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July 14, 2005

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Meep

Let's see if this closes that pesky open tag:

Meep

Is this better? I should have checked it myself.

Meep

Perhaps not. Is there a way to disallow tags in comments? I recommend that.

Blanknoone

One of the key points of difference is the significance of what Wilson (and others) found. It is indeed true that they IC has not found evidence of large scale uranium sales to Iraq. But it is also true that they have found much evidence of Iraq's trying. For instance, Wilson, with his extensive contacts, talked to the PM of Niger, and the PM told him that he did in fact have a meeting with an Iraqi 'trade delegation' and his understanding of their desire for 'expanded trade contacts' was an overture to buy uranium. The PM said he refused. And the IC believes him.

So we have two seperate and important pieces of information. One...Iraq did not get uranium from Niger. Two...Iraq did TRY to get uranium from Niger. That speaks to motive...a desire, and effort to reconstitute his WMD programs. Apparently Saddam wasn't successful, but how long should he be allowed to try?

Those on the left keep emphasizing the first point...Saddam didn't get Uranium from Niger. Those on the right keep emphasizing the second...Saddam did TRY to get uranium from Niger.

And, as much as many hate to admit it, Bush's famous 16 words in the SOTU were exactly correct, that British intel establishes (and our intel agreed) that Saddam TRIED to buy Uranium. The President didn't say Iraq was successful in its efforts, only that it was making efforts. And even Wilson's trip to Niger support that. But the response to the President making the second point, that Iraq was trying to buy uranium, was people like Wilson screaming that Bush lied and yelling the first point, that Iraq didn't actually succeed.

Matt Evans

Fresh- as we know, dems don't care if a crime was committed. What Rove did was "morally reprehensible" and Bush said the person involved would "be fired" (though he never actually said that). Thus, if Bush does not fire Rove for committing this morally reprehensible act (the fact that democrats consider responding to a partisan political hack, who went to Niger to re-energize his flagging career and lied about his findings, to be morally reprehensible is the height of lunacy), then Bush is just as cuplable for the act, similar to how Bush is responsible for panties on head at Abu Ghirab and the Koran dessecration at Gitmo.

jukeboxgrad

FRESH

"Who said anything about blowjobs?"

Lots of people, very loudly, for a very long time. You have a short memory. How ccnvenient for you.

"perjury is a crime"

Some of us still hang on to the quaint notion that folks should tell the truth even when not under oath.

"Plame wasn't covert"

Really? Then explain this: "A senior intelligence official confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked 'alongside' the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger. But he said she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. 'They [the officers who did ask Wilson to check the uranium story] were aware of who she was married to, which is not surprising,' he said. 'There are people elsewhere in government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason,' he said. 'I can't figure out what it could be ... We paid his [Wilson's] air fare. But to go to Niger is not exactly a benefit. Most people you'd have to pay big bucks to go there,' the senior intelligence official said. Wilson said he was reimbursed only for expenses."

And this.

And this: "If she was not undercover, we would have no reason to file a criminal referral."

And this: "Two former senior intelligence officials confirmed that Valerie Plame, 40, is an operations officer in the spy agency's directorate of operations - the clandestine service."

And this: "Sources told CNN that Plame works in the CIA's Directorate of Operations -- the part of the agency in charge of spying -- and worked in the field for many years as an undercover officer."

And this: "The exposure of Valerie Plame — who I have reason to believe operated undercover."

And this: "Valerie Plame was among the small subset of Central Intelligence Agency officers who could not disguise their profession by telling friends that they worked for the United States government. That cover story, standard for American operatives who pretend to be diplomats or other federal employees, was not an option for Ms. Plame, people who knew her said on Wednesday. As a covert operative who specialized in nonconventional weapons and sometimes worked abroad, she passed herself off as a private energy expert, what the agency calls nonofficial cover."

