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Source: Novak Told Rove About Plame, Not Vice Versa

This would have the Kos Kids drooling in their laps:

Source: Rove Got CIA Agent ID From Media

WASHINGTON - Presidential confidant Karl Rove testified to a grand jury that he learned the identity of a CIA operative originally from journalists, then informally discussed the information with a Time magazine reporter days before the story broke, according to a person briefed on the testimony.

The person, who works in the legal profession and spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, told The Associated Press that Rove testified last year that he remembers specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of a harsh
Iraq war critic, worked for the CIA.

Rove testified that Novak originally called him the Tuesday before Plame's identity was revealed in July 2003 to discuss another story. The conversation eventually turned to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was strongly criticizing the Bush administration's Iraq war policy and the intelligence it used to justify the war, the source said.

The person said Rove testified that Novak told him he had learned and planned to report in a weekend column that Wilson's wife, Plame, had worked for the CIA, and the circumstances on how her husband traveled to Africa to check bogus claims of alleged nuclear material sales to Iraq.

Novak is not know to keep a secret. Him blabbering to Rove seems plausible. To me the most implausible thing about this is that Rove did not know... though I guess he might not.

I just have a sneaking suspicion it was not Rove but he and the Whitehouse are playing games with the liberals by letting them bark up the wrong tree. That would be a Rovian play.

Update: The NYTimes covers the angle that I was wondering about:

... On Oct. 1, 2003, Mr. Novak wrote another column in which he described calling two officials who were his sources for the earlier column. The first source, whose identity has not been revealed, provided the outlines of the story and was described by Mr. Novak as "no partisan gunslinger." Mr. Novak wrote that when he called a second official for confirmation, the source said, "Oh, you know about it."

That second source was Mr. Rove, the person briefed on the matter said. Mr. Rove's account to investigators about what he told Mr. Novak was similar in its message although the White House adviser's recollection of the exact words was slightly different.

Well, that piece of the puzzle seems to fit.


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» The Unalienable Right linked with Rove-Plame: the other shoe drops

Comments (31)

It just keeps on cookin'. ... (Below threshold)
Bill M:

It just keeps on cookin'. More and more, it becomes obvious that Rove was not involved in this pseudo-outing of a non-covert CIA employee.

It begins to look more and more like some Miler/Wilson connection may be the ultimate source of this nonsense.

Rovian ploys! Yessss! May the libs swing slowly in the breeze.

That would be...just brilli... (Below threshold)
JimK:

That would be...just brilliant. Just absolutely brilliant.

I will buy Karl Rove t-shirts if this pans out. I will build shrines to that sneaky @#&!er. I might even start a little cult out in the desert.

In all seriousness though, I would love to see this pan out. It would teach some people a lesson about judging without proof...myself included.

Um guys? Could someone plea... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Um guys? Could someone please explain the difference between confirming the identity of a covert CIA officer to a reporter and just directly giving out her identity to a reporter? They both accomplish the same thing: outing a covert CIA agent. And indeed, now there's evidence that Rove is guilty of doing both. Not that he's guilty of a crime, that's for Fitzgerald to decide, but still, pretty slippery, sleazy stuff don't you think? Curioser and curioser.

(To JimK and all the rest of you, if Wilson's wife wasn't a covert operative why is there an investigation at all?)

A couple of other odd thing... (Below threshold)
frameone:

A couple of other odd things fellas.

Here's the New York Times on this:

"Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said."

Rove and Rove's lawyer have both said that when Rove spoke with Cooper Rove didn't know Wilson's wife's name. So it's kind of odd that he testified that he learned Plame's name days before talking to Cooper.

Also, let's not forget what Novak has previously asked about his White House sources. Speaking to Wolf Blitzer in October 2003:

"On Monday, I began to report on something that I thought was very curious. Why was it that Ambassador Wilson, who had no particular experience in weapons of mass destruction, and was a sharp critic of the Iraqi policy of President Bush and, also, had been a high-ranking official in the Clinton White House, who had contributed politically to Democrats -- some Republicans, but mostly Democrats -- why was he being selected?

"I asked this question to a senior Bush administration official, and he said that he believed that the assignment was suggested by an employee at the CIA in the counterproliferation office who happened to be Ambassador Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame. I then called another senior official of the Bush administration, and he said, Oh, you know about that? And he confirmed that that was an accurate story."

Forgetting the first bit is a total mischaracterization of Wilson's career -- he was well versed in the uranium trade having been served in a diplomatic post in Niger and he was the ambassador to Iraq under Bush, Sr -- if Rove was the guy who CONFIRMED Plame's identity, who was the White House official who first TOLD Rove about her? I'm sure Fiztgerald is interested as well.

Curioser and curioser.

Novak's statement to Rove, ... (Below threshold)
e_five:

Novak's statement to Rove, according to the NYT report, was on July 8, 2003. Rove's statement to Cooper was on July 11, 2003. Novak's story was published on July 14, 2003. So three days before the story was published, Rove fed the name, status, and employer of Wilson's wife to Time. Pardon me, but I don't think this is anywhere near a slam dunk. All it does is give both sides more facts to dispute.

>So three days before th... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>So three days before the story was published, Rove fed the name, status, and employer of Wilson's wife to Time.

You know this is pathetic... I have been so busy I've read exactly 3 stories on the whole Rove thing and even I know this is 100% wrong.

Just reading the story I linked you would have read:

-----
The conversation with Mr. Novak took place three days before Mr. Rove spoke with Matthew Cooper, a Time magazine reporter, whose e-mail message about their brief talk reignited the issue. In the message, whose contents were reported by Newsweek this week, Mr. Cooper told his bureau chief that Mr. Rove had talked about Ms. Wilson, although not by name.
-----

Somebody tell me again why I leave comments open...

From an article on FOX News... (Below threshold)
arb:

From an article on FOX News:

In an interview on CNN Thursday before the latest revelation, Wilson kept up his criticism of the White House, saying Rove's conduct was an "outrageous abuse of power ... certainly worthy of frog-marching out of the White House."

But at the same time, Wilson acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak's column first identified her. "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity," he said.

- - -

In other words, NOT COVERT.

How do you "blow the identity" of a NONclandestine officer? Wilson's at it again.

"How do you "blow the ident... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"How do you "blow the identity" of a NONclandestine officer?"

That's a question you'll have to direct to the CIA who asked the DOJ to investigate the crime. Really, can we please put this to rest? If Plame's job at the CIA wasn't classified why is there an investigation?

Second, Paul, I don't know why you keep the comments open unless it's make a further ass of yourself. Yes, Rove said he didn't reveal Plame's name. Why? Because, as he told CNN,specifically: "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name."

Of course now we hear, via the most recent leak:

"Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said."

So Rove learned Plame's name from Novak before he spoke with Cooper. So, again, which is it?

Captain's Quarter's brings ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Captain's Quarter's brings up an interesting point:

Novak Told Rove About Plame
July 14, 2005 11:11 PM

The New York Times now has a source within the grand jury proceedings in the Robert Fitzgerald investigation into the alleged leak of Valerie Plame's status as a CIA operative.
...
However, the ability of the New York Times to publish this story tonight demonstrates the irony of their stance on the entire Rive [sic] story. In order to get this information, the Times has to have a source either on the grand jury or in the office of the Special Prosecutor. Either way, this leak violates the law; grand jury testimony in special investigations are supposed to remain secret. Given that the Gray Lady has led the charge against Rove and his supposedly illegal leak, doesn't this seem a wee bit ... hypocritical?

Mr. Fitzgerald, do you have enough rope for those extra nooses?

And how do you 'leak' the n... (Below threshold)

And how do you 'leak' the name of someone who has already been leaked?

You cannot murder someone twice - once the deed is done, only the original culprit is guilty. More and more clearly that original culprit appears to be someone other than Rove.

And Frameone, you do realize that it is not up to prosecutor Fitzgerald, but to the grand jury to decide that a crime has been committed. They could, in fact, decide that the evidence is insufficient or just not there, and decide to return a No Bill.

So that answers why a grand jury investigation does not mean a crime has necessarily taken place.

'Joe Wilson, on CNN with Wo... (Below threshold)
DUNUT:

'Joe Wilson, on CNN with Wolf Blitzer tonight, dropped this bombshell: "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity."'

So liek she was danrgered becusz Halibutton was Rover and Bush liyd!

But, legal questions aside ... (Below threshold)

But, legal questions aside -- and I think there are still many -- should the top aide to the President of the United States be outing CIA agents to attack their spouses with who they disagree politically?

And now ask yourself if your answer is the same if that aides name had been Carville and not Rove.

If Rove was confirming what... (Below threshold)

If Rove was confirming what Cooper already knew, about a CIA asset that was not really covert, Rove did not 'out' Plame.

You are assuming facts not in evidence, overruled.

Shameless plug: I am guestblogging at WILLisms.com!!

Woo hoo!

If I hear one more person s... (Below threshold)
Scotty:

If I hear one more person say "but Rove didn't say here NAME" I'll loose my breakfast. Bottom line was -he revealed her Identity-. Whether Rove points to a person and says "thats her, right over there." or says "Its Valerie Plame Wilson" is indistiguishable and its focusing on the wrong issue with respect to whether what he did was illegal. Instead the issue is whether identifying this CIA was illegal and the answer is NO! Her job meets none of the criteria listed in the law regading this issue. End of story. But to answer those who say above... "oh yeah, well why is there even an investigation then???!!!" The answer is that the Dems set this Lawyer guy up and he's got to come off as competent so he's gonna finish the job.

RE: SoloD's post (July 15, ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: SoloD's post (July 15, 2005 09:10 AM)

But, legal questions aside...

Well that's kind of the problem. We are a nation of laws and don't put legal questions aside when the foundation for the argument to punish is one set on whether or not law was broken. The Democratic party wants to punish Rove based on charges that he broke the law. The evidence so far supports the idea that he did not. Consequently, they are further trying to create new law to punish Rove specifically and retroactively before knowing the results of the special prosecutor's investigations; or they are grandstanding. Either way they are wasting Congress' time and our money.

Let the investigation progress according to law and prosecute those leaking the special prosecutor's investigations.

I think we better lay off the ethics allegations and comparisons since politics is fraught with transgressions from all sides all the time and spun into a tapestry good enough to cloak even the most reasoned truths.

SoloD incoherently asks:</p... (Below threshold)
Paul:

SoloD incoherently asks:

-------------------
But, legal questions aside -- and I think there are still many -- should the top aide to the President of the United States be outing CIA agents to attack their spouses with who they disagree politically?
-------------------


Solo SHE WAS NOT AN AGENT. Get over it!

I've been saying for a few ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

I've been saying for a few days now that reporters told Rove about Plame, not vice-versa.

I'm betting that the next "revelation" is that the true original source of the leak is Plame herself, once we get through a couple of layers of finger pointing, and that the "senior administration official" of the early stories was really someone who learned from a reporter and who was saying "yeah, that sounds about right" when prompted by the same reporter.

When Plame gets subpoenaed (and tries to fight it), we'll know for sure.

Ok here we go. (This is as... (Below threshold)

Ok here we go. (This is assuming everything in Rove's favor, which frankly I don't believe, but will do for the sake of this exercise.)

Pundit, If Rove confirmed what Cooper asked about a CIA agent; he was, still confirming an outing, is this appropriate for a top government official?

Annony, there is always a political and a legal track for something like this. For example, do you think impeachment was really over perjury? And, if so, shouldn't Congress have waited until a Court of Law acted. There is still the simple questions about whether Rove should have mentioned AT ALL a person who might have been a CIA agent. Honestly, even if it wasn’t technically illegal, do you think it was right?

And Paul, even if she was not technically undercover at the time, she was still working for a CIA front company and had had contact with people overseas that her outing might have put into jeopardy.

Again I pose the questions, what would be your reaction if this was Carville and not Rove. Be honest, it won't hurt.

I would think that we can all agree on the general principle that government officials should not be commenting on possible CIA agents to reporters. Is that fair?

RE: SoloD's post (July 15, ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: SoloD's post (July 15, 2005 10:26 AM)

There is still the simple questions about whether Rove should have mentioned AT ALL a person who might have been a CIA agent. Honestly, even if it wasn’t technically illegal, do you think it was right?

I've said before that there is grey area here for the ethical angle. If Rove broke the law (which when you review the totality of events and the statutes as written, he did not), then prosecute and penalize according to law. Now, should he have disclosed the agent's identity - ethically speaking? Maybe, though there would be internal personal (as in one's soul) conflicts to weigh. Given Wilson's highly dubious action, then yes, but only after considering what the trade-off is in regard to who, very specifically, is hurt from the possible dissemination of the leak. Might there be consequences? Sure. Difficult decisions have them; but disclosing disingenuous and dangerous plots from others is an ethic all of its own and some might say worthy of patriotism. Exposing such a plot would fit that definition for me.

Ethics are never clear cut which is why we rely on law to balance the field.

Solo do you -as a liberal- ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Solo do you -as a liberal- REALLY want to start making the case "Maybe it wasn't illegal but it was wrong.

Because if you really want that to be the criteria, I'll take that.

Next stop- Hillary Clinton. -- From about age 21 on.

Paul,I'm only usin... (Below threshold)

Paul,

I'm only using the standard from the 90's that conservatives loved to use.

So how about it, was Rove wrong?

AnnyD, of course the law is... (Below threshold)

AnnyD, of course the law is not black & white (I wouldn't have a job, if it were) but you dance around the question. Should Rove have discolsed the identity of an undercover CIA agent to score political points? He could have attacked Wilson without this particular line, and indeed, we are seeing the hit machine in high gear against Wilson now. Don't you think that Rove's actions were a gut political instinct, and not some well thought out morailty play? And wasn't that reaction wrong?

I am not asking if it is ever justifyable, but in this case to score political points.

The non-partisan gunslinger... (Below threshold)

The non-partisan gunslinger was Colin Powell or someone in the State Dept (who authorized the mission and accepted Wilson on Plame's recommendation).

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Regards,
St Wendeler
Another Rovian Conspiracy

sigh:Should Rov... (Below threshold)
Paul:

sigh:

Should Rove have discolsed [sic] the identity of an undercover CIA agent to score political points?

Solo- If you're a lawyer you're not a very good one. He did not disclose the identity of an undercover agent.

-- I take that back you can lie with the best of them. I'm sure you're a good lawyer you're just piss poor at logic and reasoning.

RE: SoloD's post (July 15, ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: SoloD's post (July 15, 2005 11:28 AM)

...but you dance around the question.

No, I don't think I did. I said "maybe", and in this particular case, weighing everything en toto, yes - the disclosure is justifiable in my mind. You assume it was only for political gain. It happens that there was political gain for the administration for such information to come out; likewise, there was political gain for the Democrats for it to remain concealed and retain the impression that the Bush administration was corrupt and intentionally misleading the country on the yellowcake investigation (an investigation that contributed to a) our understanding of WMD and b) war). I'd say that was a pretty heady topic to conceal. Were I in Rove's shoes, I'd disclose that information and suffer the consequences (after considering whose lives I was risking as mentioned in my previous post). As it happens, Rove did not need to break the law to achieve a desired effect; neither is it known that he even thought about such a disclosure.


...we are seeing the hit machine in high gear against Wilson now.

Sure, in response to the Democratic hit machine against the current administration. All's fair in love and, um, war... and we are still entrenched in physical war abroad and a philosphical one domestically.


Don't you think that Rove's actions were a gut political instinct, and not some well thought out morailty play? And wasn't that reaction wrong?

No, no, and no. I think Rove got into a rushed discussion and, as a secondary thought at the prodding of a reporter, provided guidance to said reporter that Wilson was not to be trusted. Rove's advice had some merit as evidenced by conclusions drawn from the Senate Intelligence Committee report. In fact maybe this was actually a prototypical "good deed going unpunished" seeing as the Rove-Cooper discussion was supposed to be private and Rove could have been trying to provide truthful guidance - he sure didn't appear to be using a hard sell to get the point across, but I wasn't there and I'm not on the GJ to know what the tone, flow, or inflection was.

At any rate, I just don't understand how the left side of the aisle thinks Rove is a walking, talking, Rube-Goldberg machine that can manipulate every little thing to produce a golden egg by tweaking a cog. It feels like Oz in many respects.

Robert Novak has admitted t... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Robert Novak has admitted to being and has been identified by others as being a "voice" for the CIA, someone in the media who is a/the go-to-media-guy when sensitive information is intended to be made publicly available but within a context that is manageable by Intelligence.

