Saturday, July 16, 2005

Open Thread

Too many threads spoil the soup.

Open Thread

He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. -- Billy Shakes


On Miller:

We're into some deep ethical shit here, at least if you're a journalist or still have the values of one. Utlimately, it gets to a debate over the future of the First Amendment in a system increasingly dominated by money and power. But along the way, it makes an intermediate stop at the question of whether, net-net, it is still in the public interest for journalists to protect their sources from the long arm of the law.

I've always been an absolute supporter of the duty -- not the right, but the duty -- of reporters to protect their sources. There was a time when I would have been an equally unthinking, knee-jerk supporter of a federal shield law. But, after what's come to light about the Rovians and their cozy little circle of journalistic collaborators, I have to think about it.

Left to their own devices, corporate journalists seem increasingly inclined to act as an arm of the government, not a watchdog of it. Which means the licence granted by the traditions of the profession -- which in some ways extend even further than the legal rights guaranteed by the First Amendment -- can and are being used against the public interest, not to protect it. We seem to have run into yet another variation on the old Roman question: Quid custodiet ipsos custodes? Who shall watch the watchers?

He also points out that the Times itself is releasing non-denial denials regarding Miller's role in this. Fascinating.

Life in Iraq


An insurgent suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body Saturday, triggering a huge explosion at a gas station near a mosque south of Baghdad and killing at least 54 people. The attack capped a string of three major bombings over the past four days that killed at least 120.

Police Capt. Muthanna Khaled Ali and Dr. Adel Malallah of the Jumhuri General Hospital in Hillah, the provincial capital, said the gas station blast in Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad, killed 54 and wounded at least 82 others.

Life in Prison

Talk Left explains the difference between civil and criminal contempt.

Open Thread

Too many threads spoil the soup.

Open Thread

No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, or bind so fast, as love can do with a single thread. --Robert Burton

Open Thread

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it. --Horace Mann

Light Posting this W.E.

Threadbot will keep you company, and feel free to peruse the many fine blogs listed to your left...

Judy II

Criminal contempt:

Lawyers in the CIA leaks investigation are concerned that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald may seek criminal contempt charges against New York Times reporter Judith Miller, a rare move that could significantly lengthen her time in jail.

Anyone want to explain where the line beteween civil and criminal contempt is?

Judy Judy Judy


George Freeman, an assistant general counsel of The New York Times Company, re-affirmed that Miller would not say who that source was. "She has never received," Freeman told Liptak, "what she considers an unambiguous, unequivocal and uncoerced waiver from anyone with whom she may have spoken."

But Liptak added: "Freeman declined to say what efforts, if any, Ms. Miller and her lawyers have made to obtain a satisfactory waiver." Matt Cooper was ready to go to jail himself until his lawyer worked out such a satisfactory waiver from Rove. Others got waivers from Libby that satisfied them.

Asked whether Miller provided information about Plame's identity to the source, and not the other way arouind, Freeman said: "Judy learned about Valerie Plame from a confidential source or sources whose identity she continues to protect to this day. If the suggestion is that she is covering up for her source or some fictitious source, that is preposterous. Given that she is suffering in jail, it is also mean-spirited."

I wonder what it would take (if true) for Keller and the gang to come to the conclusion that Miller is a player and not simply a reporter. Her behavior in Iraq should've been enough.

According to a public affairs officer (PAO) on the scene, she sought an embed arrangement different from the "terms of accreditation to report" which she had originally signed. Most of her contacts had been replaced by new people from David Kay's Iraqi Survey Group (ISG). Col. Richard McPhee, commander of the 75th Exploitation Task Force in Iraq, whose teams had been looking for evidence of WMDs in the spring, refused an interview with her.

Howard Kurtz's various revelations undoubtedly have impacted negatively on her already strained relations with the U.S. military in Iraq. "General Judith Miller" -- as Shafer has dubbed her -- was accused by a half dozen officers of intimidating soldiers searching for WMD. An Army officer told Kurtz: "Judith was always issuing threats of either going to The New York Times or to the Secretary of Defense." Another charged: "She ended up almost hijacking the mission" of the Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha (META), which was charged with examining potential Iraqi weapon sites after the war.

Based on several negative comments by military personnel to me, it is unlikely that Miller will again be given such unique access to those in the hunt, or that they will even talk to her. An e-mail message to me from her PAO sergeant escort regarding a three-week trip with META in April stated: "She did not have a SECRET clearance." She was "high maintenance and came to the field badly prepared. The problem I had with her was that whenever other members of the press showed up, which they did as embeds from other units or as unilaterals, she would insist that I get rid of them and that the 75th's story was her story, exclusively. She didn't seem to have any idea that the Army needed as much coverage of the 75th's mission as possible and that excluding everyone else was detrimental to the credibility of what the 75th was trying to accomplish. Never mind that we didn't find a damn thing ... She could not understand why Michael Gordon, covering the war at ground force headquarters, could have his stuff read and cleared at any time of the day or night while she had to wait. She would talk about the 'news cycle' and how important it was, and threaten me or my boss with the wrath of the NYT or her buddies up at DoD."

Team leader Navy Cdr. David Beckett of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, in a brief phone conversation, sarcastically dismissed the idea of her "supposedly having some sort of clearance." However, Colonel McPhee, the overall task force commander, is known to have said that Miller was "cleared at the secret level." Regardless, it was generally believed and commonly said in the field that Miller was cleared for information classified "secret." Either she pulled off a hoax, or a very unusual clearance for a journalist was granted by some Pentagon authority.


According to Pomeroy, as well as an editor at the Times, Miller had helped negotiate her own embedding agreement with the Pentagon—an agreement so sensitive that, according to one Times editor, Rumsfeld himself signed off on it. Although she never fully acknowledged the specific terms of that arrangement in her articles, they were as stringent as any conditions imposed on any reporter in Iraq. “Any articles going out had to be, well, censored,” Pomeroy told me. “The mission contained some highly classified elements and people, what we dubbed the ‘Secret Squirrels,’ and their ‘sources and methods’ had to be protected and a war was about to start.” Before she filed her copy, it would be censored by a colonel who often read the article in his sleeping bag, clutching a small flashlight between his teeth. (When reporters attended tactical meetings with battlefield commanders, they faced similar restrictions.)

As Miller covered MET Alpha, it became increasingly clear that she had ceased to respect the boundaries between being an observer and a participant. And as an embedded reporter she went even further, several sources say. While traveling with MET Alpha, according to Pomeroy and one other witness, she wore a military uniform.

When Colonel Richard McPhee ordered MET Alpha to pull back from a search mission and regroup in the town of Talil, Miller disagreed vehemently with the decision—and let her opinions be loudly known. The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz reprinted a note in which she told public-affairs officers that she would write negatively about his decision if McPhee didn’t back down. What’s more, Kurtz reported that Miller complained to her friend Major General David Petraeus. Even though McPhee’s unit fell outside the general’s line of command, Petraeus’s rank gave his recommendation serious heft. According to Kurtz, in an account that was later denied, “McPhee rescinded his withdrawal order after Petraeus advised him to do so.”

Miller guarded her exclusive access with ferocity. When the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman overlapped in the unit for a day, Miller instructed its members that they couldn’t talk with him. According to Pomeroy, “She told people that she had clearance to be there and Bart didn’t.” (One other witness confirms this account.)

As MET Alpha began its work in April, Miller sent home a blockbuster about an Iraqi scientist in her unit’s custody. According to Miller, the scientist had told the unit that Iraq had destroyed chemical- and biological-warfare equipment on the eve of the war. And—here’s the real coup—the scientist had led the squad to buried ingredients for chemical-weapons production. Although she told readers that her unit prevented her from naming these precursor elements or the scientist, the military did permit Miller to view him from a distance. “Clad in nondescript clothes and a baseball cap, he pointed to several spots in the sand where he said chemical precursors and other weapons material were buried,” she wrote. And on PBS’s NewsHour, she was even more emphatic: “What they found is a silver bullet in the form of a person.”

But these scoops, like the story about the scientist, tended to melt quickly in the Iraqi desert. And very soon into the postwar era, the costs of her embedding agreement and her passion for the story became clear. Even though she had more access to MET Alpha, the best seat in the house, she was the only major reporter on the WMD beat to miss the story so completely. MET Alpha was a bumbling unit; and even if it hadn’t been bumbling, it wouldn’t have made a difference—there were no WMDs. The Post’s Gellman, on the other hand, hadn’t embedded with a unit, and didn’t negotiate any access agreements. What’s more, he had the intellectual honesty to repudiate some of his own earlier reporting. He came away from Iraq with a stark, honest story: “Odyssey of Frustration: In Search for Weapons, Army Team Finds Vacuum Cleaners.”

Look! A Shiny Penny!

Conservatives keep finding the same penny over and over again... hilarious.

Open Thread

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it. --Horace Mann

Open Thread

He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. -- Billy Shakes

Late Night


Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Night Fun

oops. live mic.

Open Thread

Four score and seven threads ago.


Waas writes:

The coverage underscores the secrecy surrounding Fitzgerald's grand-jury investigation. The few leaks that constitute public knowledge of the investigation's progress have largely come from one side: the defense attorneys'. And what they have to say is oftentimes self-serving, misleading, and in some cases untrue. Their all-too-willing collaborators have been the nation's leading newspapers.

No Longer Operative

Nice for CNN to conveniently ignore pesky facts.

Short and Sweet

Plamegate, the video.


More troubles for Rove?

War Between the Sects

More like this, please, so people begin to have a broader understanding of where the real dangers to religious freedom are:

JACKSON, Miss. -- A Christian adoption agency that receives money from Choose Life license plate fees said it does not place children with Roman Catholic couples because their religion conflicts with the agency's "Statement of Faith."

Bethany Christian Services stated the policy in a letter to a Jackson couple this month, and another Mississippi couple said they were rejected for the same reason last year.

"It has been our understanding that Catholicism does not agree with our Statement of Faith," Bethany's state director Karen Stewart wrote. "Our practice to not accept applications from Catholics was an effort to be good stewards of an adoptive applicant's time, money and emotional energy."

Sandy and Robert Steadman, who learned of Bethany's decision in a July 8 letter, said their priest told them the faith statement did not conflict with Catholic teaching.

Loria Williams of nearby Ridgeland said she and her husband, Wes, had a similar experience when they started to pursue an adoption in September 2004.

"I can't believe an agency that's nationwide would act like this," Loria Williams said. "There was an agency who was Christian based but wasn't willing to help people across the board."

Lying to Congress

Clearly misleading testimony about blowjobs is much more important than this:

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - An Army general who has been criticized for his role in the treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has contradicted his sworn congressional testimony about contacts with senior Pentagon officials.

Gen. Geoffrey Miller told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May 2004 that he had only filed a report on a recent visit to Abu Ghraib, and did not talk to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or his top aides about the fact-finding trip.

But in a recorded statement to attorneys three months later, Miller said he gave two of Rumsfeld's most senior aides - then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary for Intelligence Steve Cambone - a briefing on his visit and his subsequent recommendations.

"Following our return in the fall, I gave an outbrief to both Dr. Wolfowitz and Secretary Cambone," Miller said in the Aug. 21, 2004, statement to lawyers for guards accused of prisoner abuse, a transcript of which was obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

"I went over the report that we had developed and gave them a briefing on the intelligence activities, recommendations, and some recommendations on detention operations," Miller added.

Specific interrogation techniques, he said, were not discussed.

Miller's statement about the meeting, if true, suggests that officials at the very top of the Pentagon may have been more involved in monitoring activities at the prison than previously disclosed. Abu Ghraib was later at the center of a scandal surrounding prisoner abuse, which has led to punishments for soldiers.


What Digby says is true of Spikey Mikey Isikoff and it's true of most of the rest of the beltway media.

National security? Policies which effect millions of lives? Not so important. Blow jobs? Very important.

Say My Name, Bitch!

The cryptically written Times article contains, I suppose, some actual new relevant information. Despite claiming that he never knew Plame's name, he did in fact learn it from Novak, according to what's being claimed, and learned it (and therefore knew it) before he talked to Cooper.

Not that the name itself is important, it is only necessary to disclose information about the identity, but it does mean that Rove and his lawyer have been lying.

...and, this new version of events contradicts Novak's previous statements about this story. Either Novak has been lying in public, in which case I think it's time to him to finally drummed out of his job in disgrace, or Rove lied to the grand jury, or this account of the testimony is bollocks.

Friday Cat Blogging

Some of you may remember the stray cat who hangs out in the abandoned building next door to me (sadly, contrary to popular belief, blogging fame doesn't necessarily get you the best digs in the best neighborhood). He disappeared for a few months, but he's back now, sleeping comfortably on some broken glass:

And, he now has a little buddy that follows him everywhere:

Stunning Revelation

About Rove.



2. Overall, do you approve, disapprove or have mixed feelings about the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

_Approve, 42 percent (43)

_Disapprove, 56 percent (55)

_Mixed feelings, 1 percent (1)

_Not sure, 2 percent (1)

Blowjobs - the Ultimate Evil

Courtesy of Nice Polite Republicans.

Where in the World is Scott McClellan?

Another day, no White House briefing/gaggle..


The wingnutosphere, in association with the associated press, is very excited about this interview with Wilson, specifically the bolded line:

BLITZER: But the other argument that's been made against you is that you've sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife, who was a clandestine officer of the CIA, and that you've tried to enrich yourself writing this book and all of that.

What do you make of those accusations, which are serious accusations, as you know, that have been leveled against you.

WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.
BLITZER: But she hadn't been a clandestine officer for some time before that?

WILSON: That's not anything that I can talk about. And, indeed, I'll go back to what I said earlier, the CIA believed that a possible crime had been committed, and that's why they referred it to the Justice Department.

She was not a clandestine officer at the time that that article in Vanity Fair appeared. And I have every right to have the American public know who I am and not to have myself defined by those who would write the sorts of things that are coming out, being spewed out of the mouths of the RNC...

For sentient humans, it's clear what Wilson means - that she ceased to be a clandestine operative the day Novak's column came out. It's also clear from his other comments (as it was clear to Blitzer in conversation) that he has to use such language because he can't acknowledge that she ever was a clandestine operative with direct language.


WaPo Version

The WaPo version is a bit more clear, though undoubtedly from the same source:

White House senior adviser Karl Rove indirectly confirmed the CIA affiliation of an administration critic's wife for Robert D. Novak the week before the columnist named her and revealed her position, a lawyer involved in the case said last night.

The operative, Valerie Plame, is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador who had publicly disputed the White House's contention that Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium from Niger for possible use in a nuclear weapon.

The lawyer, who has knowledge of the conversations between Rove and prosecutors, said President Bush's deputy chief of staff has told investigators that he first learned about the operative from a journalist and that he later learned her name from Novak.

Rove has said he does not recall who the journalist was who first told him that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, or when the conversation occurred, the lawyer said.


Ridiculous New York Times Anonymous Source of the Day

Liberal Oasis has it about right.

So, let's give this our Ridiculous Anonymous Source of the Day award. David Johnson and Richard W. Stevenson are prime candidates for a Gucky.

...someone who has been officially briefed on the matter said.

...the person who has been briefed on the matter said...