This one answers a different false claim, that her status was common knowledge: "I've worked in Washington for the past 38 years, including 24 years at the CIA...and I know Ambassador Wilson....and I did not know that his wife was an agency employee. Let's face it....this was targeted information as part of a political vendetta....a pure act of revenge...again, no more and no less." (link)

"See that lovely transcript from Wolf Blitzer today"

Wilson said "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity." Wilson could have been clearer. He was explaining why he decided it was OK to appear in Vanity Fair etc: once Novak "blew her identity," Plame was no longer "a clandestine officer."

(Earlier I had a different interpretation of Wilson's remark, but reviewing it in context I think this interpretation makes more sense.)

"statute 50 USC 416, which defines 'covert' as having been a foreign clandestine agent within the past five years"

I've tried to make clear in a variety of posts that I'm not particularly interested in splitting legal hairs about the IIPA and the Espionage Act. What interests me, because it's what I think matters morally and politically, is the common-sense understanding of outing a covert agent.

By the way, I think Fitz and the FBI (and the CIA, who made the original referral to DOJ) probably understand the various statutes as well as you do, and I don't think they would want to be wasting everyone's time unless they had good reason to believe one or more serious crimes were committed.

"this 'outing business' is exactly what Karl Rove would do, therefore he must have done it"

Both things are true. It's exactly what we would expect from him, and now there is also ample indication that it is exactly what he did. "Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge." (link)

"the tangled web of your own synapses"

Why don't you untangle your own first. A good start would be explaining how you ignore all the evidence that she was indeed a cover op. Then you can work on explaining why the White House has been lying about all this for a couple of years.

"How many members of the Clinton White House were convicted of felonies?"

It's not a good sign for your argument that you have to resort to "not any worse than Clinton" (even if that were true). I seem to remember some kind of campaign promise about restoring honor and dignity to the White House.

BLANK

"That speaks to motive...a desire, and effort to reconstitute his WMD programs."

The war hype went far beyond declaring that Saddam merely hoped or planned to possess WMD. The war hype declared that he had tools to create WMD, and in fact had amassed substantial stockpiles of WMD ready to go at a moment's notice. This goes far beyond simply claiming that he had "a desire." Big difference.

"Apparently Saddam wasn't successful, but how long should he be allowed to try?"

We never had a chance to have a serious discussion about that important question, because we believed Bush when he cooked the books, telling us we were way past the stage of Saddam being "allowed to try."

"Those on the right keep emphasizing the second...Saddam did TRY to get uranium from Niger."

Trouble is, that's not all Bush said. He said the attempt was "recent," and for "significant quantities." Trouble is, Wilson learned in his visit that these claims were "not borne out" by the facts. In other words, this was just another example of cooking the books ("the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy"). Wilson was an early whistleblower, and that's why the White House came down on him, hard and fast, and is still continuing to do so.

"Bush's famous 16 words in the SOTU were exactly correct"

You should tell Tenet, since he said "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President."

MATT

"responding to a partisan political hack"

If the White House was merely "responding," and doing so in a proper way, then why did it need to be "double super secret background?" And why has the White House been lying about it for a couple of years?

Matt

*If the White House was merely "responding," and doing so in a proper way, then why did it need to be "double super secret background?"*

I assume because Rove appreciated that it was a sensitive matter with Wilson but at the same time, was not simply going to sit back and let Wilson's lies be splashed on page 1 of the NYT. Not to mention is "double super secret background" some kind of intelligence term of art I'm unfamiliar with ? I'm not certain we can hold people to standards based on a contrived phrases ?

And lying about what ? Didn't Rove testify in front of the GJ over a year ago ? Isn't there an ongoing investigation ? And of course, there's the other possibility- which seems to the case as things develop- that Rove was NOT actually the leak. Thus, why would he admit to being a leak when he wasn't actually the leak.

Finally, juke, explain to me why Judith Miller is still in jail if Rove's the source and has been outted? (not to mention, doesn't she have a waiver from Rove, similar to Cooper's waiver- my understanding is she does- why would she be sitting in jail if Rove was the source and she has a waiver- there's a logical conclusion to be drawn from that factual scenario - lets see if you can come up with it).

jukeboxgrad

MATT

"was not simply going to sit back and let Wilson's lies be splashed on page 1 of the NYT"

If the White House had any problem with anything Wilson said, they had ample opportunity to speak up, on the record, out in the open, and without taking steps that would even raise the possibility of outing a covert agent. If the White House wanted to say Cheney didn't send Wilson, here's an example of what would have been a good way to say that: "Cheney didn't send Wilson."

