Joseph Wilson interviewed at Salon.
May 3, 2004 12:14 AM   Subscribe

Joseph Wilson interviewed at Salon. They've also tried to portray you, and all the other whistle-blowers who have spoken out against the administration, as partisan democrats. Do you think that has been an effective technique? It hasn't worked with me. People are touched by this story because it gives a human face to a whole host of lies and deceptions that only now are becoming apparent to the American public. Americans don't like this attitude. Americans don't like to see their women taken out and beaten up.
posted by skallas (71 comments total)
 
In Eastern Europe, many old anti-Soviet jokes are recycled using the current administration in place of infamous Kremlin officials. While I do not necessarily agree with this view, I do see strong parallels between Kremlinology and today's news reporting.

This administration is so secretive, anyone with an ounce of critical curiosity is completely baffled by basic questions such as 'who makes foreign policy decisions? 'Is the secretary of State in the loop? etc.

I want to know more about this iron triangle and I would like some idea of who is responsible for U.S. policy.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:47 AM on May 3, 2004


It looks like Cheney & Rumsfeld, with Rove for politics/dirty tricks to me, gesamtkunstwerk.

I'm disappointed at the lack of attention to the Plame story, but hopefully the investigation will result in an indictment or two, or bring it back into the headlines. It really is of a level above and beyond (really below and sleazier and more dangerous than) this administration's other smears and attacks.
posted by amberglow at 6:00 AM on May 3, 2004


he looked and sounded a hella solid on russert yesterday. this one is coming back on old bob novak at some point.
posted by specialk420 at 6:30 AM on May 3, 2004


If anyone had told me that an American administration would out a CIA operative I'd say they are out of their fucking minds. When this happened I thought “that's it! They fucked up big this time”. And then, nothing. Does anyone know of a thing like this having happened before? (but I still think: what incompetent bastards!)
posted by acrobat at 6:32 AM on May 3, 2004


A Salon story? Yowzer.
posted by dagny at 6:34 AM on May 3, 2004


heh. I know it must hurt, dagny. better attack the messenger, cause content's pretty bad.
after all, what's worse, outing an undercover CIA agent to threaten whistleblowers, or linking Salon to the Front Page?
posted by matteo at 6:38 AM on May 3, 2004


They've also tried to portray you, and all the other whistle-blowers who have spoken out against the administration, as partisan democrats. Do you think that has been an effective technique?

So, er, this is an example of a journalist asking hard-hitting questions to get at the truth? Or is it that any allegation against anyone in the administration should be immediately believed and vigorously investigated, while anyone that cares to make the charges should be given a free pass, handed the obligatory book deal, and investigated with questions like "So, to acknowledge your noble quest against all odds to bring down the evil Bush administration, may I put you on a three foot high pedestal, or would you prefer a four footer?"

He is engaged in a campaign to smear Bush, and sell books. The Bush administration says he's a Democrat, a supporter of John Kerry, and has obvious ulterior motives. I hope it is an effective technique - because he is a partisan Democrat.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:42 AM on May 3, 2004


The Bushies sure have hired a lot of closet partisan democrats, haven't they MidasMulligan?
posted by jpoulos at 6:50 AM on May 3, 2004


It's at least semi-okay to self-link in comments, isn't it? Here's the blog entry I wrote back in January about the Plame affair that Talking Points Memo mentioned. Marshall said that he disagreed with some of my points and that he'd do a follow-up to explain his disagreements, but he never did, much to my intense disapointment. And here's my own follow-up of a few days later.

I continue to expect a decent sized story to break out of this. But I also continue to believe that the perps (at least some of them) likely didn't know they were outing a covert agent.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:54 AM on May 3, 2004




because he is a partisan Democrat.

Also, I don't see the evidence for that. Obviously, he's out to get this administration, but that isn't necessarily for idealogical reasons. Regardless of political affiliation, if the White House put my wife's life and career in jeopardy, I'd do everything I could to support his opposition. That doesn't mean he's a democrat. It just means he loves his wife.
posted by jpoulos at 7:23 AM on May 3, 2004


whatr jpoulos said. They should have just stuck to smearing and trashing him, not jeopardizing his wife, and her contacts all over the world, etc...
posted by amberglow at 7:42 AM on May 3, 2004


Read the story. He comes from a staunch republican family, worked for Reagan and Bush Sr. who called him a "true American hero" and initially supported Dubya. He is no "partisan democrat," but he is damn sure anti-Bush. After everything he's been through, who could blame him, other than a bunch of right-wing zealots?
posted by wsg at 7:42 AM on May 3, 2004


Partisan Democrats: Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke, John Dean, Joseph Wilson, Bob Woodward ...

You Repubs better be careful by making Bush loyalty a requirement to show party loyalty. The guy's potential to become Richard Nixon grows by the day.
posted by rcade at 7:48 AM on May 3, 2004


heh. I know it must hurt, dagny. better attack the messenger, cause content's pretty bad.

So then ... the principle is that we can't bring up "the messenger" ... in an interview that is so obviously pandering (and was so obviously arranged in the first place to sell books)? If I posted an FPP with a similar link to an interview with Hannity, or Coulter, from a sympathetic journalist, during one of their book tours - do you mean to say you'd only focus on the information and allegations they make, with nary a word or cynical comment about "the messenger"? And if you did bring up the messenger - would it be because it must "hurt"?

