Ever since the "controversy" was ignited by Bush enemies like Joseph Wilson three years ago, The New York Times has run almost 40 front-page stories on the leak of the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame (Wilson's wife) to Robert Novak. But now that the prime anti-Bush angle has fizzled out, the Times has been notably reluctant to return to the scene of the non-crime.
Looks like CBS got itself a two-fer. Katie's not just an anchor - she's a comedian, too!
The highlight of her extended interview with Harry Smith on this morning's Early Show, touting her debut on tonight's CBS Evening News, was her claim that what the "old media" has to offer in contrast with the new media is . . . "integrity and standards."
Couric is apparently a jokester of the deadpan school, managing to get off the line without dissolving into guffaws. This from the woman about to take over the illustrious Dan Rather Forged Document Chair, named in honor of the hoax perpetrated by the old media and peremptorily exposed by that lacking-in-integrity new media. Is the irony lost on Katie that the opening for her job occured because Dan Rather was sacked over the exposure of his lack of integrity and standards?
On Friday night, MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough featured opposite takes on a Friday Washington Posteditorial proclaiming that the recent revelation that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the original leaker of Valerie Plame's identity discredits Joe Wilson's accusations about a White House conspiracy to punish him by ruining his wife's career. On his Countdown show, Olbermann slammed the Washington Post for its "startling conclusions" and attacked the logic of the Post's reasoning. On Scarborough Country, Scarborough hit the New York Times and other media, including "left-leaning TV hosts," for not following the Post's lead and correcting its "character assassination" of the Bush team. Scarborough also delved into the inaccuracy of some of Wilson's claims about his trip to Niger and whether it really contradicted Bush's State of the Union claims about Iraq's efforts to acquire uranium. And while Scarborough presented some balance on his show by allowing one of his two guests to defend Wilson (Rachel Sklar after Wilson critic Christopher Hitchens), Olbermann followed his normal routine of choosing guests who will bolster his anti-Bush views, this time in the form of Wilson/Plame attorney Melanie Sloan. (Transcripts follow)
The editorial in the September 11 edition of The Weekly Standard, written by Fred Barnes and posted on Saturday, contended now that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, not part of the pro-Iraq war White House cabal, has been identified as who told Bob Woodward and Bob Novak about how Joe Wilson was married to a CIA staffer, “the hoax lingered for three years and is only now being fully exposed for what it was.” Barnes asserted “the rogues' gallery of those who acted badly in the CIA 'leak' case turns out to be different from what the media led us to expect. Note that we put the word 'leak' in quotation marks, because it's clear now there was no leak at all, just idle talk, and certainly no smear campaign.” Barnes suggested “a few apologies are called for, notably by [Colin] Powell and Armitage, but also by the press. A correction -- perhaps the longest and most overdue in the history of journalism -- is in order.”
Valerie who? The New York Times seems to need a reminder.
Judging by its sparse coverage, the Times is apparently trying to pretend the Valerie Plame "outing," (which for three years was a matter of national import on its editorial page, news pages, and among its stable of liberal columnists), is no longer even newsworthy, now that the inconvenient truth (Armitage?) is out.
"I spent three years hyperventilating about Valerie Plame and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." So says most of the Washington media establishment. But one particular ideologue is not ready to throw in the towel just yet, CNN reporter Jeff Greenfield.
To conservatives, this Armitage disclosure is proof that there never was any effort to smear Joseph Wilson, or to injure Valerie Plame. The Wall Street Journal editorial page Wednesday pointedly asked why Armitage never let Fitzgerald know of his role. The National Review says the whole controversy was much ado about nothing.
But does this put an end to the mater? Liberal bloggers say maybe not. Maybe others were out to punish Wilson and his wife even if Armitage's talk with Novak was wholly innocent.
Now we know, thanks to "Hubris," a new book by Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff and left-wing writer David Corn of The Nation -- someone who bears much responsibility for puffing up the Plame non-story in the first place.
Times legal reporter Neil Lewis reports what everyone who has Internet access already knows -- that Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state under Colin Powell, was columnist Robert Novak's source for the information that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson/Plame, worked for the CIA.
With the recent disclosure
that Richard Armitage, an anti-Iraq war deputy of former secretary of
state Colin Powell, was Bob Novak's source for the Valerie Plame leak,
the political scandal that never should have been may finally be
wrapping up. All that seems to remain is a three-and-out trial of
departed White House aid Scooter Libby.
