Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Breaking down Plame/Wilson

I have little patience for the unending melodrama that the Democrats are making of the Plame/Wilson leak. It is painful to follow.

As far as I am concerned, Valerie Plame saw the request for checking to yellowcake in Niger and said "What a great opportunity for my husband to do some easy work for king and country." Easy, perfect work for a preening peacock like Wilson. Is that over the top? I would note that his coif bears a remarkable resemblance to that of the execrable Dominique de Villepin.

Wilson goes to Niger, does a rotten investigation, hence, easy - he talks to a few contacts - and at first opportunity comes out very publicly trying to refute good intelligence from the British. Joe Wilson was more responsible for outing Valerie Plame than anyone else. Now Wilson and Plame appear to be quite happy together. Now why would Wilson do that to his wife? Plame's status appears to have been covert (as confirmed by the CIA) but she certainly did not meet all the requirements for deep-cover agent - including years abroad etc. The truth is she didn't really need to be covert at all at this stage in her career and they both agreed that the exposure they would get 'whistleblowing' the Bush administration and the kudos he would gain from the Democratic Party would be well worth it. Well it certainly has been. Starting with glamour shot in Vanity Fair the Wilsons have been feted by the Left for four years and will be A-listers for years to come.

How might the 'leak' have gotten started? Logically the administration would ask, "Who the bleep recommended this popinjay?" Then Armitage leaked it but frankly as soon as Wilson came forward Plame would have been compromised beyond repair. They didn't care about that. It's quite telling.

Byron York has done very good reporting on this whole sordid affair and reports in NRO about some very significant inconsistencies in Plame's testimony as to the Senate Intelligence committee report:

It started in February 2002, Mrs. Wilson testified. “A young junior officer who worked for me came to me very concerned, very upset. She had just received a telephone call on her desk from someone, I don’t know who, in the Office of the Vice President, asking about this report of this alleged sale of yellowcake uranium from Niger to Iraq.”
As Mrs. Wilson told her story, some members and staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee watched with great interest. As part of its probe into pre-war intelligence, the committee interviewed Valerie Plame Wilson for the portions of the committee’s report dealing with the Niger uranium matter. At that time, as now, the question of how the CIA chose Joseph Wilson for the Niger trip was a subject of great interest. But Missouri Republican Sen. Christopher Bond, vice chairman of the committee, says Mrs. Wilson did not tell the committee about the young junior officer, the call from the vice president’s office, or the passing CIA official who suggested Joseph Wilson’s name.

“Friday was the first time we have ever heard that story,” Sen. Bond said in a statement to National Review Sunday evening. “Obviously if we had, we would have included it in the report. If Ms. Wilson’s memory of events has improved and she would now like to change her testimony, I’m sure the committee staff would be happy to re-interview her.”

For those who followed the Senate investigation, the young-junior-officer story was not the only surprise in Mrs. Wilson’s House testimony. In addition to saying that her office received a call from the vice president’s office, Mrs. Wilson flatly denied playing a role in choosing her husband for the trip to Niger. “I did not recommend him. I did not suggest him,” she testified. The Senate Intelligence Committee report, which concluded that she had indeed suggested her husband for the trip, was simply wrong, Mrs. Wilson testified. In particular, what she called a “quick e-mail” describing her husband’s qualifications for the trip was “taken out of context” by the committee to “make it seem as though I had suggested or recommended him.”

In response to an inquiry from National Review Online Friday, Sen. Bond disputed Mrs. Wilson’s memory. “We have…checked the memorandum written by Ms. Wilson suggesting her husband to look into the Niger reporting,” Bond said in a statement. “I…stand by the Committee’s finding that this memorandum indicates Ms. Wilson did suggest her husband for a Niger inquiry. Because the quote [the portion of the memo quoted in the Senate report] obviously does not represent the entirety of the memorandum, I suggest that the House Government Reform Committee request and examine this memorandum themselves. I am confident that they will come to the same conclusion as our bipartisan membership did.”

In addition, Mrs. Wilson testified that a CIA reports officer, who the Senate committee says told investigators that Mrs. Wilson had “offered up” her husband’s name for the trip, later told her, Mrs. Wilson, that the committee had got it all wrong. “He came to me almost with tears in his eyes,” she testified. “He said his words have been twisted and distorted.” She testified that the reports officer wrote a memo to correct the record — it is not clear to whom the memo was given — but that the CIA would not let him speak to committee investigators a second time.

Bond responded to that description of events, too. “We have checked the transcript of the comments made to the committee by the former reports officer and I stand by the committee’s description of his comments,” the senator said. “If the reports officer would like to clarify or change his remarks, I’m certain that the committee would welcome his testimony.”

Finally, Bond said flatly, “I stand by the findings of the committee’s report on the Niger-Iraq uranium information, including the information regarding Mr. and Mrs. Wilson.”

Sure looks like Plame is smoothing the spackling on her little nepotistic glory-seeking affair and the Democrats will whitewash it and conveniently blame Scooter Libby.

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