For its second season, the creators of the FX series “The Americans” have chosen a new source for insight into the Cold War during the Reagan years – one Lt. Col. Oliver North.
It's a dramatic reversal from the first season and it has infuriated some hard-leftists. The show began with the shocking promise from creator Joel Weisberg that the show’s heroes would be KGB agents: “We’re making them the sympathetic characters. I’d go so far as to say they’re the heroes.” It quickly became apparent that these characters could be unsentimental killers of innocent Americans, so perhaps that triggered a change of heart.
"As we talk about history, today marks the 6-year anniversary that Scooter Libby was convicted of lying and obstructing in the leak investigation which led to your cover as a covert CIA operative being blown," MSNBC's Thomas Roberts noted at the close of his March 6 MSNBC Live interview with Valerie Plame. "We're getting word now that he has had his voting rights restored," the MSNBC anchor added. "How do you feel, as you look back, hindsight being 20/20, about what that moment in time did to your life, where you are today?"
Plame answered that she and her husband Joe Wilson "worked really hard to rebuild our lives" and that they "wish that there had been further repercussions," because, "The whole episode is just a small example of a larger pattern of behavior that we saw under the Bush administration." But alas, speaking of history, this short exchange was a bit misleading for viewers as it was Colin Powell confidante Richard Armitage who had leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, albeit inadvertently. From CNN.com on September 8, 2006:
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie interviewed Jordan's Queen Noor and former CIA operative Valerie Plame about their effort to rid the world of all nuclear weapons: "...two women taking on a big challenge....leading an initiative called Global Zero. The goal, to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world." The headline on screen declared them to be "on a mission."
At one point, Guthrie suggested the naivety of the goal: "The counter-argument to that is, 'Wait a minute, all the bad actors in the world are racing toward more nuclear weapons. Can we really afford to do that?' Noor replied: "Well, I think if the United States and Russia, who have 90% of the world's arsenal of nuclear weapons, do continue to make the deep cuts that started during Reagan, that Obama has built up on, that President Obama now in his next term can make with the Russians, significant credible cuts in, then the rest of the nuclear states will join a process..."
Criticism for the Obama administration came from a very unlikely source Friday.
Valerie Plame, the Bush-bashing ex-CIA operative at the heart of the Scooter Libby controversy, published a Huffington Post piece titled "Why Is the U.S. Government Bullying an American Hero?" in which she absolutely excoriated the White House for its treatment of the Osama bin Laden raid autobiographer.
Fifty years from now, everyone will agree that Karl Rove committed treason by revealing the identity of CIA "spy" Valerie Plame, tea partiers shouted the N-word at a black congressman and Duke lacrosse players gang-raped a stripper. Liberals tell whopping lies, and most conservatives can't be bothered to learn history.
In the last few days, we've heard both George Will and Charles Krauthammer, otherwise intelligent people, repeating bogus Democratic talking points about how Joe McCarthy allegedly smeared innocents with false allegations.
CNN's Candy Crowley said something Sunday guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the political aisle.
Near the end of her program State of the Union, and well after a somewhat contentious interview with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) that dealt with amongst other things the recent national security leaks controversy, Crowley stated, "Usually you kind of give the President a pass on leaking confidential stuff” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
You might think that given the abysmal box office record of left-wing movies about the Iraq war that "Fair Game," a highly distorted version of the tired controversy surrounding former CIA non-agent Valerie Plame Wilson, would never have been made.
Of course, since Hollywood is dominated by leftists, economic sanity did not prevail. Economic reality did prevail, though, as "Fair Game" ended up being a total bomb. It grossed just $9.5 million domestically. Add in the international ticket sales and the fiction flick just barely managed to recoup its production budget of $22 million.
Today's Washington Post "Free for All" section included a letter to the editor from one R.E. Pound, a CIA veteran who retired after 33 years of service in 2009, some 31 years after being outed in a book as an operative. Pound took to task former CIA operative Valerie Plame for her "ludicrous" claim "that the exposure [of her identity] forced an end to her career in intelligence."
After all, Pound conducted an investigation "charged with looking into possible damage in one location caused by Valerie Plame's outing."
"There was none," Pound noted, and complained that the claims of the new "Fair Game" film "devalue the resolve of the officers who have overcome truly dangerous exposure, and they cheapen the risk from laying bare their very real achievements."
Here's the letter in full as published in the November 12 paper:
The director of the new film "Fair Game" - released Friday - is either blatantly dishonest, or astoundingly lazy. The movie, starring Sean Penn as former U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson and Naomi Watts as his embattled wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, makes a number of claims on controversial issues that are demonstrably false.
The Daily Caller's Jamie Weinstein did the legwork in demonstrating just how far from the truth some of the film's central claims are. Chief among them, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and other White House officials exerted political pressure on intelligence officials to cherrypick intelligence favorable to claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Near the end of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed actress Naomi Watts about her latest role as former CIA agent Valerie Plame in the movie 'Fair Game': "...a ripped from the headlines true story of espionage and betrayal. Naomi Watts plays former CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose life was torn apart when her cover was blown by the U.S. government."
After playing a clip from the new film, Smith briefly summarized the controversy this way: "Joe Wilson was sent by the CIA to Niger to determine whether or not yellow-cake uranium was being exported to Iraq....when [he] said no, the Bush administration said somebody's got to pay and that was Valerie Plame." Smith went on to proclaim: "...it is not only this very public story but it is also sort of the private anguish of this family....That is almost torn asunder by this."
The only way we even know the name of Valerie Plame (and fame seeking hubby Joe Wilson) is that that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage leaked her name as a CIA officer to columnist Robert Novak. That is what set in motion the long drawn out Plamegate affair in which only Scooter Libby was convicted of something other than leaking her name. So you would figure that the supposedly biographical movie scheduled for a November USA release about Plame, Fair Game, would feature Armitage front and center as the principal villain. Right? Wrong. The fact is that "Fair Game" has tossed Richard Armitage down the memory hole. The man who is responsible for the reason that any of us even know who Valerie Plame is appears nowhere in the extensive IMDB cast credits for this movie.
Of course, the aforementioned Scooter Libby (David Andrews) who did not leak her name is listed. Also listed in the cast is the Armitage-leaked name of Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts), fame seeking hubby Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), Nervous Analyst #1 (Louis Ozawa Changchien), Chauvinist Analyst (Sean Mahon), Head Paparazzo (Harry L. Seddon), Four Seasons Waitress (Satu Rautaharju), Starbucks Employee (Angela Lewis), and Turkish Embassy Guest (Marsall Factora). However, as for the person who made the "Fair Game" movie possible by leaking Valerie Plame's name, he appears nowhere in the cast credits.
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
The political thriller Fair Game premiered at Cannes today. (Pause for giant, collective yawn from Big Hollywood readers…)
The Sean Penn-Naomi Watts “starrer” (hey, it’s fun using unnecessarily awkward Variety-speak!) revisits the Valerie Plame Wilson scandal, an episode I’m not even going to bother recapping, because to do so would simply be coma-inducing for all of us. Besides, I already summed up the affair and dissected the screenplay’s political slant for Big Hollywood here. Suffice it to say, it’s a tale the Hollywood Left is hell-bent on getting Americans to care about.
As are its water-carriers in the media. In a deceptive puff piece an article last week for the Los Angeles Times, Rachel Abramowitz discusses the film and interviews its director Doug Liman. The first clue that we’re about to be sold a crockpot of hooey comes when she describes Valerie Plame as “the undercover CIA operative whose name was leaked to the media by the Bush White House in an effort to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson.”
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy appeared as a member of the show’s panel, after host Jon Scott’s introduction to the show’s first segment – which involved President Obama’s response to the underwear bomber – Kennedy characterized Scott’s introduction as sounding "like it's written by Dick Cheney in his bunker." Complaining that he was ideologically outnumbered on the panel after left-leaning panel member Judith Miller – formerly of the New York Times – was critical of Obama, Miller declared, "Now, wait a minute. I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues," prompting Kennedy to exclaim, "You went to jail to protect Dick Cheney! Come on!":
Even though conservative columnist Robert Novak was talked about and attacked many times on MSNBC's Countdown show -- especially as host Keith Olbermann frequently devoted time to the Valerie Plame case -- the MSNBC host did not take time this week to report on Novak's passing. In fact, even though he reported on Novak's hit-and-run car accident last year just before Novak's brain cancer diagnosis and portrayed him negatively, Olbermann never revisited the story to inform viewers that his illness was the likely cause of the conservative columnist's erratic behavior.
And when Olbermann launched his Countdown show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment on June 30, 2005, the very first recipient of the number one "Worst Person" dishonor was Novak, because of his role in the Valerie Plame leak case, even though the story at that point was two years old. Olbermann: "We still know what you did last summer. Well, summer before last summer." His dislike of Novak was so great, that Olbermann even included him again in the next night's "Worst Person" segment -- in the number two position -- calling him a "holdover."
The Washington Post printed Robert Novak's column about his brain tumor today, but it substantially edited the ending. The Post removed a mean-spirited quote from Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame attacking Novak that appeared in the version distributed by Creators Syndicate.
There are mad bloggers who profess to take delight in my distress, but there's no need to pay them attention in the face of such an outpouring of good will for me. I had thought 51 years of rough-and-tumble journalism in Washington made me more enemies than friends, but my recent experience suggests the opposite may be the case.
But Joe and Valerie Wilson, attempting to breathe life into the Valerie Plame "scandal," issued this statement: "We have long argued that responsible adults should take Novak's typewriter away. The time has arrived for them to also take away the keys to his Corvette."
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, after discussing Scott McClellan's views on invading Iraq with FNC contributor Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly turned the discussion to McClellan's comments on Rove's role in the CIA leak probe. Rove complained that while the media were obsessed with him during the investigation, Richard Armitage, who was the actual leaker, was virtually ignored, and argued that if Armitage had publicly admitted earlier that he had leaked Valerie Plame's identity, "this would have all gone away. You'll notice when it came out that Richard Armitage was the source of the leak, the media rapidly lost attention." Rove also accused Joe Wilson of making untrue claims about his trip to Niger.
After playing a clip of McClellan from his Today show interview in which he complained that Rove and Scooter Libby had claimed they were not involved in the leak, Rove contended that it was Armitage who leaked Plame's identity: "The identity of Valerie Plame was leaked to Robert Novak by Richard Armitage. What I told Scott was I didn't know her name, didn't reveal her name, didn't reveal, didn't know what she did at the CIA, and that I wasn't the source for the leak." (Transcript follows)
The US media seems to think that their job description includes deciding what information is and is not legal to leak and print- never mind that we elect Presidents, Senators and Representatives to do this, not members of the scribbling class. This arrogance and complete lack of care for their fellow Americans was famously demonstrated in the NSA and SWIFT banking exposes by the New York Times resident anti-Americans, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.
However, these are not the only such cases. Recently, Risen has once again exposed classified data with the aid of hidden law-breakers in the government. In this case, Risen exposed a CIA-Mossad operation to destabilize Iran. Risen has been subpoenaed by a federal court to reveal who gave him this data, but predictably, he sees his mission of aiding America's enemies and assisting said enemies to kill American citizens as more important that assisting the government to uphold laws about leaking sensitive information. And equally predictably, the rest of the mainstream media is rallying to his defense. Haaretz, an Israeli news source, reported on the topic today, casting Risen in the role of victim.
Liberal hack CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen is at it again, resharpening his knives for former Bush adviser Karl Rove. In a February 26 Couric & Co. blog post at CBSNews.com, Cohen pointed back to Sunday's "60 Minutes" story alleging malfeasance on Rove's part in urging the federal prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D).
Yet for a man trained in the law and supposedly concerned with the discovery of truth in open court, Cohen erroneously smeared Rove with responsibility for the Valerie Plame leak:
Former White House advisor Karl Rove has made a career out of “smearing” his political opponents. Just ask Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame. Indeed, a litany of Rove’s targets would fill up the rest of the column. So why is this smear different from all other smears?
Update (17:35): Paul Colford with AP e-mailed me with an updated obit posted at 14:40 EST that had more information. See more at bottom of the post.
Philip Agee, a leftist who exposed fellow CIA operatives by name in a book he published in the 1970s has died in Cuba. Agee's perfidy was one reason Congress in 1982 passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. If that doesn't ring a bell, that's precisely the law that Bush administration critics charged Karl Rove and/or Scooter Libby violated in the "outing" of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Yet while the Plame case was a media obsession for roughtly four years, the AP's Will Weissert buried that detail deep in its January 9 obituary. What's more, the wire service practically painted Agee's defection to Cuba as retirement from CIA work to the private sector:
CNN’s John Roberts conducted a softball interview with Joe Wilson on Wednesday’s "American Morning," based upon the claim by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan that he had "unknowingly passed along false information" about the roles of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame "leak." McClellan made the claim in his upcoming book, and further stated that "Rove, Libby, the Vice President [Dick Cheney], the president’s chief of staff [Andrew Card at the time], and the president himself" were "involved" in this "misleading," as Roberts put it.
Roberts first asked Wilson (who was falsely identified as the "former U.S. ambassador to Iraq," when Wilson actually worked as Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq from 1988-1991, and as ambassador to Gabon from 1992 to 1995) for his response to McClellan’s statement. Wilson responded that the statement ‘advances the narrative a bit" about Vice President Cheney’s involvement in the "leak,"and proposed that President Bush was "either completely out of touch, or he's an accessory to obstruction of justice, both before the fact and after the fact" in the matter.
What do you do when your heavily hyped book plummets from number 6 on the New York Times bestseller list to a mere 299 on Amazon.com in just a matter of a few weeks? If you're Valerie Plame, you turn to discredited "journalist" Jason Leopold for self-hype help as you can see in this video. Howard Kurtz has written of Leopold's dubious background in a March 9, 2005 Washington Post article:
Jason Leopold got a journalistic black eye three years ago when Salon retracted a story the freelancer had written about a Bush administration official, saying it could not authenticate the piece.
Now the former Los Angeles Times and Dow Jones reporter has written a book, "Off the Record," that criticizes journalists as lazy. Oh, and by the way, Leopold says he engaged in "lying, cheating and backstabbing," is a former cocaine addict, served time for grand larceny, repeatedly tried to kill himself and has battled mental illness his whole life.
On Sunday's "Late Edition," CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage about his role in accidentally leaking that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, an event often ignored as most media coverage has focused on Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. While Armitage agreed with Plame's contention that what he did was "very foolish," he also argued that he believed her status not to be covert because he had "never seen, ever, in 43 years of having a security clearance, a covert operative's name in a memo." When asked by Blitzer if he had assumed that she was "just an analyst" at the CIA, Armitage responded: "That's what it, not only assumed it, that's what the message said, and she was publicly chairing, chairing a meeting." (Transcript follows)
With a little help from Joe Scarborough, Valerie Plame Wilson tried this morning to paint herself as someone who, far from seeking "Vanity Fair" fame, had celebrity thrust upon her in a moment of distraction. Right.
And try this quick quiz:
Q. Is it possible to get through an extended interview of Valerie Plame Wilson without mentioning Richard Armitage?
In her interview tour of left-wing, Bush-hating Web sites, Valerie Plame threw a bone to Firedoglake (the one that refers to Joe Lieberman as "Rape Gurney Joe" for not forcing Catholic hospitals to provide "emergency contraception" for rape victims). She also granted one to BuzzFlash.com, which just this week awarded its "Wings of Justice" Award to Pete "Bush Is Amused by Soldiers Dying" Stark. She amused them with lines like "I want a t-shirt that says, 'I was slimed by the Republican administration.' You can make a lot of money on that."
