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August 02, 2005

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Steven J.

JMANN - "2) You're right that ID is more philosophy than science, and that it's currently not possible to prove it false, but all that tells you is that science can't tell you if it's true or false."

ID has been thoroughly debunked. If you want some SOLID information about this troglodyte theory, go here:

http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/

kim

Jim E: ID critiques evolution on the point evolutionists believe on faith.
==================

Seven Machos

Heaven forefend. Stevie is offended.

But Marty thinks everyone is ignorant so, mostly, all is right with the world. Also, Marty, you strike me as the kind of person who has read neither Genesis nor The Origin of the Species, but you are sure you are right. It must be nice to go through the world so assured of your own rightness and the stupidity of everyone who disagrees with you.

kim

And the point should be taught in science class. It's philosophy of science. Understanding that point will eventually lead to knowledge such that the evolutionists will no longer depend on faith, or so I believe.
=============================================

J Mann

Seven Machos, there's no reason to be mean. I don't agree with Martin much, but he goes to the trouble to explain his points logically and engage opposing points, and that's pretty much all anyone can ask.

Jim E.

"'Non-falsifiable' is not the same as 'clearly false.'"

It is if you're trying to evaluate whether something (like ID) has any scientific value.

Tollhouse

I wonder about the timing.

From October 7-11, 2002
http://cns.miis.edu/cr/021014hc.htm

/[Just this Tuesday, CIA director George Tenet told Congress that Saddam Hussein, if provoked by fears that an attack by the United States was imminent, might help Islamic extremists launch an attack on the United States with weapons of mass destruction.]/

Could it possibly have been Tenet? That lied to Sen Nelson?

Nelson and Shelby
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4601280/

It sounds like Nelson thinks Tenet's honest so I think it would preclude him from being the "liar".


Seven Machos

J. Mann: If I had a nickel for every time Marty called someone dumb, including me, I'd have at least $27.00.

It is my mission to disabuse Marty of his notion that he is substantially more intelligent than those individuals with whom he disagrees politically.

We all need goals.

kim

If he can find his way through the maze to find Joe as the villain, we'll declare him intelligent.
==============================================

Etienne

Intelligent design? I thought this was the ON TOPIC place.

I can't disprove intelligent design. I also can't disprove that the human race was created when the Titans walked along the Aegean Sea and threw rocks over their shoulders that sprang up into men and women. Should we be teaching that in biology?

Jim E.

"If he can find his way through the maze to find Joe as the villain, we'll declare him intelligent."

That quote -- even if written in jest -- pretty much exemplifies the tribal nature of many of the right-wingers on this website.

Martin

Not an option as regards Powerlies Joe-

you have to regard them as either either hacks or not. Their record's too long (and feeble) for squishy middle ground.

Seven Machos

Why do we need to teach intelligent design and/or evolution in biology at all?

Quick, all you evolutionist, what is a mitochondria? Where are your trapezoids? What is the purpose of oxygen in the human body? How does sugar become energy? How does protein become energy? What do plants do with sunlight?

These questions are a little more pertinent to life on earth than what may or may not have happened thousands of years ago.

Enough already.

Martin

"It is my mission to disabuse Marty of his notion that he is substantially more intelligent than those individuals with whom he disagrees politically."

You are failing pitifully in this mission, 7M.

Seven Machos

Marty -- How many times have I said it? YOu are the genius here. I am just a dumb schmuck. I'm just honored that a man of your intellectual capacity knows who I am.

Martin

Something is true until its nonexistence is proved.

Something is not true until its existence is proved.

Not the same. By a longshot.

kim

Yessiree, Jim E, you got the joke. And I apologize for making you the butt of it. I'd ask you to consider it an initiation to the tribe, but I'm beyond the pale myself.

Etienne: The point is that the evolutionists take on faith that complex mechanisms and structures will eventually be explained by naturalistic device. It is that such is believed on faith(the mechanisms are presently not explained) that is the irony. This bit of philosophy of science is pertinently taught in science class and will stimulate the research that will ultimately explain those complexities naturalisticly. In other words, I believe in evolution, but believe ID is a useful tool for the development of knowledge.
==============================================
==========================

Martin

As I said before 7M, I would taunt you further, but it would be like beating a chipmunk to death with a stick, a distasteful and unedifying venture in which no gentleman could participate in good faith. Scurry away unmolested.

Tollhouse

Who said this?

"In the fall of 2002, my deputy and I briefed hundreds of members of Congress on Iraq. We did not brief the uranium acquisition story."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-07-11-tenet-text_x.htm

Perhaps Sen Nelson was engaging in that age old technique of claiming he'd been LIED TOO for political effect.

Seven Machos

Marty -- What's your point? Do you have one?

Things are either true or they aren't. It doesn't matter if you prove them to be true or to be false because they are true or false independent of you.


Martin

Two different methods entirely 7M.

There's only one scientific method.

goddessoftheclassroom

"Hilail Gildin writes: Andrea Mitchell was asked, on MSNBC, whether it was generally known to news people, before the hullabaloo, that Ms. Plame worked for the CIA. She answered, somewhat reluctantly, that it was. In the light of this, I don't understand the ensuing fuss."

Powerline 7/10/05

When you start the ad hominem attacks and insulta, you're conceding that you have no weapons of fact.

Tommy V

Marty,

"distasteful and unedifying"

That's a bit redundant. You're showing off.

kim

Well I guess Martin was the butt of it, but he's well within the pale becasue he won't beat chipmunks with a stick.
==========================================

Martin

That's exactly the quote for which TM has sought verification oh these many moons backoftheclassroom.

Got any?

Seven Machos

Goddess: Where is the ad hominem attack?

Martin

No, Tommy V-edify and edible are different words.

Steven J.

TOLL - "Perhaps Sen Nelson was engaging in that age old technique of claiming he'd been LIED TOO for political effect."

Nelson was referring to the "killer drones."

Jim E.

"what may or may not have happened thousands of years ago."

Thousands of years ago? Even the IDers (well, excluding the "young earth" IDers) are willing to concede "millions and millions of years ago," not thousands.

Ah, why doesn't it surprise me that Seven "Karl Rove MUST be innocent " Machos is reluctant to acknowledge science (not even psuedo-science!)?

Seven Machos

Thousands is part of millions, Jim. But, really, does it matter? I'm sure you are very bitter about this, as ou are bitter about so much, and that the Pliestocene era means quite a lot to you, but, really, you are quibbling.

Also, I have said that Karl Rove will not be indicted and will be exonerated completely with regard to Plamegate. I stand by this assertion. I look forward to your profuse apologies when he is exonerated.

kim

He's gonna always believe the heat was put on the CIA to provide a fall guy.
==========================

J Mann

On the issue of "proof" for the Mitchell quote, three comments.

1) Martin, be fair. The alleged quote was on MSNBC. What are the odds that one of the five people who watch the channel is commenting here?

2) With that said, Owl claims to have seen it. Owl, and anyone else who claims to have seen the admission, what else do you remember about the show? What show was it, or, failing that, what time was it on, who were the other guests, and what did it look like? What were the other topics?

3) Tom, if you want to investigate further, I would ask question number two. (despite how much you will annoy Martin and Jim, or maybe because of it). If your commenters can tell you anything about the supposed Mitchell appearance - whether the show was call-in or not, who the other guests were, what time the show was, what date, what kind of table they were sitting at, we should be able to confirm or deny the quote relatively quickly.

Jim E.

SM,
You think I'm "quibbling" when I point out that "thousands and thousands" is totally different from "millions and millions"? Mmm-kay. You must not care about where the decimal point is on your paychecks.

You wrote that Karl Rove will be "exonerated completely with regard to Plamegate."

Actually, we already know he's implicated in this mess, having been a source for both Cooper and Novak. So you're wrong already. Unless, that is, you're only dealing with legal technicalities, in which case, Rove might easily be innocent. I've never asserted anything one way or the other in terms of predicting who will or won't be indicted.

"I look forward to your profuse apologies."
Why would I have to apologize for anything? Quote a Rove related comment I've written that I would need to apologize for were he to be exonerated, legally speaking. Unlike you, I don't make bold predictions on the basis of very incomplete information. So, happy hunting. Wouldn't you love to see me apologize? Find a quote, first.

If he is indicted, on the other hand, I look forward to seeing you eat your hat (or whatever article of clothing you promised to eat).

kim

Tenet to Novak to Harlow. Who ends up with the bureaucratic hot potato(e)?

Well, who's out of a job?
===========================

Jim E.

J Mann,

With regards to your point #3, I believe you should read TM's July 19 link (which you already directed me to read). He already put out a call for evidence, and none was provided. Some commenters, however (including me) provided circumstantial evidence debunking the Mitchell non-quote. So what "annoys" me is that TM already went hunting for evidence, found none, and weeks later acts as if this is still an open-question.

In a related story, TM still thinks the tooth fairy is an open question. But will the Powerline folks respond?

Seven Machos

Uh-oh. I see Jim is seething. Who could ever have predicted it?

By the way, my whole point above was that it doesn't matter whether evolution or intelligent design happened. And now you'd like to argue with me about the details of something I don't think matters?

I wish I could be smart enough to understand this highfalutin reasoning...

Joe

I've mentioned it before, I have a not complete recollection of the Mitchell quote originating on the Imus show. I don't watch MSNBC, but I sometimes listen to Imus during my daily 45 minute commute to work. By my recollection it was some time ago when this whole issue was beginning to come to light as a potential scandal around the same time when Wilson was optimizing his media saturation and demanding frog-marching. The gist of conversation was Imus inquiring if it was really a big deal and was the fact of her employment somewhat common knowledge within the beltway and Mitchell responding that it was not really a secret but that there were some troubling implications. I could be wrong, but that's what I remember.

Tommy V

Marty,

No one said anything about edible. Unedifying generally means distasteful in reference to a public act.

Saying distasteful and unedifying is akin to saying small and tiny.

It's unnecessary and indicates someone showing off a vocabulary that they just don't quite understand.

Jim E.

"it doesn't matter whether evolution or intelligent design happened."

Then why are you writing about it (and disagreeing with Dear Leader) at all?

J Mann

Martin, I meant point #1 for you. :)

Seriously, as I recall, Tom looked for evidence, and found:

1) 1 guy who says he saw it on Hardball or Imus;

2) Some people who pointed to later Mitchell quotes saying that Plame was "covert",

3) At least one person who claimed to have seen an NBC press release stating that Mitchell didn't know Plame was CIA prior to the Novak article.

I think that's a mixed bag. #1 is unverified so far, but so is #3. (And you would think we'd be able to google up reference to an NBC press release). #2 doesn't show anything either, because the "covert" quotes aren't incompatible with DC insiders knowing.

kim

Perhaps to get you to understand what he thinks, Jim, that's why he writes.
========================

Jim E.

"indicates someone showing off a vocabulary"

But when Tommy "no one said Iraq was an immediate, urgent, or imminent threat" V parses away, that's not showing off. Not at all. Especially on such a significant point.

Martin

Quite the contrary Tommy V. I myself am generally not a prescriptivist, but certain standards must be maintained.

In standard usage, distasteful and unedifying are not synonymous, nor is their association redundant. At all. If in your crowd "Unedifying generally means distasteful in reference to a public act" then your crowd is "wrong" as it stands now-though your barbarism may well carry the day in the end.