Or is bringing up the motives of "the messenger" deeply relevent when the messenger is on the right, but inconsequential, and merely a means of avoiding the "bad content" when the messenger's on the left? Hhmmm.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:50 AM on May 3, 2004


What matters more, the facts or the messenger?
posted by wsg at 7:59 AM on May 3, 2004


Okay Midas, we get it. You don't like Salon. But do you have anything to say about the story? What part do you feel is blatantly inaccurate?
posted by bas67 at 8:05 AM on May 3, 2004


You Repubs better be careful by making Bush loyalty a requirement to show party loyalty. The guy's potential to become Richard Nixon grows by the day.

Bush is mild compared to the way Clinton dealt with people from his administration that did similar things. And even those who didn't (he was notorious being willing to sacrifice even friends for the political expediency of the moment). This is just normal politics - guess what, if you publicly attack an administration - any administration - it will fight back. The odd thing is that in this case (at least on MetaFilter) anything Bush does that is simply normal politics is claimed to be a massive, historically unprecedented issue capable of causing the downfall of western civilization. (And anyone that argues against the view is - obviously - a "right-wing zealot").

Bush potential to become Richard Nixon is not growing by the day ... but the desire of left-wing "zealots" to paint him as such certainly is.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:07 AM on May 3, 2004


What matters more, the facts or the messenger?

So then - it will now be a standard on MeFi to focus only on the facts? I can start posting things from Hannity and Coulter, and will hear no dismissive comments about the messenger ... but rather, and in-depth examination of "the facts"? Cool.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:09 AM on May 3, 2004


Outing a CIA agent is normal politics?
posted by jpoulos at 8:13 AM on May 3, 2004


That is a laughable comparison, Midas.
posted by wsg at 8:14 AM on May 3, 2004


because he is a partisan Democrat

Put your money where you mouth is. Prove it.

We're waiting.
posted by aramaic at 8:15 AM on May 3, 2004


Bush is mild compared to the way Clinton dealt...

Blah, blah, blah.... Look. I'm tired of life in the new uber-partisan state myself, but surely you can do better than throwing up an effigy of Clinton to absorb flames against Bush. If you want to defend the actions of this President, do so with some facts, some reasons why, anything other than "But Bill Did It!" and "This is Politics, Kid!"

You're not even saying that BushCo didn't blow Plame's cover. In fact, you seem to suggest that such behavior is justified. So I don't care if it is politics, it doesn't change the fact that this administration is operating in a manner that is petty and unbefitting.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:20 AM on May 3, 2004


Okay Midas, we get it. You don't like Salon. But do you have anything to say about the story? What part do you feel is blatantly inaccurate?

Virtually all of it. I'll just take two examples ...

1. " ... what astonished Wilson was the decision by senior administration officials to expose Plame, who worked undercover for the CIA to stem the spread of weapons of mass destruction around the world."

Really? The investigation is still ongoing - in fact, no one yet knows who made the decision - let alone whether it was made by "senior administration officials". It could well have been one or two people acting entirely alone. The way this is phrased is unsupported by facts, and is clearly partisan and inflammatory.

2. First of all, I think you're absolutely right that it's appropriate to call this a conspiracy, by people very close to the center of power in the United States, who decided that their political agenda was more important than the national security of the country.

Again - evidence of a "conspiracy"? Evidence that it is people "very close to the center of power"? I'm seeing a lot of allegations here - without even an attempt to establish facts to back them up (especially by the interviewer - who actually makes allegations more severe than Wilson).

The only actual fact in the interview - interestingly enough - is that the Bush administration is investigating what happened, and not only that, but Wilson states that even he has full confidence in the people Bush chose to run the investigation.

But do we see a question like "So it is clear that people very close to the "center of power" are genuinely attempting to get at the truth of what happened, and who is responsible - are you confident that they will find the perpetrator?"

Wilson is actually a somewhat moderate, middle of the road guy ... the interviewer actually seems to be trying to get him as radical and anti-Bush as possible.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:32 AM on May 3, 2004


Put your money where you mouth is. Prove it.

We're waiting.


Prove he isn't. We're waiting. (I especially want to see how you explain away his open support of the Kerry campaign.)
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:34 AM on May 3, 2004


It seems to me that if Whitewater and a blowjob were ever cause for impeachment proceedings, then both a)misleading Congress by inserting into the SotU speech a passage which the administration knew to be untrue, not by one but by three independent reports and b)"outing" an undercover CIA agent publicly as reprisal against an "enemies list" is definitely worth impeaching a President over.

This, to me, seems like the very definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors".

Then again it's also fairly clear that things aren't quite the same as they were then, in the sense that the President is now a Republican instead of a Democrat. What a difference 5 years make!
posted by clevershark at 8:34 AM on May 3, 2004


Midas: You called him a partisan Democrat earlier, and now you're using "moderate, middle of the road guy." You could get your opinions together before you make statements if you would like to be taken seriously.
posted by xmutex at 8:39 AM on May 3, 2004


Prove he isn't. We're waiting.

The appeal to ignorance is the last refuge of an argument that smells of ripe skunk, isn't it, Midas? We, at least, aren't waiting for you to prove that you don't enjoy defecating from your window onto passers-by.

(I especially want to see how you explain away his open support of the Kerry campaign.)

Is Warren Buffett a 'partisan Democrat', then? He's an open supporter of the Kerry campaign. [Note to those keeping score: that's your 'undistributed middle' fallacy, namely 'all open supporters of Kerry are partisan Democrats'.] And Wilson is such a partisan Democrat that he donated $1000 to Bush in 1999, along with other contributions to Republican Congressman Ed Royce. Of course, that was before his wife got outed. So that fish won't fly, Midas.

(And I'm sure that he's secretly embarrassed about having to stay on-message here, like a good little shill. I would be, since it's the sort of thing that undermines one's credibility for good.)
posted by riviera at 8:53 AM on May 3, 2004


Facts mean nothing to many Bush defenders. That's why they cite Hannity and Coulter.
posted by wsg at 8:59 AM on May 3, 2004


Plame was a fucking spook. Why does everyone care so much about some CIA agent? I get that the administration behaved cravenly in throwing light on her shameful service for their own gain, but it still stand that people like Plame are the cause of many problems in the world. Without the CIA would the Middle East be what it is today? I don't give a damn if they eat their own. I knew the president was a jerk before this happened, and I am not about to debase myself by pretending to be shocked that he would betray someone I would rather see buried anyway.
posted by thirteen at 9:07 AM on May 3, 2004


I guess what I am wondering is what does it prove if he is a partisan democrat. Does being a partisan of any color automatically disqualify you in regards to any expectation of being treated seriously when your government (allegedly) attacks your character and jeopardizes the lives of your family members.

I've followed this story the entire way up to today. Bob Novak said Senior Whitehouse Officials. Currently all the Bush admin has done is deny that the parties in question 'leaked any classified information'. How does the fact that the man has a book to promote change any of these aspects of the story.

Should I have dismissed all of the allegations brought by Republican Partisans against Clinton if they later had a book to promote? What if they didn't had a book to promote but just didn't like Clinton?

And to repeat a question someone else asked "How is outing a CIA agent to attempt to get revenge against your critics and send a message to other 'whistle-blowers' a part of government operation?
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 9:17 AM on May 3, 2004


Outing a CIA agent is normal politics?

No, the fact that if you publicly attack any administration - it will fight back - is normal politics.

You're not even saying that BushCo didn't blow Plame's cover. In fact, you seem to suggest that such behavior is justified. So I don't care if it is politics, it doesn't change the fact that this administration is operating in a manner that is petty and unbefitting.

Actually - nothing, absolutely nothing I've ever said suggests outing Plame was justified. I've worked, at times, with people in the US intelligence community - and have enormous respect for the risks they take, and the work they do.

I would argue with the statement that "BushCo" blew her cover ... because it implies something I believe to be false: That Bush was somehow involved. From everything I know about the Bush family (senior and junior), they have more knowledge of the CIA than most folks in politics. They know the culture, and are fiercely loyal to the protection of clandestine agents. I find it far more likely that Bush himself is probably absolutely livid about the incident, and does want to get to the bottom of it.

Novak himself says this ...

My own perspective is that I'll actually wait for the conclusion of the investigation - and for facts - before making up my mind. It may have been a couple of people within the Bush administration delibrately trying to discredit Wilson (though while this is being alledged ad infinitum, I have yet to hear exactly how would discredit him). It may just as easily be as Novak said - a mistake, but an inadvertant one that had no devious "conspiracy" or tactical purpose behind it.

It is also clear, however, that Wilson was attacking Bush publicly before Plame's job was mentioned. That he contributed to both the Gore and Kerry campaigns. But even further - I want to see him investigated. As long as we are investigating the leak of Plame's name - I am fairly certain Wilson broke the law for political purposes as well. The sort of confidentiality forms he would have had to sign with the CIA before even being sent on a consulting engagement like that would have had to preclude him from even identifying himself as the person that went - let alone talking publicly about the results.

The fact that he did what was - by all accounts - a piss-poor job (his "investigation" amounted to have tea for a few days with government officials, and writing down verbatim what they said) - came to his own conclusions based on that piss-poor investigation, and when he was ignored, decided he should come out in public, identify himself as the one that did it, and use his conclusions to blast the Bush administration ... is nearly as disturbing as his wife being outed.

I think Bush is handling this correctly. His administration is defending itself against Wilson's allegations (and damn well has the right to). But it is also quite upset that someone leaked Plame's name - and, I believe - does want to know who did it.

The fact that Wilson, and Salon, and a whole host of left-wing rags want to use this to smear Bush, and are comfortable stating all manner of allegations as truth before the investigation is even completed ... is just normal politics. The humorous thing is that anyone that actually argues against the allegations is a "zealot".
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:26 AM on May 3, 2004


(And I'm sure that he's secretly embarrassed about having to stay on-message here, like a good little shill. I would be, since it's the sort of thing that undermines one's credibility for good.)

By the way - I love the fact that in the same thread in which dagny is taken to task for attacking the credibility of "the messenger", two or three people have seen fit attack my credibility.

How's about you? Ya think cheap shots like "good little shill" greatly enhance your credibility?
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:30 AM on May 3, 2004


Facts mean nothing to many Bush defenders. That's why they cite Hannity and Coulter.

Actually - the evidence here is that facts mean nothing to Bush accusers. The article is filled with allegations - with virtually nothing to back them up. The Bush administration is trying to get the facts - with an investigation that even Wilson expresses confidence in. A "fact" is a statement of what actually happened. In this situation, it is not yet known what actually happened. A publication that reaches conclusions prior to having the facts, and states those allegations as though they were already established facts - is highly questionable.

But I guess facts mean nothing to Bush attackers. That's why they cite Salon.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:37 AM on May 3, 2004


The fact that he did what was - by all accounts - a piss-poor job (his "investigation" amounted to have tea for a few days with government officials, and writing down verbatim what they said) - came to his own conclusions based on that piss-poor investigation,

And yet, his conclusions were correct and the administration's opposite conclusions were a lie. Did you have your sense of shame surgically removed by any chance?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:43 AM on May 3, 2004


Jeez, I've learned more about MidasMulligan and his agenda in this thread than Joseph Wilson's.
I'm enjoying watching Midas and his buddies wallow in deeper shit every day defending scumbag political hacks and war profiteers. It reminds me of a scene from The Magic Christian.
posted by 2sheets at 9:49 AM on May 3, 2004


Somebody with the clearance to know the name of an undercover CIA agent would have to be reasonably high up the chain (although not necessarily at the top). Is it more likely to have been someone junior, closer to field operations, who knows the danger this would put her and her international contacts in (who deliver invaluable information to the United States on the actions of foreign - and often hostile - governments)? Or someone closer to the top, where they understand the value of that sort of information? Either way, somebody who should have known better committed a highly illegal and ultimately self-damaging act.

Sure, this hurts Wilson and his wife, but the damage done to the CIA and future operations is incredible. All those people she recruited to provide classified information... do you think foreign governments are going to take a real hard look at everyone they know had contact with Plame? Think a few of them will also be made examples of? How many potential agents will avoid working for the CIA now?

I'm surprised more people aren't upset at this (although it was also covered on Dateline and Chris Matthews recently, so it's getting some mainstream attention). But unfortunately most people don't appreciate the magnitude of it, what it truly means.

Bush may not have had any knowledge of this, and if that's the case I hope he's pissed and seriously interested in finding out who did this. But if the investigation goes nowhere, that's a sure indication that the fault lies very close to the Oval Office.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:53 AM on May 3, 2004


Jeez, I've learned more about MidasMulligan and his agenda in this thread than Joseph Wilson's.
I'm enjoying watching Midas and his buddies wallow in deeper shit every day defending scumbag political hacks and war profiteers.


I suppose that is POV ... I've learned a good deal about the left-wing agenda here as well - and the enormous lengths it will go to to try to smear Bush. And hell, if there are no facts, just make stuff and shout it loudly as though it is facts. I'm enjoying watching y'all scramble desperately to avoid the fact that the investigation is simply not yet complete. Your motives certainly have exposed themselves for the world to see.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:55 AM on May 3, 2004


But Midas, your credibility has already been debased here on MeFi ... by yourself and your defense of the defenseless.

Anything to defend and protect Dear Leader seems to be your norm.

Silly shit like "Clinton did it too!" makes your intent transparent.

That puts your credibility to the level of Hannity and Coulter to be precise (and to borrow a phrase form your comments above.)

You may now attack me too if you wish but it will not change the already lowered value of your words due to shilling for Bush.
posted by nofundy at 9:57 AM on May 3, 2004


I know you are, but what am I? nyah!
posted by wsg at 10:05 AM on May 3, 2004


How Bush could end all this (and protect our country):

1) Order all HIS employees to come forth with ALL relevant information.
2) Release ALL reporters involved from ALL confidentiality agreements and request they come forward with the names of the criminals who perpretrated this act.

Instead we get our country sold out to the highest bidder whilst Nero fiddles. Is this what we call "restoring honor" to the White Wash House? I don't like it.
posted by nofundy at 10:09 AM on May 3, 2004


2) [Bush could] release ALL reporters involved from ALL confidentiality agreements and request they come forward with the names of the criminals who perpretrated this act.

By this logic, couldn't Nixon have requested the identity of Deep Throat? A confidentiality agreement is solely between the journalist and the source I thought.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:18 AM on May 3, 2004


A confidentiality agreement is to protect a source from retrubution, not to defend a criminal from prosecution.

The retribution thing has already happened, just against a government employee who tried to loyally and honestly serve their country. Why continue to protect these hacks?

Confidential sources has been much abused as of late and if Bush releases the reporters in order to prosecute those who would betray our country in the name of partisan politics, then that would be a "good thing." Not that NoFacts would ever do anything contrary to the best interests of the GOopers, country be damned.
posted by nofundy at 10:42 AM on May 3, 2004


thirteen, you have no fucking idea what you're talking about. The CIA's job is to enable the US government to make informed decisions. Everything that's royally fucked in Iraq now is the product of uninformed decisions. Think about that, and decide if the lives of people dedicated to fixing that ignorance are still so fucking disposable to you.
posted by NortonDC at 10:48 AM on May 3, 2004


I'm enjoying watching y'all scramble desperately to avoid the fact that the investigation is simply not yet complete.

Wrong again. The snail's pace of the investigation is itself an important fact. The Bush administration has proved itself capable of running 'investigations' all lickedly-spit when the outcome is potentially damaging to those who've got on its bad side. The extremely clear journalistic shorthand of Novak's original report narrows down the leakers to a number that you could count without needing to use your toes. If Bush really wanted to know which of his 'senior administration officials' was responsible, he could invite them all in for a five-minute interview, and ask if they had any little secrets they wanted to share, rather than wait for the dirty laundry to come out. If he started at 9am, it'd be done and dusted by elevenses.

Note also, for the sake of contrast, the speed and relish with which the White House authorised the greasy little fuckleberries at Fox News to publish Richard Clarke's background briefing. Curious, that.

(As for issues of journalistic confidentiality: it's generally the case that on the political beat, especially with 'seniors', they protect hacks more than leakers.)

Ya think cheap shots like "good little shill" greatly enhance your credibility?

Frankly, having exposed the fallacious logic behind your own smears, it'd damage my credibility to waste expensive shots on you. Supply and demand, see?
posted by riviera at 10:50 AM on May 3, 2004


Confidential sources has been much abused as of late and if Bush releases the reporters in order to prosecute those who would betray our country in the name of partisan politics, then that would be a "good thing."

I agree, but I still don't get how Bush could "release the reporters". Their agreement, valid or no, isn't with him (unless this thing does go all the way to the top!).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:51 AM on May 3, 2004


Frankly, having exposed the fallacious logic behind your own smears, it'd damage my credibility to waste expensive shots on you. Supply and demand, see?

Oddly - I did not attack anyone personally here ... but several have no seen fit to come after me. I actually was trying to address the issue.

I have learned, by now, that no matter how outrageous, and completely devoid of facts any allegation against Bush is, anyone that pops up in a thread that even dares defend him will be personally attacked.

Now and then it seems worth it to try, but its quite clear that any opposing viewpoints are not welcomed on this board. Ordinarily FPP's like this are just leftist circle-jerks "Bush=evil", "No! Bush=evil squared!", "No! You forgot to mention this other little bit of evil he did!". On the odd chance that a conservative says something like "Er, the source of the leak is still being investigated" ... the circle-jerk switches immediately into a scrum.

It was fun, however, to see people that were enraged because the Bush administration would attack Wilson's personal credibility (which seems to be what the article itself was actually about) ... find it so easy, in the same damn thread, to attack the personal credibility of any opposing viewpoint.

But okay boys ... its your thread ... since it appears to be deeply important that I be dismissed as not credible - there's no reason to spend any further time trying to make points. I'll let you go back to your comfortable fanaticism.
posted by MidasMulligan at 11:34 AM on May 3, 2004


Wilson: What is appalling to me in all of this is that the president said early on that he wanted to get to the bottom of this -- and yet the people who work for the president did not heed his call and step forward. Instead they're stonewalling, and appear ready to stonewall against his instructions indefinitely. Either he didn't mean what he said, or else he doesn't have authority over his senior staff, or they're simply insubordinate.

Midas, it doesn't sound to me like Wilson is trying to smear Bush. In the article it's pretty clear to me this is a Republican who has become disenfranchised with the current incarnation of the party. He's also quite careful to point out he's received bipartisan support on this (although he spares little kindness for Novak). You're right in that we should wait until the investigation has a chance to do its job (as you pointed out, this is Wilson's view as well), but understand that in order to have done this, someone would have to a) have some highly classified information and b) use it in aid of the President, whether with his approval or not.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:52 AM on May 3, 2004


thirteen, you have no fucking idea what you're talking about. The CIA's job is to enable the US government to make informed decisions. Everything that's royally fucked in Iraq now is the product of uninformed decisions. Think about that, and decide if the lives of people dedicated to fixing that ignorance are still so fucking disposable to you.

People like Kermit Roosevelt? I have been under the impression that the decisions that were made that led us to what is going on now are not so much uninformed as willingly ignoring the intelligence that was available. Since I believe that unaccountable government is wrong, and that a group like the CIA will inevitably become corrupt and create situations that put me in greater danger, I remain unchanged in my opinion. Uninformed decisions may be dangerous, but involvement in foreign affairs is even moreso.

Nobody made these people sign up to be stormtroopers.
posted by thirteen at 11:55 AM on May 3, 2004


since it appears to be deeply important that I be dismissed as not credible - there's no reason to spend any further time trying to make points

In other words, you never had any valid points on Wilson's credibility in the first place. Check.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2004


I agree, but I still don't get how Bush could "release the reporters". Their agreement, valid or no, isn't with him (unless this thing does go all the way to the top!).

Sorry I missed your point. Yes, you are correct, the agreement is between the "reporters" and the hacks who leaked the information.

I was assuming that Bush, as the boss, could order the agreement released or fire the whole lot of them if they refused to sign a release agreement.
posted by nofundy at 12:20 PM on May 3, 2004


Midas, you are one brave soul my friend, and its been amusing watching 25 other members have a giant circle jerk while accusing you of having an agenda. Oh the irony.

Just remember, when you start off with a link as lazy and partisan as a salon link, there's no room to debate and no where to go but down.

(and in all honesty, when you link to salon, you're not looking for debate anyway.)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 12:21 PM on May 3, 2004


Okay Midas,

So you say that the administration was doing what any administration does when it is being attacked and attack back and then you say:

"It may have been a couple of people within the Bush administration delibrately trying to discredit Wilson (though while this is being alledged ad infinitum, I have yet to hear exactly how would discredit him). It may just as easily be as Novak said - a mistake, but an inadvertant one that had no devious "conspiracy" or tactical purpose behind it."

I have yet to hear how Novaks article would discredit Wilson as well. In fact it looks like the only possible reason for outing Plame is to hurt Wilson through her. (It certainly was a mistake but to think that Karl Rove isn't in on every test balloon the White House staff sends out is naive don't you think.) Unless the "administrators" were trying to get at someone else linked to Wilson/Plame or to kill some program Plame was a part of. Again all conjecture which doesn't change the fact that the ends do not justify the means.

Your opinion of Wilson's investigation of the Niger affair still doesn't change the fact that the government has not produced any further evidence to dispell Wilson's orignal report. You would think it would be in the administrations best interest to do so if they had any.......
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 12:33 PM on May 3, 2004


Hello Dennis Murphy,

Please step up then in his place and let me know how being a political partisan completely invalidates your ability to tell the truth when addressing the opposing parties activities.

Obviously Midas is partisan enough that his own rule would apply to himself wouldn't it. I'm looking for something a little more substantive then Clinton did it too, etc.

Ciao
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 12:40 PM on May 3, 2004


While I agree that Bush could put an end to this fairly quickly, were he of the mind to do so, but confidentiality agreements are beyond the scope of his power. Primarily because reporters really need their sources, and like the mafia, aren't going to rat anyone out, because then no other sources will ever trust them again. Do you think Bob Woodward could have gotten the access he got if the identity of Deep Throat had ever come from him or Bernstein?

Reporters, especially at that level, guard their sources like they were diamonds...and president or no president, nothing is going to make them publicly out a source.

That said, I'm astounded it hasn't leaked by now in some way that could be credible but untraceable. Either the reporters are really scared of the White House, or they're really scared of the information.

And Salon article aside, book pimping aside, value or lack thereof of Wilson's evidence aside, the fact is that a crime was committed by releasing information about an active undercover agent. Therein is the crux of the matter. The rest is just fluff and bother. Someone, somewhere told at least one reporter (Novak) about Valerie Plame. We have laws against revealing things like that.

That crime should be and is being investigated, in fact Newsday reported in March that :
The federal grand jury probing the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity has subpoenaed records of Air Force One telephone calls in the week before the officer's name was published in a column in July, according to documents obtained by Newsday.

Also sought in the wide-ranging document requests contained in three grand jury subpoenas to the Executive Office of President George W. Bush are records created in July by the White House Iraq Group, a little-known internal task force established in August 2002 to create a strategy to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

And the subpoenas asked for a transcript of a White House spokesman's press briefing in Nigeria, a list of those attending a birthday reception for a former president, and, casting a much wider net than previously reported, records of White House contacts with more than two dozen journalists and news media outlets.
I personally don't expect their to be much movement before the elections, but they've also requested volumes of information that could take months to sift through...assuming they get them in a timely fashion...which of course, the Bush administration controls.
posted by dejah420 at 12:41 PM on May 3, 2004


...25 other members have a giant circle jerk...

Why is it that a certain group of people always seem to have masturbation or same-sex fellatio at the front of their minds when any disputation is going on? Is it that when casting about for the deadliest insult they can think of, they fall back upon their own secret shame? What they fail to realize is that not everyone has the same inner demons that they do.

/derail
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:57 PM on May 3, 2004


all politics aside, i believe you guys are really being unfair to MidasMulligan. and i hate watching it.
posted by oog at 12:58 PM on May 3, 2004


Why is it that a certain group of people always seem to have masturbation or same-sex fellatio at the front of their minds when any disputation is going on? Is it that when casting about for the deadliest insult they can think of, they fall back upon their own secret shame?

Because "25 other members feather their hair, put on yellow fingerless gloves and dance around their house like George Michael in the 'Wake Me up Before You Go-Go' video" takes too long to type?
posted by Cyrano at 1:27 PM on May 3, 2004


"I have yet to hear how Novaks article would discredit Wilson as well.—Wong fei-Hung
You might just look at my links above; but my theory is that the target for disrepute was the assumed nepotism of Plame's relationship with Wilson and the decision to send him to investigate. This kills, as I wrote, several birds with one stone. It (they thought) demonstrates that the CIA was unwilling to take the Niger story seriously from the get-go, that they inappropriately picked the husband of someone who already had made up her mind about it to basically rubber-stamp the CIA's conclusion, and that Wilson's op-ed was really all about bureaucratic infighting and that the CIA trying to cover their collective ass. They really were trying to strike at Wilson's (and Plame's, and, by extension, Tenet's) credibility; and they didn't realize until it was too late that Plame was a covert operative.

There's a lot here that's indisputable and that Bush's defenders really can't cast in a positive light. Rather than doing everything possible to discover who leaked a covert CIA agent's identity, they've dragged their feet and done, at every step of the way, the bare minimum. The CIA and then the FBI did initial investigations, and, contrary to all the predictions of Bush's defenders, referred the matter formally to the Justice department for further investigation and prosecution. They've deposed senior members of the admin. They've collected enormous quantities of documents. Ashscroft has recused himself of any involvement. The denials issues by the White House press office are extremely carefully crafted and narrowly worded. Bush's people were aggressive in investigating the possibility that O'Neil, for goshsakes, had procured and publicized classified documents...but they had to have their arms twisted to act on the disclosure of the identity of a covert operative.

This is all very bad and impossible to defend.

On the other hand, unlike many of my fellow lefties here, I have a great deal of difficulty swallowing the "let's out a covert operative, endanger her and other people's lives, and teach that bastard Wilson a lesson" conspiracy theory. Even assuming a high level of vindictiveness coupled with incompetence, it's still a stretch. I mean, Plame's brief was weapons of mass destruction proliferation, of all things. As I explained in my post, there's a good explanation for why some higher-ups in the admin would know that Plame was CIA, but not know she was an operative. This is, I think, easily the most likely scenario.

