a few months ago, the story went around that the
White House leaked the identity of a CIA operative,
Valerie Plame, wife of United States Ambassador
Joe Wilson, to Robert Novak, who subsequently
published her name and her clandestine occupation
in Time Magazine.
much is known. At first, like so many stories
involving malfeasance by this administration,
it seemed destined to die of neglect by the press
and apathy by the public.
in late August, word went around that the revelation
of Plame's career had resulted in the "liquidation
of seventy of her assets," a statement I take
to mean that 70 of her sources were killed.
story developed legs, especially since the former
ambassador, Joe Wilson, specifically named top
admin official Karl Rove as being the party who
leaked the story. At a public meeting in late
August, this career diplomat stated flatly, "It's
of keen interest to me to see whether or not we
can get Karl Rove frogmarched out of the White
House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that
name, I measure my words."
are two types of American ambassadors. There are
the career ambassadors, ones carefully trained
in making each word, each phrase, mean exactly
what they want it to mean, no matter how it might
sound to a less astute listener. Then there's
the political appointee ambassador, and while
there are many who are worthy of the title, the
most prevalent type tends to come up with lines
to their hosts like, "Don't any of you monkeys
speak Amuurkin?" or "How much is that in REAL
Wilson was a career diplomat. He doesn't go off
half-cocked and make idiotic, uninformed, or careless
public statements. So I believe him when he says,
"I measure my words."
a nutshell, Wilson was sent in 2002 to investigate
claims that Iraq was negotiating to buy "yellowcake"
-- a low level form of uranium powder -- from
the nation of Niger. He investigated, and found
that the story had no basis in reality.
subsequently brought about the first major embarrassment
to Putsch by publically contradicting his SOTU
claim that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy radioactives
from Niger. Putsch was massively embarrassed over
the "yellowcake from Niger" thing, especially
since tens of millions of people watched him make
the claim in the SOTU, and here was an ambassador
gainsaying him and stating flatly that he had
advised the White House several months before
that there was nothing to the story. It marked
the first instance where the press wasn't just
being his little lap dog. Even Faux News couldn't
pretend Putsch hadn't made the claim or that Wilson
wasn't a reputable source.
one of the more chilling aspects of this particular
White House is that it is perhaps the most regimented
and authoritarian in American history. Nothing
gets said by anyone at any level in the White
House without the consent of the top people. Peggy
Noonan, effusive praise- singer of all things
Republican, crowed a few months ago, "they leak
what Mr. Bush wants leaked." She thought this
was a pretty good thing.
Robert Novak wound up writing in Time Magazine,
"[Joe] Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his
wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on
weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration
officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending
him to Niger to investigate the Italian report.
The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials
selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact
him. îI will not answer any question about my
wife,' Wilson told me."
obviously got the story from the admin, -- he
states he got it from "two senior administration
officials" -- and it's claimed the admin tried
to feed it to a half-dozen other reporters. The
message the admin wanted to send out was obvious
enough: do something to embarrass us, and we'll
put you and your family at risk. Anyone else want
to publically contradict and embarrass the President?
senior administration officials, who had to know
that publically disclosing the name of an agency
operative was a felony, punishable by ten years
and a $50,000 fine. They even signed a pledge
acknowledging their awareness of this law. This
admin cracks a mean whip.
thing to understand about Novak is that he is
among the lowest of the pseudo journalistic right.
He's a waterboy for the GOP, nothing more. A report
on talkingpointsmemo.com stated: "In a January
2003 feature for Esquire, Ron Suskind wrote: 'Sources
close to [George Bush Sr.] say Karl Rove was fired
from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after
he planted a negative story with columnist Robert
Novak about dissatisfaction with campaign fundraising
chief and Bush loyalist Robert Mosbacher Jr. It
was smoked out, and he was summarily ousted."'
doesn't mind playing hatchetman. In fact, he's
reputed to enjoy it. And Novak doesn't mind smearing
people when Rove wants him to. It appears he doesn't
even mind getting Americans killed in the line
of duty if that's what his contacts in the White
identifies Plame as "an agency operative." NOT
an "agency employee." Operative. That's the word
he used, and if he knows anything at all, then
he knows the admin officials, at the very least,
were committing a felony by outing her to him.
Novak might be a shabby journalist, but he isn't
stupid. He had to understand the ramifications
of what he was being told.
interesting to note that it's being claimed that
the administration tried to leak the Plame story
to six other reporters with Time, CNN, Fox and
other reliably pro-admin outlets, and none of
the others went with the story. Novak, however,
who probably didn't commit a crime by reporting
what he was told, and will doubtlessly plead first
amendment rights to conceal his sources, was nonetheless
backtracking in an interview on Crossfire the
other day. He said, "Nobody in the Bush administration
called me to leak this. In July I was interviewing
a senior administration official on Ambassador
Wilson's report when he told me the trip was inspired
by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons
of mass destruction."
that with what talkingpointsmemo.com quoted him
as saying about that same story back in July:
"Novak, in an interview, said his sources had
come to him with the information. 'I didn't dig
it out, it was given to me,' he said. 'They thought
it was significant, they gave me the name and
I used it.'"
other words, Novak, waterboy for this administration
in general and Karl Rove in particular, is trying
to lessen the gravity of the offence, by pretending
it was a careless remark that slipped out that
he, for some odd reason, didn't ignore the way
he ignores anything else that might put the administration
on the hot seat. Strange behavior for a Putsch
apologist who understands what the law says about
outing agency operatives.
is a sleazy journalist and is a self-evident liar.
Unfortunately, the truth of what actually occurred
in this tawdry affair is known only to him, and
he has Constitutional protection against revealing
Novak is hiding the actions of traitors in the
is anti-American scum.
though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of
my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger
for those who betray the trust by exposing the
name of our sources. They are, in my view, the
most insidious of traitors." -- George Herbert
Walker Bush, 1999
-- 'A people living under the perpetual menace
of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It
demands no social reforms. It does not haggle
over expenditures on armaments and military equipment.
It pays without discussion, it ruins itself, and
that is an excellent thing for the syndicates
of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic
terrors are an abundant source of gain.' --Anatole
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October 1, 2003