A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, July 15, 2005 :::
Let’s go back, back to the days of yesteryear, when an undistinguished former ambassador named Joe Wilson made headlines by publishing an op-ed in the New York Times claiming that he had proven that Saddam Hussein had never bought “yellow cake” uranium—whatever that is, except it is supposed to explode rather spectacularly—in the largely unnoticed country of Niger. This supposedly proved that a now-infamous 16-words in a State of the Union address by W were deliberate lies.

Several reporters discovered that the reason this partisan Democrat had been sent on an important fact finding mission by the uber-Republican Bush Administration was that his wife, a covert CIA operations director, had gotten the job for him. Bob Novak said her name, but several others had the story. Novak mentioned two administration officials he had talked to, so there grew up the story that six other journalists had been approached 2 mysterious administration officials before Novak—in this telling, a toady of any Republican—took the bait. Novak said that he had been merely doing the job for which he was so famous: calling up everyone he knew and asking questions. And he said the six journalists were a myth.

Let us remember the allegations:

1) Joe Wilson disproved that Saddam Hussein had bought yellow cake uranium.
2) Bob Novak had taken a deliberate leak from two administration officials, all of whom thereby endangered the life of an important undercover CIA-operative and who knows how many “moles” overseas.

Those were the allegations—loudly and repeatedly blasted across the media—of those calling for what they presumed was the head of Karl Rove, uber-advisor to W. No variation or rewording of those allegations is allowed in this little review of the facts. “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.”

So here we go:

As for Ambassador Wilson:

Joe Wilson said his wife had nothing to do with his appointment.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence unearthed the note in which she recommended him. Oops.

Joe Wilson said that he had inspected certain important documents concerning the potential sale.
The CIA didn’t even have those documents until 8 months after Wilson left the case. Oops.

Joe Wilson said that he proved the documents that he actually never saw were fake.
The CIA—here meaning “a group of professionals who have actually seen the documents”-- is confident that they were forgeries, and foreign intelligence agencies believe they were red herrings to pull them off the scent of the real documents, which the Italians now have. Oops.

Joe Wilson said that Cogema, the French nuclear power giant which oversaw the Nigerien “yellow cake” uranium mines, assured him that they kept close watch on the mines.
Joe Wilson forgot to ask if they kept up security after the mines were officially closed. They did not. Oops.

Joe Wilson said that Cogema assured him that they would know about any sales of “yellow cake” uranium.
When our invasion of Iraq convinced Libya to come in out of the cold, we found 100’s of tons of the stuff completely unaccounted for in Cogema’s records—presumably because it was mined after Cogema wrapped up operations in Niger. Oops.

Joe Wilson interviewed an ex-government official who said that Baghdad Bob—remember him? “Thousands of American soldiers are committing suicide before the gates of Baghdad”.--approached him while in office about a trade deal. He felt that B.B. was looking for uranium, so never met him. Joe Wilson said that this was just an assumption, and so hardly worth considering.
Niger only has two exports: uranium and goats. It is hard to imagine that Saddam needed any more goats. Actually, it is disturbing to imagine what it might mean that Saddam was looking for fresh goats, so we will just conclude that the Nigerien official knew his business, and Joe Wilson did not. Oops.

Joe Wilson presents himself as knowing Niger well, and a natural choice for the job, even though he admits he had no idea how to investigate something like this.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence unearthed more than one internal CIA document from professionals wondering how they had been saddled with this loser. Oops.

Joe Wilson said he proved that Saddam had never “bought” yellow cake uranium in Niger.
The President said “sought.”Oops. A certain pudgy balding English teacher will reveal here that he wondered to an editorial writer at the world's most important newspaper why they hadn't commented on that, and was pleased to see that they highlighted that point in their next major editorial eviscerting Amb. Wilson.

Joe Wilson dismissed the allegations as fantasy.
The intelligence agencies of Britain, France, and Italy all concur with the CIA that Baghdad Bob made his visit looking for uranium. Oops.

Now as for Karl Rove and Bob Novak:

Critics say that they both violated the law.
36 news agencies, in an amicus brief, did not hesitate to say “no underlying crime had been committed.” Oops.

Critics say that is a crime to release the names of covert operatives.
The law says clearly that it is illegal only if it is part of a pattern of disrupting intelligence operations. Oops.

Critics say that Ambassador Wilson’s wife should not have been brought into the matter at all.
She brought herself in. Moreover, the courts have consistently held that investigations into why something happened do not violate the law. Oops.

Critics say that Karl Rove and an unnamed second administration official were merely trying to discredit Wilson.
Republicans are allowed to defend themselves, although in this case they would have been better off letting Joe Wilson discredit himself. He does such a good job of it. Oops all around on that one.

Critics say that Karl Rove and his unnamed co-conspirator initiated calls to reporters.
The notes of a New York Times reporter all indicate clearly that Rove was answering a question. Oops.

Bob Novak said that he called one official to find out why a partisan hack had been sent on a sensitive mission, and then called another to confirm it.
Karl Rove has, reports indicate, testified that he had never heard of Wilson’s wife until Bob Novak mentioned her when he called to confirm the story,which is consistent with the notes from the New York Times. It also means that Rove was betraying the trust of Bob Novak, not the CIA. Oops all around on that one as well.

So there was no crime, Karl Rove initiated no smear campaign, Bob Novak was probably telling the truth in every detail, and Joe Wilson is a blowhard. Karl Rove can relax.

Anyone with 5 seconds of experience in Your Nation’s Capital knows that life here is not fair. It would be something if a blowhard partisan hack unseated one of the best political operatives this town has ever seen, but this town has seen bigger surprises than that. Not too much can be made of the President’s tepid statement about waiting for the investigation to continue, as W. is not an articulate man when surprised. Still, we will just have to see how it bounces. This longtime DC resident suspects that Mr. Rove will just have to stay in his office for a week until something of substance, or something else of no substance, grabs the public’s attention.

Still, Mr. Rove does not, in style, play a gentleman’s game, and he has acquired more than his share of real enemies, so he can expect no mercy from anyone outside his circle. “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.”

And, as a certain pudgy, balding English teacher has long maintained, it will be some special kind of irony if the only allegation made in that regrettable State of the Union address that turns out to have been true is the now infamous “16 words.”

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 12:02 PM



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