more plame...
July 17, 2005 1:50 AM   Subscribe

Why Judith Miller should go to jail. Also, her actions as an embeded reporter in Iraq make me question if she really is such a bastion of journalistic ethics. via billmon
posted by afu (132 comments total)
methinks the word you're looking for is 'paragon' /pedant
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:05 AM on July 17, 2005

paragon is nicer, but is bastion incorrect?
posted by afu at 2:08 AM on July 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

posted by bardic at 2:18 AM on July 17, 2005

I think it's paragon for person, bastion for institutional-type-thing and epitome for either. It also would be 'embedded' and 'should stay in jail'.

Umm..I have an on-topic question. How are we aware that Judith Miller was given a waiver by her source? Is it based on speculation or is it a fact that her source is the same as Novak's ?? And this would be subject to the strict privacy of the Grand Jury testimony would it?

I wouldn't have thought "Kincaid has served as aide to former White House National Security Council staffer Oliver North. He was a guest co-host several times on the CNN "Crossfire" program.." gives the author of the first article a truckload of credibility.

Still, it's a reasonable deduction I suppose. Anything else or are we just burying this woman because of an opinion piece and a 3 year old story from WP who I guess is NYT's rival?
posted by peacay at 2:35 AM on July 17, 2005

Consider the source. Accuracy in Media is Reed Irvine's group, established to bring "Fairness, Balance and Accuracy in News Reporting" (sound familiar?). Major support includes Richard Mellon Scaife, the Coors Foundation, and a slew of petrochemical companies. So why again would they be happy a) to spread the meme that the reporter was the source of the leak, not Karl Rove, and b) to see a reporter from the hated New York Times sit in jail for a few months?

Much as we might like to see Judith Miller pay a price for her war cheerleading, that's not the point of her (voluntary) incarceration or this article. The article is more of the same, flak to draw attention from the administration's MO of dirty tricks--only this time, being in the White House, they drew on classified information and perhaps committed perjury and/or obstruction of justice in the process. Molly Ivins has been watching Rove for years and has this stuff down.

Now where's that popcorn?
posted by palancik at 3:34 AM on July 17, 2005

I think it's paragon for person, bastion for institutional-type-thing and epitome for either.

You're just making stuff up.
posted by grouse at 3:44 AM on July 17, 2005

paragon n 1: an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept [syn: idol, perfection, beau ideal] 2: model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal

bastion n 1: a group that defends a principle; "a bastion against corruption"; "the last bastion of communism" 2: a stronghold into which people could go for shelter during a battle [syn: citadel] 3: projecting part of a rampart or other fortification

epitome n 1: a standard or typical example; "he is the prototype of good breeding"; "he provided America with an image of the good father" [syn: prototype, paradigm, image] 2: a brief abstract (as of an article or book)
'making stuff up'
I guess..
posted by peacay at 3:58 AM on July 17, 2005

Thanks peacay, it's rare that people admit that they're wrong on MetaFilter and I appreciate your forthrightness in doing so.
posted by grouse at 4:10 AM on July 17, 2005

My vote goes for paradigm.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:13 AM on July 17, 2005

Cliff Kincaid, serves as editor of the Accuracy in Media (AIM) Report.

From his bio:

"Cliff has appeared on the Fox News programs Hannity & Colmes and The O'Reilly Factor, where he debated O'Reilly on global warming, the death penalty, and the homosexual agenda. He was a guest co-host on CNN's Crossfire (filling in for Pat Buchanan) in the 1980s, where he confronted the then-Libyan Ambassador to the U.N. with evidence of Libyan involvement in international terrorism.... He served on the staff of Human Events for several years and was an editorial writer and newsletter editor for former National Security Council staffer Oliver North at his Freedom Alliance educational foundation. He has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues."

Fair and balanced. Yeah, right.
posted by three blind mice at 4:17 AM on July 17, 2005

I know the source is a little suspect, but I still think his reasoning is plausible. There are a lot of questions revolving around Miller and her story that she is protecting a source doesn’t make that much sense. Why is she even involved in the investigation in the first place? Why have all the other reporters come forward after receiving waivers from their sources? Why didn't Miller write an article about Wilson/Plame, WMDs was her beat.

I'm not saying it's true for sure, but it makes a lot more sense to me that she is protecting her own ass by going to jail, rather than upholding some journalistic principles.
posted by afu at 4:23 AM on July 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

I know the source is a little suspect,

a little suspect?

Since one of the pillars of "fair and balanced" journalism is focusing scrutiny on the writer's motivations, take a fair and balanced look at Kincaid's own organisation, USA Survival, Inc.

It looks to me like Kincaid is just another biased, right wing apologist for the Bush administration. His actions as an embedded reporter in the right wing propoganda machine include such fair and balanced gems as:

Hillary Clinton's Global Agenda

Saving the Lives of Killers..

U.N.'s "Mother of the Oceans" Exposed as Radical Socialist and Loony Leftist; the Curious Background of the Law of the Sea Treaty
posted by three blind mice at 4:30 AM on July 17, 2005

Kincaid's a piece of shit, so what.

his thoughts about Miller still make a lot of sense.
posted by afu at 4:42 AM on July 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

Why would it be interesting that she chose jail despite potentially having a waiver? I'm under the impression that some journalists view going to jail to protect a source as one of the highest accolades a journalist can achieve in their career. Something to be proud of, not something to avoid. Depending on how, um, nuts you are, perhaps even something to deliberately increase the likelyhood of it happening.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:44 AM on July 17, 2005

While we may be getting a good short-term result out of this, I don't think this is a good long-term development at all.

Eventually, it's going to be a "good" reporter, whatever that is, and they're going to blow the lid on something big, and the newly-empowered government is going to be ALL OVER that person, and will lock them up forever if they can.

The shielding of sources is a powerful tool. Like all tools, it can be misused, but I think the likely cost of not having it is far worse.

'Getting' Rove, if he's indeed guilty, is a good thing... but the price is too high. It's winning a battle but losing the war.
posted by Malor at 4:57 AM on July 17, 2005

Even though I think Miller is grandstanding, I'd like to point out that Accuracy In Media are a bunch of neo-con wingnuts.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:59 AM on July 17, 2005

grouse, I have apologized on this website on a number of occasions for being abusive, dumb or misreading something. When I wrote "I guess..", I was simply noting (obliquely inferring - perhaps only in my head) that its partly a matter of semantics and also that it comes down to the reading background of a person as to how they believe these words paragon, bastion & epitome can be utilized.

So although I would never claim to be an authority, I suggest to you that my original surmizing about paragon being associated with a person, bastion being institutionally related and epitome as appropriate for both still generally holds IMHO, now that's modest contributions are on the table. I wouldn't assert that I'm definitely correct - I'd rather peruse OED first - but I certainly don't concede that I was "making stuff up" per se. I did originally preface it with "I think..".

But then, I wouldn't vote for paradigm either because my best recall is that it refers to a framework or model rather than as an example or epitome. Again, our respective reading histories to a certain extent colour the way we view these words that are subtlely interconnected.

Or: Who gives a fuck anyway eh?

