August 27, 2006

The Plame leak "came from a man who had no apparent intention of harming anyone."

Writes Michael Isikoff in Newsweek, revealing that the source was Richard Armitage.
...Armitage was a member of the administration's small moderate wing. Along with his boss and good friend, [Secretary of State Colin] Powell, he had deep misgivings about President George W. Bush's march to war. A barrel-chested Vietnam vet who had volunteered for combat, Armitage at times expressed disdain for Dick Cheney and other administration war hawks who had never served in the military. Armitage routinely returned from White House meetings shaking his head at the armchair warriors. "One day," says Powell's former chief of staff Larry Wilkerson, "we were walking into his office and Rich turned to me and said, 'Larry, these guys never heard a bullet go by their ears in anger ... None of them ever served. They're a bunch of jerks'."

But officials at the White House also told reporters about Wilson's wife in an effort to discredit Wilson for his public attacks on Bush's handling of Iraq intelligence. Karl Rove confirmed to Novak that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, and days later offered the same information to Time reporter Matt Cooper. The inquiry into the case led to the indictment of Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Armitage himself was aggressively investigated by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, but was never charged. Fitzgerald found no evidence that Armitage knew of Plame's covert CIA status when he talked to Novak and Woodward.
It will be interesting to see how the bloggers who were hot for blood over Plamegate will respond to this news. You can watch for who links to the Newsweek story at Memeorandum, here. TalkLeft tries to keep hope alive:
I suspect Cheney is still in his cross-hairs. And Ari Fleischer is a key witness against Libby. Somehow, I suspect Ari Fleishcher has given more to Fitzgerald than we know.
Liberal Values finds the silver lining: "Maybe this will put an end to all those conservative blogs which are spreading preposterous claims that it was Joe Wilson himself who revealed his wife’s identity." Yeah, put an end to all those conservative blogs.

Can you never back off and say that your side overdid it? It would improve your credibility you know.

65 comments:

David said...

People suffering from BDS will never admit they are wrong but will blame it on a Rovian conspiracy that 'stole' another of their cherished false hopes.

The military involved in off the cuff remarks regarding the prosecution of this war prove the necessity of requiring civilian control of the military. I am former military and it is my fear that the likes of Kerry, Murtha, Powell, Armitage, etc., are undermining their own credibility by pandering to the anti-war crowd in the face of Islamic Imperialism.

Indeed, the Democratic party of Howard Dean, et al, are doing the same thing under the watchful eye of moderate Democrats who will pick up the pieces at the appropriate time.

hdhouse said...

Islamic Imperialism?? is that the new rendition of Islamo-fascism? Is that akin to "greeted in the streets as heros"? Is that like the "war will pay for itself"? Is that like "mission accomplished or bring 'em on"?

the Plame leak was no small thing. It was a great big thing. All roads led to Rove and the Prosecutor's statements are specific that he was thwarted by his inability to get to the truth.

It was sneaky, underhanded, hamhanded, and transparent as all get out. There is no spinning the damage done.

The real title should be "one of those who leaked..." NOT "The Plame leak..." The indicates "the one" as in singular. This was a bunch of fools on a fools errand and that more than smacks of the coach sending in a play and the team huddling up and then running it.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

"...at least they actually came up with a dress covered in spew,"

What!?! But I thought it was only a blow job.

johnstodderinexile said...

What the Plamegate fanatics also lost sight of was the fact that everyone outside of their (admittedly large) circle long ago stopped taking the Plame issue seriously.

Repeatedly calling the leakers "traitors" begged the question of to whom the "secret" was betrayed? The most dire estimate of the harm done by Plamegate was to one person, Ms. Plame herself.

Plame is not the first CIA agent whose cover was blown by the media; but she must be the safest blown spy agent in history. The case that the revelation was so terribly damaging to her was undermined by Ms. Plame and her husband's continual efforts at self-promotion, including allowing herself to be photographed in a Vanity Fair glamour shot. If Plamegate were the kind of story its promoters wanted us to believe it was, we would have expected Plame to go into hiding immediately after the story appeared. When she didn't, that was the end of Plamegate's pertinence.

Elizabeth said...

Kerry, Murtha, Powell, Armitage,et. are all civilians. The civilian control of the military is working fine. But to argue that they should shut up about a war they believe is waged badly, or wrongly, is to argue for another type of control, over speech, that would be terrible for our country. Perhaps some of those suffering for BDS (Bush Devotion Syndrome) are likewise unable to conceive of being wrong. It's evident in the way they up the rhetoric from Islamist to Islamosfasicism to Islamic Imperialism. If those who oppose our presence in Iraq don't shut up, I expect we'll see the Islamist Imperial Storm Troopers landing in the Death Star any day now. And it will be the fault of those guys opening their mouths against the Bush administration.

Jake said...

I still think that society editors of the Washington Post are the true leakers. They have been covering Wilson-Plane in the society pages since 1998.

Seven Machos said...

I would be surprised if Joe Wilson or Valerie Plame rated a single mention in any "societey pages" of the Washington Post. Most people need to move beyond the basis suburban split-level to get invites to the big parties.