Tommy V

Jim,

You lost me on that one. How is listening to policy speeches parsing? How is it even showing off?

Anyway, Marty was right. You could use unedifying as something other than distasteful depending on the dictionary you use.

"Actually, we already know he's implicated in this mess, having been a source for both Cooper and Novak"

Really? We know that? That a crime has in fact occurred, and it occured in those conversations?

Hmmm. That's not what I get.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'If Joe Wilson wrote an erroneous op ed, even if his motivations were political, that would have exactly NO impact on our national security or the integrity of our intelligence services.'

Oh yeah, I'll just bet that everyone was dying to talk to talk to CIA after one of their 'agents' wrote in the NY Times about what he'd been doing for them.

Btw, where's Jeff to complain that Steven J isn't keeping track of the points that have been made already?

Tommy V

JIm,

The only reason I brought it up is because I had to look it up. That dictionary indicated a redundancy. I have to look up a lot of words you use and generally find it annoying. If it was not carried with such contempt I would not have had such a temptation to correct you (a temptation I now regret).

adjective (esp. of an event taking place in public) distasteful; unpleasant :

I also had to look up prescriptivist. And while used correctly, the tone still indicates an attitude that I would love to put in it's place. Since you carry a deaf ear to the facts of the topic at hand I know it won't be through that. Perhaps I will just have to take my pleasure at the end of this investigation.

"Barbarism". Yes, that's us. Barbarians. No, you're not a snob at all. You are clearly a warrior for the little guy.

Tommy V

My apologies, to Jim E, that last post was not for you but for Marty.

Martin

Tommy V-I'll tone down the contempt when speaking to you personally. Your compatriots remain on their own.

But generally my comments are like a mirror. If an ass looks in, you can't expect an angel to look out.

Barbarism I meant quite literally: fr. Latin barbarismus, use of a foreign tongue or of one's own tongue amiss, barbarism, from Greek barbarismos, from barbarizein, to behave or speak like a barbarian, from barbaros, non-Greek, foreign (imitative of the sound of unintelligible speech).

Tommy V

Martin,

Clearly I am going to have to upgrade my dictionary when conversing with you.

red

I saw that discussion with Andrea Mitchell and my recollection was that she was dissembling about the general knowledge that Flame was a CIA desk employee. I don't recall the words, but her facial expression was the sucking on lemons unpleasant at the thought of admitting that this whole fantasy is a journalistic hoax.

Martin

That's a good thing, my man.

BumperStickerist

I commented here a while back that I, too, remember seeing the Mitchell/Plame comment on 'Imus in the Morning'.

At the time I recall thinking 'oh' and went on with breakfast.

It wasn't a Big Deal at the time so I can't point to anything else that was discussed to make the date particularly memorable.

I took a look on Google for an Imus show archive or a listing of appearances by Mitchell on Imus. I couldn't find a source for Imus show archive material using google.

fwiw - Mitchell's appearances tend to be wide-ranging gabfests, from 'So did Crazy Al slip in the tub ...' to 'Tell us about your trip with the President' so there wouldn't be anything in the description of Mitchell's appearance which would indicate which appearance of hers was the one with the Plame mention.

And I'll caveat all this by stating that this is provided on an "As best I can recall" basis and that I have not received any memoranda or communications from Evil Karl or his minions, the RNC, or any web-based coalition regarding what to post.

Tommy V

This is called blowback. Instead of chipping away at your arrogance I have only enhanced it.

My apologies to everyone else.

Martin

You're a used merkin.

Tommy V

Now, Martin, did you really have that one at your disposal?

Martin

Oh, I got tons more where that came from.

boris

oh great, now look what you've done

Maritain

I'm under deep cover myself, but if someone (TM?) wants to ask Hilail Gildin a question, here is his email:

hilail_gildinATqc.edu


I found the email here:

http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/Philo/tf.htm


More info here:

http://www.qcstudent.com/servlet/ShowProfReviews?profid=808


Quoth the undergrad: "If you want to learn something you never knew before, he's your man."

Jim E.

I wrote: "Actually, we already know he's [Rove] implicated in this mess, having been a source for both Cooper and Novak"

Tommy V responded: "Really? We know that? That a crime has in fact occurred, and it occured in those conversations?"

Since you think the word "mess" means "crime" you really do need to upgrade that dictionary.

Tommy V

Exonerated, investigated, implicated:

It was the use of "implicated" that suggested a crime. A word somewhat out of place otherwise. While it can used properly without a crime, a crime is implied, or it is a reference to its use when a crime is committed.


Jim E.

"it can used properly without a crime"

This is correct.

kim

Well, Hil Gil, will you spill the tale of her tell?
==================================================

owl

I do not remember the date but do not think the time I saw Andrea was the same time that Joe describes.

I think Chris Matthews was doing his fast talk, going on and on and really OVER Andrea, so she did not have to do much talking. I remember it like the quote above that said she "reluctantly admitted it was an open secret". I think he was doing the talking and she was doing the nodding and said yes. Sorry I do not remember the date and I think you might need to see a video of it. If you had seen what I saw, you would have believed that Andrea Mitchell said that. Now I have seen her later when she looks as if she has backed off.

BTW, do not lie about what I have seen. And I only saw her once when she definitely said it. Have seen her many other times since, when she had lots of opportunity to say it, and didn't.

Syl

Woowie, my comment made it into an update!! Thanks, Tom!

Clyde

Etienne, those of you on the Left who breathlessly report each additional casualty in Iraq and Afghanistan seem to forget one thing: Our military casualty toll in the global war on terror STILL is less than the number of civilians murdered on 9/11. And that's almost four years later. Meanwhile, how many terrorists and their ilk have been killed or captured? Tens of thousands, baby. The bad guys are losing this war, and the only way they'll win it is if we allow the Fifth Columnists from the Fourth Estate to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like they did in Vietnam.