/derail, but then again, with the quality of the FPP source article author, perhaps a discussion about semantics is a better idea.
posted by peacay at 5:01 AM on July 17, 2005

Kincaid's whole thesis depends upon Miller's so-called "waiver." He pretty much asserts she had one without further proof. The administration forced everyone to give generic written waivers but none of the reporters with any journalistic ethics accepted these. They were looking for a specific waiver from their source to them. Kincaid's essay amounts to nothing more than rank speculation. Sometimes rank speculation later turns out to be correct, but I doubt it on this.
posted by caddis at 5:26 AM on July 17, 2005

Neither Miller nor Kincaid is an exemplar of journalistic excellence

: one that serves as a model or example: as
a : an ideal model
b : a typical or standard specimen
c : a copy of a book or writing
(Merriam Webster)
posted by bmckenzie at 5:27 AM on July 17, 2005

Wow, and here I thought both peacay's "I guess.." and grouse's "Thanks peacay, it's rare that people admit that they're wrong" were pure sarcasm. It's so hard to figure out how to calibrate the irony meter around here.

It looks to me like Kincaid is just another biased, right wing apologist for the Bush administration.

Yes, of course. So? That doesn't mean he's wrong here. I have yet to see a good explanation for what's going on in the Judith Miller case; I do know that she's a repellent would-be kingmaker who shamelessly promoted Chalabi and spread whatever "information" she thought would help him, so I have no respect for her as a journalist, and Kincaid's explanation makes as much sense as any. If you can refute it, please do so, but yelling "he's a right-winger!" isn't an argument.
posted by languagehat at 5:58 AM on July 17, 2005

Oh, my apologies peacay. I figured that you had looked up the words and realized your error, since I saw nothing in your definition of paragon that would prevent it from applying to an institution, or in the definition of epitome that sets it apart from that definition of paragon somehow in applying both to institutions and individuals. Feel free to enlighten me here or via e-mail.

As far as bastion goes, you omitted the definition from your preferred of "One that is considered similar to a defensive stronghold: You are a bastion of strength." In what way does that definition apply only to an institution?

Or: Who gives a fuck anyway eh?

You cared enough to make a comment about it, then when others give evidence you are wrong you ask who cares? If you don't care, then don't open your mouth.

I care because I'm tired of seeing people make up rules so they can say other people are wrong, when it is usually the rulemakers who are wrong.
posted by grouse at 6:05 AM on July 17, 2005

This was a crappy article. Nowhere does he address the very real concern that a coerced waiver of confidentiality should not be treated as a heartfelt waver would be. See Woodward's exemplary behavior towards Mark Felt in this regard.
Of course, it has been hilarious to watch Rove issue a waiver, Cooper not take it, Rove's lawyer lie in public, Cooper say "that tears it" and accept the waiver, then Rove's lawyer blast Cooper for violating a source.

Incidentally, "via billmon" was like this:
The theory that Judy Miller told Rove about Plame, instead of hearing it from him, was floated earlier this week by Accuracy in Media nut job Cliff Kincaid.

Justin Raimondo's much more interesting article.

Slightly off-topic look upthread for extremely off-topic: can anyone provide a link to a serious discussion of the number of Plame associates now believed killed? I read the number 60 one place but it didn't link anywhere.
posted by Aknaton at 6:14 AM on July 17, 2005

so judith miller should stay in jail because of mounting speculation?
posted by 3.2.3 at 6:17 AM on July 17, 2005

It worries me that she's in jail & this Salon article pretty much sums up why.
posted by password at 6:26 AM on July 17, 2005

I'd be surprised if any Plame associates were killed as a result of her outing. The idea that an outing results in deaths is largely sensationalism - the risk is there and it could result in a linked killing, but historically, it virtually never does. But since risk is there, you generally want a more noble motive than the latest potshot in you current week's smear campaign before outing someone.

It wouldn't surprise me if some of her associates (that's a potentially very broad term) have died in the line of duty however - there is a war going on.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:30 AM on July 17, 2005

grouse writes "You cared enough to make a comment about it, then when others give evidence you are wrong you ask who cares? If you don't care, then don't open your mouth."

But you didn't give evidence did you? All you said prior to your last comment was that I was making stuff up.

I didn't selectively paste - or at least I just took the summary definitions for each word from the bottom of the page and as for the (apparent) snide observation that it's my 'preferred' site, it's just the quickest available and also free, unlike my actual preferred source (as I said), the O E D, whose site is definitely not free.

Look, the poster asked a question about useage and I gave my 2c worth. I don't deny the quote you have about bastion. But as a general thing, my background reading suggests to me that bastion is more applicable for a body of people -- an institution. I've already said I don't claim to be an authority and if languagehat wants to jump in, feel free...or not. But I'll assert that I'm entitled to voice my opinion and if you want to mispresent that as my making up rules then you should adjust your reading glasses ... or something.

Who gives a fuck eh? is meant to imply that it's not that important; that it's subtle with these particular words and not worth bickering about. I cared enough that I was understood, not that my thoughts should prevail.

Back to Le Tour.
posted by peacay at 6:41 AM on July 17, 2005

Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha.

Great, our cover's been blown too.
posted by emelenjr at 6:45 AM on July 17, 2005

It's more than a little premature to be all up in arms about this stuff, given that each and every one of these leaks has a specific purpose. It's more than a little ironic that legal action involving people anonymous sources is being leaked again -- but it's not by accident.

Anyway, we'll see where the special prosecutor takes this. Given that the proceedings of the grand jury are, you know, secret and all, it seems a bit silly to jump to any conclusions.
posted by ph00dz at 7:14 AM on July 17, 2005

From the second link:

In a May 1 e-mail to Times colleague John Burns, The Post reported, Miller said: "I've been covering Chalabi for about 10 years, and have done most of the stories about him for our paper. . . . He has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to our paper."

Given that the US was drawn into doing the actions of an double-agent working for Iran based almost solely on said double-agent's fanciful tales and forged documents, one has to question how much *real* knowledge and insight Miller actually brought to her war coverage, as opposed to willfully-blind cheerleading.

Then again the cheerleading was probably more important when it came to the Office of Special Projects handing out assignments to the "embedded" reporters.
posted by clevershark at 7:22 AM on July 17, 2005

She strikes me as more like this administration's Susan McDougal.
posted by spock at 7:45 AM on July 17, 2005

Chalabi was used by Team America as much as vice versa. This woman was one of the mouthpieces to "leak" any information that needed to be leaked and they could all even point to the info and say "look even this reputable, Liberal paper says there are WMD's" It's just a big happy circle jerk of lies.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:57 AM on July 17, 2005

Bumper stickers at AIM
posted by nervousfritz at 8:00 AM on July 17, 2005

Fuck Kincaid, the greasy little wingnut. This FPP is inside out and the real meat is at Billmon.

The Bartender gets it just about perfect. One quibble: It's not the Agee law it's the Lou Wolf law. Credi where credit is due.
posted by warbaby at 8:36 AM on July 17, 2005

Speaking of the NY Times, make sure you read this today -- Frank Rich NAILS it.

