When Opinion Becomes Fact

We really don’t need an investigation into the Plame affair- all we need to do is hang the guilty and impeach Bush- at least according to the Calpundit:

None of this matters, though. Novak is trying to get himself off the hook for bad behavior which is fine, since it’s the leakers who are at fault here, not the journalist who reported the leak but the basic facts remain the same. Multiple people in high places exposed a covert CIA analyst and did it for crass and truly idiotic reasons of political intimidation. Dumb. Very dumb.

That’s his story and he is sticking to it. Someone in the Bush White House did wrong- because he thinks someone did wrong- good luck changing his mind. Life must be easy when your worst suspicions can masquerade as an objective truth.

Like I said earlier, if this was done intentionally and by White House officials, it is time for a perp walk. But as faras people like Kevin are concerned, this is nothing more that confirmation of his suspicions- read this post and tell me Kevin is going to think any differently about the White House with or without the Plame affair.

BTW- I am not trying to pick on Kevin- there are plenty of lefties who have made far more ridiculous and over the top accusations. It is just I read Kevin frequently, so I comment on it more frequently.

31 replies
  1. 1
    russ says:

    From today’s Drudge Report:

    ‘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. Another senior official told me the same thing. As a professional journalist with 46 years experience in Washington I do not reveal confidential sources. When I called the CIA in July to confirm Mrs. Wilson’s involvement in the mission for her husband — he is a former Clinton administration official — they asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else. According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operator, and not in charge of undercover operatives’…

  2. 2
    Terry says:

    In this morning’s NYT, David Brooks has a terrific piece about how useless morons like the one at Calpundit and his fellow columnist Paul Krugman (not actually mentioned by name) are, by their disgraceful actions and fundamental ignorance, attempting to destroy democracy in this the 21st century.

  3. 3

    Another thing I don’t get about Kevin’s post is the statement that it’s “fine” for Novak to get off the hook.

    How is this “fine”? He leaked it, didn’t he? Are journaljismers somehow entitled to special protection because of their “noble” profession (don’t answer, I think we know the answer to that one, at least as far as some people are concerned).

    Secrets are secrets and it doesn’t matter a fizzling fart who leaks them.

    True, if there’s any meat on this story, there are some people in high places that need to be made intimately familiar with the facilities at Leavenworth, but why the Hell should a worm like Novak be let off? I mean, if he’d kept his mouth shut, there wouldn’t have been a problem to begin with.

    And nobody has yet explained to me what the Hades this has to do with Bush.

  4. 4
    greg says:

    The problem with Calpundit’s posts on this subject is how disgustingly patronizing they are.

    According to him, everyone on the right has to at least admit there’s a “potential” scandal there or they have no credibility (I haven’t seen anyone on the right say that this isn’t POTENTIALLY a huge problem, but they’re also saying let’s wait a bit to see how big it is and how high up it goes.)

    Then, he picks out some right-leaning types who think like him on this subject and compliments them and pats them on the back in the same parental way that parents talk to a 2 yr old who just took a piss on his own for the first time.

  5. 5
    space says:

    Let’s cut the crap shall we?

    I think Kevin is extremely justified in his outrage. Even if NO crime occurred, the leak STRONGLY APPEARS to have been of a dispicable nature and committed with utter contempt for the public interest.

    Having said that, a crime almost certainly did occur. Plame’s name ended up in Novak’s column. Now I suppose that it is POSSIBLE that it happened in a manner that is not illegal and not tied to the White House, but really? Do we want to insult our intellegences here?

    Second, even if the initial leak was made by a rogue subordinate (the Craig Livingstone defense…which would contradict published reports) and was neither encouraged nor condoned by Bush, Rove, Cheney, or any senior official then Bush’s White House is still guilty as hell of knowing that an apparent national security leaker was in their midst and doing nothing for weeks.

    We may surmise that the leaker did not intend to disclose any vital national security information, but who knows? What if it happens again tomorrow? There is no excuse for not addressing this IMMEDIATELY. Bush didn’t and Kevin is fully justified to be fully enraged, as I am.

    BTW, this is already a scandal. It is POTENTIALLY a felony.

  6. 6
    Dan says:

    I agree with Misha – the chances of tieing this leak to Rove or the President is small – not because it isn’t possible, but because it’s difficult to prove……but besides the officials personally responsible for the leak, that useless excuse for a ‘newsman’ Novak should get it but good………see here

  7. 7
    greg says:

    Please, Space, it’s not outrage from you or Kevin. It’s hatred of the Bush Administration.