As for my sloganeering friend hdhouse, how would you characterize a movement that wants to retake southern Spain for Islam, has stated that it wants to impose Sharia law in Britain, has taken over a government in Afghanistan, and is on the verge of politically ruling Somalia? Would the United States be described as imperialist if aimed to take over Spain, England, Somalia, and Afghanistan?

David said...

It appears that everytime something gets "blown" it involves a Democratic icon or dream!

hdhouse (I almost said outhouse);
1. Troops were greeted as heroes and still are;
2. The war has paid for itself by keeping attacks off American soil for the time being;
3. The mission was accomplished in overthrowing Saddam, his trial, and focusing the GWOT in the land of the two rivers;
4. I liked his use of the phrase "bring it on" because it is the kind of rhetoric the Islamists understand and were doing already. It beats the limp-wristed Kumbaya/group hug nonsense from the no-plan democrats!

Plame leak was a small think arbitrarily blown up big like a Macy's day balloon and Fascist Islamist is overdone. They are murderous zealots after a lost cause.

As your ilk is so fond of saying; "connect the dots!"

Elizabeth said...

Exactly, Jake. Because the secret was that a woman named Valerie Plame exists.

Elizabeth said...

Seven, I absolutely agree with your description of the Islamist threat. Still, that doesn't explain how we end up in the "land of two rivers," as david so poetically puts it.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- Who has said that anyone should not be critical of the war? No one in this thread has said that.

Lefties have this weird syndrome. They want people to tell them to shut up so they can be martyrs for their own opinions and say, "hey, you big fascist bully, you can't tell me to shut up!"

But who is saying shut up? Debate is good. It's not that you should shut up. It's that your juvenile worldview is wrong and generally silly.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- Reading my comment there, that was a misplaced "you." The "you" in the last paragraph is the left generally, not "you," Elizabeth.

David said...

Elizabeth;


What the cited persons have in common is that they think their opinions should carry added weight because of their military background. The forget that they were the tip of the spear and not the handle that guides the tip held by someone else.

They appeal to the pascifist elements among us who want to avoid war at any cost to the detriment of our safety and continuity as a society.

They are dreaming the dreams of old men who are facing their own mortality. Much like many babyboomers! Theirs is a suicidal policy of appeasement in the face of hostility designed to end Western civilization and replaced by dhimmitude.

The real test will be what the peacemongers among us will say when the inevitable attack on our soil or that of Israel occurs. I surmise that it will be the failure of the republicans for not recognizing the threat and dealing with it in a timely manner. No mention will be made of the obstacles that suicidally were established to tie the hands of Bush in his prosecution of the war.

My favorite example is the handwringing of those complaining about civilian casualties as Israel and the U.S. suffer casualties while engaging in less-than-perfect pin point bombing.

Reminds me of that phony song, WE ARE THE WORLD!" Talk about a drug induced dream! To the Islamists, that many people together, holding hands, and swaying to the music is a target rich environment!

Daryl Herbert said...

Islamic Imperialism?? is that the new rendition of Islamo-fascism?

No, this goes back many years. Before you were born. To when the Muslims started the Crusades and invaded Europe.

Look at how Muslims forcibly convert people and can't stay within their own borders, they're constantly pushing out to grab more territory and attack neighboring areas (in Lebanon, Palestine, Chechnya, etc. etc. etc.). Look at how within countries, Muslims attack minorities (in Indonesia, Egypt, etc. etc. etc.). Look at how in countries in which they are minorities, they carry out terror attacks (America, Thailand, England, Spain, Germany, etc. etc. etc.)

There is a clear policy of expansionism. Why should we not call that "imperialism" and why should we not resist it?

vnjagvet said...

No it wasn't Elizabeth.

Valerie Plame's name was revealed in Joe's Who's Who entry as the former name of his then-current spouse, and had been for some time prior to his op-ed exploits in the NYT.

"Melvin Schuetz from Baylor's Moody Library forwarded Joseph Wilson's bio from the 2003 edition of Who's Who in America [Volume 2 (L-Z)]. He notes:

Wilson's entry carries over about 5 lines to the next column, which is why it cuts off in mid-sentence at the end. The relevant text is "m. Valerie Elise Plame, Apr. 3, 1998," which not only appears in the 2003 edition, but ALL editions from 1999-2005!"

Some secret, Elizabeth.

JorgXMcKie said...

And the goalpost moving never ends. Now, even though the original leak was not KKKarl Rove, or Libby or Cheney it might as well have been. St Colin and his acolyte Armitage would NEVER have done anything so heinous, so just ignore any evidence (like Armitage's own admission) that they did it.

And the 'chickenhawk' meme gets its own goalpost movement. Now not even veterans get to have a say about war policy unless they served in combat, evidently. I got hit in the mouth with an M1 carbine once on the way to drill and got a split lip. Does that qualify for a Purple Heart and combat recognition?

I heard bullets whistle past my head on the firing range once when we were marking targets and another guy didn't check to see if his M1 magazine had emptied. (Not that it's all that hard to tell, since it ejects AND you're suppposed to manually open the bolt and take a look.) We were fighting in Vietnam at the time, so even thought it was 8 or 9000 miles away, I DID hear a bullet. Does that count so I can put my oar in the policy water?

Elizabeth said...

vnjagvet,

The point of a CIA employee being under cover isn't that they don't exist, aren't known by name, but that their work is not known. So if Valerie Plame is listed in the phone book, or Who's Who, or whatever, it doesn't mean she's still not under cover. And if her cover is blown, so is that of other agents working under the cover of the same facade.

Elizabeth said...

Seven, thanks for the pronoun clarification! I got a laugh from that.

Elizabeth said...

david, we'll have to disagree over the credibility one's military service provides for one's opinion. I believe it gives some credible authority to assessing the effectiveness of our actions. Any number of people call on any number of experiences to add weight to their opinions. We all have a right, and a responsibility, to be involved in our nation's policymaking, through our votes, discussions like these, letters to our reps, and so on.

I'm not a pacifist, or as you put it, "peacemonger." Nor are any of the men you list. That's a convenient argument that seeks to change the topic so as to allege that opposing our action in Iraq means wanting to lay down and say "dhimmitude, bring it on!" That's just wrong.

daryl, yep, the Middle Ages is before my time, but I've heard of 'em. Of course we should oppose Islamist violence and expansionism. Opposing our actions in Iraq does not equate to not supporting our actions against Islamist terrorism.

David said...

Elizabeth; I do appreciate your star Wars reference to Islamic Storm Troopers and the Death Star. Carryin you analogy further I believe they are already here and what we have is their deadly version of Star Wars III, Revenge of the Sith!

Some of the characters would include the bar scene in Star Wars I as the U.N., Jaba the Hut would be Teddy Kenndey, Darth Vader would be Osama, Bush would be Luke Skywalker, Rove would be Han Solo, Princess Leia would be Condi, C Threepio would be Kofi Annan, r2d2 would be John Bolton, General Dodonna could be Murtha on a good day...

Fit only for the big screen in technocolor. How will it end??

ChrisO said...

Boy, you talk about the liberals beating the same drum, then repeat all sorts of long-discredited talking points. How consistent. Although I must say the notion that Plame should have immediately gone into hiding, and the fact that she didn't proves she wasn't undercover, is a new one. I'd be interested to know what exactly supports that notion. Should she have gone into the dry cleaner from Man From Uncle and throught the secret door? What a simplistic view. And the whole Who's Who thing is really getting tired. Citing some elaborate trail of exactly how the sleuths on the right uncovered the Who's Who smoking gun ignores the fact that there's no substance to the entire story. A step by step chronology may make you think that it adds credibility to the story, but as is repeated constantly (and never refuted) the fact that Valerie Plame was married to Joe Wilson was never a secret. Their wedding guests, their neighbors, their families all knew it. It's more of this Man From Uncle crap. An undercover operative doesn't have to wear a trenchcoat and skulk in the shadows. Plame was working under the cover of an employee for an energy company, and it has been credibly suggested that she was working on investigating Iran's nuclear capability. People doing that work may be dispensable to you, but they're not to me.

I'm most irritated, however, by Ann's suggestion that the left is somehow responsible for overblowing the whole controversy. Of couse there's been a lot of speculation. That's what happens when the people who know the facts lie about them to investigators. If the administration running this country chooses to lie, it's not the fault of the liberals for not knowing the whole truth.

The fact remains that Libby and Rove discussed Plame's work with reporters. Whether they were or weren't the first is not the crux of the issue. The fact that a different member of the administration may have also been a leaker doesn't make the issue go away. Here's a question I've never seen adquately answered: If Libby and Rove are entrusted with classified information, including some of the most secret information we have, how is it excusable that they reveal this information to reporters, and their only excuse is that they didn't know how classified it was? They knew Plame was a CIA operative, but opted to assume that the information wasn't classified without even checking. The fine points of the law aside, how can you possible defend that complete lack of caution, and how can it be justified that they retain their security clearances?

The right had a lot of fun with Sandy Berger. What he did was stupid and wrong, but he was stealing his own notes, with no indication that he was going to give the information to anyone. How is that more heinous that revealing state secrets, particularly when your motive is political gain?

vnjagvet said...

Elizabeth sez:

"Exactly, Jake. Because the secret was that a woman named Valerie Plame exists."

Of course, when presented with the facts refuting that overstatement, Elizabeth now moves the goalposts in her statement back to me with an argument that someone "blew her cover".

Now we know who that was. It was not Libby, or anyone in the office of the VP.

Oh well.

David said...

Elizabeth, consider your last sentence. That, in a nutshell, is how we won the war militarily in Viet Name but lost it politically. The same scenario is playing out again in the Middle East, centered in Iraq. Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc., are all playing by the Viet Nam playbook of taking enormous casualties on the part of a neverending supply of Islamic cannonfodder secure in the knowledge of the short attention span/failure of will inherent in our society.

As one of many proofs, I remind us all of our difficulty in passing Megans Law to protect our children from rapists, pedophiles, NAMBLA, and the ACLU. If we can't even agree on the rights of children how can we rise up against a force infinitly greater like Islam as a religion of war!

