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Karl Rove, Valerie Plame, and "reasonable doubt"

OK, enough people have challenged me on my "explanation" for Karl Rove leaking Valerie Plame's identity that I feel obligated to put it forth. Before I do, though, let me give a few disclaimers:

  1. I am not convinced that Rove actually did the leaking;

  2. I do not believe that the "outing" constituted a violation of the law;

  3. I have absolutely zero inside knowledge about the circumstances; this is all just wild speculation.
OK, with that out of the way, we now turn to a conversation between Karl Rove and Robert Novak.
"So, Karl, what's the administration's position on what Joe Wilson's saying?"

"Wilson? Oh, that former ambassador who went to Africa?"

"Yeah, him. He's saying that Cheney sent him to investigate reports Saddam was looking to buy uranium. He found nothing, but his report was whitewashed."

"His report is classified, Bob, and I can't discuss it. But I can tell you this -- he shouldn't be talking about it publicly, either. Fortunately, nothing he's said publicly actually comes from his report."

"So, you're saying he's telling two different stories -- one in the report, and one in the press?"

"I'm not saying that, Bob -- just what I've heard him say doesn't violate the secrecy laws that his report is under."

"OK, I see. Then why did Cheney send him, then?"

"I've done a little digging on that one, Bob, and Cheney didn't 'send' him. He asked the CIA for someone to go, and someone over there put him forward, with a hard push. Maybe we shoulda looked more carefully, not trusted CIA so readily, but that's water over the bridge."

"So, someone at CIA backed him for the job? Do you think that was a setup?"

"Dunno, Bob. Could be, could be perfectly innocent. The person who did the pushing could have had another motive, one that's perfectly innocent, in terms of international politics."

"You've identified the pusher? What can you tell me about that?"

"Turns out Wilson's wife works over at CIA, in the department that handles WMD issues. But she uses her maiden name, so we didn't make the connection right away. But Wilson seemed good on paper -- former ambassador to a couple African nations, had worked in the embassy in Iraq during the first Gulf War."

"So, she could have just been trying to do her husband a favor, give his career a boost?"

"More like a resurrection. He'd been an ambassador under Clinton, and worked hard for Gore. After 2000, he was pretty much out in the cold. And how the hell would we know that the guy'd throw us under the bus like this? Christ, if I was a conspiracy nut, I'd say the whole thing was a setup from the start, by him and his wife. But if anyone oughta know how tough it is to pull off a scheme like this, it's me."

"Karl, are you saying you -- YOU -- got sandbagged?"

"Well, maybe not me personally, but us -- yeah, kinda. You can't be perfect all the time, Bob."

"So, can I go with this?"

"I don't see why not. Most of it's public record, if you just know where to look. So I don't think you're gonna get me fired a third time."

So, there it is.


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Comments (49)

Ah, but Jay Tea, the New Yo... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Ah, but Jay Tea, the New York Times and Pete Yost with AP are engaged in their most intense work yet on the Great-They-Must-Be-Guilty-Because-We-Will-It-So Mind Meld as I write this.

I agree with your introductory premise because, for most important starters (this defies the G-T-M-B-G-B-W-W-I-S Mind Meld intention, I realize), Valerie Plame has never been shown to have NOT been known to anyone else to work at The Agency (have they asked everyone in D.C. yet? No? Didn't think so).

Everyone interested in this needs to read the frickin' actual statemetns that Rove made to reporter/s, as with Libby's known statements also, and then realize that no one was ever named, beyond "(Joe Wilson's) wife" references.

And Joe Wilson is the person who had long before that entered the name of "Valerie Plame" in Who's Who In America -- the identity that his "wife" used as her alternate identity in her agenting. Not such a secret after all. Not even by a mile.

I am <a href="http://though... (Below threshold)

I am predicting no indictments... and also based on absolutely no inside information.

Anyone here think that Hill... (Below threshold)
stan25:

Anyone here think that Hillary had her nasty narly middle finger in the middle of the pie? I would not be too surprised ,if that was the case. It could be that Hellory was wanting algore to win the 2000 eletion so that she would have a clear road to the White House. No proof that any of something like this happening, just gut instinct.

Personally, I think that is just another ploy to damage the Republican Party, so that the Democrats can get back into power. Most of the American people have mostly entirely dismissed this as a another political witch hunt and this will hurt the Dems more than the Repubs.

So disingenuous I can't eve... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

So disingenuous I can't even stand it. If a Democrat outed an undercover CIA agent for political protection Wizbang wouldn't write about anything else until the person was burned at the stake.

They would be painted as anti-american, anti-defense, pro-terrorism, etc.

If Rove leaked the info he should be fired and there shouldn't be any arguement. Plain and simple.

The repubs took the President to trial for lying about a blowjob. If that is the bar, then your post can't even be remotely taken seriously.