Jim E.

"Our military casualty toll in the global war on terror STILL is less than the number of civilians murdered on 9/11."

So? It's almost 20X's the amount when Bush declared "Mission Accomplished." When we clear 2,900 dead you'll start to care?

"Meanwhile, how many terrorists and their ilk have been killed or captured?"

How many more have been created (through inspiration, recruitment, jihad) in the meantime due to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11??

"Fifth Columnists from the Fourth Estate"

Who are you, Andrew Sullivan? (He doesn't even push that crap as much anymore.)

"like they did in Vietnam."

Oh, and here I thought it was enemy soldiers with guns -- and not writers -- that had something to do with the U.S. defeat. WHy do you hate America?

kim

Check it out, Jim E, poorly as the Vietnam War was prosecuted, our military was winning it.
=========================================

Jim E.

Yep, just like it's winning in Iraq. Winning every battle, but losing the war.

What about "hearts and minds"?

Dwilkers

Steven J:

"CATHYF - "But it appears that there are lots of people who learned nothing on 9/11"

As a former resident of Manhattan, I find your comment very offensive."

ROFLMAO. My aren't we sensitive? Perhaps too sensitive for internet debate. Go on to bed now Stevie.

kim

Jim E: You've been propagandized. Think of the hearts and minds on the refugee boats. Think of the hearts and minds of the skeletal Cambodians. Do the Stalinists in charge in Vietnam have the hearts and minds of the people?

Hearts and minds was his point. The hearts and minds of the American people lost the will for that battle.
==============================================

Tommy V

Jim E.

You're an ankle-biter. You're just a petty complainer. You're still harping about "mission accomplished"? Like it means something other than a political embarrassment. "We're creating terrorists!!!", as if that is some accurate or even useful barometer to predict the next five years of this war. You say, "Winning every battle, but losing the war" as if that displayed some kind of value system, or any kind of understanding who is fighting and what they're fighting for.

You've got nothing original to add. You just have complaints about Bush. They're not even original complaints. They're the same hackneyed complaints that trickle down from the left. You have no intellectual initiative of your own, you simply respond to other people's initiative.

I've been reading you for a while and I still have no idea what you believe other than if Bush does it, you don't like it.

TM

Well, after wasting a bit of time, there seem to be two sources of the Andrea Mitchell story.

First, with most people citing either Powerline or nothing, is the notion that she appeared on an MSNBC show around July 10.

Secondly, she apparently was chatting with Don Imus on July 12 and said that Ms. Wilson's ID was all over town.

Naturally, there are no transcripts or credible news reports.

However... Here is Ms. Mitchell herself, writing on the NBC News blog, on July 15:

One of a number of intriguing questions: During that 10-day period in July 2003, how many reporters were circulating information about Wilson's wife to administration officials? More than a few, but clearly some failed to realize how seriously the CIA would take the disclosure of a covert officer's identity. Nor, clearly, did at least two administration officials who were the sources for Novak's column.

More than a few? How much more? And what is "a few"? Is it more than "a couple"? And how does she know?

We need a journalist shield law to protect these jokers from angry citizens.

OK, off-hand - Russert (to Libby), Cooper (to Libby), Novak (to Rove) - is that "a few"?

cathyf

the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11??

So the February 23, 1998 al Qeda Fatwah gives as causus belli the invasion of Iraq, the cease-fire terms, the "desecration" of the "holy lands" by presence of US troops which was required to enforce sanctions against Iraq. So do you think OBL was lying in the fatwah? Do you have a bumper sticker on your car that says "OSAMA LIED PEOPLE DIED"?

Just curious...

cathy :-)

TM

From Jim E:

I think your July post was responsible in that you requested verification on the Andrea Mitchell thing. That July post showed two things (via the comment thread): 1. no verification of Andrea Mitchell quote exists and 2. there are actual Andrea Mitchell quotes that implicitly contradict what the Powerline folks alleged. For you to continue to peddle this weeks later is not responsible.

I am so delighted to have your input into what is or is not responsible.

Perhaps you will reciprocate, and endure a bit of constructive criticism about your reading comprehension. Or perhaps I am jumping to an inappropriate conclusion - did you even read what I posted on that topic? Some highlights:

Conservative Journalist Confirms Plame Spy ID Was Widely Known: In the "Trust, but Verify" folder, we see that Cliff May, writing at the National Review Online, told us in Sept 2003 that:

...

It may well be that insiders were well aware of her employment at the CIA. However, almost two years have passed and none of these insiders have come forward to say so. If Mr. May could amplify or clarify his anecdote, there is no time like the present.

And while on that point, we have yet to see a clear transcript or public citation of Andrea Mitchell making a similar admission in July 2005.

Now, does that really strike you as "peddling"? Which part, particularly - the "Trust, but verify", which Reagan always said to the Russians? Or maybe it was "almost two years have passed and none of these insiders have come forward to say so" - that probably struck Mr. May as a glowing endorsement.

"We have yet to se a clear transcript..." - yeah, that can only be read as a plug.

Unfortunately, other parts of the post may be too complex, as well. For example, in the next bit, my suggested headline is this:

Former CIA Spokesman Documents Warning To Novak

But you know what? Even though I wrote it that way, I am *not* peddling the notion that he will be able to produce those documents. Surprised? I bet you are.

Waste of time.

Steven J. - I am vaguely familiar with what Wilson wrote on July 6, which is why I mentioned Krisotf, who provided a laugh riot based on anonymous leaks from Wilson on May 6. Here we go:

I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.