JorgXMcKie said...

I don't know about 'blown cover' but it's now incredibly obvious that no crime was committed under the Act being charged.

I do know that on the Left only some 'leaks' are worth talking about even if all are against the law. It would be nice to return to the idea of being "a nation of laws, not of men" but then that would require charging *all* who break the law, and that wouldn't advance the agenda of the Left. After all, some people have really, really good reasons for breaking the law. It's just happenstance that they all help advance the Left and restrain the Right.

Selective enforcement of 'the Law' it the very heart of tyranny.

paulfrommpls said...

1. The purpose of naming Plame, if in fact Rove and or Libby did it, was not to "punish" Wilson by endangering his wife's life or career. There is a far more obvious explanation (as has been pointed out ad nauseum and people like Corn just choose to ignore, for some reason): the purpose was simply to throw some water on what they correctly saw as a dishonest attempt to discredit them, by pointing out they believed his CIA wife - who had a similar anti-war agenda - had some role in sending him on the mission.

I've never been clear on whether they even knew she was undercover; and even if they did, I've never been at all clear that they meant for her name to come out publicly, rather than simply intending it as deep background info for the journalists(s) they were talking to.

From what I understand and have read, this kind of low-level "secret" passes to journalists on background in intellgence-related stories not infrequently. If it didn't, it would be very difficult for serious intelligence-related journalism to exist.

2. I seriously have never heard or read a specific story of what damage this outing supposedly did. I've seen vague references to endangering her contacts overseas and so on, but I've seen nothing specific - or even a definite "yes but I can't tell you how" - to back that up. Maybe it's out there somewhere.

vnjagvet said...

Elizabeth:

Some more information from the Chicago Tribune, HT RBMN in a comment on Captain's Corner:

Plame's identity, if truly a secret, was thinly veiled
By John Crewdson, Chicago Tribune senior correspondent
Published March 11, 2006
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-060311plame-story,1,2504459.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

excerpts:

When the Tribune searched for Plame on an Internet service that sells public information about private individuals to its subscribers, it got a report of more than 7,600 words. Included was the fact that in the early 1990s her address was "AMERICAN EMBASSY ATHENS ST, APO NEW YORK NY 09255." A former senior American diplomat in Athens, who remembers Plame as "pleasant, very well-read, bright," said he had been aware that Plame, who was posing as a junior consular officer, really worked for the CIA. According to CIA veterans, U.S. intelligence officers working in American embassies under "diplomatic cover" are almost invariably known to friendly and opposition intelligence services alike. "If you were in an embassy," said a former CIA officer who posed as a U.S. diplomat in several countries, "you could count 100 percent on the Soviets knowing." Plame's true function likely would have been known to friendly intelligence agencies as well. The former senior diplomat recalled, for example, that she served as one of the "control officers" coordinating the visit of President George H.W. Bush to Greece and Turkey in July 1991. After the completion of her Athens tour, the CIA reportedly sent Plame to study in Europe. According to her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame was living in Brussels when the couple first met in 1997.

[...]

Genuine NOCs, a CIA veteran said, "never use an official address. If she had [a diplomatic] address, her whole cover's completely phony. I used to run NOCs. I was in an embassy. I'd go out and meet them, clandestine meetings. I'd pay them cash to run assets or take trips. I'd give them a big bundle of cash. But they could never use an embassy address, ever." Another CIA veteran with 20 years of service agreed that "the key is the [embassy] address. That is completely unacceptable for an NOC. She wasn't an NOC, period." After Plame was transferred back to CIA headquarters in the mid-1990s, she continued to pass herself off as a private energy consultant. But the first CIA veteran noted: "You never let a true NOC go into an official facility. You don't drive into headquarters with your car, ever." A senior U.S. intelligence official, who like the others quoted in this article spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that Plame "may not be alone in that category, so I don't want to suggest she was the only one. But it would be a fair assumption that a true-blue NOC is not someone who has a headquarters job at any point or an embassy job at any point."

johnstodderinexile said...

ChrisO, I never said anything remotely like "the notion that Plame should have immediately gone into hiding, and the fact that she didn't proves she wasn't undercover..." I just said it tended to demonstrate that blowing her cover fell far short of endangering the country, or endangering her. You guys are so selective about which secrets it's okay to expose! Plame's secret identity was "not dispensible" to you, but the mechanisms by which the government is monitoring the plans, communications and financing of terrorist acts are? I know you so badly want Rove indicted; do you feel the same passion about seeing the leakers of the NSA and banking secrets indicted?

I'm just wondering if you even recognize how this inconsistency might undermine your credibility with those you are trying to persuade? And that was my main point. A long, long time ago in the life of this scandal, most people in the middle decided that Plamegate was sort of like Grassyknollgate -- an obsession of conspiracy nuts and die-hard partisans, not a serious issue worthy of discussion given the times in which we live. If you want to bring the Democratic party back into power, you just need to drop it. It's over.

Elizabeth said...

Some here have argued that Plame was not undercover because it was known that she was married to Wilson. That's ridiculous. Arguments that she was not undercover because she openly worked at the Ambassador's residence etc. as listed in another post above are a different matter, and more persuasive.

David, I'm looking forward to the scene where Osama Vadar intoned "I am your father" to Bush Skywalker!

vnjagvet said...

Let's just say, Elizabeth, that the Plame matter is becoming less and less important to the 2006 elections by the day. Is that fair?

Elizabeth said...

vnjagvet, absolutely, it won't be a big factor in the 2006 elections.

vnjagvet said...

And, Elizabeth, I also suggest that the Wilsons civil lawsuit against Libby and Cheney has little chance of success, assuming the Armitage information is true.

Whatcha think?

Elizabeth said...

No idea on lawsuits, so I won't speculate.

knoxgirl said...

Ann, to the people you're addressing, there's no difference between conspiracy theories/wishful thinking and facts anymore, if there ever were.

They start from the conclusion that the Bush administration is bad and work backwards.... therefore, when the "evidence" disintegrates, they simply hatch some new conspiracy theory, like the prosecutor being "thwarted" in his attempts to get to the truth.

ChrisO said...

There seems to be a sense that Armitage's involvement takes the onus off of the administration. Armitage was a part of the administration. The fact that he wasn't Rove hardly makes it all go away. And if you look into the story, Armitage learned about Plame's identity because the administration had a report prepared on her, and distributed it to a number of people. If they hadn't been so focused on discrediting Plame, Armitage would have never heard of Plame.

And johnstodderinexile, you said "I know you so badly want Rove indicted"

Please point out where I said that. I want Rove indicted if he broke the law, and anything that damages him politically is welcome, both for partisan political reasons and because I believe he has had a significant impact on the coarsening of American political discourse and the polarization in this country. But as I made clear in my post, Rove's actions have to be judged on more than whether he broke the law. Is that now the only standard of conduct you expect from the most senior White House employees?

As for the nation losing interest in the subject, of course they have. I think you'll generally find that the long delay between indictment and trial tends to remove a subject from the public consciousness. I think you'll find that Libby's trial and, more importantly, the Wilson's civil suit, will reawaken interewst.

"the purpose was simply to throw some water on what they correctly saw as a dishonest attempt to discredit them, by pointing out they believed his CIA wife - who had a similar anti-war agenda - had some role in sending him on the mission."

Exactly. It was for purely political purposes. I note that there is nothing in the statement above that indicates the security of the nation was at stake. No, it was just the administration's desire to silence a critic. And I would strongly dispute that they "correctly saw... a dishonest attempt to discredit them"

It has never been established that there was a dishonest attempt to discredit the administration. This argument seems to rely on the dubious assumption that only dyed in the wool Republicans should be sent on missions, because no Democrat could be trusted to honestly do the job. Is that really how you think intelligence should operate?

As for paulfrommpls statement that "I seriously have never heard or read a specific story of what damage this outing supposedly did. I've seen vague references to endangering her contacts overseas and so on, but I've seen nothing specific" try this, from Raw Story:

"The unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson by White House officials in 2003 caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad, RAW STORY has learned.

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program."

And by the way, here's a rebuttal to the Tribune story:

http://noquarter.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/03/valeries_thinly.html

And Sippican, as much as I take offense at your inference that the only people who can support Plame must be retarded, I would point out that Ann intiated this thread, which provided a forum for a lot of tired, discredited arguments from to be trotted out by administration defenders. Are you suggesting that those on the left are required to come up with novel new arguments when the same tired stuff is trotted out by the right? You guys keep posting the misinformation, and we'll keep correcting it.

jas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sloanasaurus said...

Regarding Rove from above:

".....because I believe he has had a significant impact on the coarsening of American political discourse and the polarization in this country..."

This is false. The major source of the polarization of politics in this country is the investment in Bush hatred by liberals. It started with the Recount in 2000 and has never subsided.

The Plame case is just a reflection of this liberal hatred. Democrats have to deny with a straight face the fact that Joe Wilson actually told the Senate committee something different regarding the Niger Uranium than the article wrote for the NY Times. Democrats deny this because their investment in Bush hatred is so deep, that they cannot get out of it. It's like holding a stock that keeps going down.

It is possible that democrats can use Bush hatred to obtain victory this November. However, once Bush is gone, Democrats will be there with their pants down. They offer nothing in terms of improving this country. All they can do is issue pain on the middle class through tax increases, more regulations, and defeat in the middle east.

paulfrommpls said...

chriso, there is nothing wrong or unprecedented about a White House being involved in this kind of poltics, or to put it as you choose to to make it slimy, being somewhat 'fixated' on a dishonest critic. It's been going on since the beginning of the republic.

"It has never been established that there was a dishonest attempt to discredit the administration."

Yes it has; it's just that you will never be convinced.

"This argument seems to rely on the dubious assumption that only dyed in the wool Republicans should be sent on missions because no Democrat could be trusted to honestly do the job."

No it doen't; the fact that you say that means you've never availed yourself of serious analysis that doesn't agree with you.

As for the dire warnings of damage you refer to, that's exactly the kind of thing I have seen over and over from unnamed intelligent officals. It's sad but true that many unnamed intelligence officials want to do damage to the Bush admin just as much as Wilson did; there is absolutely nothing there to hang one's hat on.

Give me someone public, someone with a hint of a specific.

And of course, it remains true that even if damage was done, there is no evidence that the administration intended that to happen or didn't care somehow. That's simply an assumption. All they were trying to do, at most, was warn a reporter or two away from a story. For some reason Novak decided on his own to publish this info after perceiving he wasn't being warned not to.

knoxgirl said...

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson... was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Wait, I thought you opposed this sort of thing as illegal under FISA? Oops! sorry, I'm confusing your position on national security here with that on other posts...

Elizabeth said...

knoxgirl, I certainly support tracking weapons sales and transfers, and there's no contradiction in supporting intelligence operations for national security, while asking that our government follow our laws in doing so. I also respect the men and women in our military, our CIA and other national security agencies, and believe their safety is important.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Sloan, the polarization and crassness of our politics goes back much further than 2000. Rush Limbaugh's broadcasts through the early 90s is one source. Let's go all the way back to Lee Atwater. How can you overlook the anti-Clinton crassness, with is murder accusations and endless salaciousness? You have to be blindly partisan to argue that all was above board and polite until the liberals decided to just irrationally hate Bush!

John(classic) said...

"But officials at the White House also told reporters about Wilson's wife in an effort to discredit Wilson for his public attacks on Bush's handling of Iraq intelligence."

What marvelous sentence structure!



I suppose if you have repeatedly espoused that the purpose of exposing Plame was to "punish" Wilson, it is hard to shift gears to discrediting his bona fides to discredit his attack. The gears grind, the car bucks, and we come out with "discredit..for". The concept of punishment lives!

What a versatile language we have.

John(classic) said...

"But officials at the White House also told reporters about Wilson's wife in an effort to discredit Wilson for his public attacks on Bush's handling of Iraq intelligence."

What marvelous sentence structure!



I suppose if you have repeatedly espoused that the purpose of exposing Plame was to "punish" Wilson, it is hard to shift gears to discrediting his bona fides to discredit his attack. The gears grind, the car bucks, and we come out with "discredit..for". The concept of punishment lives!

What a versatile language we have.

johnstodderinexile said...

ChrisO, I apologize if it is in fact the case that you, of all of the hundreds of left-wing bloggers, from Huffington, to Kos, to Atrios, to TalkLeft, to etc. etc., stood apart from the crowd, and did not conclude or proclaim at the first breath of the Plame issue that Karl Rove should not be "frog-marched out of the White House," under federal indictment for espionage. In fact, I applaud your courage for showing such independence of thought and judgment. You deserve all the accolades of a grateful nation, for refusing to be a sheep like the rest of that wing of the blogosphere. There is hope, after all, that the left can return to relevancy and the Democratic party can resume its role as one of two credible choices for American voters. Thank you.

Seven Machos said...

Chris O.: Using Raw Story to back up your story does not bolster it. It makes you look rather silly.

knoxgirl said...

E, that was directed at ChrisO, that's where the quote came from...

David said...

Elizabeth;

Cup your ear;
HEAVY BREATHING
Is what you hear!

Bush, my son,
The sins of the father
are bestowed on the son!

Elizabeth said...

David, you have to do a video mashup. It would be a hoot.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth said...

knoxgirl, I realize you were addresing ChrisO. You made a larger point that I felt was worth responding to.

Chum said...

'Armitage himself was aggressively investigated by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, but was never charged. Fitzgerald found no evidence that Armitage knew of Plame's covert CIA status when he talked to Novak and Woodward.'

So Armitage lied or was he not asked the exact question to elicit the truth? Armitage acknowledged to the FBI, Powell, Taft, he was the one who told Novack. What does it mean that these people withheld the information while an enquiry was taking place to find out who the leaker was? Surely, they were obliged if not professionally or legally, but ethically to inform the special prosecutor. I'm not getting this.

hdhouse said...

talk about consistency. you can find irritating drival from the right on just about any blog now can't you. again we say "points well missed".

Fascism
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.

Least some of you and our beloved Commander in Chief continue to use the term linked with Islam - last I heard it was a religion. hmmmm.

Those "no big deal" types of course forget that it was the CIA who made the referral to the Justic Department because even they were under the belief that a law was violated.

And my favorite is Knoxgirl..God love her.... "They start from the conclusion that the Bush administration is bad and work backwards.... therefore, when the "evidence" disintegrates, they simply hatch some new conspiracy theory, like the prosecutor being "thwarted" in his attempts to get to the truth."

Oh dear Knoxgirl, what for art obstruction if by not another name so fair.

www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/documents/libby_pr_28102005.pdf

Paul Zrimsek said...

Oh, Sloan, the polarization and crassness of our politics goes back much further than 2000. Rush Limbaugh's broadcasts through the early 90s is one source. Let's go all the way back to Lee Atwater.

Ahhhh, youth.

Simon said...

hdhouse -
Would the state detailed in Orwell's 1984 constitute a fascist entity, or an oligarchy? It meets all the critera you list ("centralization of authority ... stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism"), apart from the leadership question, but then, so does radical Islam.