We shouldn't get hung up on him [Rove] - or on most of the other supposed leading figures in this scandal thus far. Not Matt Cooper or Judy Miller or the Wilsons or the bad guy everyone loves to hate, the former CNN star Robert Novak. This scandal is not about them in the end, any more than Watergate was about Dwight Chapin and Donald Segretti or Woodward and Bernstein. It is about the president of the United States. It is about a plot that was hatched at the top of the administration and in which everyone else, Mr. Rove included, are at most secondary players.
posted by fungible at 8:56 AM on July 17, 2005

Nervousfritz wins.
posted by NickDouglas at 9:04 AM on July 17, 2005

Thanks for the link fungible.
posted by peacay at 9:15 AM on July 17, 2005

"Bastion" is an architectural metaphor (a part of a castle). "Epitome" is a textual metaphor (an authoritative version of a text, maybe more obviously appropriate to describe a journalist). "Paragon" is the closest term for what I think you mean -- essentially an ideal manifestation of a type. I do concur with Peacay that "bastion" used to describe an individual is imprecise and non-standard, which doesn't make it ungrammatical or potentially vivid. If I were editing an academic essay, I'd prefer epitome to bastion in this case, and paragon to both.
posted by realcountrymusic at 9:34 AM on July 17, 2005

Although, on reflection, if the idea is that Miller is occupying a defensively hardened redoubt in her brave and honorable defense of journalistic principle (ha ha ha ha) then "bastion" is actually a vivid image. I could be convinced. God, it's hard to think about her situation without letting her detestable and unprincipled conduct in her work on WMDs interfere with one's analysis.
posted by realcountrymusic at 9:37 AM on July 17, 2005

Judith Miller *loves* being in jail right now... it gives her "cred" without actually having to do hard time.

When she comes out she'll get to swinging right away about how the "liberal media" abandoned her, mark my words.
posted by clevershark at 9:57 AM on July 17, 2005

afu:Kincaid's a piece of shit, so what. his thoughts about Miller still make a lot of sense.

languagehat: Yes, of course. So? That doesn't mean he's wrong here. I have yet to see a good explanation for what's going on in the Judith Miller case;

1. The right wing attack dogs explain away everything in the NY Times that is critical of the Bush administration with the excuse that the reporters are liberals. If the bias of the source is an important aspect of the reporting in the NY Times, it is an important aspect of the reporting here.

2. Kincaid is not just your average garden variety wingnut. He is the emitome of wingnuts and his website is a bastion of right wing propoganda. He lacks even the credibility of Ann Coulter. Here is a prime example of Kincaid's fair and balanced reporting.

3. The strategy of the right wing propoganda machine is to invent a plausible explanation that exonerates the Bush administration or explains away a Bush administration lie. The invention gets picked up by Rush Limbo, Bill (or is is Dick?) O'Reilly, and the rest of the right wing talking heads and fed to the GOP proles as truth and the issue gets dismissed as part of the liberal conspiracy.

You might want to give him the benefit of the doubt, because the story seems plausible. I can't get past the suspicion that it is the result of a finely-tuned, and unfortunately highly effective propoganda machine.
posted by three blind mice at 10:10 AM on July 17, 2005

emitome epitome
posted by three blind mice at 10:11 AM on July 17, 2005

Cooper has reported that he testified that he spoke to Libby as well as Rove.
posted by willnot at 10:25 AM on July 17, 2005

Sorry to beg the question. And Frank Rich (as usual) is correct- preoccupation with letter of the law here misses the big picture. But I remain genuinely confused about some of the critical elements of this case, and I hoped that some of you might be able to help me sort out how all of these scenarios change the question of culpability.

1. Let's say Miller already knew Plame's identity. How did she know it? If disclosure of this kind of information to an individual journalist- even one who doesn't write a story abut it- is the crime, aren't the people who passed this info to Miller culprits?

I assume that Miller's sources could only known for a fact (as opposed to knowing a speculative tidbit of Washington gossip) that Plame was an agent if they had a security clearance to access classified information, and such confirmation would have also told them that Plame was undercover.

2. Let's say Miller disclosed Plame's identity to senior administration officials, possibly including Rove. Said official(s) contact Cooper and/or Novack, passing along this information, or, in Rove's case, confirming Novack's inquiry.

Since these officials could only have definitively confirmed Plame's identity if they had access to the aforementioned classified info, wouldn't they have known Plame was undercover- making their disclosure or confirmation of this info to third parties illegal even if they were not the original source of the information?

And in Rove's case, doesn't confirming Novack's question amount to disclosure? He could have said "no comment" (government officials do so all the time).

Much of the debate over the potential Rove frogmarch seems to hinge on defining what constitutes knowing disclosure. So what counts, legally, as “knowing"? Or "disclosure"? In other words, does placing the blame on Miller really change the nature of the crime and the criminals?

Thanks for any and all insight.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:37 AM on July 17, 2005

Well, even Jeff Gannon/Guckert knew of the confidential State Dept. Memo--he wrote about it. Clearly Miller and many others got it or were told of it too, no? I think Miller's in jail not because of Rove but because of Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney and/or someone in the State Dept.

She wanted to be a big player--now she is.
posted by amberglow at 10:44 AM on July 17, 2005

According to the Washington Post, Lewis "Scooter" Libby (better known as Dick Cheney's chief of staff) was also involved in leaking Plame's name.

And there's little doubt that if Libby had this information, he got it from his boss.
posted by clevershark at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2005

three blind mice: I honestly don't understand your approach.

"Son, Johnny told me you were smoking in the bathroom at school yesterday."
"But Dad! 1) Johnny eats snot! 2) He eats bugs too! 3) All his friends eat snot and bugs and smell bad!"

Absent from this rejoinder is any actual denial, in the absence of which all allegations about Johnny's naughty behavior are an irrelevant smokescreen. If you can explain to me why Kincaid is wrong, I'll be grateful. As it is, you're just blowing smoke.
posted by languagehat at 11:33 AM on July 17, 2005

am I the only one who at this point finds the whole Plame-Wilson-Novak-Miller-Rove-whatever affair quite boring? I mean, it is quite clear that it's highly unlikely something big will come out of it -- it's just too complicated by now. not nearly as simple as those terrible, terrible Oval Office Blowjobs, that's for sure.

posted by matteo at 12:23 PM on July 17, 2005

lang, I am disappointed in you... a more appropriate analogy is...

"Son, Eddie Haskell told me you were smoking in the bathroom at school yesterday."
"But Dad! Eddie smokes in the bathroom all the time and when he gets caught, he always blames somebody else who was in the bathroom at the same time!"

Kinkaid's entire arguement is based on a premise that has not been substantiated by anybody: that Miller "had a waiver from her source". Even if Miller had a waiver from Rove (who we are assuming - with some evidence but not enough to be sure), she may have another source (maybe "Scooter" Libby, or hey, did Plame ever deal with Miller's favorite source Chalabi?) who didn't release her. This case is complex enough, and the Prosecutor has kept quiet successfully enough, that nobody has come up with anything more than speculation, and, considering Kinkaid's 'journalistic' record, it's a speculation designed to pass the blame away from his friends and masters.

"And Dad! Eddie's blown so much smoke up your ass that maybe you should get checked for colon cancer!"

Another piece of wild speculation: maybe the reason that the "MSM" is suddenly getting aggressive about this story is from seeing Miller, who been so supportive of the Administration before, getting screwed over and realizing that the only way the to be "safe" with the Administration is by taking a job at FoxNews.
posted by wendell at 12:26 PM on July 17, 2005

I understood (no cite) that it was, while not common knowledge, the case that Plame's identity as a CIA operative was reasonably well known around DC circles, no? [err...before this kerfuffle]
posted by peacay at 12:26 PM on July 17, 2005

peacay writes "I understood (no cite) that it was, while not common knowledge, the case that Plame's identity as a CIA operative was reasonably well known around DC circles, no?"

