Friday, September 01, 2006
A Blogging POW To WaPo
WE'RE RELUCTANT to return to the subject of former CIA employee Valerie Plame because of our oft-stated belief that far too much attention and debate in Washington has been devoted to her story and that of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, over the past three years.And the article acknowledges that the leaker was a person opposed to the war, Richard Armitage. It ends with the following:
Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.Somehow the fact that WaPo was banging the drum on this one has vanished into the WaPo Memory Hole. I generally read WaPo, and WaPo's "oft-stated belief" that the Plame-Wilson affair was overwrought and overhyped had completely escaped my attention! Indeed, as a reader of WaPo, it seemed to me that WaPo was in this thing from start to finish. Check out, for example, this 2005 WaPo article breathlessly reporting the "Palpable Silence At The White House", which assumed that Rove was about to be indicted, as just one example. In April of 2006 WaPo was still watching for Rove's public hanging.
What's even more amazing to me is that now that their dear friend, Armitage, is exposed as the leak, they seem prepared to take at face value his contention that he had no idea that this information was confidential. Contrast that to their July, 2005 blazing disclosure about the SECRET MEMO:
A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.And gosh, darn, Jim VandeHei was STILL unable to drop the old meme as late as two whole days ago, on August 29, when he responds to a question posed in the Post Politics Hour in this way:
Alexandria, Va.: What are your thoughts on the reports that Richard Armitage was the leak for the Plame story? It reads as if he was just gossiping and Novak and others ran with the gossip, creating this mess. (And I say this as a liberal Vermont Democrat.) I just think that Armitage has some integrity compared to others in D.C., so I'm not sure how to take this all in.Get that? Armitage gets a pass, no doubt because he is a "right thinker", but this by no means implies that the Bush administration wasn't mounting a campaign to discredit Wilson. Armitage excused, Bushies still highly suspect!
Jim VandeHei: It was one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington and it certainly undercuts the theory by bush critics who thought there was a big conspiracy at work. That does not mean others -- Libby, etc -- were not involved in their own campaign to discredit Wilson. But I don't know of anyone who thinks Armitage was part of anything sinister and coordinated.
WaPo needs to review its coverage and do a better job of looking at its own standards before it can pose as the guardian of the printways. They were used by political opponents of the Bush administration, they loved every minute of it, and they seem to still be operating under the assumption that somehow, somewhere, the dark nefariousness of conservatives is responsible for one of the most ridiculous witchhunts ever.
For anyone who is interested in a little research, you can start with Think Progress (progressyve code for "Get Bush"), which published a review of all the damning leak links to the Bush administration. Check out some of their short descriptions of all the tie-ins WaPo made. Other papers are included, but you won't have to pour through this to find WaPo entries. My particular favorite is this:
BUSH QUESTIONED BY FITZGERALD FOR OVER AN HOUR: On June 24, 2004, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and several of his assistants questioned the president for about 70 minutes in the Oval Office. Bush retained a private lawyer, Jim Sharp, for the interview. A prominent First Amendment lawyer, Floyd Abrams, said “It’s hard to believe the special prosecutor would be burdening the president with an interview unless they had testimony to the effect that the president had information.” [Washington Post, 2/25/04]They got the date wrong. Here is the original article. Have fun and hit hard. There are very good reasons why the newspapers are losing circulation, and both today's non-apology and three years of nonsensical furor over a covert CIA employee who did not scruple to announce that she was a covert CIA employee at cocktail parties are prominent examples, especially when Clinton appointees will be treated with deep sympathy and compassionate understanding when they are caught with secret documents stuffed down their pants.