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naming names: and thus ends 'no politics' day at ASV

I've spent the past two weeks taking high school kids to task for the wall of secrecy that is surrounding a sexual assualt/hazing case, so it stands to reason that I need to take the same stand with adults who run our country, and those who write about it.

and someone is going to take the blame. Something went wrong in the White HouseWhether or not the person who actually takes the blame is the real culprit or a fall guy, we may never know. No one is talking.

Let's suppose for a minute that Rove continues denying his involvement in this and eventually a low level White House staff member comes forward to admit he was the one who leaked the name.

That would still leave an important question to be answered: Why would a low-level employee have knowledge of such a CIA secret?

This is a serious matter that will only cause greater damage the longer it goes on. Will Novak name his source? Will the CIA go at this full tilt because it was their employee whose cover was blown? Will the remainder of Rove's employment in the current administration end up on the cutting room floor? Did Bush know anything?

There was a law broken here and someone has to face the fire because of it. The best thing this administration can do right now is cooperate instead of deny. I'm not saying confirm it, just don't deny it and make it a point to say how they are cooperating in the investigation and when the real evidence, and real name, comes out, that person needs to be dealt with by the criminal justice system of the United States of America.

Otherwise, this will be the story that could kill Bush. The more the White House goes into denial phase, the more they look like they are hiding something. If and when the truth comes out and it turns out all the wrong people knew about this, those acts of denial are going to push those poll numbers down to new lows.

Of course, if the truth comes out that Bush had nothing whatsoever to do with this, it will be too late to wipe off the pre-emptive stain that the anti-Bushers have thrown on him.

This is a win-win situation for the Dems. Someone is to blame and even if it isn't Bush, it's someone who works for him.

Meanwhile, Novak has the power to make all the speculation stop. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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» Bring Us The Two Heads from Wizbang
This mornings Washington Post details the current state of the probe (still in its formative stage). Heads (apparently two) will need to roll, and quickly. What this administration does not need is an inquiry that extends deep into the campaign... [Read More]

» Valerie Plame from Backcountry Conservative
Phil Carter has some news and analysis from earlier regarding the Bob Novak article that reportedly blew Valerie Plame's cover as a CIA operative because her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a critic of Bush administration policy. Kevin Mc... [Read More]

Comments

Sadly, Michele, I think some low level flunkey will take the fall. That is how things seem to happen in politics these days. Same thing in the UK with Tnoy Blair allegedly "sexing up" the WMD intelligence report, and someone leaking the expert's name, who then killed himself.

Why can't political leaders these days adopt Harry Truman's line "The Buck Stops Here"? You know, if they were honest with us, then our respect for them may actually start to increase.

Now, if they could just get that stain off his dress.

This is a very complicated story. It's clear from Wilson's on-line bio that his wife is Valarie Plame. Novak states that he called the CIA to confirm her employment there and they confirmed it.

Beyond that, things get murkey. Is it possible for the wife of an ambassador, with her public profile, to also be a covert agent? Jane Galt doesn't think so, and I agree.

Why was Wilson sent to Niger? Why didn't he do a real investigation? Who leaked his report? What does Valarie Plame do at the CIA? And, as I have blogged, why aren't the news media naming their sources in government?

Anonymous sources bother me. It's far too easy to lie and get away with it, and it allows the media to be very sloppy and lazy about confirming facts. And this story only has anonymous sources, and therefore stinks just a little bit, like cat poop in the morning.

I love the smell of cat poop in the morning.

Why does cat poop stink in the morning anyway?

I was under the impression it stunk all the time.

Now cat spray, that stinks.

According to Clifford May at NRO, the employment of Joe Wilson's wife at the CIA was not a secret.

My "oh crap, here we go" moment comes with this line from Condi:
Pressed whether anyone at the White House raised concerns that the Wilson matter posed a problem for the administration, she replied: "I don't remember any such conversation."
I was really hoping I'd never hear that defense used again.

You don't really think that this attempt to manufacture another crime/scandal will be successful? If Bush is going to be booted from the White House it will not be because he ordered someone to leak information about a CIA employee.

A little perspective would be good here. So far the issues that were going to destroy Bush that haven't include:

Enron - Apparently no wrong doing? Or are we still waiting for more information about insider deals?

Dick Cheney's Environmental Task Force - This sure fizzled. The records were released and now...nothing.

Pre 9/11 Intelligence Failures - "What did he know and when did he know it." Thanks Hillary. You'll be eating that line for the remainder of your political career.

Bush LIED - Really. And so did every other intelligence gathering operation in the world?

As soon as someone, anyone, steps up and says what they would have done differently and what they will do differently, and can defend it, I think they will find a receptive public. The mere fact that a politico or opinionated columnist would not have done what Bush did doesn't tell you much.

The fact that there appears to be a big push to create a scandal, any scandal, and link it to Bush, now that speaks volumnes.

Rather, Unfortunately that has become the modus operandi of adversarial politics these days. The "find a scandal, any scandal" technique was also used by the Republicans against Clinton. It stinks no matter "who" is using it, but the odor of national security around this one is particularly ripe.

It doesn't seem anyone has learned. The various Clinton scandals didn't prevent Clinton from being re-elected, and Hillary Clinton even got elected after Travelgate and Whitewater. If this is the biggest scandal people can scrape up for Bush, this is pathetic -- they're not trying hard enough!

Oh, we've not had a really good political scandal since Teapot Dome.

I am in agreeance with doctorfrau. The "find any scandal" method of politics has become the standard and the Clinton method of denying has also become standard.
In this case it appears that outing the operative was done in revenge (essentially ruining the career) of Wilson's wife after he offered evidence that did not support the White House view point.
I believe we can safely say that is what happened and the motive that seems most likely considering the timeline.
Anyway you look at it,it is dirty pool and criminal.

I would point out that no one has any knowledge of what Valerie Plame did at the CIA. The law involved applies ONLY to covert intelligence officers whose names are classified. The CIA, quite naturally, keeps the names of all of its employees secret, but for there to have been a violation of law, Ms. Plame's name would have had to been actually classified.

Until we know what her job was, any speculation about criminality remains speculative. Wilson himself has already backed away from several statements he has made on the matter, suggesting that there may be less here than meets the eye.

Most of you, based on your comments, don't have a clue of how the State Department, embassies, and MOST CIA operatives work in the real world. I with just a slight clue, know that probably 100s of state department people (most outside the CIA) probably knew of Valarie Plame's status. This is a manufactured scandal (Jack Anderson used to reveal far more critical information in his time as a columnist), but yes, if the investigation reveals the "leaker" that person should be prosecuted (and his/her bosses should probably be fired). The "ruining the career" thing is a canard. By definition, once you become an outspoken partisan especially to the press, your spouse's career as an operative is over.

In this case it appears that outing the operative was done in revenge (essentially ruining the career) of Wilson's wife after he offered evidence that did not support the White House view point.

I'm confused. Wilson gets sent to Niger to check on reports that Iraq nuclear rumors. He reports back that there is no evidence of any Iraq-Niger nuclear materials claim. At some later point, Robert Novak mentions that his wife works for the CIA and recruited him for the Niger mission. He doesn't say that she is an undercover agent.

"Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him." - From Novak's column.

Note that the two administration officials are only stating that his wife suggested him for the mission. The CIA confirmed that his wife worked for them and asked her to contact him, but makes no mention of Plame suggesting her husband.

At no point is it mentioned that Plame is an undercover operative. At no point is it mentioned anywhere in the article that administration officials were the source for telling Novak that Plame worked for the CIA. Valerie Plame working for the CIA is not attibuted to anyone at all. Not the President. Not Karl Rove. Not even "senior administration officials".

What is it exactly that the administration did that was illegal, immoral or even wrong?

What is it exactly that the administration did that was illegal, immoral or even wrong?

Not being the Gore Administration.

It doesn't makes any sense, (except for the "let's find some crap to throw" context).

Retribution for criticism of Bush's State of the Union address...so we give up Wilson's CIA analyst wife. "Yeah, that'll show him". Give me a break.

It won't last as long as the Enron charge. But it is fun to see them keep looking so hard.