The LA Times begins its front-page above-the-fold article on the alleged “outing” of Valerie Plame with this sentence:
Top aides to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were intensely focused on discrediting former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in the days after he wrote an op-ed article for the New York Times suggesting the administration manipulated intelligence to justify going to war in Iraq, federal investigators have been told.
Well, duh. Of course they’d try to discredit Mr. Wilson given that he lied in that op-ed article. Just over a year ago, the Washington Post reported that this one-time Kerry campaign aide “was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly.” (Emphasis added.) Not only that. A bipartisan Senate Intelligence panel
found that Wilson’s report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson’s assertions and even the government’s previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush’s January 2003 State of the Union address.
(Emphasis added.) Unfortunately, the L.A. TImes leaves a few facts out of its article. Its reporters don’t mention the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report as they suggest that there is a difference of opinion as to who sent Mr. Wilson to Niger:
White House officials contended that he had wrongly indicated that he was sent on his mission by Cheney. In fact, Wilson had said in the article that the trip was inspired by questions raised by Cheney’s office.
Note, how the Times uses the expression “In fact:” to distinguish what White House officials said from what Mr. Wilson said. As if Mr. Wilson is giving the facts and the White House is lying.
In fact, Mr. Wilson did say what the Times says he said. But, as I noted above no less a source than the Washington Post–no ally of the Bush White House–specifically noted that the facts of Wilson’s hiring differed from what he had said publicly.
It’s so amusing to see the MSM and Democrats in high dudgeon over the Wilson matter. Today’s article in the L.A. Times makes it appear that there is a difference of opinion on who hired Mr. Wilson, but, in fact, all serious investigations of this matter have shown that his wife recommended him for the job.
It is only natural that the White House would try to discredit someone who has lied to the public in an attempt to discredit the president and his policies. And this policy is no worse–in fact it’s significantly better–than the Clinton Administration’s modus operandi for dealing with critics of Mr. Clinton. Instead of responding to the allegations against that Democratic president, his aides went into what I call the reverse-offense defense where they attacked the administration’s critics. In one case, Clinton appointees at the Defense department violated the federal Privacy Act in passing information to friendly reporter.
Clinton’s own Defense Secretary William Cohen reprimanded Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon and his deputy Clifford Bernath “for releasing private and confidential information to Jane Mayer about Linda Tripp, the Pentagon official whistle blower who had taped Monica Lewinsky’s revelations about her illicit affair with President Clinton.” If the Democrats held their own officials to the same standard they wish to hold Karl Rove, they would have demanded that Cohen’s reprimand was not enough; he should have fired the two officials. Not only that. It’s clear these two Democratic appointees broke the law. Rove’s critics should also have called for the prosecution of those two Clinton Administration officials. There is clear evidence they violated the law. So far, there is no evidence that Mr. Rove did so.
And here’s something else to chew on: Ms. Tripp had been arrested as a teenager, Mr. Wilson lied in the very article the current president’s aides sought to discredit. So, the information Karl Rove confirmed (that Wilson was recommended for the job by his wife) was not only true, but specifically relevant to the issue in question. If Ms. Plame (his wife) had recommended his appointment, then he lied about his mission, something which (as I reported above) both the Washington Post and Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee have confirmed.
I agree with Roger Simon that this whole story not even a tempest is a teapot, it’s just “tempest in a thimble.” As the LA Times article this morning shows, the Democrats’ allies in the MSM aren’t interested in getting at the truth of this matter. All they want is to discredit Karl Rove and through him, the Bush Administration.
Joe Wilson lied about his hiring and his lied about his report. That should be the issue here. It’s unfortunate that the LA Times is less interested in the facts of the case than it is in making the Administration look bad.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
ADDENDUM: Shortly after completing the first draft of this post, I read a piece on Roger Simon’s blog which links an article by former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy who makes a similar point in the conclusion to his piece wondering whether the CIA “outed” Valerie Plame:
And could the possibility that Plame’s cover has long been blown explain why the CIA was unconcerned about assigning a one-time covert agent to a job that had her walking in and out of CIA headquarters every day? Could it explain why the Wilsons were sufficiently indiscrete to pose in Vanity Fair, and, indeed, to permit Joseph Wilson to pen a highly public op-ed regarding a sensitive mission to which his wife the covert agent energetically advocated his assignment? Did they fail to take commonsense precautions because they knew there really was nothing left to protect?
We’d probably know the answers to these and other questions by now if the media had given a tenth of the effort spent manufacturing a scandal to reporting professionally on the underlying facts. And if they deigned to share with their readers and viewers all the news that’s fit to print … in a brief to a federal court.
(Empahasis added yet again.)