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Arbitrage in the Plame Affair?
August 29, 2006 11:48 PM   Subscribe

Newsfilter? [via] Former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage admits to spilling the Plame beans. This comes on the heels of an article in Newsweek outing Armitage as Novak's primary source. Wind up the echo chamber.... [more inside]
posted by Mr Stickfigure (28 comments total)

 
[bean spilling link: NYT, reg required, yeah, yeah. It's the best primary source we've got at this point.]

On the conservative side we've got Rush [et al.] claiming that there was no crime and that the media and Prosecutor Fitzgerald knew the score all along. Which is a little surprising because the media seems to like to tell people when it knows something. Maybe the media just kept the "secret" because the whole thing was a publicity stunt [via]. Prosecutor Fitzgerald? Obviously he lied to the Supreme Court.

But wait, why isn't there a crime? Oh, right, Novak's original source [presumably Armitage] wasn't a "political gunslinger [...] more of a substantive person." In fact, Armitage opposed the liberation of Iraq, so he didn't even have a motive. And the information couldn't be that super secret anyway because Novak immediately spilled the beans to a stranger on the street before even confirming it with his two other primary sources.

Great! So this isn't a conspiracy. Just the unvarnished truth from the guy who broke the Paula Jones and and Monica Lewinsky scandals. And he's learned his lesson after having misreported something about a Koran and a commode. So, I'm sure he got all his facts checked before pimping his new book (co-written by David Corn, the man who started the whole conspiracy theory in the first place [via]).
posted by Mr Stickfigure at 11:50 PM on August 29, 2006


Separated at birth?




posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 AM on August 30, 2006


See, it was just an innocent verbal misstep by someone given to schoolgirlish gossip. He didn't mean to do it, he just got carried away talking to a journo.

Sigh. Riiiiiiiiight.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 2:25 AM on August 30, 2006


> Sigh. Riiiiiiiiight.

I had my tinfoil hat permanently implanted under my scalp. Now I'll never be without it again!
posted by jfuller at 3:05 AM on August 30, 2006


Now that you have your tinfoil hat permanently implanted, jfuller, a word to the wise: don't forget to take your anti-rejection medication, otherwise you're liable to end up with a nasty mess.

Seriously, two years later, you actually buy this for an explanation? Would you also like to buy a bridge I have for sale?
posted by Hypnic jerk at 3:47 AM on August 30, 2006


He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.
posted by stbalbach at 4:45 AM on August 30, 2006


Just as Powell's reputation was sacrificed to WMD, so Armitage's to the Plame leak.
posted by stammer at 5:21 AM on August 30, 2006


Those sons of bitches got away with it again. Fuck.
posted by notsnot at 5:58 AM on August 30, 2006


The NYT article makes clear that the identity of Valerie Plame was communicated as follows:

Dick Cheney - Scooter Libby - Marc Grossman - Richard Armitage - Bob Novak - Teh World

A few bad apples, huh?
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:34 AM on August 30, 2006


So does this mean there will be no frog-marching? I was promised frog-marching. I've been waiting for months.
posted by sugarfish at 6:37 AM on August 30, 2006


For those who haven't been keeping score, Dick Armitage is a Beltway whore of extremely long standing. He was one of Bush's "Vulcans", the neo-con foreign policy cabal, I mean, "thinktank", that featured such luminaries as Perle and Wolfowitz. He's been elbow-deep in various administrations' overseas laundry since the Reagan years.

The Wikipedia article provides a good summary of his career. I'm most interested in the two years he spent in Bangkok in the late '70s running an "import-export business". Love to know what Big Dick exported.
posted by the sobsister at 6:37 AM on August 30, 2006


You want conspiracy? Valerie Plame worked the CIA's Iran desk before she was outed. Chew on that.

Anyway, I don't really see what they "got away with".

By the way, I like how the nndb link for Isikoff notes his sexual orientation. Couldn't find out what was on his ipod?
posted by Pastabagel at 6:42 AM on August 30, 2006


For those who haven't been keeping score, Dick Armitage is a Beltway whore of extremely long standing. He was one of Bush's "Vulcans", the neo-con foreign policy cabal, I mean, "thinktank", that featured such luminaries as Perle and Wolfowitz. He's been elbow-deep in various administrations' overseas laundry since the Reagan years.

Say what you want about the "Vulcans" or whatever, but you have to admit they are good at what they do. They are organized, they have a plan, and they follow-through. They are so good in fact, that long after something is done, a lot of experts are trying to figure out what happened.

The democrats are still looking for their zinger of the week.

I note that Armitage is now on the board of directors of oil company ConocoPhilips.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:49 AM on August 30, 2006


Anyway, I don't really see what they "got away with".

God only knows... I doubt any of us ever will. My thought was just that if this whole thing was all so innocent as Armitage says, why did they neglect to say anything earlier, and nip the whole independent prosecutor process in the bud (saving the loyal taxpayers some dough along the way)?

This thing still stinks. Does anyone honestly believe that the second most powerful man at the State Department could, a propos of nothing at all, be so cavalier with this kind of information? Doubtful.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 7:03 AM on August 30, 2006


Which is a little surprising because the media seems to like to tell people when it knows something.

Not in the plame case, which was as much an indictment of insider media as the administration.
posted by delmoi at 7:15 AM on August 30, 2006


Say what you want about the "Vulcans" or whatever, but you have to admit they are good at what they do... They are so good in fact, that long after something is done, a lot of experts are trying to figure out what happened.

Do you have as much pedantic reverence for serial killers?
posted by prostyle at 7:52 AM on August 30, 2006


Funny how the right-leaning seem quite happy with the notion that a CIA covert agent's career was shot -- along with the cover firm she worked with, and presumably the covert careers of everyone else who used that firm, because their names are now tainted -- simply because someone innocently fucked up. No biggie. It's not like the CIA needs experienced personnel in something as trivial as the Global War on Low Popularity Poll Numbers Terror anyway.

That Americans, when polled, still consider this Administration competent in waging that so-called war will probably be put down in history books as the biggest intelligence failure of them all.
posted by clevershark at 7:55 AM on August 30, 2006


Pastabagel writes "Say what you want about the 'Vulcans' or whatever, but you have to admit they are good at what they do."

Well, I wouldn't want to "Godwinize" this thread, but...
posted by clevershark at 7:56 AM on August 30, 2006


It's no longer a warning shot across the bow. It's more of a "commence fire" now.

PS: it doesn't absolve them.
posted by edverb at 8:19 AM on August 30, 2006


Pastabagel: The fact that they are so good at what they do makes closely scrutinizing exactly what they're doing all the more important, not less, don't you think?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:21 AM on August 30, 2006


The Thing. That motherfucker looks like the Thing.
posted by vito90 at 9:14 AM on August 30, 2006


Pastabagel: The fact that they are so good at what they do makes closely scrutinizing exactly what they're doing all the more important, not less, don't you think?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:21 AM EST on August 30 [+] [!]


Of course. It also means any opposition will have to be as well thought and organized. My point is that to date, the democrats, anti-war movement, et al. have presented little more than hands covering ears shouting no no no no.

Where is the left's attempt to tackle real problems in a realistic manner? Where's their agenda? Or are they waiting to write it to see who gets nominated?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:47 AM on August 30, 2006


Where is the left's attempt to tackle real problems in a realistic manner?

There is no "left". Most of the Democratic Party actually supported the war and the Patriot act, and either put their heads in the sand or cried about being misled later when challenged.

I agree that the only way to come up with a viable alternative to what we have now is actually to be a viable alternative, but there's still years' worth of work to be done. For starters though, it would be helpful if Democrats would stop eating the other half of their young that they Republicans aren't eating.

For example, start with Ned Lamont. He seems a reasonable guy, a pro-business Democrat, who is against the war. He legitimately won the Democratic nomination for US Senate by defeating an entrenched incumbent. EVERYONE in leadership positions in the Democratic Party should put their full weight behind him, AND repudiate Lieberman for trying to invalidate the primary process. This would be one small thing the Dems could try to do to get back on the road toward regaining their souls.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 9:57 AM on August 30, 2006


Where's their agenda?

The agenda is stop the neocon agenda. There's no need (or desire) to have a fully developed alternative theory of fascism. The problems Republicans claim to address with their platform are not addressed at all, they are used as justifications for power grabbing.

How then can Republicans pretend it is the lack of "serious alternatives" that keeps them with the party? Their program is directly counter-productive and only by intentionally ignoring that fact can Republicans act as though they are serious, thoughtful men bravely taking the initiative. They are serious crooks and/or torture-loving reactionaries.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:59 AM on August 30, 2006


My point is that to date, the democrats, anti-war movement, et al. have presented little more than hands covering ears shouting no no no no.

Pastabagel, I beg to differ. On each issue, the Democrats have presented a plan, and if you choose to not hear it (or the media chooses not to cover it), that's perhaps a PR failure, and circumstances, but not a failure of vision.

The playing field is that Dems don't control the agenda in Congress. Their ideas don't get an "up or down" vote, they don't get a public debate on the floor, they don't get covered by media. They get buried in a GOP committee, never to be seen again.

On Iraq: Murtha's redeployment plan (poisoned by a BS resolution vote which misrepresented the plan).
On the budget: Obama's transparency bill (currently under "secret hold" by Ted Stevens)
On minimum wage: Poison pilled by estate tax cut riders.

They can't get legislation to the floor on dozens of issues -- energy independence, voting integrity, corporate taxation, health insurance, education, etc.

A lot of their ideas are too wonkish for breathless coverage. (But that's the difference between "governing" and "ruling".) It doesn't really zing like saying "opponents lack the courage to fight the war on terror" or "their vision is supported by al Queda types." But that ain't governance either. What has that accomplished, other than to divide the country?

On the war on Iraq, the prime thing Democrats would do differently? They'd tell the truth. And let's be honest...the Republican's plan on Iraq amounts to little more than "yes yes yes" and covering their ears. We see where that's gotten us.
posted by edverb at 10:18 AM on August 30, 2006 [2 favorites]


Along with edverb, the Dems don't need a plan for November--simply heading off military and financial disaster is enough, IMO, to take back at least the House. As Gingrich himself suggested recently, "Had enough?" should work.

The run for POTUS, however, is going to require some serious strategery.

(I know, people say that the Republican Revolution in 94 was all about having that famous "Contract with America," but honestly, those were just talking points wrapped up to look like a platform. Smaller government, less corruption, less taxes--none of those things actually happened, but voters felt empowered, at least for a few years until they realized what kind of hypocritical asshats they'd elected (the incredibly expensive impeachment of a fellow adulterer). Hopefully the Dems won't fall into the same traps, but it's quite likely. Color me way cynical.)
posted by bardic at 11:19 AM on August 30, 2006


There are two things needed to get access to sensitive information: a security clearance at the proper level and a need-to-know. If Plame's identity/work is considered sensitive, then someone in the information chain illegally disclosed sensitive information and should be punished.

If Armitage claims he didn't know the info was sensitive, then the person who gave him the info is the criminal. If that person makes a similar claim, then follow the trail up the information chain. Sooner or later, you'll find someone who is trapped by evidence and they'll come up with, "It wasn't me! I told so-and-so it was classified! He lied!" and then you can work your way back down the trail and start throwing asses in jail, hopefully including that fat, smirking, penis-in-a-red-tie Armitage.
posted by forrest at 12:27 PM on August 30, 2006


Smearing the Wilsons, Sliming America
posted by homunculus at 1:43 PM on September 1, 2006


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