As to who in the admin was involved? I don't think for a second that Bush was. Bush has his faults, but he's not Nixon. Cheney is Nixon, so to speak, fully capable of plotting illicit and vindictive actions that are politically brazen. Bush doesn't know, doesn't want to know, and no one wants him to know. The highest person of responsibility in this mess is likely Cheney's COS, Scooter Libby. And maybe two or three other people.

The argument that has raged here all day has been, pardon me, silly. Each side is analyzing this through ideological blinders and, for the most part, concerned with identitfying and decrying each other's biases and, I don't know, lack of oral hygeine.

On the righties' side, Wilson is a bit of a showboat—the Vanity Fair photo demonstrated that...and a lack of discretion. His famous appearance at the embassy in Bagdhad in the moments before the first gulf war was, yes, quite bold and brave, but also, shall we say, "flamboyant".

On the other side, there's not good evidence that he was either an ardent Repub or Dem; he was mostly a middle-of-the-road career diplomat. We also know that the Niger and other stories were false and the admin was wrong in pushing that line of inquiry/reasoning. We know that somebody high-up, was told before Bush's SOTU speech that the Niger intel was almost certainly bogus. But Bush included it anyway, and, by the middle of last year, was still sticking to that story.

On the righties' side, yeah, one wonders why Wilson would do something as provocative and public as write a NYT op-ed, for crying out loud. One can analyse that either way, depending upon what one thinks about this administration. But the facts are, nevertheless, substantially on his side. And at this point no one is contesting that A) Plame was covert; and, B) someone in the admin leaked her identity to the press. Wilson may be wrong to assume the worst, most vindictive and heartless motives on the part of the people who leaked his wife's identity. And, if he is wrong about that, no doubt he himself has been pretty intemperate and vindictive. But, he could be right. We don't know that he's not; and, more to the point, he doesn't know that he's not. What he does know is a handful of people did something they very much ought not to have and they won't take responsibility for it. And it literally put his wife in danger (or, at the very least, people she knew). Yeah, he's probably fighting mad. In this context, that doesn't actually damage his credibility.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:31 PM on May 3, 2004


These are not just accusations--it's a proven fact that the name was leaked, and the reporters involved have said it was a senior administration official--even Novak has admitted that it was.

It's not a witchhunt or a conspiracy--it's a serious crime.
posted by amberglow at 1:50 PM on May 3, 2004


I still don't get how being not in lock step with the Bush admin automatically makes one a 'partisan democrat', despite thigns like having donated to the Republican party. As more and more republicans stop worshipping at the altar of Bush those of you rats who are too dumb to leave this particular sinking ship will look even stupider.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:59 PM on May 3, 2004


"As more and more republicans stop worshipping at the altar of Bush those of you rats who are too dumb to leave this particular sinking ship will look even stupider."

And it's this level of discourse you just can't find on the web outside of a Microsoft post on Slashdot.
posted by soulhuntre at 2:24 PM on May 3, 2004


And it's this level of discourse you just can't find on the web outside of a Microsoft post on Slashdot.

I stand by my statement.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:27 PM on May 3, 2004


Bush potential to become Richard Nixon is not growing by the day

But his potential to become Mussolini, though.... that's got legs.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2004


Well ok. I agree with Midas that I don't think Bush was involved, for a reason that says something quite a bit more disturbing about our democracy. Since Nixon plausibile deniability has been a major goal of executive leadership. Carter was perhaps the last president to take an active interest in what all branches of the exectutive was doing. With Iran-Contra, it was quite probable that Reagan had no idea that a group with minimal accountability was actively engaged in breaking the law through terrorist arms trade. Perhaps the most damning revelation of the hearings was the admission, clarified, and repeated by Poindexter, that Reagan's only role in the Oval Office was to rubber-stamp approve any foreign policy recommendation handed to him by the CIA. Reagan so successfully removed himself from what was going on, that there was even talk among the cabinent of having him examined and perhaps removed for medical incompetence. (While I believe that Reagan was not involved in that treason, I have a tough time believing that the elder Bush was completely out of the loop.)

The end result is that "The Buck Stops Here" has been replaced by a Chief Executive who looks for the proper fall guy for any public relation disaster. This is a serious problem. On the one hand, Bush attempts to claim leadership, but on the other hand, leadership requires taking moral, ethical and political responsibility for the mistakes that happen under your watch.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:20 PM on May 3, 2004


Actually if that bottom-feeder Novak had any clue what real journalists do he would have realized that, having worked for U.S. embassies in both Niger and Iraq, Wilson was in fact incredibly well qualified to lead this fact-finding mission.

As for the suggestion that a week-long trip to one of the world's poorest countries was somehow a luxury vacation -- which is the unspoken part of the "Palme had her husband sent to Niger" -- it goes to show how ignorant that person was who started the rumor.

But then Novak has his nose shoved so far up Bush's *ss he's breathing the President's air.
posted by clevershark at 11:27 PM on May 3, 2004


since it appears to be deeply important that I be dismissed as not credible - there's no reason to spend any further time trying to make points.