...the person who has been briefed on the matter said.

The person who provided the information about Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak declined to be identified, citing requests by Mr. Fitzgerald that no one discuss the case. The person discussed the matter in the belief that Mr. Rove was truthful in saying that he had not disclosed Ms. Wilson's identity.

Open Thread

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it. --Horace Mann

Open Thread

To infinity thread and beyond!

For Some Reason I'm Reminded of an Old Column...


No single television show, however, was to have more influence on the terrible events to come than Extreme Fascist Makeover, launched in 2007. The appearance of this inspired piece of programming is one of the more unlikely subplots of the American tragedy. It was conceived by a onetime political dissident named Matt Taibbi, whose late conversion to the imperial cause has caused him to be judged very harshly by history; indeed, his very name would become a synonym for "traitor" in languages all across the planet. In his memoir, Why Not? Diary of a Collaborator, published shortly before his execution, he describes the origins of the idea:

I tuned into the news on CNN just after watching an old rerun of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and found myself troubled by the drab appearance of President Bush and his lieutenants as they walked through the ruins of Damascus… It occurred to me at that moment that America was a strapping fascist hunk, straining to get out but trapped in the frumpy wardrobe of a Jeffersonian democracy. And I thought to myself: "There’s a tv show in this."

Through family connections, Taibbi managed to get a proposal into the hands of David Collins, an executive producer for Scout Productions, which had produced the gay-makeover show Queer Eye. Negotiations ensued, and finally Taibbi and Scout convinced the John Birch cable channel to produce a pilot with former congressman and Fox anchorman Joe Scarborough engaged as on-air talent. The first program, a "fascist makeover" of President Bush and the Oval Office, was to have far-reaching policy implications for years to come.


The show was an immediate hit, and subsequent episodes featured makeovers of the U.S. Constitution, Reed College, Cuba and the Sundance Film Festival, among others. In one of the highest-rated and most rebroadcast programs in the history of American television, Extreme Fascist Makeover spent a half-hour tackling the New York Times–and ultimately, in what must seen as a humorous gesture, left it exactly as it had been.

At Long Last


Decoder Ring

Uh, I can't decipher the narrative or the tangled sourcing in this article. Anyone want to try?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Open Thread

Words from the thread on which we string our experiences. --Aldous Huxley


More here.

On Air America soon.

Global War on Democrats

From ABC:

Officials tell ABC News the London bombers have been connected to an al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

The laptop computer of Naeem Noor Khan, a captured al Qaeda leader, contained plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway system, as well as on financial buildings in both New York and Washington.

"There's absolutely no doubt he was part of an al Qaeda operation aimed at not only the United States but Great Britain," explained Alexis Debat, a former official in the French Defense Ministry who is now a senior terrorism consultant for ABC News.

At the time, authorities thought they had foiled the London subway plot by arresting more than a dozen young Britons of Pakistani descent last August in Luton, a city known for its ties to terrorism.

"For some time, the locus of terrorism in Britain has been around the Luton area and in some of the northern cities," said Michael Clark, professor of defense at King's College in London.

Security officials tell ABC News they have discovered links between the eldest of the London bombers, Mohammed Sadique Khan, 30, and the original group in Luton. Officials also believe it was not a coincidence the subway bombers all met at the Luton train station last week.

"It is very likely this group was activated last year after the other group was arrested," Debat said.


Here is what we now know. The Pakistani government arrested a 25-year-old computer expert in Lahore on July 13. The arrest was never given to the Pakistani press by the Pakistani government, and no notice appeared in any Pakistani or other newspaper. This absence can only be deliberate, since the Pakistanis could easily have held a press conference to trumpet their new captive. This decision to keep the arrest quiet appears to have been made because Khan had been "flipped," i.e., had become a double agent and continued to have email contact with al-Qaeda members in London, e.g., but now with the Pakistani military intelligence listening in.

There was no reason for any reporter anywhere to inquire about Khan, since nothing had come out in Pakistan about his case. Pakistani intelligence was passing on to British intelligence what it was finding out about the London cell. Khan was still communicating with it on Monday August 2.

In addition, Khan's computer had on it surveillance information about financial institutions in New York and Washington that dated back three years, before the September 11 attacks. The Pakistanis shared this information with both British and American intelligence.

In the week of July 26, the week of the Democratic National Convention, the Bush administration made a decision to announce a heightened security alert for those buildings in Washington, DC and New York City. Tom Ridge made the announcement on Sunday, Aug. 1, and there was then a background briefing for reporters.


The British, especially MI5 and Home Secretary David Blunkett, had not wanted his name made public, and were furious at all of the detailed information being given out to the public by the Bush administration or in consequence of its revelations. For some reason, the British seem to have feared that the naming of Abu Eisa al-Hindi would complicate the case against him. The Times of India reports that Abu Musa (or Abu Eisa) al-Hindi's real name is Dhiron Barot. He is one of the 8 charged in London on Tuesday. He is from a Hindu family, but converted to Islam at age 20 and got pulled into jihadi activities in Kashmir (about which he published a book). He was the one who cased the financial institutions in the US for al-Qaeda. The story of Barot, like that of Richard Reid, shows that al-Qaeda isn't mainly about Islam per se, it is a political-religious ideology that can attract non-Muslims.

Aravosis has much much more.



A leak is when you ask a reporter to write a story. He was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story.

Ohhhh...Ken...right.. THAT kind of leak. The kind where you take a leak on me and tell me it's raining.


David Sirota tells what this latest Senate vote is about.

I've been watching the vote, quite a few Republicans were down for yes and then when it looked increasingly like it was going to fail they switched to no votes...


Mad at Republicans for apologizing for exploiting racism.

Over the top, even for him...


Santorum aide an out gay man, according to Raw Story.

In a phone call recorded by PageOneQ and, Robert Traynham, Director of Communications for United States Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has said he is an out gay man who completely supports the Senator.

When asked how a gay man could speak for one of the nation's most notorious homophobes, Traynham protested that has "been with the Senator for eight years." Traynham went on to say "Senator Santorum is a man of principle, he is a man who sticks up for what he believes in, I strongly do support Senator Santorum."

When pressed on whether he supported the Senator's stands on lesbian and gay issues, Mr. Traynham abruptly ended the phone call by saying "Senator Santorum is a family man with "I have been with Senator Santorum for right years and I am very proud to be with him."

An attempt to follow-up with a question was met with Mr. Traynham hanging up the phone.

Traynham flashback:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Critical comments about homosexuality by a leading Senate Republican were labeled as "unfortunate" by two GOP colleagues, who said they don't represent the ideals held by many in their party.

"Discrimination and bigotry have no place in our society, and I believe Senator (Rick) Santorum's unfortunate remarks undermine Republican principles of inclusion and opportunity," said Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, according to a statement from her office.

Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-Rhode Island, released a similar statement on Thursday, disagreeing with Santorum's remarks, published Monday by The Associated Press. In an interview with the wire service, Santorum criticized homosexual activity, citing it with incest and polygamy, among other things, and describing it as a threat to society and the family.


A spokesman for Santorum expressed optimism Thursday that the controversy would soon go away.

"This story is kind of dying down," said Robert Traynham. "There is really nothing new to report."

Well, one more thing maybe.

Dukestir's Out

According to CNN, Rep. Cunningham won't run for re-election...


We're getting a good lesson in how our media works. Literally all of the irrelevant vomit coming through the Republican puke funnel was hashed out almost two years ago. But, Blitzer is pretending he isn't aware of this and forcing Wilson to go through the Mehlman lies one by one, yet again, even though he'd addressed many of these questions before to Blitzer himself.

Hey, Wolf, how about just calling foul?

Floppy Dick Armey

Dick vs. Dick.

Bond and Hutchison

Well, that was a rather disgusting performance on CNN. John writes:

GOP Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is doing a press conference right now defending treason. Why does Kay Bailey Hutchison hate our troops and hate the war on terror? Why does she think outing CIA agents during war time is a laudable act? Why does she support enabling terrorists who want to destroy our country and kill our people, terrorists who attacked our country on September 11 and who attacked London just last week?

Why does Kay Bailey Hutchison hate America?

Call her and ask.

(202) 224-5922

Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) support treason too. Call him and ask why.

(202) 224-5721

Political and Legal

There are two sets of issues here, the political and legal ones. The legal ones are currently in the hands of the grand jury system and Fitzgerald, and either he will obtain indictments followed either plea bargains or trials which will result in convictions or acquittals, or he won't obtain indictments of any sort and presumably the legal issues will be over.

There are also the political issues, which involve the fact that the presiden't top guy, and perhaps others in the administration, figured that outing a CIA agent in a hamhanded and incoherent attempt to discredit her husband (it's only coherent if you reside in Wingnuttia, where making up facts and assigning meanings to facts and phrases that they don't actually have is standard operating procedure). Personally, I imagine the Fitzgerald will come up with indictments, but even if he doesn't that's what the Republican party and their surrogates are supporting - the revealing of the secret identity of undercover intelligence operatives for rather ridciulous partisan purposes.

Open Thread

No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, or bind so fast, as love can do with a single thread. --Robert Burton

Open Thread

Hitch that Wagon

Norm Coleman sure does keep hitching his wagon to loser causes.

Iran Iraq Whatever

Susan Schmidt's little "error" sure does have a long shelf life.

Excommunicating the General

Truly a tragedy.

The group has also been infiltrated by imposters. Responding to an e-mail soliciting new operations for the Spokane, Wash., area ProtestWarrior chapter, a satiric blogger known as Gen. JC Christian wrote, "When I look at our membership, I see a lot of able-bodied men and women of military age. I say we hold a rally at the recruiting station. Then, after a few speeches, we all go in and sign up. Heck, we can always fight the liberals later. It's time to take the Protest Warrior flag to Iraq."

After the chapter's administrator discovered the general's own blog, in which he pokes fun at the president's policies with such characters as "Republican Jesus," he was excommunicated.

(thanks to John Gillintz)



Now Miller languishes in jail and Cooper has testified before the grand jury. Is Miller protecting her sources, or does the prosecutor seek to question her as a disseminator of information? Should a journalist protect a source if that person has not provided true information as best they know, but disinformation? What is the obligation of reporters to protect people who have misled them?

In the best-case scenario for Miller, Bill Kovach believes that any pledge she may have made to a source should be invalid. Kovach is the former Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, former curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and founding director of the Committee of Concerned Journalists. He describes the internal policy set within the Times on sources. "By the 1980s, we decided that we had to set some limits because reporters had been misled and the credibility of the news reports had been damaged by misleading sources. When I was chief of the bureau in Washington, we laid down a rule to the reporters that when they wanted to establish anonymity they had to lay out ground rules that if anything the source said was damaging, false or damaged the credibility of the newspaper we would identify them."

In the Plame matter, Kovach sees no obligation of the reporters to false sources. "If a man damages your credibility, why not lay the blame where it belongs? If Plame were an operative, she wouldn't have the authority to send someone. Whoever was leaking that information to Novak, Cooper or Judy Miller was doing it with malice aforethought, trying to set up a deceptive circumstance. That would invalidate any promise of confidentiality. You wouldn't protect a source for telling lies or using you to mislead your audience. That changes everything. Any reporter that puts themselves or a news organization in that position is making a big mistake."

Obviously, the Times is not imposing the rules in its present crisis that Kovach was involved in making. Are the editors unfocused on the underlying facts and falsehoods? Do the editors have a responsibility to determine who is a fair source and who is a deceiver? Has anyone fully debriefed Miller? For now, the Times is frozen in its heroic defense of the First Amendment.


I hear the military is offering good signing bonuses now:

Nevada's chapter of the Young Republicans has basically imploded, leaving its chairman with up to $25,000 in personal debt and allegations that he mishandled money.

All but three people have resigned from the statewide group, but the fallout could prove increasingly embarrassing to the entire state Republican Party.

Today, the chairman of the group, Reno resident Nathan Taylor, plans to hold a press conference attacking three of the state's party leaders -- Sen. John Ensign, Rep. Jim Gibbons and Rep. Jon Porter.

Taylor argues that the state's Republican delegation should have helped him fund the national Young Republican convention held last week at Mandalay Bay.

"I've got bills at the hotel I can't pay," said Taylor, a 29-year-old political science senior at UNR who said he had to quit his food service job and drop classes to plan the convention.

(thanks to bkny)

Scared of Their Own Shadows

What a bunch of spineless wankers the "gang of 14" are. They preach the message of moderation, but are frightened of actually using any power to moderate the Senate.


Open Thread

Anyone see the Today show?

Open Thread

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it. --Horace Mann

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

BradBlog Interviews Wilson


Wilson will be on the Today Show tomorrow.


Harry Shearer writes:

Despite the admirable cloaking of all this in the garment of "the American public", the White House press corp's anger is based on one thing: Scott McClellan lied to the Whitte House press corps. The President, the Vice President, the Army and Navy football teams, the Secretary of State--all of them can lie to any or all of the planets in the solar system, and hey, that's politics. But, stand
at that podium, and lie to those people, and let them eventually find out about it, and, brother, you got trouble.

There is a lot of truth to this. Clinton's famous "I did not have sex with that woman..." caused them to screech about lying to the "American public" for months, but what upset them was that it was actually wasn't a statement to the cameras (though the cameras were on), it was a statement to the press corps. That was what drove them insane.

The Liberal Media

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this stuff anymore, but the way our media collectively leaps to embrace every Republican spin point (no matter how factually challenged they are) is truly a marvel.

But, anyway, none of that changes the fact that Karl Rove outed an undercover CIA agent for political retribution.

Open Thread

Hopefully we\\\'re not threading over a cliff.

Revoke It

Top Dems call for Rove's security clearance to be revoked.

Letters of Support

Karl Rove could use some right about now.

Why is Judy in Jail?

As Digby points out, it is far from clear. Journalists should be a bit more curious about this.

Matt Cooper Must Go

So sayeth the Medium Lobster.


Could be in trouble...'s the meat, from bloomberg:

People familiar with the inquiry say Fitzgerald also is reviewing testimony by former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, though it is not clear whether the prosecutor is focusing on him or seeking information about higher-ups. Fleischer last night refused to comment.

Other Bush aides who have testified to the grand jury or been questioned by prosecutors include McClellan; Rove; former Deputy Press Secretary Adam Levine; Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff; and Dan Bartlett, a Bush communications adviser.

Bush himself was questioned by Fitzgerald in the Oval Office on June 24, 2004.

`Something Serious'

Randall Eliason, the former chief of the public corruption section of the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington, said the fact that Fitzgerald pursued Cooper and Miller so aggressively suggests that he has a legal target in sight. It is rare for a federal prosecutor to seek jail for a reporter who refuses to reveal sources, he said.

Stepping in Santorum

Church abuse victims are rightly pissed.


Somerby writes:

In the Post, Susan Schmidt penned an accurate account of what the committee unanimously said:

SCHMIDT (7/10/04): Wilson's reports to the CIA added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger, although officials at the State Department remained highly skeptical, the report said.
Wilson said that a former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, was unaware of any sales contract with Iraq, but said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him, insisting that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq—which Mayaki interpreted to mean they wanted to discuss yellowcake sales. A report CIA officials drafted after debriefing Wilson said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to UN sanctions on Iraq."

