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Tuesday, September 30, 2003
By Steven Taylor

Andrew Sullivan’s post on his basic position on the Plame story fits my own quite well:

I’m not downplaying the gravity of this Wilson/Plame affair. I’ve already said that if someone leaked the name of an undercover agent, he/she should be fired and prosecuted. If true, it’s appalling. I’m just mystified by many details, I’m suspicious of multiple agendas swirling around, and think we know very little that’s categorical at this stage. This isn’t like the Trent Lott affair, when all the facts were available from day one. It’s murkier and, I’ll bet, will get murkier still. So let’s wait and see what comes out. Okay?

Indeed.

I agree that the person who leaked the information should be fired, and prosecuted if appropriate. The main thing I continue to want to know is: what was/is Plame’s exact status vis-a-vis this story and what damage was done? Before we can determine what the punishment should be, it would be nice to know exactly what harm was done. The law in question was written to protect peoples’ lives. Were lives threatened by this? Were precious intelligence sources compromised? Was this just inconvenient? It is impossible to know at this point.

Defenders of the administration shouldn’t be dismissive, but those scraping for a fight have to realize that this is hardly Watergate. Or do people really think that this goes to the President? It seems rather unlikely, quite frankly.

I will grant, if Karl Rove was in fact involved, that would be major. However, there is no evidence there, either, save for Wilson’s accusations, which hardly constitute anything approximating hard data. Indeed, from the very beginning I have thought that part of what turned this all into a feeding frenzy for those wishing political harm on the Bush administration was the whiff of a possibility that they could take down Rove, who is clearly one of the Democrat’s least favorite administration figures. The politics go further, in fact, because the situation gives them the chance to criticize the DoJ, and another of their least favorite types: John Ashcroft.

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4 Responses to “Final Plame Post of the Night (I Think!)”

  1. JohnC Says:

    As I said, I think it’s just the first shot across the bow.

    GW doesn’t have to be part of the original crime to be in the legal cross hairs, he just had to do nothing since July when the CIA first notified Justice that this was a crime. And then do nothing again when they were notified three weeks ago that it was not only a crime, but it damaged national security.

    And I’m pretty sure that’s precisely what they all did.

    Really, you have to simply admire the simplicity of the trap.

  2. Steven Says:

    JohnC,

    Do you really think that the President (any Presdient, not just this one) is aware of all (indeed, any) of the referrals to DoJ? This is hardly the case.

    And I really don’t see a “trap”–for whom set by whom to do what?

  3. JadeGold Says:

    Frankly, I don’t believe Dubya knows what day of the week it is; all he likely knows is it’s another day to read a fundraising speech somebody’s given him. If he rreads it well and doesn’t screw up to many words, Karl Rove will let him play Nintendo tonight and have beer and pretzels.

    But the fact is the WH political arm has been intimately involved in this story since at least 14 July 03. What Steven is pretending not to know is the fact that every national politician is in full campaign mode every day. As such, these politicians are very aware of not just what people are saying about their potential opponents but also what people are saying about them. For Steven to claim Dubya hasn’t been aware of at least the possibility of a CIA or an FBI investigation WRT this story is simply absurd.

    Again, this WH has known since at least 14 Jul 03 that someone on their senior staff has committed a crime. A crime which has national security implications.

  4. JohnC Says:

    Well, if the defense is “I was out of the loop”, then I’m just going to have to laugh. Over the last 24 hours it’s become abundantly clear that the CIA does have something solid. All the “oh, she’s just an analyst, not an operative” lines are pretty much completely trashed.

    I know you’re just being open minded, but I think you’re forgetting who is involved in all this. Maybe the President won’t resign because of this, but pretty much everyone else likely will in that case.

    But I wouldn’t count out the very real possibility that GW’s neck will be caught in this noose.


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