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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rove-Plame-Gannon

Rove-Plame stuff.

The simple set up from the Washington Post:
Over the weekend, Newsweek reported that Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, in an internal e-mail from July 2003, cited Rove as saying that administration critic Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador, had gone to Niger on a fact-finding trip involving Iraq's nuclear weapons programs at the behest of his wife. At the same time, according to Cooper's account, Rove also noted that she worked for the CIA on issues of weapons of mass destruction.

The e-mail did not say that Rove identified Plame by name, and Rove has maintained from the beginning that he neither knew her name nor leaked it to anyone. Columnist Robert D. Novak first reported Plame's identity in July 2003.

THE LAW SAYS that for a violation to occur, a government official must have deliberately identified a covert agent, and must have known that the agent was under cover and that the government was trying to keep the agent's identity secret. It was the issue of credibility, more than of criminal culpability, that produced some of the most aggressive questioning at a White House briefing in recent memory -- but no answers.

Asked about the matter on nine occasions over the years, Bush has said he welcomed the investigation, called the name disclosure "a very serious matter," and declared that the sooner investigators "find out the truth, the better, as far as I'm concerned."

"I want to know the truth," Bush told reporters in September 2003 after news of the investigation had burst into headlines. "If anybody has got any information, inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business."
Ha.

Remember, the vibe here is that...the Bushies went after Joe (and Valerie) after Joe blew the whistle on their Niger/yellowcake/WMD claims.

Commentary from Bob Scheer:
In the end, though, what Rove's leak and Novak's column really exposed was the depravity of the administration's deliberate use of a false WMD threat and its willingness to go after anyone willing to tell the truth about it.

It's ironic that the expertise of this couple (the Wilsons) should be turned against them by a White House that has demonstrated nothing but incompetence in dealing with the WMD issue. But clearly truth and competence are virtues easily shed by the Bush administration in the pursuit of political advantage, even when this partisan game jeopardizes national security.

This is the most important issue raised by the Plame scandal. It has been unfortunately obscured by the secondary debate in the case: whether reporters should ever reveal their sources. Yet what the emerging Rove scandal demonstrates is the ease with which a wily top White House official can subvert the Bill of Rights' protection of the free press to serve the tawdriest of political ends.
Now...an old angle to this story. One that hasn't been brought up this week: The Jeff Gannon-Guckert angle.

Remember, everyone's favorite male prostitute, natch, hard hittin' journalist threw himself into the story by interviewing Joe Wilson (to promote the "Joe Wilson is an evil partisan" line) and by claiming that he had info re: a classified INR memo that proved Valerie Plame was not covert. Which suggests that "someone" in the Bush administration (a Gannon client, perhaps?) leaked such info to dude.

This...just a few short months after dude became a "journalist."

SPIDERLEAF, a Daily Kossack, has a brilliant run down on Gannon's involvement in the Plame Affair HERE.

His conclusion:
Jeff Gannon was planted by the administration to disseminate their talking points unfettered by any journalism ethics or investigation shortly after the Iraq war, when the failure to find WMDs was becoming apparent.

He became incredibly useful in L'Affaire Plame to continue to push the dual stories that a) Plame's name was already common knowledge and therefore `outing' her was not a crime and b) to continue to help discredit the CIA and Wilson.

Based on the evidence, I believe the 2002 CIA memo was leaked to Gannon when Novak became unusable and when the `mainstream' reporters with CIA contacts were not pushing the WH's preferred story line. They needed cover, and they got it.

And as is evidenced by his remarkable access to Scott McClellan and President Bush in the White House press room, to this day, he was rewarded handsomely...

And it continues as business as usual... until today when he became expendable and `resigned' from Talon News.
Dios mio, man, check it out.

More later...

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