Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Plame Again

I've almost finished reading Joseph Wilson's book and along comes a completely new angle on the story. But there's something that I just can't figure out at all about this. Well, actually it's two things, but they're related. I must just be blinded by my prejudice.
Conservatives keep saying that the reason the White House kept telling reporters that Wilson's wife was CIA was because it discredited Wilson's objectivity since his wife was an expert in weapons of mass destruction, WMDs. In other words, the message White House officials were feeding the reporters was essentially, "You can't trust that Wilson. His wife's a WMD expert for the CIA. She's the one that recommended him for the Niger investigation."
What is there about that that I just don't get? Why does it discredit Wilson's objectivity even if his wife were somehow involved, which there's no evidence that she was...? But even if she was, why does that discredit Wilson's objective perspective? And this is especially true considering that Wilson was right about Niger. Why was it necessary to the White house to point out to the press that she was CIA?
My second question, and again I must be blinded by my prejudice because I just can't imagine a good answer, is this. If, as the White House now claims, it was perfectly legitimate to do what they did, if Plame wasn't under cover as they claim she wasn't, and if they are innocent because they didn't know she was a covert operative, and if they didn't tell anyone she was, why did they then turn around and mislead the American public, the FBI, the President, and the Grand Jury about their involvement? Why didn't they just come out and tell the truth? Why did they hide the truth?
Even if all they were after was to discredit a political opponent, why did they hide the truth about their involvement if they all knew they hadn't broken any laws? Why did they keep secrets and let it fester into the mess it is today? Why did they deceive the investigators?
Anybody out there got any good ideas?


Blogger Mike said...

First of all, I must confess I have not been following this story with the obsession you liberals have.

To answer your first question, it was my understanding that they did not try to discredit Wilson by saying his wife was a WMD expert. They were trying to discredit Wilson's claim that he was there on a mission from Dick Cheney's office. Rove told the reporter not to go out on a limb and report that Dick Cheney sent him. He told the reporter it was the CIA where his wife worked as a WMD expert.
For your second question, they did cooperate with the investigation. Rove met with the prosecutor and answered questions twice. The only indictment is Libby, who I think will be exonerated when this is done. You're just upset they didn't hold a press conference and confess for the crime you wish they had committed resulting in everyone quitting or getting fired. And most of all, you won't the the impeachment you so desire. Sorry dude.

8:18 AM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Bill said...

If Wilson was sent by the CIA in response to a request from Cheney to the CIA (which was exactly what Wilson and everyone who knew about this mission including the CIA knew all along), what difference does it make that Wilson's wife was CIA? Wilson never claimed that Cheney sent him. Wilson's claim was always that the CIA sent him. There was never a misunderstanding about that. So why involve his wife in it at all? Wilson was a former State Department diplomat with contacts and expertise in Niger. He was a good candidate for the job, especially if you believe that Wilson was the third, not the first, expert sent on that mission by the US government. But Mike, how do you explain the need to involve Wilson's wife, especially considering the risk that she might be covert? How did that gain the White House anything? I still don't see the point there... and I'm not being numb. I'm trying to see the Republican point in involving her.
I think you miss my point entirely on the second question, Mike. If the White House knew that they had not committed any crime, especially if the CIA knew that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent and no crime had been committed, why didn't Rove, Libby, Cheney, and Bush come right out in the beginning and explain the whole thing to the American people? Rove went before the grand jury 4 times and it still isn't clear that he told everything he knew about it. Libby lied to the FBI and the grand jury and as a result, significantly delayed the investigation. And this Woodward thing brings out the fact that now, 2 1/2 years after all this took place, there are still high level officials in the White House keeping secrets. But why? If no crime was committed, as is the claim of Republicans, then why all the secrets and why all the stalling and why all the hiding behind the press? It makes no sense to me to drag something like this out this long by keeping it all secret and making investigators find the truth. This question is especially true considering how much damage it has done to the White House in terms of the public's perspective of their honesty. In the eyes of the public, everyone in the White House seems to be hiding secrets and nobody can figure out why if they are all as innocent as they claim to be.
I'm not playing dumb here. I really can't figure out the White House logic even though I keep trying.
Care to take another dive into it?

8:11 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Mike said...

Like I said, I haven't been following every detail of this story because it has the smell of a political witch hunt to me.

I don't think the release of Wilson's wife's identity was done with the intention of "outing" her as punishment for Wilson disproving Bush's claim in the State of the Union speech. (which by the way, Bush didn't lie in that speech. He said British intelligence reported Saddam tried to obtain yellow cake from Niger. This was not a lie b/c British intelligence did report that.) From the testimony I've heard about the Plame investigation, Rove told the reporter, and I'm paraphrasing here, "It's wasn't Cheney's office that sent Wilson. It was the CIA, where Wilson's wife works as a WMD expert." I don't think Rove knew his wife was at one time a covert agent. From what I heard he was trying to prevent the reporter from going out on a bad limb in reporting that Wilson worked for Cheney's office.

The investigation by the grand jury prosecutor lasted two years. For two years they interviewed people and reviewed documents and emails, and at the end of two years, they found nothing. The only charge is that Libby got his facts mixed up. In order to convict Libby they will have to prove that he did so on purpose with the intention of misleading the grand jury. I don't think they will be able to prove that.

But to answer your question about why they didn't come clean right away, maybe you are dismissing the possibility that they did nothing wrong. Why should they confess for crimes they did not commit? You know, Andrea Mitchel (NBC Reporter) has said it was common knowledge in Washington D.C. dinner circles that Valarie Plame worked for the CIA. It's possible that several people in the administration knew her and knew her status and didn't think anything of discussing it with reporters.

The bottom line is, a two year investigation has so far determined there was no crime committed other than Libby's so-called lying about a crime that never happened. At what point will people be satisfied and call for an end to the investigation? The answer is never because it causes the administration to waste political energy in addressing the issue. It's just like the Ken Starr investigation which I didn't agree with either. They are political witch hunts that eventually nail people for the coverup more than the actual crime itself.

8:32 AM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger Bill said...

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
George W. Bush, January 28, 2003 in his State of the Union address
Here are some of the media articles that led up to Novak's release of Plame's name and CIA work. The May 6 article can be misread to imply that Cheney sent Wilson, "I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger." But by June 12 it is clear that the CIA and not Cheney did the dispatching. Nowhere else, and especially not in Wilson's July 6 article, was there any implication at all that Wilson was working for Cheney. I still have no idea where that idea first emerged.
Kristof May 6, 2003
speaking of the Niger report and WMD in general
Pincus June 12, 2003
article which further introduced Wilson's Niger mission but
withheld Wilson's name
Nicholas Kristof June 13, 2003
refreshing Cheney's memory
Wilson July 6, 2003 New
York Times op-ed where he reveals for the first time his roll in the false Niger uranium
July 14, 2003
article where he reveals that Wilson's wife is an Agency operative on
weapons of mass destruction

4:17 PM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger Bill said...

Aside from my two original questions (which have not been answered so far since the actual need for giving Plame's name has never been explained), there are two basic issues involved here:
One is the CIA request for an investigation of the outing of their covert operative Valerie Plame.
The other issue, the issue which Wilson still claims is the main issue despite everything else that has happened, is why the Bush administration thought it was necessary to include the 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union address when it was clear to all involved that Iraq had actually NOT done what Bush was claiming it had done. Long before Bush gave that speech, the White House, the State Department, and the CIA knew that the Italian and British intelligence was highly unlikely, and indeed was false because the documents were clearly forged. It didn't take the UN to figure out the forgery. The evidence was clear. And three different investigations early in 2002 made it even more clear.
That is what Wilson was trying to show when the White House chose to reveal, for no good reason, that Wilson's wife was CIA. Wilson's conclusion, and it's the only reasonable conclusion that I can see so far based on everything I have seen, was that the White House harmed his wife as a warning to anyone else in government that the White House will stop at nothing to silence its critics against the war.
Again, if this is wrong, if Wilson's assumptions here are wrong, then tell me why the White House felt the need to involve Valerie Plame. Rove and Libby and this other secret White House official weren't just casually dropping names of CIA people. They clearly had a strategy. So what was that strategy? If there are no White House secrets being kept here, then what was the strategy for three different White House officials telling reporters that Wilson's wife was CIA?

4:57 PM, November 18, 2005  

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