Which leaves the leadership question. The book strongly intimates that there really is no Big Brother, but rather, he is a character through which the ruling party oligarchy exercise control. The desires of the party are projected onto Big Brother, the formal "dictator". Can Big Brother be called a dictator if he only exists as a vehicle for the desires of the party, and if so, how is that different to an ideology which projects the ambitions and opinions of its leaders onto another faceless, unseen entity towards whom absolute loyalty is required?

knoxgirl said...

hd,

duh, that's in Ann's post. And so far Libby's obstruction has led Fitzgerald exactly nowhere... my point is, "what else don't we know!" has taken on a life of its own. Armitage, perfect example. Investigated aggressively, and it all comes to nada. So then they just move on to someone else.

ChrisO said...

Sloanasaurus, you said "This is false. The major source of the polarization of politics in this country is the investment in Bush hatred by liberals. It started with the Recount in 2000 and has never subsided."

I beg to differ. Rove's campaigns have long been known to be as dirty as they come. Among other things, there's a common thread of whispering campaigns regarding an opponent's personal life. Do you think it's a coincidence that rumors circulated that Ann Richards was a lesbian, Joh McCain had fathered a black child and an Alabama Supreme Court justice was a pedophile, all in campaigns where Rove was running the opposition? Or the movement to prevent Catholic Kerry voters from receiving communion? His use of wedge issues is also well known, which puts the lie to Bush's claim to be a uniter. Claiming that our country will be attacked by terrorists if Democratic candidates win is hardly a unity strategy.

"Democrats have to deny with a straight face the fact that Joe Wilson actually told the Senate committee something different regarding the Niger Uranium than the article wrote for the NY Times."

Kind of a hard charge to respond to without specifics. Simply repeating talking points doesn't cut it. I try to back up my statements with sources, whether you agree with them or not.

And paulfrommpls, you do the same thing. I said "It has never been established that there was a dishonest attempt to discredit the administration." Your response? "Yes it has." Very convincing.

The same when I said "This argument seems to rely on the dubious assumption that only dyed in the wool Republicans should be sent on missions because no Democrat could be trusted to honestly do the job."

You reply: "No it doen't; the fact that you say that means you've never availed yourself of serious analysis that doesn't agree with you." A very common theme in Wilson criticisms is to point out that he was a Kerry supporter, and to ask why a "dyed in the wool" Democrat would be sent on such a mission. Since so many Republicans seem to think that Wilson's support of Kerry disqualified him for the assignment, I can only repeat that it is apparently their thinking that only Republicans should be sent on assignments of this nature. There's my "serious analysis." Where's yours?

And finally, your insistence that the only accounts about the damage done by her outing must come from named sources is very convenient, since I would be willing to wager that the vast majority of inside intelligence stories we read come from unnamed sources. That's the nature of intelligence. Can you be skeptical of such stories? Of course. But I was responding to your statement that "I seriously have never heard or read a specific story of what damage this outing supposedly did. I've seen vague references to endangering her contacts overseas and so on, but I've seen nothing specific." The story I linked to was pretty specific. You can choose to disbelieve it, but I trust you will no longer say you have never heard or read such a story.

And johnstodderinexile, you said "If Plamegate were the kind of story its promoters wanted us to believe it was, we would have expected Plame to go into hiding immediately after the story appeared." Then you said "I never said anything remotely like "the notion that Plame should have immediately gone into hiding.." If there's a distinction there I'm afraid it eludes me. As for your hope that the Democratic party may once again be returned to relevance, I think you might see some glimmering of hope for the Democrats when millions of American voters provide them with control of the House, and perhaps the Senate. That should be a significant step in the return of the Dems to something that can be construed as relevance. You might want to look up the definition of hubris, because Republicans have it in spades.

And knoxgirl, your contributions are almost too frivolous to mention. First of all, your statement that the left will "simply hatch some new conspiracy theory, like the prosecutor being "thwarted" in his attempts to get to the truth," is ridiculous. I think it's a testament to the power of the left that not only did we "hatch the theory" that the prosecution was thwarted in its attempt to get to the truth, we actually got Fitzgerald to go along with us and indict Libby for exactly that reason. Boy, we sure fooled him.

And the whole FISA thing is ridiculous sloganeering. Besides the fact that you attribute opinions to me that I am certain have nothing to do with anything you have ever read, the whole notion that opposition to the NSA spying means opposition to any kind of intelligence gathering or surveillance anywhere is not even worthy of real discourse. Please come back when you have something of value to add.

And as for seven machos, instead of falling back on the reliable Republican standby of discrediting the source whenevr a story appears that you don't like, perhaps you can tell me why the Raw Story article is wrong, or why Raw Story should be taken less seriously than other news outlets.

hdhouse said...

oh gosh i love this thread...and simple simon:

"Simon said...
hdhouse -
Would the state detailed in Orwell's 1984 constitute a fascist entity, or an oligarchy? It meets all the critera you list ("centralization of authority ... stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism")"

centralization - socioeconomic controls - suppresion of opposition..terror...censorship...belligerent nationalism....racism...

