Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Sunday, September 28, 2003
The mainstream media omerta on the Plame story has been broken in a big way. After coverage of the referral of the inquiry to the DoJ, the Post has published a major story with new information.

Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. Wilson had just revealed that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account touched off a political fracas over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.

"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.

This strongly suggests that the White House is distancing itself from the guilty parties - and the point that there's more than one guilty party is also new.

Mark Kleiman argues persuasively that the source for this story, most likely George Tenet, knows who the two officials involved are, and that one of them is likely to be Karl Rove.

It's intriguing to note that six reporters were fed the story, although only two used it. That means that quite a few people around D.C. probably know the score on this, and makes it more likely that Wilson could have found out, from an off the record chat with one of those reporters, about Rove's involvement. As for the suggestion that some bloggers tried to make when the story first came out, that outing Plame was an accidental occurence in the course of a regular discussion, that is now a very dead parrot.

It is rare for one Bush administration official to turn on another. Asked about the motive for describing the leaks, the senior official said the leaks were "wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility."

Little me with my quiet upbringing, I thought that it was generally wrong for a senior government official to violate the law and harm the nation's security. Turns out it's worng only if the person you're going after isn't really damaged by it. This administration has taught us so much about ethics.

A source said reporters quoted a leaker as describing Wilson's wife as "fair game."

It seems that one of the leakers who outed Plame may be a ScientologistTM. Scientologists running this administration would actually explain a few things. Incidentally, note the elaborate indirectness of the citation above, which may well be a record.

Mark Kleiman, who really shouldn't be so innocent, is surprised by the brazenness of it. He also describes administration PR as "prolefeed", a marvelous Orwellian term which was not, to my knowledge, actually used by Orwell. The sad reality is that this administration is only about grabbing power, and using it to reward friends and punish enemies. Everything else is phony. Protecting the country from terrorists is as much prolefeed as the flight suit and the plentiful jobs that would appear if Congress were only willing to cut taxes a few more times for the wealthy.

Mark also notes that this is an opportunity for Clark. Not just for Clark - any Democratic candidate who can't hit a pitch this fat into the bleachers should pack it up and go back to the minors.

Update: The Plame story was raised this morning on both "This Week" and "Meet the Press". No new information. Gephardt, when Russert asked him about Plame, didn't even take a swing at it.