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Where’s the Smear?

I had thought I might be able to blog while visiting a friend in the great state of Utah, but although he had wireless, for some reason, I could not access the web from this computer there. Now, I’m in Colorado where together with the PatriotBrothers&SistersWest and (most of) their offspring, I’ll be celebrating the PatriotFatherWest’s birthday. Later today, we’ll be climbing a mountain with this great man in honor of this auspicious occasion.

Just before leaving Los Angeles, I observed that the conservative blogosphere was all abuzz about recent revelations that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the “original leaker” in the Plame kerfuffle. (I have found that Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute and Byron York of NationalReviewOnline have been offering the best coverage of this kerfuffle.) In his new book, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, David Corn writes that “administration critics” seized on this leak “as evidence of how far the White House was willing to go to smear an opponent.

That they would see the White House efforts to discredit a dishonest Democrat as a “smear” shows how far the critics will go to attack the president. Just as with John Kerry’s criticism of Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell, they base their broadsides against Republicans not on facts, but root them instead in their own narrow (and almost always inaccurate) views of their ideological adversaries.

A smear would require that someone have attempted to damage the reputation of someone by “false accusations or slander.” Since nothing White House officials said about Mr. Wilson or his wife was false, they were not trying to smear him. Not only that. Even the original leaker, an acknowledged gossip, did not make any false accusations against these two — and had “no apparent intention of harming anyone.”

So, where’s the smear?

If anyone is doing any smearing in this case, it’s Joe Wilson who alleged the president was lying in his 2003 State of the Union address when he said “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Wilson claimed that the president knew, at the time he spoke those words, that they were false because he had reported as much. Yet, in “the CIA’s view, Wilson’s report bolstered suspicions that Iraq was indeed seeking uranium in Africa.

If the president had seen that report (which since Wilson delivered it orally (to the CIA, not the president), he could only have seen it as the CIA interpreted it), it would given him more — rather than less — ground for including those words in the 2003 speech. Thus, if anything, Wilson’s report strengthened the president’s case. It provided no evidence to support Wilson’s claim that that good man had lied.

Wilson later ginned up some story about a White House conspiracy to “get” him and his wife, expressing hope that an investigation would lead to top White House political aide Karl Rove being “frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs.” Even after a scrupulous federal prosecutor launched a thorough investigation of the leak and failed to indict Rove (or the Vice President), Wilson filed a frivolous lawsuit against the Vice President, Rove and the Vice President’s former chief of staff. Despite the recent revelations, Wilson will not be suing Armitage, the original leaker.

All this proves is that Wilson is out to “get” the Vice President and Rove. While Wilson and his allies claim the Administration attempted to “out” Ms. Plame to punish her husband, columnist Debra Saunders finds that it was really Wilson who had the axe to grind:

The irony is that as Joe Wilson charged that the White House was pursuing him as an act of revenge, he emerges as a partisan bent on punishing those with whom he disagreed.

It’s unfortunate that the media has not told the truth about Joe Wilson — that he’s a dishonest Democrat out to “get” the Administration at all costs. And the White House could have done a better job of defending itself against his malicious attacks.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

UPDATE: In comment #6, our faithful commenter Calarato links a Washington Post editorial finding Mr. Wilson most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career. In other words, there was no scandal. As the liberal-leaning editors of the Post put it: “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.

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30 Comments

  1. Dan – 2nd paragraph, 3rd sentence – omits an intended author’s name.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll doubtless live to say it again: It’s only a ‘smear’ if it’s IRRELEVANT, and/or UNTRUE.

    As you point out, in Wilson’s case it was all true – and relevant:

    (1) that he lied to the American people about his own Niger trip findings.
    (2) that he lied to the American people about how and why he was sent.

    My point: The word “Smear!” is the new word “Ouch!” for the Bush-haters. They yell it if someone scores a point on them that is (a) true and (b) relevant.

    It’s a new reverse truth indicator; if they yell it, the accusations probably are true. (but one must still independently verify them, of course) Sad that it’s gotten to be that way.

    Comment by Calarato — September 1, 2006 @ 8:22 am - September 1, 2006

  2. Once again, the right wing was right all along. Val Plame was not a secret agency, and the White House did not leak her name. Just like we said. This entire faux-scandal was as phony as John Mark Karr’s confession, and driven by the media and the leftwing nutroots conspirasphere.

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2006 @ 8:39 am - September 1, 2006

  3. Your site sucks….not that every gay person MUST agree with each other – but you are ENABLERS TO THOSE WHO WOULD LOVE TO SEE US DISAPPEAR…..CHANGE YOUR SITE NAME TO EX-GAY/AFA…..it would FIT you’re ASS KING AGENDA TO THE GOP….sickening!

    Comment by sad american — September 1, 2006 @ 9:19 am - September 1, 2006

  4. Ah, the wittyless repartee of the left never fails to amuse. And nothing says “Brilliant Point” quite like ALLCAPS.

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2006 @ 9:59 am - September 1, 2006

  5. OT –but is Islam really ever off topic?

    Oh, sad, sad, sad American…no one wants to see YOU disappear darling; we’re just trying to make sure the Islamists don’t make US disappear.

    You’re free to rant and rave – just don’t spill anything on the carpets, as Vera’s just had them cleaned for the Fall.

    Surely even you’ve heard the ‘Religion of Peace’ isn’t kind to gays and their friends?

    Why, they don’t even like parties for dead gays !

    (see here, darling: “Organizers of a 60th gala birthday party for the late Zanzibar-born rock star Freddie Mercury have cancelled the weekend event after outraged Muslims threatened to disrupt it.

    Conservative Zanzibari Islamists last week demanded that authorities ban the party and then vowed to stage mass demonstrations if it went ahead, saying it would tarnish the islands’ reputation and culture and promote homosexuality.

    “We were ready to join forces against the party because we had information that a number of gays from abroad had come to take part,” said Sheikh Azzan Hamdani of the association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation (UAMSHO).

    Linky: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060831/ennew_afp/afpentertainmentmusictanzaniazanzibarislamqueen

    Can you imagine?!?

    Seems Sheikh Hamdani never got funky at a Queen concert back in the 70’s, like Vera and her friends did.

    Perhaps he prefers cabaret music? Show Tunes?

    Now, sad – sad- American, even you – fed a steady diet of moral equivalence and non-judgmental cultural sensitivities – can recognize a real threat when it’s presented to you, can’t you darling?

    Even if you can’t – thankfully there are enough of us that do – we’ll make sure the Sheikh and his bloodthirsty friends don’t make YOU disappear.

    Now, sit down, cheer up – and be quiet: you just might learn something here.

    Vera’s off to visit good friends in P Town over Labor Day!

    Stay safe!

    Cheers!

    Comment by Vera Charles — September 1, 2006 @ 10:51 am - September 1, 2006

  6. Today it looks like Izvestia, at least, has thrown in the towel on the Wilsons: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/31/AR2006083101460.html

    “…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…”

    We’ll see if Pravda (the NYT) follows suit or not.

    Powerline adds that they “suspect that Mrs. Wilson terminated her CIA career because she and her husband had become wealthy and famous; there is no reason why she could not have continued her desk job in Langley after being mentioned in Novak’s column.” True – since Plame wasn’t undercover, and hadn’t been for several years.

    Comment by Calarato — September 1, 2006 @ 11:40 am - September 1, 2006

  7. Calarato, thanks for noting that I omitted the intended author’s name in ¶2. Since fixed. The problems of blogging late at night. And the boon of diligent readers like yourself.

    Sad American’s comment is so delicious. He makes accusations against us without showing how we do those horrible things he claims we do. Nor does he even up his allegations against the GOP!

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — September 1, 2006 @ 11:46 am - September 1, 2006

  8. Lies all Lies.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/31/AR2006083101460.html
    I haven’t seen any of my leftist friends today. I suspect they are curled up in a ball in the corner of their bathrooms.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 1, 2006 @ 12:00 pm - September 1, 2006

  9. Sad American is emblematic of the kind of people who would Call the Son of a Holocaust Survivor a Nazi

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2006 @ 12:03 pm - September 1, 2006

  10. Unemployment dropped to 4.7% today.
    No major hurricanes hit so far this season. Ernesto peteers out.
    Price of oil plummeting. Predictions of gasoline near $2.20 by election day.
    Pro war Leiberman leading in a blue state.
    NJ democrat senate seat in play.
    USA Iraq casualties hit a low in August.
    Iraqi forces want to assume more control.
    It’s morning in America.
    Should we start the process of repealing the 22nd amendment?

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 1, 2006 @ 12:08 pm - September 1, 2006

  11. Oh, for a sec, I thought this post was going to be a critique of Noah’s Bagels for not putting enough cream cheese (they don’t!). But then I saw that it’s “smear” not “shmear”.

    Comment by Dalebert — September 1, 2006 @ 12:35 pm - September 1, 2006

  12. Price of oil plummeting. Predictions of gasoline near $2.20 by election day.

    This is a major problem for Democrats. Democrats were hoping that high gas prices would keep the Repulican base… mainstream middle-class voters… away from the polls on election day. The Democrat base is less subject to gas prices, consisting mainly of ultra-rich people in their limos and the poor, who are picked up on election day, loaded onto buses, bribed with cigarettes, and shuttled from polling place to polling place to vote as many times as necessary.

