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July 19, 2005
Look Who (Used To) Read Government Reports

The Washington Times goes after the partisans still flogging the Rove-Plame connection in the face of all available evidence in its editorial today. The paper points out that the media has chased its own whistleblower while ignoring the corruption he pointed out:

Let's make it clear at the start: Were special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation to bring evidence to light that Karl Rove or anyone else in the Bush White House had anything to do with revealing the identity of any covert CIA agent, President Bush should fire them and they should be forced to face the full consequences of the law. But nothing in the public record thus far suggests that Mr. Rove or anyone else in the administration has committed such a violation in the case of Valerie Plame. Mrs. Plame is the former CIA agent who suggested that her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, an opponent of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, be dispatched to Africa in February 2002 to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had attempted to purchase "yellowcake" uranium from Niger.

What is known thus far suggests that:1) Mr. Wilson has misrepresented his wife's role in getting him the assignment and his own findings of his investigation in Niger; 2) In July 2003, when columnist Robert Novak first mentioned in passing that Mrs. Plame worked for the CIA, she was not functioning as a covert agent and her work for the CIA was common knowledge; and 3) That if there were-- against the public record -- a covert status to be exposed, it was possibly Mr. Wilson, with a speculative assist from David Corn, who writes for the Nation magazine.

Given what is known about Mr. Wilson and his veracity, it was almost surreal watching him interviewed on the "Today" show answering one softball question after another as he urged the president to fire Mr. Rove, and watching Mr. Wilson lionized as a purveyor of truth by Democrats like Sen. Charles Schumer in their effort to destroy the senior White House adviser. Last July, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report that calls into serious question virtually every substantive assertion Mr. Wilson made about his Niger trip.

The Times points out that although the media may ignore the Intelligence Committee now, it can't claim ignorance of its existence. They point to a 2004 Washington Post report by Susan Schmidt which clearly recognizes why the leaker may have spoken with Robert Novak:

The Post added that the committee's report "may bolster the rationale that administration provided the information not to intentionally expose an undercover CIA employee [purportedly Mrs.Plame], but to call into question Wilson's bona fides as an investigator into trafficking of weapons of mass destruction." And the report "also said that Wilson provided misleading information to The Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents that had clearly been forged because the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong.'"

Apparently the Washington Times, alone in the national media, bothers to check on the facts of this case. My column in tomorrow's Daily Standard will discuss this in further detail. In the meantime, as the Tims does, people should allow the special prosecutor to do his job and quit trying to make the thoroughly discredited Joe Wilson into a victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy. As the record makes clear to anyone who bothers to read it, Joe Wilson victimized the truth and the American public, not the other way around. One would think that media sources who set such store by truth and openness would reflect that in their reporting as well.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 19, 2005 7:40 AM

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Facts seem not to matter. Karl Rove had a "Top Secret" security clearance, which, according to news sources, clearly means that he not only had "a need to know" the status of Valerie Plame, but he was, by golly, compelled to know the name, rank and s... [Read More]

Tracked on July 19, 2005 11:41 AM

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