Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Their Lips Were Moving 

We are grateful to our distinguished colleagues Peter of LoneTree (at BlondeSense) and Melissa (at Shakespeare's Sister) for plucking from the ether an item we missed last week, in which Daily Kos diarist Economaniac offers what is to us an entirely new take on the Plame case:
Since the CIA was shooting down reasons for war as fast as Chalabi could make them up, the Bushies (paticularly Cheney and Rumsfeld) set up the Office of Special Plans at DOD to "stovepipe" the good stuff and package it for public and international consumption. There were reports of "war" within the intelligence community between the CIA regulars and the prowar DOD. Plame was a top CIA WMD analyst. She was one of the generals on the other side . . . .

Wilson's story started to reach the public in early June when it was reported that the CIA had a negative report on the now discredited Niger memos a year earlier. It blew up in early July when Wilson went public, and Novak published his column outing Plame on July 14 - Mission to Niger.

At the time the administration was flush with success and still confident that they would find illegal weapons. They were sorting Washington into good guys (who supported the war) and bad guys (who questioned it). When Wilson came up they asked around "Who is this guy" and learned he was married to a CIA WMD analyst. That made him a bad guy, so they share the news with Novak, as a way of discrediting Wilson. It wasn't about retaliation, it was about tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the antiwar faction at CIA. The White House knows Plame as an analyst who refused to support their prowar view. They have been fighting these internal battles for months; now that they have won the war those Saddam lovers are out. I doubt anyone even thought about her being covert . . . .

So when Patrick Fitzgerald shows up to investigate the outing of a CIA operative, the White House folks have a problem. They can hardly explain that they inadvertently outed an agent because they wanted to link Wilson to a faction at CIA that thought there were no WMD because, well, that would mean the White House had manufactured intelligence to take us into an unnecessary and increasingly unpopular war. After all they were now blaming CIA for OVERstating the threat from Iraq's WMD.

What did they tell Fitzgerald's investigators? What was their Grand Jury testimony. Bet it was pretty hard to come up with a consistent story that wasn't a political disaster. How many lied?

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