Notes on the Atrocities
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Sunday, September 28, 2003  

Things are exploding in the l'affair du Plame (apologies to actual French speakers). I'm an Emma-come-lately on the whole thing, so I'll just point you to the relevant locations. If the name Plame is new to you, go here. (Go give Tom some hits; along with a handful of other bloggers, he's been a real Bernstein on this thing.)

The Ur-source is a Washington Post article published this morning. Particularly, the important information is that CIA Director Tenet is asking the DoJ to look into the possibility that someone from the White House violated federal law when it leaked the name of an undercover operative. (The reason was political--payback because Plame's husband had outed the White House on it's ultra-lame Niger yellowcake claim.)

Now, because this case has more turns than a bucketful of snakes, I'm gonna give a few sources for analysis. Bear in mind that you can spend an hour or better following this.

Tom Maguire offers his observations. Pithy comment:

"And they are still not sure if "outing" her mattered. Well, if they don't know whether her secret past is important, the White House aides probably don't know either. The absence of any intention to breach national security will be politically, if not legally, helpful."

Mark Kleiman has been following this for months as well. You'll find his thoughts here. Pithy comment:

"When this story first broke, I mostly didn't believe it, because outing a covert CIA officer would have been such an intolerable violation of everything this Administration claims to stand for: not just "honor and integrity," which were obviously mere prolefeed, but putting the national security first and keeping secrets secret.

When the country finds out about this, Bush is going to take a big hit. A year ago, he was a hero, and this might have bounced off. Not now."

The inimitable Kevin Drum was also one of the earlies. He got his series of blogs off to a start with this comment: "Holy shit." (For Kevin, that's real surprise.) He's posted a number of thoughts on this, all worth reading. Just go to Calpundit start here, and read up blog. Pithy comment:

I doubt that blowing Valerie Plame's cover actually did much harm in the end. But that doesn't matter. This episode exposes the viciousness and amorality at the very heart of the Bush administration, and I hope it opens some conservative eyes about the nature of the administration they support. These guys are not who you think they are and they aren't pursuing their policies for the principled reasons you think they are. After all, if they went to war with Iraq because of a genuine commitment to humanitarian relief and Middle East democracy, don't you think they would have paid a little more attention to postwar planning? What does it tell you that they didn't?

Remember: this is not just some run of the mill political dirty trick. It's perilously close to treason. No truly principled conservative administration would do a thing like this, and the fact that they've been trying to dodge it for two months tells you everything you need to know about them.

And of course, Josh Marshall has a thought or two himself. Interestingly, the fact that he's so close to the story means his commentary is of the more fragmentary, microscopic variety. Go here after you're familiar with all the names and theories. Pithy comment:

Let's say, hypothetically, that the "two top White House officials" who blew Valerie Plame's cover were in the political and/or communications operations at the White House. That's what is widely suspected. But, for the moment, let's assume that is the case.

If so, how did they find out that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA employee working under non-official cover (in common parlance, undercover)?

Oh, one more thing. Condi Rice, three-card monty dealer for the administration, made the rounds today. You can see her Fox News comments here.

posted by Jeff | 5:40 PM |
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