October 04, 2003

Comments

Speaking of all things French, where the heck is the proprieter of emm.net? Outside your window, you may hear the nations clamor for posts. Lastly, how coolly insane is it that a Twisted fucking Sister song is now a political anthem. Thanks again for asking.

Posted by: Brodicek at October 4, 2003 07:02 PM

What it is, Brod!

The lurvly one is busy covering the recall, and interviewing Tarantino, and scoring some KGB anti-hangover pills (true!). She'll be back in full-posting glory soon enough.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 4, 2003 07:39 PM

Excellent column Matt. I was afraid you' d lost your taste for topic, like so many others. Can't really blame them, though. Not after this revelation.
Cheers.

Posted by: Scot Donaldson at October 4, 2003 08:11 PM

Jeez, intelligence gathering is already warped by political considerations, always has been, all administrations in every country invoke a high moral calling, when was it ever otherwise? And it is very questionable if organizations actually learn...., they react, are replaced, etc., but learning? Implies intelligence apart from a set of conditions. BTW, here in India this story first was a one or two paragrapher, one or two months ago(!) and said that the agent's downline contacts were executed around the world. Now, of course, it is just another story to mock America, which is a habit even in the book reviews these days. Namaste.

Posted by: ana ma roopa at October 4, 2003 10:39 PM

Matt:
I may be wrong on this since the story from Novak has taken so many twists and turns. You said that:

"Robert Novak, who quoted "two senior administration officials" as providing the information."

I believe that is not correct. My understanding (and Novak fleshes this out in a October 1 column) is that the information on Plame was provided him by "a Senior Administration official" during a conversation he had discussing why Ambassador Wilson was sent to Niger to investigate the allegations that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium (yellowcake) from that African nation.

That's ONE source and not TWO.

However, the Washington Post ran a story stating that another "Senior Administration official" had told them that "two officials" had provided the information or were calling journalist to give them the information. Interesting point here is that at first, the Post called them "two Senior Aministration officials" and then later labeled them simply "two Administration officials."

My best guess on this is that this was done by low level operatives who were angry NOT at Wilson for his story as much as they were angry at the CIA for sending an incompetent like Wilson on this mission.

And frankly, although this is not relevant to the story of illegal leaking of information, my view is that Wilson is a complete buffoon. A victim, to be sure, but a silly one.

Whoever leaked this needs to be horse-whipped; and Bush better show some leadership. So far, he hasn't.

SMG

Posted by: SteveMG at October 5, 2003 04:18 PM

Steve,

How did these low-level operatives have access to such need-to-know operational information? Who gave it to them to pass on?

Posted by: Dan at October 5, 2003 04:34 PM

Dan:
Well, a couple of things. And believe me, I'm grabbing this from my nether regions - not a pretty sight.

By low level, I don't mean guys who open the mail or get pizza. I guess a more accurate description would be "non-senior officials." Lower-level would be a better description.

Second: my understanding is that it was an open secret re Valerie Plame's employment with the CIA. This remains to be fleshed out. A number of journalists have stated that Ms. Plame was no deep cover agent; but a relatively minor operative (if that). He status was "well known."

So, I think these low level types were teed off at the CIA and probably Wilson. The reports, as you know, currently is the bitter infighting going on between Langley and the White House (or Defense, or VPs Office - Scooter Librised fewer people haven't cited this:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2089249/

Jack Shafer's actually read the law, and it appears more than likely that (despite Bush's own claims to the contrary) NOBODY COMMITTED ANY CRIME.

Ironically, I think this bodes pretty poorly for Bush, because here's what going to happen: The investigation will drag on for a while, just long enough to stay in the headlines without turning into yesterday's news -- and then come up empty. Unless Bush gets to the bottom of it on his own and fires somebody (unlikely) it's going to look a helluva lot like slime, defend and cover-up -- all in a very public sort of way.

Posted by: Scott MacMillan at October 8, 2003 04:18 PM
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the liberal/left bloggers make it. Wrong, but not Watergate II.

SMG

Posted by: SteveMG at October 5, 2003 05:33 PM

Petty amorality? Why that's the Bush family trademark!

Posted by: Doc at October 7, 2003 05:24 AM

As a liberal/left blogger who has stayed away from this topic, I'd like to say that maybe it's not Watergate II but it certainly is a more serious issue than Zippergate. That one had a special prosecutor and triggered impeachment proceedings.

I'd also like to point out that Matt's excellent National Post article, the subject of this entry, clearly does not come from the liberal left and raises pertinent and important questions. The piece might be described as a scathing indictment of White House petty politics and dirty tricks.

Obfuscating this issue by speculating whether Ms. Plame was a covert operative or not is not helpful. Neither are the petty disputes about 'senior officials', 'administration officials' or 'White House officials.' The simple fact is that a law was broken when Plame was outed and who broke that law and why they did so are questions which demand immediate answers.

If Novak was as patriotic as he claims to be, he would be handing over the name(s) of the leaker(s) without any balking. His actions are making him look like a willing pawn in a dirty game.

Posted by: Jim Elve at October 7, 2003 06:40 AM

I'm surprised fewer people haven't cited this:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2089249/

Jack Shafer's actually read the law, and it appears more than likely that (despite Bush's own claims to the contrary) NOBODY COMMITTED ANY CRIME.

Ironically, I think this bodes pretty poorly for Bush, because here's what going to happen: The investigation will drag on for a while, just long enough to stay in the headlines without turning into yesterday's news -- and then come up empty. Unless Bush gets to the bottom of it on his own and fires somebody (unlikely) it's going to look a helluva lot like slime, defend and cover-up -- all in a very public sort of way.

Posted by: Scott MacMillan at October 8, 2003 04:18 PM
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