Every time this issue comes up someone has to bring up that canard. Do you have any more of these "talking points" for us, peacay?
posted by clevershark at 12:38 PM on July 17, 2005

So, I'm pretty stupid sometimes, and I haven't read much on the whole affair, but can someone tell me why Judith Miller would go to jail to "protect herself"? The law can't touch her for outing Plame, unless she had the info through authorized channels, can it? The Intelligence Identities Protection Act [link is to first section] only applies to people who have "authorized access" or to people who have engaged in a "pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States" (emphasis mine). Saying that by going to jail Miller is protecting herself from a situation in which she would face no penalty at all...isn't that a bit backwards? Or is Kincaid suggesting that Miller had "authorized access" - say, she herself is a CIA operative - or that she has intentionally engaged in a "pattern of activities" meant to interfere with our foreign intelligence activities? Do they have evidence for either suggestion? Or is there another law in play? Am I missing something?
posted by dilettanti at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2005

Plame's identity as a CIA operative was reasonably well known around DC circles, no?

So? What does that even mean? Might as well say, "Plame's identity as a CIA operative was well-known around Fairfax County, Virginia."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:46 PM on July 17, 2005

I haven't read all the rove threads. I read a lot. I forget where I read what. clevershark, instead of allowing your hackles to be raised, a simple yes, no or it's unclear would have been easy.
Civil_Disobedient, if there's basis to that rumour then it means that confirmation and passing on of her identity becomes much less an investigation of leaking of secure information is all. It would mean what it implies, that many people possibly knew unofficially.
posted by peacay at 12:51 PM on July 17, 2005

So the source that journalists are protecting and that the grand jury is investigating is...a grapevine??
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:06 PM on July 17, 2005

peacay writes "clevershark, instead of allowing your hackles to be raised, a simple yes, no or it's unclear would have been easy."

"allowing my hackles to be raised"... don't flatter yourself. The point is that this bullshit comes up every time this issue is discussed. If I went around MeFi saying "so-and-so is a child molester, isn't he" I could then claim that people should respond to it with a yes or a no, but eventually people will get the idea that the purpose of the question is not to ask, but to make a statement.

if there's basis to that rumour then it means that confirmation and passing on of her identity becomes much less an investigation of leaking of secure information is all.

Either laws were broken or they weren't. No amount of "poisoning the well" in general discourse is likely to change that.
posted by clevershark at 1:06 PM on July 17, 2005

I understood (no cite) that it was, while not common knowledge, the case that Plame's identity as a CIA operative was reasonably well known around DC circles, no? [err...before this kerfuffle]

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on this, though I don't blame clevershark for not doing so. In Timothy Noah's words:
(There has been some dispute about whether Plame was technically undercover when she was exposed. I apply a simple test: Did her friends and neighbors know she worked for the CIA? They did not. Ergo, she was undercover.)
posted by Aknaton at 1:29 PM on July 17, 2005

I've already said that I haven't been in on much of the Rove discussions. So this is the first time I've asked it. It was a question. It wasn't rhetoric. It comes from my reading some news story somewhere or other. I'm not trying to poison any well. There's no childmolesters in this thread excepting those you bring in as hollow analogies. Just be silent or go to your own talking points. I'll go read some other material somewhere else to answer my poorly remembered readings. It's no biggy.
posted by peacay at 1:32 PM on July 17, 2005

Thanks for the input Aknaton.
posted by peacay at 1:35 PM on July 17, 2005

Either laws were broken or they weren't.

This isn't even a question to me, because I don't believe the judges would have sent Judith Miller to jail unless Patrick Fitzgerald had proved to them that a crime has been committed. Here's the full text [PDF] of the Appeals Court opinions upholding the subpoenas for Miller and Cooper. Via Mark Kleiman, who writes:
Reading those opinions makes it evident that the reporters who are so eagerly lapping up the "no crime" theory haven't read them. All three judges agree that, if a common-law "reporter's privilege" exists, Mr. Fitzgerald has submitted enough evidence about the commission of a serious crime or crimes to warrant overcoming that privilege.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:35 PM on July 17, 2005

There will definitely be some indictments for at least 2 White House staffers, and possibly more--for what, we don't know yet. I'm thinking at the very least--perjury and obstruction of justice.
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on July 17, 2005

to your point kirkaracha, Lawrence O'Donnell had this exchange with Tony Blankley in KCRW friday regarding whether or not any laws were broken
Here’s what I think is definitive on this question. Patrick Fitzgerald has represented to the courts that he is pursuing a serious, national security, criminal violation. It seems to me in this grand jury, witness number one -- and Tony you’ve been a prosecutor, you know how they assemble cases -- witness number one would have been a CIA administrator who comes in and testifies about how Valerie Plame does indeed fit the law’s requirements. Because if witness number one doesn’t do that successfully for the prosecutor, there is absolutely no reason to call witness number two, because there is no crime to investigate.


Yeah--well--I mean--that’s one way to approach it.
audio available on crooks and liars
posted by tsarfan at 3:20 PM on July 17, 2005

Also, the CIA wouldn't have referred the matter to the Justice Department if they didn't believe Ms. Plame was a covert agent and revealing her identity was a crime, as they said in October 2003:
The CIA declined to discuss Plame's intelligence work, but an agency official disputed suggestions that she was a mere analyst whose public exposure would have little consequence.

"If she was not undercover, we would have no reason to file a criminal referral," the CIA official said, insisting on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation."
A leak about the significance of the leak. Nice.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:57 PM on July 17, 2005

There will definitely be some indictments for at least 2 White House staffers, and possibly more...

Hmmm...the needle of the compass seems to be pointing a bit closer to Rove and Libby. But, who knows at this point?
"White House political aide Karl Rove was the first person to tell a Time magazine reporter that the wife of a prominent critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy was a CIA officer, the reporter said in an article Sunday.

Time correspondent Matthew Cooper said he told a grand jury last week that Rove told him the woman worked at the ‘agency,’ or CIA, on weapons of mass destruction issues, and ended the call by saying ‘I've already said too much.’

....Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes,’ Cooper wrote in Time's current edition.

....Until last week, the White House had insisted for nearly two years that vice presidential chief of staff Lewis Libby and Rove were not involved in the leaks.

Cooper said on NBC's ‘Meet the Press‘ that he spoke to Libby after first learning about Wilson's wife from Rove." [MSNBC | July 17, 2005]
posted by ericb at 5:04 PM on July 17, 2005

I just checked the earlier threads on RoveGate and discovered that what I just posted here was posted earlier today by amberglow on one of the earlier threads. My apologies for the repost.

Shall we migrate the previous discussions of the multiple earlier threads to here?
posted by ericb at 5:13 PM on July 17, 2005

wendell, I've thrown spitballs at you from time to time, but your comment was both funny and enlightening. I withdraw two of my last five spitballs.
posted by languagehat at 5:14 PM on July 17, 2005

'Indispensable': Does It Have a Shelf Life?
"One former Republican official who retains close ties to the White House said there could be a political cost for keeping Mr. Rove on board even if he is found to have done nothing illegal. ‘If Karl survives, he does so at the president's political expense,’ said the former official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be seen as disloyal to Mr. Rove.

‘George W. Bush came into office promising two tenets that are in competition now: straight talk, non-parsing - and loyalty,’ the former official said. ‘He's either got to choose loyalty or straight talk. He can't do both.’....

‘The Bush operating style is, you be loyal to me, I'll be loyal back to you - and I'm not going to let my critics think they can prompt a lot of resignations just by pointing out that we said we'd fire them,’ said Professor Stephen Walt, academic dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

But, Mr. Walt said: ‘With Bush now being a lame duck, you start to wonder whether or not he'll have the same clout. At what point does the R.N.C. start weighing in and saying, 'Gee, we know he can't run again. But do we want to be saddled with a scandal that will make it harder for us to win in 2008?'"
posted by ericb at 5:26 PM on July 17, 2005

I would cut peacay some slack for not knowing all the details since he is certainly more well versed in our American political scandal than most of us would be about any Australian political imbroglios.

And as to the question about whether it was general knowledge about Plame's job, apparently her neighbors were quite astounded when they learned:

"Before this whole affair, no one would ever have thought of her as an undercover agent," said David Tillotson, a next-door neighbor for seven years who got to know the Wilsons well over back-fence chats, shared dinners and play dates for their grandchildren with the Wilsons' children, Trevor and Samantha.

"She wasn't mysterious," Mr. Tillotson said. "She was sort of a working soccer mom."

He recalled his incredulity on July 14, 2003, when his wife, Victoria, spotted in The Washington Post, in a syndicated column by Robert Novak, a line identifying their neighbor by her maiden name and calling her an "agency operative." Ms. Tillotson kept calling out: "This can't be! This can't be!"

The Wilsons' neighbor on the other side, Christopher Wolf, was similarly aghast. As he sat on his deck staring at the Novak column, Mr. Wilson came out his back door.

"I said: 'This is amazing! I had no idea,' " Mr. Wolf recalled. "He sort of motioned to me to keep my voice down."
source - 2nd article down.

As for who else might be involved, I am intrigued by this Josh Marshall brings up the item about the classified State Department memo looping back somehow to Gannon Guckert.

Randi Rhodes: "If Karl Rove is a "Whistle Blower," then Jeff Gannon's nickname must be "Whistle"

There are many more interesting names that could surface... we've heard Ari Fleisher suggested a few times, but think of the illustrious roster of the White House Iraq Group, a propaganda group assembled in the pre-war buildup to sell the war to the public.

WHIG participants included Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Nicholas E. Calio, Condoleeza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, along with I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff. What a rogue's gallery! Is it just me thinking this, or have Card, Hughes, Maitalin, and Hadley all been quiet lately?

This Oct 2003 Washington Post article entitled Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence is well worth reading, as is Digby's recent post on the Iraq Group.

This is less about the outing of an agent than about fabricating and sexing up the case to go to war and a coverup to keep that from becoming public.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:22 PM on July 17, 2005

Follow the Uranium
“… we shouldn't get hung up on [Rove] - or on most of the other supposed leading figures in this scandal thus far. Not Matt Cooper or Judy Miller or the Wilsons or the bad guy everyone loves to hate, the former CNN star Robert Novak. This scandal is not about them in the end, any more than Watergate was about Dwight Chapin and Donald Segretti or Woodward and Bernstein. It is about the president of the United States. It is about a plot that was hatched at the top of the administration and in which everyone else, Mr. Rove included, are at most secondary players.

To see the main plot, you must sweep away the subplots…. Apparently this is finally beginning to dawn on Mr. Bush's fiercest defenders and on Mr. Bush himself… [The recent attacks]…are red herrings. Let me reiterate: This case is not about Joseph Wilson…. This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

…. Next to White House courtiers of their rank, Mr. Wilson is at most a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. The brief against the administration's drumbeat for war would be just as damning if he'd never gone to Africa. But by overreacting in panic to his single Op-Ed piece of two years ago, the White House has opened a Pandora's Box it can't slam shut. Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.” [New York Times | July 17, 2005]
Also see: In Plame Leaks, Long Shadows [Washington Post | July 17, 2005]
posted by ericb at 11:31 PM on July 17, 2005

Rove at War
“…You use the jujitsu of media flow to flip the energy of your enemies against them…[Karl Rove] never discusses political mechanics in public. But in fact everything is political--and everyone is fair game. Which now includes Rove. In a familiar Washington twist of fate, Rove's theory of politics is being turned against him—and he is being forced to deploy the Republican machine, which he built on Bush's behalf, for a more personal task: his own defense….

It's unlikely that any White House officials considered that they were doing anything illegal in going after Joe Wilson. Indeed, the line between national security and politics had long since been all but erased by the Bush administration.”
posted by ericb at 11:32 PM on July 17, 2005

A Secret Known, a Cover Blown
“The misinformation being spread in the media about the Plame affair is alarming and damaging to the long-term security interests of the United States. Republicans' talking points are trying to savage Joe Wilson and, by implication, his wife, Valerie Plame, as liars. That is the truly big lie….

Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985. All of my classmates were undercover -- in other words, we told our family and friends that we were working for other overt U.S. government agencies….

Yet, until Novak betrayed her, she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed her he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her….

The Republicans insist on the lie that Plame got her husband the job. She did not. She was not a division director; instead she was the equivalent of an Army major. Yes, she recommended her husband to do the job that needed to be done, but the decision to send Wilson on this mission was made by her bosses.

At the end of the day, Wilson was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was the Bush administration that pushed that lie, and because of that lie Americans are dying. Shame on those who continue to slander Joe Wilson while giving Bush and his pack of liars a pass. That's the true outrage."
posted by ericb at 11:33 PM on July 17, 2005

Matthew Cooper: "What I Told the Grand Jury."

posted by ericb at 11:34 PM on July 17, 2005

I withdraw two of my last five spitballs.

posted by Aknaton at 11:35 PM on July 17, 2005

Thanks kirkaracha for the .pdf of the appeal. It's of course redacted in sections but does indeed [notionally] support the contention that a crime was committed..
"..In sum, based on an exhaustive investigation, the special
counsel has established the need for Miller’s and Cooper’s
testimony. Thus, considering the gravity of the suspected crime
and the low value of the leaked information, no privilege bars
the subpoenas."
Thanks madamjujujive, particularly for the truthout (NYT) link & I also get a tremble when you say 'sex'.. It seems pretty clear that noone in her personal life, excepting her husband, were aware, but I can also see where an ambiguous reading about the level of secrecy attaching to Plame's alterior life may have been construed in other publications..
"..other former C.I.A. officers say that by 2003 Ms. Wilson's cover was already thin. Any serious inquiry would have revealed that Brewster Jennings [bogus CIA Boston petroleum company] was little more than a mailbox. Though she traveled regularly, Ms. Wilson, who speaks French, German and Greek, had been working for some time at agency headquarters in Langley, Va. And her marriage to a senior American diplomat, Mr. Wilson, ended any pretense of having no government ties. At that point, she looks, walks and quacks like an overt agency employee," said Fred Rustmann, a C.I.A. officer from 1966 to 1990, who supervised Ms. Wilson early in her career.."
Tizz a complexity of artifice and smoke indeed.
posted by peacay at 3:01 AM on July 18, 2005

If you're going to waive your leak, don't face the whirlwind.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:34 AM on July 18, 2005

Tizz a complexity of artifice and smoke indeed.

Moi? ;)

Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.

If Frank Rich is right, then I think we ought to start a betting pool!
posted by tizzie at 6:09 AM on July 18, 2005

Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, was also a source for the leak, despite previous White House denials. It's gonna be a rough week for Scott McLellan.

On last night's Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer called President Bush on his claim that he really wants to get to the bottom of this (transcript [PDF], video):
Instead of appointing a special prosecutor, what if the president had just called in his top people in the beginning of all this and said, "Folks, we have a problem here. I need to know who's been talking to Bob Novak, and I need to know today by the end of business"? That's what presidents used to do, and they're usually pretty good at finding out when they really want to know. Not many people had the nerve to lie to Lyndon Johnson when he looked them in the eye, and Richard Nixon figured out early on who Deep Throat was, and now we know from Woodward and Bernstein that on that one Nixon was right.