If a Democrat outed an u... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

If a Democrat outed an undercover CIA agent for political protection Wizbang wouldn't write about anything else until the person was burned at the stake....

If that is the bar, then your post can't even be remotely taken seriously.

Huh? I didn't see Jay Tea say anything about "Rove should be let off." He merely stated his opinion that he didn't believe that Rove broke any laws. From what is being reported, it seems like the prosecutor may be coming to the same conclusion.

Oops.Somehow I did... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Oops.

Somehow I didn't italicize the second part of Bill K's quote. Sorry if it causes any confusion.

If he leaked the informatio... (Below threshold)
Steve L:

If he leaked the information, where does if he broke the law matter?

That is the basic point. It has never been about the law. It wasn't about the law with Clinton. It wouldn't have been about the law with a democrat doing the same thing.

Sometimes an act, due to intentions, can be lawful but also not representative of what should be done at the highest levels of government.

I don't know why I wrote St... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I don't know why I wrote Steve L there. That last post was mine.

Steve L.What preci... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Steve L.

What precise elements would need to be "leaked" to make the leak immoral or unethical? Also, what subjective knowledge must the leaker possess for it to be deemed evil?

Now, tell us the exact elements that were "leaked," and what was the knowledge or state of mind of the leaker?

Also, who was the first "leak," and how did that "leaked" information change the pre-existing state of knowledge about who was Wilson's wife, and what was her occupation?

Please, methodically lay those out for us. I suspect you'll find you, like the rest of us, are missing some information.

BOTH left and right have b... (Below threshold)
DUDACKATTACK!!!:

BOTH left and right have been throwing nothing but speculation and conjecture throughout the investigation.

Fitgerald knows what he is doing. Until then, everyone should just shut up and wait to hear directly from the source.


http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/index.html

Mark,Leaking infor... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Mark,

Leaking information that makes a CIA agents identify public when before it was undercover about covers it.

When it is done to protect a political agenda a nice layer of assholeness is added.

Thanks, DUDACKATTACK! Not ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Thanks, DUDACKATTACK! Not many have expressed your wisdom.

Bill K:

Your response begs a lot of questions, and it contains some vague and ambiguous elements. So please break it down like I asked.

I've always believed that t... (Below threshold)
Mike:

I've always believed that the severity of this incident is proportional to one's belief in liberal tin foil hat conspiracies.

If you believe that the White House is controlled by some diabolical uber-conspiracy masterminded by Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and maybe a few other shadowy figures, then this story is a goldmine because it "proves" that such a conspiracy exists.

Sans the tinfoil, most everything to do with this story makes believable sense. People have trouble remembering conversations from two years ago because none of them thought that they were talking about anything out of the ordinary. Robert Novak published his column because he thought that the identity and vocation of Valerie Plame were public knowledge. President Bush was upset with Rove because he eschews personal attacks, and felt that dragging Wilson's wife into this ordeal was unnecessary.

The bottom line is that you can't "leak" something that isn't a secret; even if indictments are handed down, it seems that the government will have a difficult time proving a conspiracy or proving that the White House knowingly blew the cover of a "secret agent."

well, the dems did out a un... (Below threshold)
jab:

well, the dems did out a under cover spy, or agent, and john kerry did it, in committee. hte stupid idiot. but repubs don't scream for special prosecution as the dems always do. for some reason. repubs rely on the voters to out the bad pols.

and slick willy didn't get ... (Below threshold)
jab:

and slick willy didn't get impeached for a blowjob. he perjuried himself. that's against the law, and impeachable.

Seems obvious to me, but ap... (Below threshold)
Woop woop:

Seems obvious to me, but apparently not to a few above, that this case went From CIA to the DoJ. They handed it off to Fitzgerald. Two fed Judges signed off on Fitzgerald imprisoning Miller. Now why would any of this take place if there wasn't pretty solid evidence somewhere that a crime had been commited? I'd say you've got to be a right-wing tinfoil hat wearer to think that this is all just hot air.

Seems obvious to me, but ap... (Below threshold)
Woop Woop:

Seems obvious to me, but apparently not to a few above. This case went From somwhere in the CIA to the DoJ. Then DoJ looke dinto it and handed it off to Fitzgerald. Then two different Fed Judges reviewed it and signed off on Fitzgerald imprisoning Miller. Now why would any of this take place if there wasn't pretty solid evidence somewhere that a crime had been commited? I'd say you've got to be a right-wing tinfoil hat wearer to think that this is all just hot air.

Sorry about the sloppy post... (Below threshold)
Woop woop:

Sorry about the sloppy posting.

Woop woop:First, F... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Woop woop:

First, Fitzgerald didn't imprison Miller. The judge did when she was found in contempt of court.

Second, the process you described is the same process that occurs every time a grand jury determines no crime has been committed.

By your reasoning, the very existence of every investigation or indictment or criminal prosecution means the potential defendant must be guilty. That doesn't reflect reality, or our social and legal policy.

I'm a liberal democrat and ... (Below threshold)
NeilS:

I'm a liberal democrat and this is how I see it. I believe that Rove, Libby, Hannah and others tried to impugn Wilson's statements by implying he was sent on his fact finding trip as a boodoggle set up nepotistically (is that a word) by his wife. They also argued that contrary to Wilson's statements Cheney hadn't sent him on the mission. In my opinion Wilson had never made this claim, but they (Rove et al.) had to work with what they had and it wasn't much. Rove and Libby had to niggle at the edges of Wilson's report because its substance, i.e. that there was no solid evidence of recent attempts to get yellowcake and the documents were fraudulent, was largely correct. I find it difficult to believe that Rove or Libby knew that she was undercover. They play hard ball (even to my mind dirty) but I think that they would draw the line at outing an undercover agent. They probably found out about Plame's position at the CIA either directly from the memo that Powell had requested, or from someone who read it. However, this doesn't explain why Novak used the word 'operative'. This has a very specific meaning and he is savy enough to appreciate that. I suspect that Rove and Libby realized that the political fallout from the leak was potentially damaging so they tried to cover it up. This is what the indictments will be primarily about: the cover up, not the original act. Prosecutors do not like being lied to. Will these indictiments (if they happen) make me happy? Yes. Rove's weapon of choice has always been attack politics. Conservatives are seeing this modus operandi on the Miers nomination and they don't like it. I'm an idealist. I prefer to argue the issues. I know that many conservatives feel the same way. Unfortunately Bush would have difficulty enacting much of his agenda if he had to stick to the facts. On the other hand, I will be concerned if Rove is gone because he may the only person in the White House who knows his ass from a hole in the ground. Sorry for the long post.

I have absolutely zero i... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I have absolutely zero inside knowledge about the circumstances; this is all just wild speculation.

Same here, except for the speculation part. I've tried to refrain from commenting on this case until some solid info comes out. The only thing I know for sure in all of this is Fitzgerald is a straight shooter. He has been here in Chicago, and I'm sure whatever he finds will be legit (even on the off-chance that BR's crazy CIA theory turns out to be true).

Gee Whiz: I know Karly Rove... (Below threshold)
Wayne Smyer:

Gee Whiz: I know Karly Rove really really well and he would never tell a lie or do anything naughty. He is "just swell" and all we ace White House Press reporters just love him to death. very truly yours, Jeffy "Scoop"Gannon, Talon Faux News
p.s. I approve thisa message, Mary Carrey, GOP porn Queen

Regardless of the outcome o... (Below threshold)
Andrew:

Regardless of the outcome of this inquiry, one fact is clear: President Bush has no ethics.

In his words and actions, the President has shown that his administration's behavior is limited only by the letter of the law. During his press conference 3 weeks ago, he responded to a question about ethics violations in his administration with, "I expect my people to follow the law."

It's clear that if the President has any ethical standard, it is below the threshhold of our laws, and as such does not figure into his decisionmaking. This is a disturbing quality in our nation's leader. I would hope that our President would act in a way that creates trust and admiration, not disgust.

Why does this matter? Because President Bush used false information to convince America to invade Iraq. Until now I gave the President the benefit of the doubt that he was honestly mistaken about WMD's, but now that he has shown that he has no ethical standard, I must conclude that he may have tricked us into war.

I look forward to a time when I admire the man in office.

Prediction: despite the indictments, President Bush will insist that he will not fire an aide until they have been proven guilty of a crime - hoping his term ends beforehand.

My tinfoil hat theory is th... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

My tinfoil hat theory is that Plame, Wilson and most likely several top Dems tried to set the whole thing up along with the mostly anti-Semitic CIA and State Dept.

They got caught and are now trying to frame the WH for it.

The basic facts are the only person caught repeatedly lying in this whole affair is Wilson.

He claimed in the Times there was no evidence, but later reports showed that he did hear Iraq make inquires.

He said his wife had nothing to do with sending, but memos turn showing she most certainly did.

He said he saw the fake documents....somehow saw them some months before they were availble.

I think Libby and Rove tried to wave off a couple of reporters they were friendly with from following a story that was going to blow up in their face.

I think the Times reporter went to jail, not because of some noble cause, but because she was holding out on Fitzgerald limiting his questioning to Libby only and not to other possible sources. Gee, who else wrote for the Times about this case that would have known about Ms Plame? Perhaps Wilson? Hmmmmmm...face it, she hadn't been undercover for 5 years and Wilson and Plame were widely seen around the social scene in DC....and it was known she worked at the CIA building....she was spoiled goods to begin with and this was Wilson's way of taking a shot at the President and earning some sympathy for his wife at the same time...

Faith+1 is more consistent ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Faith+1 is more consistent with everything I've heard than anyone else. We don't have all the facts, but the common thread through everything that's been leaked by both sides so far is that Wilson is the only demonstrated liar, and a repeater, at that.

That sounds too good to be true, and I am eager to hear the outcome of Fitzgerald's investigation. Until then, both sides should probably shut up. Really, the speculation is ridiculous--especially among those who have already hung the White House. And, ya gotta roll your eyes at the pessimists who don't expect indictments, but wanna call ethics fouls.

The irony is that if the law calls something fair game, how can it be deemed unethical? Its not like there aren't laws precisely governing this issue. For example, if there is a law that defines "covert agent" and someone does not meet that definition, how can an ethical or moral violation be derived from that? Aren't people entitled to rely on the law?

OK Moby Andrew, explain to ... (Below threshold)
ATM:

OK Moby Andrew, explain to us why the Clinton administration was claiming all during the 90s that Iraq had WMDs. And why Clinton said in 2003 that Iraq had WMDs the day he left office?

Like everyone else, most of... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Like everyone else, most of what I know about this case is speculation. But there are some facts. First, if a senior White House official who is privy to a lot of sensitive information finds out that someone works at the CIA, he doesn't assume it's OK to tell a reporter because he "didn't know" she was covert. As far as I'm concerned, the default is that you assume it's sensitive information until you've satisfied yourself that it's not. I hardly think it's a defense to say Rove and/or Libby were just being reckless with sensitive information.

Second, we're starting to hear this talking point a lot now: "It's difficult to remember conversations you had two years ago." Yeah, it would be if you had no reason to think about them in the intervening two years. Rove and Libby have had every reason to recreate every conversation they had on this issue since shortly after Novak's column came out and this whole thing started to blow up. It's just disingenuous to use this "two year" ploy.

As far as speculation goes, I have yet to see any evidence that Rove and Cooper had any kind of "friendly" relationship. Libby and Miller were obviously close, but the notion that friendly old Karl Rove, despite his disdain for the press, was just trying to keep Cooper from getting burned on a story makes no sense.

The whole issue of the Who's Who is also specious. Joe Wilson was well known as an ambassador. He had a wife. Her name was Valerie Wilson, nee Plame. No one is claiming any of this is a secret, so the fact that her name was in Who's Who is totally irrelevant. I don't believe the Who's Who entry mentioned that she worked for the CIA, which is the secret part. And despite the constant repetition that "everyone knew" that she worked at the CIA, I'd like to see where that's been verified. I suspect it's part of that blogging conventional wisdom that clogs up the discourse on these matters. I have read interviews with their neighbors, who to a person say they never knew that Plame worked for the CIA. Someone please substabtiate that everyone knew.

I have also read that you actually can't go to Langley and just watch every CIA employee go in and out of the building. I can't say this is fact, but logically, what kind of intelligence agency would allow all of their employees to be identified in this way? I suspect security around that building might be just a little tighter than that. This strikes me as more conventional wisdom. Someone heard that she had a desk at Langley, (which may be true, but I have yet to see verified) and just assumed that it would be impossible for her to be covert. And you know what happens when we assume. We make an ass out of the Bush administration.

And finally, in the hope springs eternal department, there's this quote from Steve L: "He merely stated his opinion that he didn't believe that Rove broke any laws. From what is being reported, it seems like the prosecutor may be coming to the same conclusion." Being reported where? NewsMax? There may not turn out to be any indictments, but I'm curious what reporting you're seeing that points that way. Senior White House officials have reportedly been telling freinds they expect to be indicted. Yes, it's unsubstatiated, but that kind of reporting doesn't lead me to think there won't be any indictments.

It's also amusing to see the references to liberal moonbat conspiracy theories, then read speculation that this whole thing was a setup by Wilson, who leaked his own wife's name so Bush would look bad. I feel obligated to point out that this comes under the heading of "pulled it out of your ass." And Faith1, "He claimed in the Times there was no evidence, but later reports showed that he did hear Iraq make inquires." Wrong. He was told by the former Prime Minister of Niger that he expected Iraq to ask for yellowcake when they met with officils from the Niger government, but the subject never came up. How could he "hear Iraq make inquires?" Do you think he was in the room when the Iraqis were discussing this stuff? C'mon, get your head in the game.

OK, I keep going back and seeing more craziness. "President Bush was upset with Rove because he eschews personal attacks" Huh? See, McCain, South Carolina.

If you were to find out fro... (Below threshold)
ATM:

If you were to find out from a reporter that someone worked for the CIA, one would probably assume that the person was not covert.

Chris,"Wrong. He w... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Chris,

"Wrong. He was told by the former Prime Minister of Niger that he expected Iraq to ask for yellowcake when they met with officils from the Niger government, but the subject never came up. How could he "hear Iraq make inquires?""

