obvious thing he should have done, if he sincerely felt that way). On the contrary. There is ample reason to imagine that the CIA guy ended the conversation thinking Novak had received the message, and no futher intervention was necessary (and maybe Novak even intentionally conveyed such an impression, for his own predictable reasons; after all, he didn't really want to get that call from Tenet; just imagine how disappointed Karl would have been to discover that Novak botched the mission in this manner; also, imagine the phone call from Tenet to Rove that would probably have ensued). In other words, the CIA guy didn't escalate to Tenet because the CIA guy didn't conceive of just how big a jerk Novak is. Live and learn.

Below is a recap of some relevant background, including statements by Novak. His pitch is basically this (paraphrase): "even though they told me not to use her name, I decided I would do so anyway. Why? Because the request didn't come directly from Tenet, and because they didn't explicitly tell me I was endangering her life." Very impressive.

Novak, 7/14/03: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. 'I will not answer any question about my wife,' Wilson told me."

WaPo, 9/28/03 (here or here): "When Novak told a CIA spokesman he was going to write a column about Wilson's wife, the spokesman urged him not to print her name 'for security reasons,' according to one CIA official. Intelligence officials said they believed Novak understood there were reasons other than Plame's personal security not to use her name, even though the CIA has declined to confirm whether she was undercover. Novak said in an interview last night that the request came at the end of a conversation about Wilson's trip to Niger and his wife's role in it. 'They said it's doubtful she'll ever again have a foreign assignment,' he said. 'They said if her name was printed, it might be difficult if she was traveling abroad, and they said they would prefer I didn't use her name. It was a very weak request. If it was put on a stronger basis, I would have considered it.'"

Novak, 10/1/03: "At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson's wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name... "

Novak, 10/5/03: "The official spokesman at the CIA I talked to, most recently this week, said she operated undercover. That is not exactly a covert operative. What kind of cover it is, I don’t know. Whether it was in a fictitious firm or a real firm, a non-official cover, those things have not been disclosed in detail by the CIA. If they said that she was endangered, I would not have written the column. They never said she was endangered. If they really were strong about this and competent, they would have done at least that. I know George Tenet, the director. They would have put him on, and he would have said, 'Novak, don’t write this,' and I would not if this woman is in danger ... there was never a question of her life being in danger. And that was either because these people didn’t think her life was in danger or they thought it and were not competent in conveying it to me." [Note: in this interview, Novak says he told the CIA he was going to write Plame's name. However, Novak coyly avoids specifying if this was immediately before or immediately after he was warned not to.]

Seven Machos

Scott:

1. How is the president going to clear it up? Even if he weren't a moron who doesn't really know anything, what is he going to do? Subpoena everybody and get phone records and evidence and try to piece together what happened? Wait. Fitzgerald is doing that...

2. I don't know where you stand on this but implicit in your suggestion is the idea that the White House had anything to do with anything. Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame, and members of the media could have created the whole non-scandal themselves. I contend they did.

Tommy V

"My question is, why hasn't the President cleared up this issue before now? If the President says he wants to get to the bottom of this why hasn't he?"

This question assumes some wrong doing on the administration's part.

If what they're saying is true, and the investigation is legitimate, they are getting to the bottom of it.

The investigation was asked for and it was commenced. I'm not sure what more could be done unless someone feels the investigation is illegitimate. I think some people are anxious to debate this in the press because they are not confident that the conclusions of the investigation will be what they want them to be. Or worse, they just don't care.

I am of the opinion that polls show people think the White House is hiding something because that is how they are being portrayed in the press. This may be true, or it may not be true. But the poll is not a good measure of that fact.

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "Joe Wilson is a man whose lies exposed his wife, whose understanding of his own report is erroneous"

How considerate of you to not burden us with the facts and reasoning that underlie your confident pronouncements. After all, you're saving me lots of energy when you free me from my citizenly responsibility to think for myself. Why bother, when I can let you do it for me? You would make a great Republican president.

"I am finding it more and more plausible that the reason that Fitz is being forced to such extremities of investigative tactics, is that he can be constitutionally stymied from getting the testimony of V and J, about each other."

It's true that he can't ask them to talk about what they said to each other. However, there are a lot of other interesting things they could tell him, if he cared. So you've still failed to explain why he hasn't called them (as far as we know), given your implied theory that they are the wrongdoers and the target.

"Yes, I claim 1999 was recent, in 2003"

Nice job continuing to sidestep the question. I didn't ask you how you personally interpret the word "recent." I asked a slightly different question: do you think most people hearing Bush speak in 2003 were realizing that his idea of "recently" meant (at best) 1999?

(Syl is also sidestepping the question. Syl said "Considering this whole Wilson thang occured in 2003, why don't you consider 1999 as recent?" Answering my question with another question is not answering the question.)

"I do think the reference to expanding commerce referred to Uranium. Not a whole lot of other Nigerien stuff in demand in Iraq."

Another nice job of answering a question other than the one that was asked. Yes, we all know that the phrase "expanding commercial relations" very likely referred to uranium, since as you correctly said, "not a whole lot of other Nigerien stuff in demand in Iraq." But that wasn't my question. My question was, where did Bush get "significant quantities?" Was that anything other than a pure guess, or assumption, on top of the other assumption (that "commercial relations" was a synonym for "uranium")?

"Also, that Britain has not further specified their source does not mean it does not exist."

Ah, the charming "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" argument. If that's the best you can do, then Bush should simply have said so: "I can't prove what I just said is true, but you can't prove that it's false, either, so put that in your pipe and smoke it."

Let me know if you really like playing by those rules. Did you hear about the people who say that Bush tortures puppies in the White House basement every night? Can they prove it? Of course not. But just because they have "not further specified their source does not mean it does not exist."

jukeboxgrad

PATRICK: "More likely you'd think, 'What was that idiot Joe Wilson thinking in writing up a cock and bull story for the NY Times. He's outed his own wife.'"

Even if you make the completely asinine and unsupportable assertion that Wilson outed Plame, that is still not an excuse for Rove, Novak et al to do the same thing, or to compound the problem. In other words, the "I thought it was OK to throw rocks at the school bus because Tommy did it first" defense does not fool anyone who is able to think for himself.

"No, you say, 'This is strictly off the record'."

And Novak is free to print that, too: "a CIA spokesman said that he could only discuss Plame with me off-the-record." Hmm, seems to suggest that Plame might be some kind of spy. In other words, no matter how you slice it, it was a no-win situation for the CIA guy.

By the way, even if you say those magic words ("off-the-record") to a reporter, the reporter can still refuse to play by those rules: "sorry, but I'm not willing to conduct an off-the-record interview with you; I reserve my right to print any darn thing you say; if you don't like that, you should hang up now."

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "Bush clearly took the claim of 'significant quantities' directly from the British report"

Which, in turn, provided no basis for that assertion (and I notice no one has pointed out a reasonable basis for that assertion). Wilson did us a favor by alerting us to this.

"Congo ... 2002"

Let me remind you of Wilson's responsibly delineated complaint: "_if the president had been referring to Niger_, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them;" emphasis added, of course. Aside from that, the Congo evidence appears to be very, very weak.

"the most logical definition of 'recent' in the Iraq/WMD context would be after the 1998 strikes"

Yet another instance of failing to answer a simple question: do you think most people hearing Bush speak in 2003 were realizing that his idea of "recently" meant (at best) 1999?

"Being hung up on those words as evidence of perfidious intent is hard to credit."

The "evidence of perfidious intent" (pdf) goes much further than just those words.

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Wilson/Plame