September 2, 2006

Did Patrick Fitzgerald act improperly?

The NYT asks, in light of what we've just found out: that he knew the identity of the leaker all along.
Now, the question of whether Mr. Fitzgerald properly exercised his prosecutorial discretion in continuing to pursue possible wrongdoing in the case has become the subject of rich debate on editorial pages and in legal and political circles....

Mr. Fitzgerald’s decision to prolong the inquiry once he took over as special prosecutor in December 2003 had significant political and legal consequences. The inquiry seriously embarrassed and distracted the Bush White House for nearly two years and resulted in five felony charges against Mr. Libby, even as Mr. Fitzgerald decided not to charge Mr. Armitage or anyone else with crimes related to the leak itself.

Moreover, Mr. Fitzgerald’s effort to find out who besides Mr. Armitage had spoken to reporters provoked a fierce battle over whether reporters could withhold the identities of their sources from prosecutors and resulted in one reporter, Judith Miller, then of The New York Times, spending 85 days in jail before agreeing to testify to a grand jury.

Since this week’s disclosures about Mr. Armitage’s role, Bush administration officials have argued that because the original leak came from a State Department official, it was clear there had been no concerted White House effort to disclose Ms. Wilson’s identity.
Why did Fitzgerald do it? "The inquiry seriously embarrassed and distracted the Bush White House...." That looks rather glaring.
Mr. Fitzgerald, who has spoken infrequently in public, came close to providing a defense for his actions at a news conference in October 2005, when Mr. Libby was indicted. Mr. Fitzgerald said that apart from the issue of whether any crime had been committed, the justice system depended on the ability of prosecutors to obtain truthful information from witnesses during any investigation.
Do you want to unleash the prosecutors of the world to follow that theory, that they ought to go ahead and investigate what they know is not a crime, because by exercising your prosecutorial powers you might cause someone to commit a crime? But Fitzgerald did not defend that theory. He only tried to justify indicting someone for perjury when he had no one to indict for the crime he was investigating. These are two different things!

155 comments:

The Tiger said...

Isn't that how Martha was nabbed (though she may have committed the crime itself)?

Or, to put it closer to home for the Republicans among us (and I am one, these days), isn't that what the Clinton impeachment was over?

tjl said...

"Do you want to unleash the prosecutors of the world to follow that theory, that they ought to go ahead and investigate what they know is not a crime, because by exercising your prosecutorial powers you might cause someone to commit a crime?"

Fitzmas devotees will never admit it, but isn't this a close parallel to Ken Starr's pursuit of Bill Clinton? In both cases the true purpose of the investigation seems to have been to embarrass and distract the White House and make hay for the opposition party.

Ultimately, the left's current excesses can be traced back to the similar excesses of the impeach-Clinton crowd. Too bad for the country that the political waters are so poisoned just when the world situation appears so grim. There's plenty of blame to go around for the fact that at present we don't seem to have a responsible opposition party when we so urgently need one.

Gahrie said...

Or, to put it closer to home for the Republicans among us (and I am one, these days), isn't that what the Clinton impeachment was over?

No with Pres. Clinton there was an underlying crime: sexual harassment. That was why he settled with Paula Jones out of court. (What he did with Monica Lewinsky was de jure sexual harassment also) The pity of it is that he was never forced to confront his rape of Juanita Broddrick.

The Drill SGT said...

As I noted in yesterdeay's postings on this topic, neither the WaPo then nor the NYT's now can bring itself to discuss the abysmal failures of the press in this case. I'd also like to note that the NYT can't even bear to add the facts that:

a. Wilson's wife got him the job
b. Wilson was lying in his Op-Ed.

WaPo, was much more honest yesterday about Wilson being the ultimate cause of the misery. The NYT's wants it to be Fitzgerald and by implication th adminstration who were to blame.

Here is what they say on these topics:

Some administration critics asserted that her identity had been disclosed in the Novak column as part of a campaign to undermine her husband. Mr. Wilson was sent by the C.I.A. in 2002 to Africa to investigate whether the Iraqi government had obtained uranium ore for its nuclear weapons program.

On July 6, 2003, a week before the Novak column, Mr. Wilson wrote a commentary in The New York Times saying his investigation in Africa had led him to believe that it was highly doubtful that any uranium deal had ever taken place and that the Bush administration had twisted intelligence to justify the Iraq war.

The Drill SGT said...

On Ann's basic point. Washington needs to relearn those basic rules of Grand Juries:

1. It's never the crime that gets you, it's the coverup

2. Think you're smarter than the prosecutor? Talk long enough in front of a GJ and you'll end up charged with perjury.

3. Use the Reagan defense, not the Clinton one. "I don't remember" is an air tight defense. Sparring with the lawyer on what the definition of "is" is, will just see you indicted.

Pogo said...

I remember in the far-distant past reading how Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had such a sterling reputation. But now this.

Fitx knew no one else but Armitage was 'guilty' for this non-issue, and proceeded anyway.

One is forced to conclude:
1. He was merely a shill for the Democrats, engaging in a legal action for political purposes, to "seriously embarrass and distract the Bush White House".
2. He's a complete idiot, notwithstanding his prior cases speaking otherwise.

I pick choice one.

So when can we put Fitz in front of a Grand Jury? To whom is he reponsible?
Let me guess: no one. Absolute power to prosecute without any responibility to execute his position fairly.
Result? Corruption.

Will any chips fall? No.
Will we see this used again and again as the politcal weapon of choice? Yes, when the Democrats take the House and, during a war, gin up impeachment articles against Bush.

I still have faint hope that sufficient Americans see that many Democrats are either useful idiots leading us to the abyss, or outright traitors, trying to make us lose.

Freder Frederson said...

No with Pres. Clinton there was an underlying crime: sexual harassment.

I had forgotten that accusations of sexual harrassment by the president were the initial focus of the Starr investigation. I thought it was about crooked land deals. Thanks for refreshing my memory.

a. Wilson's wife got him the job
b. Wilson was lying in his Op-Ed.


a. is overstating the facts. As to b., Wilson's account is much closer to the truth than the President's. Just because the British, to this day, refuse to back down from their story, doesn't make it true. All the supporting documentation are rather crude forgeries, maybe even created by Italian intelligence.

Freder Frederson said...

Fitx knew no one else but Armitage was 'guilty' for this non-issue, and proceeded anyway.

Whether or not Armitage was the initial source, it was confirmed by other people in the Administration, who knew or should have known that her position was classified (whether or not she was a "covert" agent).

Remember, it was the CIA who requested the initial investigation, because revealing her identity had comprimised her work (which apparently involved tracking illegal sales of WMDs components).

Pogo said...

Freder, you're repeating errors, proven false long ago, so shamefully false you should be embarrasssed to type the words. But I suspect you feel proud, hoping the lie repeated becomes common wisdom, even if entirely false. For shame.

And it's not worth providing you links for 'proof', because you are impervious to factual content. It's not ignorance, it's flat out lying. More, you are like Fitz; truth is beside the point.

Political power uber alles.

The Tiger said...

the drill sgt --

LOL. Yes, the Reagan defence works wonders. (And people always thought he was the dummy and Clinton the genius...)

One of the Five said...

One is forced to conclude:
1. He was merely a shill for the Democrats, engaging in a legal action for political purposes, to "seriously embarrass and distract the Bush White House".
2. He's a complete idiot, notwithstanding his prior cases speaking otherwise.

I pick choice one.


If my memory serves me correctly, Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to his current position as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois by a reublican administration at the request/nomination of a republican senator (Peter Fitzgerald, no relation) and has been doing a bang up job of indicting democratic city workers for frauds.

Why would HE be a shill for the Dems?

The Drill SGT said...

The Tiger said...
And people always thought he was the dummy and Clinton the genius...)


Clinton: see rule 2, he thought he was smarter than the opposition.

Reagan was smart enough not to make the mistake of thinking he was smarter. He did however think he had more common sense.

Pogo said...

Re: "Why would HE be a shill for the Dems?"

1. In Illinois, even the Republicans are for all purposes simply Democrats.

2. Or you pick choice two: Fitz is an idiot, who prosecuted when there was no crime, and he knew 'whodunnit'.

3. Or we can wait until Libby's lawyers get Fitz on the stand in his trial and ask him what he knew, when he knew it, and who he was shilling for.

4. I grant it's possible Fitz is a lone nut, Don Quixote tilting at windmills. His past says otherwise. You ask the key question of course.

tjl said...

Pogo,

Don't get too worked up about Freder's errors and non-sequiturs. His apparent "nonsensical leftist rants" were brilliantly decoded by Palladian on a prior thread. As deconstructed, Freder is actually making a brilliant argument for pink chiffon evening wear.

Freder Frederson said...

Freder, you're repeating errors, proven false long ago, so shamefully false you should be embarrasssed to type the words.

Huh? The fact remains that the report that the British claims are based on (eventhough they cling to their claims) are clearly forgeries. Also, the later discovered visit to Niger by Iraqi officials that some now claim "prove" that Bush (which apparently the administration was unaware of when they made their false claims) was right all along does nothing of the kind. As for my second contention that the CIA initially asked for the invistigation of who released Plame's name, are you really disputing that?

Freder Frederson said...

His apparent "nonsensical leftist rants" were brilliantly decoded by Palladian on a prior thread.

Simply calling me names and a liar is hardly "brilliant decoding".

David said...

The two undropped shoes (and quite a matched set they are) in the Times article are:

1. A primary reason an independent prosecutor was appointed and the investigation continued past the point at which it was clear no crime had been committed was the insistence of the MSM, including a rabid New York Times, that a terrible crime had been committed that must be thoroughly investigated; and

2. One possible motive Fitzgerald might have had to continue the investigation past it's natural ending point was his hope of "getting" the Times' Judith Miller, who had annoyed him by leaking details of a different investigation to the target of that investigation.

JohnF said...

I hope this thread does not degenerate into a "discussion" of Clinton and Wilson. In the hope of focusing things a smidge, here is the text of the letter delegating to Fitzgerald his investigatory powers:

"By the authority vested in the Attorney General by law, including 28 U. S .C. §§ 509, 510, and 515, and in my capacity as Acting Attorney General pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 508, I hereby delegate to you all the authority of the Attorney General with respect to the Department's investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity, and I direct you to exercise that authority as Special Counsel independent of the supervision or control of any officer of the Department."

It was signed by James Comey, acting attorney general, and is a pdf that can be found at the Fitzgerald website, http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/index.html

The questions are whether (1) after Fitzgerald knew that Armitrage was the initial leaker, he was authorized to continue his investigation into other leakers under the charge he was given (I think plainly yes), and (2) was it prudent or useful to do so.

Question 2 is tough because (a) other leakers than Armitrage may have known of Plame's classified status (if she had that), or some other fact relevant to criminal guilt, and thus might have been guilty of a crime even if Armitrage wasn't, and (b) Fitzgerald obviously thought some witnesses had lied, and that warranted following up for a perjury/obstruction charge.

Now, I recognize that this sort of zeal could result in prosecutors being appointed to investigate if high government officails lied in their civil-case depostions and suborned perjury (OK, I said we shouldn't get into that...), but, on balance, it does seem to me that Fitzgerald was justified in going on, for both the reasons I mentioned.

Pogo said...

Re: "Huh? The fact remains that..."

It's like debating the basement schizoids who relentlessly harbor the delusion that the Apollo moonshot was faked. They ignore the laser ranging retroreflector on the Moon, and talk about the 'prop numbers on fake moon rocks'.

Freder, face it, the jig is up. Your people lied to you, repeatedly, and shamelessly so.

Wilson lied.
Fitz lied.
The NYT and WaPo lied.
And they knew they were lying all along. They guessed -correctly, it turns out- folks like you were so willignly gullible as to swallow such mendacity without question.
You. Were. Used.

Even WaPo has given up the ghost on this one. So should you. 'Move on' and all that.

sparky said...

“Do you want to unleash the prosecutors of the world to follow that theory, that they ought to go ahead and investigate what they know is not a crime, because by exercising your prosecutorial powers you might cause someone to commit a crime? But Fitzgerald did not defended that theory. He only tried to justify indicting someone for purjury when he had no one to indict for the crime he was investigating. These are two different things!”

Well, I can’t say as I understand the first sentence unless it’s a rhetorical question with what appears to be a flaming strawman at the end of it. We can argue about whether we should have special prosecutors at all, or what their powers should be. But appointing a special prosecutor with no power to punish perjury would simply be another silly sideshow. And we have quite enough of those already.

At the time, Fitzgerald knew that Rove and Libby had also been talking to the press. They both testified before the grand jury as part of that investigation. Libby trapped himself in a lie, at least sufficiently to garner an indictment. Rove testified before the grand jury at least four times. I would infer from this fact that Fitzgerald gave Rove the chance to fix his story to avoid being indicted as Libby was. Hardly the act of a partisan, or an overzealous prosecutor.

Now, prosecuting someone for a lie is not the same thing as prosecuting them for the alleged act that gave rise to the investigation. But what does that prove? It was still Libby’s choice to say what he did. Why would a prosecutor let that pass? Maybe the best explanation is Fitzgerald’s, speaking at the press conference announcing Libby’s indictment:
QUESTION: Mr. Fitzgerald, the Republicans previewed some talking points in anticipation of your indictment and they said that if you didn't indict on the underlying crimes and you indicted on things exactly like you did indict -- false statements, perjury, obstruction -- these were, quote/unquote, "technicalities," and that it really was over reaching and excessive.

And since, when and if they make those claims, now that you have indicted, you won't respond, I want to give you an opportunity now to respond to that allegation which they may make. It seems like that's the road they're going down.

FITZGERALD: And I don't know who provided those talking points. I assume...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

FITZGERALD: I'm not asking -- OK.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

FITZGERALD: I'll be blunt.

That talking point won't fly. If you're doing a national security investigation, if you're trying to find out who compromised the identity of a CIA officer and you go before a grand jury and if the charges are proven -- because remember there's a presumption of innocence -- but if it is proven that the chief of staff to the vice president went before a federal grand jury and lied under oath repeatedly and fabricated a story about how he learned this information, how he passed it on, and we prove obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements to the FBI, that is a very, very serious matter.

FITZGERALD: And I'd say this: I think people might not understand this. We, as prosecutors and FBI agents, have to deal with false statements, obstruction of justice and perjury all the time. The Department of Justice charges those statutes all the time.

When I was in New York working as a prosecutor, we brought those cases because we realized that the truth is the engine of our judicial system. And if you compromise the truth, the whole process is lost.

In Philadelphia, where Jack works, they prosecute false statements and obstruction of justice.

When I got to Chicago, I knew the people before me had prosecuted false statements, obstruction and perjury cases.

FITZGERALD: And we do it all the time. And if a truck driver pays a bribe or someone else does something where they go into a grand jury afterward and lie about it, they get indicted all the time.

Any notion that anyone might have that there's a different standard for a high official, that this is somehow singling out obstruction of justice and perjury, is upside down.

If these facts are true, if we were to walk away from this and not charge obstruction of justice and perjury, we might as well just hand in our jobs. Because our jobs, the criminal justice system, is to make sure people tell us the truth. And when it's a high-level official and a very sensitive investigation, it is a very, very serious matter that no one should take lightly.


As he says, truth is the engine of the legal system. People play games with prosecutors at their own risk. Here I must agree with the Drill Sgt: it’s foolish to think you can outwit the prosecutor by concocting a story. Libby has nobody—except maybe his lawyer—to blame for his troubles.

Bruce Hayden said...

First, this investigation is closer to the Martha Stewart case than to Clinton because in the Clinton case, the crime or crimes had already been committed before the investigation began, whereas in this case and the Stewart case, the crimes occurred as a direct result of the investigation. The possible difference between this and the Stewart case is that at the time that the crime was committed, the prosecutor probably didn't know that the underlying crime had not been committed, and in this case, the whole point of the Armitage thing is that by the time that Libby supposedly committed his crimes, Fitzgerald knew that he wasn't the primary leaker and that at worst, he was merely coorborating other leaking.

But the simularity with Clinton/Starr is that in both cases, a lot of reasources were used to investigate what turned out to be either petty crimes or non-crimes, and that is the question about prosecutorial misconduct. The reason that it may arguably be worse here is that Fitz is technically supposed to be under DoJ supervision and guidelines, whereas Starr was decidedly not. Of course, the reality is that this is a more a distinction without a difference, because the DoJ has shown no interest in supervising Fitz or holding him to its formal rules and guidelines. On the other hand, that is one of the big reasons that the Starr investigation cost so much - the Clinton Administration interferred as much as it legally could.

In any case, I am bothered by prosecutorial discretion in general, and this case and the Stewart case just highlight the problem, given how egregious it was.

Oh, and to tie this to another recent event, last evening on the Caplis and Silverman radio show here in Denver, the two attorney/ talk show hosts were lambasting DA Lacey of Boulder who spent all that money on Karr, just to have his DNA not match that found on JonBenet. Silverman commented that he had done more felony prosecutions as an asst. DA in Denver (8-10 a year) by himself than Lacey's entire office does (7 a year). And then indirectly suggested that it was therefore probably prosecutorial misconduct to bring Karr back on such flimsy evidence, given the scarce resources available in most DA offices here and that Denver wouldn't have bothered.

sparky said...

By the way, how exactly did the NYT lie? And, is it lying now by publishing the piece on Fitzgerald?

Pogo said...

Re: "...how exactly did the NYT lie?"

Sparky, do you throw everything down the memory whole that you find inconvenient?

Tell me, what reporter used to work for the NYT that knew these details?

Is it lying now? Yes, by still pretending to be separate from these proceedings, instead of an actor.

When they print the NYT piece on "Our Role in the Plame Affair", I'll know they've quit lying.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with prosecutorial discretion is that it is so easily abused. Prosecutors and the police in the case of petty crimes have a lot of discretion as to the crimes that they charge and prosecute, mostly because the laws in this country have gotten so complex and all pervasive that most of us can't go through a day without violating one or more of them. So, if every crime was prosecuted, the judicial system would come to a screaching halt as it would become filled with speeding tickets, tickets for failing to signal turns, etc.

Of course, this doesn't just apply to petty crimes, but also to felonies. In my last post, I indicated that Craig Silverman stated that he and the other asst. DAs in Denver when he was working in that office were each doing 8-10 felony prosecutions a year. But that is only a fraction of the potential felonies that they see a year. Rather, they cherry pick, using some criteria to determine which cases will be prosecuted and which won't, including how likely a conviction is, how hienious the crime, how many crimes, etc. In short, maximizing the amount of good that they can do with their very limited prosecutorial budget.

But this is almost invariably a very arbitrary decision. For each case prosecuted, most often this means a number of other cases unprosecuted. And as a result, this discretion can be abused in the selection of who to prosecute and who not to.

We live with this sytem because, IMHO, we have tried to make the prosecutors as unbiased as possible. The asst. U.S. attys. are bound by formal rules and regulations attempting to minimize this discretion and make it as unbiased as possible.

So, we have this case, where Fitz spent a fair amount of his own time and that of those working for him, including other attys. and FBI agents, on this project. These were resources that were not available for other federal investigations. And, thus, some drug dealers or, in Fitz's case, probably some white collar criminals walk free because of it.

Of course, this is within the discretion of the AG and his deputies, and was done for political purposes. But Libby (and earlier, Stewart) are left knowing that if they had not been who they were, they wouldn't have been prosecuted for what they did under normal DoJ procedures.

RubyEyes said...

So... if everything was peachy keen why did Scooter lie? Scooter is a lawyer he can't claim he was swindled.

Although it's funny watching lawyers question Fitzgerald's actions. After all I've always heard a good lawyer never asks a question they don't know the answer to.

Bruce Hayden said...

RubyEyes,

I am not sure if Libby actually lied or not. Of course, there has not been a trial yet, and guilty until proven innocent (oh, sorry, it is supposed to be the opposite).

To some extent, he seems to have tried the Reagan defense of "I don't remember", and Fitz is trying to show that he really did. To that extent, it will be interesting to see how effective he is in proving this. Libby's defense is essentially that with so much going on in his job, and so many real issues, and so many telephone calls a day, that it is not surprising that he didn't remember exactly who he heard what from and when.

Of course, he was the VP's chief go-fer, and as his boss had shown concern about the NYT article by Wilson, would naturally have followed it up.

Nevertheless, it is also quite possible that he didn't remember exactly what happened when, and will be able to show that all the more important things happening in his job were where his mind was at at that time. We shall see.

Seven Machos said...

This is absolutely ridiculous. The hole point of trying to make people to be honest in court is to uncover the facts about what happened when there was a crime or a breach of contract or a tort, or something.

In the absence of any of those things, people should be able to lie all the time, any time they want if they want. There are negative consequences to lying other than that big, bad Patrick Fitzgerald might come after you, you know.

Brent said...

What a sad waste of public resoursces coming to absolutely no benefit for this nation.

Novak, Armitage, Fitzgerald, Ashcroft, and Tenet should all be ashamed of themselves. They are all men of small character.

Sad.

Brent said...

And lest we ever forget, the Wilson's are lower than the men in the above list. They are both despicable human beings, a shame to America.

Seven Machos said...

Although it's funny watching lawyers question Fitzgerald's actions. After all I've always heard a good lawyer never asks a question they don't know the answer to.

This is the stupidest thing I have ever read.

sparky said...

A note for Pogo, I believe:
I really don't know who or what you are referring to about the NYT. You can't mean Judith Miller, who turned out to be on a frolic of her own, and, in fact, was a shill for the administration. She also refused to tell Keller (her boss) what was going on. (Read his explanation of why Miller was "leaving" the NYT.) So who or what else do you mean? I am, quite genuinely, drawing a blank.

4virginia said...

ann do you remember that the wp, nyt and other newspapers came together and their lawyers argued in court and asked that the ruling against their reporters to come before the grand jury be tossed out because in fact NO harm was done and NO law was broken in reveiling Plames name becuase ehe in fact was not undercover? This was in a dc federal court I think. and was at the same time they were baying like hounds.

dick said...

Sparky,

Check Nick Kristof, Bob Herbert, Frank Rich.

geofferygellineck said...

Pogo,

Personally, I am of the belief that the Wilson's are full of beans. However, could you, or someone else please take the time to link to a refutation of feder's and Carnegies claims of forgery?
I remember reading something about it but cannot find it now ( I must admit that I did not try very hard in hopes you would supply said link)) If you would prefer I do my own homework, I understand, it's just that you seem to have it at hand. Thank you.

The Drill SGT said...

sparky said...
By the way, how exactly did the NYT lie? And, is it lying now by publishing the piece on Fitzgerald?


I guess it all depends on what your definition of "lie" is? Let's take some variants:

1. Failing tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth in NEWS stories like the one cited today. e.g. (a. Wilson's wife got him the job
b. Wilson was lying in his Op-Ed.) I understand slanting and omitting facts in an Op-Ed, but not in NEWS.

2. Knowing the truth of the matter (e.g. who the leaker's were all the time) but in NEWS stories and OP-EDs, creating a false and misleading impression (because of hubris) that it was Rove, or Cheney, etc.

3. The hypocrisy of Arguing in your legal briefs defending your non-cooperation with the GJ that no crime was committed, and therefore the investigation was moot, while on your OP-Ed page asserting that this was a huge threat to national security, and that the coverup extended to the "highest" levels of the Bush White House.


"Lying" may be too strong. How about "gross professional misconduct" for partisan purposes?

The Drill SGT said...

geofferygellineck said...
Pogo,

Personally, I am of the belief that the Wilson's are full of beans. However, could you, or someone else please take the time to link to a refutation of feder's and Carnegies claims of forgery?


Geoff, Feder blurs and obfuscates three different threads of "Niger uranium" in order to indict all of them.

http://www.factcheck.org/article222.html


1. There were some "Italian documents". Forged invoices, as I recall that purported to show Iraqi purchases. These were not on the same timeline as threads 2 and 3 below. Not sure that anybody figured out who forged them.

2. The Brits, MI-6 I think, developed separate evidence that the Iraqi's were hunting uranium in Africa. The Brits stand behind this evidence to this day. This Brit analysis was the basis for the infamous 16 words:

The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .”

Butler Report: It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.




3. Wilson was sent to Niger to check things out. Here's what a Senate investigation found:

The Senate report said Wilson brought back denials of any Niger-Iraq uranium sale, and argued that such a sale wasn't likely to happen. But the Intelligence Committee report also reveals that Wilson brought back something else as well -- evidence that Iraq may well have wanted to buy uranium.
Wilson reported that he had met with Niger's former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mayaki, who said that in June 1999 he was asked to meet with a delegation from Iraq to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between the two countries.



http://www.factcheck.org/article222.html

Brian O'Connell said...

What I never understood about this case is why anyone bothered listening to Joe Wilson in the first place. He goes on and on about finding no evidence about Iraq having sought uranium from Niger (frequently purposefully fudging it to say Iraq never obtained uranium from Niger, which no one claimed) when all along in his full and rarely-cited report, he had reported that he found some evidence that Iraq sought uranium from Niger.

Now that Fitzgerald has been shown to be someone who similarly disregards inconvenient facts in the pursuit of a big showy agenda, it's clear that this whole thing was a tremendous waste of time.

Bush should pardon Libby- the current outrage over this and the press's (sure to be brief) moment of humility will be enought to cover Bush

Whatever law or procedure exists that allows such a thing as special prosecutors should be changed. Either Congress should handle these matters, or better, prosecution should wait until the administration is out.

I felt the same way about Kenneth Starr's never-ending travelling roadshow. The criminalization of politics is not healthy for politics.

SippicanCottage said...

seven machos wrote:
This is the stupidest thing I have ever read.

This makes me sad. When did seven machos stop reading my comments? Is he boycotting me?

Bensilly said...

from the desk of:

a mor-wasp-layman type(No college degree) person: "We think fitz messed up."

Survey sez,
white house-1
fitz-0

sparky said...

Let’s take these one at a time:

1. Failing tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth in NEWS stories like the one cited today. e.g. (a. Wilson's wife got him the job

This was a story about Fitzgerald. What does that allegation have to do with a story about Fitzgerald? Nothing, so far as I can discern. By the way, the assertion that Plame got Wilson the job is apparently not true.

b. Wilson was lying in his Op-Ed.) I understand slanting and omitting facts in an Op-Ed, but not in NEWS.
First, I don’t agree with your characterization of lying in the op-ed. (I am NOT going down this road again, but I will observe that if Wilson lied, why did Tenet fall on his sword and state that the CIA got it wrong?) Secondly, it is, as you observed, an op-ed piece. It’s not written by the NYT. Their policy regarding factual errors by contributors is posted at the website. So far as I am aware, no one has demonstrated to either the NYT or the NYT’s ombudsman that Wilson lied. If someone has, please point me to it.

2. Knowing the truth of the matter (e.g. who the leaker's were all the time) but in NEWS stories and OP-EDs, creating a false and misleading impression (because of hubris) that it was Rove, or Cheney, etc.

What exactly is the basis for the assertion that the NYT knew all along who the leaker was? Fitzgerald knew, not the NYT. Judith Miller knew something, but she refused to tell the editors at the paper what she knew. It’s none of my affair what conclusions you come to, but I fail to see any evidence indicating the NYT knew anything about the original leaker’s identity.


3. The hypocrisy of Arguing in your legal briefs defending your non-cooperation with the GJ that no crime was committed, and therefore the investigation was moot, while on your OP-Ed page asserting that this was a huge threat to national security, and that the coverup extended to the "highest" levels of the Bush White House.

Not sure I understand your point here. Is it that the NYT’s lawyers were making a different argument than the editorial page? There’s no relationship between the two, nor should there be. Arguments in a court may sometimes overlap with arguments beyond the courtroom, but many times legal arguments have no relationship to arguments in the public domain. So this is a non-issue. But let’s assume that for some reason only the NYT (not the WSJ, not Fox, not anyone else in the news business) cannot be inconsistent. Even then, I fail to see the contradiction. This comes back to the point I made earlier. There may have been no crime committed initially. But if a coverup was a crime, then that’s a completely distinct offense, as Libby’s indictment demonstrates. So the NYT argument is not two-faced at all. All they are saying is (taking your assertions as true as I haven’t seen the briefs), look, no crime as to the original leak, so there’s no need to prosecute our reporter. At the same time, they can argue that someone high up in the administration was lying.

Now, someone else gave this list:
“Check Nick Kristof, Bob Herbert, Frank Rich”

These are op-ed people. Look, you don’t agree with them. Fine. But they aren’t lying just because you don’t like their conclusions (this notion reminds me of the complaint about “liberals saying ‘Bush lied’”). Again, show me a lie and I’ll say ok.

dick said...

When it comes to op-ed people they are still reporters, they get their information from somewhere and since they are working for a newspaper where else but the newspaper. In addition, are you saying that it is perfectly OK for op-ed people to lie in the major newspaper of the country (to hear them tell it) and be quoted by all the other media as if what they wrote was gold? Essentially what you are saying is that if I write a lie and publish it but don't claim I am a reporter, then there is no blame to be attached to me no matter who quotes me? You are stretching it way beyond belief.

Next you are going to tell us that Noam Chomsky is a valid source because he does not claim to be a reporter.

sparky said...

No, I didn't say that. What I said was you can disagree with their conclusions, but your disagreement doesn't constitute a lie.

Op-ed pieces are opinion pieces, but the underlying facts must be accurate. When an op-ed author misstates a fact, the NYT has run a correction. Here is the corrections page:

Note, for example that there was a mistake in an article, and the NYT stated that the same mistake appeared in an editorial. So it's just not true that you can lie about facts in the NYT.

Here is the paper's policy:

(assuming my formatting worked; if not, just go to the NY home page and find op-ed and corrections on the left side)
If you scroll down you'll see that they do indeed fact check. The difference with opinion pieces is that the authors do not work for the NYT. But that does not give them the right to make things up. Op-ed writers who are employed by the NYT (columnists) are also obliged to have their stories fact checked. I can think of some instances where opinion writers got an isolated fact wrong. But that doesn't make them liars. If that were the definition of liar, every single person on this planet would be a liar.

Revenant said...

I think that Fitzgerald abused his authority, but no more so than prosecutors in his situation normally do. These cases end up being not about about suspected crime, but about nailing *somebody* for *something*. And since it is a sure bet that witnesses will contradict each other, "lying to investigators" is always a good fallback charge.

Personally, I can see pursuing that charge if you think that the lying prevented real charges from being filed -- i.e., if the person lied in order to cover up an even larger crime. But as that wasn't the case here, the charges seem awfully petty. Who cares if Libby lied about mentioning Plame if, as it turns out, Fitzgerald doesn't think it was illegal for Libby to have mentioned her?

sparky said...

Oops. Didn't work. Sorry bout that.
Corrections:
http://www.nytimes.com/ref/pageoneplus/corrections.html

Op-ed Policy:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/opinion/31shipley.html

jukeboxgrad said...

There's so much nonsense and misinformation here that it's hard to know where to start.

drill: "Wilson's wife got him the job"

You, like many people, are stating this as if it's a proven fact. Trouble is, it's not.

Your statement is based entirely on the highly partisan Senate report (pdf), which doesn't even claim that Plame "got him the job." The report claims that Plame "suggested his name for the trip." Not exactly the same thing.

The limited claim in the Senate report seems to be based entirely on two pieces of evidence. One is a statement by an unnamed "CPD reports officer" who said that Plame "offered up his [Wilson's] name."

The other piece of evidence is one sentence (or perhaps just a portion of a sentence) from a memo Plame wrote. The sentence is this: "my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity."

For some strange reason, we get to see no other contents of this memo. In my opinion, this is because the rest of the memo would make clear that Plame was only expressing an opinion, probably in response to a request for her opinion, and that she was not in a position to "[get] him the job," or authorize the trip.

By the way, claiming that Plame "authorized" Wilson's trip is exactly what Rove did, according to Cooper's email: "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip." Trouble is, outside of the very vague information in the Senate report, no one has seen proof to back up this assertion.

On the other hand, there is the "senior intelligence official" who plainly said "she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment" (link). There is also the CIA officer talking to Novak who said essentially the same thing: "At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson's wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name... "

More from that first source: "A senior intelligence official confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked 'alongside' the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger. But he said she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. 'They [the officers who did ask Wilson to check the uranium story] were aware of who she was married to, which is not surprising,' he said. 'There are people elsewhere in government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason,' he said. 'I can't figure out what it could be.' "

Speaking of misinformation, many people don't understand the following facts: Wilson had made a previous CIA trip to Niger, for similar purposes; Wilson was highly qualified for this mission; Wilson was not paid; Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, and Wilson needed a "junket" to Niger like he needed a hole in the head.

The Drill SGT said...


sparky said...
Let’s take these one at a time:

1. Failing tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth in NEWS stories like the one cited today. e.g. (a. Wilson's wife got him the job

This was a story about Fitzgerald. What does that allegation have to do with a story about Fitzgerald? Nothing, so far as I can discern. By the way, the assertion that Plame got Wilson the job is apparently not true.


Sparky, we're obviously talking past each other but I'll try one more time on one point.

sparky said...
This was a story about Fitzgerald. What does that allegation have to do with a story about Fitzgerald? Nothing, so far as I can discern.


Let me quote again from an earlier post above to demonstrate that the NYT article was indeed trying to rehash inaccurate/incomplete Wilson material.

Some administration critics asserted that her identity had been disclosed in the Novak column as part of a campaign to undermine her husband. Mr. Wilson was sent by the C.I.A. in 2002 to Africa to investigate whether the Iraqi government had obtained uranium ore for its nuclear weapons program.

sounds like the article you think was about Fitzgerald had a big Wilson component.

as for your second point, namely that:
By the way, the assertion that Plame got Wilson the job is apparently not true.

would you prefer it expressed as:

Wilson's wife, a CIA WMD analyst wrote a memo recommending that the CIA send her husband to Niger to investigate the Iraqi WMD connection based on his knowledge of the area and contacts with the leadership?

It's clearly disingenuous to claim as you do that Plame got Wilson the job is apparently not true.

Absent the direct intervention by Plame, Wilson would NOT have been sent. SHE GOT HIM THE JOB!

Pogo said...

Re: "Here is the corrections page:"

Errors appear on the NYT corrections page?

Surely you're not serious.

jukeboxgrad said...

More misinformation.

drill: "The Brits, MI-6 I think, developed separate evidence that the Iraqi's were hunting uranium in Africa. The Brits stand behind this evidence to this day. This Brit analysis was the basis for the infamous 16 words"

If you believe in that "separate evidence," you also believe in the tooth fairy. There is no firm basis to believe that anyone ever had any "evidence" along these lines other than the forged documents. This was established in the Robb-Silberman report: "the NIE ... did note that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake' from Africa. This statement was based largely on reporting from a foreign government intelligence service that Niger planned to send up to 500 tons of yellowcake uranium to Iraq. ... For reasons discussed at length below, several months after the NIE, the reporting that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger was judged to be based on forged documents and was recalled ... In addition to recalling the reporting, CIA briefed the congressional intelligence committees in June 2003 that, given the recall of the earlier reporting, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Iraq had recently sought uranium from Africa."

