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November 22, 2005



No super human, no matter his or her powers, nor any human - even if a prosecutor, nor any animal, nor any politician...

Can possibly know what in the hell is going on.


I am sure Russert was not interested in these giant WH bullets that started in May. You don't suppose Kristof slightly backed off because he realized sitting down to breakfast with Plame/Wilson and sharing classified info put him into a criminal conspiracy? Naww....didn't think so...


I just threw up. Not about the Plame affair but as I am watching CNN and I saw the Wendy's personalized bugger ad. It has meat patties jumping. Being a vegetarian, it was creepy. Worse, how can one personalize if one is a veg. What a waste. Yuck.



Gross: Let's start with intelligence about Iraq. What are some of the most important things you were told by intelligence agents?

Kristoff ...And it turned out that this had been around for a long time; that almost a year before the president's State of the Union address in which he used that supposed fact, the CIA had sent an envoy at the behest of the vice president's office to investigate, and had found that it was completely untrue, completely not credible, that the documents that were supposedly evidence of it, you know, had names of people who'd been out of office for more than 10 years, that it was a very obvious fabrication. And this was widely reported, widely known within the intelligence community..."

I had to stop at that point. I guess this was the part that Joe Wilson said the reporters misattributed his leaks to them.

As well as the forgeries. What were those dates surrounding when they were known to be forgeries and when Wilson was supposed to have seen them?


Garble, Garble, Garble. Well, Thanksgiving is around the corner.

Another go.

I had to stop at that point. I guess this was the part that Joe Wilson said the reporters misattributed.

As well as the forgeries. What were those dates surrounding when they were known to be forgeries and when Wilson was supposed to have seen them?


TM--maybe I am off subject here, but was this ever really a story before the Op-Ed. The Kristof piece appeared 4 days after the ill-advised aircraft carrier victory dance by Bush. The Bush people probably saw it as a non-story because nobody ever took the nuke threats seriously.

It only really gained traction after the Op-Ed and then it has all of the earmarks of a classic John Kerry provocation. Attack, then when your victim responds (no matter how mildly), immediately make outlandish claims that you are a patriotic American hero who is being smeared. He has done this for his whole career. It is his only act. It just makes sense that this was the only way Joe could be useful to him.

It is interesting that Kristof hints that he has had some mild reaction from administration supporters who, according to him, have no bones to pick with his story and, who have claimed to have gotten the story from him (a reporter). I wonder who they were.


Well, it seems more than Wilson was talking to him. I nominate a member or more of VIPS--OTOH he could have made it up out of whole cloth. In a he said/he said between two discredited people, it's hard to decide. Though since Joe repeated the same crap to the SSCI until they called him on it, I tilt toward Kristof's version.


Somebody help me out here....if Kristof and Pincus got their stories in the presence of Plame, and even if she never said one word, why wouldn't that make her committing a crime?


Here is Walter Pincus from June 12: x 2
a former government official.
and Novak...and Woodward too! and Fitz!

I know that TM is going WAY more in-depth which I love and slightly OT...but since this satiates my immediate current obsession about a "former" (at STATE...that was informed by PERSONNEL gossip prior to June 12 that was generated by a few phone calls "by"?) - "former" could be a Bush neutral or non-friendly. I just couldn't help myself.



loving your "em--FA--sis" on the RANDOMLY choice noun that I should have known really just meant "prod"

"...And in a later column I said Wilson had been dispatched "at the Behest" of Cheney's office; it's true that he was sent in response to Cheney's prodding, but that wording wasn't choice because it can easily be read to mean that Cheney asked for the trip.

"That wording wasn't choice". Just so.

So random he used it just about ALL the time! Silly red-stater me!

r flanagan

Behest away. Does anyone think that Scooter's
Jury will view his alleged perjury more
leniently if the defense proves nine ways
to Sunday that Wilson's op ed falsely claimed that Cheney sent him to Niger ?

Assuming the answer to that is : No , I suppose the hope is that the Jury in the court of public opinion can still be convinced to find the Administration Not Guilty of the charge of Lying us into War.
And to that end any way Wilson can be disparaged ( "and besides his socks smell") is a good thing.

But it is really ? Or will the public merely conclude Bush lied AND Wilson's a nasty piece of work ?

Or maybe the motive behind behestgate is the objective search for truth irrespective of its effect on Scooter or Bush. OK now I understand..


"Or maybe the motive behind behestgate is the objective search for truth irrespective of its effect on Scooter or Bush. OK now I understand.."

Well good.

Because, you know, everything isn't about Scooter Libby, or even Bush LIED!



"Mr. Kristof was apparently in denial, which is interesting."

And still is TM. I mean, in his recent column where he backs off on Wilson he couldn't even bring himself to straight out say Wilson (ahem) misled him about the documents. He dances around it, sure, but why not just give it to us straight?

I think its a couple of things, 1) Kristof doesn't want to admit his previous reporting was flawed (professional pride), and 2) for Kristof talking about that is ignoring a 'larger truth' (bias).


Lied us into war? Hah! The Democrats are lying us into surrender.

patty o'malley

'r flanagan' thinks 9/11 is a law enforcement issue and al queda & saddam are a decent bunch of folks. stay under your bed flanagan, real Americans will protect you.


TM--maybe I am off subject here, but was this ever really a story before the Op-Ed.

Interestingly, when I was fooling around with Lexis I found a few op-eds citing the May 6 Kristof column and arguing we had been misled into war.

The St Louis Disopatch (IIRC) surprised me the most - do they even care about Washington politics in fly-over country? Shouldn't the Cardinals have been playing?


Anyway, the Niger story was getting some buzz, mainly becasue of the larger, "Where are the WMDs" question.


Re the VIPers - in his July 15, 2003 column Kristof quotes their open letter to President Bush, so yes, I would guess he was aware of them, and talking to them:

After I wrote a month ago about the Niger uranium hoax in the State of the Union address, a senior White House official chided me gently and explained that there was more to the story that I didn't know.

Yup. And now it's coming out.

Based on conversations with people in the intelligence community, this picture is emerging: the White House, eager to spice up the State of the Union address, recklessly resurrected the discredited Niger tidbit. The Central Intelligence Agency objected, and then it and the National Security Council negotiated a new wording, attributing it all to the Brits. It felt less dishonest pinning the falsehood on the cousins.

What troubles me is not that single episode, but the broader pattern of dishonesty and delusion that helped get us into the Iraq mess -- and that created the false expectations undermining our occupation today. Some in the administration are trying to make George Tenet the scapegoat for the affair. But Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of retired spooks, issued an open letter to President Bush yesterday reflecting the view of many in the intel community that the central culprit is Vice President Dick Cheney. The open letter called for Mr. Cheney's resignation.

Condi Rice says she first learned of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's fact-finding trip to Niger during a TV interview, presumably when George Stephanopoulos asked her on ''This Week'' on June 8 about a column by me describing the trip. (Condi, you're breaking my heart -- you didn't read that column itself? How about if I fax you copies of everything I write, so you don't miss any, and you fax me everything you write?)

Actually, I have to agree with Ms. Rice that the focus on that single sentence in the State of the Union address is a bit obsessive. It was only 16 words, attributed in a weaselly way that made it almost accurate, and as any journalist knows well, mistakes do get into print.

So the problem is not those 16 words, by themselves, but the larger pattern of abuse of intelligence. The silver lining is that the spooks are so upset that they're speaking out.

The Defense Intelligence Agency has had town hall meetings in which everyone was told not to talk to journalists (thanks, guys, for naming me in particular). One insider complains: ''In the most recent meeting, we also were told that, as much as possible, we should avoid 'caveat-ing' our intelligence assessments. . . . Forget nuance, forget fine distinctions; they only confuse these guys. If that isn't a downright scary dumbing-down of our intelligence product, I don't know what is.''

...So that chiding White House official was right: there was more to the picture. But I'm afraid the bigger the picture gets, the more it looks like a pattern of dishonesty.

r flanagan

From under the bed I recall Thanksgiving
01. That day's Times had a great photo
of an Afghani woman who had thrown back
her veil and was smiling brilliantly. I took
it to the dinner and we passed it around
the group of lefties who had gathered
together just like real americans.
My daughter still has it on her refrigerator.

If the Afghan action was law enforcement I am and was all for it. Including the strategy
of using the less bad Northern Alliance
to do much of the fighting even tho it
meant that for some Aghan women the future
while better might still have great problems.
But it got the job done and saved american

I was one of the 90% of americans who
approved of Bush that thanksgiving altho
I would still have voted against him
because my personal vision for the country
is different from his.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all whatever
your personal visions.


Now, here is a baffling NY Times editorial from June 13, 2003. It was run, presumably, as a companion piece to the Kristof column that day.

But check their recap of the Niger story:

The Niger uranium story first started making the rounds of Western intelligence agencies late in 2001. The charges seemed plausible because Iraq was known to have been trying to enrich uranium in the late 1980's and Niger was one possible source of uranium fuel. But the supporting documents never checked out. Some bore what was alleged to be the signature of Niger's minister of energy and mines, but the man in question had been out of office many years before the sales negotiations were supposed to have taken place. And any actual sales contracts would have had to be arranged not with Niger's government, but with the international consortium that actually controls the country's entire uranium supply.

The C.I.A. heard about at least some of these problems from a former ambassador with African experience who looked into the matter at the agency's request in early 2002. His report that Niger denied the allegations was passed along to other government agencies, including the White House. But the C.I.A. appears not to have concluded that the story was unreliable. As a result, no effort was made by administration officials to keep it out of speeches and documents dealing with Iraq, including the State of the Union address.

Emphasis added. So as of June 13 the NY Times editors bought into the view that the CIA did not find Wilson's report to be conclusive.

Does that square with their subsequent coverage? How does that match with the Wilson op-ed itself?

Well, I suppose thay are allowed to change their mind. However, they were right in June, if we accept the SSCI - the Wilson report was *not* conclusive.


Santy Claws

Hey flanagan, blow me!

Jim E.

What the editors think, and what the "subsequent coverage" is, are two totally separate things.

Reading the Wall St Journal editorials must make your head explode -- they often contradict their own journalists' findings.

And there's really little import to the NY Times editorial page in terms of news gathering. For example, see the editorial page "coverage" of the Judith Miller saga. Their various interpretations may be of interest, but it's incorrect to link the editorial page with news coverage.

Now, what Bill Keller thinks, on the other hand, DOES matter. You also might want to take a look of Keller's fawning profile of Wolfowitz in the NY Times magazine prior to the war. Keller: pro-war and pro-Wolfowitz. Michael Moore, he's not.

Cecil Turner

I think the most interesting thing here is Pincus's point about the report not identifying Wilson:

However, the CIA did not include details of the former ambassador's report and his identity as the source, which would have added to the credibility of his findings, in its intelligence reports that were shared with other government agencies.
That's more supportive of Wilson's report and conclusions than conversations with analysts would support (SSCI: "no one believed it added a great deal of new information"). But agrees perfectly on how Wilson was identified:
The report did not identify the former ambassador by name or as a former ambassador, but described him as “a contact with excellent access who does not have an established reporting record.”
That suggests Pincus had excellent access to someone in the Operations Directorate, familiar with the case, who was supportive of Wilson. That suggests Plame or one of her immediate supervisors . . . and in any event indicates Pincus is hardly a disinterested bystander.

richard mcenroe

TM — Kristof is not misinformed. He is simply selecting what he wants us to know and think. Which is why the press is trusted even less than either party of Congress these days.


Cecil, I agree with yet another of your always sharp eyed observations.


--Which is why the press is trusted even less than either party of Congress these days.--

Wow, isn't this the truth. I am getting the feeling that Pincus and Kristof soon will be waging one really dirty campaign.


Let me nominate Pavitt, her immediate boss who now works with Scowcroft, cecil.


"Behest, behest, behest",
"Behest" I must confess
I'm bewitched, be-bothered and bewildered
by this word "Behest".

Benevolently beligerent,
begrudgingly beguiling,
"Behest" belies I do believe that Kristof he done lied to me.

Behoovingly I beseech thee,
bestow light on this mystery
by belatedly belittlin'
and be-fiskin' his Bull-shittery.

Breakfast at Wilson's? Oh Yes!
Benighted hell of a mess,
Cause Val sent Joe to Niger for yellowcake
All at Dick Cheney's "behest, behest",
All at Dick Cheney's "behest".


and "be-fiskin' his Bull-shittery."

Does this not sound like a fantastic blog name?

Daddio u da best!


Bravo, Daddy!



Be right with ya, Daddy-O,
Once cows stop belchin' cuddio.


tspooch, re the Pincus Kristoff kerfuffle. Nick is pissed that he got into the game so late. Fitz will accept a nothing plea from Libby. No way he can deal with defense eating Joe and journalists alive. Unless he's planned it this way.


Have you noticed that everytime it's reported that Fitz is interested in Rove, another reporter falls?


Have you noticed that everytime it's reported that Fitz is interested in Rove, another reporter falls?

Could be why everyone's musically leaping from hot seat to totsie.

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