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August 17, 2005

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Marcel

For Karl Rove, it just keeps getting worse. Indictment or no indictment, it is time for Rove to spare further embarrassment to the President.

TM

Jeralynn Merritt has thoughts here. My quick reax - Rove's e-mail to Hadley mentioned Cooper. However, that was picked probably picked up in a WHIG subpoena from Jan 2004, after Fitzgerald took over.

Other parts of Rove's story have never been good.

Cecil Turner

Interesting. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to see Ashcroft's recusal as proof-positive of Administration guilt . . . or whether his checking to see if there was an actual case is proof-positive of collusion (since he shouldn't be allowed to see any of the facts before he recuses himself). But I don't see how it can be both.

On Rove's apparent memory lapses, it seems to me they're consistent with the view that he didn't know Plame was covert. If he could cite minute details of each contact with whom he discussed her, it'd be a pretty good indicator that he was paying a lot more attention than an anonymous CIA analyst's tangential involvement in the Wilson case would warrant.

Syl

I have no thoughts on Ashcroft, but I agree with Cecil this meshes with the idea that Rove did not know Plame was covert.

I've never believed, and still don't, that Rove 'outed Wilson's wife to punish him'.

The Harlow boo-boo looms large. BTW, I think Harlow is no longer CIA spokesman. When did that happen?


Anonymous Liberal

"On Rove's apparent memory lapses, it seems to me they're consistent with the view that he didn't know Plame was covert. If he could cite minute details of each contact with whom he discussed her, it'd be a pretty good indicator that he was paying a lot more attention than an anonymous CIA analyst's tangential involvement in the Wilson case would warrant."

I'm not sure I follow this line of reasoning. Rove is said to have an amazing memory for detail. And he did, after all, recall his conversations with both Novak and Cooper in some detail. And Rove's initial interview wasn't all that long after all these events took place. Couldn't we just as easily infer that Rove's memory lapse is evidence of consciousness of guilt? I'm not saying that Rove committed a crime. I have no idea. But your inference seems weak to me.

Cecil Turner

"Couldn't we just as easily infer that Rove's memory lapse is evidence of consciousness of guilt?"

Not sure we're too far apart here. Waas, et al, seem to be suggesting that's the only explanation. Hence my observation that they're "consistent" with the inadvertent outing theory. (I'd further suggest that it's the simplest explanation, since under the "nefarious mastermind" theory you'd expect evil Rove Vader to concoct a more plausible story . . . unless of course he's working a reverse Vulcan jujitsu mind-meld . . .)

Martin

or perhaps Rove has early onset Alzheimers?

I scoffed at Reagan's frequent "I don't recall" during Iran-Contra and look what transpired.

So Alzheimers? Nah-Rove is just a criminal and a scumbag.

Syl

"And he did, after all, recall his conversations with both Novak and Cooper in some detail"

Conversation with Novak: "I heard that too."
Conversation with Cooper had a memo to jog his memory.

Rove may be a scumbag and I have nothing invested in him beyond the fact he got Bush re-elected. Come 2008 the whole crew will back in Texas and we'll prolly never hear from any of them again. Makes all this fuss and stuff seem such a waste of time.


jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "If he [Rove] could cite minute details of each contact with whom he discussed her, it'd be a pretty good indicator that he was paying a lot more attention than an anonymous CIA analyst's tangential involvement in the Wilson case would warrant."

It's true that Plame played only a "tangential" role, at most, in Wilson's trip. This is what Wilson has been telling us all along. And whatever role she played is not relevant to the more important question of what Wilson found (and didn't find) on his trip. 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."

Anyway, it's highly entertaining to hear you endorsing Wilson's perspective on this point (for the purpose of explaining away Rove's odd memory lapse), since this perspective is very much at odds with the spin coming from Rove et al. Rove and his pals have been quite emphatic about encouraging folks to take a very close look at Plame's role in Wilson's trip. This is reflected in Rove telling Cooper (according to Cooper's email) that Plame "authorized" the trip. This is also reflected in the talking points coming from folks like Mehlman. Mehlman's official RNC news release on this subject lists 5 major points. Number two on the list is "Wilson Denied His Wife Suggested He Travel To Niger, But Documentation Showed She Proposed His Name."

So it's a little tough for Karl to have it both ways. He can't simultaneously claim that Plame's role is significant (and this is what Rove has been doing all along, and is still doing, as the RNC release indicates), and then also claim (as you seem to be doing on his behalf) that he can't be expected to remember how he heard about Plame since this is only a matter of "an anonymous CIA analyst's tangential involvement."

In your later message I notice what looks like some hedging, so feel free to let me know if I've totally misunderstood you.

"under the 'nefarious mastermind' theory you'd expect evil Rove Vader to concoct a more plausible story"

Even "nefarious masterminds" often end up choking on their own hubris. Besides, Rove had good reason to calculate that it would never get this far. Things were looking pretty good for Rove until Fitz cracked open Pearlstine and Cooper. Who was betting such things would ever happen (especially since these folks had covered for Rove in the period prior to 11/2/04)?

kim

Still wrong JBG. He may well not have heard or understood the impact of her involvement in the choice of her husband at the time of his poorly recollected conversation.

That is IF this latest Rove oriented leak has any more lasting power than the others.

Joe is the villain. He can't escape his fate, nor apparently can you escape being wrong in this matter.
==========================================

Anonymous Liberal

Well put, JBG, your analysis is spot on.

Regarding Rove's story, here's another thing I don't understand. By all accounts, Rove did not mention his conversation with Cooper in his initial FBI interview. Here's what strikes me as strange about that. Other than Novak's column, Cooper's "War on Wilson" article in Time was the most significant article to mention Plame's name. In it, Cooper writes that:

"[S]ome government officials have noted to Time in interviews (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

If I were one of the FBI agents who first interviews, one of the first questions I would ask all of the officials I interviewed is whether they were one of Cooper's sources for the "War on Wilson" article. Failing to ask that question would be almost inexcusable incompetence. So is it that Rove absent-mindedly forgot to mention his conversation with Cooper, or did he affirmatively deny being Cooper's source? If the latter, I understand why prosecutors were so anxious to appoint a special prosecutor. If Rove denied being Cooper's source, that would be textbook obstruction of justice.

MJW

There's a curious sentence in the article: "Wilson reported back to the CIA that the allegations were most likely the result of a hoax." Curious, because it seems to be referring to the phony yellowcake documents (if not, what?). I thought it was well-established that, despite Wilson's later claims, his report to the CIA didn't mention the fake documents. Both Tenet's press release and the 9/11 Commission report support this view.

I also think the sentence, "The mention of Plame's CIA employment was classified 'Secret' and was contained in the second paragraph of the three-page classified paper," states as a fact what is only an inference. Though it's reportedly true that the paragraph she's mentioned in is marked [S] for secret, I haven't heard anyone confirm that it was her CIA employment, rather than some other fact, that resulted in the paragraph's classification.

kim

When you try to recall from whom and to whom you spoke of a name that is on everyone's tongue, it is likely that the details are fuzzy.

It cannot be proven that Rove was the sole source from which came the news that broke V's cover, and a jury would not find criminality. A competent prosecutor would not press the case, and Fitz is competent.

Perjury is Fitz's game now, and Wilson is the natural perjurer.

Unless, of course, it's the Yellow Cake Mystery Fitz is after.
================================================

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "He [Rove] may well not have heard or understood the impact of her involvement in the choice of her husband at the time of his poorly recollected conversation."

If Cooper's email is to be trusted (and I haven't heard anyone put forth a good reason why it shouldn't), it was on 7/11/04 that Rove said to Cooper that Plame "authorized" Wilson's trip. Obviously at this moment Rove viewed Plame's role as important (or at least was trying to convince someone else that Plame's role was important). Since your claim seems to be that Rove's source communicated the idea (either explicitly or by omission) that Plame's role was "tangential," then it's even harder to explain what is already hard to explain: why did Rove say "authorized?"

The bottom line is that there are only two basic possibilities. One possibility is that Rove had no reason to think Plame had an important role, and simply pulled "authorized" out of his hat. That's not good. The other possibility is that someone gave Rove a reason to think that Plame had an important role. If so, Rove has a hard time convincing anyone that he would remember next to nothing about a conversation where he picked up information that he treated as important (important enough to pass along to Cooper in an emphatic manner).

"It cannot be proven that Rove was the sole source"

You can be counted on to say something both irrelevant and foolish.

I don't think anyone has claimed that Rove was "the sole source" of anything. He apparently had help from folks like Libby. Anyway, SF-312 doesn't say a leak is OK as long as other folks are doing it too. A leak is still a leak. We already know that Rove told Cooper about Plame. That's not good. You're speculating that other folks may have been having similar conversations, before, during and after the time of the Cooper-Rove conversation. We're still waiting patiently for you to explain the legal and/or moral principle which explains how this gets Rove off the hook. It doesn't.

jukeboxgrad

ANON: "Well put"

Thanks.

"If I were one of the FBI agents who first interviews, one of the first questions I would ask all of the officials I interviewed is whether they were one of Cooper's sources for the 'War on Wilson' article"

This is a good question that I haven't seen anyone ask. I wonder if a cagy interviewer would simply say "did you talk to anyone about Plame," and simply leave it at that. In other words, from a certain perspective the interviewer is helping the witness by reminding them about the Cooper article. If the interviewer is inclined to let the witness hang himself, the interviewer may be happy to not give the witness that extra help.

This is just guesswork on my part; I have no idea what guidelines or practices the FBI would follow in a situation like that.

Jonah D. Wail

It's been fun reading this thread with all the who what when why and how this Plame affair as transpired. Although it is all but speculation on everyone's part. Yeah - it's fun to be an armchair sleuth - but no one here can come close to what Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, his team, and the grand jury have at their disposal to work with.

Does anyone have an attention span longer than a 12 column inch of the New York Times or a one minute blurb from CNN?

If so - have a read through this:


Plame in the Courtroom

Is the Intelligence Identities Protection Act really impossible to prove?



By Elizabeth de la Vega

Pundits right, left, and center have reached a rare unanimous verdict about one aspect of the grand jury investigation into the Valerie Plame leak: They've decided that no charges can be brought under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, because it imposes an impossibly high standard for proof of intent. Typically, writing for Slate on July 19th, Christopher Hitchens described the 1982 Act as a "silly law" that requires that "you knowingly wish to expose the cover of a CIA officer who you understand may be harmed as a result." Similarly, columnist Richard Cohen, in the July 14 Washington Post, said he thought Rove was a "political opportunist, not a traitor" and that he didn't think Rove "specifically intended to blow the cover of a CIA agent." Such examples could be multiplied many times over.

Shocking as it may seem, however, the pundits are wrong; and their casual summaries of the requirements of the 1982 statute betray a fundamental misunderstanding regarding proof of criminal intent.

Do you have to intend to harm a CIA agent or jeopardize national security in order to violate the Intelligence Identities Protection Act?

The answer is no.

Ms. de la Vega's explaination continues at TomsDispatch.com

< http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=11747 >


Now - if you did read that one - take a little trip over to the commentaries in FindLaw and allow Professor Louis Klarevas explain how the actors in this sordid affair (whoever they may shake out to be) may possibly be liable within the scope of U.S. Code : TITLE 18 Section: 793 paragraphs (d) and (j). Commonly known as the Espionage Act. Read on:

Monday, Aug. 15, 2005

[Tomorrow,] August 16, a former Pentagon official and two former employees of a pro-Israel lobby organization, the American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC), are scheduled to be arraigned in a federal district courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia. All three are being charged by U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty with violating a little known provision of the Espionage Act.This provision makes it a crime to conspire to communicate classified information without proper authorization.

Meanwhile, across the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will be continuing his grand jury investigation. Fitzgerald has been making headlines with his probe into whether senior Bush administration officials who leaked classified information regarding the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame (a.k.a. Valerie Wilson) to columnist Robert Novak and others in the press committed a crime.

So far, defenders of the White House have been quick to point out that Karl Rove and others who appear, from information so far made public, to have played a role in disclosing Plame's identity have not violated the stringent thresholds of http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/casecode/uscodes/50/chapters/15/subchapters/iv/toc.html" class="left-link">the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. That Act makes it a crime to publicly disclose the identity of a secret agent in certain circumstances.

But those circumstances may not apply in the Plame case - as FindLaw columnist John Dean has explained. The IIPA sets a high threshold for prosecution, including proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew the person being outed had "covert" status. This, in turn, requires a variety of conditions relating to "covertness" to first be established. (For example, the prosecution must prove that the agent had served outside the U.S. within the past five years).

In contrast, the Espionage Act requires no such proof of "covert" status. For this and other reasons, it can be construed more broadly than the IIPA.

I will argue below that, if McNulty's interpretation of the Espionage Act serves as a guide, then the Plame leak, too, could easily be construed as a violation of the Act. 

Klarevas' explaination continues at FindLaw.com

< http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20050815_klarevas.html >


Now... Only time will tell . . .

Cecil Turner

"It's true that Plame played only a "tangential" role, at most, in Wilson's trip."

Well, she certainly didn't tag along. And she wasn't in a position to send him on her own authority. I'd call that "tangential." Of course, contrary to Wilson's protestations, she had a definite hand in recommending him for the role:

Some CPD officials could not recall how the office decided to contact the former ambassador, however, interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip. The CPD reports officer told Committee staff that the former ambassador's wife "offered up his name" and a memorandum to the Deputy Chief of the CPD on February 12, 2002, from the former ambassador's wife says, "my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity."
"Regarding Rove's story, here's another thing I don't understand. By all accounts, Rove did not mention his conversation with Cooper in his initial FBI interview."

And yet provided them with an e-mail documenting the exchange. If it's nefarious, it's one of the worst thought-through plots on record.

kim

Your supposed 'leak', JBG, was into the ocean. Some leak. There is so much reasonalble doubt in this case that prosecution, if at all, will not be for 'leaking'.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. I don't think so, though, ho, ho.
=========================================

kim

And when, JBG, are you going to learn that ad hominems sometimes strengthen your argument but only AFTER you've refuted points.
===============================================

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "she wasn't in a position to send him on her own authority"

That seems to be true, which is exactly why Rove's apparent use of the word "authorized" seems to be an outright lie.

"I'd call that 'tangential.' "

You and me and Wilson all seem to agree on that. Trouble is, Rove has been singing a different tune. I notice you haven't addressed this.

"she had a definite hand in recommending him for the role"

We're quite familiar with what SSCI says about this. Trouble is, although SSCI refers to "documents," all it offers is one sentence from a memo she wrote. How odd that we don't get to see more of her memo, and how odd that exactly zero details are offered about the other "documents." Anyway, Wilson has his own explanation for the sentence quoted, which seems entirely plausible. Also, SSCI also does not explain (and neither do you) why one or more CIA officials have directly denied the assertion SSCI made on this point.

In other words, calling the SSCI claim "definite" is quite a stretch.

