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July 12, 2005
Podhoretz On Rove: I Told You So

John Podhoretz writes an excellent column for the New York Post today, asking readers to recall his words from the beginning of the Plame controversy in 2003. Podhoretz predicted that the entire kerfuffle would consist of an administration official explaining why Wilson got selected for the Niger assignment in the first place:

I offered my speculation of what an administration official might have said to a journalist to explain just how Wilson a Clinton administration official got the assignment in the first place: "Administration official: 'We didn't send him there. Cheney's office asked CIA to get more information. CIA picked Wilson . . . Look, I hear his wife's in the CIA. He's got nothing to do. She wanted to throw him a bone.' "

Hate to say I told you so, but . . .

According to this week's Newsweek, Karl Rove said something very similar indeed to Time magazine's Matthew Cooper:

In the Cooper e-mails just surrendered by Time to the prosecutor looking into the Plame case, "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 . . . CIA Director George Tenet . . . or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, 'it was, [Rove] said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.' "

There's no mistaking the purpose of this conversation between Cooper and Rove. It wasn't intended to discredit, defame or injure Wilson's wife. It was intended to throw cold water on the import, seriousness and supposedly high level of Wilson's findings.

I think John's lying here. He doesn't hate telling us that he told us so.

John stresses the issue of both intent and legality in this column. As I wrote earlier, the media pressed the White House about Wilson's public flogging of his findings and wanted to know if Wilson's testimony was credible. Rove's comments as noted by Matt Cooper clearly shows that he intended on pointing out that Wilson's wife picked him for this assignment, not the White House as Wilson claimed at the time. It also meant to highlight a conflict of interest on both Wilson and his wife.

The media has made quite a stir recently in its defense of using anonymous sourcing, claiming that such people need to be protected as whistleblowers. In this case, whether Rove was the primary source or not, he clearly tried to show that Wilson had lied about his assignment and lied about what he found in Niger -- both of which the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would determine in its investigation of his intelligence. Why wouldn't this qualify as whistleblowing to the Exempt Media? Wilson lied, and his wife appears to have tried conducting her own personal effort to undermine the administration from within the CIA.

What's more, Podhoretz points out that Wilson's biography on his consulting group's website for CPS, which appears to have been last updated shortly after 1998, included this verbiage at the end (Presto Agitato has it dated as February 2003):

He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has two sons and two daughters.

If Plame's name was such a secret, why did CPS have it available in Wilson's bio? Since the profession of Wilson's wife was common knowledge in Washington media circles, attaching her name to this understanding hardly required the services of Mark Felt.

Neither Plame's occupation nor her name, nor even her familial connection to Wilson appears to have been kept a secret, not even by Wilson and his associates. The reference to her occupation by Rove looks like the typical inside information that the media claims it needs to hold government officials accountable. Their outrage now appears to be nothing more than manufactured partisan bile, utterly undermining their claimed need for anonymous sourcing.

I will presume this tempest in a teapot will fade away as soon as Bush announces his SCOTUS nominee. Let's hope so, anyway.

UPDATE: Link to Presto Agitato.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 12, 2005 12:28 PM

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