"On Topic" With Doug Krile

Sunday, July 31, 2005

FBI Agent Warned About Illegality of Rendition

A supervisory FBI agent assigned to Guantanamo wrote a memo to his superiors warning of the illegality of its rendition plans, writes Michael Isikoff of Newsweek in an exclusive.

This memo appears to be the first that directly questions the legal premises of the Bush administration policy of "extraordinary rendition"—a secret program under which terror suspects are transferred to foreign countries that have been widely criticized for practicing torture.


This is one to watch.

Leaked e-mails claim Gitmo trials rigged

Prosecutor e-mails portray trials as 'rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence.'


Hate to Start Your Sunday Off....

On a bad note, but, this is simply unbelievable.

Protesting A Marine's Funeral
Almost nothing gets lower than this group of loony asshats.

The Forum

Moorhead (MN) police are bracing for the arrival of members from a controversial Kansas church who plan to picket the funeral of slain Moorhead Marine Sgt. Bryan Opskar on Tuesday.


Friday, July 29, 2005

July Becomes August

Let's do the on-air blogs from today's WB42 5:30 Report with Doug Krile. Arkansas' Vic Snyder was among 15 democrats who voted in favor of CAFTA. Party leaders are not happy and are looking for ways to punish them. The blogger agrees with that tact, saying:
why should Democrats who undermine their party be given plum committee assignments over other, far more loyal and principled Democrats?

The second blog follows up on a blog from yesterday - Tom Delay's addition of $1.5 Billion added to the energy bill AFTER conference debate had ended! Today, with politicians saying there was nothing "sweetheart" about the deal, the blogger finds a media report that indicates the primary beneficiary has known the money was coming.
The Sugar Land-based Texas Energy Center has been counting on this source of funding ever since it was established two years ago

Bonus Blogs

Just simple links:
Bill Frist does a flip-flop over stem cells. The right (particularly the conservative religious right) is not happy.

Here's a great piece that shows how you can twist a story by finding numbers to meet your needs.

Another good example of how bloggers have gotten good at pulling the pieces together on an issue. In this case, the environment and the heat wave.

And the Arkansas Times blog this interesting take on the 15 Democrats who voted in favor of CAFTA. See also our FIRST blog today.

And - could this be the start of a trend? California rejects voting machines. Error rates too high, they say. Wonder where the first legal challenge of an election will be in an area that DOES use the same machines.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Getting Closer to the Weekend

We're on the downhill run to the weekend. And that feels really good! Let's get rolling with the on-air blogs we mentioned today on The WB42 5:30 Report with Doug Krile.

We kicked off the blog segment with this blogger who has the latest on the re-appearance of Mr. Chalabi. You remember him, don't you? He reportedly fed the U.S. government all the information about the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. The blogger says Chalabi is back:
As Deputy Prime Minister, Chalabi is the chairman of the Iraq energy council which regulates contracts. His nephew is the finance minister.If the disasters on the ground don't worry you about the chances of success in Iraq, Chalabi and his cronies ought to make everyone very concerned.

Our second blogger hails from the Left and goes after Right-Wing bloggers who support the War in Iraq. He minces no words:
The war cheerleaders still can't match words with deeds. The war preachers, war pundits, war politicians, and 101st Fighting Keyboardists all talk a good game, but they're not rushing to elist, and very, very few are uring their followers and readers to enlist.

More coming this evening.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Brief Break in the Heatwave

Hope you get one, too! Our on-air blogging today for The WB42 5:30 REport with Doug Krile focused on money. The first blogger has a leaked report that shows how the Army is trying to respond to reports that soldiers injured in Iraq haven't been paid!
The audit is proof that the Army is taking steps to address the problem, but this leaked report paints a grim picture of a broken system and a military support infrastructure unprepared for the crush of wounded and injured. It also notes that efforts to move rear-support units to the front lines, and replace those support jobs with civilians, isn't going so well.

And, then, there is YOUR money. Your tax dollars. And an $80 Billion Energy Bill that seems to be just chock full of pork. So much that committee members can't even tell you what some of the projects ARE. But they went ahead and approved them. Go figure.

And, just to give you something to talk about with friends, family and foes - lots of blogger chatting about this story. Top pay for top WH aides has mushroomed. I'll save the actual $$$$ for the story. Click and read. Guess they're all doing a great job, aren't they?!?!

UPDATE: The Energy Bill issue just got much more interesting, thanks to Tom Delay. Did he really slide a $1.5 BILLION private fund into the Energy Bill? After the conference was closed? And, with this caveat?:
The $1.5 billion won’t be administered by the government by a private consortium in DeLay’s district.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Still Hot. Still Humid. Still Blogging.

Our on-air blogs from The 5:30 Report on KWBF both deal with Iraq. The first questions a couple of recent press releases from the U.S. military. The blogger says the same quotes are showing up in both and wonders -
Either the unidentified Iraqi has memorized his speech, or the Army's PR team is recycling quotes, which may or may have originated with an actual Iraqi. Strangely, the words echo language frequently employed by President Bush.

Our second blogger is also an official member of the White House Press Corp. His analysis of what's being said at those daily "gaggles" is most interesting.
Bonus Blogs

Care to know the truth about the readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces? Click and read. It is NOT a pretty picture.

It's all about Iraq - how's daily life for most folks? Don't mean to repeat myself, but it's NOT a pretty picture. And it can hardly be called progress.

Just one more. How about Iraq's proposed constituion? Have you read much about it? The blogger has. And he asks:
Who would have thought that women would have had MORE rights under Saddam than under the US sponsored new government?


Monday, July 25, 2005

Monday Musings and the Blogosphere Hot Spots

My gosh, but it's hot around here! Kept seeing Little Rock pop up on the cable nets today as one of the places with really unbearable heat. I'd rather that NOT be our claim to fame, but we will live with it for a few more days. I hope it's only a few more.

Blogs today. From the 5:30 Report with Doug Krile. This one grew out of the Sunday Talk Shows and still has legs today. It all has to do with a 12 hour lag (lead time) that Alberto Gonzalez appears to have given the White House when the Valerie Plame situation first broke. The blogger points out that:
Bob Schieffer noted yesterday that the 12-hour window gave people time to shred documents and do any number of things.

And, from the other side of the political stage, a viable question about another possible security breech. Why isn't this (reported by Newsmax) getting much media coverage:
The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into whether Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Jay Rockefeller and Ron Wyden leaked details about a secret black ops CIA satellite program last December in a move that may have seriously compromised national security.

Bonus Blogs

The President's Supreme Court nominee - would he rule on certain "personal" issues? Would he recuse himself? Seems that's what he may have said recently.

The Plame Outing: Bloomberg is reporting more "false statements" perhaps.

Think Progress has done some deep thinking to come up with this long list of what the White House hid vs what we later learned.

And, now, Good links to multiple sources of information. Kudos again to Think Progress.

And, we couldn't let a day go by without pointing you to something about the Iraq War. Good think piece here. How close is Civil War?


Sunday, July 24, 2005

  From the Arkansas Times Blog.  I did not get email they talk about.  But, as they say, it should be read.

WB 42


  Good work by AmericaBlog.  Keep this one in mind.  We should be hearing much more about it.


Two points to Frank Rich for resuscitating an issue that I knew about, then forgot about. Namely, that then- White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez knew about the Justice Department investigation of the Valerie Plame leak but then didn't ask the White House staff to preserve all evidence until 12 hours later. In the mean time, he told Andy Card, White House chief of staff about it.


Conspiracy Theories and 9/11


This is a little "on the edge" - conspiracy theories and all - but it WILL give you something to talk about with friends, family and foes.


Conspiracy theories implicating president aired at 8-hour hearing The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 07/23/05 Washington — "Revisiting the issue that helped spur her ouster from Congress three years ago, Rep. Cynthia McKinney led a Capitol Hill hearing Friday on whether the Bush administration was involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wal-Mart Tried. And Failed. At least in Corporate Eyes

Oh, this doesn't look good.  For Wal-Mart.



I'd say This is Another Must Read

  How much longer can this go on? It's not just the quote below. It's the entire story. Click. And read.  It's worth it.



This Could be Bad. Really Bad

 I'm trying to see how this information can stay out of the MSM.  Only way is if the photos, etc are NEVER released.  AmericaBlog reports this way:


Friday, July 22, 2005

One Final Point

Okay, friends. Give Daily Kos some credit. He's stayed on these stories. And he should. There is something wrong. Very wrong. With this. Read. Comment. It's all open for you.


Rove Stays on the Front Page. And HOW!

  Okay, folks. Sneak peak at tomorrow morning's big-city headlines:


Update on Rove Testimony

  AmericaBlog says:

Very good.

Good AP story on the RoveGate hearings today


Those New Pictures From the Prisons

Remember those pictures from the Abu Ghraib prison? No, not the first batch. The ADDITIONAL ones that the government was ordered to release by today. It didn't happen. Follow this link to read why. Try ANY argument. That's the ticket.


Excellent update about RoveGate over at Kos

 AmericaBlog writes:


TGIF at the 5:30 Report

The bloggers have been busy today. Very busy. Take what you read with the usual caveat - you don't really know the source. But, in many cases, these bloggers are scooping the mainstream media. Take a look at how both worked together this week in keeping all of us updated on the Karl Rove story.

With that in mind, let's roll out the on-air blogs we mentioned today. A very ugly and unsettling picture is being painted by relatives of some U.S. military personnel in Iraq. The blogger has a letter. Actually, a couple of them. Here's a quote:
My son in law in Iraq said they are being pressured round the clock to re-enlist or face stop loss. They are being offering $30,000 tax free signing bonus, and told if they don't re-enlist they are going to be Stop Lossed and get zero dollars. They are pushing the troops round the clock to re-enlist. Mark got only three hours sleep in 48 hours but when he got back he was again faced with re-enlisting. Mark said many guys are scared and are signing up, and their families at home are very upset -- for good reason.

I'll direct you to a couple of last night's updates (scroll down the page a bit), but want to add this to update that adds information about ANOTHER big article. This time, it's the NY Times on the Rove story.

Here's your weekend reading assignment. It's going to be really hot in most parts of the United States. Especially, here in the South, where we are. Follow the link from this blogger. Print the article about our Middle East involvement. Take it out on the deck with a cool drink. A BIG, cool, drink. Read it. And learn. Or click the comments and argue about it. The blogger says:
Just about all thats needed to know is in this article. This should be the bible of why were in the mess that we find ourselves in today.The author, W. Patrick Lang, was on the panel today at the hearing regarding Public Disclosure of Covert Agents.Col. Lang is president of Global Resources, Inc. and former defense intelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Friday history lesson. Bloggers with archives can be valuable. Oh, the wheels do turn slowly. It's the CIA/Rove story. Two years ago. And today. Have we moved at all?

And, here's your weekend worry to consider. Iran. Attack. We use nukes. Remember the stories about how we were moving military resources into the area? This is the latest. As the bloggers say. Scary. If true.

And, one final "Rove Connection" link. Ari Fleischer's name is coming up more and more frequently in the Rove stories. The problem is - his story seems to be changing:
Coming soon: Fleischers lawyer explains how one can peruse a document without actually seeing it.

And, can somebody tell me how extending Daylight Savings Time another month will save energy? The argument is that we won't have to heat our homes as much in the winter. What about running the doggone air conditioner more in the extended summer?!?!?


Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Others Saw it, Too

 Looks like the word is spreading. 

Operation Save Rove's Ass is about to be dealt another serious blow, as their flanking attack with Roberts was at best a minor diversion. Roberts proved to lack in the, what would you call it, "Ann Coulter factor". Democrats took a look at him, saw a conservative but not the worst kind, and said, "we'll get to him in September". Not much for the press to dig into, really.

The Rovians didn't count on another fact -- that most news organizations have more than one reporter. So they could assign one to cover Roberts, and a second to continue digging on the Rove affair. And Roberts or no Roberts, the Plame Affair is still one juicy story.

If Olberman and Raw Story are right, the real fireworks are about to begin.

First of all, Olberman is saying that state department memo was more obviously "secret" than previously thought.

Olberman reporting that there will be a piece in WSJ tommorow stating that the Memo was marked "Top Secret", and that it was not to be shared with other nation's intellegence agencies, no matter how how friendly.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News supposedly has the bombshell of bombshells:

Bloomberg News has slotted a story alleging that senior Bush advisor Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff 'Scooter' Libby provided false testimony to the special prosecutor to a Washington-based grand jury, RAW STORY has learned.

The story is expected to hit after midnight, when Bloomberg typically moves stories.

Patrick Fitzgerald, the Chicago special prosecutor appointed to investigate the outing of former covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson, may also be looking at whether other crimes -- such as perjury, obstruction of justice or leaking classified information -- were committed.

What will the children think? It's not the blowjob endangering national security by outing an undercover CIA agent, but the lies about it!

Actually, it is the national security thing. The lies are just the icinig on the cake.

Update: Think Progress has the Bloomberg piece.

Two top White House aides have given accounts to the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to persons familiar with the case.

Lewis ?Scooter'? Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney?s chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn?t tell Libby of Plame?s identity.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame?s name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor.

These discrepancies may be important because one issue Fitzgerald is investigating is whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation.

The dam is about to break


Much to Update

All of it Karl Rove-related. First, I just watched Countdown on MSNBC - The Wall Street Journal is set to come out with a story Friday morning that says, in addition to other things, that the memo in question was marked not just Secret, but Top Secret.
And, it looks like Bloomberg is kicking it up a notch.