Instead, this White House did what it usually does when challenged: It went into attack mode, called charges that the White House had leaked the name ridiculous, and allowed the controversy to boil until a special prosecutor had to be appointed. Now two years and millions of tax dollars later, the president's trusted friend and strategist Karl Rove has emerged as the top suspect, and we're left to wonder: Can anything said from the White House podium be taken at face value, or does the White House just deny automatically anything that reflects badly on it?

This could and should have been dealt with inside the White House long before it reached the special prosecutor level. Instead, the president's people followed the modern public relations rule, "Never admit a mistake, just do what is necessary to kill the story before it kills you," which often works. What they are learning, though, is that when that involves tearing down the character of your critics, it can also be very dangerous business.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:21 AM on July 18, 2005

Top Aides Reportedly Set Sights on Wilson
"Top aides to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were intensely focused on discrediting former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in the days after he wrote an op-ed article for the New York Times suggesting the administration manipulated intelligence to justify going to war in Iraq, federal investigators have been told....Karl Rove, and Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, were especially intent on undercutting Wilson's credibility, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

Although lower-level White House staffers typically handle most contacts with the media, Rove and Libby began personally communicating with reporters about Wilson, prosecutors were told.

A source directly familiar with information provided to prosecutors said Rove's interest was so strong that it prompted questions in the White House. When asked at one point why he was pursuing the diplomat so aggressively, Rove reportedly responded: 'He's a Democrat.' Rove then cited Wilson's campaign donations, which leaned toward Democrats, the person familiar with the case said." [L.A. Times | July 18, 2005]
posted by ericb at 7:38 AM on July 18, 2005

The problem with the linked article is that it's pure speculation from a partisan source, and the speculation just happens to exonerate the administration. So while he may have a point, there is every reason to assume that his speculation is fueled by something other than good conscience and that his conclusions are incorrect as a result.
posted by OmieWise at 8:01 AM on July 18, 2005

The president's pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak is no longer operative:
President Bush said Monday that if anyone in his administration committed a crime in connection with the public leak of the identity of a CIA operative, that person will "no longer work in my administration."

Bush said in June 2004 that he would fire anyone in his administration shown to have leaked information that exposed the identity of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame. On Monday, however, he added the qualifier that it would have be shown that a crime was committed.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:49 AM on July 18, 2005

Wow. He's really going out on a limb to say that anyone who commits a crime will no longer work in the administration.

Now that's what we call reall accountability in government.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:58 AM on July 18, 2005

He's so Clintonian, no? ; >

This is such a weaselly way to change his words. What's next? He'll say only if it's a felony? Only if it's a high crime?
posted by amberglow at 10:09 AM on July 18, 2005

Well, he did get promise to restore honor and dignity to the White House.
And "we had an accountability moment. It's called the 2004 elections."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:09 AM on July 18, 2005

Why the Leak Probe Matters
"For all the complexities of the Valerie Plame case, this story is about how easy it was to get into Iraq, and how hard it will be to get out." [Newsweek | July 25, 2005 issue]
posted by ericb at 10:51 AM on July 18, 2005

Somebody already kinda nailed it. Miller had to get the information from SOMEBODY with high level clearance so this AIM piece is fucking bullshit.

I mean really. Does this guy think Miller repelled into CIA headquarters in Langley like Sydney Brisco of 'Alias', all dressed in a sexy black ninja negligeé and pink stripper wig? I see it now. There she goes scurrying in the dark corridor, clinging to the ceiling tile like a sweet sexy spider, flipping upside down over a monitor and hacking into the CIA mainframe with her delicate but deadly plumb red fingernails. "Plame! You are mine!"
posted by tkchrist at 10:55 AM on July 18, 2005

And it also shows that it's probably not Rove and Libby she got the info from. I still say it's Cheney himself.
posted by amberglow at 10:57 AM on July 18, 2005

" Fuck Kincaid, the greasy little wingnut. This FPP is inside out and the real meat is at Billmon.

The Bartender gets it just about perfect. One quibble: It's not the Agee law it's the Lou Wolf law. Credit where credit is due."

yeah warbaby, you are right, not that anyone is reading this thread anymore...

I was drawn in by the catchy title of Kincaid's piece, but i agree that there are a lot of problems with it, (most of which are pointed out by Billmon). I just have this strange aversion to liking directly to blog posts, I guess that's why I didn't link to whiskey bar in the first place, but in retrospect i probably should have.
posted by afu at 10:58 AM on July 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

NUKES AND THE BASE...."Step back from Plamegate for a moment and ask yourself a broader question: why did the White House react so violently to Joe Wilson's suggestion that the story about Saddam Hussein trying to procure uranium from Niger was false?"
posted by ericb at 11:14 AM on July 18, 2005

...The only lesson I can draw is that reporters ought to be damned careful about accepting unattributed information. For every "Deep Throat," there are multiple Chalabis and Roves. --David Broder, WaPo
posted by amberglow at 11:49 AM on July 18, 2005

Blast from the past:
"We must remember the high standards that come with high office," Bush said, with his wife Laura, Cheney, and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card seated behind him. "This begins with careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct."
-- George W. Bush, January 22, 2001
posted by kirkaracha at 12:03 PM on July 18, 2005

"Just a quarter of Americans think the White House is fully cooperating in the federal investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's identity, a number that's declined sharply since the investigation began. And three-quarters say that if presidential adviser Karl Rove was responsible for leaking classified information, it should cost him his job.

Skepticism about the administration's cooperation has jumped. As the initial investigation began in September 2003, nearly half the public, 47 percent, believed the White House was fully cooperating. That fell to 39 percent a few weeks later, and it's lower still, 25 percent, in this new ABC News poll.

....75 percent say Rove should lose his job if the investigation finds he leaked classified information. That includes sizable majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats alike — 71, 74 and 83 percent, respectively."

(PDF version of ABC Poll with full questionnaire and results.)
posted by ericb at 1:42 PM on July 18, 2005

White House Press Briefing: What the Hell Is Going On?
"Monday's briefing exhibited perhaps the most vitriol from the press yet over the White House's refusal to answer questions -- at one point one reporter seething with irritation, saying, 'What the hell is going on?'
QUESTION: What is his problem? Two years, and he [President Bush] can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he's got to do is call him in.

MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts.


MR. McCLELLAN: We want to know what the facts are. Because --"

Blah, blah, blah!
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on July 18, 2005

Mehlman and the White House - What’s the Connection?
"A few important, unanswered questions: Has former Rove deputy Ken Mehlman discussed the Plame matter with any White House officials, specifically Karl Rove, in the past three weeks? What was the specific nature of those conversations — who was involved, how long did they last, what was discussed?

The answers to these questions are important." - more ...
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on July 18, 2005

The Day the Press Corps Stopped Pretending to Respect the President
"You know it's bad when the press laughs openly at your spin. He is still the president and stuff, you know. From today's presser:
QUESTION: Mr. President, you said you don't want to talk about an ongoing investigation, so I'd like to ask you, regardless of whether a crime was committed, do you still intend to fire anyone found to be involved in the CIA leak case? And are you displeased that Karl Rove told a reporter that Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife worked for the Agency on WMD issues?

PRESIDENT BUSH: We have a serious ongoing investigation here. (Laughter)
Next week they'll bring spitballs."
posted by ericb at 2:07 PM on July 18, 2005

And three-quarters say that if presidential adviser Karl Rove was responsible for leaking classified information, it should cost him his job.

Isn't outing a CIA front agency, and all the spies associated with that, treason?

Isn't treason traditionally punished by execution?