According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998.

One year later, the Post still hasn't found the energy to fix the text of the online article. They have, however, posted this little correction box next to it:

Rep. King: Members of Media Should be Shot

On Scarborough:

And Joe Wilson has no right to complain. And I think people like Tim Russert and the others, who gave this guy such a free ride and all the media, they're the ones to be shot, not Karl Rove. Listen, maybe Karl Rove was not perfect. We live in an imperfect world. And I give him credit for having the guts.

Open Thread

Because NTodd demands it.

Rule of Law

Apparently it no longer applies to Donald Rumsfeld.

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration yesterday came under more pressure to outline the number of American forces that may need to stay in Iraq over the next two years after the Pentagon failed to meet a 60-day deadline set by Congress to provide a detailed plan for training Iraqis and for likely US troop levels.
The report to Congress, due yesterday, was required under the $80 billion war spending legislation approved in May. It is intended to help answer one of the most pressing questions hanging over the American-led occupation: when the United States might be able to begin drawing down the estimated 140,000 forces in Iraq.

The White House and Pentagon are facing rising calls from Democrats and Republicans for a more detailed strategy in Iraq -- calls that grew louder yesterday.

''I am deeply disappointed that the administration failed to comply with this initial . . . deadline," Representative Martin T. Meehan, a Lowell Democrat and senior member of the Armed Services Committee, told Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in a letter. ''It is long past due for the administration to provide Congress with meaningful information to evaluate our progress in Iraq."

The Pentagon yesterday maintained that it is still compiling the report, but did not say when it would be complete.

50 USC 421(b)

Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identity of a covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.


The NYT slips in a bit of light:

The entire contretemps at the White House this week centers on whether Mr. Rove tried to discredit Mr. Wilson by suggesting that his mission to Niger was the product of nepotism, and that Ms. Wilson had arranged for it. Why a mission to Niger would be such a plum assignment is still a mystery, but the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a report last year, quotes a State Department official as saying that Ms. Wilson had suggested sending her husband. She denies it.

Consensual Sex=Rape



What would we expect from people who have determined that Philip Agee is deserving of a medal.

Open Thread

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. --Chief Seattle

Open Thread

I am the very model of a modern major threadbot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Salon Sucks

It's late, but fucking hell this is the crappiest Judy Martyr Miller article written yet.

Worse Than Watergate

So says Ed Gillespie.

All Hail Judy

While I certainly disagree with most (though not all) of the arguments for why Judith Miller should not have to testify, there is a missing piece of this discussion.

If Miller is a hero for going to jail, what does that make the reporters (cough Tim cough) who didn't?

This isn't my standard; I think testifying here was the right thing to do. But, we seeem to be in this bizarro world in which one reporter is praised while others are not condemned. If Miller did the right thing, presumably Russert did the wrong thing. No?

Jon Stewart on the White House Press Corps' Recent Performance

We have secretly replaced the White House press corps with actual reporters.

Double Super Secret Background

Stephen Colbert explains:

It's just like regular background but with no tagbacks, frontsies or backsies, taken to infinity plus one on opposite day, circle circle dot dot now you've got a cootie shot. It was first pioneered by Edward R. Murrow.

Turd Blossom Express

Arianna has it about right.

Fox News's Greatest American Patriot

John Gibson's at least.

Fair Game

Digby swats the latest nonsense.

Canary Nofacts

Murray Waas has some info about Novak's cooperation. Tantalizing bit:
Also of interest to investigators have been a series of telephone contacts between Novak and Rove, and other White House officials, in the days just after press reports first disclosed the existence of a federal criminal investigation as to who leaked Plame's identity. Investigators have been concerned that Novak and his sources might have conceived or co-ordinated a cover story to disguise the nature of their conversations. That concern was a reason-- although only one of many-- that led prosecutors to press for the testimony of Cooper and Miller, sources said.

Lending credence to those suspicions was that a U.S. government official questioned by investigators said Novak specifically asked him whether Plame had some covert status with the CIA. The official told investigators that Novak appeared uncertain whether she was undercover or not. That account, on one hand, might lend credence to the claims by Rove and other Bush administration officials that they did not know Plame was a covert CIA officer. Conversely, however, the fact that Novak asked the question in the first place appeared to indicate that he might have indeed been told Plame was a covert operative, and was seeking confirmation of that fact.

Open Thread

To infinity thread and beyond!

..looks like threadbot, who went to sleep for a bit, has gotten a bit overexcited.

Open Thread

Because threads have feelings too.

Open Thread

No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, or bind so fast, as love can do with a single thread. --Robert Burton

Open Thread

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. --Chief Seattle

Open Thread

Because NTodd demands it.

Open Thread

How much thread would a threadbot bot if a threadbot could bot thread.

Smear Campaign

Kyra Kyra Kyra.

Miller Revisited

To answer the question posed below, they got Miller's name from phone records...


According to CNN's Ed Henry, Frist will not comment on the Rove case. Says he does not know enough about it and doesn't want to get into the details...

Declined to Say


Luskin declined to say whether Rove knew that Plame was a covert agent, even if he did not know her name, which analysts said was a crucial factor in determining whether the law was broken.

Wanker of the Day

Waterboy Carl Cameron.


Santorum says hypocrisy is a GOOD thing. I guess that means he can get a little man on dog action on the side as long as he's condemning man-on-doggery by others.

"A Mix of Dangerous Liaisons and Elmer Fudd"

ha ha ha.

Good Question

Maybe someone with a better grasp of Plame minutiae knows the answer, but to me a romenesko letter writer asks a good question:

Judith Miller never wrote about Valerie Plame, how did it become generally known that Miller had a conversation with a source that (presumably) disclosed the fact that Plame was CIA agent/wife of Joseph Wilson? I can’t find that link in this convoluted chain of events.

The first appearance of Judith Miller's name that I can find in a Nexis search is in the 8/3/04 New York Times:

A reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, was subpoenaed yesterday by a Washington grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a C.I.A. undercover officer to the syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other journalists.

The subpoena to Ms. Miller was only the most recent of a series issued to journalists in a politically sensitive inquiry that has on several occasions led investigators to question White House officials.

A transcript search comes up with nothing before that, other than an incorrectly dated Talk of the Nation which must have been from 2005 and not 2004 as it's listed in Nexis.

Presumably it came out of the grand jury testimony...

A Man of his Word?

Apparently not yet anyway:

WASHINGTON Jul 12, 2005 — The White House is suddenly facing damaging evidence that it misled the public by insisting for two years that presidential adviser Karl Rove wasn't involved in leaking the identity of a female CIA officer.

President Bush, at an Oval Office photo opportunity Tuesday, was asked directly whether he would fire Rove in keeping with a pledge in June, 2004, to dismiss any leakers in the case. The president did not respond.

For the second day, White House press secretary Scott McClellan refused to answer questions about Rove.

Stupid As Rocks

I know some conservatives throw this stuff out there just to try to confuse the issues, but I'm pretty sure John Pod honestly believes he has a real point here. He was very excited about it yesterday at the Corner:

But Plame's undercover status at the time was and is a little questionable in any case. How undercover could she have been when her name was published at the time as part of Joseph Wilson's own biography online (see

Very slowly for the very stupid people among us:

Valerie Plame's name was not secret. The fact that she was married to Wilson was not secret. The fact that she worked for the CIA was.


I've been meaning to post about this as a few people have brought it to my attention. Here's Rice on July 9, 2003, clearly trying to push the press and clearly disappointed they weren't biting.

Q Dr. Rice, when did you all find out that the documents were forged?

DR. RICE: Sometime in March, I believe. Is that right?

MR. FLEISCHER: The IAEA reported it.

DR. RICE: The IAEA reported it I believe in March. But I will tell you that, for instance, on Ambassador Wilson's going out to Niger, I learned of that when I was sitting on whatever TV show it was, because that mission was not known to anybody in the White House. And you should ask the Agency at what level it was known in the Agency.

Q When was that TV show, when you learned about it?

DR. RICE: A month ago, about a month ago.

Q Can I ask you about something else?

DR. RICE: Yes. Are you sure you're through with this?

Ridiculous New York Times Anonymous Source of the Day

Ailes has it:

A senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House now says its official position is not to comment on the case while it is under investigation by a federal special prosecutor, said Mr. Rove had gone about his business as usual on Monday.

Richard W. Stevenson is a candidate for the coveted Gucky award.

(thanks to dave for the tip)

Rove Must Go

The People Paper weighs in:

AS DEPUTY Chief of Staff for the Bush administration, Karl Rove is a high-ranking White House official, privy to a number of classified documents and state secrets.

It's now clear that Rove, President Bush's chief political street fighter, can't be trusted with the nation's secrets. Not when a cheap political attack can be made.

As Newsweek reports and his attorney now acknowledges, Rove revealed to reporters that the wife of former ambassador and Bush critic Joe Wilson was a CIA agent. Wilson was sent to Nigeria to determine if Iraq had attempted to buy nuclear material. When Wilson could find no proof, he accused the Bush White House of leading the nation to war on false pretenses. Rove then outed Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, in an attempt to discredit Wilson.

The White House has now been caught in a major lie. For two years White House officials have denied that Rove was the source of the leak. At one point spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush would fire any White House employees if they had leaked the name, which is a federal crime.

There is no easy way to explain this away. And the White House shouldn't even try. Rove must go.

When Wingnuts Collide

Romney vs. Santorum.

Morning Thread


Monday, July 11, 2005

Only on Fox

from the Daily Show:

The Media Loophole

Stupider and stupider:

"Bloggers want it both ways," said Carol Darr, head of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University. "They want to preserve their rights as political activists, donors and even fundraisers -- activities regulated by campaign finance laws -- yet, at the same time, enjoy the broad exemptions from the campaign finance laws afforded to traditional journalists."

She and others said they fear that giving bloggers those protections would create a legal loophole that corporations, unions and wealthy individuals could use to pour big money into politics. A company or union, for example, would be able to create or subsidize elaborate blogs attacking political candidates. Or it could create hard-hitting Web videos that, as the popular "Jib Jab" video ridiculing both President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) indicated last year, can attract large audiences.

political activists: Many media figures are activists by any definition of the word.
donors: Um, being in the media doesn't prevent you from donating to candidates. You're subject to the same limits/disclosure laws as anyone else.
fundraisers: Unless we decide that a link has "value" and assign a cost to that value, which would pretty much shut down all internet political speech, I've always been subject to the same campaign finance laws regarding fundraisers as anyone else.

As for "Jib Jab" or anything else like it, the only reason anyone saw it was because CNN played it 24/7 with Bill Hemmer intoning "Jib Jib is brilliant" every 15 seconds. Again, if there's a problem it's abuses by existing media, not the internet.

I really think Carol Darr snacks on mercury chips. If "non-media" corporations want to explot the media loophole they're free to buy television and cable stations (General electric, ABC, Microsoft), online magazines (Slate, owned by Microsoft until recently), etc... If they have 10 million dollars to throw around, they're not going to waste it on the ultimate website.


He concludes:

Everybody in the room--and out of it--should review McClellan's exchange with the reporters to see how he and this White House do business. After what transpired, no reporter should take McClellan's word at face value (if they ever did). Moreover, the larger issue is not his--and Bush's--credibility, but the wrongdoing committed by a senior White House official and the apparent lack of a response from the White House. (And remember, Bob Novak's column outing Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer cited two unnamed senior Bush administration officials.) The White House is adopting a familiar media strategy: say nothing, don't fuel the story, wait for it to pass--and ignore the substance of the issue. Bush aides must be hoping that the media lose interest and are not provided any further reasons to headline this story. They are probably also hoping that the Democrats fail to create the sort of political storm that would compel journalists to continue to give the Rove scandal prominent play. Maybe their stonewall will hold. And what's the alternative? Tell the obvious truth and admit that Bush's most important adviser committed an act that Bush has said warrants dismissal? But what's the percentage in that? With McClellan providing no answers related to the Rove scandal, the question is whether the White House's we-can't-comment stance will allow it to dodge yet another troubling and inconvenient reality.

The fact is the Democrats really are, on their own, unable to create a sustained political shitstorm (though they of course could be better at it if they tried a bit harder). Absent the center-right mainstream media deciding to sustain an issue on its own, it just won't happen. This story, in so many ways, is about them - about how their confidential sourcing was abused to smear political opponents, how they've been carrying water for the lies of Scotty and Karl, and their overall gullibility.

Fresh Thread


Spikey Mikey

Inside Politics today:

ISIKOFF: But the problem that people in the White House, Rove among them, may have is how did they know that Valerie Plame, or Wilson's wife worked at the CIA? What we do know is there was a classified State Department report that said this, that was taken by Secretary of State Powell with him on the trip to Africa that President Bush was then on, and many senior White House aides were on.

That classified State Department report appears to have been -- or may well have been the source for the information that Rove and others were then dishing out to reporters. And if that's the case, there still may be -- we don't know yet, but there still may be an instance where classified information was provided to reporters.

CROWLEY: There's -- we have got less than a minute left, but I want to ask you about the political versus the legal. The legal we're going to have to let the special prosecutor work out. But politically, there already seems to be -- the dynamic is already in place that we see, that this is somewhat of a snowball. We mentioned that there was sort of a contentious White House briefing. Politically, how badly do you think this story...

ISIKOFF: Hard to say. I think the problem that the White House has is the public statements that they made at the time in which they completely dismissed the notion that Rove or anybody else in the White House had anything to do with the outing of Valerie Plame, totally ridiculous I think was Scott McClellan's line that he gave to reporters.

Now, since, McClellan is refusing to answer any questions, saying we can't talk about it, it's an ongoing criminal investigation. The problem is they already had talked about it, and the question that is being asked is, are those previous statements still operative?

Back to the Beginning

David Corn, 7/16/2003, scooping everyone.

The Wilson smear was a thuggish act. Bush and his crew abused and misused intelligence to make their case for war. Now there is evidence Bushies used classified information and put the nation's counter-proliferation efforts at risk merely to settle a score. It is a sign that with this gang politics trumps national security.

CIA Leak Quotes

AP is on the job.

Best. Lede. Ever.


For two years, the White House has insisted that presidential adviser Karl Rove had nothing to do with the leak of a CIA officer's identity. And President Bush said the leaker would be fired.

Reid Statement

I agree with the President when he said he expects the people who work for him to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration. I trust they will follow through on this pledge. If these allegations are true this rises above politics and is about our national security.

Obstruction of Justice

I can't imagine a situation where talking to the press, even bullshitting them, should constitute "obstruction of justice," though Ken Starr and his gang thought otherwise. But, maybe Scotty has other worries...

Politics Ahead of National Security

That's what this all comes down to in the end:

The revelation that Karl Rove was the source who leaked Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent to Time's Matt Cooper probably comes as a surprise to exactly nobody. After all, dirty tricks have been the hallmark of Rove's political career since he was a teenager.

As this story continues to unfold over the next few weeks, Republicans are going to try to parse every word Rove ever uttered about the case. They're going to dissect every letter of relevant law trying to find a loophole to prove that Karl Rove is innocent.

But let's make one thing perfectly clear: Rove's secret outing of Valerie Plame put partisan politics above the security of our nation. He chose to reveal Plame's identity as a CIA agent, with no thought to the consequences to American national security, simply because it provided an opportunity to smear her husband.

And this is part of a pattern. When Democrats proposed creating the Department of Homeland Security, Republicans fought it until they saw a partisan advantage to exploit in the 2002 elections. When the September 11 Commission was trying to get the facts about the terrorist attacks on our soil, the administration fought them every step of the way.

Howie's Lips to Our Ears

Howie Kurtz just said the latest Plame revelations should elevate this story to "Hurricane Dennis-like coverage."

Not gonna hold my breath for that.

Wankers of the Day

Well, every day really. The Note.

Scotty Speaks

Full text.

...or get your edited down "Rove only" version here.

...C&L has the video highlights.

Scotty Clams Up

Well, it took a week, but apparently the gaggling gang finally got around to asking Scotty about Rove. Five Times. His response? He "would not comment on an ongoing investigation."

...Scotty sure does look like he swallowed poop.

Our Dear Scotty

Billmon has provided a very handy list of responses Scott McClellan has given over the past couple of years regarding Plame. Free research for the taking, reporters.

In a Nutshell

David Corn:

But let's put aside the legal issues for a moment. This email demonstrates that Rove committed a firing offense. He leaked national security information as part of a fierce campaign to undermine Wilson, who had criticized the White House on the war on Iraq. Rove's overworked attorney, Robert Luskin, defends his client by arguing that Rove never revealed the name of Valerie Plame/Wilson to Cooper and that he only referred to her as Wilson's wife. This is not much of a defense. If Cooper or any other journalist had written that "Wilson's wife works for the CIA"--without mentioning her name--such a disclosure could have been expected to have the same effect as if her name had been used: Valerie Wilson would have been compromised, her anti-WMD work placed at risk, and national security potentially harmed. Either Rove knew that he was revealing an undercover officer to a reporter or he was identifying a CIA officer without bothering to check on her status and without considering the consequences of outing her. Take your pick: in both scenarios Rove is acting in a reckless and cavalier fashion, ignoring the national security interests of the nation to score a political point against a policy foe.

This ought to get Rove fired--unless he resigns first.

It's incredible that our media has allowed coverage to resolve entirely around technically parsing of the law. Now, that technical parsing of the law is in fact important, both in the court of law and in the court of public opinion, but there's a massive collusion here by the media to pretend that the legal issues are the only issues. The media won't hold Bush here to any standard at all. It's sickening.

Luskins of the World

What is it with people named Luskin.


This New York Times article on the Rove case is typically clear as mud, but after reading it several times and consulting with a handful of liberal intellectuals, I've gained new respect for Matt Cooper. Basically, he got fed up with Rove's lawyer lying to the press, and figured that combined with the waiver he'd previously received and the emphasis Luskin placed on it, was enough.

In other words, Rove's lawyer, acting as an agent of Rove, mounted a too extreme PR campaign on behalf of his client, and sufficient deceptive remarks led Cooper to say fuck it. Luskin thought Cooper wouldn't testify no matter what he said, and he was wrong.

Good for Cooper.

Rove - Not So Careful

Think Progress notes that at one time Rove denied, on camera, having "any knowledge" of "the CIA agent."

Handful of Liberal Intellectuals


After all, if invading and occupying medium-sized countries riven by ethnic and sectarian divisions and turning them into prosperous, pro-American liberal democracies was easy to do, we'd be doing it all the time. That a handful of liberal intellectuals decided at some point in 2002 that it was, in fact, an easy thing to do says a great deal about the intellectuals and very little about the Bush administration.


Jack K writes:

As far as Rove's useless, dirty cover comment that he "didn't know her name, didn't leak her name" is concerned, this is all a hammered together backstory that is somehow supposed to convince a jury that a just world would make him come before. He didn't have to use her name, for God's Sake! Joe Wilson wasn't some crazed hermit dropout living in a previously unmapped lava tube out here in Central Oregon; he was a former Ambassador living in a suburb with neighbors and had a history and a biography that my children could discover on the Internet with only a child's googling skills. Rove gave Cooper, prior to any public revelation of the truth of
Valerie Plame, everything that was necessary to destroy her cover and ruin her usefulness to the CIA and - just perhaps - put her live personally at risk. His revelation to Matthew Cooper was nothing more than part of an effort to put the lash to Joe Wilson and show just how rough things could get if he didn't shut up and get out of the way of the effort to launch George W. Bush's Grand Nation-Building Adventure in Iraq.

Let me put it another way. If I wrote:

I know for a fact that Jessica Gavora's husband, who writes for the National Review, has been convicted multiple times for child rape.

I don't think the fact that I didn't identify the name of Mr. Jessica Gavora would be much of a defense for a libel suit.

Republican Chickenhawk "Disinvites" Apprentice Winner

This is funny:

July 11, 2005 -- THE Young Republicans have given cocky "Apprentice" punk Kelly Perdew the boot. The brash Perdew, now working for Donald Trump after winning the second season of "The Apprentice," was slated to emcee Saturday's black-tie dinner at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, which closed the Young Republican National Convention. But convention chairman Nathan Taylor got fed up with Perdew's irksome antics and unceremoniously disinvited the former Marine at the last moment. A fired-up Taylor tells PAGE SIX's Fernando Gil: "Who does this guy think he is? Just because he works for Donald Trump doesn't give him the right to demand first-class airfare, limousine rides, and act like a total prima donna. He's been a total nightmare for me!" Since winning "The Apprentice," Perdew has garnered a reputation for being difficult. As we reported in May, he threw a drunken fit aboard an airplane and ranted to dumbfounded fellow passengers, "Do you know who I am?!"

Ah, "fame."

Is Henry Rollins Really a Conservative?

Find out here.

Patriotic Fervor

From the mind of Ann Coulter.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

BoBo's World

I have a hard time maintaining the Bobo's World feature, as I find it difficult to score cheap points with the latest "red state preacher molests little kid" story, as many of them as there are. But, I think I can handle this one:

TULSA, Okla., July 8 - The Laura Dester Shelter here is licensed for 38 children, but at times in the past months it has housed 90, forcing siblings to double up in cots. It is supposed to be a 24-hour stopping point between troubled homes and foster care, but with foster homes backed up, children are staying weeks and sometimes months, making it more orphanage than shelter, a cacophony of need.

In a rocking chair, a volunteer uses one arm to feed a 5-day-old boy taken from his mother at birth, the other to placate a toddler who is wandering from adult to adult begging, "Bottle?" A 3-year-old who arrived at dawn shrieks as salve is rubbed on her to kill the lice.

This is a problem methamphetamine has made, a scene increasingly familiar across the country as the number of foster children rises rapidly in states hit hard by the drug, the overwhelming number of them, officials say, taken from parents who were using or making methamphetamine.

Oklahoma last year became the first state to ban over-the-counter sales of cold medicines that contain the crucial ingredient needed to make methamphetamine. Even so, the number of foster children in the state is up 16 percent from a year ago. In Kentucky, the numbers are up 12 percent, or 753 children, with only seven new homes.

In Oregon, 5,515 children entered the system in 2004, up from 4,946 the year before, and officials there say the caseload would be half what it is now if the methamphetamine problem suddenly went away. In Tennessee, state officials recently began tracking the number of children brought in because of methamphetamine, and it rose to 700 in 2004 from 400 in 2003.

While foster populations in cities rose because of so-called crack babies in the 1990's, methamphetamine is mostly a rural phenomenon, and it has created virtual orphans in areas without social service networks to support them. in Muskogee, an hour's drive south of here, a group is raising money to convert an old church into a shelter because there are none.

Officials say methamphetamine's particularly potent and destructive nature and the way it is often made in the home conspire against child welfare unlike any other drug.

Eliot Cohen Speaks

Apparently a Cohen is a neoconservative with a few harsh words:

But a pundit should not recommend a policy without adequate regard for the ability of those in charge to execute it, and here I stumbled. I could not imagine, for example, that the civilian and military high command would treat "Phase IV" -- the post-combat period that has killed far more Americans than the "real" war -- as of secondary importance to the planning of Gen. Tommy Franks's blitzkrieg. I never dreamed that Ambassador Paul Bremer and Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the two top civilian and military leaders early in the occupation of Iraq -- brave, honorable and committed though they were -- would be so unsuited for their tasks, and that they would serve their full length of duty nonetheless. I did not expect that we would begin the occupation with cockamamie schemes of creating an immobile Iraqi army to defend the country's borders rather than maintain internal order, or that the under-planned, under-prepared and in some respects mis-manned Coalition Provisional Authority would seek to rebuild Iraq with big construction contracts awarded under federal acquisition regulations, rather than with small grants aimed at getting angry, bewildered young Iraqi men off the streets and into jobs.

I did not know, but I might have guessed.


Your son is an infantry officer, shipping

out soon for Iraq. How do you feel about that?

Pride, of course -- great pride. And fear. And an occasional burning in the gut, a flare of anger at empty pieties and lame excuses, at flip answers and a lack of urgency, at a failure to hold those at the top to the standards of accountability that the military system rightly imposes on subalterns.

It is a flicker of rage that two years into an insurgency, we still expose our troops in Humvees to the blasts of roadside bombs -- knowing that even the armored version of that humble successor to the Jeep is simply not designed for warfare along guerrilla-infested highways, while, at the same time, knowing that plenty of countries manufacture armored cars that are. It is disbelief at a manpower system that, following its prewar routines, ships soldiers off to war for a year or 15 months, giving them two weeks of leave at the end, when our British comrades, more experienced in these matters and wiser in pacing themselves, ship troops out for half that time, and give them an extra month on top of their regular leave after an operational deployment.

It is the sick feeling that churned inside me at least 18 months ago, when a glib and upbeat Pentagon bureaucrat assured me that the opposition in Iraq consisted of "5,000 bitter-enders and criminals," even after we had killed at least that many. It flames up when hearing about the veteran who in theory has a year between Iraq rotations, but in fact, because he transferred between units after returning from one tour, will go back to Iraq half a year later, and who, because of "stop-loss orders" involuntarily extending active duty tours, will find himself in combat nine months after his enlistment runs out. And all this because after 9/11, when so many Americans asked for nothing but an opportunity to serve, we did not expand our Army and Marine Corps when we could, even though we knew we would need more troops.

A variety of emotions wash over me as I reflect on our Iraq war: Disbelief at the length of time it took to call an insurgency by its name. Alarm at our continuing failure to promote at wartime speed the colonels and generals who have a talent for fighting it, while also failing to sweep aside those who do not. Incredulity at seeing decorations pinned on the chests and promotions on the shoulders of senior leaders -- both civilians and military -- who had the helm when things went badly wrong. Disdain for the general who thinks Job One is simply whacking the bad guys and who, ever conscious of public relations, cannot admit that American soldiers have tortured prisoners or, in panic, killed innocent civilians. Contempt for the ghoulish glee of some who think they were right in opposing the war, and for the blithe disregard of the bungles by some who think they were right in favoring it. A desire -- barely controlled -- to slap the highly educated fool who, having no soldier friends or family, once explained to me that mistakes happen in all wars, and that the casualties are not really all that high and that I really shouldn't get exercised about them.

There is a lot of talk these days about shaky public support for the war. That is not really the issue. Nor should cheerleading, as opposed to truth-telling, be our leaders' chief concern. If we fail in Iraq -- and I don't think we will -- it won't be because the American people lack heart, but because leaders and institutions have failed. Rather than fretting about support at home, let them show themselves dedicated to waging and winning a strange kind of war and describing it as it is, candidly and in detail. Then the American people will give them all the support they need. The scholar in me is not surprised when our leaders blunder, although the pundit in me is dismayed when they do. What the father in me expects from our leaders is, simply, the truth -- an end to happy talk and denials of error, and a seriousness equal to that of the men and women our country sends into the fight.

There were many reasons to oppose this war (and few reasons to support it), but I find it rather odd that the reason which was probably the most derided at the time - the "this gang can't shoot straight" reason - appears to be the one which, over 2 years later, seems to be the most frequently cited "I should have known" reason.

(via DeLong via Belgravia Dispatch)

Even More Thread

Busy day.

More Thread

Go read skippy for awhile.

Open Thread

Stay safe those in the path of Dennis.

Burn Them

Paul Lukasiak points out that the Bush administration has been, through anonymous sources, lying about Wilson's trip all along.

Since when do journalists protect sources who lie to them? Very odd.


Ailes says:

What the hell is this bullshit? The disclosure of Plame's identity (as the wife of Joseph Wilson) was the friggin' crime. It was disclosure of information to Cooper. Under the law, it doesn't friggin' matter (1) if there was an organized effort; (2) whether Rove intended for Cooper to publish; or (3) whether Rove's motive was to knock down a rumor. Repeat: None of those things friggin' matter. The only possible issue left is whether Rove knew Plame was a covert agent. The e-mail is silent on the matter -- although the fact that Rove didn't want his name connected to the leak strongly suggests his guilt in that regard.

This passage also illustrates the abuse of anonymous sources. If the source isn't Rove's attorney (who is quoted on the record elsewhere in the article), then there's no way he or she has first-hand knowledge of what Rove told the grand jury. So this jackass is simply providing uninformed spin - making an argument based on the language of the e-mail. Why should Newsweak give someone with no knowledge, but only spin, a promise of confidentiality?

Ridiculous New York Times Anonymous Source of the Day

James Bennet, A candidate for the Gucky:

By ideology, inclination and geography, Bashar al-Assad's regime looms as a rock in the road to fulfillment of the Bush administration's foreign policy, if not its philosophy. It is the one government in the Middle East that has not recognized that Bush is serious about comprehensive reform, a senior administration official told me, speaking on condition of anonymity.

No Return

I think there are some people who will never return from the land of "9/11 drove me batshit crazy."

Turning the Corner


IRAQ’S former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has warned that his country is facing civil war and has predicted dire consequences for Europe and America as well as the Middle East if the crisis is not resolved.
“The problem is that the Americans have no vision and no clear policy on how to go about in Iraq,” said Allawi, a long-time ally of Washington.

In an interview with The Sunday Times last week as he visited Amman, the Jordanian capital, he said: “The policy should be of building national unity in Iraq. Without this we will most certainly slip into a civil war. We are practically in stage one of a civil war as we speak.”


Tomorrow's Powerline Today.


David Corn has the latest Rove news...

Yet tonight I received this as-solid-as-it-gets tip: on Sunday Newsweek is posting a story that nails Rove. The newsmagazine has obtained documentary evidence that Rove was indeed a key source for Time magazine's Matt Cooper and that Rove--prior to the publication of the Bob Novak column that first publicly disclosed Valerie Wilson/Plame as a CIA official--told Cooper that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife apparently worked at the CIA and was involved in Joseph Wilson's now-controversial trip to Niger.

This appears to be it. Spikey Mikey really pulls his punches:

In a brief conversation with Rove, Cooper asked what to make of the flap over Wilson's criticisms. NEWSWEEK obtained a copy of the e-mail that Cooper sent his bureau chief after speaking to Rove. (The e-mail was authenticated by a source intimately familiar with Time's editorial handling of the Wilson story, but who has asked not to be identified because of the magazine's corporate decision not to disclose its contents.) Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip." Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger... "