Monday, July 11, 2005

Jeff Gannon was there. This is his opinion, just Plame/Wilson seeking PR (politics as usual?--think again.)

From - and it all boils down to "Gannongate" and "Politics as PR, plain and simple - just ask Atrios*. But you have to stop and think about Gannon's final paragraph ---

July 11, 2005

Joe Wilson Outed Valerie Plame

Democrats and their operatives in the mainstream media are breathlessly reporting that White House political advisor Karl Rove leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, allegedly a covert agent for the Central Intelligence Agency. Her name and ties to the intelligence agency became public after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, made allegations that the Bush administration exaggerated claims that Saddam Hussein sought to acquire “yellowcake” uranium from Africa.

But the e-mails between Time magazine White House correspondent Matthew Cooper and his bureau chief Michael Duffy that mysteriously found their way into the hands of “rival” publication Newsweek only indicate that Rove had a conversation with the reporter about Wilson and never mentioned his wife’s name. Cooper wrote that Rove tried to steer him away from Wilson’s assertions because his conclusions might have been inaccurate. He also said that neither CIA Director George Tenet nor Vice President Dick Cheney sent Wilson on any mission. Instead, he suggested it was "Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.”This clearly indicates that Rove did not engage in the “smear campaign” that Wilson has alleged. Just saying that the ambassador’s wife worked for the CIA is not an outing and doesn’t demonstrate that Rove was aware that she might be a secret agent. The agency has thousands of employees, with only a small percentage of them having a covert status. The question still remains whether Plame was covert at the time Rove spoke with Cooper.

If anyone is responsible for Plame’s outing, it is Wilson himself. Not content to express his opinion within the diplomatic, military or intelligence communities after his inconclusive report was dismissed, he went public. His scathing, op-ed for the New York Times was an overt political act that put him in the spotlight he craved, but also called attention to those around him. As was repeated in Gannongate, controversial figures come under intense professional and personal scrutiny. It now seems clear that Wilson was willing to sacrifice his wife’s career to gain the notoriety he sought. Journalists and government officials began to question Wilson’s motives and how he came to be sent on such an important mission. His outspoken criticism of the Bush administration’s policy toward Iraq made him an unlikely candidate for the trip, despite his qualifications. Wilson did not posses a unique set of abilities and experience to justify selection for a highly sensitive investigation.

Wilson’s primary role and his wife’s secondary role in her outing have been completely ignored by both the media and the agency itself. In an October 2003 interview with Wilson, I confronted him about an internal memo that detailed a meeting where his wife recommended him for the mission. He denied that any such meeting took place. A CIA source later told Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank that the memo was a forgery, which he dutifully reported in a front-page story in December 2003. Yet the Senate Intelligence Committee verified the content of the memo as part of its July 2004 report and chastised the ambassador for his “misleading” statements to the contrary. Wilson was immediately dropped as a senior foreign policy advisor to the Kerry campaign and all references to him purged from its website.

Plame’s outing was not a punishment for Wilson’s disagreement with the administration it was by-product of a publicity-seeking ex-diplomat. Wilson's own actions focused attention on the couple and raised disturbing questions about the agency and its ability to provide the intelligence necessary to protect the Homeland.


*SIDEBAR: Atrios, the Liberal one, writes: "This New York Times article on the Rove case is typically clear as mud, but after reading it several times and consulting with a handful of liberal intellectuals, I've gained new respect for Matt Cooper. Basically, he got fed up with Rove's lawyer lying to the press, and figured that combined with the waiver he'd previously received and the emphasis Luskin placed on it, was enough. In other words, Rove's lawyer, acting as an agent of Rove, mounted a too extreme PR campaign on behalf of his client, and sufficient deceptive remarks led Cooper to say fuck it. Luskin thought Cooper wouldn't testify no matter what he said, and he was wrong. Good for Cooper."


No comments: