Plame Game - Kristof - What did he know - when did he know it?

AJ Strata and Tom Mcguire have been tailing Nicolas Kristof, the NY Times writer that set this whole Plame Game off to the races back in May of 2003.

First, since I'm a little late to the party, except for my response to TM's article, let's look atEditor and Publisher's Take on the Kristof "correction":

"NEW YORK After months of complaints from what he calls “bloggers on the right,” among others, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has posted at his paid TimesSelect page a clarification on his now-famous, but somewhat flawed, column that played a central role in the still-enveloping Plame/CIA leak case.

Kristof said the reasons for correcting the record now were that the Libby indictment had revived interest in the May, 6, 2003 column -- and he has been pressing for Vice President Cheney to “tell all” about the case so “here's my effort to do the same.”

It came just hours after Slate's Jack Shafer had penned his own column taking Kristof to task for not dealing with this matter. Kristof told Shafer yesterday that he was considering re-visiting the column, but noted that he couldn't think of an example where a Times column or article was corrected after six months.

In his TimesSelect piece Thursday, Kristof examines two key criticisms of the column.

First, he denies that he stated that the Vice President's office, not the CIA, sent Ambassador Wilson to Niger, only that Cheney wanted an investigation by somebody. But Kristof admits: “In fairness, though, it is true that Cheney apparently didn't know that Wilson had been dispatched. If I'd known that I would have said so.”

Then he turns to the matter of his column reporting that Wilson had actually seen (forged) documents on the uranium deal, when he didn't. Kristof explains: “Wilson has said that he misspoke when he made references to the documents to me and to two other journalists.”

He explains further: “There's also a suggestion from the right that Wilson was wildly spinning me and others and exaggerating how strongly he debunked the deal. The Senate Intelligence Committee Report is very harsh on Wilson, and there's a sense in spookdom that it came down too hard on him and was based on interviews with too few people.

“The C.I.A. seems to have thought that a Niger uranium deal was conceivable but not very likely, while at State the intelligence bureau (INR) was sure that it never happened. But it does seem to be true that Wilson claims to have debunked the Niger deal more firmly than some people remember him debunking it.”

But Kristof also offers this more positive overall assessment of Wilson: “I think that the attacks on Wilson are overdone. ... More generally, I find the attacks on a private citizen like Wilson rather distasteful. Sure, he injected himself into the public arena with his op-ed column and TV appearances, and so some scrutiny is fair. But I figure it's more important to examine and probe the credibility of, say, the vice president than a retired ambassador.”

Now this has started a swarm of speculation over Valerie Plame being a possible author of the Niger Documents. This is plausible on two points. 1) She was "in the area of operation). 2) It could be said that she had motive. and 3) This could definitely explain how Joe knew the "Dates were wrong and the names were wrong".

But as I eluded to in my post to TM's article, when I was a active in law enforcement investigations I remember always being drawn to "writings", because they "tell a story", and more important they most often tell on their author.

Again, this excerpt from my previous post:

"Nicolas Kristof quote from his June 13, 2003 OPED:

"Condoleezza Rice was asked on "Meet the Press" on Sunday about a column of mine from May 6 regarding President Bush's reliance on forged documents to claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Africa. That was not just a case of hyping intelligence, but of asserting something that had already been flatly discredited by an envoy investigating at the behest of the office of Vice President Dick Cheney."

Now, in the last two years I have have read thousands of documents related to this case, some of which are "eyes only" and not available for public consumption. Yet I thought I had seen this verbage before. So searched it and viola! In one of the VIPS so-called memorandums to the President is this wording:

"There is just too much evidence that Ambassador Wilson was sent to Niger at the behest of Vice President Cheney’s office, and that Wilson’s findings were duly reported not only to that office but to others as well."

Ok, maybe I'm batty from all the reading, but note that the language, tone, adjectives, verbs, layout of both the Kristof piece and the VIPS memorandum seem as though they both came from the same set of talking points? "Behest"? How many people knew that word before they saw either article?"

Some took me to task on trying to make something out of "behest". Yet I stand my ground on it. It's simply not a word used "out of the air". But leaving that for a second, the point was that much in the May 6th 2003 article follows the 'script" of much of the the propaganda that Ray McGovern and VIPS were putting out at that point. But let's look at Kristof's sourcing for a moment.

We know that Wilson - who incidently was leaking a classified mission - was Kristof's source - . It's important to go back sometimes before we go forward, so let's go back to Vanity Fair article, "Double Exposure":

"In early May (2002), Wilson and Plame attended a conference sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, at which Wilson spoke about Iraq; one of the other panelists was the New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof. Over breakfast the next morning with Kristof and his wife, Wilson told about his trip to Niger and said Kristof could write about it, but not name him."

One wonders if "covert/super-secret agent" Plame was introduced as 'Ms. Wilson' or 'Ms. Plame' or did she just sit back with a scarf and sun glasses. Not only did Kristof meet Plame, but so did his wife. Yet more intriguing is who is Kristof's wife at the breakfast table? Kristof's wife is Sheryl WuDunn, his longime writing partner.

In case you didn't know, Nicholas and Sheryl, won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting in The New York Times about Tiananmen Square in 1989. It was a marvelous piece of writing.

But that was then, and this was 2002. Just what was she doing at this breakfast with Wilson, Plame and husband Nicholas? What part did she play - if any? More questions and dots to connect.

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