That is, Novak's already admitted being a conduit, so to speak, for information that our U.S. Intelligence seeks to more widely make available by a controlled method and not by the more popular "shark fest" method of the media in general picking over sensitive information and doing with it, interpreting it, at will, depending upon whose digestive process is at hand.

Obviously, Robert Novak's a key player here and I recall hearing him say a while ago on some Q&A broadcast that he intended to reveal all that he knows about the Plame issue once the investigation was completed (in other words, he's not making any statements about anything related to the Plame issue until it's completed and on record as being completed -- and then Novak will share what he knows now).

His privilege, certainly, unless he gets a subpoena (or already had, which seems more than reasonable -- if not Novak having already made a statement in the investigation which seems even more likely, but since it's an aspect of the investigation, the public isn't aware of it/whatever at this point).

The field is certainly full of players, no doubt about that. However, to my individual view, this entire issue appears more and more convincingly like an Intelligence community issue that was mangled by inept participants, most of all Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame.

e_five....TIME/Cooper alrea... (Below threshold)
-S-:

e_five....TIME/Cooper already knew Wilson's wife was employed by the Intelligence community, prior to that call to Rove.

Rove also never said to TIME/Cooper that Wilson's wife was "a secret agent" nor anything similar...he simply said that Wilson's trip to Niger had been arranged by Wilson's wife (and not by V.P. Cheney, who Wilson earlier said in testimony was the case, later discounted as another distortion/false statement by Wilson).

Rove said that Wilson's wife arranged Wilson's trip to Niger.

Rove did not elaborate upon Wilson's wife's status in employment nor anything else.

Saying that Wilson's wife arranged Wilson's trip to Niger is not remotely the same as "revealing" Wilson's wife's security clearance, or Wilson's wife's specific position of employment, her duties, her assignments, the nature of her employment...nothing similar.

Rove said and said only that Wilson's wife arranged Wilson's trip to Niger.

Everything else based upon that is liberal, Democrat vengeance spin for purposes of their own sense of espionage.

At this point, if the term, "espionage," can be applied to ANYone in this case, it can be applied to Wilson, Wilson's wife and the Senate Democrats who continue to use our time and national resources in the fullest sense of those words to benefit their own petulent, resentful and irrational hate of the Republicans in our Executive Branch.

I knew I would never vote as a Democrat again but this issue has confirmed for me that I could and will never find much of anything Senate Democrats ever again opine as credible. While embarrassing themselves, they put the rest of our nation -- and in this case, our world and our intelligence interests -- at increased risk.

Karl Rove is looking more and more clear minded, not that he hasn't already, with every passing hour.

SoloD: you're referring to... (Below threshold)
-S-:

SoloD: you're referring to Karl Rove in that conjecture/that possibility there (you opine, "should [a top aide] to the President of the U.S. be outing CIA agents...").

Karl Rove did not "out" an intelligence officer, and as an "aide" to the President, did not "out" an intelligence officer.

There are laws that forbid "outing" (revealing the identity of) intelligence officers and they should be enforced, yes, whether someone's an "aide" to the President of the U.S. or anyone else.

That standard should also apply to Joseph Wilson and to Plame herself.

Because the issue seems more and more likely that there was a community awareness that existed about what Valerie Plame did for a living -- certainly she was not private in that she was employed by the federal government and could be seen coming and going in D.C. as an employee in that regard -- such that whatever her "top secret" and/or "intelligence community" rating/classification actually was was not a complicated or highly obscured aspect to her work.

And, that Joseph Wilson made statements prior to TIME calling Rove as to his wife's work and more.

I'm saying here that the idea that Valerie Plame was employed as a higher-classified employee in Intelligence was not a private matter, given her higher than normal social and political profile in D.C. with her very publicly outspoken husband.

I continue to suspect Joseph Wilson as the wildest card, or worse, wilder cannon, in this issue.

No one's yet discussed what I've earlier mentioned time and time again and that is the keen possibility that the two reporters involved could very likely have known prior to calling Karl Rove that Valerie Plame was employed in Intelligence...might have also been a key element to their curiosities about her, Wilson, and why they'd even call Rove in the first place.

And going to jail "to protect (your) sources" as a journalist can and often does also involve self protection.

