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September 06, 2006

Fisking The NY Times “Time for Answers”

Does the NY Times exist in an alternate universe? That is my conclusion after reading today’s editorial.

For three years, Washington has been periodically consumed with the question of who unmasked a covert C.I.A. agent to the columnist Robert Novak.

Or, at the risk of being accurate, who told Robert Novak the name of a non-covert CIA employee, the disclosure of whose identity has been conclusively shown not to be a violation of any law.

It has been a huge distraction for the White House, resulted in the unjustified jailing of one reporter, and led to perjury charges against the vice president’s chief of staff.

Or, to the contrary, it has led to the justified jailing of a reporter who refused to obey a lawfully issued subpoena that was upheld by every court that reviewed it – in other words, she was held to the same standard as every other American. What is unjustified are the charges against Scooter Libby, whose alleged misdeeds appear to be less a question of deception than a matter of faulty memory that caused him to fall into a perjury trap set by a prosecutor who had long since ceased investigating an alleged crime and had instead set him self up as the Grand Inquisitor.

Last week, it was reported that Richard Armitage, then deputy secretary of state, was the first to mention Valerie Wilson to Mr. Novak, and that the federal prosecutor knew this more than two and a half years ago.

And why didn’t we know until last week? Because the prosecutor insisted that the leaker not publicly acknowledge his wrong-doing – to the point of preventing Armitage from resigning his position in a timely fashion for fear of inadvertently leading people to the accurate conclusion that he was the leaker. Thus the source of the cover-up was – Patrick Fitzgerald himself!

The revelation tells us something important. But, unfortunately, it is not the answer to the central question in the investigation — whether there was an organized attempt by the White House to use Mrs. Wilson to discredit or punish her husband, Joseph Wilson. A former diplomat, Mr. Wilson debunked the claim that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons.

HELLO!!!!!!! Since when is it a crime to for the executive branch to seek to discredit the views of its critics? It isn’t – and in a prior age was known as “setting the record straight” or “getting the message out”. And since no less than the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has determined that Wilson publicly lied to the press and public about his findings, for the NY Times to claim that he debunked the claim of Iran’s attempt to buy uranium is completely wrong and constitutes proof that the editors live in some bizarre clintonian universe where black is white, up is down, and true is false.

Mr. Armitage, a White House outsider, would be an odd participant in such a plot. He is said to have learned from a State Department memo that Mrs. Wilson had recommended sending her husband to check the Niger story since he had worked there as a diplomat. The memo was prepared for Mr. Cheney, who was eager to prove that there was an Iraqi nuclear weapons program and to silence critics.

All of which is irrelevant – because the attempt to “silence critics” was based upon proving them be wrong on the facts and therefore not credible. This is not a case of the rights of a dissenter being violated – because Mr. Wilson had no reasonable expectation that his false statements would go unchallenged or that those he criticized would not seek to rebut his position.

It’s conceivable that Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor, has evidence that suggests the information in the memo was used in some illegal manner. Or his investigators may have learned something troubling about the second, unknown, source cited in Mr. Novak’s column, or about some other illegal activity. But whatever it is needs to be made public. The Armitage story is mainly a reminder that this investigation has gone on too long.

Yes, it has gone on too long. Since Fitzgerald had a mandate to determine who the leaker was and if a crime was committed, he had his answer within 24 hours of his appointment and should have wrapped up his investigation by Christmas of 2003.

While this page opposed calls for reviving the special prosecutor law for this case, we did say that someone outside the White House orbit should be in charge, rather than Attorney General John Ashcroft. Like most others, we saw Mr. Fitzgerald as a good choice. Now we fear he has succumbed to the prosecutor’s foot-dragging disease. He kept the case open after I. Lewis Libby, Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, was indicted. At the time he hinted that he would have more to say on the original crime he was investigating. That was last October.

Or, having discovered that he was a prosecutor without a crime to prosecute, he has found it necessary to manufacture one – the ultimate abuse of prosecutorial power.

It’s time for Mr. Fitzgerald to provide answers or admit that this investigation has run its course. Otherwise, he risks being lumped in with the special prosecutor who spent a decade investigating the former Clinton cabinet member Henry Cisneros, and wound up with nothing more than his conviction that he had yet to get to the bottom of things.

I can almost agree with this view – except that in this case there has always been less than meets the eye.





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Comments on Fisking The NY Times “Time for Answers”

Ok dickhead, here is the refutation of your continued ,<b> FUCKING BULLSHIT </b> about Ms Plame's undercover status.


 


 


Valerie Plame, a covert CIA agent whose identity was leaked by the Bush administration at the height of a political feud with her husband, was in charge of operations aimed at finding out if Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to a new book.


The Plame affair has dogged the White House since July 2003, when her cover was blown, but the nature of her job had been unknown. In Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War, two Washington journalists, Michael Isikoff and David Corn, say she was the chief of operations of the CIA's joint taskforce on Iraq.


According to an early extract, it was her job to recruit informants who might give insight into Saddam's arms programmes. By the time the war began in 2003, her unit had failed to find evidence and was sceptical about the information from Iraqi defectors. Her identity seems to have been leaked because her husband, the former ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticised the invasion of Iraq. A former chief of staff to the vice-president is due to go on trial next year for lying to investigators. But the first official to mention her job to a journalist was a state department moderate apparently unaware of the sensitivity.


 


This from the Guardian online edition, which is a waaaaaaaaaaaayyy more reliable source than <b>ANY</b>American news source.


 Refute the refutation, if you can, you fucking cowardly chickenshit chickenhawk.

|| Posted by Nunya Biddness, September 7, 2006 03:23 PM ||

She did not fall within the definition set by the relevant statute, in particular with regard to time the time-frame during which she needed to have been abroad in a covert position.

And your claim regardin the Guardian is not particularly compelling -- especially as you cited the BBC on another thread as being sufficient to refute other claims, only to slink away in shamed silence after being shown that the article completely misrepresented the contents of a Vatican document.  Your definition of  "waaaaaaaaaaaayyy more reliable" seems to be "waaaaaaaaaaaayyy more in agreement with me".

By the way, two reminders:
1)  Watch the language -- you have been repeatedly requested to do so.
2)  Grow a pair and start using a verifiable email addy.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, September 8, 2006 04:19 AM ||

And for proof of the fact that the article in the Guardian is inaccurate, one need go no further than the first sentence -- as it has been conclusively proven that the Bush Administration DID NOT leak her identity.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, September 8, 2006 04:25 AM ||

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