The envoy reported, for example, that a Niger minister whose signature was on one of the documents had in fact been out of office for more than a decade. In addition, the Niger mining program was structured so that the uranium diversion had been impossible. The envoy's debunking of the forgery was passed around the administration and seemed to be accepted — except that President Bush and the State Department kept citing it anyway. "It's disingenuous for the State Department people to say they were bamboozled because they knew about this for a year," one insider said.

Care to vet that? We will be especially intrigued to learn how Wilson reported in Feb 2002 that the signatures were wrong, when the US didn't get the docs until the fall of 2002.

Or tell us about his "unequivoval" report.

Jeff

If I could add one:

Cheney clarifies his role in Niger-Iraq fiasco

Given the confusing things Cheney has said about this, the seemingly deliberately obscure SSCI, and the controversy over Wilson's accounts, wouldn't it be nice if Cheney explained: 1)exactly what he said to his morning briefer on that fateful day in February 2002 (and to anyone else of relevance) that led the CIA to decide to investigate "intelligence" about Iraq seeking uranium from Niger at least in part by sending someone to Niger in February-March 2002; as well as whether his office contemporaneously expressed interest in the alleged Niger-Iraq uranium deal that led to investigation by INR and the production of an intelligence assessment on March 1 2002 by an INR analyst who reported that he was told the piece was in response to interest from the Vice President's office in the alleged deal; and if so, what precise form that expression of interest took; 2)when and in what form he or anyone in his office learned any information gained from Joe Wilson's trip to Niger, as well as from Wilson's contacts with the CIA in connection with that trip; and more specifically, whether and when he or anyone in his office first learned of -- saw, read, heard about, read about -- the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip to Niger, which reportedly got a normal and wide distribution on March 8 2002; 3)similarly, whether and when Cheney or anyone in his office first learned of and/or received information about the INR intelligence assessment of March 1 2002 entitled Niger: Sale of Uranium to Iraq is Unlikely, whose author, again, was told the report was in response to interest from the Vice President's office; 4)whether his morning briefer conveyed to Cheney the information WINPAC provided to the briefer, on March 5 2002, in response to Cheney's request for an update on the Niger uranium issue, that on March 5 the CIA would be debriefing a source who might have information relating to the alleged sale of uranium by Niger to Iraq, and whether (and if so when) Cheney ever asked for and/or received an update relating to that March 5 debriefing and that source, i.e. Wilson (though that Wilson was the source was evidently unknown to Cheney).

Jim E.

Silly me for thinking "trust, but verify" means you're inclined to give Powerline's Andrea Mitchell story the benefit of the doubt. I wasn't alone in that interpretation, as your comment thread will indicate. Instead of mocking my reading comprehension, perhaps you should sharpen those writing skills.

To repeatedly bleg for information about an unsourced tid-bit -- and saying we haven't "yet" gotten a transcript of Mitchell bolstering May's account, as if one is going to appear -- is certainly peddling, if not outright endorsing, the story.

And for what it's worth, Mitchell's blog item doesn't say that news people were aware of Plame's employer "before the hullabaloo," which is what the Powerline item claimed. In fact, she only refers to "10 days" in July -- the days after Wilson penned his piece, right in the midst of the "hullabaloo." So that item -- which is, as you point out, quite vague -- doesn't at all bolster the Powerline item.

But, hey, continue writing inscrutable items about obscure,, non-existent Andrea Mitchell comments. It's your blog. But I would've thought you'd have some strong opinions -- and spin -- about White House officials not recording calls into call logs by now, rather than dealing with unsourced Powerline minutia.

Tommy V

Was anyone under the impression that Iraq actually purchased uranium from Niger? Did anyone claim that they had?

To the best of my knowledge no one had.

So even if Wilson concluded that it was unlikely that Iraq purchased uranium from Niger, and this report, verbal or otherwise, reached the highest levels, who and what exacty was he correcting?

So many, especially Wilson, act like his trip disproved some notion of the Bush Administration, but it is simply a slight of hand. He concluded no sale was likely, a claim no one actually made.

If I am wrong on this someone please correct me, because as far as I can tell it keeps going back in circles to an entirely incorrect notion, and no amount of correcting seems to be acknowledged.

Jeff

Tommy V - If you're referring to my post, and more specifically the intelligence report entitled Niger: Sale of Uranium to Iraq is Unlikely, note that that has nothing to do with Wilson. It's a separate INR report -- though part of what is interesting about it is that, according to the SSCI report, the author of that report was told, just like WIlson was told, that his report was in response to interest in the alleged deal expressed by Vice President Cheney's office. So it wasn't only the crazy old CIA that somehow thought Cheney's office expected something more from them on the Niger-Iraq-uranium business. As for the issue of obtained v. sought to obtain, my sense is there was interest in both, not surprisingly, on the part of the administration. And Wilson appears to have thought that his trip and his info spoke to the question of Iraq seeking uranium as well. In this regard, it is fascinating to see what I take to be the battle between the Democratic and Republican staffers writing up the SSCI report, when the Democrats weren't asleep, that is, as well as the battle within the CIA suggested by the SSCI report's facts presented -- something that I have not seen all that much attention paid to, at least recently. Wilson clearly puts a different interpretation on what he learned of the one interaction concerning potential business dealings between Iraq and Niger than, apparently, his CIA debriefers, and/or those who produced the intelligence report, did. In a sense, the SSCI is a piece of junk, because while it has a lot of interesting facts in there, they are completely cut off from their larger factual context, from surrounding facts. So it is very difficult to tell what is going on at times. I would also correct your assertion that Wilson acts like his trip disproved some notion of the Bush administration. Contra his critics, I don't think Wilson ever made such a strong claim.

