I think ^(link) therefore I err

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The latest Plame Game

The Plame affair:
Let's see if I have this right.
1. Mr. Wilson went to Nigeria and wrote a brief saying that Saddam had nuclear ambitions
2. Mr. Wilson's brief really didn't go many places and wasn't really used for anything
3. Mr. Wilson wrote a column for the NYtimes saying that he said there was nothing going on in Nigeria as it pertains to Saddam.
4. Mr. Novak remarks that Mr. Wilson's wife is Valerie Plame of the CIA
5. Big investigation as to who leaked her name
6. Judith Miller goes to jail for not revealing the source of the information concerning Valerie Plame's name.
7. Scooter Libby turns out to be a source of information from the National Intelligence Estimate and Plames name?
8. Scooter resigns
9. The media find out that the National Intelligence Estimate was declassified by Bush himself.
10. The media is skewering Bush for being incongruent.

Is all that right?
The Seattle Times has an article that starts out like this:
If a former White House aide is telling the truth, President George W. Bush authorized the leak of highly sensitive intelligence information, an act that is legal but reeks of unethical conduct.

Keep reading:
Neither Libby nor Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald accuse the president of authorizing or even encouraging the outing of Valerie Plame, the CIA agent at the crux of the case. Plame's spouse, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, faced off with the White House over its Iraq war intelligence and believes his wife's identity was revealed as retribution.

It ends like this:
But this episode stinks to high heaven.

The document in question argued Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear-weapons program and was used as the basis for the administration's sense of urgency for going to war with Iraq. The document's intelligence reports were ultimately proved untrue.

The president may or may not have outed Plame to discredit or punish her husband, but it appears the sensitive information was used for political gain.

In the end, it comes down to the ability to trust our top leader. Bush stood before the nation and condemned leaks and the people who make them. He pledged to find the perpetrators and hold them accountable. Looking back on that moment, the public wonders if the commander in chief is an honest man.

So the Plamegate story was about who outed Valerie Plame. But now the media is upset about the NIE report coming out that showed the connection between Iraq and Niger and they're concerned that it was "leaked" for political gain? Wouldn't it have been "leaked" to counteract the affects of Wilson's lies in the NYTimes? And isn't the truth what we're all after. And this NIE document shows what he was basing the nuclear connection on.

First off - I'd have to say that at some point in all of this, it seems to me that Bush should have come out and said - Yes Mr. Libby was allowed to relate the NIE information. I told him to. The truth needed to come out. However I did not say to release Valerie Plame's name as a CIA agent.
But why should he say that? There is such an animosity between those two estates, the Media and this White House that during press conferences, the name of the game is to answer the question and that's it. And he did. He did not authorize the outing of Valerie Plame. Frankly I believe him. I can not imagine that he would allow Scooter Libby to be discredited to save his hide. He could have been more clear in the past, but then again what for. It only would have avoided this current nonstory.

From a press conference June 10th 2004:
Q Given -- given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name?

THE PRESIDENT: That's up to --

Q And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts.

Q My final point would be -- or question would be, has Vice President Cheney assured you --

THE PRESIDENT: It's up to the --

Q -- subsequent to his conversations with them, that nobody --

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't talked to the Vice President about this matter, and I suggest -- recently -- and I suggest you talk to the U.S. Attorney about that.

From a press conference Sept. 2003.
Q Do you think that the Justice Department can conduct an impartial investigation, considering the political ramifications of the CIA leak, and why wouldn't a special counsel be better?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

And so I welcome the investigation. I -- I'm absolutely confident that the Justice Department will do a very good job. There's a special division of career Justice Department officials who are tasked with doing this kind of work; they have done this kind of work before in Washington this year. I have told our administration, people in my administration to be fully cooperative.

I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business.

Yes, let's see, Kemper -- he's from Chicago. Where are you? Are you a Cubs or White Sox fan? (Laughter.) Wait a minute. That doesn't seem fair, does it? (Laughter.)

Q Yesterday we were told that Karl Rove had no role in it --


Q -- have you talked to Karl and do you have confidence in him --

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.

And again I repeat, you know, Washington is a town where there's all kinds of allegations. You've heard much of the allegations. And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it. And that would be people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information -- outside the administration. And we can clarify this thing very quickly if people who have got solid evidence would come forward and speak out. And I would hope they would.

And then we'll get to the bottom of this and move on. But I want to tell you something -- leaks of classified information are a bad thing. And we've had them -- there's too much leaking in Washington. That's just the way it is. And we've had leaks out of the administrative branch, had leaks out of the legislative branch, and out of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and I've spoken out consistently against them and I want to know who the leakers are.

Thank you.

END 2:15 P.M. CDT

UPDATE: The Washington Post's editorial on this. Of course written better, more clearly and without ranting.