If you want to get even with someone, make sure it’s someone who’s done something nice for you.
The more I read about the NSA eavesdropping thing, the more it seems like a colossal data mining operation. Question: Is it actually wiretapping if no one listens (or reads) and communication? Does the fact that someone notes that a call or email takes place constitute an surveillance?
Am I the only one who thought that the govenrment was doing this already?
Zell Miller has a good idea from a (IMHO) a faulty premise in the AJC.
Why does everyone insists on thinking of the Plame affair as a grand epic?
THE BIG LOSER in the Libby affair, it would seem to me, is the CIA. At least it will be if anyone pays attention.
Consider: Assuming that Valerie Plame was some sort of genuinely covert operative — something that’s not actually quite clear from the indictment — the chain of events looks pretty damning: Wilson was sent to Africa on an investigative mission regarding nuclear weapons, but never asked to sign any sort of secrecy agreement(!). Wilson returns, reports, then publishes an oped in the New York Times (!!) about his mission. This pretty much ensures that people will start asking why he was sent, which leads to the fact that his wife arranged it. Once Wilson’s oped appeared, Plame’s covert status was in serious danger. Yet nobody seemed to care.
This leaves two possibilities. One is that the mission was intended to result in the New York Times oped all along, meaning that the CIA didn’t care much about Plame’s status, and was trying to meddle in domestic politics. This reflects very badly on the CIA.
The other possibility is that they’re so clueless that they did this without any nefarious plan, because they’re so inept, and so prone to cronyism and nepotism, that this is just business as usual.
All of which is true. How valuable could the information have been if they sent some retired guy to have coffee with mining officials. He also notes revisionism occurring.
More thoughts from Tom MacGuire.
This is not to say that Libby or whoever shouldn’t be going to prison, but it does point out that there are still structural problems that remain. Come to think of it those problems have probably only gotten worse now that the national intelligence system is more centralized.
As you might could guess, I’m a bit let down by this whole Libby business. While it does involve perjury, (yay irony!) I don’t think it’s got the potential let us have prosperous gridlock and partisanship for the next few years.
It’s still surprising that people are taking what Joe Wilson said at face value, particularly the “it was impossible for uranium to get out of Niger (a third world country) because corporate safeguards were in place” bit. Also, the indictment would seem to make clear that no original crime (i.e. outing a covert CIA agent) was committed.
Also unmentioned by most commentators is the fact that Libby was the lawyer of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich, who was pardoned by Bill Clinton but still remains wanted for other crimes elsewhere. He was also mentioned in the UN Oil for Food scandal.
In this post
the longer the delay, the more likely that the charges in the indictments will be for obstruction of justice, with no charge on the underlying crime–or even no indictment at all, with the Fitzgerald team revealed to the world to have been engaging in a lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful game of chicken with the witnesses it is interrogating (though I think this is pretty unlikely). To me, a delay like this would usually indicate that the prosecutor is trying to push this into the weekend news-cycle, where the non-explosive nature of the revelations will be mercifully buried
And a new term “Fitzmas” has now been coined
Michael Barone (and me) think that there will be no indictments in the Plame case. We should know this time tomorrow.
It’s too bad. A nice big scandal could winnow off the weak republicans and make them a much more worthwhile bunch while at the same casting Washington into happy gridlock. It would be especially funny if the indictments were for perjury.
Patrick Fitzgerald’s new site, where presumably reports will be available for download soon.
The WaPo has an excellent profile on Patrick Fitzgerald, the independent counsel on the Wilson affair. He is also the bringer of the first indictment for bin Laden as well. He has been pleasantly leak-free during his whole investigation too.
The Weekly Standard has a detailed timeline of the events leading up to the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s identity. It’s an interesting read and goes into quite a bit of detail. Also interesting are the Wikipedia entries on Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame Wilson and the whole Wilson affair where we find out that Wilson and Plame began dating while he was still separated from his second wife and he also contributed money to both Bush and Gore in 2000.
I still find the whole thing underwhelming. Joe Wilson was on the History Channel shows a lot pre and post 9-11 and he also wrote the famous NYT editorial (which has now been somewhat discredited as have some of his other statements). It raises the question, if your wife were an active secret agent (or NOC) would you maintain this very public life? Evidently Aldrich Ames blew her cover some years earlier. She also worked at the CIA headquarters which is not something one would do if they were trying to keep their true employer a secret. I would like to hear from someone exactly how she was living a secret life and therefore qualified as a secret agent.
Also, the belief that Rove and co blew her cover in retaliation seems to overstate Wilson’s importance. The notion that they would do some public but not incapacitating injury to some media-connected guy is just daft. Evidently they mentioned it, but it also seems like the reporters already knew (most likely source, Joe Wilson) because it seems like no one considered her employer a secret until after the fact. There is also the fact that no Democrat is championing him in public. This is remarkable considering the caliber of people that politicians do embrace these days, like Sheehan and Shiavo. When it comes to Wilson, not a peep in favor that I’ve seen.
All that being said, scandal, gridlock and partisan bickering are what slows Leviathan and we should all be grateful.
Addendum – I think freedom of the press is freedom to publish, and covers the act of journalism, not journalists. Being employed by a newspaper should not grant any special privledges to anyone. If a non-journalist can legitimately go to jail for withholding information, then so should a journalist.
I apoligize if this is more rambling than usual.
The more I think about the Wilson Affair the more I like it. Throw in three Supreme Court nominations (possibly four) and the political class will be fully occupied with partisanship and self-absorption, leaving no room for Bold New Ideas.
Which is the way it should be.