According to R-S, the idea of yellowcake from Africa was "based largely" on the forged documents. And without those documents, "there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Iraq had recently sought uranium from Africa." R-S was not impressed by the idea, wholly unsubstantiated, that Butler had "separate evidence." What makes you smarter than R-S?

If Butler ever had anything solid, Tenet never would have fallen on his sword and taken the blame for the 16 words.

jukeboxgrad said...

More misinformation to deal with.

NYT: "the prosecutor ... knew the identity of the leaker"

Ann: "he knew the identity of the leaker"

These words ("the leaker") imply there was only one leaker. Trouble is, there were at least three leakers. Yes, Armitage outed Plame to Novak. But Rove outed Plame to Cooper, and Libby outed Plame to Miller. (As far as I can tell, no one in this thread has mentioned that.) Three wrongs don't make a right. Fitzgerald knows that. So should a law professor.

Pogo said...

JBgrad,
Maybe if you repeat that junk often enough, even you'll believe it.

For me, it's moot.
The story was about nothing.
Wilson Lied. Fitz lied. WaPo and NYT lied.
Repeatedly.
And now it's over, 'cept mebbe the shoutin', and JB's basement wall theorizing, with pieces of string connecting all the paranoid dots.

reader_iam said...

Anybody know of a reliable tally of how many people were forced to hire lawyers to represent/defend themselves in the course of this investigation into who was the leaker, which Fitzgerald knew? What the personal cost and debt associated with that may mount to? The time? The stress on individuals and families? The distraction from jobs, etc.?

Ok, for the sake of argument, maybe we shouldn't spare a lot of care about that with regard to Libby, Rove et al--but what about everybody else caught in the crossfire? And for what?

Or maybe we shouldn't give a rat's ass about any that.

What about even more damage to the reputation of our system among basic people? We need morecynicism, for crying out loud?

I guess so.

jukeboxgrad said...

drill: "Wilson was lying in his Op-Ed"

This is the heart of what Wilson actually said: "[before my trip] I was told [about] a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake ... [upon visiting Niger] it did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place ... Then, in January, President Bush ... repeated the charges about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium from Africa ... if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them."

There is no lie here. On the contrary; Wilson is right. As R-S found, aside from forged documents "there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Iraq had recently sought uranium from Africa."

By the way, Wilson's report quoting Mayaki's statement about "expanding commercial relations" (see the Senate report, p. 43) doesn't change any of this (although Wilson's critics twist themselves into knots trying to exploit those three words). Wilson decided that Mayaki's vague and speculative statement didn't mean much, and R-S obviously agreed with Wilson's assessment.

reader_iam said...

One other thing. I don't think it's been solidly established yet--at least publicly--one way or the other, whether Armitage was ALSO Bob Woodward's source, specifically in June 2003--three weeks before we now know that he, as reported, unintentionally (or whatever the modifier that was used) dropped the classified info under the umbrella of gossip to Bob Novak.

I sure as heck would like to get a firm denial or confirmation on that one. Wouldn't you?

jukeboxgrad said...

rev: "the charges seem awfully petty ... who cares if Libby lied ... ?"

Welcome to modern GOP ethics. Lying under oath is a "petty" matter, unless the topic is blowjobs.

Stephen said...

"Yes, Armitage outed Plame to Novak. But Rove outed Plame to Cooper, and Libby outed Plame to Miller. (As far as I can tell, no one in this thread has mentioned that.)"

The problem for Fitzgerald is these weren't done at the same time. According to the cw now, Armitage did it first. That does make a difference.

If I call up a reporter (right now) and say Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, I haven't committed a crime. After this stuff was already leaked into the gossip mill in Washington D.C., the people who had heard about it second-hand and were discussing it weren't breaking any law. (The total amount could fill up a small prison of both Dems and Republicans if they were.)

Case in point, Rove is not being prosecuted and Libby is not being prosecuted for having outed a CIA agent, he's being prosecuted for having committed perjury.

The reason is it's against the law if an agent is covert, you know that she's covert, and you make her no longer covert -- but you need all of those. Take out any one of them and you haven't committed a crime.

sparky said...

I'll try one more time too.
The article was about Fitzgerald's investigation. The Wilson sentence was background. It is accurate that the CIA sent Wilson. How he got the assignment is discussed below. But, I just don't see how that level of detail is relevant to a story about Fitzgerald's use of his investigatory powers.

Let me put it a different way: if you include that "fact" (I discuss below) you'd have to include EVERY sub-sub level fact/disputation for the entire affair. It's a newspaper, not a book, and the editors have to leave some things out. Now, sometimes a fact can be left out that does change the import of the story. But how did that happen here? I just cannot see how leaving Plame's recommendation out is so relevant to a news story about Fitzgerald's investigation that omitting it is a fundamental error. For you to convince me otherwise, you'd have to show me that that fact is somehow dispositive as to the point of the article. As I say below, I'd be happy to be shown why exactly this bit of information is so important. And if you do, I'll say you have a point. Otherwise, it seems to me to be a quibble about editing.

We can all complain about the way stories are edited. But that's just not the same thing as proving that the paper is somehow mangling the story so as to seriously misrepresent it.

As to your point about Plame and Wilson: it's unfortunate that you thought I was being disingenuous. All I did was use your language, but perhaps I misunderstood what you meant. I took "got the job" to mean that she in essence hired him. I'll go along with your rewrite (I'll assume that she did "recommend" him for the trip, since he did go). But I would add she didn't have the authority to hire him. So that's where the difference lies, I think, and that's why I said what I said. Perhaps this is just another quibble, if "getting" him the job is the same as recommending him for the job. In that sense, yes, she "got" him the job. Ok?

But I still don't see how that fact is relevant to the NYT piece. Or for that matter to this entire sorry story. Why does this fact matter? I've never seen anyone explain why it matters that Plame suggested Wilson. What exactly are we supposed to infer from that fact? And how, exactly, is it related to Fitzgerald's investigation of other people? Again, if someone could explain why it matters, I'd appreciate it.

Stephen said...

"This is the heart of what Wilson actually said: "[before my trip] I was told [about] a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake ... [upon visiting Niger] it did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place ... Then, in January, President Bush ... repeated the charges about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium from Africa ... if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them.""

The reason I'd call the guy a liar is that he reported in his own original report to the government (not the op-ed) that Iraq did make efforts to get Uranium (not that they completed it, but that they tried).

From the Washington Post-

"Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address."

. . .

"Wilson's reports to the CIA added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger, although officials at the State Department remained highly skeptical, the report said.

Wilson said that a former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, was unaware of any sales contract with Iraq, but said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him, insisting that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq -- which Mayaki interpreted to mean they wanted to discuss yellowcake sales. A report CIA officials drafted after debriefing Wilson said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to UN sanctions on Iraq."

According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39834-2004Jul9.html

Assume it actually happened - assume it didn't happen -- either way, the guy's a liar.

jukeboxgrad said...

pogo: "Maybe if you repeat that junk often enough, even you'll believe it."

You lack integrity, and are therefore a complete waste of time. You made that obvious here (if your amnesia is kicking in, here's a reminder: start at 8/17, 10:38 pm and scroll up). Only a fool would accept your words at face value.

"JB's basement wall theorizing"

Here's your MO, as documented clearly in the other thread: shout nonsense, and then provide false "proof," when challenged.

Here's my MO: avoid making statements I'm not in a position to prove.

I realize you can't tell the difference.

John in Nashville said...

A previous commenter stated that in the case of President Clinton, there was the underlying "crime" of sexual harrassment. What statute defines that as a crime?

According to the district court's summary judgment ruling in the Jones lawsuit--still the only ruling on the merits by any tribunal--then-Governor Clinton's conduct was not even tortious.

As to allegations of perjury, let's not forget that the impeachment trial, wherein one of the allegations was perjury, ended in an acquittal as to all counts.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "After this stuff was already leaked into the gossip mill ... "

You would have a point if the other actions (Rove outing Plame to Cooper and Libby outing Plame to Miller) had taken place after Novak wrote about Plame. Trouble is, they didn't. Classified information doesn't magically become unclassified information simply because Armitage leaked to Novak, especially if Novak hasn't yet written about it.

And even after Novak published, Rove (or anyone) isn't free to say "what Novak said is true." He is only free to say "I read what Novak wrote."

Classified information becomes unclassified by one means only: when a proper authority declassifies it. Claiming that something is in "the gossip mill" (especially when the claim is unsubstantiated) is not an excuse to leak classified information.

By the way, it's important to understand that in the instance of Rove outing Plame to Cooper, Rove was not a confirming source. He was the original source. Likewise with regard to the instance of Libby outing Plame to Miller.

"Rove is not being prosecuted and Libby is not being prosecuted for having outed a CIA agent"

This is not necessarily an indication that Rove and Libby did not out a CIA agent. It's merely an indication that Fitz decided he was not necessarily in a position to prove, in a court, that Rove and Libby outed a CIA agent. Big difference.

And with regard to Libby, Fitz explained that justice is done if you nail the perp one way or another: "When you do a criminal case, if you find a violation, it doesn't really, in the end, matter what statute you use if you vindicate the interest. If Mr. Libby is proven to have done what we've alleged -- convicting him of obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements -- very serious felonies -- will vindicate the interest of the public in making sure he's held accountable. It's not as if you say, 'Well, this person was convicted but under the wrong statute.' "

In my opinion, Fitz is saying this (paraphrase): "once it became clear that I could nail Libby for lying, it no longer became important for me to prove the original allegation, although I think the original allegation is correct."

jukeboxgrad said...

sparky: "I'll assume that she did 'recommend' him for the trip, since he did go"

The argument that she even recommended him for the trip is centered on one sentence (or perhaps only a portion of a sentence) from a memo she wrote. In my opinion, it's significant that we are allowed to see no more of this memo. For all we know, the next sentence says "now that I've reviewed his qualifications, as you requested me to do, I would like to point out that we would both much prefer that he stay home with me and our newborn twins; he's already spent lots of time visiting poor African countries."

noah said...

Near as I can tell, David Corn in collusion with Joe Wilson are the true villains in the case. Shortly after Novak's piece, Corn laid out the meme that the WH had outed a covert agent, Valerie Plame, as revenge for Wilson's op ed. Turns out that Valerie Plame was not covert and the WH did not out her as such...at most confirmed her involvement in sending Wilson to Niger.

Wilson is the villain, followed in despicableness by Corn, Armitage, Powell, plus assorted minor lesser lights in State, CIA, and DOJ.

Stephen said...

Jake,

gossip mill =/= Novak's column

Supposedly (and, nah, I'm not in it so all I can say is "supposedly") this stuff was going around the gossip mill before Novak's column, in which case that would help Rove and Libby.

But, back to my post, Fitzgerald would also need to prove that they knew she was covert, --not just that she was a CIA agent--. Even for Armitage it's not likely he'll be able to do it. If they didn't know that (I haven't read something yet saying it, but feel free to provide a link), they haven't committed a crime.

What you're saying about just nailing the guy re: Libby sounds reasonable. I don't buy it with Rove.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "The reason I'd call the guy a liar is that he reported in his own original report to the government (not the op-ed) that Iraq did make efforts to get Uranium (not that they completed it, but that they tried)"

Your sole basis for this claim is a Susan Schmidt article, widely quoted by righties, even though it's full of all sorts of nonsense and misinformation. And you're not noticing some of the most critical misinformation even though WaPo is trying to point it out to you.

You quoted Schmidt saying this: "According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998."

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you innocently overlooked the sidebar, which says this: "_____Correction_____ In some editions of the Post, a July 10 story on a new Senate report on intelligence failures said that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV told his contacts at the CIA that Iraq had tried to buy 400 tons of uranium from the African nation of Niger in 1998. In fact, it was Iran that was interested in making that purchase, but no contract was signed, according to the report."

In other words, Schmidt literally can't tell the difference between Iraq and Iran. Yet despite this her original incorrect words are still quoted by people like you.

There's lots of other nonsense in the Schmidt article, some of which is dealt with here.

When you peel away all the nonsense, you discover that the only basis for Schmidt's central claim ("Wilson's reports to the CIA added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger") are the three words ("expanding commercial relations") I discussed above.

Only the kind of idiot who can't tell the difference between Iran and Iraq would attach much importance to those three words. Schmidt is making a big deal about those words. R-S ignored them. Who do you think has more credibility?

George said...

After reading (or trying to wade through) all 64 comments above, I'm still confused, and you can't have a scandal if the Average Joe can't understand who did what to whom when. I respectfully submit that many of the above posters can't get this pseudoscandal's details straight either.

Give me a burglary or a saucy (if not pathetic) White House intern. Those are scandals the Man on the Street can get angry about.

Sincerely,
Man on Street

The Drill SGT said...


jukeboxgrad said...
drill: "Wilson was lying in his Op-Ed"

This is the heart of what Wilson actually said: "[before my trip] I was told [about] a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake ... [upon visiting Niger] it did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place ...

I read your R-S report and its timeline clearly shows Wilson was lying. Note, you point out that Wilson said he was told about the forged memos before he went to Niger. R-S documents that he went to Niger in Feb 2002, and the forged Italian documents don't show up till 8 months after Wilson says he knew about them.

The Senate report comes to the same conclusion that Wilson had no exposure to any documents as he claimed:
(U) The former ambassador also told Committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article ("CIA Did Not Share Doubt on Iraq Data; Bush Used Report of Uranium Bid," June 12, 2003) which said, "among the Envoy's conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because `the dates were wrong and the names were wrong." Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the "dates were wrong and the names were wrong" when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports. The former ambassador said that he may have "misspoken" to the reporter when he said he concluded the documents were "forged." He also said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct and may have thought he had seen the names himself. The former ambassador reiterated that he had been able to collect the names of the government officials which should have been on the documents.

R-S Report:

Subsequently, Vice President Cheney requested follow-up information from CIA on this alleged deal. 196 CIA decided to contact the former U.S. ambassador to Gabon, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had been posted to Niger early in his career and maintained contacts there, to see if he would be amenable to traveling to Niger. Ambassador Wilson agreed to do so and, armed with CIA talking points, traveled to Niger in late February 2002 and met with former Nigerien officials. 197

Following the trip, CIA disseminated an intelligence report in March 2002 based on its debriefing of Ambassador Wilson. 198 The report carried the caveat that the individuals from whom the Ambassador obtained the information were aware that their remarks could reach the U.S. government and "may have intended to influence as well as to inform." 199 According to this report, the former Prime Minister of Niger said that he was not aware of any contracts for uranium that had been signed between Niger and any rogue states. He noted that if there had been such an agreement, he would have been aware of it. 200 He said, however, that in June 1999 he met with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq, which the Prime Minister interpreted as meaning the delegation wanted to discuss yellowcake sales. The Prime Minister let the matter drop, however, because of the United Nations sanctions on Iraq. 201

The British Government weighed in officially on the Niger subject on September 24, 2002, when it disseminated a white paper on Iraq's WMD programs stating that "there is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa." 202

The story grew more complicated when, on October 9, 2002, several days after the NIE was published, an Italian journalist provided a package of documents to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, including documents related to the alleged agreement for the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq. 203 The State Department passed these documents on to elements of the CIA. Although the documents provided to the Embassy by the Italian journalist related to the purported agreement, these elements of the CIA did not retain copies of the documents or forward them to CIA Headquarters because they had been forwarded through Embassy channels to the State Department. 204

Gahrie said...

What does it say about the Democratic Party and the Left today that they have to spend some much time and effort trying to defend third rate political hacks like Wilson?

jukeboxgrad said...

noah: "Turns out that Valerie Plame was not covert"

Tell it to Fitz: "In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified."

Let us know why you have more credibility than he does.

---------

stephen: "Supposedly ... this stuff was going around the gossip mill before Novak's column"

Lots of people make that claim without offering a shred of proof. Here's Fitz, again: "Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified. Not only was it classified, but it was not widely known outside the intelligence community. Valerie Wilson's friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life. ... The fact that she was a CIA officer was not well- known"

"What you're saying about just nailing the guy re: Libby sounds reasonable. I don't buy it with Rove."

Here's what I'm saying about Rove: the fact that Fitz let Rove off the hook, in the end, is far from proof that Rove is blameless. It only indicates that Fitz decided he didn't have enough to send Rove to jail.

Your standards are way too low if you think Rove deserves to remain in the White House because Fitz decided not to try to prove that Rove is a felon. We know that Rove outed Plame to Cooper. For all sorts of technical reasons, to which you allude, this was not enough for Fitz to land Rove in jail. However, in my opinion, it's more than enough for citizens to conclude that Rove shouldn't have a job in the White House. Big difference.

Gahrie said...

JukeBoxGrad:

Perhaps you could do me the favor of suggesting what possible reason Iraq could have for "expanding commercial relations" with Niger besides purchasing yellowcake from them.

Niger is considered one of (if not the) poorest countries in the world, with no significant exports (except yellowcake uranium) and no significant imports.

jukeboxgrad said...

george: "I'm still confused"

I think Fitz explained the whole thing pretty well. I already linked to his transcript a couple of times. The video version is here.

Or go to cspan and enter "fitzgerald" in the video search box.

