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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Plame-Out: The WaPo Looks At The Plame Fiasco

Now that Richard Armitage has been fingered as the guy with the loose lips, and that his reasons for it were to strike back at the Bush Administration, the Plame case is all but finished. Today, the WaPo has the following editorial that should finally seal the lid on this circus.

WE'RE RELUCTANT to return to the subject of former CIA employee Valerie Plame because of our oft-stated belief that far too much attention and debate in Washington has been devoted to her story and that of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, over the past three years. But all those who have opined on this affair ought to take note of the not-so-surprising disclosure that the primary source of the newspaper column in which Ms. Plame's cover as an agent was purportedly blown in 2003 was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage.

Mr. Armitage was one of the Bush administration officials who supported the invasion of Iraq only reluctantly. He was a political rival of the White House and Pentagon officials who championed the war and whom Mr. Wilson accused of twisting intelligence about Iraq and then plotting to destroy him. Unaware that Ms. Plame's identity was classified information, Mr. Armitage reportedly passed it along to columnist Robert D. Novak "in an offhand manner, virtually as gossip," according to a story this week by the Post's R. Jeffrey Smith, who quoted a former colleague of Mr. Armitage.

It follows that one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House -- that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame's identity to ruin her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson -- is untrue. The partisan clamor that followed the raising of that allegation by Mr. Wilson in the summer of 2003 led to the appointment of a special prosecutor, a costly and prolonged investigation, and the indictment of Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of perjury. All of that might have been avoided had Mr. Armitage's identity been known three years ago.

That's not to say that Mr. Libby and other White House officials are blameless. As prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has reported, when Mr. Wilson charged that intelligence about Iraq had been twisted to make a case for war, Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney reacted by inquiring about Ms. Plame's role in recommending Mr. Wilson for a CIA-sponsored trip to Niger, where he investigated reports that Iraq had sought to purchase uranium. Mr. Libby then allegedly disclosed Ms. Plame's identity to journalists and lied to a grand jury when he said he had learned of her identity from one of those reporters. Mr. Libby and his boss, Mr. Cheney, were trying to discredit Mr. Wilson; if Mr. Fitzgerald's account is correct, they were careless about handling information that was classified.

Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.

Yes, it is unfortunate. And the WaPo is hardly blameless in this mess. As a matter of fact, I know of few newspapers that are blameless in this little game that was played. What is most infuriating is Mr. Fitzgerald and his office dropped the ball. Mr. Armitage was fingered months and months ago by bloggers as the only possible person to have carried out the leak, and it was revisited shortly after his departure from State.

But Mr. Fitzgerald focused solely on the key administration officials. Those were the heads he was hunting for. And in the end the best he could conjure up was a guy named "Scooter," and his charge was not revealing the identity of a former CIA analyst, but rather lying about it. (Of which there is no proof he lied.) Mr. Fitzgerald is one of many with egg all over his face, and there are a fair number of journalists and elected Democrats who should be handing out apologies to those they slandered during this circus-coming-to-town moment. And that is precisely what this investigation was. It was a circus.

Lefty bloggers and pundits kept predicting the day that Karl Rove would be indicted, and they kept moving the date everytime their prediction was proven wrong. Those on the Left concocted wild conspiracy theories as to how President Bush leaked the information. The, Vice President Cheney. No one seemed willing to focus on Joe Wilson's role in this wild and crazy ride. And, of course, no journalist we are aware of questioned him reegarding his wife's non-covert status.

Ms. Plame was analyst working for the CIA, and some of her work was abroad. To protect the identities of their analysts and operatives in other countries, the CIA gives them a NOC identity, or non-official cover. The NOC lasts for a term, or until Central Intelligence revokes it. In Ms. Plame's case, even after her return to the United States, she had one. But Mr. Novak's column was written well after her NOC status had expired, and Ms. Plame had left CIA. She was no longer in any sort of danger, nor could she have been. Upon leaving CIA, I am positive they would have revoked any and all security clearances. And giventhe fact that she was a low-level analyst, it is highly unlikely that any foreign power would have nabbed her for information. It is much more likely that whatever was rattling around in her skull those same foreign powers already had such information.

But no one in the dinosaur media wanted to question these two about their roles in this Niger fiasco. No one asked Joe Wilson why he issued two different reports, and by different I mean that one told a story of Iraq's attempt to open communications with Niger for enriched uranium, and one did not. The only story the press latched onto was the one where Mr. Wilson stated that Iraq was not involved with Niger. The Senate committee he testified before, I am sure, found his New York times op-ed surprising, as it contradicted what he had told them. But, alas, no questions were asked. Mr. Wilson and Ms. Plame were "victims" of the "dirty-politics" game coming out of the White House, and the press never makes pressing inquiries into the victim's story.

If there are any losers in this story, it is the Wilsons and the press. Both made allegations that were wildly unfounded, and had they taken a second to step back and breath, they would have seen their errors. But this was never about getting to the truth. It was about beating on an administration that neither agreed with or supported. It was a Washington, DC witch-hunt, and the fiorst of its kind int he 21st Century. It also showed the failings of the special prosecutors office; an office that should be eliminated. There is no need for the office. If anyone in the administration commits a crime--and that is what the press was charging--then it falls to Justice to take up the case. And it should do so without any sort of preconceived notions, or party loyalty.

We can only hope that these people have learned their lesson. But for the Left, learning was always something they did have a problem with. And for that, we only need to look at their flawed ideology, and recognize that they will never learn.



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