But the really interesting section of the interview is her continuing hatred for The Washington Post. (On NBC and elsewhere, she compared the Post editorialists to Pravda, the hoary state propaganda newspaper of the Soviet Union.) Here, the BuzzFlash guru and Plame take turns bashing the Post:
For years now, Valerie Plame has been the toast of the liberal glitterati, a celebrated combat specialist against the Vast Bush Conspiracy. Every move the former CIA employee has made has oozed political and commercial calculation. She struck a book deal with Simon & Schuster worth more than $2 million. She struck a movie deal based on the book deal with Warner Brothers for millions more, so she can be played as a patriotic heroine on the silver screen by Nicole Kidman or Naomi Watts. How many millions more? Two million? Five million? Don’t wait for the media to ask. They're too busy playing her as victimized.
In the Clinton years, any opponent in a Clinton scandal was assumed to be overwhelmed with greed, desperate to get an agent and make millions with lies about the president, to sell "trash for cash." Since she's been encouraged to wage political war by Hillary Clinton, none of these assumptions have been applied to Valerie Plame, or her husband, Joe Wilson. Here’s a rundown of the Plame interviews and the number of questions about the Wilsons making millions:
Valerie Plame (wife of serial anti-war misleader Joe Wilson) has just published "Fair Game," the biography of her life before and after columnist Robert Novak "outed" her as a "CIA operative" in a column in 2003, starting a domino effect that made her and her husband heroes of the antiwar movement and the media, including the New York Times.
Times critic Janet Maslin's review Monday neither questioned Plame's story nor raised a single inconvenient truth.
"Needless to say, the story of how her career was derailed and her C.I.A. cover blown also has its combative side. But the real proof of Ms. Wilson's fighting spirit is the form in which her version of events has been brought into the light of day. 'Anyone not living in a cave for the last few years knew I had a career at the C.I.A.,' writes Ms. Wilson (who has gone by that name since she married former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in 1998). Once that career was destroyed, she wrote this account of her experiences as a means of both supporting herself and settling scores. She was contractually obligated to submit a draft of the book to the Central Intelligence Agency's Publications Review Board. That draft came back heavily expurgated. She was then expected to rewrite her book so that it made sense despite many deletions."
Meredith Vieira on Monday's "Today" show, like Katie Couric on Sunday's "60 Minutes," offered a sympathetic venue to Valerie Plame Wilson, but unlike Couric, her replacement pointed out how the leaker of Plame's name was not a White House operative with a vendetta against Plame's husband and quoted an editorial that contended Plame's outing was her husband's fault.
Vieira began the interview by prompting Plame to explain her perception of “four-and-a-half years of character assassination.” When Plame said she felt “betrayal,” Vieira suggested: “By the President himself?” Vieira also invited Plame to denounce the supposed “beating of the drums” about Iran, “a lot of the rhetoric that you heard leading up to Iraq from the President and from the Vice President,” and wondered: “Do you believe what happened in Iraq could possibly happen in Iran? Do you believe we are headed toward war in Iran?”
Both CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric and "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith portrayed Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson, as innocent victims, even though Plame admitted to being "partisan" in a "60 Minutes" interview with Couric on Sunday.
On Friday’s "Early Show," Smith opened a segment previewing the upcoming interview by explaining that, "Valerie Plame spent nearly 20 years in the shadows of the CIA. Then suddenly, she became a public figure." He later played a clip of the interview in which Couric exclaimed how "18 years of meticulously crafted cover were gone in an instant." Strangely there was no mention of the "Vanity Fair" photo op that Plame and her husband posed for, which Couric asked about in the "60 Minutes" interview: