Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More Fun With Wilson, And Valerie And Bush Lied...

August 29, 2006 -- "IN this very space, in early October 2003, I offered my best guess about how journalist Robert Novak came to learn a minor fact - that soon blew up into a major would-be scandal - during a conversation with someone who worked for the Bush administration.

The minor fact was that Joseph Wilson, a former diplomat and Clinton administration official, had been sent to Africa by the CIA to investigate reports of Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium at the suggestion of his own wife, who worked at CIA.

What the hell were you doing sending Wilson over there? I imagined Novak saying. Wilson worked for Clinton!

Administration official: We didn't send him there. Cheney's office asked CIA to get more information. CIA picked Wilson.

Novak: Why the hell would it do that?

Official: Look, I hear his wife's in the CIA. He's got nothing to do. She wanted to throw him a bone.

The day that speculative dialogue appeared in this paper, I received a private e-mail from Novak. Thanks to a computer meltdown in years since, I don't have a copy of that e-mail, but I recall Novak said something like "I'm sure you know that I can't say anything about the facts of the case, but I just wanted to say that was a very good column you wrote."

The get-Wilson cabal of leftist fantasy was made up primarily of political honcho Karl Rove, deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley and vice-presidential aide Scooter Libby - all of whom had spent years at daggers drawn with the State Department and, therefore, with Armitage. As one White House official told me, "Rich wouldn't have given Scooter a glass of water on the road to Hell."

For those of us obsessed with the case, it isn't exactly news. Indeed, I thought back in October 2003 that Novak's source was probably Armitage because a) Novak said his source was "not a partisan gunslinger" - Armitage to a T - and b) everybody in Washington knows that the only thing Richard Armitage loves more than Colin Powell is a reporter's off-the-record phone call.

Still, the revelation is a blockbuster for one reason: It comes in a book co-authored by David Corn, whose column in The Nation and blog have been central clearinghouses for the notion that everybody and his mother in the Bush administration should be tried and convicted, then drawn and quartered for the monstrous evil of deliberately exposing the uniquely delicate secret-agent woman Valerie Plame to all but certain murder.

Corn has put a stake in the heart of one of the foundational theories behind the "Bush Lied" lie - after having spent several years promoting that very theory.

So here we are, more than three years after the publication of the Novak column. No one's come forward with the proof that Valerie Wilson was a covert operative. Special prosecutor Fitzgerald brought no charge on that matter, despite his outrageous and unseemly claim, during his notorious press conference announcing the indictment of Libby, that Plame's identity was "classified" - a word that in this context has no legal meaning."

Fun stuff. Not for poor Scooter Libby of course, who must expend a great deal of personal resources to defend himself against Fitzgerald's attempt to find someone guilty of something. Read all of Podhoretz's column before it goes away and he reverts to his usual whinging self.

PostShot: In my old blog I featured a similar imaginary conversation between Novak and an unknown administration official, and I do so avow that none of it was ripped off from J-Pods work.

I mean, come on now. Who writes better dialogue anyway.

No comments: