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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Thursday, October 02, 2003
 
Plame Excuses

Bob Novak says that Valerie Plame Wilson's role as an undercover agent was just casually mentioned to him by two senior White House officials, while he was writing up a negative column about Joe Wilson. But it wasn't "a planned leak", oh no. It was merely "an offhand revelation" during "a long conversation with a senior administration official", and was promptly confirmed when he called another senior official. Mr Novak is an honorable man who is just shocked, shocked, that anybody would believe "that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn".

Clifford May says that a few days earlier, a third person, "someone who formerly worked in the government", mentioned the same fact to him, in "an offhand manner, leading me to infer it was something that insiders were well aware of". As is quite clear if you read May closely, this just happened to occur while he was researching an article that would make him, as he proudly claims, "the first to publicly question the credibility of Mr. Wilson".

These officials just happened, within a few days of each other, and shortly after Wilson's article on the Niger uranium hoax was published, to blow the the cover of of Wilson's wife to two "journalists", both of whom were right wing activists looking for goods to smear Wilson with. This leads to one of two conclusions:

  • Liberal Conspiracy Theory: There was a concerted and planned attempt, which both current White House senior officials and at least one former official were in on, to plant the Plame story in an attempt to smear Wilson and/or intimidate other insiders who might be preparing to come forward. They finally found a reporter who was unscrupulous enough to use it, and he. along with May, is loyal enough, dumb enough, or both, to continue to proudly assert his utter cluelessness.
  • The White House Cover Story: It's perfectly normal for Bush White House insiders to discuss the identity of deep cover agents with reporters. These folks just scatter around sensitive secrets, using highly confidential national security information as conversational gambits. "Oh, you're from Beijing? What a coincidence - I know a guy name Bill Huang who's over there right now. Officially, he's a medical researcher studying SARS, but, just between you and me, he's recruiting scientists to keep us informed about your country's bio warfare programs. Would you like to have dinner sometime?"

If I were them, I'd drop the cover story and just cop to the conspiracy. As bad as it is, it's probably less damning.



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