OHMYGOD...THIS IS PRESIDENT BUSH.

I'M PLEASED YOU AGREE.

johnstodderinexile said...

ChrisO,

The difference between what I said and how you translated it comes from my use of the little word "if."

The point is, the Plame narrative (to use a favorite word of the left these days), is undermined continually by Plame and Wilson's own actions. If your side cries "traitor" that implies it was a major security breach. But nothing Plame or Wilson has done since this allegedly traitorous act supports the charge.

During the Cold War, spies were blown frequently -- by double agents, occasionally even by the media. If they had time, they went into hiding. If they didn't they were killed. And yet, there was ambivalence on the left -- was this really treason?

But Plame's life, from everything I can tell, has improved since she became a celebrity. She does not expect to be harmed for the deception of her cover. It was, pretty plainly, not a big deal.

Look, up to a point, I buy into the Plame story. It was wrong to expose her. But you guys have inflated it to a point where no reasonable, non-partisan person can come to any other conclusion than: You're exploiting it. Just like Clinton's foes exploited Monica. No different. No better, no worse. You wanted it to bring down parts of the Bush Administration, maybe the whole thing, and now you look like you overreached. So, like I said, move on.

Simon said...

HDhouse,
That would be a clever point, were it not that the Bush administration fails all but one of your own criteria. I certainly and readily share your dismay at the "centralization of authority" by the present administration (while I confess to being wholly bemused as to why liberals, of all people, would suddenly jump aboard the Federalism bandwagon, you're more than welcome), and it cannot be said in any meaningful sense that the present administration has sought to impose "stringent socioeconomic controls" (indeed, a more common criticism of the Bush administration by liberals has been precisely its attempts to loosen socioeconomic controls - stripping back environmental regulations, refusing to raise the minimum wage, cutting taxes, etc.). While it is certainly true that this administration has adopted a policy of aggressive and assertive that might deserve the term "belligerent nationalism," it cannot be asserted with any credibility that this policy is racist, and the contention that the administrion has
"suppress[ed] ... the opposition through terror and censorship" simply cannot be taken seriously (it never ceases to amaze me that liberals make this argument; perhaps they cling to it so strongly because of its egotistic, self-aggrandizing nature: if they believe dissent is penalized, perhaps it makes them feel like they are the hardy and heroic band of subversives and outlaws who have the courage to speak out against "the machine").

I notice you didn't actually answer my question, which was whether a fascist state requires an actual, breathing, flesh-and-blood individual at its head, or whether the mere invocation of such a person will do: actions undertaken in the name of an individual will suffice. Hence, it seems to me that the Soviet Union was as much a fascist state under the Troika as it was under Stalin, regardless of whether the state was personified or not. You can make amusing puns on my name if you like, or - assuming you've done with grade school - you can actually engage with the subjet at hand. Personally, I think you'd be taken much more seriously if you take the latter road.

Simon said...

Chris,
I actually agree with you as regards Rove's penchant for dirty tricks, but I do have to mention a side issue - do you really regard the case for refusing communion to Catholic politicians who take public stands contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church as being of a kin with the afore-mentioned dirty tricks? I can't agree with you on that point. Catholic politicians are free to break with the church and risk the consequences; they can't cry foul when someone points out the discrepancy and suggests the church react accordingly. The Catholic Church is not in the habit of giving protestants communion, and given the loose definition of the term protestant, as good a definition as any is that a protestant is a Christian who does not accept the teachings of the Catholic Orthodox church. John Kerry is as free as any other Catholic to wash his hands of the dogma of the Catholic church if it no longer accords with his conscience (a freedom not accorded to Muslims, incidentally, for whom apostasy and heresy carries a death sentence rather than mere denial of communion), but he cannot then complain when the Church washes its hands of him.

Seven Machos said...

Hdhouse --

centralization. Everyone, except apparently you, knows that the political left favors centralization far more than conservatives do in virtually every policy area imaginable.

suppresion of opposition. How is it that you are able to write these posts? Are you risking possible arrest? The fact is: in a real fascist state, there is real suppression of opposition, which means you die or go to jail if you oppose. Compare, for example, Cuba and Iran.

I enjoy debating with the many intellgent left-leaning people here. I enjoy reexamining my own opinions and the challenge of writing something that might make someone else similarly reexamine.

But then there's people like hdhouse. Your posts are not remotely intelligent. You are a shrill, uninformed joke.

hdhouse said...

ahhh seven nachos...or whatever.

god you do crack me up.

facts don't lie. liars lie about facts. we welcome your conversion to the big tent party. room for a repentant sinner i always say.

and simon, i'll just ignore your half empty glass of swill. make some sense or perhaps find another outlet. i hear faux news has a super blog.

Simon said...

HDhouse-
Another refusal to engage with the debate. I'll take that as a concession of the point.

Seven Machos said...

hd house -- What are you talking about? Literally: what are you saying? Put down the crack pipe, dude. Your thoughts are incoherent.

Nobody likes a rambling idiot.

Neonknight said...

What a fun comment section. I read every post.