Jeff

I haven't read every single comment here, but I don't see why there's such a problem with these suggestions. I don't take them to be presented as necessarily central, though a couple of them are, and I don't take TM to be sympathetic to the right wing side in several of them. In one case, the Powerline almost-certainly-bs, calling out the right on a lame presentation of a non-fact, which quickly makes the rounds in the game of right-wing telephone, gaining the status of a Known Fact that supports their side strikes me as a very useful exercise. After all, in my view, the right wing side in this case, as a political as distinct from a legal matter, seems to me to be composed largely of minute but cumulatively significant bs.

The Russert thing is altogether worth nailing down. I hate to sound like a standard-issue D.C. hater, but there is altogether too much rhetorical sleights of hand in Washington on all parts. Calling on a journalist to quit it strikes me as worthwhile -- and potentially revelatory of some really important info in the case.

As for Wilson, I don't share TM's evident dislike for the guy (I think I'm pretty indifferent), and I would think it would be more significant if Wilson had not participated in the grand jury proceedings. I also think that a careful read of the SSCI report on the matter of what Wilson said about the forgeries and what he knew when makes it less obvious that Wilson was an evildoer on that count. There are, among other things, some either sloppy or pernicious ambiguity in references to Wilson's CIA contacts by the aggressive Senators in the SSCI report, as well as outstanding questions about what, with respect to the forgeries, the CIA had in its possession when. These are actually big and important questions.

I also still don't see why TM is so specifically concerned with what reporters testified, and hearing from them on that, as distinct from members of the Bush administration. After all, Bush himself demanded full cooperation -- and I didn't hear any caveat about full cooperation, unless it would put you in legal jeopardy. Honnor and dignity, after all.

Finally, why not have the CIA account for any screw-up? That seems pretty important, though I am less convinced it is of the character and significance TM evidently wants to put on it.

Jeff

One other thing: the very intriguing Andrea Mitchell blog post that TM cites pretty much refutes the point of the original right-wing talking point floated by Powerline. However uncomfortable Mitchell might have appeared, it appears she was talking about the period July 6-14 2003, and not before. So what she says provides no support for the idea -- beloved of right-wingers apparently since Cliff May floated it and Robert Novak used it to rationalize his own case -- that Plame's status at the CIA was essentially public knowledge before the White House decided to use her in its twin attacks on Wilson and the CIA in July 2003. Indeed, it seems rather to provide support for the opposite view: that a lot really was going on in that July 6-14 period.

Similarly, I would be willing to bet that we could date Cliff May's cocktail conversation to July 2003.

Tommy V

"So it wasn't only the crazy old CIA that somehow thought Cheney's office expected something more from them on the Niger-Iraq-uranium business."

I did not think this was in question. The SSCI report was pretty clear that Cheney asked questions (Along with other departments) and people didn't have answers and that they thought it would be a good idea to go get them.

At least that was how I read it.

Steven J.

TM -

Thanks for the link to the Kristof article. I had heard about it but I hadn't come across it anywhere else.

Now, about Wilson's claims to Kristof: it's not clear to me that Wilson made the claim about the forgeries. Kristof cites "according to someone present at the meetings" instead of "a former U.S. ambassador." Kristof may have done that to further shield Wilson but it's just not clear to me. (Has Kristof said Wilson was his only source for the article?)

You make the good point that Wilson could not have spoken in Feb 02 about documents that didn't come into our possession until the following Fall. Wilson did assert to the SSCI staff that he "discussed with his CIA contacts which names and signatures should have appeared on any documentation of a legitimate uranium transaction." [NOTE: all references I make to the SSCI report come from http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/congress/2004_rpt/iraq-wmd-intell_toc.htm It's in HTML so text functions like "find" work on it, unlike the PDF for the SSCI.]

According to the SSCI, the report based on Wilson's trip certainly wasn't "unequivocal":

"An INR analyst said when he saw the report he believed that it corroborated the INR's position, but said that the "report could be read in different ways." He said the report was credible, but did not give it a lot of attention because he was busy with other things."

"DIA and CIA analysts said that when they saw the intelligence report they did not believe that it supplied much new information and did not think that it clarified the story on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal."

IF Wilson claimed his report was "unequivocal," he was mistaken.


Steven J.

JEFF - "whether and when he [Cheney] or anyone in his office first learned of -- saw, read, heard about, read about -- the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip to Niger, which reportedly got a normal and wide distribution on March 8 2002"

According to the SSCI report, Cheney was not briefed on Wilson's report:

"Because CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue, they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers. For the same reason, CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President's previous questions about the issue."

http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/congress/2004_rpt/iraq-wmd-intell_chapter2-b.htm

JoAnn  R. Kingdon

Andrea Mitchell made the assertion about it being well known that Plame was in the CIA on the Don Imus Show in July 20005. It seemed to be a very casual and off hand comment by her which surprised me because she sounde like it was a known and agreed fact by everone in her circle. I heard her say it. But I can't remember the date because she is on the program quite freguently.

kim

SJ?
===

TM

Hmm, very insightful difference-splitting by Jeff:

However uncomfortable Mitchell might have appeared, it appears she was talking about the period July 6-14 2003, and not before.

We have a couple of eye-witnesses here, and I have no reason to think they are lying, so let's ask - is that possible, or likely - Ms. Mitchel was admitting that *after* Wilson ID'ed himself, lots of reporters learned about his wife?

(I am not sure why that would not have happened after, for example, the Walter Pincus June 12 piece - that ignited the White House, so why wouldn't it ignite reporters? And Wilson was widely available, anonymously - Kristof, New Republic, WaPo. Wouldn't reporters have been playing "Who is this guy" right along with the White House since mid-June?)

Anyway, here is a tidbit I ran across and promptly lost (as Freud would have predicted) - in reading Hardball transcripts last night, I found one (lefty) guest who claimed that in some talk show (maybe March 16, 2003 Meet the Press?), Cheney was asked about the Niger trip, and said something like "I asked for a report...)".

That would be just the sort of quote that would vex folks relying on the Senate report.

It may have been the same guest, but one reason I ignored it was that I had just read some Dem Senator recycling Cheney's "reconstituted nuclear weapons" mis-statement (which Chris Matthews explained - breakthrough!), so I figured this was more of the same. Still, it may be out there.

TM

Well, this was *not* the show - Cheney and Russert in Sept 2003:

MR. RUSSERT: Now, Ambassador Joe Wilson, a year before that, was sent over by the CIA because you raised the question about uranium from Africa. He says he came back from Niger and said that, in fact, he could not find any documentation that, in fact, Niger had sent uranium to Iraq or engaged in that activity and reported it back to the proper channels. Were you briefed on his findings in February, March of 2002?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I don’t know Joe Wilson. I’ve never met Joe Wilson. A question had arisen. I’d heard a report that the Iraqis had been trying to acquire uranium in Africa, Niger in particular. I get a daily brief on my own each day before I meet with the president to go through the intel. And I ask lots of question. One of the questions I asked at that particular time about this, I said, “What do we know about this?” They take the question. He came back within a day or two and said, “This is all we know. There’s a lot we don’t know,” end of statement. And Joe Wilson—I don’t who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.

That's his story, and he stuck with it.

TM

OK, I gotta go. But on the Cheney/Wilson "out of Africa" question, this "what are you going to believe, me or your lying ears" exchange is a classic. "Brown" is Campbell Brown of MSNBC, chatting with Wilson's attorney:

BROWN: Right. But there are—there are other questions here, because he suggested that he was sent on this mission by the vice president‘s office.

(CROSSTALK)

WOLF: No, he never did. He never did. And that‘s one of the ...

BROWN: He said he thought he may have been...

WOLF: No.

BROWN: He wasn‘t unclear on it.

WOLF: No.

BROWN: Hey, look, come on. I talked to him. I interviewed him right after his...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: ... came out.

WOLF: I understand, but if you read his book—if you read his book and if you read...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: But he never let on in any way, shape or form that his wife was involved in the discussions about how he should go—or why he should go.

WOLF: What he said was that his understanding—his understanding was, Campbell, that the vice president‘s office had asked the CIA to look into this issue of whether Iraq was seeking to obtain nuclear fissionable material from Niger.

He then had meetings at the CIA and his wife participated on the periphery. And what he also said was, she was not the one who authorized his trip or engineered his trip. All of that is true. And all of the discussion about this is simply a sideshow. It has nothing to do with the ultimate report which he gave, which, as I said earlier, the White House confirmed and admitted that the 16 words should not have been in the State of the Union.

Martin

"And Joe Wilson—I don’t who sent Joe Wilson."

Now why did Cheney abandon the old "his wife sent him" line?

boris

Hmmmm ...

Cliff May at corner.nationalreview.com writes that V.P. has been on

“enforced leave of absence” -- that she has been on “unpaid leave for a year.”

Also ...

a former CIA officer, whose name remains secret, is filing a lawsuit against the agency because he was dismissed in 2004 – the same year that Plame was put on “enforced leave of absence.”

What’s more, the fired CIA officer “worked in the same unit of the agency” as Plame. And his lawyer “likened his client's situation to that of Valerie Wilson, also known as Valerie Plame.”

Verrrrry interesting ...

Martin

Re: Congress's Palmeiro perjury inquiry:

"If we did nothing," he (Rep. Tom Davis) added, "I think we'd look like idiots. Don't you?"

Seriously, are you guys for real?

Mac

The Telegraph reports that Ms. Plame has been on a year long "enforced leave of absence"?

Now that's interesting...

linky dinky

millco88

Martin,

I'm a lurker on this site, but when you go down the baseball road, you're getting into things I know quite a bit about. Palmeiro, unlike Sosa and McGwire, actually pointed his finger at the camera and said he never took steroids. Approximately two months later, the guy tests positive for a type of steroid that isn't found in a supplement.

If you're using Davis' statement as an indication the Reps are immoral, indecent, political, etc., fine, that's your opinion. But it certainly appears that Palmeiro lied in a Congressional hearing. Some people think that's a big deal. Shouldn't Congress look into that, at least a little bit??

Tommy V

"Now why did Cheney abandon the old "his wife sent him" line?"

Did Cheney ever promote that? If my memory serves that was never Cheney's assertion.

Jeff

TM said, I am not sure why that would not have happened after, for example, the Walter Pincus June 12 piece - that ignited the White House, so why wouldn't it ignite reporters? And Wilson was widely available, anonymously - Kristof, New Republic, WaPo. Wouldn't reporters have been playing "Who is this guy" right along with the White House since mid-June?

It may have happened, and don't forget the other possibility that the WH was already on the case then. And if it didn't happen, then it seems more likely we can pin this on the administration.

I found one (lefty) guest who claimed that in some talk show (maybe March 16, 2003 Meet the Press?), Cheney was asked about the Niger trip, and said something like "I asked for a report...)"