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2006 @ 12:36 pm - September 1, 2006

  13. Re: sad american…

    I loved the “ass king” part. What, or who, is that? He sounds fun. 😉

    Comment by Calarato — September 1, 2006 @ 12:55 pm - September 1, 2006

  14. If you believe that the president and his cronies had NO evidence of Sadam not having WMD, you are truly blinded by your ideology.

    The white house “yelled out” info to discredit Wilson, so the public and press could stay on the war message. They played the coy washington smear game. The white house reaction to Wilson is EXACTLY the same as the guy yelling out “fucking fag” while I walk down the street with my dad.

    I would call that an attempt at a smear…..

    Comment by keogh — September 1, 2006 @ 1:18 pm - September 1, 2006

  15. If you believe that the president and his cronies had NO evidence of Sadam not having WMD, you are truly blinded by your ideology.

    Of course they had evidence of Saddam not having WMDs. But they had more and compelling evidence that he did have them and was planning on building more — a conclusion shared by every major Western intelligence agency.

    Furthermore, what has never been acknowledged by the Wilson leftist puppets is that Wilson was told by the former Prime Minister of Niger that, in 1999, he had been asked to meet with a delegation from Iraq to discuss “expanding commercial relationships” between the two countries.

    Given that the two things Niger has that qualify for commercial trading are chickens and uranium ore, which one do you think Saddam wanted?

    Thus, when one looks at the fact that the sixteen words said that Saddam Hussein sought uranium from Niger, that is an absolutely correct assumption.

    But Wilson, like the good lying Democratic puppet he is, tried to claim that the sixteen words said that Saddam had bought uranium from Niger.

    The fact that this has gone on as long as it has based on a flat-out lie told by partisan Democrat hack Wilson about a direct quote from Bush should show you how little regard there is for truth in the press.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 1, 2006 @ 1:32 pm - September 1, 2006

  16. You guys are giving way too much attention to #3. A post like that speaks for itself and doesn’t require a response. That’s what’s known as a ‘troll’.

    Comment by Dalebert — September 1, 2006 @ 2:17 pm - September 1, 2006

  17. Merry Fitzmas to keogh, RajIanWhoever, sad american, etc. Are you still in favor of frog marching the man most responsible for Plames “outing”? I mean what can be more serious that blowing a CIA agents cover?

    I know, Wilson and Plame losing that 7 figure book deal.

    Comment by BoBo — September 1, 2006 @ 3:04 pm - September 1, 2006

  18. #16 — Perhaps, but at least #3 was good for a laugh. On the other hand, I think silly people like kough and rajian get attention out of all proportion to their meager contribution to debate.

    Comment by V the K — September 1, 2006 @ 3:05 pm - September 1, 2006

  19. Perhaps, but at least #3 was good for a laugh. On the other hand, I think silly people like kough and rajian get attention out of all proportion to their meager contribution to debate.

    Yeah, I s’pose so, kind of like the protestors at a Republican convention. I was gonna vote for Bush, but then I saw eight nekkid people with “F**K BUSH” written on their ass cheeks. (Or was that nine with one being the space?) How could I possibly vote for Bush now?

    I love the way the Democrats herd the protestors into a roped-off corner. Meanwhile, the Republicans love to let the protestors run wild, hoping the news cameras catch every moment of it and broadcast it across the country.

    Comment by Dalebert — September 1, 2006 @ 4:30 pm - September 1, 2006

  20. Can’t wait for the Sunday shows. I’m sure the Plame fitzzle will be the number one topic.

    Comment by Tom — September 1, 2006 @ 5:10 pm - September 1, 2006

  21. [Comment deleted.]

    Comment by mependulous — September 1, 2006 @ 5:48 pm - September 1, 2006

  22. [Comment deleted.]

    Comment by mependulous — September 1, 2006 @ 5:51 pm - September 1, 2006

  23. It still fascinates me that the whole Plame BS is treason, but the NYT publishing of national security issues is not.

    And we’re supposed to trust the liberals with our security? I don’t think so.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 2, 2006 @ 4:50 am - September 2, 2006

  24. There was a time when the positions of the Republican and Democratic parties were the mirror-reverse of today… and the country was at war… and the Republicans behaved quite differently from today’s Democrats.

    No pathetic Plame kerfuffles. No “Roosevelt lied, people died” – even though it was obvious to many that a disaster the size of Pearl Harbor could only have happened due to Roosevelt’s incompetence.

    Result? The minority party (Republicans in this instance) scored huge election victories. AND the country was (still) unified, and went on to win the war.

    Read about it here: http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=10300

    Comment by Calarato — September 2, 2006 @ 7:48 am - September 2, 2006

  25. So, where’s the smear?

    In the underwear of every foaming left-wing lunatic who was waiting to see Rove “frog-marched” out of the White House.

    Comment by V the K — September 2, 2006 @ 10:19 am - September 2, 2006

  26. Question for the gracious hosts: Could sadamerican and mependuluous be the work of the raj/Ian/blah sockpuppet –just without the stabilizing prescriptive drugs?

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — September 2, 2006 @ 6:37 pm - September 2, 2006

  27. What is nice to see and somewhat different is some of the leftist MSM admit that Wilson was a liar and misdirected THEM. To our leftist friends here…it’s okay to occasionally say you were wrong and apoligize. It doesn’t make you evil. And you are still allowed, I’m sure to debate future issues with us. My initial reaction was I hoped W and the VP in particular would give speaches about the inaccurate reporting and thank their loyal supporters for hangin with them the past 3 years of this useless investigation. But I’m sure they have more serious work to do.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — September 3, 2006 @ 9:38 pm - September 3, 2006

  28. Interesting. It turns out that Valerie Plame was undercover and in charge of a group investigating Iraq’s WMD program. That group kept debunking the defectors Chalabi sent their way and never came up with the finding of WMDs Cheney so desparately wanted so no wonder he was so anxious to exact revenge on Valerie as well as her husband. What a traitorous bunch in the Bush White House!
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060918/corn

    Comment by Ian — September 6, 2006 @ 12:26 pm - September 6, 2006

  29. Unfortunately, IanRaj, your biased source left out the following — why Valerie Plame came back to the United States in 1997.

    Because the CIA was convinced that Aldrich Ames had revealed her identity to the KGB and that her life was in danger.

    Are you telling us that, as this article claims, that the CIA continued to send a woman who they knew was known by intelligence services worldwide to be a spy to gather intelligence?

    Moreover, are you and your fellow leftist defenders of this fraud aware that, during the 1990s, when Plame was supposedly abroad undercover, that she was using the United States Embassy as her address?

    I quote from that article:

    According to CIA veterans, U.S. intelligence officers working in American embassies under “diplomatic cover” are almost invariably known to friendly and opposition intelligence services alike.

    “If you were in an embassy,” said a former CIA officer who posed as a U.S. diplomat in several countries, “you could count 100 percent on the Soviets knowing.”

    Later……

    After Plame left her diplomatic post and joined Brewster-Jennings, she became what is known in CIA parlance as an “NOC,” shorthand for an intelligence officer working under “non-official cover.” But several CIA veterans questioned how someone with an embassy background could have successfully passed herself off as a private-sector consultant with no government connections.

    Genuine NOCs, a CIA veteran said, “never use an official address. If she had [a diplomatic] address, her whole cover’s completely phony. I used to run NOCs. I was in an embassy. I’d go out and meet them, clandestine meetings. I’d pay them cash to run assets or take trips. I’d give them a big bundle of cash. But they could never use an embassy address, ever.”

    Another CIA veteran with 20 years of service agreed that “the key is the [embassy] address. That is completely unacceptable for an NOC. She wasn’t an NOC, period.”

    After Plame was transferred back to CIA headquarters in the mid-1990s, she continued to pass herself off as a private energy consultant. But the first CIA veteran noted: “You never let a true NOC go into an official facility. You don’t drive into headquarters with your car, ever.”

    A senior U.S. intelligence official, who like the others quoted in this article spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that Plame “may not be alone in that category, so I don’t want to suggest she was the only one. But it would be a fair assumption that a true-blue NOC is not someone who has a headquarters job at any point or an embassy job at any point.”

    Furthermore, if one looks at the circumstances of Joe Wilson’s “mission”, it is obvious that Plame and Wilson deliberately set it up to fail; Wilson told people that he was there to gather information for the US government. Of course they’re not going to tell him they sold Saddam uranium; indeed, what they DID tell him is that Saddam had sought uranium from them, but they had turned him down.

    In short, IanRaj, all your attempts to paint Plame as some kind of super-spy do is to demonstrate the fabulous level of incompetence that Democrats who run intelligence operations manage.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 6, 2006 @ 2:15 pm - September 6, 2006

  30. #28 Wow. You use the Nation as a source? What’s next, the People’s Daily, Teheran Times, Sockpuppet Quarterly? You have certainly clearly demonstrated how creditable your “facts” are. Thanks for removing any doubt regarding the seriousness of your comments.

    Comment by BoBo — September 7, 2006 @ 12:05 am - September 7, 2006

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