    The fact that you refer to Craig Livingstone as a “rogue subordinate” rather than a fall guy or someone following orders who fell on his sword shows all we need to know about where your biases are.

    If this is as bad as the left thinks–or hopes, I should say–shit’ll hit the fan soon enough, so save your hard-ons for when, OR IF, it actually does.

  8. 8
    bg says:

    So John and Greg, do you think someone in the WH did wrong? If not, what leads you to this belief?

    And Misha, even if Novak had kept quiet, a crime may still have been committed, although we likely wouldn’t know about it. The connection to Bush is that it seems likely that someone close to him leaked this information. It also seems as though he may have approved of it since there hasn’t been a public statement condemning it but there was a defense of Rove (McClellan did this yesterday) insisting that maybe someone did it, but if someone did, it wasn’t him.

  9. 9
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    Maybe it isn’t that someone wanted to burn Wilson in particular and the CIA in general for not endorsing the “Iraq is getting nukes” deception. (Say, how much longer are you willing to wait before giving up on the WMD search?) And maybe Bill C just wanted to help her with her math homework.

  10. 10
    greg says:

    bg, your taking the same patronizing bullshit approach as Calpundit. Nobody is saying “move along, nothing to see here”.

    Saying “let’s wait to see exactly what happened and who did it and who knew about” isn’t the same as not thinking anybody in the White House did anything wrong.

    Sheesh, the election is still over a year away. All this will come out well before then, so you’ll be able to make plenty of political hay over it, and if it turns out Bush knew something and didn’t do anything, even I won’t vote for him.

    But you and Calpundit and others need to spare me your righteous indignation about how horrified you are about possible identities being compromised and all that other stuff. You wanna make political hay.

  11. 11
    Rey says:

    ok, here is the original story and what came out latter. In October 2002, Italian press reported that they had a document were Iraq’s regime attempted to purchase yellow cake uranium. frm. ambasador Wilson, a Clinton administration official claims he was sent by VP Cheney to Niger to investigate the allegation. He claims to have spent a few days in Niger and reported back to the VP that he did not believe the allegation was credible. Robert Novak, investigating this event is told in July 2003, by “an administration official” that Mr. Wilson was recommended for this fact finding mission by his wife, a CIA employee. The news media ran the story last week, claiming that several reporters were contacted by “senior white house officials” with the name of Mr. Wilson’s wife, a CIA “covert operative”. The CIA requested the DOJ conduct an investigation of this possible leak. Now, here are the latest facts. According tonews sources, the VP’s office never requested Mr. Wilson investigate the allegations, why should they, Mr. Wilson is an open adversary who has publically oposed both the invasion of Iraq and the earlier “no fly zone”. The VP’s office, requested the CIA investigate the allegation about uranium sales to Iraq. Mrs. Wilson herself, recommended her husband.Mr. Wilson reported to the CIA that he found no evidence in Niger, of course by his own admission, he only attended a few meetings and cocktail parties while in Niger.
    Next, according to Robert NOvak himself, no one at the White HOuse leaked Mrs. Wilsons name.
    Also, the CIA sends over 50 requests for investigations to the DOJ a year, so this is not a unique event. The real story that we are missing is that Mr. Wilson a Dean campaign contributor, claimed to the press that he was sent by the VP to Niger, and that he warned that the allegations were false. Who is the lieyer here?

  12. 12
    Pauly says:

    Also, the CIA sends over 50 requests for investigations to the DOJ a year, so this is not a unique event.

    This is the most important bit of information that has come out so far. True scandal, or common occurrence thrust prematurely into the public’s eye?

  13. 13
    bg says:

    Greg, cut the crap. I asked you a direct question, stop pretending otherwise. Would you please answer it?

    Again, do you think someone in the WH did wrong? If not, what leads you to this belief?

  14. 14
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    There’s something rather sad that the VP’s office considers a career State Department employee an “adversary”.

    It’s not surprising to me that Wilson opposed the War on Iraq (if, indeed, he did so), precisely because he had personal knowledge that at least one of the reasons for the war offered by GWB in his State of the Union address was a falsehood based on an amateurish forgery that he and the CIA had tried to squelch.

    You guys are still, to borrow Tom Friedman’s way of putting it, saying that the Iraq war was a war of necessity (and will be short and inexpensive). Actually, it was a war of choice (which Friedman supported and supports), and its aftermath will be long and expensive. All, and I mean ALL, have the reasons for why the war was necessary (I don’t count “Saddam was bad and brutalized Iraq” as entailing necessity) have fallen apart.

    Once the White House decided that Wilson was, indeed, an adversary (insisting on the truth puts one in an adversarial relationship to this White House, that is true), someone there set out to punish him. I doubt if it was the secretary and the janitor, but I’m certainly willing to wait a few days for the CIA to find someone to leak the names to.

    Incidentally Novak’s latest version is at variance with his original claims.

  15. 15
    greg says:

    Again, bg, I’ll answer your question since your reading comprehension isn’t too good.


    Do you understand that yet? This story changes every five minutes.

    Did SOMEONE in the White House leak this? Apparently, but before all you guys start acting like this is gonna bring down the entire Bush presidency, why don’t you wait until all the parties involved can all agree on what the hell happened, and why don’t you wait until they can five mintues without changing senior official into administration official into White House official and so forth and so on.

    Just the other day, Wilson had to admit that he jumped the gun blaming Karl Rove for crying out loud.

  16. 16
    RW says:

    at least one of the reasons for the war offered by GWB in his State of the Union address was a falsehood based on an amateurish forgery that he and the CIA had tried to squelch.

    It’s Sept. 30th & Tony Blair still stands by the statement. Thus, it’s still true, today. It may change, but British intel DID reveal that (according to their own PM).

    I’m on record as not liking Novak since I started blogging, but he has more credibility in his combover than Sid Blumenthal’s mouthpiece (known as Josh Marshall) ever will.

    I say we let this all play out, but it appeared that Novak put things to rest yesterday….but, then again, I recall that what movies Clarence Thomas rented in the 60s was of utmost importance when it comes to looking for a political scandal to create.

    Trust me, folks, you won’t go lacking for people on the right who’ll join you if someone in the WH outed a covert CIA agent….but the efforts to join the DrumAtriosConason choir of “Bush is the most evil man in the universe & must be stopped, because WE’RE so much better” has gotta stop. Or, be relegated to the mockery this entry on John’s site has leveled towards it.

    BTW, all that was general, not towards you Andrew.

  17. 17
    Thumper says:

    You don’t know what happened yet?

    Get your head out of your ass.

    Joseph Wilson, lifelong diplomat, Bush and Clinton appointee with experience in both Iraq (during Gulf War I) and Africa, is asked by the CIA, at the behest of the Office of the Vice President, to investigate allegations that Iraq was attempting to procure yellowcake in Niger. After his investigation, which basically amounted to a feasibility study of the heavily regulated uranium consortioum in Niger, and was not a cocktail party, he concluded that it was impossible for Iraq to have obtained substantial amounts of weapons grade uranium from Niger.

    After Joe Wilson reports back to the CIA his findings, his story is buried and the Administration trumps up the one fact that he discredited as a reason to go to war.

    Wilson tells his story to the media, and one week thereafter, his wife, Valerie Plame, is outed as a CIA operative.

    Novak, who outed Mrs. Wilson, admits that he didn’t ask for this information–that two senior administration officials gave it to him.

    The media sleeps on this story for 3 months, although it becomes apparent that if the predicate facts were true: if Plame was a CIA operative under non-official cover, and if two senior administration officials disclosed her identity as such, that a MAJOR FELONY was committed.

    Then the CIA refers this to the Justice Department and another administration official says that six other journalists were contacted by officials in the Administration.

    Maybe the CIA refers leaks to the Justice Department 50 times a year. The CIA has NEVER referred a leak regarding the Identity Protection Act since the law was passed in the 1980s. This is unprecedented.

    Get your facts straight.

  18. 18
    Thumper says:

    Also, greg:

    You ask–“why don’t you wait until all the parties involved can all agree on what the hell happened”

    If Karl Rove is involved, then John Ashcroft has a direct conflict of interest.

    The White House not only refused to act on this story for 3 months, but now they refuse to appoint an Independent Counsel.

    The question is: if all you want is the TRUTH, why aren’t you demanding that the DOJ appoint an independent counsel? Just like we did in the Clinton years?

  19. 19
    John Cole says:

    Thumper-, you petulant dick- I know the story. What we don;t know are the wuestions I asked above. Jeebus you people are condescending.

  20. 20
    Robin Roberts says:

    Its amusing to see Thumper claim others can’t get facts straight when he makes some amusing fundamental errors of his own.

    Wilson didn’t discredit the the comment in the SOTU speech – as has been often pointed out. For two reasons, the first is often pointed out – that the SOTU claim was contradicted by Wilson’s report. The second ought to be obvious to even you, which is that Wilson’s reported on the feasibility of Iraq obtaining uranium – the speech refered to Iraq’s attempts, not success.

    By the way, Thumper, you are not going to get an Independant Counsel because …. the statute expired when Democrats realized it applied to them too.

  21. 21
    Robin Roberts says:

    The phrase “that the SOTU claim was contradicted by Wilson’s report” should read: “that the SOTU claim was not contradicted by Wilson’s report”.

  22. 22
    bg says:

    You’re trying to dick me around greg, and it won’t work. I know i’m asking you to be speculative here, but is that a problem? You can refuse to speculate if you wish, but you should at least say so. Anything along the lines of, “Since i don’t know what happend, i won’t guess,” will work just fine.

    Stop pretending you’ve answered my question and admit you won’t if that’s what you’re going to do. And please don’t claim my reading comprehension isn’t good when you obviously can’t comprehend what i’m asking you.

  23. 23
    bg says:

    Also greg, you seem very similar to a college friend of mine with the same name. May i ask: did you go to Millsaps?

  24. 24
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    Robin, if Wilson’s report was consistent with Bush and the SOTU, why did Wilson write his NY Times OpEd, claiming much the opposite? Why did the CIA want the Niger material deleted, and in fact why was it deleted from other speeches.Why have the WH and CIA been at odds ever since on whom to blame for amateur intel which we can see, now that we are in Iraq, was all wrong?

    Incidentally, although the complicated mechanism for appointing Independent Counsels has expired, after its perversion in the cause of tracking down fellatrices, it’s still possible to appoint “Special Counsel” to provide a presumably more independent investigation.

  25. 25
    Robin Roberts says:

    Andrew, your misrepresentation has been repeated enough by you that it is now obvious that you are doing so intentionally.

    And there are a lot of differences between an independant counsel and a special counsel.

  26. 26
    Robin Roberts says:

    Britain’s foreign secretary describes Wilson’s report as containing reference to an attempt by Iraq in 1999 “sought the expansion of trade links with Niger – and that former Niger government officials believed that this was in connection with the procurement of yellowcake.”

    This was contained in Straw’s submission to Parliament investing this and related issues with respect to the Blair government. If Straw is correct, Wilson’s report was not inconsistent with the SOTU claim and perhaps British intel.

  27. 27
    greg says:


    Okay, I’ll TRY to answer your question (even though i think i have) and then we can end this because we’re going back and forth.

    You tell me i should say I don’t want to speculate, but I’m not even positive what it is i’m speculating on. Again, this keeps changing.

    So, I’ll say this. Let me “speculate” that this info was leaked as political retribution. If so, said leaker should spend the rest of their life in jail.

    But this is all foggy as far as who did what, when, why, and how.

    It’s not like “speculating” on whether Kobe committed rape or not. That’s pretty straightforward.

    And I went to Penn State. The only Milsap i’m familiar with is Ronnie, or whatever that singers name is.

  28. 28
    Harry says:

    The weirdness about the Wilson affair in Niger is that Wilson was not qualified for the job. He had never done investigative work during his career and from what I read he spent the entire time in Niger at the American embassy sipping sweet mint tea and interviewing old Niger acquaintences. So much for leg word and humint. He should have never been sent there in the first place.

  29. 29
    RW says:

    BTW, John, “opinion” does equal fact when it comes to that source. Remember, Arnold’s “obvious racial baggage” was a fact….because…..well, he said so.

    Why interrupt the echo chamber?

  30. 30
    Kimmitt says:

    Putting aside the fact that Wilson’s qualifications were utterly irrelevant to the question of whether or not the White House burned a CIA operative in a petulant fit, Wilson was perfectly qualified, and apparently did a fine job, as he uncovered the truth after some good legwork.

    Anyway, go here to page 12, where Wilson discusses why he figures he was given the task, given his extensive background in the area.

  31. 31

    Oh, fer crying out loud, bg.

    “The connection to Bush is that it seems likely that someone close to him leaked this information.”

    Why? Because you say so?

    “. It also seems as though he may have approved of it since there hasn’t been a public statement condemning it but there was a defense of Rove (McClellan did this yesterday) insisting that maybe someone did it, but if someone did, it wasn’t him.”


    “Did you place a hex on Mr. Smith, causing him to lose all his hair?”

    “No I didn’t”

    “See? She’s denying it! A WITCH! Burn her!”

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