Plus, for some fun, consider this from the White House Press Briefing today. You honestly have to feel just a bit sorry for McClellan. You really do.


Thursday Show Blogs - Let the Linkage Begin

Obviously, we mentioned the latest London explosions in today's show, but really focused more on Roberts, Rove and Reporters. Our first blog noted that the White House didn't get the Rove story off the front page the way they had reportedly hoped to do, by announcing the Roberts nomination. In the blogger's words:
I think Roberts might have been the shortest diversion in history.

Our second on-air blog features a letter signed by a number of former CIA agents. They don't paint a very supportive picture of what's been happening to Valerie Plame:
The disclosure of Ms. Plames name was a shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, may have damaged U.S. national security and poses a threat to the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources.


Iran. What a great country. Executing two teenagers. Why? Because they were gay.

Next door, in Iraq, we're getting conflicting reports on the rebuilding of Fallujah. This report says things are bad. However, a CNN report we're airing as part of the Ten O'Clock Report on KYPX tonight says things are getting better.

And then, there is this from Arianna Huffington. She's coming down hard on the American media.
Its like a pair of blinders has been removed and Im suddenly seeing for myself what Ive long known to be the case: just how sanitized a version of the war the American mainstream media are delivering, and how little of even this cleaned-up coverage we get.

It's not ALL bad. Here's a story about a new drug that could target cancer and many viruses. How big a deal could this be? It sounds pretty big:
The drug, Tarvacin, is in the early testing stages. So far, it has shown promising results against cancer in mice and against at least two viruses, including one that causes a kind of hemorrhagic fever related to the deadly Ebola.

If you are really into details, here's a link to the full, detailed, GOP background and talking points on Justice nominee, John Roberts.

And to leave you with something to think about, consider this simple question.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wednesday's Show Blogs (Plus Bonus Blogging)

Lots of information for you to sort through tonight. Honestly, make sure you read down to the Bonus Blogs. There is some very interesting commentary that arrived too late for the 5:30 Report. Not that what we talk about on the air isn't worthwhile. We certainly think it's worth your time. We did the legwork. Lots of links if you follow that link. Here's the point of our first blog - The topic: The Roberts Nomination:
I think Bush made a great choice. By nominating Judge Roberts, the conservative base is galvanized, and while we'll see some grandstanding from the Democrats, they won't be able to block this nominee. Conservatives are happy tonight. The American people and the Constitution are also big winners tonight.

Lots of Washington chatter that the Nomination announcement was hurried, to push the Karl Rove controversy into the background. Just to keep you informed, there IS some new news about Rove. The blogosphere is making sure we don't lose sight of that topic:
Murray Waas is breaking another story about Karl Rove, and why grand jury investigators believe Rove didn't tell the truth in the first interview....when he claimed, as we wrote here, that he learned of Valerie Plame's identity from a journalist, but he couldn't remember which one.


We posted this link in a separate post earlier today, but it bears repeating. The blogger digs up a Bush quote from 2001. Go and read. The blogger says:
I was thinking of this very quote on the way home yesterday and made a mental note to look it up. That "even the appearance" crap is where Bush has totally failed in this regard. He's now become Clinton at his worst. Haggle over words, debate the definition of "treason." Amazing. The Bush administration has become what is was elected to replace.

Now, more on the Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court. The first question should be...? Abortion. Click the link to find out why.

Guess what? The Karl Rove situation looks to be the focus of another Congressional Hearing. House and Senate getting together for this one.

How old are you? The military continues to look for a "few good men". Maybe more. And older.
The Defense Department quietly asked Congress on Monday to raise the maximum age for military recruits to 42 for all branches of the service.

Just watched Rumsfeld on TV, painting the usual optimistic picture of how the war is going in Iraq. Somebody had better tell the Iraqi people.
It's hard to put into words just how bad this is. It could mean civil war. The United States had a moral, ethical and legal obligation to provide sufficient security after we invaded.

And, you'll want to read this account of a released detainee who tells of killings by prison guards.
During my time there, I witnessed things that I would have never perceived the United States would be capable of. With my own eyes, I witnessed the killing of at least two detainees by military police with their own hands.


And Now, From Our Neighbors to the North

From "SeeingTheForest" blog:

My Mom's from rural Missouri, so I get the Ozark's Newsstand in my email inbox... this article caught my attention this morning: Polk County families lose Medicaid coverage due to state budget cuts.
Clearly, at least some of the folks in the Red States are following the money.

The woman featured in the story just lost her Medicaid eligibility a couple of months ago, and now her three children are losing theirs. Budget cuts - state doesn't want to raise taxes. She makes too much money. How much is too much? $342/mo.

... maybe my perspective is a little bit distorted, living here in Santa Cruz, where that won't even pay for the rent on an unconverted chicken coop, but how in the hell is anyone supposed to survive on less than that?!? With three children?!?


Thank Goodness it Wasn't in Arkansas


Hominy, OK edition:

NEW YORK A well-known resident of Hominy, Okla., walked into a local diner Tuesday afternoon and shot a pregnant waitress, 26-year-old Becky Clements, in the head, then shot her again in the stomach and chest. Sheriff Ty Koch said the motive is apparently a recent letter to the editor of the Hominy newspaper, the News Progress, written by the woman.

Osage County authorities say they'll ask for two first-degree murder charges against 63-year-old Roy Westbrook.
Westbrook was recently honored by the newspaper as Hominy's 2004 Citizen of the year.


The letter from the dead woman had said local vandalism is done by prominent citizens and referred to spray-painted graffiti on a rental home owned by Westbrook, although it did not name him. The letter did say the spray-painting was done by the owner.

Westbrook was trying to evict the victim's sister from the building.


A Bit of History

 Nice research work.  And, yes, you could do the same on a Democrat.  Dig back in the past and find a quote that's tough to explain.  However, I would like to hear the White House spin on this:

Hmm. Dan Froomkin pulled up the text of Bush's remarks at the swearing-in ceremony back in 2001 and surprisingly enough, Team Bush seems to be coming up short. Even beyond the "restore honor and dignity" comments that now seem like such a joke, Bush promised so much and is now delivering so little.
"[W]e must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct. This means avoiding even the appearance of problems. This means checking and, if need be, doublechecking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules."
NOTE FROM JOHN: God bless, Froomkin, I was thinking of this very quote on the way home yesterday and made a mental note to look it up. That "even the appearance" crap is where Bush has totally failed in this regard. He's now become Clinton at his worst. Haggle over words, debate the definition of "treason." Amazing. The Bush administration has become what is was elected to replace.

"Well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct"


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rove Won't Go Away

 Even with a Supreme Court nominee.

 New Damaging Information About Karl Rove

Jeralyn is rocking. She just got this on Rove:  Murray Waas is breaking another story about Karl Rove, and why grand jury investigators believe Rove didn't tell the truth in the first interview....when he claimed, as we wrote here, that he learned of Valerie Plame's identity from a journalist, but he couldn't remember which one. Waas writes "White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter."

Rove spent two years lying, now he's crying, Bush is sighing, The GOP is frying!

New Damaging Information About Karl Rove Jeralyn is rocking. She just got this on Rove: Murray Wa...


Want the Negative on Roberts?

  Watched most of the MSM tonight and they seemed to think that Roberts would be seen as a pretty good choice. Not these guys. Thanks to AmericaBlog


Good Point.

 Whew.  Pretty strong stuff. 

Crooks and Liars points out that there was a time when President Bush abhorred leaks. How adamant was the Bush administration about keeping classified information classified?

President Bush, 10/9/01:

Q Mr. President, when you meet with the congressional leadership tomorrow, will you be specific about what they can and cannot relay back up to the Hill? Or, do you just expect them not to relay anything?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m going to talk to the leaders about this. I have talked to them about it. I mean, when the classified information first seeped into the public, I called him on the phone and said, this can’t stand. We can’t have leaks of classified information. It’s not in our nation’s interest. But we’re now in extraordinary times. And I was in the — when those leaks occurred, by the way, it was right before we committed troops. And I knew full well what was about to happen. And yet, I see in the media that somebody, or somebodies, feel that they should be able to talk about classified information. And that’s just wrong. The leadership understands that…But I want Congress to hear loud and clear, it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk. I’m looking forward to reiterating that message…But one thing is for certain, I have made clear what I expect from Capitol Hill when it comes to classified information.

Press Briefing, 10/10/01:

Q Yesterday, the President made clear his point about leaks. He’s had breakfast today with congressional leaders. Is the President willing to go from eight to a higher number of congressmen and senators getting the information? And, if so, when would this occur?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, let me try to bring you up to speed on where we are. That issue did come up in the meeting with the four congressional leaders. And I think it’s fair to say, message received. There’s no doubt about it that the importance of keeping classified information classified has been stressed, and the President hopes that it will be closely, exactly adhered to.
It’s important that members of Congress have information that they need to do their proper oversight activities; while at the same time, the President will continue to remind members of Congress about the importance of keeping classified information classified.
Q When the members emerged, their perception was that the administration was going to be much more careful in what information it shared; that if it was classified or sensitive, they would share that information if it was past-tense information, what happened earlier today or yesterday. And the President made clear he would be much more reluctant because he doesn’t trust them to share “this is what’s going to happen tomorrow” information. Is that fair?
MR. FLEISCHER: I can’t speak about past tense; I haven’t heard that. But I can suggest to you that secrets will be kept secret. And the President knows that he will work with the Congress so that objective can be achieved. And he was satisfied with the meeting this morning; the leaders were satisfied with the meeting this morning. So I think it’s fair to say that from the members’ point of view, and the President’s, this issue has been addressed. And I hope there is a new sense of awareness throughout the government about the importance of keeping information classified.

Once Upon a Time at the White House…


Journalism 101

Insider talk for a moment, if you please. Stumbled across some very interesting blogging about journalism. And integrity. Take a look at this piece. Strong thoughts. From someone obviously on the inside of journalism. Here's just a sample:
This episode is part and parcel of the debasement of confidential sources role in American journalism. Taking sources at their own level of self-interest is what has given us Whitewater, Wen Ho Lee, and Iraqi WMDs. In Washington, theyre used as social currency; when anonymous senior administration officials give their briefings, their identities are known to everyone in the system except the reader.

And then, there is this bit of journalistic wrangling. Textbook example of how NOT to report the facts. Bad work. Very bad.


Can't Learn English? Flip the System Upside down!

 Make sure you read the blogger's comments after the story. 

If the kids are having a tough time with English, lets just teach them slang:

SAN BERNARDINO Incorporating Ebonics into a new school policy that targets black students, the lowest-achieving group in the San Bernardino City Unified School District, may provide students a more well-rounded curriculum, said a local sociologist.

The goal of the district’s policy is to improve black students’ academic performance by keeping them interested in school. Compared with other racial groups in the district, black students go to college the least and have the most dropouts and suspensions.

Blacks make up the second largest racial group in the district, trailing Latinos.

A pilot of the policy, known as the Students Accumulating New Knowledge Optimizing Future Accomplishment Initiative, has been implemented at two city schools.

Mary Texeira, a sociology professor at Cal State San Bernardino, commended the San Bernardino Board of Education for approving the policy in June.

Texeira suggested that including Ebonics in the program would be beneficial for students. Ebonics, a dialect of American English that is spoken by many blacks throughout the country, was recognized as a separate language in 1996 by the Oakland school board.

“Ebonics is a different language, it’s not slang as many believe,’ Texeira said. “For many of these students Ebonics is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language. These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language.’

Oh brother…

Ebonics is no more a “foreign language” than an Arkansas hillbilly’s drawl or a North Dakota norskie’s Scandinavian accentuation is.

I find it interesting that the article notes that many of the kids are already speaking Ebonics. Or, at least, are already familiar with it. This is because they’re uneducated. Saying that you’re going to stop teaching them proper English and start enforcing their already bad speaking habits is called “giving up.” Its also called “lowering the bar,” which is probably why this switch from English to Ebonics is being suggested. The teachers are having a hard time doing their jobs, so they want to make their jobs easier. Soon all these kids will be getting “A’s” in Ebonics while the teachers are patting themselves on the back for a job well done (and probably asking for raises).

Meanwhile, these students will soon be entering a marketplace where their Ebonics dialect will make them sound ignorant to the majority of Americans who speak proper English.

The problem here is not the students. These minority kids are just as capable of learning as any other American kid. The problem is with the teachers.

If these educators are really interested in helping minority students succeed they should look to Florida where Jeb Bush’s Parental Choice Programs are having great success.

(via Wizbang)

California School Wants To Replace English Class With Ebonics



 From Seeing the Forest Blog.  Short.  Simple. To the point. 

White House Transcript:

"...if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."
Let's Google some names:

Elliott Abrams

John Poindexter

Otto Reich

But it sounded good to the focus groups.

Committed A Crime


Rove Summary

 Good collection of Rove updates here.  I've posted some of it before, but much is new.  Enjoy.

CooperMTP-thumb.jpgLots of non-Rove news out there, which we'll get to in a bit, but here's a round-up of other Plame-related news out there today.

First, if you're in over your head on this issue, some suggestions for background reading: NPR has an overview and a timeline, and the WP published a good recap yesterday, while Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing has a good summation of the developments in the last 72 hours.

Other reads worth reading:

  • Jay Rosen thinks this Press V. Bush fight has been a long time coming.

  • Similarly, Bob Schieffer had a scathing commentary on "Face the Nation" yesterday: "This White House did what it usually does when challenged: It went into attack mode, called charges that the White House had leaked the name ridiculous, and allowed the controversy to boil until a special prosecutor had to be appointed. Now two years and millions of tax dollars later, the president's trusted friend and strategist Karl Rove has emerged as the top suspect, and we're left to wonder: Can anything said from the White House podium be taken at face value, or does the White House just deny automatically anything that reflects badly on it?"

  • Matt Cooper's press tour yesterday including stops at Meet the Press and on CNN's Reliable Sources, where he divulged that the "double super secret background" was really just a joke from "Animal House." Really? No one had any idea where that phrase came from.

  • Howard Kurtz's regular Monday chat is nearly all Plame, but little of note.

    (Title hat tip to Princess Sparkle Pony.)



Monday, July 18, 2005

New ABC Poll

 Poll: Many Doubt White House Cooperation in CIA Leak Probe. Just a quarter of Americans think the White House is fully cooperating in the federal investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's identity, a number that's declined sharply since the investigation began. 


Just For Fun

  So, you need a little break from the heat.  The humidity.  The storms.  Read below.  Listen to the mp3 files.  Right-click on the titles and choose "save target as".  Funny.

You knew they could spin, dodge and disseminate, but did you know they could sing?

Last week, a Fox News headline fretted, “Can Bush Survive Without Rove?” We wonder the same thing, in the White House disco classic, I Will Survive, starring the vocal stylings of Scott McClellan, Karl Rove and, yes, President George Bush.

If you think disco’s dead, try a little rock and roll instead. The right-wing spin machine has been working overtime these days to shield Uber-aide Karl Rove from the fallout after his national security breach. Listen here to Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman, Johnnie Cochran and friends in their rendition of “Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog.”

Note Of Shameless Self-Promotion: All songs are a direct product of the creative genius of Peter Ogburn, producer of America’s new progressive radio show, the Bill Press Show (With Christy Harvey). For these hits and more, like Stand By Your Joe Wilson and I Smell A Rat, Karl, listen to us live every morning on Sirius satellite radio from 6-9 AM.

White House Greatest Hits


More Quotes from the WH

 More thoughts now on the President's carefully-worded comment on the Karl Rove situation today.  And that Bob Schieffer commentary from yesterday morning.  Read through them both.  Then, feel free to leave a comment.


WASHINGTON, July 18 - President Bush changed his stance today on his close adviser Karl Rove, stopping well short of promising that anyone in his administration who helped to unmask a C.I.A. officer would be fired.

C.I.A. Inquiry May Hinge on What the Leaker Knew (July 18, 2005) "If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration," Mr. Bush said in response to a question, after declaring, "I don't know all the facts; I want to know all the facts."

For months, Mr. Bush and his spokesmen have said that anyone involved in the disclosure of the C.I.A. officer's identity would be dismissed. The president's apparent raising of the bar for dismissal today, to specific criminal conduct, comes amid mounting evidence that, at the very least, Mr. Rove provided backhanded confirmation of the C.I.A. officer's identity.

As Bob Schieffer said on Sunday:

Instead, this White House did what it usually does when challenged: It went into attack mode, called charges that the White House had leaked the name ridiculous, and allowed the controversy to boil until a special prosecutor had to be appointed. Now two years and millions of tax dollars later, the president's trusted friend and strategist Karl Rove has emerged as the top suspect, and we're left to wonder: Can anything said from the White House podium be taken at face value, or does the White House just deny automatically anything that reflects badly on it?

I think Bush just gave the definitive answer to that question.



Blogometer for Today

 Here's today's National Journal Blogometer - trying to keep the arguments in perspective.  Stay tuned for today's blog postings for The 5:30 Report with Doug Krile.

CLICK HERE. It's just too much material to quote without making your eyes blur!


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Walmart Is King?

 Interesting piece.  Is Walmart really the king?  Or could somebody (like Costco) carve out a real niche?

Read this New York Times article about Costco and you will realize that the rest of Corporate America's B.S. about needing to cut workers' wages and health care/retirement benefits while paying CEOs exorbitant salaries is just that: B.S. There are still some concerns, of course, about how stores like Costco hurt small business, but it's clear that in an age of globalization, Costco presents a much more sustainable/egalitarian vision of economic development than the rest of Corporate America.

COMMENTS: Go to Sirota's Working Assets site to comment on this entry

Costco Debunks Corporate America's B.S.


Just HAVE to Post This One

 It is tough to justify. It really is. Just read below.  Then comment. Is the blogger WAY off base?  Or right on.

July 8:

The U.S. general who commands coalition forces in Baghdad says Iraqi and foreign troops have crippled the insurgency in recent months, and that it can no longer mount long-term, intense operations in the city.

Speaking from Baghdad, Major General William Webster said there may still be spikes in operations by insurgent groups, but their overall capability in the city is down significantly.

"The ability of these insurgents to conduct sustained, high-intensity operations, as they did last year, we've mostly eliminated that," said General Webster.

"We attribute our success to having trained and experienced Iraqi security forces patrolling the streets, talking to the Iraqi people gathering greater intelligence," he added.  "People are gaining more confidence in their security forces here in Baghdad, and they're providing them lots of information."

July 10:

A man strapped with explosives blew himself up Sunday at an Iraqi military recruiting center in Baghdad, one of a series of suicide attacks that killed at least 48 people and ended a relative lull in violence in recent days.

July 13:

A suicide car bomber sped up to American soldiers distributing candy to children and detonated his explosives Wednesday, killing up to 27 other people, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. One U.S. soldier and about a dozen children were among the dead.

July 16:

Insurgents struck at U.S. and Iraqi security forces across Baghdad on Friday, using at least eight suicide car bombs to kill at least 22 people and wound scores more, officials said.

July 17:

In unusually strong language, some visibly shaken lawmakers said the ministries of defence and interior had failed to end "terrorism" and even called for militias to take over.

July 17

Iraq has often experienced several suicide attacks a day since the government took power in April. But U.S. generals had said things were improving, with just six suicide car bombs countrywide last week, the fewest in nearly three months.

Then on Friday 11 suicide bombers struck U.S. and Iraqi military targets in Baghdad and on the highway to the south, killing more than 33 people and wounding more than 100.

The insurgents are toying with us. Every proclamation of progress is answered with violence.

What was that about insurgents in Baghdad?


And, Just Keep Reading

 From yet another blogger.  More good reading for a Sunday night. Some of this may well carry over to Monday's 5:30 Report. It's solid journalism.

Of course the title is rendered in my words BUT AP wrote this:

Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide was among the sources for a Time magazine reporter's story about the identity of a CIA officer, the reporter said Sunday.

Until last week, the White House had insisted for nearly two years that vice presidential chief of staff Lewis Libby and presidential adviser Karl Rove were not involved in the leaks of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity.

I translate "insisted" to "lied."

The GOP response?

Republicans are responding to the revelations about Rove's role in the leak by saying that the deputy White House chief of staff first heard about Wilson's wife from a reporter.

Oh really? Well, they better check with Rove's lawyer:

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said he can say "categorically" that Rove did not obtain any information about Plame from any confidential source, such as a classified document. A lawyer familiar with Rove's testimony hedged a bit on who precisely told Rove about Plame, saying it may have come secondhand from another aide, as well as from Novak.

Rove's lawyer was trying to correct his screwup - the categorical denial approach was a perjury trap - the aide who told Rove sings and that's all she wrote.

It is hard to fight a poliitical war and a legal war at the same time. The noose tightens.

Update [2005-7-17 16:31:52 by Armando]: BTW, it matters not whether Rove heard it from an aide or a reporter, if he knew it was classified info, he could not leak it to Cooper. The whole line of defense is nonsense anyway. And yet, in order to not open a new legal exposure, Rove is trying to dance away from the categorical denial because that exposes him to perjury charges.

AP: WH Lied About Rove, Libby Leaking


OK, go read this one, too

 The latest version of our blogging software lets us post individual blogs, but not compilations. We're still working on that. In the meantime, just keep scrolling down. For the good stuff.

A picture named Cooper_MTP.jpgMatt Cooper verifies Rove

Matt also confirmed on MTP that he spoke to Libby about it as well.




Russert:  For the record, the first time you learned that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA was from Karl Rove?

Cooper:  That's correct.

Russert: ...On background, I asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Niger.  Libby replied, `Yeah, I've heard that, too,' or words to that effect." Did you interpret that as a confirmation?

Cooper:  I did, yeah.

Yahoo news has more.  Scotty and the W.H. denials of "no" involvement in the Plame leak are all bogus.

Why does Matt Cooper hate America so much?

AmericaBlog says: Scott McClellan lied about him as well when he said Scooter had nothing to do with the leak. Gosh that's a pattern of lies now. One might almost call it a conspiracy of lies.

Matt Cooper verifies Rove Matt also confirmed on MTP that he spoke to Libby about it as well. ...


I Missed This One

Oh, I (somehow) missed this one this morning. It's a very well done commentary from Bob Schieffer.  You need to watch.


A picture named Schiffer_Rove.jpgBob Schieffer rips the White House

You know it's bad when Bob comes out throwing daggers at the President.

                                  Video-WMP QT coming


Bob Schieffer rips the White House You know it's bad when Bob comes out throwing daggers at the Pres...


More Analysis

 Haven't worked through all the blogs this morning, but this one jumped out as pretty decent analysis of the Rove situation.  True, it's from a left-wing blog, but the writer has (once again) done a good job of looking back to what the White House said in the past and what we now know happened.  And the two don't always match.  Read on:

It’s not just Karl Rove anymore that the White House has to answer for. It’s also I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney.

We already know that it was a complete falsehood when Scott McClellan said in 2003 “it’s simply not true” that Rove was “involved in leaking classified information.” Now we know the same is true of McClellan’s denial that Libby was involved in the leak.

As reported by the Washington Post, Libby was Judith Miller’s source:

While media coverage in recent days has focused on conversations White House senior adviser Karl Rove had with reporters, two sources say Miller spoke with Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, during the key period in July 2003 that is the focus of Fitzgerald’s investigation. The two sources, one who is familiar with Libby’s version of events and the other with Miller’s, said the previously undisclosed conversation occurred a few days before Plame’s name appeared in Robert D. Novak’s syndicated column on July 14, 2003.

And Libby was apparently also Matt Cooper’s source:

In a conversation that same day [July 11, 2003], Rove told Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper that Wilson’s wife was in the CIA and authorized the mission to Niger…A day later, Cheney’s top aide, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, told Cooper he had heard the same thing about Plame…

But remember what McClellan said on October 10, 2003:

Q: Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?

MR. McCLELLAN: Those individuals — I talked — I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that’s where it stands.

How long before the right-wing claims Libby has also been exonerated?

White House Must Answer For Libby’s Role In Leak As Well


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Even Pat Buchanan is Getting Worried

 Just caught a lengthy interview on MSNBC about this.  Pat Buchanan was one of those talking. Even HE says all of this could end up with big problems at the highest levels.  Good reporting here from the NY Times and Washington Post.  Thanks to Daily Kos for pulling it all together.

From the NYTimes:

Prosecutors in the C.I.A. leak case have shown intense interest in a 2003 State Department memorandum that explained how a former diplomat came to be dispatched on an intelligence-gathering mission and the role of his wife, a C.I.A. officer, in the trip, people who have been officially briefed on the case said.

Investigators in the case have been trying to learn whether officials at the White House and elsewhere in the administration learned of the C.I.A. officer's identity from the memorandum. They are seeking to determine if any officials then passed the name along to journalists and if officials were truthful in testifying about whether they had read the memo, the people who have been briefed said, asking not to be named because the special prosecutor heading the investigation had requested that no one discuss the case.

About the memo:

The memorandum was sent to Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state, just before or as he traveled with President Bush and other senior officials to Africa starting on July 7, 2003, when the White House was scrambling to defend itself from a blast of criticism a few days earlier from the former diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson IV, current and former government officials said.

The investigation clearly is looking hard at who had this memo:

Investigators have been looking at whether the State Department provided the information to the White House before July 6, 2003, when Mr. Wilson publicly criticized the way the administration used intelligence to justify the war in Iraq, the person said.

But the memo is dated JUNE 10!:

The memorandum was dated June 10, 2003, nearly four weeks before Mr. Wilson wrote an Op-Ed article for The New York Times . . . The memorandum was written for Marc Grossman, then the under secretary of state for political affairs, and it referred explicitly to Valerie Wilson as Mr. Wilson's wife, according to a government official who reread the document on Friday.

How was the memo recycled in July?

When Mr. Wilson's Op-Ed article appeared on July 6, 2003, a Sunday, Richard L. Armitage, then deputy secretary of state, called Carl W. Ford Jr., the assistant secretary for intelligence and research, at home, a former State Department official said. Mr. Armitage asked Mr. Ford to send a copy of the memorandum to Mr. Powell, who was preparing to leave for Africa with Mr. Bush, the former official said. Mr. Ford sent it to the White House for transmission to Mr. Powell.

Who saw that memo? There's the focus. There are your suspects. Here's a question - did Rove see the memo? Did he lie about seeing it?

What spurred the memo? Maybe this:

On May 6, 2003, Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The Times, wrote of a "former U.S. ambassador to Africa" who had reported to the C.I.A. and the State Department that reports of Iraq seeking to acquire uranium in Niger were "unequivocally wrong."

Ari Fleischer in the crosshairs:

The special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has sought to determine how much Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman at the time of the leak, knew about the memorandum. Lawyers involved in the case said Mr. Fitzgerald asked questions about Mr. Fleischer's role. Mr. Fleischer was with Mr. Bush and much of the senior White House staff in Africa when Mr. Powell, who was also with them, received the memorandum.

