Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Joe Wilson

This drawing, included in a patent application, shows how an inflatable space shield could help a satellite evade detection. Observers believe the satellite known as Misty may have used such a shield (MSNBC)

The distant ringing sound you just heard was the death knell on the Rove story. The LA Times is now asking, "If Karl Rove was source No. 2, who was source No. 1?"

For those not practiced in the partisan ways of the LA Dog Trainer Times, this basically translates to, "Like a slippery eel, the diabolical Rove has escaped our grasp; therefore, who else in the administration could we nail to the wall?"

The Democrats were so close they could taste it. And, once again, they've been stymied - with the door slammed shut in their faces at the very last moment. The key question remains: what secret is Judith Miller still holding dear, now that Rove is out of the picture?

If the MSM/DNC is so concerned about national security leaks, perhaps they could investigate the following incident, which makes the Plame affair look as significant as a dropped jalapeño at the Texas State Chili Cook-Off.

Late last year, the AP reported that the Justice Department had been asked to investigate the disclosure of classified information regarding a "stealth US spy satellite program."

Four Democratic senators had gone public with details of the highly sensitive program: Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), ostensibly because they were concerned about its cost:

...last month, several U.S. senators openly blew the whistle on a mystery spy satellite program, critical of its high cost... One lawmaker, Jay D. Rockefeller, D-W.V., the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, openly criticized the program on the Senate floor. He said the program "is totally unjustified and very wasteful and dangerous to national security," adding that he has voted to terminate the program for two years, with no success.

There is now a delicate dance under way between issues of national security and open public scrutiny about taxpayer dollars being spent wisely or squandered. Meanwhile, the swirl of secrecy seems to be revolving around a top-secret "stealthy" satellite project, code-named Misty...

If that's not bad enough, perhaps the Democrats could investigate reports of a more serious outing incident that makes the Plame affair looking positively trivial in comparison:

...April 11th of this year, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, during the questioning of John Bolton, who's Bush's nominee to be ambassador to the UN, Senator Kerry said this.

KERRY: Could I just take one moment, 30 seconds, Mr. Chairman? This is reading from Mr. Flights' interview where he says, "Did Otto Reich share his belief that Fulton Armstrong should be removed from his position?" The answer is yes. Did John Bolton share that view? Mr. Flight said yes.

BOLTON: As I said, I had lost confidence in "Mr. Smith" and I conveyed that. I thought that was the honest thing to do.

What you just heard here was John Kerry blowing the cover of a CIA operative in his zeal to attack John Bolton. He identified him by name. This is exactly what Rove is accused of doing and didn't do. Here is John Kerry actually having done it.

I won't hold my breath waiting for Democrats to call for investigations into either of these incidents, which appear far more damaging to the national interest than anything related to Plame.


Clifford May, writing in the National Review Online, has a theory about who outed Wilson's wife. First, let's review what Novak actually said:

"Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction..."

No mention of working undercover, right? So if Novak didn't reveal Plame's supposed status as a NOC, who did? May believes that evidence suggests it was Joe Wilson himself:

The first reference to Plame being a secret agent appears in The Nation, in an article by David Corn published July 16, 2003, just two days after Novak’s column appeared. It carried this lead: “Did Bush officials blow the cover of a U.S. intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security — and break the law — in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?”

Since Novak did not report that Plame was “working covertly” how did Corn know that’s what she had been doing?

...Corn... claims that Wilson “will not confirm nor deny that his wife …works for the CIA.” Corn adds: “But let’s assume she does. That would seem to mean that the Bush administration has screwed one of its own top-secret operatives in order to punish Wilson …”

On what basis could Corn “assume” that Plame was not only working covertly but was actually a “top-secret” operative? And where did Corn get the idea that Plame had been “outed” in order to punish Wilson? That is not suggested by anything in the Novak column...

The likely answer: The allegation that someone in the administration leaked to Novak as a way to punish Wilson was made by Wilson — to Corn. But Corn, rather than quote Wilson, puts the idea forward as his own...

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