"[Rove] provided them [FBI] with an e-mail documenting the exchange [between Rove and Cooper]"

Your statement could convey the impression that Rove's email mentioned that he told Cooper about Plame. But it didn't. This is relevant, because I'm not entirely convinced it's as simple as saying "Rove did not mention [to the FBI] his conversation with Cooper." Maybe it's more a matter of Rove did not mention he told Cooper about Plame. After all, maybe Rove and Cooper had one or more other conversations around this time, on a variety of subjects (like welfare reform, for example). Without a transcript of Rove's FBI interview, I think it's unwise to make too many assumptions about this.

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "There is so much reasonalble doubt in this case that prosecution, if at all, will not be for 'leaking'."

This is what the court said on 2/15/05 (pdf): "On the record before us, there is at least sufficient allegation to warrant grand jury inquiry that one or both journalists received information concerning the identity of a covert operative of the United States from government employees acting in violation of the law by making the disclosure ... I have no doubt that the leak at issue was a serious matter ... considering the gravity of the suspected crime."

The judges who offered this opinion are definitely talking about "leaking," and they're definitely talking about government employees (not reporters or Wilson) as the leakers, and they don't seem to share your belief that there is an excess of "reasonable doubt." If they did, they would probably not be arguing (as they did in this opinion) in favor of throwing Miller and Cooper in jail. And needless to say, these judges have seen a lot of evidence that you haven't.

Let us know if there's anything in this 83-page court document which supports your claim regarding "so much reasonable doubt."

"ad hominems"

If you make foolish statements in public, you shouldn't be surprised if every now and then someone points out that you've done so. If you don't like this, you should adjust your behavior and/or your expectations.

kim

The phrqse 'at least sufficient allegation to warraant inquiry' covers a multitude of sins. Your sin is to read more into it than it says.

Ad hominem ad nauseum.
==============================================

kim

You sound like a broken record.
================================

MJW

I previously mentioned that I find curious the article's acceptance of the dubious story that Wilson exposed the Niger uranium allegations as a hoax. Now I notice something that seems curiouser: To me, the Village Voice piece is pretty much old-news marinated in a rich sauce of innuendo. The blog allegation that Rove claims to not remember any of the circumstances under which he learned of Plame's employment, is, however, somewhat newsworthy. So why did he leave the juiciest detail out of the more prominant published article?

I also find it odd that anyone would attach any significance to John Conyers' fulminations. Conyers questions the integrity of the Bush administration -- Stop the presses!

Cecil Turner

"That seems to be true, which is exactly why Rove's apparent use of the word "authorized" seems to be an outright lie."

If, of course, he said that, it appears inaccurate. However, calling him a liar from a single parsed word from a secondhand account of the conversation seems a bit of a stretch. And if we're to believe Novak's original column came from the same source, it's worth noting the phrasing there: "Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger," which appears perfectly accurate.

Contrast that with Wilson's:

"Valerie had nothing to do with the matter," Wilson wrote in a memoir published this year. "She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip."
That's a lot closer to my definition of "outright lie."

kim

And I'm hoping that investigation of Wilson's little 'mispeak' about exposing the Yellow Cake forgeries will reveal a perjuriferous 'outright lie'.
=================================================

kim

You follow it so well, JBG, what do you think of MJW's point that the Village Voice somehow expects us to believe that Wilson exposed the forgeries?
===============================================

Les Nessman

"calling him a liar from a single parsed word from a secondhand account of the conversation seems a bit of a stretch."

If you had to pick one phrase that sums up all the tens of thousands of words written about this non-story, that would be it.

TM

If I were one of the FBI agents who first interviews, one of the first questions I would ask all of the officials I interviewed is whether they were one of Cooper's sources for the "War on Wilson" article. Failing to ask that question would be almost inexcusable incompetence.

Oh, you are going to love this, from Oct 2003 - the first subpoena from DoJ to the White House:

After receiving a Justice Department letter detailing the scope of its inquiry, Gonzales sent out a second memo at day's end, directing White House staff to retain e-mails, telephone records, computer discs, notes and diary entries relating to:

• Wilson or his wife's "purported relationship" with the CIA.

• Wilson's 2002 travels, on behalf of the CIA, to Niger.

• Contacts with syndicated columnist Robert Novak of the Chicago Sun-Times and reporter Knut Royce and bureau chief Timothy Phelps, both of Newsday, a Long Island newspaper.

"You must preserve all documents relating, in any way, directly or indirectly, to these subjects," Gonzales wrote, "even if there would be a question whether the document would be a presidential or federal record or even if its destruction might otherwise be permitted."

No notice of TIME by out DoJ sleuths?

A *possible* early explanation - the story only appeared on the TIME website, it came out after Novak, and it *may* have seemed to investigators that TIME was simply noting that Novak had been given certain info.

Look, I am not going to flack for the DoJ on this - obviously, they blew it. But if they weren't asking about TIME, Rove might not have been remembering it, either.

TM

Let's add this link to an old post from Jan 2004 - apparently, that is when the TIME reporters were added to the subpoena (although one presumes that they had come up in conversation before then).

trrll

If, of course, he said that, it appears inaccurate. However, calling him a liar from a single parsed word from a secondhand account of the conversation seems a bit of a stretch.

Perhaps, but that turns out to be a critical word when the goal is to undermine Wilson's report. It seems clear that the substance of the leak was that Wilson's trip was some sort of rogue operation run by his wife without authorization from her superiors, which was clearly false. After all, there would be no impropriety--and no point to the leak--if Wilson's wife merely recommended him to her superiors; indeed, if she believed that he was qualified for the mission, it would have been her duty to do so.

Ironically, many of the same people who are anxious to give Rove the benefit of the doubt for his misstatements are equally anxious to condemn Wilson as a liar based on parsing of the single word "recommended." In fact, the Committee never was able to come up with clear evidence that the idea to consider Wilson for the trip originated with his wife (and some people at the CIA still say that it did not), and whether an accurate statement of his qualifications constitutes a "recommendation" is certainly debated.

Cecil Turner

"It seems clear that the substance of the leak was that Wilson's trip was some sort of rogue operation run by his wife without authorization from her superiors, which was clearly false."

I don't think that's clear at all. The "substance of the leak" refers to Wilson's claim that he was sent pursuant to a request by VP Cheney to check on the Niger MOAs:

I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake . . .
Leaving aside the obvious point that the MOAs hadn't been yet been seen, Wilson implies VP knowledge of, and interest in, his mission. He emphasizes it again in his conclusion:
Those are the facts surrounding my efforts. The vice president's office asked a serious question. I was asked to help formulate the answer. I did so, and I have every confidence that the answer I provided was circulated to the appropriate officials within our government.
In fact, Wilson's mission provided little useful data, wasn't passed along, and was in fact viewed as partial confirmation. Again referring to Novak's column, the substance directly challenges Wilson's pretense to a high-level mission:
The CIA's decision to send retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson to Africa in February 2002 to investigate possible Iraqi purchases of uranium was made routinely at a low level without Director George Tenet's knowledge.
"Ironically, many of the same people who are anxious to give Rove the benefit of the doubt for his misstatements are equally anxious to condemn Wilson as a liar based on parsing of the single word "recommended.""

Hardly. This isn't a matter of using a single wrong word in a casual conversation. He published a comprehensive denial:

"Valerie had nothing to do with the matter," Wilson wrote in a memoir published this year. "She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip." [emphasis added]
It now appears she had everything to do with the matter, and this joins Wilson's other claims (e.g., the VP sent him, the MOAs, "Niger" vs "Africa") as "dubious at best."

martin

Hey CT-since you have now passed judgment on who's lying based on word construals and whether was Plame was 'involved' ("she had everything to do with it") in Wilson's "boondoggle"-do you consider this a lie by Scott McClellan or not?

Press Conference 9-29-03

"QUESTION: Has the President either asked Karl Rove to assure him that he had nothing to do with this; or did Karl Rove go to the President to assure him that he . . .

McCLELLAN: I don't think he needs that. I think I've spoken clearly to this publicly . . . I've just said there's no truth to it.

QUESTION: Yes, but I'm just wondering if there was a conversation between Karl Rove and the President, or if he just talked to you, and you're here at this . . .

McCLELLAN: He wasn't involved. The President knows he wasn't involved."

Let's concentrate on "He [Rove] wasn't involved."

I think the White House lied to me on 9-29-03. What do you think?

jukeboxgrad

TM: "No notice of TIME by out DoJ sleuths?"

You're referring to a news article which is describing a memo sent by Gonzales, which, in turn, was prompted by a DOJ letter. True, this news article doesn't mention Cooper's Time piece. But that doesn't mean the Time piece was not mentioned in the Gonzales memo. Further, even if the Time piece was not mentioned in the Gonzales memo, that doesn't prove that DOJ was not aware of the Time piece, or did not mention the Time piece in its letter to Gonzales. In other words, you're making an assumption about the contents of the DOJ letter even though your source (the AJC article) is two steps removed from that letter. You could be right, but the proof is weak.

"if they weren't asking about TIME, Rove might not have been remembering it, either"

If Rove was asked "who did you talk to about Plame," he was obligated to answer truthfully. He doesn't get to say "I forgot to mention Cooper because you didn't remind me that he wrote about Plame."

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "calling him a liar from a single parsed word from a secondhand account of the conversation seems a bit of a stretch"

To begin with, it would be nice if you didn't insist on ignoring all the qualifications in my sentence (two "seems" and one "apparently").

Aside from that, I wonder if you'd like to explain the difference between "a single word" and "a single parsed word." It's not as if there's anything highly ambiguous (i.e., in need of parsing) about the word "authorized."

Aside from that, an email written by the other participant in the conversation is not "secondhand." It's firsthand. Cooper is a direct witness to what Rove said. And Cooper's email was written very soon after the conversation. Cooper is someone who makes a living by using words expertly. There's no reason to think he would be careless or dishonest in this step he took to document his conversation with Rove. On the contrary.

By the way, Cooper's email is closely corroborated by Cooper's recent account: "Rove added that she ... was responsible for sending Wilson."

There's room to imagine that perhaps "authorized" was not the exact word that Rove used. However, it's clear enough that "authorized" is the gist of the message that Cooper understood, from whatever exact words Rove did use.

"if we're to believe Novak's original column came from the same source, it's worth noting the phrasing there: 'Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger,' which appears perfectly accurate."

That's "perfectly accurate" only if you take SSCI at face value, and I've already explained why that's not a good idea. I notice you can't be bothered to address or acknowledge anything I said about that.

Aside from that, all you're pointing out is that Novak wrote something less dishonest than what Rove apparently told Cooper. This does nothing to get Rove off the hook for saying "authorized" (or something darn close to that) to Cooper.

By the way, if Luskin is to be trusted, all Rove ever said to Novak is "I heard that, too" (that Plame worked for the CIA). In other words, just as you did very recently regarding Rove's strange memory lapse, you're trying to have it both ways on Rove's behalf. Rove can't take credit for Novak's use of the word "suggested" while also claiming that he barely said anything at all about Plame (to Novak).

"Contrast that with Wilson's"

Like a lot of people, you like quoting Schmidt, even though in her haste to crucify Wilson she forgot how to tell the difference between Iraq and Iran (speaking of being careful with words). See the correction sidebar. Notwithstanding the correction, this Iraq/Iran misinformation by Schmidt has traveled far and wide.

Of course another problem with Schmidt is that like you, she quotes Wilson out of context. Like lots of people, you and Schmidt both suggest that Wilson flatly said "Valerie had nothing to do with the matter." For some odd reason you and Schmidt choose to overlook these important words Wilson said: "apart from being the conduit of a message from a colleague in her office asking if I would be willing to have a conversation about Niger's uranium industry, Valerie had had nothing to do with the matter."

Strangely enough, this account corresponds exactly with what has been stated by one or more sources within the CIA, as reported by Novak himself: "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."

By the way, I already addressed this exact distortion by Schmidt, here. Why would you be rehashing misinformation (and I notice you couldn't resist posting this exact misinformation again, in bold) when the truth was already placed under your nose? Is it that you're an incorrigible hack, or is it that you have memory issues similar to Rove's?

By the way, do you always blindly accept whatever misinformation the NYT might happen to publish, or only when it's misinformation you find rhetorically useful?

"Wilson implies VP knowledge of, and interest in, his mission"

The bottom line is that Wilson's account corresponds with the account in SSCI: Cheney asked a question, and some folks in the CIA decided that Wilson should go to Africa in order to help provide an answer.

trrll
I don't think that's clear at all. The "substance of the leak" refers to Wilson's claim that he was sent pursuant to a request by VP Cheney to check on the Niger MOAs:

Actually, if you'll read your own quote, you will discover that Wilson only said that this is what he was told by "officials at the Central Intelligence Agency." Nobody has yet produced a shred of evidence that this not what Wilson was told, or, indeed, that the trip was not motivated by the inquiry by Cheney's office (not Cheney himself; again, read your own quote).

The CIA's decision to send retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson to Africa in February 2002 to investigate possible Iraqi purchases of uranium was made routinely at a low level without Director George Tenet's knowledge.

Well, duh! The notion that Director Tenet normally micromanages CIA operations to the extent of approving individual fact-finding missions seems fairly ridiculous. Presumably this was indeed the "routine" way the CIA handles such requests coming from the White House staff. Wilson has been repeatedly accused (e.g. in the notorious Republican Party Talking Points memo) of claiming that his mission was personally authorized by Cheney or Tenet, but nobody has ever managed to produce a shred of evidence that Wilson ever made such a claim. So this seems to be yet another nugget of disinformation planted as part the campaign to paint Wilson as a liar.

It now appears she had everything to do with the matter

Since she clearly did not authorize the mission, or even have the power to do, she obviously did not have everything to do with it. It is certainly clear that she had nothing to do with the actual decision to send him. So the only remaining question is whether she had "something to do" with mentioning his qualifications in the first place. Recollections differ as to who had the initial idea, but there is certainly no definitive evidence to disprove Plame's recollection that the idea was initially raised by her boss at the CIA. Of course, it is entirely irrelevant whether or not Wilson is mistaken in believing that his wife did not raise his name first--if she knew of his qualifications, and if her superiors for some reason did not remember that Wilson had successfully carried out a similar mission in the past, she would have had a positive duty to remind them of that fact. Clearly, however, the decision as to whether Wilson's previous experience made him a good choice for this mission was never hers to make.

In fact, Wilson's mission provided little useful data, wasn't passed along, and was in fact viewed as partial confirmation.

Wilson's report was rated "good" by the CIA. That it was considered confirmatory of what the CIA already believed merely verifies that the CIA already had a good idea that the claims that Iraq was acquiring uranium from Niger were false. This is of course how real intelligence gathering works--by corroborating evidence from multiple sources. A single report that provides novel information is by definition suspect. Indeed, the WMD intelligence failures stem almost entirely from the White House and CIA Director Tenet seizing upon unconfirmed individual reports that supported their preconceptions (such as the forged documents that apparently sparked the inquiry from Cheney's office that ultimately led to Wilson being dispatched).

Cecil Turner

Martin:

"I think the White House lied to me on 9-29-03. What do you think?"