Karl Rove was not trying to... (Below threshold)
Jill:

Karl Rove was not trying to "out" someone for political revenge -- he was trying to explain why Wilson was not to be trusted because Wilson lied about who recommended him for the job.

The one who recommended him for the job was his wife. Thus it was necessary to bring up her name and that she worked for the CIA.

Nothing politically motivated about that -- unless you're counting the Kerry supporter Joe Wilson.

You guys sure are good sold... (Below threshold)
Chris:

You guys sure are good soldiers. The Republican spin machine puts out its bullshit, and it gets repeated so much on the talk shows and in the blogosphere that pretty soon you're referring to it as facts that "everyone knows." Lets review:


Novak calls Rove and say that Wilson's wife is with the CIA and that she arranges Wilson's trip. Rove says "Yeah, I heard that too." So he did not find out the information from Novak, in fact he affirmed it. As a matter of fact, Rove claims he learned the information from another reporter, but darn it, he just can't remember who it was. Yeah, that's a big old brain he's got there. The fact that he didn't make the call to Novak is relvant only if you think the main issue is whether the WH was actively disseminating the information. I don't know if they were or weren't. The fact is, two reporters called Rove to confirm the Plame story, and he confirmed it for both of them. Rememmber after the Newsweek story, how everyone was up in arms about how Newsweek didn't properly source their story? This is how they do it. It's possible that if Rove didn't confirm the information, there would be no story because there wasn't enough confirmation. These reporters aren't stupid. Do you think they call up guys like Rove and say"Hey, do you have any secret information you want to pass along to me?" No, they call up and say "I heard such and such, what do you think.? IT DOESN'T MEAN THEY ACTUALLY HEARD IT. (Sorry for yelling.) This is called fishing for information, and it's how they spend a lot of their day. It also allows people like Rove to pass along information while maintaining some sort of plausible deniability.

The Repubs continually try to narrow down the issues until a very specific set of circumstance, as defined by the Right, has to have occurred or there's no scandal. So only if Rove initiated the call, and he used Plame's name, and Wilson has never stretched the truth, and no one else ever discussed the story, and he is in fact indicted, is Rove wrong. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Have we gotten to the point where you guys feel that any behavior in the White House is acceptable, as long as it doesn't lead to indictments?

And as far as Rove simply trying to warn Cooper off a bad story. This would be the first time in this administration's history that they gave a shit about the press. If he was trying to warn Cooper off, which I doubt, it was because the story would make the WH look bad. He would have been acting out of purely partisan political interest. That hardly makes him a "whistleblower."

And please, I'm more than happy to read comments that rebut what I say. But comments like "typical liberal" and "you don't have a clue" and "you're obviously hysterical because your beloved scandal is falling apart" are a waste of time. Such substance free comments only reinforce to me how much you guys are managing to gloss over the facts when their presented to you. And I mean facts about Rove leaking, not about all of the other non-related bullshit that gets dredged up and thrown in the mix to try and divert attention from the story.

One more point. Along the l... (Below threshold)
Chris:

One more point. Along the lines of spin morphing into facts "everyone knows", it has not been established that Plame wasn't covert. One guy who left the agency nearly 10 years ago made that assertion, and the blogosphere has tried to support it by looking at things like when the Wilson's moved back to the States. But the fact remains, a judge looked at a bunch of redacted material and decided that we are dealing with a very serious issue. And as a counterpoint, another colleague of Plame's cclims she was not only covert, but that her outing caused real damage. And I believe that Wilson's comment to Blitzer was meant to convey the idea that Plame's covert career was over the day his column came out, as a result of the column. It may turn out that Plame wasn't covert; but that is hardly a "proven fact."
A lot of people seem to think that because someone doesn't wear a trenchcoat and skulk around the alleys of Budapest, they can't be covert. The fact that it was public knowledge that Plame was married to an Ambassador does not make it impossible for her to be covert. No one claims that she was masquerading as someone who had no connection to the government. If you think about it, we have covert agents assigned to embassies all around the globe. In many case they are suspected of being CIA. It doesn't mean they don't have covert status. The fact that Plame's role doesn't fit the simplistic, uninformed comic book idea of covert that many bloggers seem to embrace means nothing.




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