« | »

Plamegate – Dems’ Weapon Of Mass Deception

From the researchers at GOP.com:


FLASHBACK: Wilson Claimed He Was The Victim Of An Organized Smear Campaign:

Joe Wilson: "[T]he smear campaign … was being undertaken by the Republican National Committee and this administration's right wing allies." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 11/1/05)

  • Wilson: "Obviously, there's been this orchestrated campaign, this smear campaign. I happen to think that it's because the RNC, the Republican National Committee's been involved in this in a big way …" (CNN's "Late Edition," 7/18/04)
  • Wilson: "[T]here have been a number of articles written attacking me. … I've since learned from a couple of different reporters that White House sources have been telling [them] the story is Wilson and his wife… It's a breach of national security. My understanding is it may, in fact, be a violation of American law." (NBC's "Today Show," 7/22/03)
  • Wilson: "It's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words." (Timothy Noah, "Did Rove Blow A Spook's Cover?" Slate , 9/16/03)

FLASHBACK: Democrats Have Hailed Wilson As A Hero Of The Left:

On The Eve Of His Lawsuit Announcement, Joe Wilson Attended Senate Democrats' Policy Luncheon. Fox News' Brit Hume: "Plame [was] seen … with her husband Joe Wilson arriving for a policy luncheon with Senate Democrats today." (Fox News' "Special Report," 7/13/06)

  • Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): "It was you [Nutroots] who defended Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson against Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove." (Sen. Harry Reid, Remarks At YearlyKos Convention, Las Vegas, NV, 6/10/06)
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): "I am pleased to be here today with Ambassador Joe Wilson … his wife, an undercover CIA employee, was exposed for what appeared to be political motivations. … [Joe Wilson] has served his country, has – and his wife as well – have risked themselves in many ways for this country. And it was they who had politics played upon them, not the other way around." (Sen. Charles Schumer, Press Conference, 7/14/05)
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): "Joe Wilson is here my pal! … [Joe] you deserve the thanks of a nation and instead of that they went after your family and it is despicable and cowardly and I'm so proud of you." (Sen. Barbara Boxer, Remarks At The Yearly Kos Convention, Las Vegas, NV, 6/9/06)

Joe Wilson Attended Fundraisers For Democrat Parties, Candidates, And Causes. "Joseph Wilson … will headline two DFL Party fundraisers in the Twin Cities … and has made numerous appearances in recent years on behalf of Democratic candidates and causes …" (Conrad Defiebre "Lightning Rod On Iraq War To Headline Two DFL Fundraisers," [Minneapolis, MN] Star Tribune , 12/7/05)

Some more samples of the opinings of our betters, adapted from a post by YaYa123 at Free Republic:

"This is one of the most reckless and nasty things I’ve seen in all my years of government… Leaking the name of a CIA agent is tantamount to putting a gun to that agent’s head. It compromises her safety and the safety of her loved ones, not to mention those in her network and other operatives she may have dealt with. On top of that, the officials who have done it may have also seriously jeopardized the national security of this nation." — SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER

"Interest emerged again following the September 30, 2005, grand jury testimony by Judith Miller, released from jail the day before… As the CIA leak investigation heads toward its expected conclusion this month, it has become increasingly clear that two of the most powerful men in the Bush administration… Karl Rove and I. Lewis Scooter Libby– were more involved in the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame than the White House originally indicated…" — JIM VANDEHEI and WALTER PINCUS

"Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice… The rumor spread so fast that some Republicans by late morning were already drawing up reasons why Rice couldn't get the job or run for president in 2008…" — PAUL BEDARD

"How far up the White House food chain does the rot of treason go? 'Bush has always known how to keep Rove in his place,' wrote Time in 2002 about a 'symbiotic relationship' that dates to 1973. This isn't some rogue 'plumbers' operation [like Watergate]. Rove would never go it alone on a high-stakes action like Valerie Plame. It's a safe bet that other, higher-ranking figures in the Bush cabal–almost certainly Dick Cheney and possibly Bush himself–signed off before Rove called Novak. For the sake of national security, those involved should be removed from office at once." — TED RALL

"Definitely a political problem but I wonder, George Will, do you think it’s a manageable one for the White House especially if we don’t know whether Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments but if he is able to show as a source close to this told me this week, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions…This would explain why Bush spent more than an hour answering questions from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. It would also fundamentally change the dynamics of the scandal. President Bush could no longer claim he was merely a bystander who wants to 'get to the bottom of it." — GEORGE STEPHANOPOLIS

"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." — FRANK RICH

And this woefully typical piece from the (self-styled) elite publication Vanity Fair:

All Roads Lead to Rove

The revelation that Karl Rove was Time's "double super secret" source for the outing of C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame started the unfolding of a much bigger story: what the White House did to sell the Iraq war. And the greatest irony of Rovegate? That the press was part of the cover-up


September 2005

There was, all of a sudden, a sense of … quiet.

Possibly awe.

Possibly panic.

Days after it was out, after it was everywhere—my 17-year-old daughter was haughtily criticizing me for not knowing Rove was the culprit (I said, "I knew, I knew, really, I knew")—The New York Times was still silent on the matter.

At the White House, it took the better part of a week from the initial reports that Time reporter Matt Cooper had indeed spoken to Karl Rove for the press corps to question Scott McClellan, the president's spokesman, with any insistence—but, but … Scott … you said … the president said …

The sheer fabulousness of it seemed to give everybody pause. News professionals often have to be hit over the head relentlessly with one of the biggest stories of their careers to understand it's actually one of the biggest stories of their careers. Nobody believed that the president's right-hand man, his brain, his Haldeman and Ehrlichman rolled into one, his id and superego, would leave his fingerprints … everywhere.

But Rove did it—he did what he said he didn't do, what the president said he'd fire Rove or anyone else in his administration for doing. Pissed off about former ambassador Joseph Wilson's criticism of the Bush line on weapons of mass destruction and its rationale for war, Rove whispered to reporters about Wilson's wife, C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame. He did the deed that has stuck to the Bush administration however much it has tried to casually brush it off (McClellan: "I said it's totally ridiculous"). It isn't, obviously, that everybody didn't pretty much assume Rove had a hand here—but everybody was hip enough to know that you wouldn't ever, ever in a million years, tie him to it. Not Karl.

So a day passed, then two, then three, then four—this was a story that, in full view, the media just ignored—before it started to dawn on everyone that the president's president might be cooked. Indeed, that the president was probably going to have to fire his brain's ass, or stonewall long and hard. That the curse of the second term had struck—yes, say it, the Bush presidency was now in Watergate/Iran-contra/Lewinsky territory.

Except the schizzy thing was that the media knew it all along—Time magazine knew it, likely The New York Times did, as well as the columnist Robert Novak.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what they knew was something of such news value, of such moment, of such certain consequence that it might, reasonably, have presaged the defeat of the president, might have even—to be only slightly melodramatic—altered the course of the war in Iraq. So possibly changed history, saved lives … hmmm.

Not only did highly placed members of the media and the vaunted news organizations they worked for know it, not only did they sit on what will not improbably be among the biggest stories of the Bush years, they helped cover it up. You could even plausibly say that these organizations became part of a conspiracy—they entered into an understanding that, as a quid pro quo for certain information, they would refuse to provide evidence about a crime possibly having been committed by the president's closest confidant.

The issue, as framed by media moralists, is about whether the reporters who'd used Rove as their source should have testified (those two media moralists Michael Kinsley, at the Los Angeles Times, and Frank Rich, at The New York Times, starkly disagreed with each other: Kinsley harrumphed that they should have spilled to the grand jury; Rich pronounced his colleague Judith Miller's decision not to testify to be heroic). But testifying or not seems oddly beside the point. There was a more immediate and obvious and, one might have thought, inevitable journalistic course of action for any news organization worth anything to anybody:

As soon as it becomes clear that an event had occurred that, if exposed, might change the course of the government, one which you, the gallant news organization, have got the skinny on (not least because your own employees have been involved in the deal), you print the story.

How do you rationalize doing otherwise? To whom do you owe your greatest allegiance: source or readers? (Or, considering that your story is a corporate asset, source or shareholders?) Again: the greatest news organizations in the land had a story about a potential crime that reached as close as you can get to the president himself and they punted, they swallowed it, they self-dealt.

The ironies. Deep Throat is revealed just at the moment when the sanctity of sources is the nation's foremost media story—a story pitting government and media in a confrontation which the Times reminds us, self-referentially, is as great as when it stood up to the Nixon administration and printed the Pentagon Papers, the government's secret history of the Vietnam War.

Except the nuances of sourcing in the outing of C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame turn out to be a bit more sketchy than when the Pentagon Papers were leaked, or when Bob Woodward met Deep Throat in that long-ago garage. The source now wasn't a disgruntled bureaucrat. This source wasn't remotely unhappy with the government. This source was the government.

It was as if Woodward and Bernstein's Deep Throat had been Haldeman and Ehrlichman and, hell, Nixon himself.

Frank Rich compares Rove's pursuit of Joseph Wilson to the pursuit by Nixon lieutenant Charles Colson of anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers more than 30 years ago (Colson had his operatives break into Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office). But Rich doesn't continue the parallel: the Times would not have been able to print the true story about the hounding of Ellsberg because its source would have been Colson himself. With Colson as the source, the Times might not even have printed the Pentagon Papers; rather, the Times might have just written a Colson-sourced story about a guy with psychiatric problems stealing a mother lode of top-secret information.

You always want to tell the story instead of having the story told about you. Valerie Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, was trying to tell a story—that the administration was making a nonsense case about Saddam buying uranium in Africa. So Karl Rove told a get-even story about Joseph Wilson.

If you are the narrator (no matter how unreliable), you are in control. And better yet, if you are the secret narrator, or even better, a "double super secret" narrator, the status Matt Cooper accorded Rove, you get extra-special control. Because nobody can tell that you told. People will even go to jail to make sure you don't go to jail. Cool.

There exists the possibility that all of the journalists here, each of them literal-minded in the way that reporters so often are, could not untangle the ironies. Possibly none of them quite thought it through that this source, precisely by being the source, became the biggest story going.

They all seemed to have just thought that a source is a source. And a source is a source who, unrevealed, will continue to be a source. And if the biggest source in town is my source, that makes me the biggest-swinging-dick reporter in town. And, ipso facto, if my source is outed and goes to jail, then I'm no longer the reporter with the biggest source and dick in town. But if I protect my source, as I've sworn to do, he'll owe me big, and I'll have an even bigger dick.

Where are
all these Solons now?

And why do any of them still have jobs?

(Thanks to NotStuckOnStupid for the heads up on the FR posting.)

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 4th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

22 Responses to “Plamegate – Dems’ Weapon Of Mass Deception”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »