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August 01, 2005

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Nash

I reject the oft-repeated meme that the SSCI Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Assessment on Iraq, including assessments of the so-called Niger trip, is an unimpeached authority on anything concerning RoveGate and Amb. Wilson.

First, the report is not a monolithic entity. Many of the attacks being leveled at Amb. Wilson here and around the blogosphere cite as their "evidence" the bipartisan report when in fact they have been lifted from the unilateral addendum attached to the report by 3 Republican senators (Roberts, Hatch and Bond). A majority of the other Republican senators (9 out of 12) and all of the Democratic Senattors on the committee refused to sign the addendum, disagreeing with its claims.

Whether you agree with the unilateral addendum's claims made by these 3 Republican senators or not, you cannot ethically say that they represent the actual findings of a bipartisan committee, let alone a majority of the committee. They do not.

Second, Amb. Wilson submitted a formal response to the unilateral addendum made by the 3 Republican senators in which he refuted each of the main charges. He asked that his response be attached to the report. His request was refused.

Whether you agree that Amb. Wilson's response adequately disproves the charges or not, you cannot ethically claim that the SSCI report stands as an unrefutable authority, since its unilateral addendum has been directly challenged by one of the principals.

Third, various of the charges in the main (so-called "bipartisan") portion of the SSCI report have been refuted by Amb. Wilson and by others, including the CIA. In particular, the text of the SSCI report itself refutes, calls into question or disproves much of what is claimed in the report's own summary.

In conclusion, the SSCI report cannot be accepted as an absolute authority in solving questions regarding Amb. Wilson and his trip to Niger. You are welsome to continue to cite it all you want and we are going to reject it as partisan and tainted proof of nothing.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'the report is not a monolithic entity. Many of the attacks being leveled at Amb. Wilson here and around the blogosphere cite as their "evidence" the bipartisan report when in fact they have been lifted from the unilateral addendum attached to the report by 3 Republican senators (Roberts, Hatch and Bond).'

Sorry, but I've quoted from the facts agreed to in the body of the report. Bi-partisan and unanimous. And Wilson's letter was disingenuous in the extreme.

Nash

This false impression (consistant with Wilson's statement) is what the administration was responding to and correcting with the truth.

Sorry, rejected. Indicating that Wilson' wife worked at the CIA does not fit into that meme and therefore it's no longer operative.

But, you've only used up one of your three tries at explanaotry memes--you still have two more.

Nash

Sorry, but I've quoted from the facts agreed to in the body of the report. Bi-partisan and unanimous. And Wilson's letter was disingenuous in the extreme.

Like I said, rejected. Proof of nothing.

Nash

sorry, cleaning.

Joe Mealyus

JOM says: "As to whether Wilson claimed Cheney sent him to Africa, well, he certainly helped create a news environment in which people thought that ... "

jukeboxgrad responds: "Let me know when we get to start evaluating Bush according to vague ideas about how he 'helped create a news environment.'"

The real significance of the "news environment" is that it goes to the question of the Plame-leaker(s)'s motive. Was the point to punish Wilson as a revealer of uncomfortable truths or was the point to discredit Wilson as a pusher of an oppositional political agenda? And the point is, we (as yet) just don't know.

boris

Sorry, rejected. ...

Like your request for respect?

Russert/Blitzer/Cooper:

"Well Mr. Vice President, if you didn't send Wilson, who did?"

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "I could pouind on so many mnails I've driven before"

I know you could. The question is whether you could surprise us by providing proof of anything.

"I will say that those two words have a plasticity of meaning"

English translation: "when Bush speaks, we reserve the right invoke the plasticity principle, which means the meaning slides around as required by political expediency. On the other hand, when folks like Wilson speak, we will not allow an inch of slack; in fact, we'll not only hold him responsible for every last utterance he makes, but also hold him responsible for how any given random talking head rephrases, reinterprets and distorts him."

By the way, note that words such as "Bush is an execrable sociopath" also have a certain "plasticity of meaning."

PATRICK: "I've quoted from the facts agreed to in the body of the report."

I'm still waiting patiently for you or anyone else to show where those "facts" provide support for the words "recently" and "significant quantities."

Tommy V

"Like I said, rejected. Proof of nothing."

A child covering his ears, repeating "I can't hear you."

jukeboxgrad

NASH: "Bush was telling them Iraq was an imminent threat when he never said that"

Nash, thanks for the supportive words. By the way (and I imagine you're well-aware of this), Bush et al did indeed say "imminent threat," or words sufficiently close to that. This is documented here and here.

In other words, the right wants the privilege of ignoring what Bush actually says, while holding people like Wilson responsible for things he didn't say.

"since you argue that it is not fair to attach responsibility to President Bush when people in his administration ... "

I think you somewhat understate the case here. While people like Blitzer and Kristof might attempt to speak for Wilson, they don't report to him. When people like Scottie attempt to speak for Bush, they do indeed report to him. Big difference.

JOE: "Was the point to punish Wilson as a revealer of uncomfortable truths or was the point to discredit Wilson as a pusher of an oppositional political agenda?"

Who cares? Neither motive is an excuse to discuss the identity of a CIA employee with multiple reporters. Also, neither motive is an excuse to call Wilson a liar on the basis of how some talking head reinterpreted him, especially if you're not willing to apply that same asinine standard to Bush.

boris

former Deputy Director of the CIA:
"... but she was working in an analytical organization, and there’s nothing that precludes anyone from identifying analytical officers."

Joe Mealyus

Me: "Was the point to punish Wilson as a revealer of uncomfortable truths or was the point to discredit Wilson as a pusher of an oppositional political agenda?"

jukeboxgrad: "Who cares? Neither motive is an excuse to discuss the identity of a CIA employee with multiple reporters."

Huh? You obviously don't need an excuse to "discuss the identity of a CIA employee" - such an act, as described, would elicit no controversy. The question is whether Plame was covert and whether the Plame-leaker(s) knew she was covert (or should have known). These things are not yet known.

"Also, neither motive is an excuse to call Wilson a liar on the basis of how some talking head reinterpreted him, especially if you're not willing to apply that same asinine standard to Bush."

And you don't need an excuse to call Wilson a liar - whether he is/was one or not. Political figures call other political figures names all the time.

And again (see my comment way above), the "what was Joe up to?" question (i.e. did some "talking head reinterpret him" or not?) is deftly illuminated by JustOneMinute here:

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2005/07/josh_marshall_n.html

jukeboxgrad

BORIS: "nothing that precludes anyone"

I realize a certain amount of repetition is hard to avoid, in this process. However, if you insist on posting a message that adds nothing whatsoever to a comment that you (and/or others) have posted multiple times very recently (such as here, here, here, here and here), maybe you could add a reader advisory, such as: "WARNING: what follows is the same boring quote you've probably seen roughly half-a-dozen times already."

This habit of yours is particularly annoying when you post the remark (as you just did here) in what appears to be a completely random manner.

This habit of yours is also particularly annoying because you haven't even made a pretense of responding to a few very straightforward questions (regarding your favorite quote) which I posted here.

jukeboxgrad

JOE: "The question is whether Plame was covert and whether the Plame-leaker(s) knew she was covert (or should have known)."

Speaking of repetition, I've addressed this on a number of occasions. It's simply a matter of common sense to understand that "the identity of a CIA employee" _might be_ classified information. A reasonable person knows that if someone works at the CIA, there is a significant chance that person might be a covert agent: "as many as one-third of the CIA's approximately 20,000 employees are undercover or have worked in that capacity at some point in their careers" (link).

And unless Rove was certain Plame was not covert (and it's hard to imagine that he was in a position to be certain of that, since the CIA is claiming and did claim otherwise), he had an obligation to ask. 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).

"such an act, as described, would elicit no controversy"

On the contrary, since the following conditions were present: a) Rove was speaking with unauthorized persons; b) the mere fact that Plame was a CIA employee (not to mention that Rove knew, and disclosed, that she was in the extra-sensitive area of WMD) meant that any reasonable person would understand there was a non-trivial chance that Plame's identity _might be_ considered sensitive information; c) Rove's SF-312 placed him under an obligation to ask, if he was uncertain; and d) there is ample reason to speculate that Rove did not bother to ask (presumably he would have received an answer similar to the answer that was given to Novak). Or, even worse, that if Rove did ask, he willfully ignored the answer.

On top of all this, the White House "dissasembled" on the subject for a couple of years (subsequent to a campaign promise to "restore honor and dignity" to the White House).

"These things are not yet known."

With regard to the essential aspects of my argument, I've limited myself to things that are indeed already known.

"Political figures call other political figures names all the time ... whether he is/was one or not"

If you think it's OK for the White House to label a private citizen as a liar (not to mention the fact that this citizen and his wife worked in public service for many years), even if the charge is not substantiated, then your standards are way to low, and you're inviting your government to abuse its power.

By the way, even in a contest between political figures of roughly equal power and importance (which this definitely was not), it's simply wrong to call someone a liar unless it's true. Especially if someone has made a campaign promise regarding "honor and dignity."

kim

I see you're easing from criminality to immorality to outrageousness. Well why do you think we elected them if not to outrage you?
==================================================

Patrick R. Sullivan

'PATRICK: "I've quoted from the facts agreed to in the body of the report."

'I'm still waiting patiently for you or anyone else to show where those "facts" provide support for the words "recently" and "significant quantities." '

That's because you don't understand what is at issue is Joe Wilson's claim to have brought back from Niger information that disproved those words. Even he has been forced to admit he didn't.

kim

And please, JBG, since it is such an important and confounding point for you, provide us with the definition of 'recently' and 'significant'.
===============================================

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "you're easing from criminality to immorality to outrageousness"

I haven't changed my position. Nice job implying I have.

By the way, those items are not mutually exclusive.

"since it is such an important and confounding point for you [the use of the words 'recently' and 'significant quantities']"

It doesn't matter much whether or not the words are important to me. What matters is that the words were important to Bush. Otherwise he wouldn't have used them. Trouble is, he used them even though there was no meaningful basis for doing so.

"provide us with the definition of 'recently' and 'significant'."

With regard to the former, you know I've articulated the point in this manner: do you think most people hearing Bush speak in 2003 were realizing that his idea of "recently" meant (at best) 1999?

With regard to the latter, there isn't much need to split hairs over a definition of "significant," since there was no meaningful basis for Bush to allude to any characterization of quantity.

jukeboxgrad

PATRICK: "Wilson's claim to have brought back from Niger information that disproved those [16] words."

I'm not aware of him making that particular claim. I'm aware of him making this somewhat different claim, which I find moderate and appropriate: "if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them."

If you can show he made the claim that you claim he made, that would be helpful.

Also, as I've said, it would be helpful if you can show any meaningful basis for the words "recently" and "significant quantities."

kim

As I've pointed out to you before, 1999 to 2003 is 'recently' in the timeline of turning Yellow Cake into explosives. And the idea that there was inquiry about buying an 'insignificant' amount of Yellow Cake is as ludicrous as your inability to understand those words.

Or, I notice, your failure to define those words.
==================

Joe Mealyus

"If you think it's OK for the White House to label a private citizen as a liar (not to mention the fact that this citizen and his wife worked in public service for many years), even if the charge is not substantiated, then your standards are way to low, and you're inviting your government to abuse its power."

Puh-leez! What I think is "OK" and what my standards are is one thing, but a reasonable expectation of politicians' behavior is another. After learning what JFK, LBJ and RMN would do to their political enemies, I somehow find it hard to equate "abuse of power" with GWB or the WH making ("private citizen Wilson" to you, "Op-ed columnist and political oppenent Wilson" to me) an unkind remark.

Joe Mealyus

Me: "The question is whether Plame was covert and whether the Plame-leaker(s) knew she was covert (or should have known)."

jukeboxgrad: "Speaking of repetition, I've addressed this on a number of occasions....[Rove shouldn't have mentioned Plame, period, unless he was certain she was mentionable]."

Maybe so, but another overly-fastidious point, like the one reviewed in the previous comment. You may have brought this up 1000 times, but I still think it makes all the difference whether:

(1) Rove had no idea she was covert and she wasn't covert and Rove's motive was "discredit Wilson's political point"

or (2) Rove knew she was covert and she was covert and Rove's motive was "punish Wilson's truth-telling"

or something in-between is the real story.

jukeboxgrad

JOE: "a reasonable expectation of politicians' behavior"

Let me know if you think White House behavior in this matter is consistent with what we were led to expect when Bush promised to restore "honor and dignity" to the White House.

"an unkind remark"

Making an unsubstantiated allegation that someone is a liar goes a bit beyond "an unkind remark." Likewise for blowing Plame's cover and undermining her career.

"[maybe] Rove had no idea she was covert"

Rove knew she was CIA, and her work involved WMD. That's enough to create a possibility she was covert. And if he didn't know for sure, he had a duty to ask first, instead of making an assumption that would possibly err in the direction of harming national security.

Claiming that White House officials should exercise care with regard to information that might be classified is not being "overly-fastidious."

"[maybe] Rove's motive was 'discredit Wilson's political point'"

The supposition that Rove couldn't effectively do this without mentioning Plame underlines the reality that the White House had no relevant facts at its disposal. If it had such facts, it should have and would have used them, instead of getting into the highly extraneous subject matter of Wilson's wife.

As the WSJ pointed out: "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."

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Wilson/Plame