I'm skeptical -- Cheney strikes me as a very careful and practiced user of weasel-words. The passage you cite from Sept. 2003 is a classic. It appears from the SSCI itself that Cheney's is a deeply misleading account, in several respects. First, if, as seems to be the case, Cheney is referring to the special version of SPWR021402-05 he received when he says

They take the question. He [his briefer] came back within a day or two and said, “This is all we know. There’s a lot we don’t know,” end of statement,

that may have been the end of the statement, but the "this" to which it refers specifically says, "we are working to clarify the information and to determine whether it can be corroborated." (SSCI report, p. 38) So Cheney knows that is not the end of the story, and he knows the CIA is on the case. Which is presumably at least part of why he asks for an update in early March from his briefer (SSCI report, p. 43), and is told, among other things, that a source -- Wilson, we know -- was to be debriefed the very day he receives that response (March 5 2002). The SSCI is silent on whether Cheney ever followed up again with such a request for an update. We know that the CIA did not specifically brief him on the intelligence report produced as a result of Wilson's trip, but, alas, both Cheney and the SSCI are silent on whether Cheney learned of information gained as a result of the trip and as a result of Wilson's debriefing and as a result of Wilson's knowledge of Niger politics. We do know from Tenet that that report received a normal and wide distribution. All we get from Cheney's comments on MTP is the classic non-denial denial:

He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.

Well, Mr. Vice President, everybody agrees that Wilson himself never submitted a report, so there's no way you or anyone else on earth ever saw it. Someone else submitted a report after debriefing Wilson. Did you ever see, hear, or otherwise learn anything of the existence and/or contents of that report? Did anyone in your office?

Jeff

TM - I'm not quite sure what you think the exchange between Campbell Brown and Wilson's lawyer shows or suggests. The basic point is that Brown has fallen for the administration's gambit: the administration clearly wanted to equate the fact that Wilson's wife was involved in some way, shape or form, and that WIlson did not disclose that fact, with the falsity of Wilson's claim that, to the best of his knowledge, his trip was triggered by quesion(s) asked by the Vice President. Brown suggests she talked to Wilson and he said he "may have been . . ." which sounds a lot different from the claim that he was sent on his mission by the Vice President himself. See, if the administration can make out that Wilson said Cheney sent him, when in fact his wife sent him, that makes Wilson look awfully bad. But Wilson never said Cheney sent him, and it makes no difference whether in her professional capacity his wife played some, apparently minor role in the trip -- which, moreover, Wilson would have been bound by law not to reveal, right? So the fact that he never mentioned anything about his wife to Brown speaks not only to the irrelevance of that issue, but to the fact that he was obligated not to do so. There is a sense in which Wilson's lawyer is right that this is a sideshow -- although right now it has become of interest for how it reveals how the administration works, at least.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Wilson appears to have thought that his trip and his info spoke to the question of Iraq seeking uranium as well. In this regard, it is fascinating to see what I take to be the battle between the Democratic and Republican staffers writing up the SSCI report...'

Jeff appears to be as flexible as Joe Wilson, which I find fascinating.

'... Wilson clearly puts a different interpretation on what he learned of the one interaction concerning potential business dealings between Iraq and Niger than, apparently, his CIA debriefers, and/or those who produced the intelligence report, did. In a sense, the SSCI is a piece of junk...'

Wilson was forced to that only after the SSCI reported the discrepancy between the July 2003 Op-ed and what he told his debriefers. Which makes Wilson's Op-ed a 'piece of junk' since it withheld from readers what the CIA thought was the single most important bit of info he'd brought back from Niger.

'...because while it has a lot of interesting facts in there, they are completely cut off from their larger factual context, from surrounding facts. So it is very difficult to tell what is going on at times. I would also correct your assertion that Wilson acts like his trip disproved some notion of the Bush administration. Contra his critics, I don't think Wilson ever made such a strong claim.'

I'd say Jeff is even more flexible than Wilson. Not only did Wilson say in his Op-ed that the President's remarks in the SOTU of 2003 were:

'not borne out by the facts as I understood them....If...the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses.'

He got Kristof and Pincus to make even stronger charges that he'd disproved that Iraq had been trying to acquire uranium. In fact, Pincus, as late as last month was still making that claim (and Wilson is his source):

'In a 2002 trip to Niger at the request of the CIA, Wilson found no evidence to support allegations that Iraq was seeking uranium from that African country and reported back to the agency in February 2002.'

jerkweed

Sullivan-it might help your case if the White House would go back and REINSERT the 16 words since you guys act like they have in fact done so.

jukeboxgrad

J MANN: "In what possible universe is it ok for Harlow to tell Novak that Plame works for the CIA"

People are taking a close look at what Harlow allegedly said to Novak, and how this compares with an idea of general CIA guidelines. However, I think it's not necesarily helpful to go too far in the direction of treating Novak's call as something routine (and therefore easy to handle via generic guidelines).

Novak is not Joe Blow. He's been around forever. He's prominent and powerful. It's perhaps not wise to think he can be deflected easily with Standard Operating Procedure. Also, Novak was apparently calling to verify something he had heard from multiple SAO. It's reasonable to surmise that Novak made this clear. In other words, Novak probably said something like this (although skillfully couched in subtle language): "I know damn well Plame works at CIA. Rove told me and he should know. So don't think you can fool me by issuing some juvenile non-denial denial. This is Novak you're dealing with, not My Weekly Reader."

This is what Harlow had to contend with. It's reasonable to suppose that Harlow responded as follows (of course this was also couched in subtle terms): "I can't kid you, and I'm not going to pretend you don't already know something that you obviously do already know. I'm also not going to suggest that Rove is not in a position to know what he's talking about, when he gives you this sort of information. I'm going to tell you this, though: please don't out her."

jukeboxgrad

JOHN: "Bush likley does not want to have any conversations directly about it"

Aside from any baloney Bush is now giving us about how his hands are allegedly tied by Fitz (with regard to Bush discussing the matter with his staff), that does not explain what did or did not happen in the first few days post-Novak. Here is what should have happened: Bush should have summoned his people and told them he wanted to know what it was all about. And they should have told him. And he should have told us. This should have taken no more than a day or two. Someone please explain why this did not happen.

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Wilson/Plame