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Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Comment Response

By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 pm

Rather than respond in the comments section, here’s a response to some of the commentary on the Plame affair-aimed at JohnC mostly, but to a more general audience as well:

If you read carefully what I have written you will note that much of my discussion of the law and the DoJ investigation have hardly been doctrinaire. I initially saw reports of 50 or referrals to the DoJ and took that to mean similar types of problems (and as I noted, I was unsure if that was the case, but the reportage seemed to indicate it was). When it was cleared up by WaPo this morning, I cleared it up on my blog. I really don’t think I can be accused of being dismissive of the gravity of this situation, but rather have been engaged in wondering what was really going on.

But trust me on the CIA investigation angle-if they really knew who it was, he/she would be in cuffs by now. They know that there was a leak-but they don’t know who leaked it. This is clear. And I haven’t ascribed any motives to the CIA-although I saw several TV pundits doing so this evening.

And yes, the CIA full well knows Plame’s exact status. I have only been asking on the Blog as to what that status was/is. There has been some contradictory reporting on this subject, but as things have settled out, it seems clear she was undercover. Ok, but that still doesn’t answer the question of what that means in this context-i.e., the exact amount of harm done. I am not defending the leak, nor have I done. Mostly I have asked questions. Some have been answered, others not.

To summarize some of my recent postings:

  • As James of OTB, Matthew Yglesias, and myself noted, the initial coverage was uneven.
  • Novak claims that she wasn’t undercover, but was an analyst. Plus his clarifications seemed to dispel parts of the story (here, here and here). This made it sound like much ado about nothing. Indeed, part of what he has said is contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, leading me to think that someone is lying, mistaken, or confused (or all three). I tend to have high regard for Novak’s reporting (although not so much his TV punditry), so I have to admit that his version of events makes me wonder what is going on.
  • The first stuff I read on the CIA referral to DoJ made me wonder how common such situations are. Careful readers will note that I did not claim that the affair was pro forma, but rather that the reporting made it have a “pro forma feel"-and I noted that I was highly unsure as to whether that was an accurate impression or not. Indeed, I pondered as to what the normal procedure was and even read the legislation to see if I could get a clue, I was unable to do so, as I stated.
  • When WaPo reported that this was a unique event amongst those 50 referrals, I blogged that fact. I also noted in that post that it appeared that she was indeed undercover.
  • I later noted that leakers are hard to catch.

    Really, I am not sure how any of this qualifies as “spin” or how it places me in the rabid right-wing blogger camp. Mostly I have reported the story as it has unfoled, analyzed the info at hand, and asked questions.

    On balance I am only sure of two things:

    1) This ain’t Watergate II, and it won’t bring down the Bush administration, unless there is some shocking ramification of this leak we are unaware of.


    2) Someone did do something wrong, and should be appropriately punished.

  • Filed under: US Politics

    Click here to go to the main page.


    1. To summarize Steven’s misrepresentations and fabrications:

      As James of OTB, Matthew Yglesias, and myself noted, the initial coverage was uneven.

      First, James and Steven are parrots of one another. They hold exactly the same views and opinions. Yes, Steven and his Troy State buddy noted the coverage was uneven-but for a far different reason than Matthew Y. did. While James and Steven were claiming this was evidence of a non-story, Matthew Y corrected interpreted it as the WaPo having good coverage of CIA news while the NYT had medicre to poor coverage of intelligence issues.

      Novak claims that she wasn’t undercover, but was an analyst

      Novak’s stories have changed several times. Additionally, whether Plame was an ‘analyst’ an ‘operative’ or a ‘top secret super sleuth’ is immaterial. The fact was she was working in a covert capacity. This has been confirmed now by: (a) the CIA, (b)the FBI, ©the White House, (d)her CIA colleagues. About the only persons who don’t seem to recognize this fact are Steven and James.

      When WaPo reported that this was a unique event amongst those 50 referrals, I blogged that fact.

      Only after blogging numerous times that such referrals were commonplace and usually amounted to nothing.

      I later noted that leakers are hard to catch.

      Not at this level of visibility they aren’t. And I can tell you the CIA, the FBI, and the WH know-without any question-who the leaker is. The question is how much DoJ is willing to carry the water for the WH.

      But I keep returning to Brad DeLong’s point: for about 4 months now, the senior leadership of the WH has known one of their own has committed a crime. A crime which, under any other circumstances, they would have deemed ‘treasonous’ and detrimental to national security. Yet, this WH did exactly nothing.

      Comment by JadeGold1 — Tuesday, September 30, 2003 @ 8:55 pm

    2. To summarize JadeGold1’s hallucinations and delusions:

      Bush is the Devil.

      Comment by Paul — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 12:34 pm

    3. Not at this level of visibility they aren’t. And I can tell you the CIA, the FBI, and the WH know-without any question-who the leaker is. The question is how much DoJ is willing to carry the water for the WH.

      Hmmm. Maybe JadeGold is the leaker!

      Comment by bryan — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 8:26 pm

    4. Bryan,

      It is a rather strained argument, to be sure. If the CIA, FBI and WH all knew who the leaker was, as I said before somewhere, he/she would be in cuffs at this point. It is a rather ridiculous assertion.


      Comment by Steven — Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 9:42 pm

    5. Dreams are made to be destroyed. Nightmares are forever.

      Comment by Landolf Matt — Tuesday, January 20, 2004 @ 3:02 am

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