Stephen said...

In other words, Schmidt literally can't tell the difference between Iraq and Iran. Yet despite this her original incorrect words are still quoted by people like you."

Jake, yeah, I generally still trust an article in the Washington Post. This is a mistake of mine. Sorry, my apologies.

So here's the actual report by Congress:

P. 73 (p. 83 in the Adobe)

"(U) Conclusion 13. The report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002 did not change any analysts' assessments of the Niger-Uranium deal. For most analysts, the information lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal, but State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) analysts believed that the report supported their assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq.”

http://intelligence.senate.gov/iraqreport2.pdf

This was a bipartisan report. Even what the State Department said here is that they think the report shows the transfer didn’t end up happening (as opposed to Iraq trying to get it) [maybe they that somewhere here, but I’m not going through 500 pages], which is what Bush said in the speech--not that it went through, but that Iraq attempted to get it.

Stephen said...

”Lots of people make that claim without offering a shred of proof.”

Which may have something to do with why I wrote:

(Supposedly (and, nah, I'm not in it so all I can say is "supposedly")

Jake, replace the ellipses with this (you have to go to extra trouble to take it out) and save yourself the trouble of getting worked up over it.

"Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer. In July 2003, the fact that Valerie Wilson was a CIA officer was classified. Not only was it classified, but it was not widely known outside the intelligence community. Valerie Wilson's friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life. ... The fact that she was a CIA officer was not well- known"

Again, we're talking past each other. Saying somebody is a CIA officer isn't illegal. Saying they're a CIA officer if they’re both classified and covert (but you didn't know they were covert) isn't illegal. Saying they're a CIA officer when you know they're covert is illegal.

I'm sure Fitzgerald can prove the first two, but those aren't crimes. He can only send someone to jail for the third. And Rove didn’t do it. I’m sorry, but leaking an officer’s name isn’t illegal. Maybe it should be, I could go for that. But it isn’t.

Pogo said...

JB Grad re: "Here's your MO..."

Oh yeeaah, that was you, huh? That guy with logorrhea but lacking both perspective and a useful dictionary. I suspect you linked back to your Manifesto Contra Pogo. That was the night I forgot I don't wrestle pigs.

I guess you're still at it, trying desperately to salvage some grand conspiracy theory out of a pile of sand, but with each wave even more is washed away. Must be frustrating.

Look, JB, Tim McGuire has an entire blog hashing this stuff out, and with powerline and instapundit and captain's quarters rounding it out, the story has been told a hundred times.

You're wrong, and the WaPo now admits it was wrong, and Fitz was so wrong he couldn't squeeze out more than a false statement/misremembering thingie. We'll see who wins now that we know Armitage was the real leaker after all.

I know it hurts, bud, but it's time to take down a few of the pins on the basement wall, toss the yellowed clippings (underlined, highlighted, and annotated as they are), wind up the string, and get a new hobby.

This case is dead. (P.S. my only 'MO' is to avoid debating internet folks on Vitamin H.

Pogo said...

Hey, hold onto to those pushpins:
Might not there be a Stephen King connection?

He hasn't been excluded yet, as far as I can tell.

Syl said...

if everything was peachy keen why did Scooter lie?

You mean why did Fitzgerald think Scooter lied.

Fitz had a theory because he didn't have all the facts, didn't investigate thoroughly enough to discover them. And his theory, as laid out in the presser when he announced the Scooter indictment, was basically that Scooter had planted the Plame info in the press, then claimed he heard it from reporters and passed it along as gossip.

Fitz thought Scooter was the first known 'leaker' so he had to be lying about hearing it from reporters.

But Scooter wasn't first. Fitz had not discovered that Armitage had also spoken with Woodward earlier than Libby had spoken with Judith Miller.

So Fitz's theory was incorrect.

And Fitz didn't learn that his theory was incorrect until after he indicted Scooter.

A scientist who discovers his theory is wrong rethinks. Fitz did not.

jukeboxgrad said...

Nice job dredging up all the familiar righty talking points on this topic.

drill: "Wilson said he was told about the forged memos before he went to Niger. R-S documents that he went to Niger in Feb 2002, and the forged Italian documents don't show up till 8 months after Wilson says he knew about them."

Your problem is you're pretending there's no difference between "told about" and "show up." It's true that as far as we know the forged documents didn't reach US hands until 10/02. However, it's also true that rumors were flying about these documents long before that time. Wilson never claimed he saw the documents before his trip. He only heard about them, along with lots of other people.

"The Senate report comes to the same conclusion that Wilson had no exposure to any documents as he claimed"

Wilson never claimed he saw ("exposure") the documents.

"Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion ... "

You're quoting a passage from the Senate report that is very popular among righty bloggers. Trouble is, very few people make the effort to look at the underlying facts.

A Pincus article (quoting Wilson saying "dates were wrong and the names were wrong") is the basis for the passage you cited (from the Senate report). That Pincus article is here.

I'm comfortable with Wilson's statements on this issue, which can be found here, here and here. The central point is that he has never read the documents, and has never claimed to have read the documents. When he told Pincus in 6/03 that he thought the documents may have been forged because the "dates were wrong and the names were wrong," this was not based on actually having read the documents. It was based on what he had heard about the documents via IAEA, combined with what he knew about Niger based on his trip. Recall that when he was discussing these documents with Pincus in 6/03, it was months after IAEA had publicly announced its finding that the documents were forged.

What this boils down to is that Wilson told journalists, in 2003, that as of early 2002 he had information concerning certain names and dates in these documents. This is far from the equivalent of Wilson claiming he had seen the documents.

I happen to think it's true that Wilson is being cagy about this, on account of protecting a source (his wife would be an obvious guess) that informed him of certain facts about these documents via illegitimate means (in addition to information he got about the documents via legitimate channels). However, this doesn't mean Wilson is lying when he says "I never saw the documents." It's also not exactly a big deal if Val quietly told Joe, before his trip, some things she happened to have heard about the documents. Long before the documents came into US hands, rumors about the documents were rampant in the intel community of several different countries.

What is noticeably absent from the paragraph you cited is any claim (by Wilson or anyone else) that he actually ever saw the documents. The paragraph is murky and hard to interpret, but my interpretation is that Wilson threw out some vague answers in the interest of protecting his source, as I mentioned above.

In short, claims by Wilson that he had knowledge of certain facts about the documents are being treated as the equivalent of Wilson claiming he had seen the documents. That's absurd.

"R-S Report"

You cite a long passage from this report, but I have no idea why. There is nothing in that passage that I haven't already addressed.

sparky said...

Jukeboxgrad:
You're quite right. But since Wilson did go, I think, to be fair, it is at least plausible to assume at a minumum, that she did not submit a memo that said it would be a terrible idea to send Wilson.

Much more important, to my way of thinking, is that nobody has explained why Plame's recommendation matters at all. If there isn't a good explanation for its importance, then I'd be forced to conclude that it's another in the species of smokescreen facts: the kind that are thrown up as an irrelevant distraction.

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "What does it say about the Democratic Party and the Left today that they have to spend some much time and effort trying to defend third rate political hacks like Wilson?"

Here's what Dubya's dad said about this "third rate political hack:" "I have great respect for you and for your service to our country." And this: "Your courageous leadership during this period of great danger for American interests and American citizens has my admiration and respect. I salute, too, your skillful conduct of our tense dealings with the government of Iraq....The courage and tenacity you have exhibited throughout this ordeal prove that you are the right person for the job."

By the way, what does it say about Bush that at the exact moment he should have been figuring out how to run a war properly his people were spending their time obsessed with a column written by a "third rate political hack?" Have you ever noticed that they treat the PR war as more important than the war? Have you ever noticed that they are good at the former and suck at the latter?

Gahrie said...

1)Pres. Bush the First was a second bit political hack, who only got elected because he was Pres. Reagan's vice-president. Quoting him praising Wilson over a decade ago means less than nothing to me.

2) The reason the current administration wasted so much time and effort on the third rate hack Wilson is that he and the MSM were colluding to undermine the war effort in Iraq.

3) The current administration good at P.R.? Please!!!! The economy is purring along, yet everyone thinks we're in a recession. By every imaginable measure we are winning in Iraq, yet most people think we are losing.

4) By the way, what "commercial relations" was Iraq interested in "expanding" in Niger?

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "what possible reason Iraq could have for 'expanding commercial relations' "

Let's be clear what we're talking about. We're talking about three words ("expanding commercial relations"), which were allegedly said by an Iraqi to Mayaki, the former Nigerien prime minister. These words were then quoted by Mayaki to Wilson, who quoted them to the CIA, who quoted them to the Senate committee. All this led to the following passage in the Senate report (p. 43): "Mayaki said ... that in June 1999, [redacted] businessman, approached him and insisted that Mayaki meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss 'expanding commercial relations' between Niger and Iraq. The intelligence report said that Mayaki interpreted 'expanding commercial relations' to mean that the delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales. The intelligence report also said that 'although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to the UN sanctions on Iraq.' "

You are on very thin ice to claim that this is some kind of proof that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake. First of all, Mayaki is an ex-official of an extremely poor country. According to the CIA World Factbook, "Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking last on the United Nations Development Fund index of human development." Mayaki is talking to Wilson, a rich man from a rich country, who was sent by the CIA to ask questions about uranium. It is logical that Mayaki would be motivated to please Wilson. It is also highly plausible that Mayaki would guess (perhaps incorrectly) the answer Wilson wanted to hear, and provide that answer. Hence the Senate report admits we are dealing with how Mayaki "interpreted" the three words.

Aside from that, while it's true that yellowcake is a major Nigerien export, it's not the only possible interpretation of "expanding commercial relations." Niger has other potential assets (CIA, again): "future growth may be sustained by exploitation of oil, gold, coal, and other mineral resources."

In other words, the Iraqi who allegedly spoke of "expanding commercial relations" could have been thinking like this: "Right now we don't need your yellowcake, because we already have plenty that we can't use. We could also never manage to extract it secretly, given that Niger is landlocked and far from Iraq. But maybe years from now we'll need your yellowcake, so we'd like to talk about closer ties with your country. Let's start by talking about oil, gold, coal, and other mineral resources. We can help you develop a market for those resources."

By the way, anyone who claims that Iraq was seeking yellowcake needs to explain why Iraq would have any motivation whatsoever to do so, since Iraq already had several hundred tons of the stuff (another fact that is typically overlooked). It couldn't use the yellowcake already in its possession, since it had no means to enrich it. Why would it be going to great lengths to get more from a highly remote location?

If Wilson learned nothing in Niger aside from the three words, it would be marginally honest for Schmidt to claim, as she did, that "Wilson's reports to the CIA added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger." Trouble is, Wilson learned many things besides the three words, and most of what he learned suggested that Iraq did not and could not get yellowcake from Niger, and didn't try to do so. Schmidt et al are being highly disingenuous in taking the three words out of context, radically inflating their importance, and ignoring everything else Wilson learned and said.

Aside from all that, the broader issue is not just whether Iraq "sought" to buy yellowcake (although that's literally the word Bush used). No one (including and especially Bush's SOTU audience) would care much about whether Saddam "sought" yellowcake, unless one believed that Saddam could actually succeed in getting it. (And the only people who would care about Saddam getting yellowcake were the people who were ignorantly unaware of the fact that Saddam already had plenty of yellowcake that he couldn't use. Unfortunately, most of Bush's SOTU audience probably falls into this category.)

Bush was obviously implying that in addition to trying to get yellowcake, Saddam probably did succeed in getting it, or would soon succeed in getting it (because the "trying" has no practical importance unless it leads to success, sooner or later, one way or another). Trouble is, there were many reasons to understand why it would be virtually impossible for Iraq to obtain Nigerien yellowcake secretly (even if Iraq did need more yellowcake, which it didn't). This was explained in Wilson's oped, but not in Bush's SOTU. When Bush omitted this crucial information, he was lying by omission.

When all is said and done, here's the evidence behind Bush's words, which were designed to scare us, and did scare us: forged documents, and three vague words "interpreted" by Mayaki. Pretty pathetic.

Stephen said...

JB, since you're responding to gahrie here, I'll keep my part limited-

But re: Schmidt--toss aside her reporting, go to the source:

http://intelligence.senate.gov/iraqreport2.pdf

Most analysts thought his report bolstered the claims, not vice versa. Argue over what actually happened in Niger all ya want. But when Wilson says he debunked it, most of the people who read his report (not just those three words) didn't see it that way.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "This was a bipartisan report."

In name only. The Senate is controlled by Republicans, and likewise for this committee. If you're claiming that the Ds on this committee have any power (or guts), then you need to explain why the report is still unfinished, years later.

That's why I take the key statement you quoted ("for most analysts, the information lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal") with a very large grain of salt.

"which is what Bush said in the speech--not that it went through, but that Iraq attempted to get it"

I explained above that there would be no point in Bush explicitly stating the latter ("Iraq attempted to get it") unless he was also trying to convince us, by implication, of the likelihood of the former happening ("it went through"), sooner or later.

The distinction you're raising (paraphrase: "he only said 'sought,' not 'obtained' ") is legalistic and unfairly glosses over the political impact of the overall message he was trying to send, and did send.

If Bush had been communicating honestly, he would have said something more like this: "there might be some vague indications he tried, but there's only a snowball's chance in hell that he could succeed; besides, he doesn't need more because he already has plenty he can't use."

But Bush wasn't trying to communicate honestly. He was trying to make a sale.

Stephen said...

"In name only. The Senate is controlled by Republicans, and likewise for this committee. If you're claiming that the Ds on this committee have any power (or guts), then you need to explain why the report is still unfinished, years later."

Oh dear God, Juke - this is where I bail.

The idea the Dems, very liberal Dems, guys like Rockefeller, would sign their names onto a report that debunks one of their most valuable talking points in the past five years is one that you're only tossing in a post if you're grasping at straws or don't realize just how much infighting and negotiation it takes to get both parties to agree to a bipartisan report. This is not something that's done on a whim.

EDIT: What they have agreed to is here. This is something you only get when you get a bunch of Senators with huge egos and political animosities against each other to agree.

For that matter, Republican senators have about as much spine as a Humboldt Squid.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "Which may have something to do with why I wrote [supposedly]"

I noticed that, and I didn't mean to gloss over that. That's why I said "lots of people make that claim," instead of saying you're making that claim.

Anyway, I apologize for not being more clear.

"Saying they're a CIA officer if they’re both classified and covert ... "

A lot of people seem to be very interested in dragging the word "covert" into the discussion. Here's where Fitz stands on that: "QUESTION: Can you say whether or not you know whether Mr. Libby knew that Valerie Wilson's identity was covert and whether or not that was pivotal at all in your inability or your decision not to charge under the Intelligence Identity Protection Act? FITZGERALD: Let me say two things. Number one, I am not speaking to whether or not Valerie Wilson was covert. And anything I say is not intended to say anything beyond this: that she was a CIA officer from January 1st, 2002, forward. I will confirm that her association with the CIA was classified at that time through July 2003. And all I'll say is that, look, we have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly, intentionally outed a covert agent. We have not charged that. And so I'm not making that assertion."

In short, Fitz is not claiming that Plame was covert (he's also not saying she wasn't). Fitz is saying that "her association with the CIA was classified." This means that Armitage, Rove and Libby gave classified information to people who were not authorized to receive classified information.

"but you didn't know they were covert"

You are correct to point out that there is a legal issue with regard to the defendants' intention, and whether or not they knew what they were doing. In my opinion, these are probably the issues that were the biggest challenge to Fitz. As I've said, I think the level of available proof is not sufficient to get Rove into jail, but I think it is sufficient to establish that he doesn't belong on any public payroll. Those are two very different standards, for good reason.

"leaking an officer’s name isn’t illegal"

This is an area where some people get confused (I'm not sure if you're one of those people). There was never anything wrong with saying the words "Valerie Plame." And the fact that Valerie Plame was married to Joe Wilson was never a secret. The secret (according to Fitz) was this: Plame worked for the CIA.

I think you're saying that Rove outed Plame (to Cooper), but Rove is off the hook legally unless Fitz can prove that Rove knew Plame's identity as a CIA officer was classified. I think all that is probably correct. However, even if I give Rove the benefit of that doubt, I think anyone that careless shouldn't have a security clearance, and shouldn't be a public employee.

By the way, Rove apparently signed an employment agreement saying this (pdf): "I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information, I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it." In other words, the best thing you can say about Rove is that he failed to follow the simple common-sense stipulations of his employment agreement. Here's how Matt Cooper's lawyer said it: "what is a senior government official doing mentioning CIA individual employee, someone who might be an undercover agent without checking with the agency first to see whether that's appropriate?"

Many, many CIA employees have a classified status. If Rove wasn't sure, he had an obligation to check first. Given how smart he is, I have a hard time believing that he didn't know exactly what he was doing.

Bruce Hayden said...

JB

Your suggestion that the SSCI was partisan is hilarious. Just more left wing spin. The Republicans don't appoint the Democrats there, the Democratic caucus or leadership does. And the Republicans tend to have just one more member than the Democrats do, so that they can win the votes. The Democrats on the committee signed onto the report, just as the Republicans did. It was unanimous. So far, it is the most non-partisan review of the subject matter I have seen. The Republicans were: Roberts, Hatch, DeWine, Bond, Lott, Snowe, Hagel, Chamblis, and Warner. The Democrats were Rockefeller, Levin, Feinstein, Wyden, Bayh, Edwards, and Mikulski, with Frist and Daschle as ex officiao members. Roberts was chair, and Rockefeller co-chair. Note the mix: 9 Republicans and 8 Democrats. If there is anything partisan, it is in the separate "Additional Views" of various members of the SSCI.