You don't get it, Midas. Your arguments were not credible; they were based upon clear fallacies. And in that context, your continued insistence to the contrary could only be construed as disingenuousness on a grand scale. It's really not that difficult.
posted by riviera at 11:45 PM on May 3, 2004


No, you don't get it. The arguments in the FPP article are simply not credible. It is full of implications, allegations, and no facts to back them up. Its a smear piece plain and simple. The basic, essential FACT is that an investigation is going on (that Wilson has confidence in), but it is not yet complete. NO ONE yet knows who released Plame's name.

Pointing out the fact that the entire premise of the FPP is garbage certainly did cause a gang-tackle ... but not a single person has credibly defended the article - because it cannot be defended. So all manner of side issues, and personal attacks (on me, Novak, Bush, you name it) are raised ... anything to completely avoid the issue. It is interesting to see how desperately y'all need to make sure that anyone saying anything against the article has their credibility attacked - since the arguments in the article cannot be defended ... so all that is left is to "attack the messenger".
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:58 AM on May 4, 2004


not a single person has credibly defended the article - because it cannot be defended

I'm having a bit of trouble with this. What about the article needs defense? Yes, the reporter has an obvious anti-Bush bias, but Wilson himself is clear and even-handed. He doesn't think it's Bush, he has faith in Bush's investigation, he's an old school Republican. What argument is he making that cannot be defended? That his wife, an undercover CIA operative, had her cover blown by someone in the current administration? Well, that's irrefutable because 1) her cover was blown 2) the only people who would know she was an operative are in the CIA and senior government 3) Novak himself admitted that's the source, without naming who. He's gone a step further in naming the people his sources have said were involved, true. Is that it? I'm honestly at a loss here. Nobody publicly has proven who the specific person (or people) involved is, but when the theoretical list is narrowed down to "someone in senior government with access to the CIA's list of undercover operatives", it doesn't have to be any more specific to be very bad for Bush's administration.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:09 AM on May 4, 2004


It is interesting to see how desperately y'all need to make sure that anyone saying anything against the article has their credibility attacked - since the arguments in the article cannot be defended ... so all that is left is to "attack the messenger".

...MidasMulligan hypocritically said, after attacking messenger Wilson right off the bat in this thread as "He is engaged in a campaign to smear Bush, and sell books. The Bush administration says he's a Democrat, a supporter of John Kerry, and has obvious ulterior motives. I hope it is an effective technique - because he is a partisan Democrat."

And, um, that's not all, is it Midas? Your heroes in the White House personally attack someone by going after his wife's personal safety (so that's just "politics as usual to you and yours, eh Midas? Despiccable...) and after your own smear of Wilson, you whine HERE about personal attacks? Instead of refuting anything in the article, you attack the article as merely "so obviously arranged in the first place to sell books" and "it is a smear piece plain and simple".....and then you whine HERE about "attacking the messenger"? You complain that "the interviewer actually seems to be trying to get him as radical and anti-Bush as possible", right after YOU tried to paint Wilson RIGHT IN THE THREAD as as radical and anti-Bush as possible? YOU blithely assert "I am fairly certain Wilson broke the law for political purposes" in the same hypocritical breath that you admonish everyone else that WE have to wait for the stonewalled investigation to finish before criticizing the Bush administration for possibly breaking the law for political purposes?

Honestly, Midas. If your MetaFilter discourse represented you, wouldn't you find that having two openings through which you blather would present the occasional confusion to your dentist?

You attacked Wilson personally and the article source initially instead of discussing the points Wilson raised. When challenged to back up your claim that Wilson is a "partisan democrat", you duck and run. When Bush is criticized, you reflexively bring up the completely irrelevant PREVIOUS president.

Riviera and others are right: your arguments are NOT credible. They are completely hypocritical, and you consistently take any attack on your vapid arguments as some kind of personal affront to your thin skin. You do precisely the thing you falsely accuse others of doing in some kind of odd projection. Shame on you.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:04 AM on May 4, 2004


"So, er, this is an example of a journalist asking hard-hitting questions to get at the truth? Or is it that any allegation against anyone in the administration should be immediately believed and vigorously investigated, while anyone that cares to make the charges should be given a free pass, handed the obligatory book deal"

-Midas

Midas seems to be arguing that this is a smear because Wilson is naming the names of those he thinks are responsible without any "concrete" proof.

For this to be a smear doesn't the person in question have to be falsely accused? Because a crime was committed doesn't this invalidate the possibility of this being a smear? Also, until the investigation is over Wilson can accuse whom ever he likes among the senior administration staff and none of his accusations can actually be said to be falsely made. Very little weight can be given to them as well because he offers no undisputable proof to back them up. Is this article a blatant platform for Wilson to promote his books and generate bad press for those he deems his enemies including President Bush.

Certainly.

That doesn't change the fact that you seemed to try and downgrade the seriousness of this situation to "allegations" in your original statement and attack Wilsons credibility whenever you can in following ones.

Midas, are you trying to take the high road and say that Wilson doesn't have the right to address/confront those he thinks are responsible for the attack against his wife because he has a book to promote and is a partisan democrat?

Do you hold the Bush administration to the same standard when they attacked the credibility of Paul O'Neill or Richard Clarke? The administration didn't feel any compunctions against using the press to attack both men without offering up any 'undisputable' proof to their assertions.

Ron Chernow's magnificent new biography of Alexander Hamilton begins with these of his subject's words: "I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be." That is the core of conservatism. "
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 11:33 AM on May 4, 2004


« Older Break in the Road   |   Cyberstream Poem Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments