Saturday, July 16, 2005


John Tierney of the NYTimes offers a summary of the Plame-Wilson-Miller-Rove-Cooper shenanigans that gets at least some of this feeding frenzy correct. Here's where Tierney is dead-on: (1) Rove's comments to Cooper were not a smear nor an intentional disclosure of a covert operative; (2) Wilson's investigation and report were neither requested nor suppressed by the White House nor the Old Executive Office Building (read: Cheney); (3) Plame put forward her husband for the "investigation" of Niger-Iraq uranium dealings; (4) Plame was not a covert operative covered by the Federal law that criminalizes revealing the identity of an undercover agent. There's more he misses, as the Captain shows in a detailed rundown of the Select Senate Committee on Intelligence report.

The key points by Tierney are still completely true:

Karl Rove's version of events now looks less like a smear and more like the truth: Mr. Wilson's investigation, far from being requested and then suppressed by a White House afraid of its contents, was a low-level report of not much interest to anyone outside the Wilson household.

So what exactly is this scandal about? Why are the villagers still screaming to burn the witch? Well, there's always the chance that the prosecutor will turn up evidence of perjury or obstruction of justice during the investigation, which would just prove once again that the easiest way to uncover corruption in Washington is to create it yourself by investigating nonexistent crimes.

For now, though, it looks as if this scandal is about a spy who was not endangered, a whistle-blower who did not blow the whistle and was not smeared, and a White House official who has not been fired for a felony that he did not commit. And so far the only victim is a reporter who did not write a story about it.

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