BTW, here is a link to the relevant section in the SSCI report. It should give anyone who is starting to buy into jukeboxgrad's spin second thoughts.

jukeboxgrad said...

pogo: "logorrhea ... Manifesto Contra Pogo ... I don't wrestle pigs ... "

As usual, you're a good source of utter nonsense and puerile ad homs. Attempting a substantive statement where you manage to get your facts straight is something I guess you'll work on in your next lifetime.

"Tim McGuire"

Try Tom Maguire. I've been there once or twice.

"the story has been told a hundred times"

Indeed, the lies and distortions I've identified have been told many more times than that.

"You're wrong"

One more in a long series of sweeping claims without a shred of proof. Keep up the good work. The 35% who still think Dubya is doing a heckuva job are very impressed by that sort of thing.

Bruce Hayden said...

jukeboxgrad

I would think that if Rove, Libby, et al. had actually violated any laws when allegedly giving classified info to reporters, that Fitz would have indicted for that. Of course, he didn't.

But maybe that is because classification authority devolves from the President. He can declassify anything he wants, at any time, for whatever reason. And this power has been formally delegated to his VP. So, Rove and Libby working directly for those two, and doing their bidding, most likely were considered covered by that authority.

Note that there is a big difference between this and the NSA leaks. There, the leaks were clearly unauthorized, as compared to Plame's CIA employment, which were likely authorized at the highest levels. And, no, those declassification procedures don't apply to the President and VP.

BTW, the reason that it was somewhat important whether Plame was "covert" was that that is one of the requirements for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (50 U.S.C. §§ 421-426). Without that, Fitz was left with proving the unauthorized disclosure of classified info (18 U.S.C. § 798), which he also could not aparently do. So, he was left with perjury (18 U.S.C. § 1623), Obstruction of Justice (18 U.S.C. § 1503), and Making False Statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2)).

jukeboxgrad said...

syl: "Fitz thought Scooter was the first known 'leaker' so he had to be lying about hearing it from reporters"

Wrong. Your theory makes no sense unless you're willing to completely misrepresent what Fitz actually said in his indictment (pdf). Speaking of Maguire, I explained this almost a year ago, here: "Fitz has about a dozen witnesses pegging Libby as a liar." Most of those witnesses work for the government, not for the press.

In other words, Fitz's main evidence against Libby is not what reporters testified. It's what government employees testified. They testified that they discussed Plame with Libby. Libby had amnesia about these conversations. Funny how that amnesia affected only him, and not the various government witnesses who offered testimony contrary to his.

Aside from all that, you've got the chronology backwards. Armitage leaked to Novak on 7/8/03. Libby leaked to Miller in June (see Fitz's indictment). So notwithstanding the news about Armitage, Libby is still probably "the first known 'leaker' ."

According to Isikoff, Armitage leaked to Woodward in June. However, no date is offered, as far as I know. In other words, there is no basis for you to claim that Armitage leaked to anyone before Libby leaked to Miller.

Everything you said makes complete sense, except for the parts that came straight from your imagination. Unfortunately, that's just about everything.

"A scientist who discovers his theory is wrong rethinks. Fitz did not."

An honest person who posts ridiculous misinformation takes responsibility and apologizes. We'll see what you do.

jukeboxgrad said...

sparky: "since Wilson did go, I think, to be fair, it is at least plausible to assume at a minumum, that she did not submit a memo that said it would be a terrible idea to send Wilson"

Sorry to be so stubborn, but I don't see it quite that way (although I respect your opinion). I think you're presuming that Plame had a fairly strong amount of influence, and I don't see facts to substantiate that. I think the most plausible assumption is that Plame's opinion would have been taken into account to some extent, but that someone else made the decision, with Plame's opinion (pro and/or con) being perhaps a minor factor.

My speculation is not that Plame strongly opposed the idea (of Wilson being asked to accept the assignment). I don't mean to create that impression. My speculation is that Plame, upon request, wrote a memo discussing various pros and cons of the idea (Plame would be a natural person to write such a memo). Every idea has pros and cons. As someone who has seen, sent and received about a zillion corporate memos in my lifetime, I know that it is stunningly typical for a staffer to be asked to write a memo discussing pros and cons. Even memos that strongly advocate a particular course usually acknowledge the downside ("devil's advocate").

We are given one sentence fragment, and the rest of the memo is completely hidden from us, for no apparent reason. I find this highly suspicious.

"much more important ... nobody has explained why Plame's recommendation matters at all ... it's another in the species of smokescreen facts"

No surprise that I agree 100%.

Looking at the situation more broadly, it's also an act of blatant misdirection to promote the asinine idea that we should care more about Wilson's credibility than we do about Bush's.

Gahrie said...

JukeBoxGrad

One thing you keep overlooking is the fact that the CIA has been trying to undermine and discredit this administration since it took office. There has been a flood of leaks, articles and books from the CIA all highly critical of the administration.

I think it's highly plausible that the Plame memo instead reads, "yes we can trust my husband to do a hatchet job on the president" or words to that effect. At least as possible as anything you have postulated.

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "Quoting him praising Wilson over a decade ago means less than nothing to me."

Maybe you would like to consider the following exercise. Find a single example of anyone, especially anyone on the right, saying something bad about Wilson, prior to 7/03. Keep in mind he has had a long and fairly visible career in public service (GHWB would probably not be writing him personal notes, otherwise).

You called Wilson a "third rate political hack." Are you claiming he always was one? If so, it shouldn't be hard to find an example of someone saying so, prior to 7/03.

In the absence of such an example, I think we have to accept what's obvious, that Wilson went from "courageous" and "skillful" (GHWB's words) to "third rate" (your words) in the blink of an eye, by adopting a position contrary to GWB.

By the way, it's nice to know you think "Bush the First was a second bit political hack." Let us know what you think of Novak's one-time writing partner Rowland Evans, who said Wilson showed "the stuff of heroism."

And I guess you think James Baker must also be some kind of idiot. He said this to Wilson: "With deep appreciation for your outstanding service to the nation, and with warmest personal regards."

"The reason the current administration wasted so much time and effort on the third rate hack Wilson is that he and the MSM were colluding to undermine the war effort in Iraq."

Here's something most presidents learn long before they reach office (probably not long after kindergarten): it's a free country, and whatever the president does, there are always going to be people who will criticize him. Some of those people are right. Some of those people are wrong. Some of those people are truthful. Some of those people are liars. It's all part of the ballgame. Why do you hate democracy?

If Bush et al were going to get distracted from the war effort every time someone wrote a column they didn't like, that helps us understand why they did such a poor job running the war.

Of course what's also extremely revealing is that Bush did not respond to Wilson by offering contrary facts with regard to the central issue (i.e., facts which would show that the 16 words were well-founded). On the contrary. Bush responded by withdrawing the 16 words, and by smearing Wilson and Plame by all means possible (and by claiming that Plame sent Wilson, which has nothing to do with the central issue). This tends to create the impression that Bush had no contrary facts to work with, and therefore resorted to blowing lots of smoke. That impression is now more clear than ever.

"The current administration good at P.R.? Please!!!!"

I probably shouldn't say they are great at it. It's more that it's the thing at which they are least incompetent. In any case, it seems to be their highest priority. And they are innovative. I can't remember the last time an aircraft carrier and codpiece were used as theatrical props.

"The economy is purring along, yet everyone thinks we're in a recession."

Things are great for a few at the top. For most everyone else, things suck. If you want to see this expressed in a single graph, it's here.

"By every imaginable measure we are winning in Iraq"

Wow. It's not just that we're winning. It's that we're winning "by every imaginable measure." I'm glad to know that. Let me know when you think we'll be done. Twenty years or do you think it will only take ten? Five times longer than it took us defeat the Axis, or only three times longer?

14 months ago Rummy said this: "That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years." Which of those numbers would you put your money on?

And tell me about the warm fuzzy feeling you get knowing we've installed a leader who won't recognize Israel and who won't condemn Hezbollah. Hmm, maybe that's because of his close ties to Hezbollah: "it would be extraordinary for al-Maliki to rebuke Hezbollah guerrillas, because of his leadership role in the Dawa Party. The Dawa Party in Lebanon merged with Hezbollah in 1983 or 1984."

One more sign that "we are winning in Iraq."

"what 'commercial relations' was Iraq interested in 'expanding' in Niger?"

I addressed that in detail, here. 9/02, 9:11 pm.

Birkel said...

jukeboxgrad sure is married to the meme that this new Armitage information seems to discredit. I wonder why it's so important to him/her.

Is there a psychologist in the house?

Gahrie said...

Why do you hate democracy?


Because it is tyranny by the majority.

The one thing I am most thankful to our Founding Fathers for is that they choose republican government over democratic government.

In fact I will go farther and state that I believe that many of our current ills are caused by our shift over time towards a democracy and away from a republic.

Gahrie said...

By the way, your graph supposes that economics is a zero sum game, so that means if rich people get richer, that must mean that poor people get poorer. That is simply wrong.

1) The graph ignores the fact that the economic pie is getting bigger for everyone, even if it is getting bigger for some people than others. I really wish you leftists would get it through your skulls that economics is not a zero sum game.

2) There are other measurements that matter such as quality of life, and by any measurement, the average American's life is markably better, and getting better all the time.

3) The most meaningful measure is not to compare our economy's current performance to it's performance in the past, but rather to everyone else's current economy.

By the way, class warfare from the left is so hypocritical it's almost amusing. Guess which party the five richest Congressman belong to?

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "[you] don't realize just how much infighting and negotiation it takes to get both parties to agree to a bipartisan report"

The Senate report is over 500 pages long. In my opinion it's highly naive to suggest that Rockefeller et al had the time, energy, motivation or power to make a fuss about every single sentence they had a problem with, including and especially the sentence you're making a fuss about: ("for most analysts, the information lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal").

Aside from that, I don't have much respect for Rockefeller. He's a pushover. If he wasn't, he would be demanding that Roberts fulfill his promises for finishing the report. Long overdue.

By the way, Bush's track record is to quickly publish intelligence information that's favorable to him. One famous example is here. Other examples can be found if you review Libby's long history of leaking information to his trusty stenographer Miller. If Wilson's report actually contains meaningful information backing up the 16 words, it's very hard to understand why the 16 words were quickly withdrawn, and it's equally hard to understand why Wilson's report is still very much under wraps, aside from three words ("expanding commercial relations") which were cherry-picked and placed under a spotlight.

"The idea the Dems, very liberal Dems, guys like Rockefeller, would sign their names onto a report that debunks one of their most valuable talking points in the past five years is one that you're only tossing in a post if you're grasping at straws"

If Wilson's report contains what you claim it does (meaningful information which "lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal"), then Bush could simply leak/declassify Wilson's report and thereby "debunk[s] one of [the D's] most valuable talking points in the past five years." And make Wilson look like an idiot.

The idea that Bush would inexplicably pass up a chance to do this is one that you're only tossing in a post if you're grasping at straws.

"Republican senators have about as much spine as a Humboldt Squid."

I understand your complaint, and I won't disagree. But in this particular battle, Roberts is pushing Rockefeller around. Not the reverse.

jukeboxgrad said...

Bruce: "Your suggestion that the SSCI was partisan is hilarious"

Your suggestion that the SSCI report is truly bipartisan is a kneeslapper. Let me know why Rockefeller hasn't been able to get Roberts to fulfill his commitment to finish the report (a promise made almost 30 months ago). The bottom line is that Roberts has the final say on everything that committee does.

"Note the mix: 9 Republicans and 8 Democrats."

Note the mix: Roberts has the majority, and the final say on everything that committee does.

By the way, here's a pretty good clue that the Senate report shouldn't be taken too seriously. Consider how many times it mentions the Office of Special Plans, "which had been set up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then-deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to develop alternative sources of intelligence," and which apparently had a key role in the intelligence process. Likewise for the White House Iraq Group. The Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq mentions those two entities exactly this many times, in a 500-page report: zero. That seems pretty intelligent, right?

Here's something else about the statement Stephen likes ("for most analysts, [Wilson's] information lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal"), which I assume you also like. The Senate report itself documents multiple examples of the CIA, subsequent to Wilson's report, backing away from the yellowcake allegation. Why would the CIA do this if it was true that "for most analysts, [Wilson's] information lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal?"

Almost a dozen such examples (of the CIA, post-Wilson, backing away from the yellowcake allegation) were assembled here, by Wilson himself.

"here is a link to the relevant section in the SSCI report. It should give anyone who is starting to buy into jukeboxgrad's spin second thoughts"

Nice job being specific. If there's something substantive in there which I haven't already amply addressed, you should let us in on the secret and tell us what it is.

"So far, it is the most non-partisan review of the subject matter I have seen."

I have a feeling you haven't taken a close look at Robb-Silberman. I think in many ways it's far superior.

jukeboxgrad said...

bruce: "So, Rove and Libby working directly for those two [Bush/Cheney], and doing their bidding, most likely were considered covered by that authority ... [the leak of] Plame's CIA employment, [was] likely authorized at the highest levels"

I think you're saying that Rove and Libby outed Plame only after Cheney/Bush specifically declassified Plame's employment status. That's interesting.

It's true that Rove and Libby work for Bush. Last time I checked, the CIA also works for Bush (and Bush ultimately gave a medal to the guy who was in charge, at the time). The CIA asked the DOJ to open a criminal investigation to find out who outed Plame.

Last time I checked, DOJ works for Bush. DOJ asked the FBI to pursue the investigation.

Last time I checked, the FBI works for Bush. The FBI pursued the investigation.

I guess your claim is that Bush had already declassified Plame's employment status, but that the fact of this declassification was highly classified, and couldn't be shared with CIA, DOJ, or FBI.

It also couldn't be shared with the public, which is why Bush went through the elaborate charade of saying all this: "If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is ... If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of. ... I welcome the investigation. I am absolutely confident the Justice Department will do a good job. ... I want to know the truth ... Leaks of classified information are bad things." He added that he did not know of "anybody in my administration who leaked classified information."

Makes sense, right?

"the reason that it was somewhat important whether Plame was 'covert' ... "

I know. Somewhat important from a legalistic perspective. Not particularly important from the perspective of a taxpayer who is trying to decide whether or not Rove deserves to continue to get a federal paycheck. Or from the perspective of a citizen who is trying to decide if this White House has been telling this story honestly.

"So, he was left with perjury ..., Obstruction of Justice ..., and Making False Statements ... ."

Yes, just a few little things that you suggested are "petty crimes."

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "the CIA has been trying to undermine and discredit this administration since it took office"

And that's exactly why Bush handed Tenet a medal, right? Makes perfect sense, like so many other statements I'm reading in this thread.

By the way, I'm really confused about this part. I thought it was the CIA's fault that we all ended up with a grossly exaggerated picture of Saddam's WMD arsenal (this seems to be a major premise of the Senate report). Is this something the CIA did "to undermine and discredit this administration?"

It's enough to make one's head spin, because "the CIA had been battered for 30 years by accusations from the right that it was soft on the Soviets, soft on the Chinese and most recently soft on Saddam."

Let's see. Before the invasion, the right complained that the CIA was too soft on Saddam. After the invasion, the right complained that the CIA was too hard on Saddam. And all this is a clever plot by the CIA "to undermine and discredit this administration," and not a transparent attempt by this administration to hide behind a convenient scapegoat.

Let me know if I'm on the right track.

"There has been a flood of leaks, articles and books from the CIA all highly critical of the administration."

Maybe you should consider the possibility that certain people are "highly critical of the administration" as a direct result of personally witnessing all sorts of outrageous shenanigans.

Maybe you should also contemplate something important which these people understand: patriotism means loyalty to country, not loyalty to a party or a person.

"yes we can trust my husband to do a hatchet job on the president"

Yes, and it makes perfect sense that Bush would hand a medal to the guy who was presiding over the hatchet job. Very logical.

jukeboxgrad said...

birkel: "I wonder why it's so important to him/her."

Here's what's important to me: using evidence to separate fact from fiction. If you're in a position to contribute to that process, there's no time like the present. On the other hand, if you have no interest in such a quaint undertaking, I suggest you ignore every word I say.

"is there a psychologist in the house?"

If you can find one, maybe they can help you understand the folks who think sophomoric ad homs are a substitute for substance. I notice a few around these parts.

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "economics is not a zero sum game"

You're having some trouble keeping track of the difference between what's possible and what is. You are correct to point out that economics is not necessarily a zero-sum game. Trouble is, in certain places and times (like right here, right now) it is mostly a zero-sum game.

"the economic pie is getting bigger for everyone"

That statement came from the same place you got this one: "by every imaginable measure we are winning in Iraq." That is, your imagination.

Yes, you can claim "the economic pie is getting bigger for everyone," provided you invent your own facts. And ignore various inconvenient realities. Here's an example: "The nation's poverty rate was essentially unchanged last year, the first year it hasn't increased since before President Bush took office ... The last decline in the poverty rate was in 2000, during the Clinton administration, when it dropped to 11.3 percent."

Here's another example: "the number of people without health insurance increased to 46.6 million in 2005. About 45.3 million people were without insurance the year before."

Here's another example: "Bush still has the worst record of job creation of any expansion in the last 40 years."

Here's another example: "With the economy beginning to slow, the current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages for most workers ... The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation ... wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s."

"by any measurement, the average American's life is markably better, and getting better all the time"

You sound like Baghdad Bob.

"The most meaningful measure is not to compare our economy's current performance to it's performance in the past, but rather to everyone else's current economy."

I suppose that's a reasonable perspective. So I guess you need to deal with this: "Numbers show a second-rate US ... by some measures, the US is a second-rate industrial nation - at best. ... In terms of the percent of its population living at or below the poverty line, for instance, the US ranks worst among 16 wealthy countries ... As for child poverty, the US also sits on the bottom ... The US spends more on healthcare per capita than any other rich nation. ... For all that spending, the life expectancy in America shares with Denmark the bottom ranking out of 16 wealthy countries. Denmark spends about half as much per capita as the US does."

"Guess which party the five richest Congressman belong to?"

For various reasons it's notoriously difficult to summarize and compare congressional financial disclosure forms. Therefore I'm interested in knowing what your source is. My curiosity is also enhanced by the fact that you have repeatedly made a variety of fanciful statements without offering a shred of proof.

By the way, our system discourages non-rich people from holding office. That's a problem, but it's a bipartisan problem.

Aside from that, how much money a congressman has is infinitely less important than his level of personal commitment to creating the kind of society you falsely claim we already have: a society that is not a zero-sum game, economically.

"class warfare"

Unfortunately, class warfare is what we have, and it's being waged from the right.

Gahrie said...

JukeBoxGrad:

I have finally figured out your problem, and it is a BIG one. Apparently you think DailyKos is a NEWS site.

That says all that needs to be said.

If Pres. Bush gave every person in this country 100 lbs of gold, DailyKos would complain about all the hernias he caused.

Pogo said...

Gahrie, don't bother. His method is to overwhelm you with print, and your objections are described either as dishonesty or idiocy. He prefers not debate, but submission. He desires not 'proof', for he will simply dump a few random quotes from Kos or the Dem house organ NYTimes in response, and reject or ridicule whatever you offer.

For example, the CS Monitor quote on "the US is a second-rate industrial nation ... In terms of the percent ... living at or below the poverty line...the US ranks worst among 16 wealthy countries" is laughably stupid in many respects.

But an adequate rebuttal requires great length and is terribly far off topic (his usual highjacking). The answer is quite complex, of course, but since I know ahead of time that posting a response merely generates more posts which never cede a jot of soil, count it pointless.

Feed him not.
And be sure his answer to me will be "liar" or "dishonest" or "stupid" or "ad hominem" or something dull and DU-like.

(And I still say Steven King was in on the Plame leak.)

Stephen said...

"The Senate report is over 500 pages long. In my opinion it's highly naive to suggest that Rockefeller et al had the time, energy, motivation or power to make a fuss about every single sentence they had a problem with, including and especially the sentence you're making a fuss about: ("for most analysts, the information lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal")."

Again, these are put together over a period of months. This is not something that a Senator saw for the first time at 2:00 in the morning and had to sign by the next day. JB, I want to avoid sounding like hdhouse here, I'll try to avoid ad homs. [I should have avoided them more here] but grab a few neutral sites online about the recent history of bipartisan reports, print em out, read what it takes to get one, and you'll realize just how ridiculous this all is. You just don’t know much about the process of putting one together. I’m sorry, it’s a dick thing for me to say, but it’s hard to put it simpler than that.

Where is the outcry from the Dems that they were forced to sign this thing? Where are the complaints "no, Wilson's really a good guy?" John Edwards? Carl Levin? Dianne Feinstein? Ron Wyden? All of them on the Committee?

One part of the sentence “If you're claiming that the Ds on this committee have any power (or guts)” answers the other “then you need to explain why the report is still unfinished, years later." It contradicts the whole idea this was done by fiat. What they’ve agreed to, however, is here.

If somebody's reading a thread on Althouse, my guess is they are familiar with this, so no matter how vigorous of a defense you’re able to give, and I’m sure you’re able to give one, it makes it a moot point. This can go on for 100 posts, but most of the people reading this are familiar with what it takes to put together a bipartisan report, and that makes arguments over it (whoever is right) futile. It's Sunday on a Labor Day weekend and I'm sure neither of us want to spend it at a computer, let’s not.

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "Apparently you think DailyKos is a NEWS site."

Not exactly. It's a blog, the biggest one in the world. But I'd love to know which "NEWS site" told you that "the economic pie is getting bigger for everyone" and "by every imaginable measure we are winning in Iraq," It would take a source somewhere to the right of Power Line come up with deep thoughts like that. GOP.com, maybe?

Speaking of deep thoughts, I'd like to ask again that you provide your source for this: "Guess which party the five richest Congressman belong to?"

You've made many nonsensical statements that I won't bother asking you to prove, because I know you can't. In this particular instance, I'm considering the remote possibility that you pulled this information from somewhere other than your hat.

Then again, since you ignored the question, I should consider the possibility that I'm wrong, and that I'm giving you more credit than you deserve.

"If Pres. Bush gave every person in this country 100 lbs of gold, DailyKos would complain about all the hernias he caused."

If video emerged of Bush in the oval office with a needle in his arm sodomizing a nun while strangling a kitten and giving Satan a blowjob, you would find a way to blame the whole thing on Clinton, the CIA, the liberal media, and the traitors who leaked the video.

Aside from that, your gold-giveaway concept reminds me of this: the war has now cost us roughly twelve grand for every man, woman and child in Iraq. Virtually everyone involved (with the exception of certain groups, like Halliburton shareholders and the AQ recruiting committee) would be better off if we had just dropped the cash from airplanes.

Then again, we've lost literally hundreds of tons of cash there, so maybe we have actually been throwing it out of airplanes.

jukeboxgrad said...

pogo: "your objections are described either as dishonesty or idiocy"

Uh, what happened here is not that I "described" you as dishonest. I proved it, beyond any sane concept of reasonable doubt. Then again, I realize that "proof" is a foreign concept for you.

"he will simply dump a few random quotes from Kos or the Dem house organ NYTimes in response"

Uh, out of roughly three dozen links I've provided in this thread, exactly three are from those sources. So as usual, your statements have at best only a vague connection with reality.

Then again, I realize you don't believe anything unless Rush told you to.

"an adequate rebuttal requires great length"

Not exactly. It simply requires a willingness to apply facts and reasoning in an honest manner. A process you're apparently determined to avoid, at all costs.

tjl said...

Looking over the last dozen or so posts, I note the following:
Jukeboxgrad does not suffer from writer's block;
Jukeboxgrad needs to get out more, particularly between the hours of 1 and 5 a.m.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "these are put together over a period of months"

In this case, they worked on it for a year. In that time, they interviewed about 200 people and reviewed 30,000 pages of documents (source). That's a big job, and I think it's the height of naivete to suggest that there was opportunity or motivation to make sure that every single sentence (like this one: "for most analysts, [Wilson's] information lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal") met with bipartisan approval.

You also insist on ignoring this central fact: when there was a disagreement, Roberts ultimately called the shots, because he has the majority.

Also, you (and no one else) has lifted a finger to even attempt to explain why Wilson's report is still under wraps, if it indeed contains more than three words that are remotely favorable to Bush.

"Where is the outcry from the Dems that they were forced to sign this thing?"

I'll be the first to tell you that many of the Ds currently in congress are ignorant wimps.

"One part of the sentence ... answers the other"

This is pretty cryptic, but I think you're trying to say that Phase II is still undone because Ds don't want to get it done. That's absurd, and exactly the opposite of reality. Roberts runs the committee. If he wanted Phase II done, it would be done.

The GOP is trying to have it both ways: to be in charge, and to still pretend that the problems it creates (like failing to make good on the promise to complete Phase II) are the responsibility of all sorts of folks who aren't in charge (Dems, reporters, leakers, immigrants, gay people, atheists, imaginary flag burners, you name it). That dog is no longer hunting.

Pogo said...

Again, JB, despite your penchant for logorrhea, you could use a nice dictionary. Unless you're just a confabulist.

Face it, Wilson's been exposed and even the WaPo admitted it. Fitz had nothing, and has nothing. Your side chased this one for months and months for nothing. Nada. Zip. It's not pining for the fjords; this is a dead parrot.

What say you admit it, that the left was (gasp) wrong in this one instance?

Gahrie said...

If video emerged of Bush in the oval office with a needle in his arm sodomizing a nun while strangling a kitten and giving Satan a blowjob, you would find a way to blame the whole thing on Clinton, the CIA, the liberal media, and the traitors who leaked the video.


Actually, no. I've never been a fan of either Pres. Bush. I oppose their policies in many areas, most importantly immigration and federal spending. However, I am forced to support the current president (and his father before him) simply because the alternative would be so much worse.

Gahrie said...

By the way, my information about the wealth of Congressmen comes from Rollcall.

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

JB,

You just have no idea what you're talking about. I'm sorry, I can't put it simpler than that.

When you have to make stuff up as you go along to continue posting, you should just quit posting on a subject. There is no evidence whatsoever that Roberts called all the shots here. This is not how a bipartisan report that a Committee puts together works. It's not how you get one, ever.

500 pages is not a lot of reading for an entire year. Every bit of a major bipartisan Senate intelligence report is examined, always, and the chances that one of the Senators didn't know what this report said about the Wilson report are less than the Pope announcing tomorrow that he's become a Wiccan or Donald Rumsfeld announcing he surrendered to Al Qaeda. I promise right here to pay you $100 if you can find me one of them saying they didn't know this.

If it were just a report by Roberts, there would be no need for the Republicans to put out a report with their own conclusions that the other side didn't agree to, they'd merely put out this report and that would be it.

For that matter, the Democrats would put out their own separate conclusions in which they recanted what they said. There's nothing stopping them from doing it today. They didn't say "wait a minute, what we said about Wilson was wrong." Edwards, Feinstein, Wyden, Rockefeller, Levin, and Durbin (Dick Durbin for crying out loud) could come out and say it today. They aren't.

EDIT:
Dick Durbin is a guy who is willing to say:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

But he signed on to the report and isn't recanting here out of gutlessness?

JoeOlson said...

Now that everyone has had a chance to talk about, Clinton, Reagan, and Fitzy, lets get into the real issue: is it even constitutional to have a special prosecutor? How can the administrative branch delegate its authority to a lawyer who is not responsible to anyone? Further, how can congress delegate its authority to investigate the administration to the administration? Lots of separation of power problems here.

Ann Althouse said...

JoeOlsen: The Supreme Court rejected those challenges in Morrison v. Olson. You'd probably enjoy the Scalia dissent.

jukeboxgrad said...

pogo: "logorrhea ... confabulist ... fjords"

That's two "logorrhea's" from you in one thread. I think you're over your quota.

Here's an idea. Put less effort into being pseudo-erudite and more effort into being truthful. It matters more.

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "Rollcall"

Thanks for answering my question. Rollcall produced a list (subscribers only) of the 50 richest congressmen (measured by wealth, not income).

Yes, I see that the 5 richest congressmen are all Ds: Kerry, Corzine, Rockefeller, Kohl and Harman (four Senators and a Rep.). They're all loaded. What's interesting is to notice the rest of the list: it's mostly Rs. In fact, the list overall is 64% R (Congress overall is about 54% R). In other words, while there is a handful of very rich Ds, the overall list tends to indicate that a rich congressmen is more likely an R than a D.

For some reason, the disproportion is more pronounced in the House. According to this list, 72% of the richest Reps. are Rs, even though Rs are only about 54% of the House.

I'm not sure exactly what point you were trying to make by cherry-picking the top 5, but the list overall tends to indicate the opposite point. The fact that you kept your source to yourself until after I asked you twice tends to create the impression that you hoped your cherry-picking would go unnoticed.

ChrisO said...

Stephen

I'm sorry, but it is you who doesn't know what he's talking about. Do you recall Senator Reid shutting down the Senate for an afternoon several months ago? Do you recall his reason? It was because Pat Roberts refuses to undertake the second phase of the committee's report, which has the potential to be embarrassing to the Bush administration. Are you suggesting that the Democrats are going along with his decision, or is it perhaps a fact that Roberts has the power, as chairman, to determine the course of the investigation, no matter what the Democrats think?

As far as the "bipartisan report" that everyone is so fond of hyping, I'm guessing that most of you haven't read Pat Robert's addendum to the report. "Despite our hard and successful work to deliver a unanimous report, however, there were two issues on which the Republicans and Democrats could not agree: 1) whether the Committee should conclude that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's public statements were not based on information he actually possessed, and 2) whether the Committee should conclude that it was the former ambassador's wife who recommended him for his trip to Niger."

Since everyone seems to ignore that, let me make it clear. The "bipartisan" section of the report did not conclude that Wilson was lying, and it did not conclude that Wilson's wife sent him on the trip. Sue Schmidt of the Washington Post wrote an article based on her hurried reading of the report that failed to note that fact, and her article lives forever on the Internet, to be cited repeatedly by Bush apologists, despite the fact that the Washington Post corrected it the next day. Here's a relevant quote from her article (subheadlined "Report Disputes Wilson's Claims on Trip, Wife's Role"): "Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report."

Now it doesn't mean that no article in the Post can be trusted, but it does mean that Schmidt's reporting on this subject is suspect, to say the least. And by the way, the right treats it as a given that the NY Times and Washington Post are mouthpieces for the left, and therefore any opinion they publish undermining a left-oriented claim is somehow an admission of error by leftists everywhere. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it just ain't so, and despite the often successful efforts by the right to make the media a convenient punching bag, those two rags don't speak for me. Especially when they're cheerleading for the war, and printing spoonfed articles from the administration about weapons of mass destruction. Thee publications are neither right nor left: they are lapdogs to power. When the power all resided with Bush, they didn't dare rock the boat. I'd like to hear some examples of tough questions the media asked the administration prior to 2005. The same goes for Clinton. The press was pretty easy on him early in his administration. But when he was really on the defensive, they turned on him in a pack, doing incredibly dishonest and inflammatory reporting on the Whitewater affair.

Underlying all of this is the fact that the right has latched onto the Armitage story as "proof" that there is no Libby/Rove connection in the Plame case, and further, that Fitzgerald's pursuit of his investigation when he knew about Armitage amounts to prosecutorial misconduct. This falls under the heading of saying something often enough in the hopes that it will become conventional wisdom. First, if Armitage was the leaker to Novak, that does not make him autopmatically the only leaker, since it has already been clearly established that both Rove and Libby discussed Plame's role in the CIA with reporters. And I have yet to see it alleged that they did so because Armitage had let the cat out of the bag, so they thought it was OK. Stephen's wholly unsupported notion that it was in the DC "gossip mill" is nothing more than wishful thinking. The fact remains that Armitage only knew about Plame's identity because of a secret report the administration compiled that identified her. Now the right wants to portray him as some sort of lone gunman who's actions were completely independent from anyone else in the administration.

As for the report's conclusion that Plame sent Wilson to Niger, it's interesting that the only testimony that Plame sent Wilson on the trip came from State Department sources who don't work for the agency and are not in the chain of command. They made this assumption(now taken as an act of faith by the right) from what transpired in meetings after Wilson returned. Hardly the most credible sources.

As for the constant refrain that Iraq could have had no other reason for wanting to open commercial talks with Niger, the fact that we can't think of a reason doesn't mean the logical next step is to simply assume it must have been about yellowcake, and then report it as fact. If we're playing that game, I would ask why Iraq wanted yellowcake from Niger when 1) it would have been nearly impossible to transport it 2) they had no nuclealr weapon development program and 3) they already had 500 tons of yellowcake that they couldn't use.

And a special note to Pogo: What an a-hole you are. There's a lot of back and forth on this thread, and a lot of it comes down to who you choose to believe, but most people make an honest effort to present their thoughts. Then you occasionally drop in with your arrogant, sneering posts, declaring victory for your side and belittling those you disagree with. There's only one thing missing: any attempt at putting together a coherent argument. Your pathetic statements that you won't provide any support for your arguments because they will just be ignored is a transparent attempt to cover for the fact that you clearly don't have the mental capacity to sift through the facts and presant a coherent argument. What a waste of pixels.

Stephen said...

"I'm sorry, but it is you who doesn't know what he's talking about. Do you recall Senator Reid shutting down the Senate for an afternoon several months ago? Do you recall his reason? It was because Pat Roberts refuses to undertake the second phase of the committee's report, which has the potential to be embarrassing to the Bush administration. Are you suggesting that the Democrats are going along with his decision, or is it perhaps a fact that Roberts has the power, as chairman, to determine the course of the investigation, no matter what the Democrats think?"

No Chris, I'm suggesting the Democrats weren't powerless in making the first report and it wasn't done by Roberts' fiat, but only completed when they agreed to it.

Why in the name of god have both you and JB brought up this point as if it contradicts the above statement?

It proves the point.

It goes directly to it.

The Democrats can argue all they want over admitting this, given JB's propensity I wouldn't count on an "I was wrong" anytime soon. To expect them to say explicitly "one of our chief talking points of the past five years wasn't true" is a little much, but they've done everything but that.

If you had read this report, at all, you'd realize just how anti-Bush it was. This is the report that says the CIA intelligence before the war was hyped. This says there was not a good reason to believe it. This is what is being put forth by both you and JB as merely being a rubber-stamped Republican report and you wouldn't say this if either of you had read the report or had any familiarity with what it takes to get a bipartisan report put together.

Stephen said...

"Stephen's wholly unsupported notion that it was in the DC "gossip mill" is nothing more than wishful thinking"

Dear God man, how often do I have to repeat myself?

"(Supposedly (and, nah, I'm not in it so all I can say is "supposedly")"

I don't know why I even bother putting caveats if you'll overlook them to pick a fight I'm not even interested in.

Pogo said...

re: "And a special note to Pogo: What an a-hole you are."

Come on, ChrisO, don't be a prude. I know you can spell it out.

Really, there isn't much point in such back and forth. You seem to like it, and that's fine. Me, I have better things to do. You can call it arrogance if you wish, I prefer to call it prudence.

Why waste words on JBG? He can't even admit that Wilson was less than truthful. Can't admit that even the WaPo has given up the ghost on this. Fitz got nothing. Nothing. Admit it? Not him.

Calling me an ass doesn't improve your argument, for the scene shifts now from "whodunnit" to "who cares?" All your paragraphs aside, and they will be set aside, the next step involves Fitz looking embarrassed as the Libby case gets destroyed in court.

Well, at least I'll enjoy it.

Pogo said...

Re: "...any attempt at putting together a coherent argument."

Oh, and P.S.: Logic and argumentation indeed have their place, but their use presupposes discussants rather than combatants.

This topic, much like any subject pertaining to Bush, has dichotomized into two fronts, and the trenches have not budged an inch in years.

Really ChrisO, you're not going to alter my view that Wilson is a traitor and mendacious beyond repair, and I'll not mend your opinion that Bush [fill in epithet here]. So why bother?

So I post agin' folks like you just to remind you there is another side. If it were a debate where one of us might admit to some larnin', I'd change tactics. But such is not the case.

So calm down with the junior high name-calling. it's beneath you.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "When you have to make stuff up"

I'm impressed by the number of examples you've proven: zero.

"There is no evidence whatsoever that Roberts called all the shots here."

The fact that Roberts' party has a majority on the committee definitely qualifies as an example of "evidence whatsoever" that Roberts had the final say in settling disputes. Not to mention the fact that Rockefeller is a pushover and Roberts isn't.

"500 pages is not a lot of reading for an entire year."

Nice job ignoring the fact that they were also dealing with 30,000 pages provided by the IC as well as interviews with 200 witnesses. That's a lot of work for a year, even for our super-human (and rich) senators.

"Every bit of a major bipartisan Senate intelligence report is examined, always"

Naturally. And you probably also believe that every congressman read the Patriot Act before they passed it. And you probably think that Congress carefully considered the 92-page NIE before they voted on AUMF in 10/02 (the reality is that "no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary").

Your faith in our hard-working members is quaint, touching, and unfounded.

"the chances that one of the Senators didn't know what this report said about the Wilson report"

My point is not just that they might not have noticed this one sentence (although I think that's part of the picture). My point is that they needed to not only notice the sentence, but also have the knowledge, motivation and power to successfully fight for a change to this particular sentence, when there were 500 pages of other sentences that were also potentially important and controversial. For whatever reasons, good or bad, the Ds on the committee decided to put their time and energy into dealing with battles other than this one.

By the way, please remember that when the report was issued in 7/04, the Plame investigation was just several months old, and did not have nearly the news impact it accumulated over the subsequent two years. It's 20/20 hindsight to suggest that Rockefeller et al should have anticipated that folks like you would make a big fuss about this one sentence in 2006.

"Edwards [et al] could come out and say it today. They aren't."

Yes (except they would look like idiots, because an effective response would be "why didn't you speak up forcefully at the time"). And any day now Bush could pull Wilson's report out of the bottom of his desk and let us all see how it's crammed full of information that "lent more credibility to the original [CIA] reports on the uranium deal." Bush's track record of using classified information for political advantage makes it clear that there must be a very good reason why he's keeping Wilson's report well-hidden, even now, when he can afford to leave no stone unturned that might help save his party's butt on 11/7. Nice job ignoring this point.

And nice job not bothering to explain why Bush would withdraw the 16 words if it was in fact true that Wilson's report "lent more credibility to the original [CIA] reports on the uranium deal."

And nice job not bothering to explain why there are about a dozen examples (documented in the Senate report itself) of the CIA backpedaling on the yellowcake allegation, subsequent to Wilson's report (and of course the 16 words ended up in the SOTU despite all that CIA backpedaling). This makes no sense whatsover if it was in fact true that Wilson's report "lent more credibility to the original [CIA] reports on the uranium deal."

And here's another one. When the White House went into overdrive to counter Wilson's oped, they could have made this very simple and obvious statement: Wilson's report "lent more credibility to the original [CIA] reports on the uranium deal." And they could have shown us Wilson's report, to let us see for ourselves. This would have silenced Wilson pretty quickly, and put the matter to rest in a manner that would not have created lots of work for Fitzgerald, who has other important things to do. But they most definitely did not do that. Instead, they engaged in a covert campaign to discredit Wilson by suggesting he can't get a job without Val's help. This approach made no sense whatsover if it was in fact true that Wilson's report "lent more credibility to the original [CIA] reports on the uranium deal."

If Wilson's report had indeed contained substantive information helpful to Bush, then that information would have been the focus of the White House pushback against Wilson. Instead, the focus was extraneous information about the guy's wife. The White House resorted to this approach even though it was potentially self-destructive. It wasn't much, but it was all they had. This is pretty revealing.

And here's another one. According to Robb-Silberman, in the absence of the forged documents, "there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Iraq had recently sought uranium from Africa." But what about the crucial information reported by Wilson, the information which "lent more credibility to the original [CIA] reports on the uranium deal?" Obviously R-S was not very impressed by that alleged information. Why are you?

One more thing about "expanding commercial relations." R-S reports "a visit to Iraq by a Nigerien minister to discuss Nigerien purchases of oil from Iraq ... [this deal was] cash in exchange for petroleum." This deal is documented "by a crude oil contract, dated June 26, 2001, recovered by the ISG." So much for the specious idea, cited repeatedly by Wilson's attackers, that the only possible form of trade between these two countries would be yellowcake (and therefore there is only one possible interpretation of the words "expanding commercial relations").

You are repeatedly describing your faith in the ostensible perfect thoroughness and collegiality of senate committees, while completely ignoring these other important issues. This tends to create the impression that you're more of a demagogue than an investigator.

"But he signed on to the report and isn't recanting here out of gutlessness?"

Not out of gutlessness. Out of realizing that he'll look like an idiot, because he'll have no good answer when he's asked why he didn't complain at the time.

Another reason for him to not speak up now is because there's not much need. As I've explained, there are numerous indications that Wilson's report does not say what you claim it says. This is evident whether or not Durbin et al speak up.

Stephen said...

JB, is there another language that uses English words, but for which they have different meaning?

That’s my chief theory here.

-----

You do not know the basics of how a committee works.

"The fact that Roberts' party has a majority on the committee definitely qualifies as an example of "evidence whatsoever" that Roberts had the final say in settling disputes. Not to mention the fact that Rockefeller is a pushover and Roberts isn't.

Here, I'll help you-

This was a unanimous report.

Let me emphasize that word: unanimous

A unanimous report requires more than a majority, it requires all.

If a person wants to control the content of a unanimous report, but only controls a majority, they will find this tough to do.

Here, for instance, this is why you and Chris are saying Roberts does not want to go to the second phase of the report-

“Because it would embarrass Bush”

Ok,

Now let me try to calm down for a second.

. . .

Why the #@$% would the report embarrass Bush if Roberts controls what the report says?

----------

If you argued off hand in a post that the Sun rose in the West, and I disagreed, I’m sure it would lead to 100 posts on why this wasn’t true.

JB, not only are you not willing to admit you’re wrong, you’re willing to fabricate stuff out of thin air (how a Senate Committee works) and then defend it. Let me repeat:

You haven’t the slightest idea.

This is becoming sociopathic. This is Baron von Munchausen territory.

This is taking up a position “you need a majority” and then determining it’s up to other people to prove you wrong when you’re backing for this idea rests solely on the basis you thought it up a couple hours ago. To sum up--you address no arguments in a manner even in the most distant orbit of good faith and stringing together a collection of theories about how the federal government works in an alternate universe takes as much skill as saying “I know you are, but what am I.”

Seven Machos said...

I just want to add that I argued with Jukeboxgrad what seems like years ago at another site over this very seame topic. He was a nut then and he is a nut now. But, juke, when are you going to give up the ghost: a State Department gossip who hates the "neocons" started this whole thing.

It's over. That's the end of the story. You were and are wrong about virtually everything. Everything

Stephen said...

In fairness, I probably should have known better by now.

Sorry

tjl said...

Stephen said, "This is becoming sociopathic."

How right you are.

Pogo said...

So, ChrisO, given these posts, where's my apology?

Only kidding; just yankin' yer chain.

jukeboxgrad said...

chris: "Pat Robert's addendum"

Thanks for this important point. I had overlooked this, along with lots of other people.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "Why in the name of god have both you and JB brought up this point as if it contradicts the above statement?"

You're being completely incoherent. I have no idea what you're trying to say.

"given JB's propensity I wouldn't count on an 'I was wrong' anytime soon"

If you look around for my posts in various places over the last few years, you'll find that I say "I was wrong" exactly 100% of the time that I am shown to be wrong.

"To expect them to say explicitly 'one of our chief talking points of the past five years wasn't true' is a little much"

I wish you'd say what "chief talking point" you have in mind, and I wish you would show your proof that it "wasn't true."

"If you had read this report, at all, you'd realize just how anti-Bush it was"

Calling the report "anti-Bush" is quite a stretch. But to the extent that the report contains some information that's "anti-Bush," that's because the underlying reality of the situation is "anti-Bush." Even though politicians do the best they can to deny reality, there's only so much they can get away with.

"This is the report that says the CIA intelligence before the war was hyped. This says there was not a good reason to believe it."

Really? I wonder if we're talking about the same report. To the extent the report says intel was "hyped," it tells us it was hyped by the CIA, not by Bush. How Bush handled the information is famously being deferred until Phase II, which is currently 30 months late.

To the extent the report tells us "there was not a good reason to believe it," it's telling us the CIA didn't have good reason to believe what it was saying. It is certainly not telling us that Bush hyped what he heard, or that he had good reason to not believe certain things he heard.

The general interpretation of the report is to shift blame away from Bush and onto the CIA (exactly the opposite of what you claim):

Safire, NYT, 7/14/04: "The salient news in the ... report is this: all you have been hearing about 'he lied to us' and 'they cooked the books' is a lot of partisan nonsense. The ... report concluded this: Nobody in the White House or the Pentagon pressured the C.I.A. to change an intelligence analysis to conform to the judgment that the world would be a safer place with the monstrous Saddam overthrown."

I guess that's your idea of "anti-Bush."

Here's how the liberal PBS summarized the report: "The Senate ... released a report Friday highly critical of the CIA and other intelligence agencies for failures in their analysis of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs."

I guess that's your idea of "anti-Bush."

Here's the NPR version: "Senate Report Prompts Calls For CIA Reform ... The Senate ... takes sharp aim at the CIA, citing numerous examples of faulty intelligence as the Bush administration and Congress made the decision to go to war in Iraq. A main conclusion ... is that the CIA overstated the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and ignored evidence to the contrary."

I guess that's your idea of "anti-Bush."

Here's the CBS version: "CIA Blasted For Iraq Intel Flaws ... The key U.S. assertions leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq ... were wrong and based on false or overstated CIA analyses, a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report ... asserts."

I guess that's your idea of "anti-Bush."

Here's USA Today: "Iraq report focuses blame on CIA"

I guess that's your idea of "anti-Bush."

There's more, but that's plenty.

Your claim, that report was generally anti-Bush, or was perceived as such, is pure nonsense. The people who wrote the report and the people who wrote about the report did the best possible job, from Bush's perspective. They all presented Bush as a passive, innocent victim of shoddy work by the IC.

Maybe you would enjoy the following exercise: find a single example of a major media outlet claiming the report primarily blames Bush, rather than the CIA.

"you wouldn't say this if either of you had read the report"

If there's a passage in the report that comes remotely close to saying what you claim (that it was Bush, not the CIA, that hyped intel) I certainly can't find it. You should let us in on the secret and tell us where it is.

Gahrie said...

Sorry guys, I simply can't help myself....

R-S reports "a visit to Iraq by a Nigerien minister to discuss Nigerien purchases of oil from Iraq ... [this deal was] cash in exchange for petroleum." This deal is documented "by a crude oil contract, dated June 26, 2001, recovered by the ISG.

Just for the hell of it....where exactly was Niger supposed to get the cash to pay for this oil and what the hell where they going to do with it if they got it?

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "how often do I have to repeat myself"

Here's an idea. Instead of just repeating what you've said, try offering some proof.

Here's another idea. Instead of just repeating what you've said, try responding to various points you seem determined to ignore.

"I don't know why I even bother putting caveats if you'll overlook them"

I thought I thoroughly addressed this here, over 24 hours ago. Maybe you missed it.

I explained that I didn't overlook your caveat. However, I can see that you not only overlooked my caveat ("lots of people") but also overlooked my reminding you of my caveat. And maybe you'll also overlook this, where I remind you that I reminded you of my caveat. Follow all that?

Stephen said...

JB,

1. Re: the caveat, I was responding to Chris, not you.

2. Re: the Report, it said the intelligence was wrong. This means the Iraq War's official premise WMDs, was wrong.

It means Bush's war's official premise was wrong.

The fact that it does not also say Bush should be hanged, but also lays the blame elsewhere does not change the fact it's anti-Bush.

3. If a guy decides to argue with a sociopath and they get in a fight, you don't blame the sociopath--it's the guy's fault. I'm out.

jukeboxgrad said...

pogo: "I have better things to do."

Really? Then why aren't you doing them?

It seems that you're threatening to leave. Promises, promises.

"He can't even admit that Wilson was less than truthful."

I always appreciate a chance to learn something new. I'll happily admit that Wilson was less than truthful as soon as you or anyone else present proof that he was less than truthful. I'm quite familiar with the non-proof. There's no shortage of it, just like there's no shortage of dog shit in the park.

And speaking of dog shit, it's hysterically funny to hear you of all people talk about "less than truthful," since you're utterly full of it.

"discussants ... dichotomized ... agin' ... larnin' "

Do you have more affected personas up your sleeve? Two seems like hardly enough.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "is there another language that uses English words, but for which they have different meaning? That’s my chief theory here."

Sorry, but you're being incoherent again.

"A unanimous report requires more than a majority, it requires all."

A "unanimous report," in this particular situation, requires only someone like Roberts who is willing to twist arms, and someone like Rockefeller who is not very good at twisting back, especially when the majority belongs to Roberts.

"Why the #@$% would the report [Phase II] embarrass Bush if Roberts controls what the report says?"

Given that the public and the press is somewhat more awake than it was three years ago, even Roberts could not get away with presenting a complete work of fiction. Trouble is, Phase II would fail to be a major embarrassment to Bush only if it was a complete work of fiction. This is why Phase II is 30 months late, and nowhere to be found. I think we'll see Phase II right around the time that "coalition forces" finally secure the road between Baghdad and the airport.

"you’re willing to fabricate stuff out of thin air (how a Senate Committee works)"

Uh, I actually showed proof (NIE/AUMF) that Congress handles important business with its eyes shut. Still waiting for you to show an iota of proof to back up your fanciful junior-high-civics-class concept of "how a Senate Committee works."

You're also doing a great job of pretending I didn't mention several other major reasons to take the Senate report (and one sentence in particular) with a big grain of salt.

jukeboxgrad said...

seven: "You were and are wrong about virtually everything."

I appreciate the reverse endorsement, if you know what I mean. I also notice you sustaining your old tradition of showing lots of proof to back up your sweeping pronouncements.

Speaking of being wrong, I wonder if you remember saying this: "The important thing is that Iraq isn't supporting terror any more."

Did you notice that our new main man there has close ties to Hezbollah, and therefore it's no surprise that he refuses to condemn Hezbollah? Then again, al-Maliki wasn't actually wearing a Hezbollah lapel pin when he stood next to Bush at the press conference, so this might be enough to reassure you that "Iraq isn't supporting terror any more."

Hmm, let's see. We removed a secular thug who is an enemy of Israel in order to replace him with a Islamicist thug who is an enemy of Israel. Smart move, right?

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "where exactly was Niger supposed to get the cash to pay for this oil and what the hell where they going to do with it if they got it?"

It's not hard to come up with answers to those questions. What's more important is that the questions are 100% irrelevant. R-S reports what it considers to be proof that Iraq and Niger discussed "commercial relations," and this discussion was clearly regarding oil, not yellowcake. R-S further reports a contract, apparently related to this discussion. That's all that matters, because it demonstrates clearly that Iraq and Niger discussed "commercial relations," and actually engaged in "commercial relations," which had nothing whatsoever to do with yellowcake.

How did Niger pay for the oil? They could have paid for it with euros, kruggerands, Paypal, goats, S&H Green Stamps, rubber checks or not at all. It doesn't matter.

What did Niger do with the oil? They could have stored it in the attic, mailed it home to mom, used it to roast marshmallows or saved it for a rainy day. It doesn't matter.

Your questions don't matter because as far as R-S is concerned, the discussion is a fact, and so is the contract. Your questions are relevant only if you think R-S fell for a hoax, because you really can't imagine that Niger buys oil, and manages to pay for oil, because you've read so many righty bloggers who insist that yellowcake is absolutely positively the only form of "commercial relations" that could possibly go on between a country like Niger and a country like Iraq. Is that your point?

