Monday, October 22, 2007

It would be serious

The lefty media machine is tripping all over itself trying to get Valerie Plame some facetime as America's most famous spy begins her "mislead America" book tour. 60 Minutes, Meridith Viera, and even Plame herself are front and center. If you want to gawk here's the Couric interview.

I'm trying to resist getting too far into the weeds on a subject already beaten to death by much better bloggers. It's not working. Commenting on the sham is too tempting.

The WaPo, a paper Plame recently compared to "Pravda", also felt compelled to react, pointing out how hawkish Plame had once been about the WMDs. Quoting Laura Rozen's addendum:
"Valerie was not one of the intelligence community dissidents arguing against the threat posed by Saddam Hussein."
Hmm. If true, wouldn't that seem to suggest she (and her unit) had a lot riding on those WMDs being found? Indeed:
They were dumbfounded when no weapons of mass destruction were found,
OK, my comments hereafter require a crude timeline:
  • Feb-Mar 2002: Wilson sent to Africer by some guy in the hallway
  • Mar 2002: From his trip report the CIA determined their previous analysis was still correct--Saddam was still a bad guy
  • 2002-pre-war: Joe Wilson serves as a cable TV analyst, not doubting WMDs
  • Feb 2003: Bush utters the 16 friggin words
  • April 2003: Baghdad toppled
  • May 2003: Bush declares major combat over, his stupidest remark
  • May 2003: Judy Miller returns empty-handed from her WMD treasure hunt
  • May 2003: Wilson meets Kristof over a bowl of Cheerios and they hatch the first Bush lied column
  • June 2003: Armitage tells Woodward about Plame while Miller dummies up
  • July 2003: Hell breaks loose

Consider the Wilson push-back began in May 2003, not in 2002 before the war. The campaign only began after it became clear a nuclear program would not be found. Wilson probably wouldn't argue with this, perhaps saying it made his case. It made other cases, too.

For example, the New York Times, hot off the Jayson Blair fraud, was way out on the limb with Iraq due to Judy Miller's earlier reportage. Wilson's Bush-lied story had to have been quite an interesting prospect to the Times, an outfit facing serious embarrassment as each day passed without a WMD. Looks like Joe might have pulled out his Niger story at just the right time--a story few could either corroborate or refute.

The story also figured to help some in the CIA. Recall Michael Scheuer's first book, published in 2001 before he became famous, claimed Saddam had a relationship with al Qaeda. Yet during the election year of 2004 Langley allowed him to publish a more famous follow-up called "Imperial Hubris", a timely Bush-bash. Meanwhile, when nobody was looking he went back and scrubbed the Saddam-AQ relationship out of the first book by issuing a new edition, claiming that a more thorough look inside the intelligence vaults at HQ had changed his mind. If such intelligence existed one might think it would have been there all along.

The finger-pointing surrounding the 16 words episode made it was clear the CIA wasn't about to take the full blame for Iraq, even if they'd spent a decade trumping up the threat. As Armitage said to Woodward, CIA was not going to take a hit. He said it with a chuckle because it made perfect sense to him. Tenet hinted strongly of this in his book as well.

Even today Plame is trying to convince people the case against Iraq was "thin" at the time while simultaneously saying her work at CPD was very serious--she was trying to stop the bad guys from getting nukes. But if there were no WMDs; and if Saddam's regime had already been toppled; and if actual troops were already on the ground looking for weapons, then it would certainly seem her duty at the CPD desk was finished by the time Novak outed her. That doesn't mean her old contacts were not harmed--nobody knows since the damage report was never released--but certainly driving to Langley every day, sometimes with her kids in tow, was not a clandestine act.

But back to the questions. Why did she tell one story to the Senate SCI about who sent Joe then another when on national TV? Why didn't Joe come out strong as soon as he came back and realized nobody was using his debunking stuff? Why did she do the Vanity Fair feature, which her bosses were not happy with? Was she covered by the IIPA act, which Fitzgerald was charged with discovering? And, did anyone in the Democrat Party know Wilson's tale before all this took place?

Yet another conundrum is her refutation about the notion expressed by Tenet and others that Joe's trip actually strengthened the case against Saddam (also contained in the SSCI). She said such a thing was preposterous, that it could not have. But she's misdirecting. No, it didn't strengthen the case that Saddam had tried to purchase uranium from Niger as the fake doc said, but it DID strengthen the overall case against Saddam since it revealed that indeed Iraq had visited Niger and that Naimey had sent an emissary to Baghdad in 2001. And we know Niger has nothing to export but uranium.

So let's get a grip here. Ms. Plame is a very attractive, disarming and compelling figure. America loves blonds and the camera can't get enough of her. It's hard to go after such a creature with anything approaching full vigor. Just remember, she was a NOC--someone who maintained secrets, fooled neighbors and kept family members in the dark for years. Just sayin'.

MORE 10/23/07

If you'd like an eye-opening example of the difference between left and right debate just troll on over to Firedoglake and take in the latest threads. Notice the amount of personal attacks in their attacks. The Wilsons were quite chummy with the FDL crew during the trial, even taking supper with them one night so she has no excuse for not understanding the hard left bent over there. The question is, does that say anything about the depth of her leftness or the depth of her propensity for BS? Don't forget, a spy lives and dies on BS.

At any rate, those chummy connections allowed for a live Q&A session on Monday along with husband Joe and friend Sid Blumenthal. Wade through all 500+ questions if you want to but it might save the trouble to point out most were attagirls followed by get-Bush rejoinders. But there were a few interesting questioners, such as one calling himself Jeff:
Sidney Blumenthal,

Worth noting that your account of Armitage is a bit muddled and almost certainly wrong on a key point. It’s true that one of the enduring mysteries of the case - for me at least - is why Armitage was not charged either with the leak or, perhaps especially, with some kind of obstruction-type charge after he belatedly disclosed to Fitzgerald that he had blown V Wilson’s cover to Bob Woodward almost a month before he did so to Bob Novak
Armitage is the one question they never want to answer, and Plame didn't break the mold. But Jeff was persistent:
What I am curious about is whether the CIA, for their pension calculations or whatever, properly counted your work overseas in that period as part of “overseas service” according to their definition.
She didn't answer that either, but she did share one of her favorite songs. Towards the end one more poster attempted to catch a fly with honey:

Okay, found the reference…wow, there is a lot of dry material in that heavily-redacted report. Anyway, on page 35 of the Senate Intelligence Report they begin to discuss the details of the uranium trade in Niger. On page 72, Conclusion 12 states that “…it was reasonable…to assess that Iraq may have been seeking Uranium from Africa based on CIA reporting and other available intelligence.” Your personal involvement is discussed beginning on page 39 - a description that differs sharply from your sworn testimony before Congress. Please take this opportunity to set the record straight with loyal firedoglake readers regarding the truth of these findings.

Thanks Again!

Alas, our spy was already gone.

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