Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Plame Game - Over?

Christopher Hitchens in Slate, calls : Novak exonerates the Bushies in the Plame case

"Robert Novak's July 12 column and his appearance on Meet the Press Sunday night have dissolved any remaining doubt about the mad theory that the Bush administration "outed" Ms. Valerie Plame as revenge for her husband's refusal to confirm the report by British intelligence that Iraqi officials had visited Niger in search of uranium. To summarize, we now know that:

1. Novak was never approached by any administration officials but approached them instead.

2. He was never told the name Plame but discovered it from Who's Who in America, which contained it in Joseph Wilson's entry.

3. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had all along known which sources had responded to Novak's questions.

When one thinks of the oceans of ink and acres of paper that have been wasted on this mother of all nonstories, one wants to weep for the journalistic profession as well as for the trees. Well before Novak felt able to go public, he had said that his original source was not "a partisan gunslinger," which by any reasonable definition means that he was consciously excluding the names of Karl Rove or Dick Cheney. And how likely was it anyway that either man, seeking to revenge himself on Joseph Wilson, would go to a columnist who is known to be one of Wilson's admirers (praise for him and his career was a central theme in the original 2003 article), is friendly with the CIA, and is furthermore known as a staunch and consistent foe of the administration's intervention in Iraq? The whole concept was nonsense on its face."

True enough it was a non-story, at least at it's face. But the flip side is the story hasn't gotten wide coverage - that a grand plan had been under taken by rogue elements of the CIA to undermine the President in a time of war. Again, THATS why Novak wrote the article:

"As Novak says, the original question was: How did a man publicly critical of the Bush policy get the CIA's nomination for a mission to Niger? When he asked this question of his first source, he was told in effect, "That's easy. His wife works there and recommended him for the trip." This has since been confirmed by the report of the Senate intelligence committee, which quotes a memo from Valerie Plame making the recommendation in so many words (on the bizarre grounds that Wilson already enjoyed warm relations with the people he would supposedly be investigating at the Niger Ministry of Mines). It seems to me that Novak was well within his rights to check with Karl Rove and with the CIA that this was indeed the case, and to take down his copy of Who's Who in America from the shelf. As he puts it, "I considered his wife's role in initiating Wilson's mission … to be a previously undisclosed part of an important news story."

As I've told you before the plan was for Wilson to go to Niger, with a predetermined script that would 'discredit' the report that Iraq had attempted to buy yellow cake from Niger (Which Hitchens proves did happen see article for links). The real story that Valerie suggested his trip as it would be easier to keep things to the script.

Then an "inadvertant event" happened when someone else entered the picture and blew "the cover":

"No reporter or lawyer concerned with the case believes that Novak's original source was any other than Richard Armitage. I have heard it lamely said that, if true, this would "undercut" the idea that Wilson and Plame were targets of an administration vendetta. No. it wouldn't "undercut" the idea. It would annihilate it. Mr. Armitage exceeds even his own former boss and current best friend Colin Powell in visceral hatred of the neoconservatives. In that sense, and in his collusion with Bob Woodward on the story of the origins of the war, he actually is a "partisan gunslinger"—but on the Wilson side of the argument. However, in the present instance, that would only lend credence to Novak's testimony that the "disclosure"—if it was a disclosure and not just a confirmation of something well-known—was inadvertent."

Artimitage's "tip", had nothing to do with "getting Wilson or Plame", but of his desire to sabotage the war effort. Thus when the "story was told", the forces behind Valerie and the Rogues had a lot more to lose than just the "Wilson Argument", or even her precious "non cover".

The "leak" portion of this story is over, but there is MORE to be told and here's to it being told. A story that when fully told will show clearly why there has been such a thrust against our invading Iraq and killing the goose.

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