Byron York has a long piece summarizing the recent developments and putting them in the proper context:
No one in the press corps knew it at the
time, but if a newly published account of the CIA-leak case is
accurate, Powell knew much, much more than he let on during that
session with the press. Two days earlier, according to Hubris, the new book by the Nation's David Corn and Newsweek's
Michael Isikoff, Powell had been told by his top deputy and close
friend Richard Armitage that he, Armitage, leaked the identity of CIA
employee Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak. Armitage had, in
other words, set off the CIA-leak affair.
the time, top administration officials, including President Bush, were
vowing to "get to the bottom" of the matter. But Armitage was already
there, and he told Powell, who told top State Department officials, who
told the Justice Department. From the first week of October 2003, then,
investigators knew who leaked Valerie Plame's identity — the ostensible
purpose of an investigation that still continues, a few months shy of
three years after it began. [...]
Now we know where Robert Novak learned about Valerie Plame. To the Left's dismay, it wasn't some mega-whopper conspiracy of historical proportions aimed at paying back a critic of the administration... instead, it was just a guy who liked Washington gossip, and actually once called Bush, Cheney, et al. a "bunch of jerks".
In the early morning of Oct. 1, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell received an urgent phone call from his No. 2 at the State Department. Richard Armitage was clearly agitated. As recounted in a new book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War," Armitage had been at home reading the newspaper and had come across a column by journalist Robert Novak. Months earlier, Novak had caused a huge stir when he revealed that Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq-war critic Joseph Wilson, was a CIA officer. Ever since, Washington had been trying to find out who leaked the information to Novak. The columnist himself had kept quiet. But now, in a second column, Novak provided a tantalizing clue: his primary source, he wrote, was a "senior administration official" who was "not a partisan gunslinger." Armitage was shaken. After reading the column, he knew immediately who the leaker was. On the phone with Powell that morning, Armitage was "in deep distress," says a source directly familiar with the conversation who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities. "I'm sure he's talking about me."
According to Michael Isikoff, peddling his new book (written with liberal David Corn) in Newsweek:
Armitage's central role as the primary source on Plame is detailed for the first time in "Hubris," which recounts the leak case and the inside battles at the CIA and White House in the run-up to the war. The disclosures about Armitage, gleaned from interviews with colleagues, friends and lawyers directly involved in the case, underscore one of the ironies of the Plame investigation: that the initial leak, seized on by administration critics as evidence of how far the White House was willing to go to smear an opponent, came from a man who had no apparent intention of harming anyone.
Have liberal journalists gotten more than they bargained for after hyping up the Valerie Plame Wilson leak "scandal?" Ed Morrissey argues that this is the case in light of yet another leak investigation, this one about CBS and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee:
The media, especially national organizations, used to have a silent
immunity from these kinds of investigations, but two developments
changed all of that. First, the media used to understand the impact of
the disclosures they made and to coordinate them with the federal
government to minimize the damage. That era appears to have ended,
largely with the New York Times, which has blown several intelligence
programs during wartime despite the warnings of the White House and
members of Congress.
Secondly and more importantly, the press brought it on themselves in
the Plame leak. The New York Times, hypocritically, took the lead in
hysterically demanding a federal probe into the kind of leak that they
regularly publish on their front pages. Somehow the media mavens who
took their lead from the Gray Lady never considered the fact that an
investigation into leaks would require subpoenaed testimony from the
reporters that received them.
Too late, they realized that the public storm they created would
rain down all over themselves. They have tried to paint the subpoenas
and the resulting contempt-of-court threats as an indication of an
oppressive Bush administration, declaring war on the media. This order
by Judge Ellis should put an end to that misapprehension. The media
created this demand for investigations into leaks of classified
information, and jus because they were too foolish to understand that
all roads led back to them is no reason to feel much sympathy for their
Leopold (left) and Johnson.The Jason Leopold sock puppet scandal continues to expand as Seixon, the blogger at the center of the scandal has received a death threat and a threatening email telling him to stop exposing the nutjobs pushing the Valerie Plame scandal.
Since I last updated NB readers on this story (you really need the post to understand this one), Leopold or a minion posted more of Sexion's personal information as well as his parents' address and his mother's name late night on his blog and at Ace of Spades, ensuring it would remain overnight.