By the way, even though Niger is an exceptionally poor country, I've heard that some internal combustion engines can be found somewhere within its borders. It's a country of 12 million people living in an area twice the size of Texas, so there might be an old bus or two, and maybe even a couple of trucks. It's a safe bet, because besides yellowcake, and a variety of agricultural products, they also produce cement, brick, soap, textiles and chemicals. That must be why their oil consumption is 5400 barrels a day (100% imported). And with an annual GDP of $3 billion, I guess they manage to pay for it somehow.

By the way, here's an archetypical example of how this aspect of the discussion has been treated dishonestly on righty blogs (Power Line, 12/15/05): "I think every discussion of Wilson/Niger should include the fact that yellowcake uranium is Niger's chief export. The next largest exports are goats and peas."

Notice how this glosses over the fact that "expanding commercial relations" could mean Iraq selling something to Niger, just as easily as it could mean the reverse. Notice how this also glosses over the fact that something that happens to be a major import for Niger (oil) also just happens to be a major export for Iraq. Notice how this also glosses over the fact that R-S had already clearly documented exactly this form of "commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq.

Maybe I shouldn't pick on Power Line. Sen. Bond said essentially the same thing. Likewise for Mark Steyn. And, needless to say, countless righty bloggers and commenters.

jukeboxgrad said...

stephen: "I was responding to Chris, not you"

I got confused because your comment included neither his name nor my name. Sorry, my mistake.

"It means Bush's war's official premise was wrong."

Yes, but the report's core idea is that "Bush's war's official premise was wrong" as a result of the IC doing a poor job, and not as a result of Bush doing a poor job. Very big difference.

"The fact that it does not also say Bush should be hanged, but also lays the blame elsewhere does not change the fact it's anti-Bush."

You are being entirely disingenuous, and the key word is "also." You are suggesting that the Senate report primarily blames Bush, but "also" blames the IC. That's complete nonsense. The simple picture painted by the Senate report, and the picture that is presented in virtually all the major reporting about the Senate report, is that Bush is 100% blameless, and that he is simply a victim, like the rest of us, of an IC that can't tell its ass from its elbow.

If you can find a single statement in the Senate report (outside of the "Additional Views" written by Ds) that is remotely critical of Bush, that would be helpful. If you can find a single major media report that is congruent with your highly bizarre perspective (that the report is "anti-Bush"), that would also be helpful.

I have now made this request twice. The fact that you're pretending to be deaf tends to create the impression that your claim is baloney.

"I'm out."

Right when you're caught making things up is a good time to leave. No surprise there.

By the way, it's not just that the Senate report fails to hold Bush responsible for blatantly hyping and distorting what he was handed by the IC (this generally consisted of Bush claiming absolute certainty even though the underlying intel, as delivered to Bush, was clearly very far from absolutely certain). The Senate report even manages to avoid addressing this other obvious truth: Bush is in charge of the IC, and is therefore responsible not just for his own failures but also for their ostensible failures.

In other words, here's the real message of the Senate report: it's all Clinton's fault. If Bush misled us, it must be because he was misled by the IC. If he was misled by the IC, it must be because Clinton somehow messed up the IC, and Bush couldn't manage to fix it, even after 9/11.

This is all based on a core principle of the modern GOP: the buck always stops somewhere else.

tjl said...

4:39 a.m. on a holiday weekend and Jukeboxgrad is still obsessing over his little theories. JB, give it a rest. The Fitzmas celebrations have been cancelled.

Looking at JB's relentless posts,
the effect calls to mind those medieval astronomers who spent centuries of wasted effort adding refinements to the Ptolemaic sytem. Despite increasingly accurate observations of the motions of the planets, they never questioned their belief that the earth was the center of the universe. By positing spheres within spheres within spheres, they were able to counter the actual facts with absolute mathematical proof that the sun revolves around the earth.

Such are the Plame devotees who will never give up.

Pogo said...

But tjl,
you haven't offered sufficient proof that JBG and Freder and ChrisO are wrong, so you're pretending to be deaf and your claim is baloney with a highly bizarre perspective and the fact remains etc., etc., etc..

tjl said...

Pogo,

There IS no degree of proof that would persuade JB and Freder and ChrisO that they might be wrong. Let them remain in place, rubbing their hands in glee as they add new complexities to their conspiracy charts and diagrams. After all, there MUST be something to the Plame-o-rama -- otherwise, how could it continue to provide its devotees with such profound, ecstatic gratification?

jukeboxgrad said...

tjl: "there IS no degree of proof that would persuade JB and Freder and ChrisO that they might be wrong"

Here is a degree of proof that has a zero probability of persuading me I might be wrong: no proof at all. Funny thing, that's exactly how much proof you've offered.

pogo: "But tjl, you haven't offered sufficient proof that JBG and Freder and ChrisO are wrong"

You're terrific entertainment, because you're so reliably disingenuous.

It's not that tjl hasn't offered "sufficient" proof to back up his claims. It's that he (like you) hasn't lifted a finger to attempt even the slightest shred of proof.

You are also (unintentionally) helpful, because you consistently provide a clear illustration of how your party got itself and our country into this much trouble: by systematically glorifying dishonesty and ignorance. This goes hand-in-hand with being openly scornful towards meticulous investigation and analysis.

Here's an idea: try applying facts and reasoning in an honest manner. It'll be a new experience for you.

Pogo said...

Re: "You are also (unintentionally) helpful"

Glad I could help.
Do you want unintentional fries with that?

michael a litscher said...

tjl: Such are the Plame devotees who will never give up.

You are mistaken. They are not Plame devotees; they are Carl-Rove-Frog-March devotees.

You'll notice that now that the leaker has been revealed as Armitage, not one of them has called for Armitage to be frog marched out of the State Department. And that's because this isn't about Plame, nor is it about national security. It was nothing more than a Machiavellian effort to do harm to the administration.

jukeboxgrad said...

michael: "the leaker"

Nice job dishonestly suggesting that there was only one ("the").

"not one of them has called for Armitage to be frog marched out of the State Department"

Intention matters. It's clear enough Libby and Rove were secretly discussing Plame with reporters specifically for the purpose of pushing back against Wilson. I don't think anyone seriously denies that. Trouble this, this was patently dishonorable. If they thought pushing back against Wilson was so important, they should have done it by using facts relevant to the central question (e.g., by showing proof that Saddam was indeed trying to obtain yellowcake from Niger), and they should have done it openly.

The idea (still very much unsubstantiated) that Joe was sent by Val is not exactly relevant to the central question. It's simply a case of resorting to a smear campaign because one does not have relevant facts to work with. The fact that they worked hard to keep this under wraps is another clue that they were acting dishonorably, and they knew it.

I don't think anyone seriously claims that when Armitage mentioned Plame to Novak, that Armitage had intentions anything like the intentions I just described. Are you claiming he did?

One more thing: "Armitage knew about Ms. Wilson’s C.I.A. role only because of a memorandum that Mr. Libby had commissioned as part of an effort to rebut criticism of the White House by her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV."

I don't applaud what Armitage did, but there is good reason not to treat his behavior as indistinguishable from Libby's and Rove's. Nice job pretending that these three people did the same thing, and for the same reasons.

jukeboxgrad said...

Just noticed something interesting.

Gahrie recently said this: "the economic pie is getting bigger for everyone."

Bush's new Treasury Secretary recently said this: "amid this country's strong economic expansion, many Americans simply aren't feeling the benefits."

I guess Bush is wishing he hired Gahrie.

Gahrie said...

1) The treasury secretary said they aren't feeling the benefits, not that they weren't getting any.

2) I would be surprised if the poverty rate was falling, considering the hundreds of thousands (perhaps over a million) of illiterate, unskilled illegal immigrants we are accomodating every year.

3) People are getting promotions, even if wages are not going up. With the promotions come hire wages. The job may pay the same, but a new person is doing it.

4) Many of those living in poverty in the US choose to do so, so that they can pull $20 billion dollars a year out of our economy and send it to Mexico and Latin America.

4) Even if wages arn't going up, prices on consumer goods are going down. Compare today's prices to prices even a year ago.

5) Our economy today is almost identical to President Clinton's economy. Under Clinton it was a great economy, under Bush it's disaster. This can be entirely explained by the inbred bias of the MSM.

6) Pres. Bush had to deal with a cyclic recession, the dot com bust, 9-11, and a war, and his economy is still equal to Clinton's (and Clinton got the peace dividend to help him out)

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "The treasury secretary said they aren't feeling the benefits, not that they weren't getting any."

Wow. Is it your intention to satirize yourself, or are you doing that just by accident? So you think Paulson's point is that the poor folks are doing fine, but they're just too dumb to know it. Fascinating.

By the way, here's Paulson's statement again, but this time along with the two sentences that follow: "amid this country's strong economic expansion, many Americans simply aren't feeling the benefits. Many aren't seeing significant increases in their take-home pay. Their increases in wages are being eaten up by high energy prices and rising health-care costs, among others."

Maybe you'd still like to try spin that as being congruent with what you said: "the economic pie is getting bigger for everyone." Maybe you're going to tell us that everyone is getting more pie, just not necessarily more vanilla ice cream.

By the way, in case you didn't notice, I'm not quoting Howard Dean. I'm quoting Bush's main money man.

"illiterate, unskilled illegal immigrants"

Nice job looking for a scapegoat. Are you in a position to show they're coming in faster under Bush than they did under Clinton? Because under Clinton, the poverty rate fell, and under Bush, it mostly rose. If you're going to blame this on the brown people, you need to show that Bush is letting in more of them than Clinton did. Is that really your claim?

Of course, if that's your claim, if would be great if you could also tell us why Bush would be doing such a thing. Hint: big corporations love cheap labor, especially because it drives down wages for everyone.

"People are getting promotions, even if wages are not going up. With the promotions come hire wages. The job may pay the same, but a new person is doing it."

Is there any logic in that incoherent string of words? If there is, I could use some help finding it.

"Many of those living in poverty in the US choose to do so"

I get it. First you told us it's the poor people's fault because they're too dumb to realize they're not poor. Now you tell us it's the poor people's fault because they're poor by choice.

You really should be sending your resume to Dubya. If Mike Brown can run FEMA, I don't see why you can't run the Treasury Dept.

"prices on consumer goods are going down. Compare today's prices to prices even a year ago."

Really? The most recent Consumer Price Index report shows an increase of 4.1%, compared with a year ago. Maybe you're thinking of prices on another planet.

"Our economy today is almost identical to President Clinton's economy."

Right. That's why "wages are at their lowest share of G.D.P.," ever (since we started measuring such things), and "corporate profits are at their highest share since the 1960's."

So yes, in an uncanny twist of fate, the Bush economy is an exact clone of the Clinton economy, except with regard to this extremely minor detail: who's getting the money. Amazing, isn't it? So yes indeed, "the economic pie is getting bigger for everyone," as long as you exclude most people who actually work for a living.

Gahrie said...

Wow. Is it your intention to satirize yourself, or are you doing that just by accident? So you think Paulson's point is that the poor folks are doing fine, but they're just too dumb to know it. Fascinating.

Actually that is pretty much my point. After all, there is a reason that poor people are poor in our society. Ignorance, stupidity and addiction are the big three. All of which allow people to be duped into thinking how bad they have it.

After all, we live in a society in which a person can have a car, color TV, air conditioning, running water and electricity....and still be called poor.


Damn thiose big corporations who have given us the highest standard of living in history and improved our life in every way. We should instead follow the example of command economies that have provided.......uhm, never mind.

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "there is a reason that poor people are poor in our society. Ignorance, stupidity and addiction are the big three."

Reminds me of Bush, who said essentially the same thing: "people are poor because they’re lazy."

I guess your claim would be that the "1 million Americans who were financially ruined by illness or medical bills last year [2004]" are in that position because of "ignorance" and "stupidity."

Maybe their ignorance was in failing to move to a country with a better health care system: "the US spends more on healthcare per capita than any other rich nation ... For all that spending, the life expectancy in America shares with Denmark the bottom ranking out of 16 wealthy countries. Denmark spends about half as much per capita as the US does."

For life expectancy, we rank behind 47 countries, and slightly ahead of Cuba.

"corporations who have given us the highest standard of living in history"

Some people realize that a high standard of living is not a gift ("given") from corporations. It's the end result of a lot of work by teachers, doctors, scientists, engineers, clergy, artists, soldiers, cops, firefighters, carpenters and all sorts of other people (including managers, bankers and politicians, for example). Labor day would be an odd time for you to forget this.

If your claim is that where we are now is the best we can do, that means your standards are too low. Likewise if you think we're making progress at a satisfactory rate. If your claim is that no one is ahead of us, with regard to many important indicators of health, prosperity and quality-of-life, you can only do that by inventing your own facts. Then again, this thread is full of examples of you doing exactly that.

Gahrie said...

JukeBoxMan:

Don't tell me..tell the one million plus illegal and legal immigrants a year coming here from almost every nation in the world. I'd be perfectly happy with them going to Cuba and Denmark, instead. But for some reason, everyone else in the world wants to come here.

Do you guys on the left really think you are ever going to win again when your whole message is how evil and bad the US is, and how bad people have it who live here?

Setsuken said...

"corporations who have given us the highest standard of living in history"

JBGrad:
Some people realize that a high standard of living is not a gift ("given") from corporations. It's the end result of a lot of work by teachers, doctors, scientists, engineers, clergy, artists, soldiers, cops, firefighters, carpenters and all sorts of other people (including managers, bankers and politicians, for example).

Much love to the Teachers, Cops and Firefighters (And Soldiers) for their work. We all know they're underpaid.

But of the rest...Doctors...Scientists...Bankers...Politicians...are they not paid by someone for their work and achievments? So the employer (Including some Corporations I'm sure) does play a role in helping our living standards. Are we to assume that these people would still innovate without the promise of payment for their work?

"If your claim is that no one is ahead of us, with regard to many important indicators of health, prosperity and quality-of-life, you can only do that by inventing your own facts."

Good job linking to Wikipedia and NYtimes. Great reliable sources.

jukeboxgrad said...

gahrie: "for some reason, everyone else in the world wants to come here"

Yes, "everyone else in the world" if you pretend that "the world" consists exclusively
of places like Mexico, China and India, places that are generally much poorer than we are. Most of the people jumping through hoops to emigrate here are trying to leave places like that.

Claiming that the US is a better place to live than Mexico is correct, but it's also not very impressive. Saying that the US is more attractive than Mexico is sort of like saying we're more humane than al-Qaeda. Both comparative statements are true, but are highly unimpressive, and are words spoken by people whose standards are too low.

Are you in a position to show that lots of people are trying to escape Europe in order to live here? If you're not, then your claim ("everyone else in the world wants to come here") is pure wind, useless hyperbole, like so many of your claims.

"Do you guys on the left really think you are ever going to win again when your whole message is how evil and bad the US is, and how bad people have it who live here?"

Do you guys on the right really think you are ever going to win again when your whole message is that problems in our society should be ignored, because a lot of world has it worse than we do?

The first step in improving anything is recognizing when there's room for improvement. Your rose-colored glasses are so thick you're obviously incapable of any such recognition.

jukeboxgrad said...

set: "Are we to assume that these people would still innovate without the promise of payment for their work?"

Nice job with the straw man. Where did anyone suggest that people shouldn't be paid for their work? I didn't object to Gahrie claiming that people should be paid for their work (he didn't say anything about that, and neither did I). I objected to Gahrie suggesting that our high standard of living is primarily the result of the exemplary behavior of corporations. Big difference.

"Good job linking to Wikipedia and NYtimes. Great reliable sources."

You're joking, right? It's hard to imagine a lazier response. If every righty blog that ever linked (approvingly) to Wiki and NYT was wiped off the face of the earth, there would probably be about 90% fewer righty blogs.

Speaking of Wiki and righty bloggers, this is via Glenn: "a study claims it's as accurate as Brittanica." Then again, maybe you think Brittanica is a commie plot.

If you had the capacity to think for yourself, you would be able to evaluate what was trustworthy or not trustworthy about any specific citation I've offered. But the modern GOP is all about authoritarianism, which is all about letting someone else do your thinking for you. Then you can have knee-jerk, blanket reactions based on simple rules you've been instructed to follow, by folks like Sean and Rush.

Of course this also means disdain for serious research and analysis. That's reflected in how rarely certain commenters here bother to indicate their sources.

Gahrie said...

Best Factoid of the Day: "We believe that the impact of housing on consumer spending has been exaggerated by some commentators. Over the last year, the increase in real disposable income (+ $205 billion) has matched the increase in real consumer spending (+ $188 billion). Strong real wage gains are the major factor driving consumer spending increases. —John Ryding, chief U.S. economist at Bear Stearns

2nd Best Factoid of the Day: The latest data from the IRS indicate that the share of income claimed by the wealthiest 1%, 5%, and 10% of earners is down, not up, since 2000. Even the millionaires, those in the top 0.5% of income, have seen their share of the nation's total income fall to 15% in 2004, from 17% in 2000. What's more, the top sliver (i.e. the group that includes just one earner in 1000) now pays 4 times more in total taxes than do all Americans in the entire bottom 50 percent. These are the uncensored facts.
—Stephen Moore, The Wall Street Journal

jukeboxgrad said...

"Best Factoid of the Day"

When you copy and paste from other sources, it's customary to let people know where you got it from.

Speaking of where things come from, it's even better to use a source that provides links back to underlying data, so a reader can figure out if what they're being fed is pure fiction. Kudlow didn't bother to provide any such links.

I don't unquestionably assume that what I read is true, unless I can corroborate the information via my own analysis. This applies to what I read on DailyKos, and it applies to what I read in WSJ.

I realize you approach things differently.