A Little Something to Fight the Poison

Thursday, October 02, 2003
WELL THAT DIDN'T LAST LONG: ESPN announced that a certain big, fat, idiotic, and wholly unqualified sports commentator that it just hired has announced his resignation, effective immediately, as a result of controversy over some big, fat, idiotic, and racist comments he made the other day about black QB Donovan McNabb.

I wonder what the over/under on his resignation was? Probably a lot of winners out there...
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
SOME BASIC ARITHMETIC FOR CONSERVATIVE APOLOGISTS: The Valerie Plame Affair had some more kerosene thrown on it yesterday, when an ex-CIA agent named Larry Johnson explained on Newshour with an appropriate amount outrage that he is certain that Valerie Plame was an undercover agent because they were in the same CIA training class together. Besides providing the always heartwarming feeling of listening to someone lament that they felt "sicken[ed] to be a Republican to see this" (and rightly so), Johnson's interview should also be sufficient evidence to silence the right-wing's attempt to pooh-pooh the issue by claiming that "we're not sure if she was an undercover agent or a secretary," right?

But wait, Matt Drudge notes that The Washington Post reported in this profile that Valerie Plame is exactly 40 years old. But since Johnson claimed in his interview that Plame "has been undercover for three decades," he must be mistaken, or lying, or a body snatched tool of the Democrats, unless Plame joined the CIA when she was 10 years old.*

There's a very easy explanation--when Johnson said "three decades," he meant "since the '80s". And, no, you don't even have to ask him to explain his comments, as Andrew Sullivan suggests (Tucker Carlson also repeated this piece of spin on Crossfire this afternoon. You just have to look at Johnson's online resume, which notes--consistent with what he said in his interview--that he started at the CIA in 1985 and worked there for 4 years. If he and Plame began training at the same time, that means Plame started her CIA career at the age of 22, quite plausible if she signed up with the agency immediately after college.

So to Mr. Drudge and all of the other conservatives hoping that this isn't as bad as it looks: there's no contradiction here. And yes, it's as bad as it looks, so you're all probably better off spending time getting your "Joe Lieberman non-partisan integrity" faces ready.

*For people who follow my TV habits: shades of Project Christmas? Nah--although when Ambassador Wilson wonders "who would play his wife in the movie," I have to say that I have someone perfect who's already pretty good at playing a spy in mind...
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
SOME NOT SO NICE STUFF IS ABOUT TO HIT THE FAN for the Bush Administration in a big way. I had been wondering when we were going to revisit this, and now that the CIA has officially asked the Department of Justice to investigate Valerie Plame's outing by an as yet unnamed "top White House official," things are going to get very hot.

Thank The Washington Post's Mike Allen and Dana Priest for adding some needed fuel to the sleepy Saturday rollout of the CIA's request, by discovering a "senior administration official" who was willing to provide more specifics about the leakers.

So let me reiterate that this is no small time scandal that has been artificially created or inflated by a bored media, or cooked up by the White House's political or partisan enemies. The Valerie Plame affair is a flat-out crime almost entirely been created and disclosed by the administration or its natural political allies.

It would never have happened if Dick Cheney hadn't asked Wilson to look into the Niger uranium claim to assemble a better case on Iraq.

It would never have happened if the White House operatives in question hadn't chosen to go out of their way to try to intimidate Wilson by burning Plame with a media leak.

It would never have seen the light of day if the oh-so-left Robert Novak hadn't chosen to carry the leakers' water

It would never have gotten this far if the oh-so-left CIA had declined to ask the Department of Justice to investigate this probable Federal crime.

This is no Filegate, Travelgate, or Monicagate. It's not the Condit affair or Bush's sketchy service record. It's not about lying or splitting hairs over any number of words. It's about outing a covert intelligence agent, which is, as H.W. Bush put it succinctly, an act of treason.

Object lesson:

When those White House operatives were trying to smear Wilson by releasing Plame's name, they told a number of journalists that "the real story isn't the 16 words. The real story is Wilson and his wife."

Those bagmen probably didn't know how true those words would be. They brought it completely on themselves by willfully endangering an official servant of the United States' security interests for political gain and now they are going to pay.

Wouldn't it be Alannis-level ironic if, in the end, it turned out that we were presented with real, in living color proof, that the side guilty of committing honest-to-goodness indictable treason in the months immediately after 11/01 wasn't the left but the establishment American right?

And the left-blogosphere has rightly run this story hard. The crucial links:

-Talking Points Memo (the link is to a very handy memo by the White House's head counsel that indicates that Plame was indeed a covert agent)
-Jeff Cooper
-Mark Kleiman at Open Source Politics.

Keep it up, folks. They really deserve to be put into the stocks for this one.
EXCUSES, EXCUSES: So the computer once again fell comatose into a horrible malady--it started coughing up horrible fluids and fell into a coma around 2 weeks ago and is still in the shop. Thank goodness for external hard disks and relatively well-appointed school computer labs. But it still makes posting a pain in the butt, and between my computer issues and my obligations at the (unofficial) Wesley Clark Weblog posting hasn't been so easy. But I may be getting a new partner soon, and I have something today...