I'm serious here: I really don't understand why there isn't a bigger outcry over this. People that endanger the entire nation through their actions should pay the highest price.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:05 PM on July 18, 2005

They all would have to hang then, fff, and i don't think the country is prepared for that scenario.
posted by amberglow at 4:12 PM on July 18, 2005

Be sure to read Ethereal Bligh's interesting and comprehensive post (at Ask MetaFilter). An interesting analysis ... and -- for me -- another reminder that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald and the grand jury are the only ones who really "know what's going on" with their investigation. In the end, the rest of us - the media, those of us interested in trying to interpret the evolving case - are only left to speculate.
posted by ericb at 4:19 PM on July 18, 2005

More excerpts from ericb's WM link above:
In other words, the White House political operation wasn't lashing out just because of Joe Wilson. They were lashing out because they believed their political lives depended on their own supporters continuing to believe that Saddam had been actively working on a nuke program. Without that belief, they'd lose support within their own base even if they eventually found evidence of chem and bio programs.

In Karl Rove's world, the base is sacred, and nukes were the key to their support. Joe Wilson threatened to open a crack in that support, and that's why he had to be destroyed.

posted by dash_slot- at 4:57 PM on July 18, 2005

...C'mon! When the White House is engaging in a coverup, the press secretary's supposed to put out more than that -- engage in a little verbal jujitsu, kick up a breeze with the old bob-and-weave. Show a pulse, fat boy! ...--Simon Dumenco, ABOUT THE UNRAVELING OF A WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
posted by amberglow at 5:26 PM on July 18, 2005

Who would be responsible for deciding that the treason merits execution? The court, or the President?

What if it's the President who acted treasonously? How would he be held responsible?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:24 PM on July 18, 2005

he'd be impeached, not executed. The Senate decides.
posted by amberglow at 6:36 PM on July 18, 2005

Impeach, then execute. Simple.
posted by snsranch at 7:20 PM on July 18, 2005

He'd just pardon himself anyways.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:02 PM on July 18, 2005

The Daily Show is great on it tonight...a la Bye Bye Birdie and Sorority Girls. : >
posted by amberglow at 8:14 PM on July 18, 2005

Reporter Malpractice, Texas Hold-em & and the Plame Game
"Reporters are obligated to the truth, and allowing themselves to be pimped by those who would use them as tools against the truth is a crime against the profession and the society it serves. Protecting that which you are bound to expose is malpractice."
posted by ericb at 8:45 PM on July 18, 2005

How dumb do they think we are?
"In my line of work, you get lied to a lot." [Mark Shields | CNN | July 18, 2005]
posted by ericb at 9:20 PM on July 18, 2005

I bet by Friday they'll announce an (unthoroughly vetted) Supreme Court nominee, and that we'll start seeing James Baker on TV, or "consulting" the WH.
posted by amberglow at 10:09 PM on July 18, 2005

The actual video of the press gaggle is actually really compelling, exactly because it's so boring! "Scotty, is it true you're a cum-guzzling gutterslut who takes it in the ear?" "I appreciate the question, and I'd really like to talk about it, but our position is to not comment on an ongoing investigation" -- every question is given the same weasel answer.
posted by Aknaton at 10:57 PM on July 18, 2005

The Niger Yellowcake Story: The Italian Version
sorry if this has been posted already.
posted by mr.marx at 11:29 PM on July 18, 2005

Reuters: Supreme Court timing moved up to protect Rove
"Sources said the timing of an announcement had been moved up in part to deflect attention away from a CIA leak controversy that has engulfed Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove.

A Republican strategist with close [ties] to the White House described Clement as the leading candidate. 'She's pretty untouchable," he said. "Plus, it helps take Rove off the front pages for a week.'"
posted by ericb at 8:47 AM on July 19, 2005

Wall Street Journal: Memo Underscored Issue of Shielding Plame's Identity [link requires paid subscription]
"A classified State Department memo that may be pivotal to the CIA leak case made clear that information identifying an agent and her role in her husband's intelligence-gathering mission was sensitive and shouldn't be shared, according to a person familiar with the document....News that the memo was marked for its sensitivity emerged as President Bush yesterday appeared to backtrack from his 2004 pledge to fire any member of his staff involved in the leaking of the CIA agent's name....The memo's details are significant because they will make it harder for officials who saw the document to claim that they didn't realize the identity of the CIA officer was a sensitive matter. Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, may also be looking at whether other crimes -- such as perjury, obstruction of justice or leaking classified information -- were committed....The paragraph in the memo discussing Ms. Wilson's involvement in her husband's trip is marked at the beginning with a letter designation in brackets to indicate the information shouldn't be shared, according to the person familiar with the memo. Such a designation would indicate to a reader that the information was sensitive."
posted by ericb at 9:28 AM on July 19, 2005

Link to Cheney Deepens ‘Leak-gate’ Scandal
"The news that Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff was the second possible source in the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent to Time magazine elevates the scandal to a whole new level. It is bad enough for Karl Rove to be accused of being a leaker, since he is President Bush’s chief political strategist. But if Time’s story holds, I. Lewis Libby’s involvement represents an even more insidious abuse of power.

....Libby was in the thick of whipping up fear over the thinnest of evidence. The level to which Libby and Cheney stooped to get their war was highlighted by the momentous presentation of Saddam’s ‘threat’ before the United Nations Security Council by then Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell gave a presentation six weeks before the war where he said, ‘every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions.’ Those assertions resulted in grudging acceptance of the war from many Democrats.

....Virtually all of Powell’s solid sources fell apart when the United States turned Iraq upside down, killing thousands of Iraqi civilians in the process.

....It was Cheney’s staff who wrote the first draft of Powell’s UN speech. It was Libby who suggested, in strategy meetings at the White House, playing up every possible, conceivable threat of Saddam — with the emphasis on the word ‘conceive.’

A US News and World Report story in the summer of 2003 quoted a senior administration official as saying Libby’s presentation ‘was over the top and ran the gamut from Al Qaeda to human rights to weapons of mass destruction. They were unsubstantiated assertions, in my view.’

Powell, according to both US News and Vanity Fair, was so irritated by Libby’s hodgepodge of unsubstantiated facts that he threw documents into the air and said, ‘I’m not reading this. This is bull ...’

....According to Vanity Fair, Cheney himself urged Powell to go ahead and stake his national popularity on the nonexistent evidence by saying to Powell, ‘Your poll numbers are in the 70s. You can afford to lose a few points.’

America and Iraq would go on to lose more than a few points. Libby may end up as a symbol of a government so driven to ignore the truth it was willing to resort to dirty tricks to stop anyone from telling it."
[Boston Globe | July 19, 2005]
posted by ericb at 9:47 AM on July 19, 2005

Today's NYT Editorial:
There's a lot we don't know about this case. But these things are clear:

• Journalists should not tailor their principles to the politics of the moment.

• Coerced waivers of confidentiality are meaningless.

• Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.
posted by muckster at 11:16 AM on July 19, 2005

Poll: Public views Bush as less trustworthy
Doubts grow on president’s honesty, effectiveness; Rove may be a factor
"Half of those in [a] poll taken by the Pew Research Center, 49 percent, said they believe the president is trustworthy, while almost as many, 46 percent said he is not. Bush was at 62 percent on this measure in a September 2003 Pew poll and at 56 percent in a Gallup poll in April. One of Bush’s strong suits throughout his presidency has been the perception by a majority of people that he is honest.