Buildings don't lie. McClellan may well not have known Rove was involved. ISTM he also qualified "involved" later in that exchange (as having to do with leaking classified information, IIRC). In any event, while I wouldn't defend them on either of those points, Wilson's is obviously worse (first-hand, written, obviously false).

JBG:

"To begin with, it would be nice if you didn't insist on ignoring all the qualifications in my sentence (two "seems" and one "apparently")."

"Insist on ignoring"? When you end a sentence with "an outright lie," I don't think "calling him a liar" is mischaracterizing the point.

"Aside from that, I wonder if you'd like to explain the difference between "a single word" and "a single parsed word.""

Sure. A single parsed word is one taken from a larger context. As in this case, where we're debating whether the Vice President or Mrs Wilson sent Mr Wilson to Niger. (As opposed to, say, a question: "Did Plame 'authorize' the trip . . . or just 'suggest' it?") So if in a conversation about whose idea it was to send Wilson to Niger, Rove said Plame "authorized the trip" (meaning it was her idea and not the VP's), he might at worst be guilty of a minor misstatement. If he claimed she "authorized" the trip (overstepping her authority), it'd be a lie.

"Aside from that, an email written by the other participant in the conversation is not "secondhand." It's firsthand."

No. Rove's statement is first-hand. Cooper repeating what he thought Rove said is second-hand. American Heritage: "Received from the original source: firsthand information" [emphasis added].

"That's "perfectly accurate" only if you take SSCI at face value, and I've already explained why that's not a good idea. I notice you can't be bothered . . . "

No, I found your argument weak and unconvincing. They cite her recommendation letter, co-workers, and the timeline on Wilson's selection, all of which fits neatly. It's also by far the most plausible scenario for his being chosen. And with all the other riveting commentary on word usage, I just couldn't work up the interest for trying to hash that one out.

Cecil Turner

"Actually, if you'll read your own quote, you will discover that Wilson only said that this is what he was told by "officials at the Central Intelligence Agency.""

Yeah, I know what he said. I also know he's married to one of the folks who works in that section. Somehow I doubt he's entirely ignorant of what goes on there.

"Well, duh! The notion that Director Tenet normally micromanages CIA operations to the extent of approving individual fact-finding missions seems fairly ridiculous."

No sh**. It's even more ridiculous to suggest it's being micromanaged by the VP. But that's exactly the impression Wilson tried to give.

"That it was considered confirmatory of what the CIA already believed merely verifies that the CIA already had a good idea that the claims that Iraq was acquiring uranium from Niger were false."

Hardly. Not only did they report in October: ""Iraq also began vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake," but they also took Wilson's report (specifically his comments about the trade delegation) as confirmation of earlier reports:

Conclusion 13. The report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002, did not change any analysts' assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal . . . [emphasis added]

martin

"Buildings don't lie."

Actually I was using the ancient rhetorical device of metonymy; whereas you continue to engage in the equally ancient art of political hackery.

I'll try not to use post high school stuff when communicating with you in the future.

It's not what McClellan knew-he's a simpleton and a tool. It's what Bush and Rove allowed him to put out there. That was a lie directly from Rove (through McCllelan's mouth).

I see you don't like being lied to by Wilson so I can't fathom why you're willing to so readily take it from Rove.

Cecil Turner

"Actually I was using the ancient rhetorical device of metonymy; whereas you continue to engage in the equally ancient art of political hackery."

If so, I apologize. But it appeared to me you were trying to get around the fact that you were trying to prove Rove lied by relying on a quote from McClellan. (Which is no more valid than trying to prove he lied by quoting Cooper.)

"It's what Bush and Rove allowed him to put out there. That was a lie directly from Rove (through McCllelan's mouth)."

Oops, apology retracted. Rove said nothing of the kind--and unless he had a choke chain on McClellan, or could predict the questions--he's not going to be able to control all his responses. (Though he's still in hot water over the statement, properly, because he then had a duty to correct the false impression.)

martin

"because he then had a duty to correct the false impression"

Ok-lets compromise here. I just happen to think Rove IS the reason there was a false impression in the first place.

And note-that false impression would still be operative if Time did not release his notes/Cooper had joined Miller in jail rather than testifying.

Cecil Turner

"Ok-lets compromise here. I just happen to think Rove IS the reason there was a false impression in the first place."

I think they were trying to parse the denial a little too closely, and left a guy at the podium with insufficient information. Which amounts to the same thing.

"And note-that false impression would still be operative if Time did not release his notes/Cooper had joined Miller in jail rather than testifying."

The false impression is a relatively minor issue--the special prosecutor is the big one--and the rest of the story will come out soon. (Or at least as much of it as we're ever going to get.) IMO, they shut up too late, not too early.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "McClellan may well not have known Rove was involved"

If Scottie didn't know whether or not Rove was involved, then Scottie should have said "I don't know whether or not Rove was involved." Instead Scottie said "he wasn't involved." That means that either someone in the White House lied to Scottie, or Scottie lied to us. Not good.

"ISTM he also qualified 'involved' later in that exchange (as having to do with leaking classified information, IIRC"

I'm not sure why this matters, but I'll try to figure it out. I think you're suggesting a scenario where Scottie knew that Rove had been telling folks (like Cooper, for example) about Plame, but it was still perfectly OK to say Rove was not "involved" in leaking "classified information" because ostensibly Plame's identity as a CIA WMD operative was not "classified information." How lame. If this is what we're supposed to believe, then Scottie should simply have said this: "Rove was indeed involved in telling folks about Plame, but Rove was not involved in leaking classified information; Plame's identity as a CIA WMD operative is not classified information, and therefore it's perfectly fine that Rove was telling folks like Cooper about Plame."

Scottie said nothing of the sort. Instead he issued categorical denials such as "there has been absolutely nothing brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement ... it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place [to suggest that Rove was involved] ... it is simply not true ... I've said that it's not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove ... there is simply no truth to that suggestion. And I have spoken with Karl about it ... If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration ... I've made it very clear that he was not involved, that there's no truth to the suggestion that he was ... it is not something I needed to ask him, but I like to, like you do, verify things and make sure that it is completely accurate. But I knew that Karl would not be involved in something like this" (link).

If you're impressed by the idea that Scottie "qualified 'involved,' " that simply indicates we're well-into the "I did not inhale" phase of the Bush presidency.

"In any event, while I wouldn't defend them on either of those points"

If you weren't defending them, then I guess I totally misinterpreted your two prior sentences.

"Wilson's is obviously worse (first-hand, written, obviously false)."

I pointed out why your claims about Wilson are baloney. Among other things, you're misquoting him, and failing to take responsibility for doing so. In your usual style, you're completely ignoring facts you find inconvenient, and blithely going about your business of repeating the same old nonsense.

"When you end a sentence with 'an outright lie,' I don't think 'calling him a liar' is mischaracterizing the point."

I realize you can't grasp the difference between saying "you seem to be a liar" or "apparently, you're a liar" as compared with flatly saying "you're a liar." Then again, you're the guy who can't tell the difference between a weapon and a program, so I'm not surprised.

"So if in a conversation about whose idea it was to send Wilson to Niger, Rove said Plame 'authorized the trip' (meaning it was her idea and not the VP's)"

You're the one doing all the parsing here, and your Clintonesque contortions are adorable. Cooper's email said "authorized," and Cooper's Time article said "she ... was responsible for sending Wilson" (in both cases Cooper is describing what he was told by Rove). Neither of those formulations corresponds with "suggested" or "recommended" or "it was her idea." Authorized means authorized, not "it was her idea."

Notice that Cooper's email did not say "Rove said the trip was Plame's idea." Likewise for Cooper's Time article.

If my kid says "let's go to Disneyworld," I'm not going to say my kid "authorized" the trip, or was "responsible" for sending us. I might say "it was her idea." I guess this is another simple distinction that's over your head.

Anyway, nice job trying to redefine the meaning of simple English words like "authorized" and "responsible for sending." Your enthusiasm to defend Rove requires you to rip up the dictionary. This is more "I did not inhale" stuff from you.

"Cooper repeating what he thought Rove said is second-hand"

That would be true if Cooper wasn't there, and heard about Rove's words via someone else. But Cooper was listening to Rove. Therefore it's not a question of what Cooper "thought Rove said." Cooper knows what Rove said, because Cooper was there, and he has ears. Therefore Cooper is an original (firsthand) source of information with regard to the question of what Rove said. Incidentally, this is exactly why Fitz is so interested in Cooper. It's comforting to realize that Fitz understands these matters better than you do.

"I found your argument weak and unconvincing"

English translation: "Since I'm a partisan hack, I'm ignoring all information I find inconvenient, such as the fact that Novak himself quoted a CIA official who corroborated Wilson's account."

"that's exactly the impression Wilson tried to give."

Welcome to mind-reading territory. Since you can't hang Wilson in the honest way, by referring to what he actually said, you choose to resort to the realm of the psychic. Let us know when we get to apply these novel rules to folks like Bush and Scottie, and condemn them on the basis of the "impression" we claim they "tried to give."

By the way, since you want to hang your hat on "impression[s]," let us know what "impression" Scottie was trying to give when he told us Rove wasn't "involved." Or maybe the "impression" Bush was trying to give when he said "we found the weapons of mass destruction."

"you were trying to prove Rove lied by relying on a quote from McClellan"

It's pretty clear that at least one of them lied. That's a problem.

"Which is no more valid than trying to prove he lied by quoting Cooper"

Why is it not valid to prove Rove lied by quoting Cooper? I'm wondering who you consider a credible source on this matter. I have a feeling that your definition of a credible source on this matter is any source who helps Rove look good.

"Though he's still in hot water over the statement, properly, because he then had a duty to correct the false impression."

Everyone once in a while you say something to indicate that you're not completely untethered from reality.

Cecil Turner

"If Scottie didn't know whether or not Rove was involved . . ."

I suspect WH spokesmen aren't experts on any particular subject . . . they're told what to say. In this case (best guess): "Rove wasn't involved in leaking classified information." (And making up pet names for people you don't know doesn't add.)

"I pointed out why your claims about Wilson are baloney."

Again the tension between the bipartisan commission and the all-knowing JBG. I'll stick with the commission, thanks. You're welcome to believe that "apart from being the conduit of a message from a colleague in her office asking if I would be willing to have a conversation about Niger's uranium industry, Valerie had had nothing to do with the matter." I'm convinced by the rest of the evidence (e-mail, timeline, meeting, testimony) that she recommended him for the trip.

"Why is it not valid to prove Rove lied by quoting Cooper?"

Uh, possibly because Cooper may be misquoting Rove? I note you admit the possibility above ("or something darn close to that"), as long as it doesn't affect your ability to claim Rove is a liar.

"Everyone once in a while you say something to indicate that you're not completely untethered from reality."

Every once in a while, I manage to find a point from the opposition that makes sense. You've yet to. Cheers.

kim

You are making a grave error in judgement to rely on Joe Wilson.

Maybe you could use a little Moliere. Wilson has Tartuffian strains although in his case the refuge is (you fill in the blank) rather than religion.
==================================================

TM

This was from Jukebox, I believe:

There's room to imagine that perhaps "authorized" was not the exact word that Rove used. However, it's clear enough that "authorized" is the gist of the message that Cooper understood, from whatever exact words Rove did use.

As best I recall, Cooper's conversation with Libby the next day amounted to Cooper telling the story to Libby and Libby saying very Rovian like "I heard that too".

On the basis of his chats with Rove and Libby, Cooper then published in Time.

And what did he publish? The man who is ever so careful with words wrote this:

And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched Niger to investigate reports...

Well, if Rove said "authorized", and Libby said "I heard that, too", why did Cooper write "suggested"?

And who cares? If Rove was misinformed and passed it along, on a point he did not consider to be important, is that a "lie"?

Shouldn't a lie be a material statement known to be false (or made with reckless disregard for the truth), made with the intention to deceive? If Rove believed his bad info (for example, the State Dept memo, or the third hand version of it Libby gave him from Judy), he's not lying, he's just misinformed.

My impression is that the meme that Rove "lied" about "authorized" is a big deal to the folks hung up on the Bush Brute Sqaud conspiracy theory.

Unfortunately, simpler explanations come to mind - Rove was misinformed, or Cooper exaggerated in his e-mail. And a simpler motive, as suggested by Mr. Turner - he is just answering the question of who did send Wilson.

This was from Jukebox, on the question of the original subpoenas:

In other words, you're making an assumption about the contents of the DOJ letter even though your source (the AJC article) is two steps removed from that letter. You could be right, but the proof is weak.

Ain't it always? Even if I had a photocopy of the subpoena, that would not *prove* that a second subpoena had not been issued later the same day.

However, there is no particular reason to think that (a) the reporter randomly dropped the fact that TIME was mentioned in the October 2003 subpoena, and (b) a different reporter told us that TIME was included in a Jan 2004 subpoena, when in fact they were part of the original subpoena.

If Rove was asked "who did you talk to about Plame," he was obligated to answer truthfully. He doesn't get to say "I forgot to mention Cooper because you didn't remind me that he wrote about Plame."

Good point. However, he does get to say things like "To the best of my recollection", and "I have agreed to this interview in order to cooperate with the investigation on an expedited schedule even though my legal team and I have not completed our review of my diaries, e-mails, and notes, so I will do me best but I may miss a few conversations..."

If Fitzgerald sees a pattern of non-cooperation, he may try to play "Gotcha", but one forgotten conversation (which Rove's team may have pointed out to Fitzgerald later) is probably not going to do it, IMHO.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "they're told what to say"

If Mr. McClennan (is that better?) was told to say "Rove wasn't involved in leaking classified information," that means Mr. McClennan was instructed to mislead us. As I explained, the honest statement (if this is what they really believed) would have been "Plame was not covert, so it's fine that Rove talked about her."

Anyway, the idea that the White House was in a position to be confident that Plame's identity was not classified information is ludicrous. The CIA, the DOJ, the FBI, Fitz and a variety of judges are clearly operating under the belief that there is at least a strong possibility that Plame's identity was classified information. Mr. McClennan's categorical denial (paraphrase: "Rove wasn't involved in leaking classified information") was quite hollow, unless Mr. McClennan or the people guiding him had access to decisive information (regarding the non-classified nature of Plame's identity) that all those other folks have somehow managed to overlook.

"I'm convinced by the rest of the evidence (e-mail, timeline, meeting, testimony)"

What "email?" Do you mean one sentence from Plame's memo? And what "meeting?" The meeting where Plame was present for a few minutes and then left? And you claim this proves what?

By the way, nice job still not managing to admit that you repeatedly misquoted Wilson. And nice job not bothering to acknowledge that Novak himself quoted a CIA source who corroborated Wilson's version of events (and other journalists got the same answer from one or more CIA sources). And nice job not bothering to explain why these sources are less credible to you than the unnamed sources cited by SSCI. And nice job not bothering to explain why SSCI quoted only one ambiguous sentence from one memo, even though they suggested they had a variety of other "documents."

By the way, although you like to talk about how the report is "bipartisan," nice job not mentioning that the most emphatic statements claiming Plame was behind the trip are reserved for an addendum that only three Republican senators put their names on.

"possibly because Cooper may be misquoting Rove"

Let us know when you can offer a reason why Cooper would do that (especially since what Cooper wrote in the email two years ago is congruent with what he just wrote in a major magazine article). You can also let us know why the far-from-reticent Luskin has not suggested that Cooper is misquoting Rove (certainly not insofar as "authorized" is concerned). And nice job sidestepping my earlier question, which was essentially this: under what circumstances (assuming someone was reporting on Rove's words in an unfavorable manner, as Cooper is) would you not resort to an arbitrary blanket defense of "misquoting?"

"I note you admit the possibility above ('or something darn close to that')"

Nice job distorting my meaning. Cooper's email, or my reference to Cooper's email, does not appear to claim that someone is sure Rove used the exact word "authorized." The claim is that Rove used that word or words interchangeable with it. So no, you have no basis to claim that I "admit the possibility" that Cooper misquoted Rove.

(The fact is I do "admit the possibility," just like I "admit the possibility" that flying monkeys might jump out of Dubya's butt during his next news conference. It's just not likely. Anyway, nothing I wrote before this post gave you a basis to claim that I "admit the possibility," and your detour into this little semantical rathole was just another of your typical distortions.)

jukeboxgrad

TM: "Well, if Rove said 'authorized', and Libby said 'I heard that, too', why did Cooper write 'suggested'?"

This is a perfectly reasonable question, and I think there are some perfectly reasonable answers. There are a variety of scenarios, but here's the one that seems most likely to me. Cooper decided it would be wise (both for his own sake and for the sake of his sources) to not get "too far out" with these statements. Maybe he guessed, correctly, that Rove had been indulging in a little "literary flair." Maybe this guess on Cooper's part was just based on his intuition of how the CIA operates. Or maybe it was based on specific things he heard from other sources (before or after his conversations with Rove and Libby).

Speaking of quoting carefully, please don't misquote Cooper. Your sentence could imply that Cooper wrote something like this: "These officials have suggested that she _suggested_ that her husband be dispatched." That's not what Cooper said. He said "These officials have suggested that she was _involved_ in her husband's being dispatched."

"Involved" is obviously a broad term (broad enough to cover both the "suggested" scenario as well as the "authorized" scenario), and I'm sure intentionally so. If Rove's "authorized" was literally correct, then Cooper's statement ("involved") is truthful. But if Rove's "authorized" was "literary flair," then Cooper's "involved" is still truthful. Cooper was being a careful journalist. Mostly he was covering his own butt, but I imagine that a small part of his motivation was that he was not eager to trap Rove in what Cooper perhaps knew was an obvious exaggeration/misstatement/lie. In other words, in a way he was giving Rove some slack. I think Cooper is basically a nice guy.

A closely related perspective is that Cooper sensed that Rove was trying to use Cooper as a vehicle for an exaggerated partisan attack, and Cooper decided to be less of a stenographer and more of a journalist, which meant toning down the partisan rhetoric.

A variation on all this is that we obviously don't know exactly what was said between Libby and Cooper. Maybe Cooper was intentionally vague ("Rove said Plame was involved"). If Libby's answer was "I heard that too" (as compared with "Plame authorized the trip"), that would influence Cooper to lean in the safe direction and stick with something broad and vague like "involved."

"And who cares? If Rove was misinformed and passed it along, on a point he did not consider to be important, is that a 'lie'?"

"Authorized" should be kept in perspective. The main complaint about Rove is not that he said "authorized." The main complaint against Rove is that he outed Plame, and then covered it up. However, "authorized" is worth a bit of attention, especially since Rove's claim is that he was just trying to make sure journalists had accurate information (the irony is obvious). And especially since all of Wilson's words have been placed under a microscope.

As far as "a point he did not consider to be important," sorry, that doesn't hold up. A major feature of the GOP campaign against Wilson is to claim that Plame had an important role in sending him. So indeed Rove did not say "authorized" by accident. This was an important part of his message.

"he's not lying, he's just misinformed"

Rove is a big boy. Talking to a reporter about stuff like this is serious business. If Rove wasn't sure that what he was saying was true, he should have checked first, or he should have kept his mouth shut.

Anyway, "authorized" is beyond even what appears in the most partisan portions of SSCI. This tends to create the impression that it's something Rove simply pulled out of his hat, to serve a specific purpose. If it was really, as you suggest, something third-hand via someone like Judy, it was highly irresponsible (and self-serving) for Rove to pass it along without (apparently) lifting a finger to verify.

"Cooper exaggerated in his e-mail"

Not just his email, but also his major article two years later, and also (apparently) his grand jury testimony. There is nothing about Cooper to explain why he would be this sloppy and/or dishonest. By the way, how come Luskin hasn't suggested that "authorized" is a case of Cooper exaggerating? Luskin has hardly been reticent about anything else. It's pretty remarkable that you're willing to go further out on a limb for Rove than Luskin is.

Anyway, as far as "simpler explanation," only if you assume that Rove is more honest than Cooper. What would be your basis for making that assumption?

"he is just answering the question of who did send Wilson."

Trouble is, he apparently didn't answer that question truthfully.

"Even if I had a photocopy of the subpoena"

I agree that maybe DOJ didn't mention the Time article, and I agree that maybe this is slightly interesting. Among other things, it could have been a simple and innocent mistake. But as one obsessive (on this subject) to another, I think one has to be pretty obsessed to care too much about this. If you claim (as you just did) "who cares" with regard to the question of "authorized," I think your priorities are skewed if you care too much about this particular subpoena question.

"one forgotten conversation (which Rove's team may have pointed out to Fitzgerald later)"

Speaking of keeping a broad perspective, I agree with you that "one forgotten conversation" may not be earth-shattering. It depends on zillions of other details that Fitz knows but we don't.

Cecil Turner

"By the way, nice job still not managing to admit that you repeatedly misquoted Wilson."

The master of picking single words from a quote out of context is claiming that I must include a non-pertinent qualifier from one of Wilson's? Laughable nonsense.

"your detour into this little semantical rathole was just another of your typical distortions."

Yet another of the vastly rewarding exchanges precipitated by your leaping into a conversation, minutely parsing every phrase, and calling everyone involved a liar. (And personally, I like how posting an opinion contrary to yours--even if it happens to coincide with that of the group commissioned to study the particular issue--makes me a "partisan hack." I also like how every commission finding critical of the Administration is immediately adopted as Gospel, while those tending to support are "baloney.") Gotta admit I'm starting not to notice the insults. (Kinda blend into the background.) I do occasionally wonder if you could complete a post without them . . . but I suspect the answer is "no." You're welcome to continue, because it isn't making me look stupid.

TM

Speaking of quoting carefully, please don't misquote Cooper.

Oh, for heaven's sake - I excerpted the whole darn paragraph in question!

And your theory that Cooper recognized Rove was exaggerating is not consistent with a "Rove lied" argument.

And eventually, we will cover whether Rove himself really suggested that the chat be on double super secret background, or if that was Cooper himself engaging in a bit of exaggeration and distortion in what he knew was an informal e-mail, not a published article or a deposition.

A major feature of the GOP campaign against Wilson is to claim that Plame had an important role in sending him. So indeed Rove did not say "authorized" by accident. This was an important part of his message.

Sure it was - at the DU, maybe.

Back in reality, we had Ari Fleischer, Condi Rice, and George Tenet all rebutting Wilson *without* mentioning his wife.

And exactly *one* reporter, Novak, got a leak about the wife and published it (I am scoring Cooper as a "me-too!", since they published after the Corn scandal-mongering article).

FWIW, the correct Dem talking point is that the White House leaked her name to punish Wilson and intimidate other whistleblowers - in that context, Rove and the rest of the Bush Brute Sqaud could care less whether her involvement is reported as "authorized", "involved", or whatever.

kim

JBG, you are really twisting it out there on all your speculations about the manner in which Cooper might have 'modified' his quoting of Rove.
===============================================

TM

Hmm, I am warming up now...

A closely related perspective is that Cooper sensed that Rove was trying to use Cooper as a vehicle for an exaggerated partisan attack, and Cooper decided to be less of a stenographer and more of a journalist, which meant toning down the partisan rhetoric.

Uh huh. Did you notice the title of Cooper's piece in Time? Here is the lead:

A War on Wilson?

Inside the Bush Administration's feud with the diplomat who poured cold water on the Iraq-uranium connection

By MATTHEW COOPER, MASSIMO CALABRESI AND JOHN F. DICKERSON

Has the Bush Administration declared war on a former ambassador who conducted a fact-finding mission to probe possible Iraqi interest in African uranium? Perhaps.

So your theory is that, in a story with that lead, Rove delivered a juicy quote. Cooper, overcome by a sense of journalistic responsibility, tones down the partisan rhetoric even though no one has told him that "authorized" is wrong.

Yeah, that makes sense. In another world, Cooper would have printed "authorized", then run a denial from the CIA to emphasize his lead point, that the Admin was at war with Wilson.

But he toned it down, even though it fit his story, because he didn't want to embarrass anyone, and because he is a nice guy.

Thanks for sharing.

Oh, we kicked around Wilson's full statement about his wife's non-involvement from his book a few weeks back - when I find it, I'll be back.

TM

Here we go, from "The Politics of Truth" by Joe Wilson. p. 346:

Quite apart from the matter of her employment, the assertion that Valerie had played any substantive role in the decision to ask me to go to Niger was false on the face of it. Anyone who knows anything about the government bureaucracy knows that public servants go to great lengths to avoid nepotism or any appearance of it... Valerie could not havce stood in the chain of command had she tried to. Dick Cheney might be able to find a way to appoint one of his daughters to a key decision-making position in the State Dept's Middle East Bureau, as he did; but Valerie could not - and would not if she could - have had anything to do with the CIA decision to ask me to travel to Niamey.

[SKIP A Few Paragraphs...

So what of she conveyed a request to me to come to the Agency to talk about Niger? She played absolutely no part in the decision to send me there.

Well, here is the WSJ describing the INR memo that became the basis for a lot of excitement:

The memo, prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel, details a meeting in early 2002 where CIA officer Valerie Plame and other intelligence officials gathered to brainstorm about how to verify reports that Iraq had sought uranium yellowcake from Niger.

Ms. Plame, a member of the agency's clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested at the meeting that her husband, Africa expert and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, could be sent to Niger to investigate the reports, according to current and former government officials familiar with the meeting at the CIA's Virginia headquarters. Soon after, midlevel CIA officials decided to send him, say intelligence officials.

Wilson's lawyers might argue that, even if his wife *suggested* him, that is consistent with Wilson's statements that she did not play (a) "any substantive role in the decision", or, later (b) "She played absolutely no part in the decision".

Emphasis on "decison" in each case - one could argue that even if Valerie wrote a hundred memos imploring her boss to pick Joe, the boss may have ignored her (thereby reducing her role to zero), and then chosen Joe anyway.

Of course, he was also careful when he spoke to Times in 2003 for the Cooper story:

In an interview with TIME, Wilson, who served as an ambassador to Gabon and as a senior American diplomat in Baghdad under the current president's father, angrily said that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to Africa. "That is bulls__t. That is absolutely not the case," Wilson told TIME. "I met with between six and eight analysts and operators from CIA and elsewhere [before the Feb 2002 trip]. None of the people in that meeting did I know, and they took the decision to send me. This is a smear job."

Right - he didn't know anyone at the meeting after his wife introduced him and left.

Whatever. He isn't denying it to TIME anymore:

When asked last week by TIME if he still denies that she was the origin of his involvement in the trip, he avoided answering.

Wilson down, Jukebox to go! I feel like I am fighting holdouts on Guam in 1953.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "The master of picking single words from a quote out of context"

I notice the impressive number of examples you provide (zero). This is one more in an endless series of hollow statements from you.

"claiming that I must include a non-pertinent qualifier"

The words you repeatedly omitted ("apart from being the conduit of a message from a colleague in her office asking if I would be willing to have a conversation about Niger's uranium industry") are exactly the words which show that Wilson's account matched up closely with multiple other reports from within the CIA. So "pertinent" gets added to a long list of words that have a special definition in Cecil's personal dictionary.

"calling everyone involved a liar"

Another impressive number of examples from you: zero.

"I like how posting an opinion contrary to yours ... makes me a 'partisan hack.' "

Uh, no. You're giving yourself way too little credit. You've worked hard at your hackery, and it involves much more than just disagreeing, or being wrong. One hallmark of hackery (and you're a terrific example) is gliding past contrary facts as if they've never been mentioned. When I use the term, I usually go out of my way to explain precisely why I'm doing so. An example is here. Then again, you are indeed an incorrigible hack, which means you blithely ignore what's inconvenient, so I'm sure I can rely on you to continue to ignore that example, as well as this explanation. In other words, you have a perversely admirable consistency.

jukeboxgrad

TM: "Oh, for heaven's sake - I excerpted the whole darn paragraph in question!"

That's true. But you focused on the word "suggested," when actually the key word is "involved." It's possible you still don't know what I'm talking about, but I don't want to belabor it further. We have marginally larger guppies to fry.

"your theory that Cooper recognized Rove was exaggerating is not consistent with a 'Rove lied' argument."

Sorry, but that makes no sense whatsover. If my kid says "my teacher told me I don't have to do any homework anymore," the fact that I'm not fooled, and I know it's a lie, doesn't mean that my kid isn't lying.

Or maybe you're trying to make a point about the difference between an exaggeration and a lie. If so, I'm completely missing your point.

"whether Rove himself really suggested that the chat be on double super secret background"

I don't think anyone seriously believes or claims that Rove used those words, which we all know are a joke Cooper got from Animal House (I imagine you know Cooper has some experience as a comic). Likewise, I don't think there's any doubt that Rove made it clear to Cooper that the conversation was "on background," which means "you can write this but don't say where you heard it."

Out of a variety of sleazy things, one of the sleaziest things Luskin did was suggesting (I'm too lazy to find the cite at the moment) that Rove thought "on background" meant "off the record," as if Rove is a babe in the woods and has no idea how to send clear signals to a reporter regarding such elementary matters. Or as if leaking classified information to a reporter is OK as long as you cross all your fingers and toes hoping he won't tell anyone else.

I said "A major feature of the GOP campaign against Wilson is to claim that Plame had an important role in sending him."

You said "Sure it was - at the DU, maybe."

Here I pointed out that talking point number two out of five for Mehlman was about Plame. Did you really not notice I already addressed this? Or is it that DU is now a branch of gop.com? And since Mehlman is presumably someone you're heard of, why would you even need me to bring this to your attention? I think it's not surprising that I don't remember what Clarke said about an aspirin factory many years ago. I think it is surprising that you're not familiar with the official RNC talking points (especially since I've posted the link multiple times) regarding one of your favorite topics.

"And exactly *one* reporter, Novak, got a leak about the wife and published it"

This is obviously a situation where the difference between the numbers *zero* and *one* is highly material. By the way, Novak writing the story is not what made Rove's behavior wrong. It's simply what (eventually) made Rove's behavior famous.

"the correct Dem talking point"

No. The "correct Dem talking point," and the parsimonious apparent reality, is that Rove was trying to kill several birds with one stone. True, merely outing Plame (without regard to "authorized") was sufficient to meet the objective you mentioned ("punish Wilson and intimidate other whistleblowers"). But it was clearly also important to Rove to minimize Cheney's connection with the trip and maximize Plame's connection with the trip (and obviously those two objectives go hand-in-hand). It's also a quintessentially Rovish maneuver to attack Wilson's manhood by suggesting that his wife got him the job.

Although you seem to be trying, you have to go through some intense contortions to adopt the position that these various objectives are mutually exclusive. On the contrary. They're highly complementary.

"in a story with that lead"

I'm well-aware of the lead. In my opinion, that lead is Cooper's way of telling the world that Cooper thinks Rove is conducting a partisan attack. In my opinion, Cooper omitted "authorized" because Cooper chose to report on the attack, rather than be a part of it, or be a vehicle for it. I see a big, clear difference between these two perspectives. Rove was counting on Cooper to help point a finger at Wilson. Instead, Cooper chose to point a finger at Rove. This kind of maneuvering is the nature of the beast, and Cooper and Rove are both major-league players. We're just taking a close look at the strategy behind one particular play, and I think my theory about it is highly plausible.

"even though no one has told him that 'authorized' is wrong."

You're doing that partisan-hackery thing that Cecil is so good at. (Are you worried about being outdone by him? It wouldn't be such a bad thing if you let that happen.) In other words, you're acting as if certain things I said simply haven't been said.

As I already pointed out in some detail, I think it's plausible, if not likely, that Cooper figured out (via his own reasoning and/or other sources) that "authorized" wasn't true or couldn't be true.

"In another world, Cooper would have printed 'authorized', then run a denial from the CIA to emphasize his lead point, that the Admin was at war with Wilson."

This scenario you describe makes a lot of sense. I agree that Cooper easily could have played it that way. I think that many journalists might have played it that way. I think many similar stories are played exactly that way. At the same time, it's easy for me to imagine how in this particular situation Cooper wanted Rove to know that Cooper could not be counted on to be a dutiful stenographer for a gratuitous personal smear.

Keep in mind that there's a strong argument to be made that the proper moral step for Cooper was to promptly dial 911 and report Rove as an enemy of the state. At the other extreme, Cooper could have played Miller to Rove's Chalabi: i.e., sit on Rove's knee and take dictation, and print "authorized." Cooper chose something in-between.

"he didn't want to embarrass anyone, and because he is a nice guy."

I realize in my earlier post I mentioned how in a way Cooper was protecting Rove from Rove's own foolishness. I still stand by this observation, but now I've also said more about (in my opinion) Cooper's view of his own role, and what his moral choices were. In my opinion, these complicated and interacting factors are not mutually exclusive.

"Ms. Plame ... suggested at the meeting"

Sorry, but I can't get too excited about this. What we have is a newspaper article which makes the above statement. This, in turn, is not a direct quote from a memo, but a characterization of something a memo said. The memo, in turn, is something we know next to nothing about. We don't even know for sure if it was written by someone who was present at the meeting. Maybe it was written by someone else (stranger things have happened). By the way, no one is claiming it was "minutes," which would have been an attempt at some kind of complete verbatim account of the meeting.

We also have no idea of the context of Plame's statement. She could have followed six other people who all said "Joe went last time, I think he should go this time, what do you think, Val?" And then maybe she said, "sure, that's fine by me; if the boss wants me to, I'll go ask him." And maybe the memo and/or newspaper article focused on her, rather than the others, for fairly obvious reasons.

Aside from all that, this is a footnote on a footnote on a footnote. The broader context is how intel was used and abused. Wilson's trip was just a piece of this. And we're not even talking about the results of Wilson's trip. We're merely talking about the origins of Wilson's trip. Actually, we're merely talking about Plame's minor (by all accounts except Rove's) role in the origin of Wilson's trip. Actually, we're merely talking about Wilson's account of Plame's role in the origin of Wilson's trip. How absurd. And the only reason this particular sub-sub-subplot is getting such an inordinate amount of attention is because certain people are desperate to slander Wilson, and are critically short of substantive means to do so. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, in other words.

Seven Machos

Basically, the Jukemeister has one meta-belief: Bush-Rove-bad-evil. All facts must fit into that meta-belief.

Sigh. I just wish he could force the facts to fit more economically, for the sake of sanith and space.

MJW

JBG, referring to Cecil, says: "The words you repeatedly omitted ("apart from being the conduit of a message from a colleague in her office asking if I would be willing to have a conversation about Niger's uranium industry") are exactly the words which show that Wilson's account matched up closely with multiple other reports from within the CIA.

The problem is, Cecil didn't repeatedly omit them: he quoted and addressed these exact words in this very thread. I suppose Jukeboxgrad expects him to rehash the same material in every post. Hey, it works for Jukeboxgrad.

kim

Nice phrase there, Puss 'n Boots, 'for the sake of sanity and space'. Obviously there is evidence of marvelous ability to organize and marshall information, to pick and deduce from it to frame an argument; there is no dialectic.

At some level it saddens me to see the blindness, the bitterness, the pathological lack of humour in the flower of leftist thought today. This is enlightenment? This is progressivism?
On another level, there is poignancy rather than sadness. There is an incompetent credo at work there and I don't understand just how. It's sounds so nice. But there be hippogriffs, and crumble your cookies if you go visiting.
===========================================

Martin

"And exactly *one* reporter, Novak, got a leak about the wife and published it (I am scoring Cooper as a "me-too!", since they published after the Corn scandal-mongering article)."

Nope. 6 reporters got leaks-but only one was scummy enough to run with it.

And don't tell me you're adopting the Cliff may "Corn blew her cover" line!?

Novaks been fired, Miller's in jail, and Cooper barely avoided it, the White House spokesman has lied, been busted, and has since shut down comments, the Prosecutor has personally grilled the President and VP, and is still bring Rove's aides before the grand jury as of last month...

And you're still harping on whether Plame was involved to slime Wilson???

Which is exactly why the scumbags in the Administration leaked the info in the first place!?

I'm removing you from my blog links and putting you in my "tool" box.

Have a good weekend.

kim

Never forget that the 'pushback', whose legality is STILL being investigated, was against a most serious and deliberate piece of political disinformation, and just whose deliberations it was is also STILL being investigated.
==============================================

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "the pathological lack of humour"

As I would with a barking dog, let me throw you a bone.

kim

I trust him, why don't you?

And I'll trust Condi next.
============================

Martin

Great point on the Google search-JBG.

Kim-what medicine are you on? I'm trying to correlate your rare moments of lucidity with some sort of twice a day schedule-but it's not working. Are you regular in your doses?

jukeboxgrad

One more thing. I pointed out that many, many sources misquoted Wilson. These sources include supposedly liberal media, such as Time and NYT. I also pointed out that google returns only 66 results for the correct quote. What I want to add is that even this low number overstates the extent of the correct usage.

As far as I can tell, the number of major (or even semi-major) journalists who quoted Wilson completely and correctly is exactly one.

Almost all the other search results are blog references to this one article by a semi-major columnist, or various miscellaneous blog comments which quote Wilson correctly. I did manage to find one freeper thread that also had the correct information buried in it.

Also, to his credit, there is an example of our host getting it right, via an example of Somerby getting it right.

Martin, thanks for the compliment.

kim

Thanks, M, for highlighting the lucidity at my two usual posting times, morning and evening. Thanks for the compliment.
================================================

Cecil Turner

re: single words "I notice the impressive number of examples you provide (zero). This is one more in an endless series of hollow statements from you."

Looking up the comment thread, I note your fascination with the word "authorized," and an insistence I define "single parsed words." You ought not to need an example of the subject of the current conversation. Do try to keep up.

"The words you repeatedly omitted ("apart from being the conduit of a message from a colleague in her office asking if I would be willing to have a conversation about Niger's uranium industry") are exactly the words which show that Wilson's account matched up closely . . ."

So her memo citing his qualifications ("good relations with both the PM and the former Minister of Mines . . .") was part of "being the conduit of a message from a colleague"? Nonsense. She was touting his expertise for the assignment--which is part of the selection process--not passing along a message that her boss wants to send him on a trip. The qualifier has nothing to do with the SSCI findings that she was involved in the selection process, which is the point on which Wilson lied.

re: liar "Another impressive number of examples from you: zero."

Again, I thought you might be able to read up the thread and find the discussion about "seems," "appears," and "outright lie." Obviously I gave you too much credit.

kim

Highly selective Sauronovision.
================================

MJW

JBG says: "Cecil did indeed quote "these exact words in this very thread," here. But that was only after I complained, three times (here, here and here). And I repeatedly complained because Cecil did indeed "repeatedly omit them," in "this very thread," here and here."

I think this goes to prove my contention that Jukeboxgrad isn't satisfied unless the same point is made over and over again. Cecil commented on the words, and moved on -- an admirable approach Jukeboxgrad would be wise to emulate.

As far as the words JBG is so concerned about, they couldn't matter less. Cecil, TM, I, and others believe the 9/11 commission's conclusion that Plame pushed for Wilson's appointment. JBG accepts Wison's claim that Plame wasn't involved in selecting him. That Wilson admits Plame conveyed a message to him isn't evidence either way.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "I note your fascination with the word 'authorized' "

This all goes back to something you said here. You're making an utterly false comparison, between the way you misquoted Wilson and the way I quoted Rove (indirectly, via Cooper's email and Time article).

There is no comparison. You, on the one hand, repeatedly omitted the first part of Wilson's statement. I, on the other hand, left out nothing material with regard to Rove's words (as conveyed by Cooper). You misquoted Wilson. I did not misquote Rove. It's as simple as that. Yes, you've disputed my interpretation of the word "authorized" (essentially you've taken the novel position that "authorized" doesn't mean "authorized"), but you've never claimed that I omitted some material part of Rove's statement (I didn't). So in your usual style of allegations that are untethered from reality, your claim that my reference to Rove is anything at all like your repeatedly truncated and mangled misquote of Wilson is utterly false.

Speaking of being untethered from reality, let us know the basis for your sweeping statement "It now appears she had everything to do with the matter." I guess "everything" is another one of the elastic words in your magical personal dictionary.

"So her memo citing his qualifications ... was part of 'being the conduit of a message from a colleague' ?"

Of course I didn't say that. Nice job trying to put words in my mouth. The fact that Wilson (in his book) didn't mention Plame's memo means nothing. For one thing, the memo just isn't that important. And it's possible he decided, or was told, that mentioning the memo would be treading in classified territory. And finally, he just may not have even known about the memo, at that time (I haven't compared various dates to verify if this makes sense).

"She was touting his expertise for the assignment--which is part of the selection process"

The first part of your statement is true (although you're adding a certain "literary flair" by saying "touting" when she was simply describing). The second part of your statement is a matter of interpretation or opinion. One of your many forms of hackery is to present opinion as if it is fact.

I think it went like this. Plame's boss decided to send Wilson (after all, a few years prior Wilson had done a similar mission). Plame's boss wanted to make sure this was OK with our folks in Niger (to some extent this was probably a formality, or a courtesy). Plame's boss said to Val "please write down the details of Joe's qualifications for this trip; I need that info for a cable I'm sending to Niger; you're obviously familiar with all the details, so you can save me some time by putting it together for me; then I can just cut and paste into my cable tomorrow." Plame wrote her famous sentence. The next day (as reported by SSCI), the cable was sent, "requesting concurrence with CPD's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger."

In my opinion, this very simple and obvious scenario is highly consistent with Wilson's statements and with all the known facts.

"The qualifier has nothing to do with the SSCI findings that she was involved in the selection process, which is the point on which Wilson lied."

The qualifier has everything to do with the fact that Wilson never flatly claimed that "Valerie had nothing to do with the matter," which is the point on which you lied.

By the way, one of the facts you choose to gloss over is that the SSCI "findings" are at odds with statements by CIA officials, such as 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."

And this: "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."

You've still failed to explain why you choose to believe the one or two unnamed sources cited by SSCI, rather than these sources. Another sure sign of your hackery is that you're willing to confidently announce, with no qualifiers, that someone is a liar when all you have to work with is some murky he said/she said.

"find the discussion about 'seems' "

This is your pathetic attempt to defend your vague and sweeping accusation regarding "calling everyone involved a liar," which was, among other things, an example of your highly elastic application of words such as "everyone."

jukeboxgrad

MJW: "I think this goes to prove my contention ... "

I think this goes to prove my contention that you're a hack, like Cecil. You made the following claim: "Cecil didn't repeatedly omit them." This claim is false. I demonstrated that here.

The fact that you refuse to take responsibility for your false statement tends to create the impression that you were deliberately telling a lie, rather than simply making a mistake. This tells us all we need to know about you.

"As far as the words ... they couldn't matter less."

The importance of the words is, at least to some extent, a matter of opinion. That Cecil repeatedly omitted the words is not an opinion, it's a fact. As some astute people have mentioned, you're entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts.

"That Wilson admits Plame conveyed a message to him isn't evidence either way."

That Wilson asserts Plame conveyed a message to him means that it's a lie to claim that Wilson flatly said "Valerie had nothing to do with the matter," especially when there's an attempt made (as Cecil did) to describe this as a "comprehensive denial."

I realize you can't grasp the pathetic irony of crucifying Wilson for ostensibly failing to meet the highest standards of truth-telling (as if this even has anything to do with much more important issues, such as Bush abusing intel and Rove outing an operative), while simultaneously taking liberties with the truth in the course of conducting your crusade. Naked emperor syndrome.

This was a remarkable feature of the SBVT [sic] farce.

kim

What is it going to take to get you to give up on Joe Wilson? Does he have to lie directly to your face? C'mon, he's a joke, really a very sad one.

So let's talk about the Swifties. Not only were their believers the deciding factor in the election, but Kerry has yet to address their charges. His boat foundered a year ago, yet he thinks he is still at the helm. The farce was him pretending the Swifties weren't firing away while he hid in the scuppers for SIX CRITICAL WEEKS of the campaign.
=============================================

kim

Oh and the press played their part in the farce to with their studied uncuriosity about the substance and depth of the Swifties charges and their dosey-does with the Texas Memos.
===============================================

kim

There were two's, to's, too's, and tutus.
==================================================

Seven Machos

Jukemeister: It must suck to say so much and make nary a dent in anyone's opinion.

MJW

JBG says: "I think this goes to prove my contention that you're a hack, like Cecil. You made the following claim: "Cecil didn't repeatedly omit them." This claim is false. I demonstrated that here."

Jukeboxgrad, you just get more and more charming. If by "repeatedly omit them" you mean he didn't include them in each and every post he's ever made, you are correct. I suspect, though, that you're just about the only person on the planet that would expect him to do so.

JBG continues (and continues and continues): "That Wilson asserts Plame conveyed a message to him means that it's a lie to claim that Wilson flatly said "Valerie had nothing to do with the matter..."

If someone were arguing that it would be improper for Plame to deliver a message to Wilson, but that she did so, JBG would have a point. But nobody is arguing that. When we say Wison denied Plame had anything to do with the matter, the matter we are obviously referring to is his selection. And that, he did deny.

Still more from JBG: "By the way, one of the facts you choose to gloss over is that the SSCI 'findings' are at odds with statements by CIA officials, such as 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.'

And this: '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.'"

I won't speak for anyone else, but my opinion is these CIA officials were either lying or were lied to. First, we must ask whether at the time of these quotes the CIA had conducted an investigation to determine who recommended Wilson. I say it's unlikely on its face that they would have done so, and given that the 9/11 commission didn't mention any such inquiry, it's almost completely ruled out. Assuming there wasn't an investigation, who in the CIA would be in a position to know how Wilson was chosen? Only those involved in sending him: close associates of Plame, who, besides their natural loyalty to her, would very likely prefer that it not be known that the selection was based more on matrimony than merit.

So, we must weigh the anonymous denials by most likely self-interested individuals against the sworn testimony and contemporaneous documents gathered by the 9/11 commission. I know which I'd choose.

kim

Joe is a thin reed upon which to base an anti-war argument, a mixed and weak signal when sent by the CIA to communicate with 'those in the know' in Niger, and God only know what sort of support as a husband and father. Possibly stellar. I'd like to know.
=================================================

Cecil Turner

"Of course I didn't say that. Nice job trying to put words in my mouth. The fact that Wilson (in his book) didn't mention Plame's memo means nothing."

It's not his failure to include the memo, it's the claim she had "nothing to do with the matter" that is false. Since you admit her memo had nothing to do with being a "conduit," it doesn't fall under the qualifier (that you insist we have to include in every quote). Hence the qualifier is irrelevant to the issue.

"This all goes back to something you said here. You're making an utterly false comparison, between the way you misquoted Wilson and the way I quoted Rove (indirectly, via Cooper's email and Time article)."

In the first place, I didn't "quote" Wilson at all. I excerpted a WaPo story that quoted him. (And, not having a copy of his memoirs, trusted they got it right--I'm quite willing to accept your version of the book passage.) Your comparing statements between Cooper and McClellan (and concluding Rove lied) fails the most basic "his lips were moving" test. Your failure to admit the possibility Cooper misquoted him is ridiculous.

"In my opinion, this very simple and obvious scenario is highly consistent with Wilson's statements and with all the known facts."

Except of course the memo (which again has nothing to do with being a conduit), and the SSCI findings:

interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip
You may claim that since they didn't provide you a copy of the classified enclosure, this is "unknown," but hopefully you can envision the remote possibility that some of us "hacks" may honestly disagree on the point.

"This is your pathetic attempt to defend your vague and sweeping accusation regarding "calling everyone involved a liar," which was, among other things, an example of your highly elastic application of words such as "everyone.""

Yeah, how could anyone get the impression you were calling everyone else in the conversation a liar? (And if "everyone involved" is an overstatement, I'm confident you'll get around to making it true.)

BumperStickerist

Stay the course, Cecil.

There's a certain fascination in watching JBG contort himself to emphasize a particular word at the expense of everything else said - not to mention the odd placement of emphasis on one particular passage ('media creation', 'he didn't let them in')at the expense of ignoring every.other.thing.said. on the issue.

But - that's neither here nor there. To quote someone near and dear to us all:

There is now no incentive for Hussein to comply with the inspectors or to refrain from using weapons of mass destruction to defend himself if the United States comes after him.

And he will use them; we should be under no illusion about that.

Hussein and Aziz both told me directly that Iraq reserved the right to use every weapon in its arsenal if invaded, just as it had against Iran and later the Kurds.

The fact that thousands of men, women and children had died in these attacks fazed them not one bit. In fact, Aziz could barely be bothered to stop puffing on his Cuban cigar as he made these comments, of so little importance was the use of chemicals to kill people.

It is probably too late to change Hussein’s assessment, and that will make any ensuing battle for Iraq that much more dangerous for our troops and for the Iraqis who find themselves in the battlefield.

Author: Joe Wilson - Politics of Truth Website - San Jose Mercury News Editorial.

TM

Re "six reporters got leaks" - Fitzgerald followed up on that leak to the WaPo, but later gave up on it.

Sorry, links later. But have we read about six reporters being subpoenaed, or testifying?

kim

Joe Wilson had a February 6, 2003 op-ed in the LATimes in which he opposed the war on the grounds that Saddam would use his chemical and biological WMD on our invading troops.
=================================================

Martin

That six got leaks comes from a SAO to the WP.

Cooper, Pincus, Novak, Russert, and Miller and ?

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "let's talk about the Swifties"

I already did, here.

jukeboxgrad

MJW: "you mean he didn't include them in each and every post he's ever made"

This coy statement on your part tends to create the impression that sometimes he did, and sometimes he didn't, and it's not fair for me to just focus on the times he didn't. Trouble is, it's not a case of sometimes he did and sometimes he didn't. It's a case of him repeatedly posting the truncated and mangled version, even though weeks ago he was present on a thread where I pointed out this exact issue, and even though I repeatedly raised the issue here. As far as I can tell, he never once posted the full, correct version (on this thread or anywhere else) until after I repeatedly complained about it.

You're an apologist to a hack, so you're obviously a hack too. And a liar, because you made a claim that is simply false ( "Cecil didn't repeatedly omit them"), apparently with the intention to mislead.

In a way you're acting as if Cecil started out by presenting the quote honestly (at least once), and then followed-up by presenting the shorter form. Trouble is, that's not what he did. On the contrary.

You're basically saying it's OK to repeatedly misquote someone, as long as you finally post the correct version once you're backed into a corner. What nonsense.

"When we say Wison denied Plame had anything to do with the matter, the matter we are obviously referring to is his selection."

It doesn't matter what you're referring to (and what's obvious to you may not be obvious to someone else). What matters is that you're simply lying if you claim Wilson made a flat, "comprehensive" (as Cecil called it) denial.

When you make it your business to convince the world that someone is a liar, you should try to make sure that your argument does not include lies.

"Assuming there wasn't an investigation, who in the CIA would be in a position to know how Wilson was chosen?"

Gosh, that's a hard question. I'll take a stab at it: the people who chose him. Somehow I think you could have figured this one out on your own.

Why did there need to be an investigation? Do you need an investigation to find out the time of day? Wilson's trip was not a rocket launch. It was one guy getting on a plane. According to SSCI, Plame's memo was addressed to the "Deputy Chief of the CPD." This is presumably the person who chose and sent Wilson. When Newsday heard a "senior intelligence official" say that Plame "did not recommend her husband," it's reasonable to assume that this official got his information directly or indirectly from the DC of CPD. Maybe Newsday in fact talked directly to the DC of CPD (because "senior intelligence official" would presumably be a fair way to refer to the person holding this job). Why are you trying to make this complicated? What's your basis for suggesting this would be impossible to know without an "investigation?"

"Only those involved in sending him: close associates of Plame, who, besides their natural loyalty to her, would very likely prefer that it not be known that the selection was based more on matrimony than merit."

English translation: if a reputable journalist quotes a "senior intelligence official" making a claim that's at odds with something that happens to be a cherished belief for you, you're going to assume this means various folks at the CIA are involved in a conspiracy to hide the truth from you.

I guess we're also supposed to believe that Plame was some kind of lowly pencil-pusher, without much value to the CIA, but also was somehow in a position to throw her weight around and make sure her hubby got all sorts of cushy assignments, like an unpaid trip to an impoverished third-world country. Lucky Wilson! Just what he needed, more time in Africa (after spending a huge chunk of his career there, including a very similar trip to Niger just a few years earlier). And I'm sure Val and Jim were delighted about the idea of leaving her home alone with the twin toddlers.

As the same official said: " '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."

"anonymous denials by most likely self-interested individuals against the sworn testimony and contemporaneous documents"

Anonymous and unnamed are not exactly the same thing. SSCI knows who their sources are. Likewise for Newsday and Novak (and at least one or two other journalists who talked to people at the CIA who backed Wilson's narrative). So it's more pure hackery on your part to suggest that "anonymous" applies on one side of the equation and not on the other side.

As far as "self-interested," your fanciful tale about why the CIA would lie to Novak and Newsday is no more plausible than any number of tales I could spin about why SSCI was able to find one or two "self-interested" people who were willing to say what certain people in SSCI were very eager to hear.

And the funny thing about "contemporaneous documents" is that all we get to see is exactly one sentence (and we're not even sure it's the whole sentence, for that matter). If there were truly other "contemporaneous documents," why not share a phrase or two? Names and sensitive information could obviously be redacted. Given the absence of any real details outside of one sentence from Plame (which doesn't even make a clear declaration such as "I suggest Joe be sent"), this tends to create the impression that the "contemporaneous documents" don't amount to much.

"I won't speak for anyone else, but my opinion .. I know which I'd choose."

You're obviously entitled to your opinion, and you're obviously free to decide whether or not you have enough clear information to form an opinion. But what makes you and Cecil hacks is that you're willing to confidently describe Wilson as a liar even though your basis for this claim is murky, at best.

The evidence that Rove said "authorized" (or something very close to that), and told a lie in the process, is much stronger than the supposed "evidence" that Wilson lied about anything. You're tunnel-vision on this is another sign of your hackery.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "that you insist we have to include in every quote"

Uh, no (although I realize you find it hard to get through a sentence without some kind of exaggeration). It would have made a big difference if you had quoted Wilson correctly the first time you qouted him. It also would have made a big difference if you had responded promptly when you were first alerted about your misquote, instead of pretending to be deaf.

"Hence the qualifier is irrelevant to the issue."

You're correct that the qualifier is not directly relevant to the question of "suggested." However, the qualifier is relevant to the question of Wilson's credibility, which of course is what this part of the game is all about. Here's how it works. Let's say someone reads one of the zillion sources that claim Wilson said she had "nothing to do with the matter." Then let's say that person then reads Novak/Newsday/CNN quoting CIA as saying she was a "conduit." At this moment, Wilson's credibility is undermined (and unfairly so). The person is thinking "Wilson is a liar for claiming she had nothing to do with the matter, because this is at odds with the idea that she was a conduit! Why did Wilson try to hide the fact that she was a conduit!" Trouble is, he didn't. In other words, the misquote has the effect of unfairly damaging Wilson's credibility even before we get into the question of "suggested."

I think you're just pretending not to understand this.

"I didn't 'quote' Wilson at all. I excerpted a WaPo story that quoted him."

This reminds me of the 16 words. "I didn't say it, I only said that British Intel said it."

Anyway, your excuse would have some validity if I hadn't addressed this issue very clearly, several weeks ago, in a thread where you were present. In other words, you ignored the truth even though it was right under your nose.

Your excuse would also have more validity if you hadn't repeatedly pretended to be deaf when I pointed out the issue here in this thread.

Your excuse would also have more validity if your reaction had been to simply take responsibility. Instead, your reaction is to try to claim it doesn't matter. I've explained why it does.

"And, not having a copy of his memoirs, trusted they got it right"

You guys are so consistent. This reminds me of Bush claiming all he knows he learned in the NIE, and there was no reason to ever consider any information from outside that little bubble.

Wilson's book is fully browsable and searchable at amazon. And it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure this out, especially since I've been repeatedly posting links to his book.

Also, the above list of reasons why your other excuse is lame, also apply equally to this excuse.

"I'm quite willing to accept your version of the book passage"

How magnanimous of you. Trouble is, it's not my "version." It's clear as day at amazon, for all the world to see. Including large numbers of lazy journalists, like Schmidt. That darn liberal media.

"the most basic 'his lips were moving' test"

Sorry, I don't know what you mean by this.

"Your failure to admit the possibility Cooper misquoted him is ridiculous."

I did admit the possibility (a small one), so this is more of your usual hackery and exaggeration. Your failure to admit the unlikehood of this possibility is what's ridiculous. And I notice you've said nothing to address the arguments I presented, such as the fact that bigmouth Luskin has said nothing to support your premise.

"Except of course the memo"

Nice job suggesting that we've seen an entire memo, when all we've seen is one sentence, or perhaps part of a sentence. More hackery, in other words.

By the way, I specifically explained how Plame's words fit in the scenario I described. In your usual style, you're playing deaf and pretending I did not do so.

"You may claim that since they didn't provide you a copy of the classified enclosure"

More exaggeration. It's not that they didn't provide "a copy of the classified enclosure." Nice job suggesting this is what I'm calling for or expecting. I'm not. It's that they didn't provide a single word from any of these other ostensibly impressive documents. Not one word. Even though SSCI of full of all sorts of semi-redacted quotes from all sorts of documents. How odd that there was not even a phrase available (outside of one sentence from Plame) to help make this case, that you're so sure of.

"hopefully you can envision the remote possibility that some of us 'hacks' may honestly disagree on the point."

As I've said, it's one thing to come up with a tentative personal opinion based on murky evidence. It's something else to pretend the evidence is clear, complete and conclusive (it's not) and a sufficient basis to confidently proclaim that someone is a liar (especially someone who served his country for a long time). Pretending there's no difference between these two is what makes you a hack.

"how could anyone get the impression you were calling everyone else in the conversation a liar?"

That was my question to you. Is there an echo in here? Repeating the question is most definitely not a substitute for answering it.

"if 'everyone involved' is an overstatement, I'm confident you'll get around to making it true."

Uh, you don't get to accuse someone of something because you're "confident" that someday they're going to do that thing. This very much reminds me of how we're supposed to treat the reality of possessing WMD as logically indistinguishable from a mere desire to possess WMD.

kim

One of the fascinating things about the Swifties was the manner and rationale by which around 250 men, the complement of a fair sized naval vessel, essentially mutinied against an officer a third of a century after the offending events. Just what is a man like that fit for?

Well, actually I guess he's adapted pretty well to his challenges.
================================================

jukeboxgrad

BUMPER: "the odd placement of emphasis on one particular passage ('media creation', 'he didn't let them in')at the expense of ignoring every.other.thing.said. on the issue"

English translation: it's OK for Bush to lie as long as he doesn't do it all the time.

By the way, I think you're suggesting that Bush ever did say "Saddam did indeed finally let in the inspectors." I'm guessing Bush did eventually say that, but I hadn't noticed for sure. Can you show me where Bush said that?

"he will use them"

Please keep up. Kim mentioned this ages ago. What you missed more than a month ago is here.

"of so little importance was the use of chemicals to kill people"

What a darn shame that this subject was of "so little importance" to us that we wouldn't let it get in the way of the famous handshake.

kim

A perfect example of your sophistical use of hyperbole. We are supposed to treat the reality of possessing WMD as logically indistinguishale from a desire to possess WMD and the incipient ablility to gain them. He had more than 'mere' desire.
==================================================

kim

It is preposterous to try to argue that Saddam in possession of WMD couldn't find a way to use them here. Use your imagination.
=========================================

Cecil Turner

"CECIL: "that you insist we have to include in every quote"

Uh, no (although I realize you find it hard to get through a sentence without some kind of exaggeration). It would have made a big difference if you had quoted Wilson correctly the first time you qouted him. It also would have made a big difference if you had responded promptly when you were first alerted about your misquote, instead of pretending to be deaf."