I suggest you read the report. Page 49, last paragraph. It did come up.

Chris,'Wrong. He w... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Chris,

'Wrong. He was told by the former Prime Minister of Niger that he expected Iraq to ask for yellowcake when they met with officils from the Niger government, but the subject never came up."

It did come up. See page 49, bottom paragraph. According to Wilson, the former PM clearly told him that in June 1999, an Iraqi delegation sought to purchase yellowcake, but Niger rejected the opportunity.

Chris,You can, ind... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Chris,

You can, indeed, go out and watch employees drive up to the building in Langley. Was only a few years ago when someone walked up to the line of cars piled up for ID checks and shot three or four of the employees. I live less than an hour from there.

Not everyone that "works at the CIA" is an undercover agent....and it is very naive to think agents use the front door.

I have several friends and neighbors who "work at the CIA". It's no secret they do. I have no clue whether any of them are under-cover agents or not. They openly talk about working for the CIA, but they don't talk about what they do necesarily.

And Chris, no, I did not pull it out of my ass. As someone pointed, try actually reading Wilson's report and comprehending instead of just reading what left-wing websites want you to read. The Nigerian clearly told Wilson that Iraq intended to meet with them to discuss purchasing what the Nigerian said was clearly yellowcake. That's what I meant by "heard Iraq make inquires". Niger refused to meet with them. This was also confirmed by British Intelligence as well (which is what the President said in the SOTU speech). I have my head in the game, you don't. I've actually read the report.

Again, the only person in this whole thing caught repeatedly lying is Wilson. I don't think he leaked his wife's name with the intent of framing the WH. I think he repeatedly and openly acknowledged she worked for the CIA (very likely in a cocktail party my-wife-is-better-than-your-wife braggart way).

I think the whole thing started as a setup by Wilson and Plame to boost his career and she used her position on the WMD team to influence his being chosen to go. That part has been proven as fact with the revelation of several memos and emails.

I think he wanted to bash Bush and try to look impartial and non-political, despite his having worked extremly hard in both the Gore and Kerry campaigns. When it started being known that his wife set up the trip for him to go and the outcome was pre-determined the whole "they revealed my wife the spy" just fell in their laps. Except he had been prepping reporters for a big blow out story busting the WH and had most likely told them his info was good because his wife worked on the CIA WMD team.

And again he lied about the forged documents, claiming he saw them months before they existed. Only two paths to go there....he either lied about the forged documents after the fact (and btw, the forged docs were about a second inquiry about Iraq and yellow cake and were never considered serious) or he had privvy information to CIA documents that weren't public knowledge at the time.

Want to guess which CIA office received those forged docs for analysis? Wy by God the same office Ms Plame worked in. Makes ya think. did he lie about seeing the docs or did his wife know about there existence long before it was publicly acknowledged and showed them to him before it was legal to do so? Can't have that revealed.

My real tinfoil hat theory is that his wife got the original faked docs months before it was acknowledged, showed them to Wilson and they hatched a plan to bash the WH and come out looking like whistle blowers. Write a book and cash in since their careers were over and if the WH countered it would look like a partisan attack. With the press so hell bent anti-Bush it wouldn't be hard to get the Times and a few reporters to lean their way. We now know Cheny didn't send Wilson. The whole trip was conceived and planned by Wilson's wife and she pushed to have him sent.

As for Rove/Cooper not liking each other. They don't have to for a mutaully beneficial relationship to exist. I didn't say they were lovers. It's not uncommon for insiders to offer reporters the odd bone of info for a little heads up on what is being investigated--even if they despise them. I think Rove told Cooper and Libby told the other lady to back off or the Times would end up looking like another Jason-type story on their hands. Wilson's story was so badly put together it should have been pretty obvious and it STILL hasn't been investigated thouroughly by the MSM because they are so focused on getting Rove they don't see it.

Lots of speculation, but on... (Below threshold)
Bob:

Lots of speculation, but one thing for sure: It's water UNDER the bridge, not OVER it, unless Rove is thinking of some flood area. Try water OVER the dam is you insist on OVER something.

The last paragraph on Page ... (Below threshold)
Chris:

The last paragraph on Page 49 of the Senate Intelligence Committee report (which I was directed to read by Mark and Faith+1, despite the fact that I've already read it) says that the staff asked the CIA about Iraq trying to buy yellowcake, and they were told that Iraq did make an attempt. That didn't come from Wilson, and my point was in relation to Wilson's veracity. And I have read the report, more than once. I suggest also reading the rebuttal from the Democratic senators, instead of just relying on Pat Roberts covering for the White House. If you read the last paragraph on Page 43, it details Wilson's meeting with the former PM of Niger. The only mention of yellowcake comes from the PM, who says he "assumed" that's what Iraq wanted to talk about. He also makes it clear it was never discussed. Remember, my point was about whether Wilson told the truth, not whether Iraq ever tried to buy yellowcake. Wilson reported what he heard, which was that the Nigerien PM made an assumption. That's all it turned out to be.

As for "it is very naive to think agents use the front door" at the CIA, thank you for making my point. It is assumed by others that it is impossible for Plame to have had a desk there without walking in and out of the front door. And by the way, didn't they change the access to the building after the shooting? And don't you think they're watching the watchers, and have some sense if someone is surveilling the building?

"We now know Cheny didn't send Wilson. The whole trip was conceived and planned by Wilson's wife and she pushed to have him sent." We knew all along that Cheney didn't send Wilson. Try reading his op-ed, instead of what right wing websites want you to think. The right has been beating this dead horse for so long that it's become more of your conventional wisom. But Wilson not only never claimed Cheney sent him, he has explicitly said that he didn't think Cheney knew about his trip in advance. I'd like to see a link to where he said otherwise.

And I don't believe his wife "sent " him. That came from a State Department person who was at the debriefing. The exact quote from the report follows: "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.'" (I'm transcribing from a pdf, and I have to tell you it's really a pain having to do your work for you, especially since you claim to have read the report.) The problem is that INR is State Department. So a State Department guy went to a meeting at CIA, and reported his impression of how the meeting came about. The CIA has a different take on the matter, but Roberts chose to use the version that supported the White House. This is why the Democrats included an addendum with their own views attached to the report. A lazy Washington Post reporter read the report quickly and filed a story saying "Plame sent Wilson" without bothering to read the addendum. Here's A Washington Post story on the issue:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/10/AR2005081001918_pf.html

Believe one side or the other, but it's hardly a settled issue. As for the rest of Faith+1's post, every sentence starts with "I think" so there's not a lot I can say about her tinfoil hat conspiracy. I'm sorry, but I don't see any support for any of her speculation, except to state that "the only person in this whole thing caught repeatedly lying is Wilson." I'm still waiting to hear his repeat lies.

And by the way, since people here keep insisting that I read the Senate report (which I have, apparently a little more closely than Mark or Faith+1) I'm sure in the spirit of fairness you'll read Wilson's letter in rebuttal to the falsehoods in the report. You can find it here:
http://www.alternet.org/stories/19271

By the way, a sign of Roberts' corruption in all of this is the fact that he didn't have the Committee work on phase two of its report, which was to focus on if and how the administration misused the intelligence. He promised that part would be done after the election. He said "It is a priority. I made my commitment and it will get done."

So fine, the Dems acquiesce and wait until after the election. But what's this? After the election, Roberts says "I don't think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence. I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to replow this ground any further." I can't decide if a better descriptive for him is whore or liar.

"OK Moby Andrew, explain to... (Below threshold)
Moby Andrew:

"OK Moby Andrew, explain to us why the Clinton administration was claiming all during the 90s that Iraq had WMDs. And why Clinton said in 2003 that Iraq had WMDs the day he left office?

Posted by: ATM at October 22, 2005 01:01 AM "

ATM-

You're absolutely right. Why was our government wrong about WMDs? This is the big question.

I wish I could say that President Bush would not fake evidence to foment a war - but in light of his low actions during "leakgate" (an awful name... "leakygate"?), I cannot be sure.

When did it become acceptab... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

When did it become acceptable logic to assume if you can't find something it doesn't exist?

And when did the left fall in love with the CIA? When I used to be a good little socialist we hated the fuggin CIA worse than the evil rich, wtf happened?

(/Andy Rooney off ^^)

Chris:"If you read... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Chris:

"If you read the last paragraph on Page 43, it details Wilson's meeting with the former PM of Niger. The only mention of yellowcake comes from the PM, who says he "assumed" that's what Iraq wanted to talk about. He also makes it clear it was never discussed. Remember, my point was about whether Wilson told the truth, not whether Iraq ever tried to buy yellowcake. Wilson reported what he heard, which was that the Nigerien PM made an assumption. That's all it turned out to be."

The report does NOT use the word "assumption." The report says the PM "interpreted" their statements and actions as an attempt to buy yellowcake. Interpretation is an integral part of every communication, and it's guided by information, experience and context. Nobody is talking about hollow assumptions.

Also, "it was never discussed" is untrue. The Iraqi's brought it up! The PM refused to take it any further. So, it was "discussed" but rejected.

And, it was Wilson who reported the events and the PM's interpretation to the CIA. Then he denied it in his Op-Ed.

So Chris, don't claim to be a better reader than Faith+1 or me--that's not fair. Your characterization of the report is very distorted, and intentionally so. Why not use the words of the report instead of your own "assumptions?"

I will, however, read Wilson's letter in rebuttal because I have not seen it.

Chris:Alrighty the... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Chris:

Alrighty then. I read Wilson's letter and it doesn't address the former Niger PM's account of the yellowcake attempt.

Therefore, Wilson's only denial that Iraq attempted to purchase yellowcake is contained in his Op-Ed, and that is clearly contradicted by his own report to the CIA as reflected in the Senate report.

Mark:The PM "inter... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Mark:

The PM "interpreted" the Iraqi proposal to discuss "expanding commercial relations" to mean they wanted to discuss yellowcake, but because of UN sanctions he "let the matter drop." On the basis of that, you state as fact that the Iraqis brought the subject up, and Wilson's a liar? None of those things are said, and all of them are the subject of an extremely liberal (you should pardon the expression) interpretation on your part. Everything you accuse Wilson of is completely read into his comments by you. You can interpret the word "interpret" any way you want, but it's just not accurate to say that it represents a statement of fact. I've read a lot about this whole issue, and I have an interpretation, guided by information, experience and context, of what I've read that includes Rove and Libby committing felonies, along with other White House officials. I'm probably right, but I don't think the Washington Post will be reporting my assumptions as fact any time soon.

And the tone of my response was dictated by Faith+1's assumption that I only get my information from "left wing web sites." I'm actually pretty well informed on this matter, and try to separate the facts as I know them from my assumptions. I rhink that vilifying Wilson on the basis of a huge assumption on your part is wrong, and is informed by a great deal of misinformation being spread by the administration.

And all of the rest of the points raised in my post still stand.

Of course, the Iraqi's were... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Of course, the Iraqi's were really trying to smuggle beans and onions around the embargo. Chris you calling somebody else naive takes irony to a whole new level.


OK, B Moe, I'll repeat. I w... (Below threshold)
Chris:

OK, B Moe, I'll repeat. I wasn't addressing whether the Iraqis were trying to buy yellowcake. I was addressing whether Wilson definitely knew they were, and lied about it. I have no idea if they were trying to buy yellowcake or not. But considering that the "aluminum tubes" were actually not suited for processing uranium, and that there is strong evidence that they dismantled their nucear program well before we invaded, and that economic sanctions severely limited their international trade, they could have been looking for trading partners wherever they could find them. Of course I don't know if that's the case, but they were still trying to run a country, you know. They may have been evil murderers, but they must have been paying some attention to the nuts and bolts. They had a fairly sophisticated economy. I don't think you can assume that every move they made was weapons related.

Funny how so many of the responses I get on this board completely ignore any of the facts I present.

Funny how Chris don't know ... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Funny how Chris don't know facts from opinions. I blame the wonderful, tax-payer funded public education system.

Chris, the point I have mad... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Chris, the point I have made repeatedly was that we were under no obligation to prove Saddam was violating the terms of the cease-fire ending the first Gulf War. All the obligations were on Saddam to prove he wasn't. Iraq was, metaphorically speaking, a parolee who had to submit to random drug testing and random weapons checks -- the authorities have the right to presume guilt, until the parolee proves his innocence. The evidence you cite all came about, I believe, AFTER we invaded.

It's always been my pet theory that Saddam was 90% bluffing, trying to maintain the illusion of possessing WMDs to keep Iran and his own enemies at bay, while using the UN and the Oil-For-Food Money to keep the US and our allies from pressing too hard. He thought if he delicately balanced the pressures, he'd be able to hold off all the threats until he could get the sanctions lifted. Unfortunately for him, 9/11 happened and Bush rewrote the rule book that the US had followed under Clinton.

J.

Whoa, Chris!"None ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Whoa, Chris!

"None of those things are said, and all of them are the subject of an extremely liberal (you should pardon the expression) interpretation on your part."

The interpretation was made by the PM, who was party to the conversations. Who is in a better position to make that interpretation? Are either you or Wilson better equipped to tell the PM what he understood to be requested by Iraq? No. Are you telling me the PM completely misuderstood the Iraqis? If so, on what basis?

I am not making anything up here. The PM was party to a conversation and he relayed that through Wilson to us. Now how do you think that Wilson filter has affected our understanding of what the PM said?

Jay TeaI actually ... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Jay Tea

I actually agree that it seems Saddam may have been maintaining an illusion of having nukes in order to keep his enemies at bay. But as I've said previously, my comments are meant to address whether Wilson lied, not whether Iraq did or didn't hage nukes.

Mark

If you look at the report again, you'll see that a businesman approached the PM to propose a meeting with Iraq to discuss "expanding commercial relations." It's clear that the PM was interpreting what the businessman said, not what transpired in the meeting. The only reference to the actual meeting is the PM's statement that "although the meeting took place, he let the matter drop." Now, if you want to split hairs and offer your own interpretation of what all of that means, fine. The meaning is clear to me. But let's remember that we're not talking about meanings or shadings. This exchange is being offered as clear and incontrovertible evidence that Wilson was told the Iraqis tried to buy yellowcake, but chose to lie about it. This is one of the major underpinnings of the slanders against Wilson's character. If people want to read all sorts of meanings into that paragraph, go ahead. But don't try to claim that it clearly shows Wilson lying. It showes no such thing.

Vilifying someone based on a Senate report about an intelligence report of a conversation about what the Iraqis purpose was would be irresponsible, if that's all it was. But it's part of a concerted effort by the White House to cover their own asses by slandering anyone who opposes them, and it's the standard MO for this administration.

Wilson came out in the medi... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Wilson came out in the media and said the Iraqis were absolutely not trying to buy uranium. That is a fucking lie. He cannot prove this. This is what got the White House upset.

NOT BEING ABLE TO PROVE SOMETHING DOESN'T MEAN IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!

Chris:"Vilifying s... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Chris:

"Vilifying someone based on a Senate report about an intelligence report of a conversation about what the Iraqis purpose was would be irresponsible, if that's all it was. But it's part of a concerted effort by the White House to cover their own asses by slandering anyone who opposes them, and it's the standard MO for this administration."

You're right that there may be a game of "telephone" going on, since the story has been handed down so many times, and each exchange is an opportunity for meaning to be diluted or distorted. It's not the most desirable or reliable situation.

However, I do detect some receptiveness on your part that perhaps the former PM was accurate in his "interpretation." Am I right? And that 'interpretation" was based on what an "Iraqi deligation" said, rather than a "business man," correct? What I'm getting at is that I don't think you dispute the contention that Iraq approached the former PM for the purpose of acquiring yellowcake. Asssuming Wilson accurately reported his encounter to the CIA, I think we have to take the former PM's word on this, don't you?

So, if you accept the PM's interpretation, how does that square with Wilson's Op-Ed?

Oh, are you suggesting Wilson never reported the PM's interpretation to the CIA? He hasn't come forward and denied that aspect of the report, has he?

Ok, so we have Wilson reporting that the former PM believes he was approached for yellowcake, and Wilson does not offer evidence that the PM is out of his mind--Wilson seems to take him at his word. Then Wilson writes an Op-Ed saying Iraq never sought yellowcake.

Doesn't that sound dishonest or misleading to you?

MarkActually, I do... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Mark

Actually, I don't accept the premise that what the PM interpreted was based on his conversations with the Iraqi delegation. It's clear that he was interpreting what the businessman proposing the meeting was telling him. If you read further on Page 44, when Wilson met with the Senate committee he made clear that the PM told him that the subject of expanding trade relations never came up in the meeting. So the only discussion of the issue was between the PM and the unidentified businessman. Sorry it's not as definitive as saying the PM was "out of his mind," but it's pretty definitive to me. Again, you have threads of information from which to draw conclusions, versus Wilson's own words. There is nowhere near enough evidence to justify the kind of slanders on his reputation that Wilson has endured. Fine, you don't like him. But casually branding him a serial liar based on the evidence presented here is just wrong.

And if you re-read Wilson's... (Below threshold)
Chris:

And if you re-read Wilson's op-ed, you'll see that he didn't say Iraq never tried to buy yellowcake. He said if the administration was asserting Iraq tried to buy yellowcake based on his report, that "conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them." That's a far cry from saying Iraq never tried to buy yellowcake. What's frustrating is that all of this misinformation is the result of a deliberate attempt by the administration to spread so much false information that the truth disappears in the ether. That's why I think they're scumbags.

Chris:"He said if ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Chris:

"He said if the administration was asserting Iraq tried to buy yellowcake based on his report, that "conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them.""

I don't dislike the guy, I know very little about him. Also, I have no idea what was said to the former PM of Niger, or what he said to Wilson. All I know is what the Senate Intelligence Commitee said the CIA said Wilson told them. I also know Wilson did not try to dispute that triple or quadruple hearsay.

HOWEVER, for Wilson to make the statement you quoted above, he obviously had to disregard what he says the PM told him. Why or how he felt it appropropriate to do so, I don't know. But there is a clear inconsistency. I'll back off the "lie" word since it seems to draw emotionally charged reactions from you. But you can't deny there is a big inconsistency that he could have cleared up with a footnote to the Op-Ed if candor were in his repertoire. He didn't.

As for Whitehouse propaganda, I haven't paid attention and I don't care. I'm pretty damned sick of this administration, and I can't wait until they're gone (as long as their replacements don't sabotage the WOT). But I still bristle at those who hate them so much they strain credulity looking to turn every little benign item into some evil conspiracy theory. I am NOT saying you fall in that category, because nearly everything I recall reading from you in this and other threads is pretty well reasoned and informed (if you're the same "chris.") But the true moonbats really get me going. And, your use of "assumed" instead of "interpreted" sorta set me off since it seemed moonbatish. I don't think you are.




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