The slide in trust in Bush comes at a time the White House is answering questions about top aide Karl Rove’s involvement in the public leak of the identity of a CIA operative....Bush’s job approval in the Pew poll was 44 percent, with 48 percent disapproving."
posted by ericb at 3:32 PM on July 19, 2005

AN OPEN STATEMENT TO THE LEADERS OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATE. ---We, the undersigned former U.S. intelligence officers are concerned with the tone and substance of the public debate over the ongoing Department of Justice investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other members of the media, which exposed her status as an undercover CIA officer. The disclosure of Ms. Plame’s name was a shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, may have damaged U.S. national security and poses a threat to the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources. Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.

posted by amberglow at 5:32 PM on July 19, 2005

An Unlikely Story
Karl Rove's alibi would be easier to believe if he hadn't hidden it from FBI investigators in 2003.
"White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said." [more ...]
posted by ericb at 9:25 PM on July 19, 2005

"If Murray Waas's sources are right, Karl Rove is in a ton of trouble, even if he did nothing more than we know already. According to his sources, Rove didn't 'fess up about the conversation with Matt Cooper when he was first interviewed by the FBI in 2003.'" [Talking Points Memo | July 19, 2005]
posted by ericb at 9:27 PM on July 19, 2005

Oh dear – Rove’s “porcine sheen and this-one's-for-all- the-girls-who-shunned-me-in-high-school revenge demeanor”…

The dark lord will reign even if overthrown
"...the astonishing news remains: Rove, a.k.a. Bush's Brain, a.k.a. the Architect, a.k.a. the most powerful and brilliant and deeply unlikable political thug most people have barely heard of because he's just that kind of secretive nefarious genius the likes of which makes women recoil and flowers wilt and moderate politicians break out in hives, well, Rove might have stepped over the line just far enough to end his current reign as Dark Lord of Shrubtown

….Rove, with his meager education and porcine sheen and this-one's-for-all- the-girls-who-shunned-me-in-high-school revenge demeanor, essentially reinvented American politics, created a new language of hate and fear, rewrote the GOP rule book to include the notion that actual facts don't matter and a politician can get away with absolutely anything if the denials are orchestrated just right and if the accusers are immediately counterattacked and mistakes are admitted absolutely never.

….Here's the bottom line: Scandal notwithstanding, Rove's nastiest and most valuable work for this lame-duck president is now complete. And Bush is flopping all over the place: Social Security reform is a disaster, and Iraq is an appalling catastrophe, and the economy is running on fumes, and this nation is an international punch line, and Bush's poll ratings are sinking faster than Jenna Bush can slam down a Bud Light. All things over which even Rove himself has little control.

All that's left at the moment is to force into power a nasty right-wing Supreme Court justice with a mean glare and a misogynistic streak to help thwart America's prospects for hope and progress for the next 30 years, and Dubya can probably do that without Rove's help. Bush has already fed the Christian right's insatiable hunger for sexual dread and homophobia by packing the nation's lower courts with dozens of extremist conservative judges. The momentum is there. Pray Sandra Day O'Connor is the only one to go before 2008.

Besides, you just know that if Rove is forced out (or if he and Bush agree that he should step down, as a matter of clever strategy), he'll merely go underground, move his big pink nail-encrusted throne to a different bunker where he will continue interviewing GOP presidential hopefuls for 2008 in an attempt to gauge whose body he can most easily invade, who has the least amount of humanity and the greatest malleability and the maximum capacity for having their soul sucked through the eye of a needle. Meetings ongoing. BYO sacrificial blood."
[San Francisco Chronicle | July 20, 2005]
posted by ericb at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2005

Summer Stonewall
"A president's ability to govern effectively depends on a measure of accountability -- the public's confidence that the leader will hold subordinates accountable for lapses in performance, ethics and judgment. That is precisely the quality that is beginning to slip away from the Bush administration, just six months into its second term.

The Bush White House's stonewalling and temporizing in the leak investigation of Karl Rove is the most dramatic sign of this problem, but it isn't the only one. This is an administration that rarely holds anyone accountable for anything, other than political disloyalty. That has been the problem on Iraq and Abu Ghraib. People who make mistakes, or worse, have had too many medals pinned on them.

….Presidential second terms are slippery slopes. People get arrogant; they start to think that because they won reelection, the political rules of gravity no longer apply. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were brought crashing back to earth by bad mistakes in their second terms. This summer we are watching another reminder that reelection doesn't suspend the laws of accountability.”
[Washington Post | July 20, 2005]
posted by ericb at 8:17 AM on July 20, 2005

The Nation - Rove Scandal: Distractions and Disinformation
“Disinformation, distraction--that's the plan, as trouble-causing details emerge from the investigation that threaten Karl Rove and other senior Bush aides. For GOP operatives, it's all-hands-to-the-deck time. And the strategy is to fire whatever ammunition the have, whether it is real or a dud. They want to turn this into a partisan mud-wrestle, realizing that much of the public turns off to such cat-and-dogs nastiness. They try to make the victims the culprits, calling Joe Wilson the biggest liar of all time and making claims about Valerie Wilson that are unsupported by the known facts (e.g., she was no more than a desk jockey). Change the focus to anything but what Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and other White House aides did and whether the White House and the president has covered up for them.

One could spend all day responding to the disinformation and misinformation--and that's their goal.”
posted by ericb at 8:17 AM on July 20, 2005

Here is the text of Bush's remarks at the swearing-in ceremony for senior members of the White House staff on Jan. 22, 2001.

An excerpt:
"We have all taken an oath, and from this moment on it is our jobs to honor it…..

"[W]e must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct. This means avoiding even the appearance of problems. This means checking and, if need be, doublechecking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules."
posted by ericb at 8:19 AM on July 20, 2005

"Who knows if President Bush really did rush his nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court in order to knock the Karl Rove story off the front page. But if he did -- he did a poor job of it.

Unfortunately for the conspiracy theory and/or the conspiracy, the first 18 hours of Democratic reaction to the Roberts candidacy seems to be almost benign.

No hair-on-fire, 'Save America!' response means no controversy.

....Karl Rove is the Natalee Holloway of non-tabloid journalism. His story will stick around, whether or not politicians or reporters want it to, because people will watch." [Keith Olbermann | MSNBC | July 20, 2005]
posted by ericb at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2005

Democrats Plan Their Own Hearings on Outed CIA Agent
"House and Senate Democrats, frustrated that the Republican majority has held no inquiries into how a covert CIA agent's name was leaked, plan their own forum Friday....

The U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) and the U.S. House Government Reform Committee Minority will conduct a joint hearing at 10:00 AM, Friday, July 22, in Room 138 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, to examine the national security implications of disclosing the identity of a covert intelligence officer. The hearing will be co-chaired by Senate DPC Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Government Reform Committee.

The panel of witnesses will include former intelligence officers and analysts who will discuss the impact of such disclosures, based on decades of experience and service to our country on intelligence and national security matters."
posted by ericb at 3:22 PM on July 20, 2005

Plame's Identity Marked As Secret
"A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked '(S)' for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the 'secret' level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as 'secret' the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials."
[Washington Post | July 21, 2005]
posted by ericb at 8:28 PM on July 20, 2005

Leaking Standard: No Pal Left Behind
"President Bush likes to talk about high standards, accountability and personal responsibility. While Bush expects students, school systems and future retirees to toe the line, his friends get an easier deal."
[Seattle Post-Intelligencer | July 21, 2005]
posted by ericb at 5:37 AM on July 21, 2005

Interesting letter regarding the impeachability of Executive Administration Senior Staff...PDF.
posted by rzklkng at 11:07 AM on July 21, 2005

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