[Snort.] Nice job trimming the pertinent part of a quote (hey, isn't that what you're claiming I did?). Again, you've admitted the SSCI findings have nothing to do with Wilson's "conduit" qualifier--so the qualifier is irrelevant--and needn't have been included at all.

As to the rest of your hyperventilating about "alerted" and "notified," it might surprise you to find that I regularly skip over your nonsense rather than reading it (shocking, eh?). Hence my "presence" on a thread might not indicate having read of your points. But on this particular point, I read your contention that it was important, rejected it as obviously silly, and ignored it. Your subsequent admission that it is unrelated (and hence a silly point) provides a weclome confirmation, except you're too dense to read your own position and went spinning off into another of your idiotic tirades.

"Wilson's book is fully browsable and searchable at amazon."

Whatever. For the sake of conversation I'll accept your Wilson quotes--and while I realize he's one of your personal heroes, he's not one of mine--and I've no interest in digging through his book on Amazon.

MJW

JBG: "Assuming there wasn't an investigation, who in the CIA would be in a position to know how Wilson was chosen?"

Gosh, that's a hard question. I'll take a stab at it: the people who chose him. Somehow I think you could have figured this one out on your own.

I must have not made myself clear, since that was exactly my point. The sources who claimed Plame played no role in Wilson's selection were the ones involved sending him. So they just might be motivated to misrepresent Plame's involvement.

JBG: Why did there need to be an investigation?

Again, I guess by saying an investigation was "unlikely on the face of it," I didn't make myself clear that I didn't think there would have been one. The point being, if there had been an investigation, the denial of Plame's role may have had a more objective basis. As it was, it could easily have been Plame's buddies defending her and themselves.

JBG: (MJW) "anonymous denials by most likely self-interested individuals against the sworn testimony and contemporaneous documents"
Anonymous and unnamed are not exactly the same thing. SSCI knows who their sources are. Likewise for Newsday and Novak (and at least one or two other journalists who talked to people at the CIA who backed Wilson's narrative). So it's more pure hackery on your part to suggest that "anonymous" applies on one side of the equation and not on the other side.

I think it's pretty general to refer to an unnamed source in a news article as an "anonymous source." I doubt many people, besides perhaps JBG, restrict the term to sources even the reporter doesn't know. It may be partially true the the 9/11 commission sources could also be termed "anonymous," but there are some differences. First, in some cases the positions of the sources were identified, and second, the sources faced perjury charges if they lied.

JBG: And the funny thing about "contemporaneous documents" is that all we get to see is exactly one sentence (and we're not even sure it's the whole sentence, for that matter). If there were truly other "contemporaneous documents," why not share a phrase or two?

Acually, two documents were quoted:

"...the former ambassador's wife says, 'my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.'"

And,

"An INR analyst's notes indicate that the meeting was 'apparently convened by [the former ambassador's] wife who had the idea to dispatch [him] to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue.'"

But I won't call you a hack or a liar for this minor error. I, too, wish they'd given more details. It is, however. difficult to see how the quotes could be taken in any other way than the 9/11 commission's interpretation.

JBG: (MJW) "I won't speak for anyone else, but my opinion .. I know which I'd choose."

You're obviously entitled to your opinion, and you're obviously free to decide whether or not you have enough clear information to form an opinion. But what makes you and Cecil hacks is that you're willing to confidently describe Wilson as a liar even though your basis for this claim is murky, at best.

I think the evidence that Plame pushed for Wilson's selection (and therefore lied when he said she didn't), is much stonger than the evidence the other way. But, as you say, we're all entitle to our own opinion.

JBG: The evidence that Rove said "authorized" (or something very close to that), and told a lie in the process, is much stronger than the supposed "evidence" that Wilson lied about anything. You're tunnel-vision on this is another sign of your hackery.

The difference is, we know exactly what Wilson said about Plame's involvement from his first-hand account, and we can reasonably assume he was aware of Plame's actual role. On the other hand, we only have Cooper's inerpretation of what Rove said, and we currently have no idea what Rove actually knew at the time.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "Nice job trimming the pertinent part of a quote"

I have no idea what you're talking about. Nice job not bothering to make yourself clear.

"the qualifier is irrelevant"

Nice job repeating your lame excuse without even pretending to address my explanation of why the qualifier is indeed relevant. More of your convenient deafness. Kind of like Rove's convenient memory lapses.

"I read your contention that it was important, rejected it as obviously silly, and ignored it"

English translation: you knew you were misquoting Wilson and kept doing it anyway.

"Your subsequent admission that it is unrelated"

It's not directly relevant to the question of "suggested," but it's most definitely relevant to the broader and underlying question of Wilson's credibility. I realize you'd like to pretend you can't grasp this distinction.

If you quote someone for the purpose of undermining their credibility, you should quote them carefully and completely. Otherwise the credibility that's undermined is your own.

"I've no interest in digging through his book on Amazon."

Here's a little tip. Not everything you read in the newspaper is true. Sometimes even a fine outfit like WaPo screws up. Therefore it's a good idea to learn how to check primary sources, whenever possible. The internets come in handy for that sort of thing. And there's no need for "digging." Many books on amazon (including Wilson's) are text-searchable. You can look up those big words if any of them confound you.

If your concern is that someone from the Party might catch you reading parts of Wilson's book, than maybe that means you should simply refrain from attempting to quote him.

"he's not one of mine [personal heroes]"

I have no idea how that's relevant to anything, except if you mean that since he's not a member of your club you have no need to avoid quoting him dishonestly. I wouldn't put it past you.

jukeboxgrad

MJW:

Thanks for making an effort to clarify things.

"The sources who claimed Plame played no role in Wilson's selection were the ones involved sending him."

I think you're making an assumption and trying to pass it off as a fact. I think we would both agree that what you said is possible, or even likely. But neither of us is in a position to be sure it's true. It's also possible that "the sources who claimed Plame played no role in Wilson's selection" were senior and reputable people who were close enough to the situation to know what actually happened, but not so close to the situation to have some mysterious motivation to lie about it. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

"it could easily have been Plame's buddies defending her and themselves"

Sure. It could also have been professionals making a simple decision in a simple honest way, and describing it honestly to Novak, Newsday and CNN. The bottom line is that you're obviously free to imagine that Wilson's story is false, but you're not in a position to clearly prove that, especially since there are reports that corroborate his. Therefore calling him a liar is hackery (especially because he's a career public servant who was highly praised by a president; that's not a large group, and that should count for something).

"in some cases the positions of the sources were identified"

I don't see a huge difference between SSCI using a term like "reports officer" as compared with Newsday using a term like "senior intelligence official."

"the sources faced perjury charges if they lied"

I agree that this is a substantive difference (but the only substantive difference) between the unnamed sources quoted by Novak, Newsday and CNN, as compared with the unnamed sources quoted by SSCI. But in my opinion a phrase such as she "offered up his name" is sufficiently ambiguous that it would not be likely to lead to a serious perjury prosecution, regardless of the underlying circumstances.

"I won't call you a hack or a liar for this minor error"

I appreciate that, because it was just an error. You're making a good point about the analyst's "notes." Strictly speaking, they have to be considered a kind of "document," so I should have mentioned it. However, I have never put much stock in those "notes" because it seems like a weak source (and that's why I forgot to mention them). Notes to whom? It seems to be informal notes taken by one person. I'm suspicious of notes that were presumably never even sent to anyone in the form of a memo, because they could have been created at any time. I consider these notes to not have much more weight than someone making a verbal report to the committee.

"It is, however. difficult to see how the quotes could be taken in any other way than the 9/11 commission's interpretation."

I agree with you regarding the quote from the analyst's notes. I disagree regarding what I think is the more important quote, from Plame's memo.

The more I think about Plame's memo, the more it bugs me that we were shown so little from it. We're supposed to believe that Plame wrote this memo to suggest that Wilson be sent to Niger. If that's true, then it seems inevitable that the memo would contain at least some language close to that, e.g., "I suggest that Joe be sent to Niger." And if the memo contained one or more phrases like that, it seems inevitable that SSCI would have quoted those phrases. But it didn't. I find this highly perplexing.

Wilson said Plame's boss asked her to list details of Joe's qualifications. It's very easy for me to understand why Plame's boss would want this (as I explained, perhaps in connection with the cable he sent the following day). And Plame would be the obvious person to be handed this assignment. In this scenario, it makes complete sense that the memo would include exactly such sentences as the sentence quoted by SSCI. And it makes complete sense that the memo would not include a phrase such as "I suggest that Joe be sent to Niger." Plame wasn't asked for her opinion on this subject. Rather, she was asked for data that Plame's boss would use to sell the idea to our folks in Niger.

Sometimes information that's missing is just as revealing as information that's visible. If Plame's memo was truly for the purpose of suggesting Joe, I simply can't imagine why SSCI didn't share with us any simple declaration to that effect, quoted from the memo.

"we know exactly what Wilson said about Plame's involvement from his first-hand account"

True, if "we" means you and me. Unfortunately, many, many people have a distorted picture of Wilson's "first-hand account," thanks to people like Cecil and Schmidt. But that's an aside, and doesn't detract from the point you're getting at.

"we can reasonably assume he was aware of Plame's actual role"

I'm not so sure about this. Obviously there has to be a certain amount of pillow-talk, but on the other hand Plame probably didn't report every single detail on a daily basis, especially details that seemed unimportant at the time. And to the extent they compared notes much later (after the shit hit the fan), it's possible to imagine various kinds of honest forgetfulness, misunderstanding or confusion creeping in. Finally, as amazing as it seems, it's possible that they respected certain boundaries with regard to protecting classified information, and this also could have contributed to confusion or mistaken assumptions.

"we only have Cooper's inerpretation of what Rove said"

That's basically true. However, in my opinion, Cooper's credibility is enhanced by the fact that he covered for Rove all through the period prior to 11/2/04. If Cooper was simply out to hang Rove, he could have made himself much more popular at home by doing it a year earlier. Cooper's credibility is also enhanced by the fact that he wrote an email to his boss soon after getting off the phone with Rove. It's hard to imagine Cooper being careless or dishonest in such an email. And then he wrote a major article recently, corroborating what he said in the email. In my opinion, Cooper is a very credible witness, and he has made multiple written reports (one private and contemporaneous, and one very public, much later) regarding what Rove said. And these reports are not hedged or vague, and they are highly congruent with each other.

Also, there's good reason to understand that what Cooper has said to the public is congruent with what he's said to the grand jury. So he's telling the same story repeatedly, including under oath.

And, as I've said, I think Luskin's uncharacteristic silence on this aspect is revealing.

To sum this up, I don't think I've flatly said that Rove is a liar (with regard to "authorized;" however I do think it's clear that Rove and/or people near him lied, one way or another, in connection with the general coverup). I think I've used the following caveat: if Cooper's email is to be trusted. But I do think there's good reason to trust Cooper, and his email.

By the way, there are obviously folks who corroborate Wilson's story. But it's not as if there's anyone in the world who is seriously claiming that Plame "authorized" Wilson's trip. If there was any such corroboration, I would be much less inclined to point this particular finger at Rove.

kim

Joe Wilson lied, the Democratic Party died.
============================================

kim

Hey come back here, JBG, you still haven't explained why you think that Joe Wilson believing that Saddam had WMD over there meant that he couldn't use it here. You can't pick at words, and speculate about pillow talk unless you address that elephant sitting on your argument. Joe Wilson is a liar, and you are hinging too much of your argument on him.
================================================

MJW

JBG: "it could easily have been Plame's buddies defending her and themselves"

Sure. It could also have been professionals making a simple decision in a simple honest way, and describing it honestly to Novak, Newsday and CNN.

This may not be a major point, but I think that in Novak's case, Harlow, the CIA official he talked with, only denied that Plame authorized the trip. At least that's what he said in a recent interview. (I'm not sure I don't believe he originally denied any involvement, though. If so, the change to "authorized" is interesting.)

JBG: The bottom line is that you're obviously free to imagine that Wilson's story is false, but you're not in a position to clearly prove that, especially since there are reports that corroborate his. Therefore calling him a liar is hackery (especially because he's a career public servant who was highly praised by a president; that's not a large group, and that should count for something).

I can only repeat that I believe the 9/11 commission report makes a compelling, consistant case that Plame's involvemet was much deeper than Wilson or the unnamed CIA officials made it out to be. If this be hackery, make the most of it!

As for the first President Bush's praise of Wilson, I have no doubt Wilson has done many praiseworthy things in his life; but many people who have done praiseworthy things have also done things deserving criticism.

JBG: "in some cases the positions of the sources were identified"

I don't see a huge difference between SSCI using a term like "reports officer" as compared with Newsday using a term like "senior intelligence official."

The "CPD reports officer" is a specific person with specific responsibilities; a "senior intelligence official" is any of perhaps thousands of people with unknown responsibilties. I may not know exactly what the CPD reports officer does, but at least I know it's someone working in the same division as Plame whose job is (from a quick google search) to pull together information in response to questions and specific requests for information.

JBG: However, I have never put much stock in those "notes" because it seems like a weak source (and that's why I forgot to mention them). Notes to whom? It seems to be informal notes taken by one person.

I obviously have a different bias than JBG, but I find the notes to be stong evidence, since they represent someone's immediate, presumably unvarnished, impression of the situation.

JBG: "we only have Cooper's inerpretation of what Rove said"

That's basically true. However, in my opinion, Cooper's credibility is enhanced by the fact that he covered for Rove all through the period prior to 11/2/04. If Cooper was simply out to hang Rove, he could have made himself much more popular at home by doing it a year earlier. Cooper's credibility is also enhanced by the fact that he wrote an email to his boss soon after getting off the phone with Rove. It's hard to imagine Cooper being careless or dishonest in such an email.

Reporters avoid burning anonymous sources for both idealistic and selfish reasons. A selfish reason being that if they burn one source, others will be reluctant to talk to him or her. Neverthelss, it was admirable for Cooper to keep his double-secret pledge to Rove under what must have been considerable temptation. On the other hand, being the suspicious person I am, I've always wondered why the two people Cooper talked to about Plame are the ones who were immediately singled out by Wilson as the leakers. Perhaps it was the obvious guess, or perhaps Wilson and Plame aren't the only husband and wife act in this tale. But I digress . . .

Not surprisingly, I don't have as much faith in Cooper as JBG does. Cooper certaintly exaggerated, and arguably misrepresented, the situation surrounding his avoidance of a trip to the pokey. He and his lawyer also made the interview show circuit, pointedly implying Rove was lying about the original subject of the phone call being welfare reform, while carefully sticking to "as I recall" weasel-words to avoid actually saying outright that it wasn't. Also, an email written by Rove shortly after the call supports Rove's version.

JBG: And then he wrote a major article recently, corroborating what he said in the email.

In the "War on Wilson" article, he said only that the White House claimed Plame was involved in the decision. Odd, if he was so certain Rove said "authorized."

(This post is much longer than I intended. I think from now on I need to be more selective in what I respond to. As long as JBG is around, I'll never get in the last word, so why try?)

Cecil Turner

"It's not directly relevant to the question of "suggested," but it's most definitely relevant to the broader and underlying question of Wilson's credibility."

Nice try, but what you admitted was that the SSCI quote wasn't related to being a conduit, and hence Wilson's first clause ("apart from being the conduit of a message from a colleague in her office asking if I would be willing to have a conversation about Niger's uranium industry") is not pertinent to the discussion. His subsequent claim that she wasn't involved is either claiming to know something he doesn't, or is misrepresenting what happened . . . and in either case it's a lie. The "conduit" clause doesn't affect that at all.

"If you quote someone for the purpose of undermining their credibility, you should quote them carefully and completely. Otherwise the credibility that's undermined is your own."

Coming from someone with a well-deserved reputation for "pettyparsing" and unfounded accusations of dishonesty, this is past hilarious. Coming on the heels of your "authorized" fixation, it's even funnier. Yet again, since the "conduit" clause doesn't apply, it needn't be included (any more than the sentences preceeding or following the quote). "Had had" is similarly meaningless (and appears to my non-Grammarian eyes to be a mistaken use of a past perfective). Again, I'm quite willing to accept any of the versions, since they don't change anything. Each one is directly contradicted by the SSCI (and especially by the quote from Plame's memo).

"I have no idea how that's relevant to anything, except if you mean that since he's not a member of your club you have no need to avoid quoting him dishonestly."

Getting past the false charge of dishonest quoting, it's worth recapping Wilson's original contention that "Intelligence was twisted" by the Administration, and his case:

  1. The VP asked about the Niger MOAs;
  2. Wilson traveled to Africa to check it out;
  3. There was nothing to the claim and Wilson told 'em that;
  4. The Administration ignored his debunking and the President repeated it in the SOTU.
In fact, every single part of that is misleading or false. The MOAs hadn't yet been seen; Wilson only checked Niger (Niamey actually); Wilson's report actually "lent more credibility" to the original report; and finally the information was never passed along to the White House, nor were the MOAs the basis for the SOTU statement.

His case is completely torpedoed by any one of those, and laughable in the aggregate. He has several other dubious passages (e.g., his intro, where he calls himself a "forceful advocate for [Saddam's] removal from Kuwait"--without mentioning he meant "by diplomatic means" . . . and identifying himself as the subject of "news stories about that unnamed former envoy"--without mentioning he leaked the information to the reporters in the first place). And since I'd not trust anything in his book, reading it is a waste of time.

Yet in an attempt to salvage Wilson's lost credibility, you repeatedly proffer strained explanations for why the subsequent commission reports (Butler, SSCI) must not be believed on any point which discredits his story. And why Wilson's statements (which even he won't defend) must be preferred over quoted passages from his wife's memo. You further claim those of us who find the commission findings more credible than your lame explanations are "hacks." There's no honest explanation for this except gross stupidity, and I have a hard time believing you're that stupid. Cheers.

"(This post is much longer than I intended. I think from now on I need to be more selective in what I respond to. As long as JBG is around, I'll never get in the last word, so why try?)"

Same here. I'd apologize for length, but I doubt there are many readers left.

kim

Joe Wilson lied and JBG said he told the truth. That makes JBG credulous or incredible.
==================================================

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "you still haven't explained why you think that Joe Wilson believing that Saddam had WMD over there meant that he couldn't use it here"

If you insist on using an absolute word like "couldn't," you're right, that's something I haven't explained. But if you consider such things as practicalities and likelihoods, then I did explain, here (and in other posts in that vicinity). I wish you wouldn't be playing deaf. Picking up had habits from Cecil?

And not only are you ignoring what I said last month (directly to you), you're also playing deaf regarding the reminder I posted about that thread, very recently here.

Maybe there's hope for you here.

jukeboxgrad

MJW: "I'm not sure I don't believe he [Harlow] originally denied any involvement, though. If so, the change to "authorized" is interesting."

I think you're looking for meaning or information where it doesn't exist. Making unwarranted assumptions, in other words.

The WaPo piece you cite says this about Harlow: "He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed. Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong ... "

I think you're somehow imagining that there was a first conversation where Harlow said to Novak "she wasn't involved at all" and then a subsequent conversation where Harlow said "Plame didn't authorize the trip," (in other words, that there was some kind of subtle backpedaling on Harlow's part). Sorry, but I think you're making all sorts of assumptions that have nothing to do with the information that's been presented.

First of all, I don't see anything here about a "change to 'authorized' ." I have no idea what you're talking about. What "change?" Secondly, this passage says nothing about the question of "conduit." It seems that you're taking this omission to mean that Harlow said nothing to Novak regarding that question. I think that's an unwarranted assumption on your part. I think it's just that Pincus (obviously with limited space and lots of other interesting things to talk about) was focusing on the subject of "authorized" and not concerning himself (at least in this particular moment in this particular article) with the somewhat less interesting question of "conduit."

Just to make sure I'm being clear: there are two separate questions. One is: did Plame authorize the trip? Another question is: did Plame act as a conduit, carrying a message to Wilson? Pincus telling us that Harlow told Novak that the answer to the first question is "no," is not in itself any reason for us to make any assumptions about the answer to the second question (or to make any assumptions about whether or not Harlow and Novak discussed the second question). The fact that this particular article by Pincus did not concern itself with the second question tells us essentially nothing. In other words, Pincus is not purporting to be telling us every single word Harlow said to Novak.

I think you're suggesting that somehow this article tells you that Harlow didn't say to Novak (or at least didn't _originally_ say to Novak) that Plame was a "conduit." Sorry, I don't see where this article gives you that information.

Anyway, I think this interpretation on your part is especially unwarranted because Novak said this: "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." In other words, Novak himself is telling us that Harlow did indeed say "conduit" (obviously I mean not necessarily that exact word, but at least words close in meaning).

Finally, and more interestingly, thanks for reminding me of this passage. I had forgotten that this is another data point suggesting that Rove was indeed going around saying "authorized" to people. The Harlow passage I quoted above suggests that Novak started by saying "authorized" to Harlow. Then Harlow said "that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission." Then Harlow "called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong."

In other words, what, exactly, was "the story Novak had related to him [Harlow]?" Did Novak start with Harlow by saying "I heard Plame was involved?" (That's the vague formulation that appeared in Cooper's early article.) Did Novak start by saying "I heard that Plame suggested Wilson for the mission?" (That's essentially the SSCI version.) Or did Novak start by saying "I heard that Plame authorized Wilson's trip?" (That's the Rove version, if Cooper is to be trusted.)

I'm not claiming this is at all conclusive, but I think the last statement above ("I heard that Plame authorized Wilson's trip") seems to be the one that would most logically prompt Harlow's response: "Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission." (This seems to be a specific fact that I think Harlow would be inclined to not get into, except if it's the exact fact that Novak raised. In other words, in this scenario, Harlow is appropriately giving out the most minimal information. He's just saying to Novak: "what you just said is wrong.") And if Novak said to Harlow "I heard that Plame authorized Wilson's trip," this is a big hint that Novak heard that from one or both of his SAOs.

I realize that Rove denied that (Rove claims all he ever said to Novak was "I heard that too"). But we've heard lots of phony denials from Rove (directly or indirectly). I also realize another possibility is that Libby (and not Rove) said "authorized" to Novak. But I view Libby and Rove as more or less interchangeable in this matter (morally and politically).

"I believe the 9/11 commission report makes a compelling, consistant case"

(I realize you mean SSCI, not the 9/11 commission.) It would interest me if you had any theory to explain why SSCI couldn't manage to come up with a single quote (from Plame's memo or elsewhere) showing clearly that Plame ever made the declararation that's alleged: "I suggest Joe be sent to Niger." As I've explained, reciting his qualifications could easily have been done for a somewhat different reason, and does not rise to the level of amounting to such a declaration.

"many people who have done praiseworthy things have also done things deserving criticism."

Of course. Fair enough. But I find it interesting that folks who treat Wilson as the antichrist can't present a single example of any complaints about him, from rightys, prior to 7/03. It's not as if he hadn't been around for a long time. If he's a liar now, he's probably always been a liar. How come no one ever noticed?

"a 'senior intelligence official' is any of perhaps thousands of people with unknown responsibilties"

A slight exaggeration. The CIA has about 20,000 people. That's a relatively finite number. I doubt that an honest reporter would consider that "thousands" of them are "senior."

"I may not know exactly what the CPD reports officer does, but at least I know ... "

For the record, Wilson claims this person wasn't even at the famous meeting. I doubt that Wilson would lie about this, because it's a fact that's relatively easy to verify. And if this RO was not at the meeting, it suggests he's not that much of an expert on the true genesis of the plan to send Wilson.

Wilson also said "Neither the CPD reports officer nor the State analyst were in the chain of command to know who, or how, the decision was made." And he said "it is my understanding that the Reports Officer has a different conclusion about Valerie's role than the one offered in the 'additional comments'. I urge the committee to reinterview the officer and publicly publish his statement." In other words, Wilson is claiming that the RO's perspective is not properly described by SSCI. This is pretty intriguing. Maybe someday we'll hear directly from this person, one way or another.

"I've always wondered why the two people Cooper talked to about Plame are the ones who were immediately singled out by Wilson as the leakers"

I think you're suggesting that Cooper somehow leaked (directly or indirectly) to Wilson. Of course I can't rule this out, but I think it's simpler to remember that it's been suggested that two SAO spoke not just to Cooper, but to six reporters altogether (and who knows, maybe various other folks besides). So think there's no reason to act as if Cooper was the only possible conduit, or the most likely conduit (for Wilson to hear about things, and therefore point a finger at Rove and Libby).

Anyway, for reasons that seem obvious in retrospect, it seems that Cheney's office and Rove's office would be the obvious folks behind such a thing. Wilson is not a dummy. He knows enough about how things work that he could have been making an educated (and correct) guess. I see you acknowledge this possibility.

"Cooper certaintly exaggerated, and arguably misrepresented, the situation surrounding his avoidance of a trip to the pokey"

In my opinion this is one of those memes that's taken off in certain circles, even though there is little or nothing to justify it. I addressed various aspects of this here (and in other posts in that thread).

"implying Rove was lying about the original subject of the phone call being welfare reform"

I think this welfare reform business is somewhat of a sideshow, and perhaps getting more attention than it deserves (I don't think the purported difference between Cooper's perspective on this and Rove's perspective on this is a big problem for either of them). But let's take a quick look. This is what Rove's email said: "Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a welfare-reform story coming. When he finished his brief heads-up, he immediately launched into Niger."

I think the key words are "brief" and "immediately." It sounds like Cooper used the subject just to get his foot in the door. Nothing about Rove's email suggests that the two actually "discussed" or had a "conversation" about welfare reform.

Compare this to the spin via Luskin and NR: "According to Luskin, Cooper originally called Rove ... and said he was working on a story on welfare reform. _After some conversation about that issue_, Luskin said, Cooper changed the subject to the weapons of mass destruction issue, and that was when the two had the _brief_ talk that became the subject of so much legal wrangling." (Emphasis added.)

In my opinion, Rove's email shows that Cooper mentioned welfare reform briefly (as a way to launch the conversation) but that most of the rest of the phone call (which overall was not that long) was about Wilson (a subject Cooper raised after briefly mentioning welfare reform).

When Luskin says "some conversation about that issue," that seems to be an utter exaggeration, because Rove's email pretty clearly suggests (in my opinion) that there was no "conversation" (the word implies back-and-forth) about welfare reform. And notice how Luskin attached the word "brief" to the Wilson portion of the conversation, while Rove's email attaches that word to the welfare portion of the conversation.

There's more than a trivial amount of common ground. Both sides agree that Cooper dialed the phone. Both sides agree that Cooper raised the subject of Wilson. Rove says Cooper mentioned welfare reform only briefly (if you focus on Rove's email and ignore Luskin's exaggerated spin). Cooper said "I can't find any record of talking about it with him on July 11, and I don't recall doing so." That's because it wasn't the main reason for Cooper's call, and it was just a way to launch the conversation. It was just a "brief heads-up," not a conversation or discussion. Cooper making this brief mention is not quite the same thing as "talking about it with him."

I think Cooper is correct to point out that Luskin is wrong to suggest that the conversation was mostly about welfare reform. And I don't see this sub-plot as being a basis for questioning Cooper's credibility (although I don't think it reflects well on Luskin).

"In the 'War on Wilson' article, he said only that the White House claimed Plame was involved in the decision. Odd, if he was so certain Rove said 'authorized.' "

I addressed this exact question in several places above, such as here.

"This post is much longer than I intended"

It's not the end of the world if folks tap the space bar a few extra times. It burn a couple of nanocalories. Some people have fat fingers.

Of course being concise is a great virtue, but it's more important to be clear, if one has to choose.

I've never been able to figure out if it was Pascal or Twain who made the famous quip about writing a short letter.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "Wilson's first clause ... is not pertinent to the discussion"

Only if you pretend that Wilson's overall credibility is not at the core of the discussion. I explained this in a very simple manner here. Nice job playing deaf.

" 'Had had' is similarly meaningless (and appears to my non-Grammarian eyes to be a mistaken use of a past perfective)"

This would be relevant if you were Wilson's editor. You're not, and if you're purporting to quote him accurately you don't have permission to fix what you think are grammatical mistakes.

"I'm quite willing to accept any of the versions"

You still insist on hinting that there are multiple versions of what he wrote, as if there's some doubt which one is correct. I guess it's hard for you to write a sentence that doesn't reek of propaganda. But there's only one correct "version" of what he wrote, and it's easily found in his book. I guess you're being inadvertently truthful, in a way: you are indeed obviously quite willing to accept a truncated and altered version of what Wilson wrote. In fact, your record shows that you specifically prefer such a version.

Anyway, if you're "quite willing to accept any of the versions," then it's hard to understand why you played deaf for so long, in the face of repeated alerts that you were misquoting Wilson.

"Getting past the false charge of dishonest quoting ... "

For the most part I'm not going to waste my time with the rest of your message. It covers territory that's already been extensively discussed around these parts, but your selective deafness makes you immune to reason. Also, in your usual style it's packed with all sorts of major and minor distortions. Here's a cute one: "why Wilson's statements ... must be preferred over quoted passages from his wife's memo."

Please share with us your special top-secret version of SSCI which includes more than one passage (i.e., "passages") from Plame's memo. All I can find in my version is one measly old sentence. In fact, it might not even be the complete sentence (there's no way to know whether or not SSCI applied the Cecil/Schmidt treatment to the sentence).

"since I'd not trust anything in his book, reading it is a waste of time"

This principle applies to your posts.

"every single part of that is misleading or false"

Another apt self-characterization.

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Wilson/Plame