"Not to mention is 'double super secret background' some kind of intelligence term of art"

No. It's a journalism term of art. It means "feel free to publish what I tell you, but don't let anyone know it was me who told you." More on this sort of thing here.

"lying about what"

For two years the White House has been telling us they knew nothing about this, and Rove had nothing to do with it. Those were all lies, which is why suddenly Scottie has nothing to say.

"there's the other possibility- which seems to the case as things develop- that Rove was NOT actually the leak"

I think you're assuming there was only one leaker. Think again: "a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife." (link)

"why would he admit to being a leak when he wasn't actually the leak."

We already have good reason to understand that Rove outed Plame to (at least) Cooper and Novak.

"explain to me why Judith Miller is still in jail if Rove's the source and has been outted"

There are numerous naive assumptions embodied in that question. I've just pointed out one of those assumptions (the idea that there was only one leaker).

"why would she be sitting in jail if Rove was the source and she has a waiver"

I thnk you're also making some assumptions about the role of those waivers. Until very recently, Cooper didn't take Rove's waiver seriously. Who knows what Miller thinks about the waivers.

kurt

rove is a slimeball. he employs any and all tactics necessary. his motives and methods are suspect clearly due to past behaviors.

we're in Iraq cause WMDs weren't... this report on niger was a false report. some one passed it up to the president. wilson was trying to stop us from acting stupid. Rove is no hero. at the best he tacitly set up or allowed plame to be setup for retribution against wilson. an allowed the presumably plausible iraq niger connection to contintue.

cause it's what the boss wanted.

Rove would be a hero if he said wait a sec. we have some contradictory data, i'll take it to tenet and the prez...

obviously he did nothing of the sort. instead.. he permit the lies to propogate.. he's a political machine and cares strictly about winning not what's good for the country.

as a republican this sucks.... eliminate rove,
if it means we can actually get some freaking work done in DC...

whats going on there is a disgrace.
this partisan stuff is a waste of time.

ed

Hmmm.

@ kurt

as a republican this sucks.... eliminate rove, if it means we can actually get some freaking work done in DC...

It's amazing really. I've been seeing all these posts by disaffected Republicans, who've been "republicans" all their lives, over WMDS. Who knew that there were this many?

Personally I'm planning on hitting some leftie blogs and pretending to be a disaffected "democrat", cause that gives my writing more cred!

Imagine that! And I bet they'll buy it hook, line and sinker too. Just like those Republicans would.

ed

Hmmmm.

@ JukeBoxGrad

"Not to mention is 'double super secret background' some kind of intelligence term of art"

No. It's a journalism term of art. It means "feel free to publish what I tell you, but don't let anyone know it was me who told you." More on this sort of thing here.

American Journalism Review.

It's amazing what Google can do.

BTW I'd suggest that any phrase that involves the word "secret" means that nothing is supposed to be published. I.e. it's for the education of the reporter only.

ed

Hmmmm.

@ jukeboxgrad

Blanknoone: "Bush's famous 16 words in the SOTU were exactly correct"

jukeboxgrad: You should tell Tenet, since he said "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President."

You should have included the end part of the final paragraph.

Tenet: From what we know now, Agency officials in the end concurred that the text in the speech was factually correct – i.e. that the British government report said that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. This should not have been the test for clearing a Presidential address. This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for Presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed.

I.e he opposed the use of the "16 words" because the CIA couldn't independently verify them. But that didn't make them wrong.

jukeboxgrad

Ed, I still have few recycled electrons available, so here's another reminder for you: 6/18, 2:52 pm.

ed

Hmmm.

Ed, I still have few recycled electrons available, so here's another reminder for you: 6/18, 2:52 pm.

The problem with you juke is that you're wrong so often. It's hard to keep up.

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