Sexion then received an email apparently from Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and state department guy who now seems to spend his time peddling conspiracy theories and promoting Jason Leopold and Joe Wilson. After divulging more of Seixon's personal information, Johnson all but threatened the blogger to stop his reporting
Will we finally see the end of the media-manufactured Plame scandal? Christopher Hitchens thinks so:
Robert Novak's July 12 column and his appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday night have dissolved any remaining doubt about the mad theory that the Bush administration "outed" Ms. Valerie Plame as revenge for her husband's refusal to confirm the report by British intelligence that Iraqi officials had visited Niger in search of uranium. To summarize, we now know that:
Novak was never approached by any administration officials but approached them instead.
He was never told the name Plame but discovered it from Who's Who in America, which contained it in Joseph Wilson's entry.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had all along known which sources had responded to Novak's questions.
When one thinks of the oceans of ink and acres of paper that have been wasted on this mother of all nonstories, one wants to weep for the journalistic profession as well as for the trees.
Joe Wilson wants the world to know that in the wake of the disclosure of his wife's identity, he and Valerie have been threatened, and not just by "Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity listeners."
But as documented by MRC, after the Oklahoma City bombing liberals like Bryant Gumbel pointed the finger at conservative talk radio: "Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh . . . and others take to the air . . . the extent to which their attitudes may embolden and encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue."
Will the left wing please make up its mind? Which is it? Are conservative talk-show fans harmless fuzzballs, or potentially dangerous mind-numbed robots?
Columnist Robert Novak, after submitting to a pair of interviews on his friendly home turf -- Fox News -- traveled to an away field on Sunday, appearing with Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," where he found himself on the hot seat at times.
There, among other things, he reversed course in his dispute with "Newsday," now saying that the paper did not not misquote him on a key point but rather that he misspoke. He continued to claim that he did not really "out" covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. And he defended not only talking about sources with the prosecutor, but also refusing until now to confirm he had testified.
Assume that a Democrat is in the White House. The US has been fairly busy all over the globe with this warring thing: Operation's Bushwhacker, Desert Strike, Desert Fox, Southern Skies, Infinite Reach, Allied Force, etc. A former Ambassador, an active supporter of the Republican party, is asked by a CIA operative [his wife] to take a trip to a foreign country to find out more information about a piece of intelligence provided to us by one of our closest allies.
Upon returning from the trip the Ambassador’s findings, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report, “CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue, they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers. For the same reason, CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President's previous questions about the issue.” Regardless, the Ambassador goes right ahead and writes a column attacking the administration on the case of WMD’s. Fast Forward to the real players. It’s so weak that even Dana Milbank, over at the Washington Post is forced to acknowledge in an Oct, 25, 2005 article that: “Wilson had to admit he had misspoken.”
On Thursday night, and then again on Friday night, anchor Brian Williams gave time on the NBC Nightly News to highlighting Valerie Plame Wilson's lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former Chief of Staff Scooter Libby and top Bush advisor Karl Rove. On Thursday, Williams framed the story from Plame Wilson's agenda, reporting her “cover was blown after her husband criticized the Bush administration's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction,” and relayed how her lawsuit says Cheney, Libby and Rove “all conspired to discredit, punish and seek revenge against the couple and claims their constitutional and legal rights were violated.” Rove's denial then got five words.
On Friday night, Williams heralded how “today we heard Plame speak in public for the very first time. She told reporters in Washington she and her husband filed this lawsuit with quote, 'heavy hearts.'" Viewers then saw a clip of Plame slamming her targets: "I and my former CIA colleagues trusted our government to protect us as we did our jobs. That a few reckless individuals within the current administration betrayed that trust has been a grave disappointment to every patriotic American." (Transcripts follow.)
Valerie? Joe? Are you listening? Let me offer some well-intentioned advice. When liberal Larry O'Donnell - he of the infamous anti-Swifty meltdown - goes on Keith Olbermann's Countdown and calls your lawsuit 'very weak' and even the Olber-meister himself won't ride to your defense, it's time to fold your tent, toss in your hand, throw in the towel and quietly slink away. This has to go down as the biggest busted flush of a lawsuit-cum-publicity stunt in recent memory. What's next? Val and Tonya Harding in a pay-per-view steel cage match?
Let's put it this way. Zinedine Zidane would have a better shot suing Materrazi for bruising his forehead with his chest.
The Business Wire just reported that Valerie Plame Wilson and husband Joe Wilson have scheduled a press conference Friday to announce a lawsuit against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Karl Rove, and Vice President Dick Cheney:
Valerie Plame Wilson, Ambassador Joseph Wilson and their counsel, Christopher Wolf of Proskauer Rose LLP, will hold a news conference at 10 AM EDT on Friday, July 14 at 10:00 AM at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045, to announce the filing of a civil lawsuit against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice-President Richard Cheney and Karl Rove.
CNN's Jack Cafferty would never pass up an opportunity to attack Karl Rove, whether that means a fat joke, or in this case, painting him as a criminal, even though he did nothing wrong. On the 5pm hour of yesterday's The Situation Room, Cafferty played the clip he loves oh so much of President Bush saying he will "take care of" anyone who violated the law in the leaking of Valerie Plame's name. It turns out no one did violate the law, according to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Well, it seems this wasn't enough for Cafferty who responded "oh, please" to the tape of the President's remark. (Video link to Expose the Left after the break)
Cafferty follows his distress of Rove's occupational status with the most illogical thought on leaks, even for Jack Cafferty. The CNN anchor complained the administration thinks leaking information about a terrorist surveillance program is a threat but leaking Plame's name is not. Jack, who seemed to want it the other way around, doesn't share the news outlets who release information about national security programs may be breaking the law. Go figure.
Was it Robert Novak who jolted aficionados of the vendetta-against-Joe-Wilson conspiracy theory, or was the message coming from . . . a Higher Authority? You be the judge, after having a look at the screen capture from this evening's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC. Yes, that's a lightning bolt. No, it wasn't photo-shopped - it's the real thing.
The bolt hit while the panel was discussing the electrifying implications of Brit Hume's just-aired interview of Bob Novak. Hume questioned Novak about his disclosure of Valerie Plame's employment by the CIA. Novak had revealed Plame's employment in the course of reporting that she had recommended that her husband - Ambassador Joe Wilson - be sent to Niger to look into reports that Saddam Hussein had been seeking to acquire uranium for purposes of constructing nuclear weapons.
Over on Air America Radio on Monday, Sam Seder (Mr. FUBAR) was sitting in for Al Franken. Late in the show, he hosted the blogging artist known as Atrios, Duncan Black. Seder promised they would soon get into celebrating how Washington Post reporter Dana Priest "handed his ass" to Bill Bennett on "Meet the Press" Sunday, as we blogged yesterday.
Seder called Bennett a "bloviating gambling addict," but that charge wasn't wild enough. He then said Bennett's Book of Virtues left out the gambling, as well as "visiting a dominatrix when you're in Vegas as well," where Bennett allegedly had the dominatrix "do very, very strange odd things" to him. Is there any proof? Seder joked it would be "irresponsible as a commentator not to comment on that."
After reading the Rove non-indictment round-up by Jim Rutenberg and Neil Lewis, it would appear that that White House reporters still have Rove in their crosshairs (as one would expect, since the media is the entity who pushed for an investigation).
Mr. Bush “faced tough questions” in the press conference yesterday:
One journalist asked if the president believed that Mr. Rove owed any apologies for providing "misleading" statements about his role in the case.
…questions remain about how straightforward Mr. Rove, a deputy chief of staff, was about his own role in administration efforts to rebut a war critic — even with his own White House colleagues.
Using language which painted Karl Rove as a guilty party who succeeded at avoiding capture by authorities, not proving his innocence, in his NBC Nightly News story on Wednesday (also carried at the top of MSNBC’s Countdown) about President George W. Bush’s morning Rose Garden press conference, David Gregory asserted: “Mr. Bush dodged several questions about Karl Rove eluding prosecution in the CIA leak case.” Viewers then saw this clip of Bush: “And obviously, along with others in the White House, took a sigh of relief when he made the decision he made and now we’re going to move forward.” The Oxford Concise Dictionary, built into the Corel WordPerfect I’m using to write this, defines “elude” as “evade or escape adroitly from.” Dictionary.com offers: “To evade or escape from, as by daring, cleverness, or skill.” Their illustrative example in a sentence: “The suspect continues to elude the police.”
In America, people are innocent until proven guilty, unless of course they are Republican.
No finer example of such legal relativism has occurred in recent memory than the case of President Bush’s top advisor, Karl Rove. For months, virtually every mainstream media outlet proclaimed his guilt regarding the Valerie Plame Wilson affair, or what has been not so affectionately named the CIA-leak case.
Take for example the media’s excitement over pending indictments for Rove. This hit a fevered pitch last fall as Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, after almost two years of research, depositions, and grand jury testimonies, was about to announce his findings on October 28.
Sadly for the drive-by media, no indictments were handed down for Rove that day.
As a result, restaurateurs and bar owners around the country were likely forced to give back millions of dollars in deposits for all the “Rove is Going to Jail” parties that ended up being cancelled by disappointed Democrats coast to coast.
However, hope – which some ironically claim springs eternal – reemerged in late April when Rove appeared in front of a grand jury for the fifth time to answer more of Fitzgerald’s questions. This re-ignited a media firestorm of enthusiasm
MSNBC Countdown fill-in host Brian Unger on Tuesday night asked David Shuster about how “your sources seemed to indicate that Karl Rove would be indicted. What happened?" In fact, back on May 8, as recounted in a Tuesday NewsBusters posting, Shuster had gone beyond just citing sources and declared: “I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted.” Responding to Unger, Shuster first blamed his sources: “The defense lawyers who have witnesses in front of that grand jury, sometimes they get it wrong, and that seemed to be the case in this particular case.”
Then Shuster suggested Rove really is guilty, but prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was afraid he’d be embarrassed if he lost such a high-profile case and so pulled back. Shuster contended that with the exception of Rove’s lawyer, “all” of the lawyers involved in the case contend that in “the same circumstances all over again, somebody testifying five times before a grand jury, somebody who had the burden to stop the charges, somebody who had to testify for three and a half hours the last time, and oh, by the way, he had a classification in the Libby case that almost suggested he would certainly be indicted, the lawyers saying they would have reached the same conclusion” that he would be indicted. “The issue, they say, though, is not that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald concluded that the case was unwinnable, rather that it was not a slam dunk.” Unger presumed Fitzgerald let Rove off easy as he cited “straight arrow” Fitzgerald’s “remarkable restraint.” (Full transcript follows)
In his Tuesday World News Tonight story on how top White House adviser Karl Rove will not be indicted for perjury in the Valerie Plame case, ABC’s Jake Tapper, in a rare instance of one journalist criticizing another, actually highlighted an agenda-driven media miscue as he featured a quote showcased earlier today on NewsBusters: “The investigation has already resulted in one indictment, former White House adviser ‘Scooter' Libby. And some Democrats and some in the media wrongly predicted Rove would be next."
Viewers then a saw Web video quality clip of MSNBC’s David Shuster from the May 8 Countdown: “I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted." (Tapper, who earlier featured a soundbite from RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, then moved on to how “Democrats said while Rove may not have violated the letter of the law, he may have violated a sacred trust.")
After the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on perjury charges, rumors have circulated that President Bush’s top political adviser Karl Rove would soon be indicted as well. Today, we found out that would not be the case.
On April 27, when Karl Rove was set to testify before the grand jury for the fifth time, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante, appearing on "The Early Show" noted:
"Sources close to the case say they think that it’s almost at an end. If it is cleared up in Rove’s favor, that will be a big lift to this White House."
A big lift for the White House? You wouldn’t have known that watching "The Early Show" this morning. All that was said on the subject amounted to about 25 seconds and came from 2 anchor reads from co-host Julie Chen. In fact, the story wasn't big enough news to earn a tease or a mention at the top of the show, but at about 7:06 Chen mentioned:
An October 17, 2005 NewsBusters item I wrote recounted: CNN's Jack Cafferty, on Monday afternoon's [October 17] The Situation Room, took a cheap shot at Karl Rove's weight and expressed delight in the possibility Rove will be indicted. Just past 3pm EDT, Cafferty announced his question of the hour: “What should Karl Rove do if he is indicted?” Cafferty then answered his own question: “He might want to get measured for one of those extra large orange jump suits, Wolf, 'cause looking at old Karl, I'm not sure that he'd, they'd be able to zip him into the regular size one." Wolf Blitzer pointed out: “He's actually lost some weight. I think he's in pretty good shape." Cafferty conceded: "Oh, well then maybe just the regular off the shelf large would handle it for him." Blitzer then cautioned the indictment might not come: "Yeah, but you know, it's still a big if. It's still a big if." A giddy Cafferty replied: "Oh, I understand. I'm, I'm just hoping you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me." (Transcript follows)