Libby on the radar:

Mr. Fitzgerald has also looked into any role that I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, may have played. Lawyers in the case have said their clients have been asked about Mr. Libby's conversations in the days after Mr. Wilson's article - in part based on Mr. Libby's hand-written notes, which he turned over to the prosecutor.

Journalists in the middle of the story:

In addition, several journalists have been asked about their conversations with Mr. Libby. At least one, Tim Russert of NBC News, has suggested that prosecutors wanted to know whether he had told Mr. Libby of Ms. Wilson's identity. After Mr. Russert met with Mr. Fitzgerald, NBC said that he did not provide the information to Mr. Libby.

Why Plame not Wilson?

But it appears [the memo] differ[s] in at least one way [with Novak's article], raising questions about whether it was the original source of the material that ultimately made its way to Mr. Novak. In his July 14, 2003, column, Mr. Novak referred to Ms. Wilson as Valerie Plame. The State Department memorandum referred to her as Valerie Wilson, according to the government official who reread it on Friday.

To be frank, this is the most intriguing and enlightening article on the matter I have seen yet. I feel I know more about what is being investigated than I ever have before.

Update [2005-7-16 2:16:49 by Armando]: In WaPo, Luskin/Rove is quoted as saying categorically he never saw or heard of the memo. Those types of statements can often be the beginning of perjury charges. I am surprised he made it.

Rovegate: 2003 State Dept. Memo the Key?


Friday, July 15, 2005

A Little CNN Gaffe

 Here's the clip. A bit of an off-camera editorial comment. I can't quite figure out where it came from.  But the BS comment is pretty obvious!

oops. live mic.

Friday Night Fun


AP Corrects the Earlier Plame Story

 Too bad CNN and half the world picked up on it and ran with it all day.  Here's the AmericaBlog post:

The Associated Press followed up on their earlier story about Ambassador Wilson and they corrected themselves. Two points for good journalists following up on a story. Good to see.

In an interview on CNN earlier Thursday before the latest revelation, Wilson kept up his criticism of the White House, saying Rove's conduct was an "outrageous abuse of power ... certainly worthy of frog-marching out of the White House."

Wilson also said "my wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity."

In an interview Friday, Wilson said his comment was meant to reflect that his wife lost her ability to be a covert agent because of the leak, not that she had stopped working for the CIA beforehand.

His wife's "ability to do the job she's been doing for close to 20 years ceased from the minute Novak's article appeared; she ceased being a clandestine officer," he said.

Two points for AP - Valerie Plame WAS undercover when Novak & Rove outed her


Good, Solid, Roundup and Commentary



So suddenly Plamegate -- which no one at the White House will talk about on the record, because it might get them indicted . . . I mean, because it might compromise Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation -- has sprung a whole shitload of leaks.

And whaddya know! They've all appeared on the same day (document dump Friday, no less), they all help shore up Karl Rove's alibi, and they all seem to have come from either Justice Department officials who've been "briefed" on case, or from attorneys who are very familiar with Karl Rove's defense.

Funny how that works.

In terms of the GOP's propaganda offensive, this is what the generals call "committing the reserves." But the leaks have also revealed the White House's line of legal defense -- which appears to be that Rove and his fellow choir boys were led astray by those nasty media whores in their fishnet stockings and pushup bras. They're the ones who outed Valerie Plame, not poor little innocent Karl.

The leaks all purport to give us the inside dope on Rove's testimony to the grand jury, which in turn appears to focus on his critical conversation with the putrifying cadaver of Robert Novak.

First the New York Times version:

Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said.

After hearing Mr. Novak's account, the person who has been briefed on the matter said, Mr. Rove told the columnist: "I heard that, too."

Then the Washington Post's:

White House senior adviser Karl Rove indirectly confirmed the CIA affiliation of an administration critic's wife for Robert D. Novak the week before the columnist named her and revealed her position, a lawyer involved in the case said last night.

The lawyer, who has knowledge of the conversations between Rove and prosecutors, said President Bush's deputy chief of staff has told investigators that he first learned about the operative from a journalist and that he later learned her name from Novak.

And finally, the Associated Press, which appears to have eliminated the middle man and gotten its version in whole cloth from one of Rove's attorneys:

Chief presidential adviser Karl Rove testified to a grand jury that he talked with two journalists before they divulged the identity of an undercover CIA officer but that he originally learned about the operative from the news media and not government sources, according to a person briefed on the testimony.

Now the idea that Valerie Plame's identity and affiliation with the CIA were "common knowledge" in Washington media circles is part of the verbal annex to the RNC's list of pro-Rove sliming points. And whoever is talking to the Post pounds the point hard:

Sources who have reviewed some of the testimony before the grand jury say there is significant evidence that reporters were in some cases alerting officials about Plame's identity and relationship to Wilson -- not the other way around.

Who could the media tattletale be? Well, there's a certain New York Times reporter languishing in jail who might fit the bill (or frame, as the case may be). The theory that Judy Miller told Rove about Plame, instead of hearing it from him, was floated earlier this week by Accuracy in Media nut job Cliff Kincaid:

This would help explain why Miller didn't write a story about the case. It would be difficult for Miller to write a story when she was so deeply involved in how it developed. Disclosure of her role then or now would be extremely embarrassing.

Heh. That's the thanks Judy gets for carrying the neocons' water all the way to Baghdad. Where's the gratitude?

But considering what we know about Judy Miller's professional ethics, and her willingness (eagerness) to play the shill in the administration's past smear campaigns, you can't say the claim is inherently implausible. On the other hand, Murray Waas has reported that Fitzgerald's team has some serious doubts about the Rovian alibi:

Also of interest to investigators have been a series of telephone contacts between Novak and Rove, and other White House officials, in the days just after press reports first disclosed the existence of a federal criminal investigation as to who leaked Plame's identity. Investigators have been concerned that Novak and his sources might have conceived or co-ordinated a cover story to disguise the nature of their conversations.

What should we make of all this -- I mean, aside from the certain conclusion that this orchestra of leaks will now whip the Plamegate story into a complete frothing hysteria?

Let's go over the Rovian alibi again in more detail, then try to draw out some of the implications.

In Rove's story, as leaked, a reporter told Turdblossom that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Rove supposedly told the grand jury he can't remember who this gossipy journalist was, although if his story is true, it seems reasonable to suspect it was Judy Miller. Anyway, Novak then came along, confirmed the original tip, and gave Rove a name to go with it. Rove started passing Plame's identity, but not her name, around to some of his back channel chums in the "liberal" media.

According to Rove's alibi, neither the original source nor Novak ever indicated to him that Plame was an undercover CIA operative. Novak also denies that he knew -- even though he called her an "agency operative" in his column, and even though that's a term Novak has consistently used in the past to indicate an undercover CIA operative. What a coincidence.

The story neatly absolves Rove of criminal liability under the Agee law, and probably under the espionage statute as well. Not because he never used Plame's name -- he clearly told reporters enough to reveal her "identity" -- but because he was never told that she was a NOC.

(I don't know what effect it would have on Rove's legal liability if he did learn about Plame's identity and covert status from a journalist. As I read the Agee law, it wouldn't matter: If Rove was "authorized" to know Plame's identity, understood that the CIA was trying to hide it, and disclosed it to someone who was not authorized to know (like Matt Cooper), then I think Turdblossom would still be liable, no matter how he first found out about it.

I assume the same would apply under the espionage statute. But it might also have depended on whether Rove had "reason to know" disclosure of the information would damage national security. I'm not a lawyer, much less an expert on national security law. So go figure.

What are the implications of this story?

The first is that Judy Miller very well may be the key to the case. If Rove (as well as Scooter Libby) testified that they originally heard about Plame from another journalist, and if Fitzgerald has decided (probably based on phone records) that Miller is that person, then it's easy to see why Judy is sitting in jail right now. She's the only person in the world who can contradict Rove's story. However, if Miller is Rove's original source, she would have many reasons to want to avoid testifying, including:

  • protecting her original source

  • not being indicted under the espionage statute (if she knew that Plame's relationship with the CIA was classified information)

  • not having to admit publicly that she was a cog in Rove's intelligence gathering and sliming operation.

If Miller did tell Rove that Plame was a NOC, then to that list you could add:

  • avoiding the need to choose between fingering the most powerful political operative in the country or committing perjury in front of a grand jury.

If Miller actually was Rove's source, then I'm guessing that jail cell in Alexandria probably doesn't seem like such a bad place to be right now, considering the alternatives.

Of course, if Miller (or another journalist) told Rove about Plame, it would raise the enormously interesting question of who told them. Could it have been another journalist, perhaps one surrounded by the stench of his own rotting, undead flesh? (Novak to Miller to Rove back to Novak. A perfect loop of slime.) Or a CIA official on Team Rove's side? A Pentagon neocon? A soon-to-be temporary UN ambassador with moles planted in State's Intelligence Bureau?

Or how about Plame herself? Was she one of Miller's WMD sources? (This is Cliff Kincaid's favorite theory, naturally, although it's seems pretty far fetched to me, since Plame was downplaying Iraq's nuclear capabilitites inside the CIA while Judy's sources were screaming about a looming holocaust.)

Given Miller's collective connection to every strand and node in the neocon spider web, and Novak's parallel network of GOP operatives, the trail could lead just about anywhere (again, assuming Rove's alibi bears some rough resemblance to the truth.) This could be what Judge Hogan was talking about when he wrote, in response to Fitzpatrick's request to hold Miller in contempt, that:

The government's focus has shifted as it has acquired additional information during the course of the investigation. Special Counsel now needs to pursue different avenues in order to complete its investigation.

If Fitzgerald really is trying to run down Novak and/or Miller's sources, then this party may just be getting started. And it could also turn into an even bigger embarrassment for the Washington press corps, and -- depending on where the trail leads -- for the Cheney administration as well.

On the other hand, if Fitzgerald believes Rove and Novak (and Miller?) concocted the alibi story after the fact, then presumably he believes there is someone -- like a CIA official or an NSC staffer -- who could testify that they told Turdblossom about Plame's NOC status. Fitzgerald may still be looking for that person, as well as for the "senior administration official" who told the Washington Post in October 2003 that the Rovians "used everything they had."

We have no way of knowing whether any or all of the above speculations are true or false. Fitzgerald will let us know where he thinks the truth lies in his own good time.

But one thing has been completely revealed by the evidence that's already come to light, and that's the stinking cesspool of bigtime journalism as presently practiced in Washington -- a cesspool in which Karl Rove may be the king of the pond, but which is also home to plenty of little toadies willing to help him do his dirty business.

As a friend of mine puts it, when Matt Cooper emailed his editor that he had just had a "double super secret background" conversation with Karl Rove, the tone was like that of an excited child telling his friends he just got to meet Superman! There wasn't a hint of skepticism -- of Rove's veracity or of his motives. And I suspect the same could be said of every reporter on Rove's speed dial list. It's why they're on the list. Which is something to keep in mind the next time you see the gang in the White House press office beating up on Scotty McClellan because he lied to them. Methinks they do protest a little too much.

But if the Washington press corps has degenerated into a flock (herd?) of toads, Novak is still the chief amphibian -- a role he's been cheerfully filling for Republican Party since Richard Nixon was in office. Consider the sourcing on his original column outing Plame:

Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger . . .

But now we're being told by our anonymous Rovian leakers that at least one of Novak's "senior" sources (i.e. Rove) was simply passing along a bit of gossip that he himself had picked up from another reporter!

The precise wording on what Rove supposedly said to Novak is also suitably vague. According to the undead one, when he told Rove about Plame's alleged role in Wilson's trip, Turdblossom supposedly replied: "Oh, you know about that." But in the leaked account of Rove's testimony, he is supposed to have said: "I heard that, too."

The morons at the New York Times write this off as a "slight difference" in wording, but it's actually quite significant. The first version (Novak's) would indicate that Rove had official knowledge that Plame worked for the CIA (which would tend to support the Rove-perjured-himself thesis) while the second version (Rove's) is more consistent with Turdblossom's claim that he learned about Plame from another journalist. So either Rove is a liar and a perjurer, or Novak is. Most likely they both are. But whether Fitzgerald can prove it is another story. Let's hope he's every bit the "prosecution machine" he's reputed to be.

We already knew that Rove and Novak are sleazy pieces of shit who should be flushed down the Potomac (after obtaining the necessary hazardous waste dumping permits, of course.) But what we're also learning is just how little it takes these days to out an undercover CIA operative working on critical issues of nuclear nonproliferation. A few quick phone calls, a little rumor mongering, and voila! an entire intelligence network, built up over years, can be flushed right down the toilet.

The real scandal, in other words, may not be that Rove and his journalistic cronies knew Plame was a NOC, but that they didn't really care -- not if it was going to get in the way of a good smear, or a juicy tidbit for the "inside the beltway" column.

And for that they should all be in the dock -- and would be, too, if stupidity and petty careerism were felony offenses.



Headed for the Weekend

We've just about made it through another week. And it's been a week filled with Rove. Karl Rove. But, it does seem to be the story that just won't go away. Even after the revelations that it may have been a reporter who first told Rove about Valerie Plame. Maybe he was just repeating the information? Does it make any difference? It really doesn't if you buy into the argument presented in this blog.
Rove claims he learned about Plame being CIA from other journalists and not from government sources. Even were that true, it's irrelevant to a senior government official leaking the name of a CIA agent - it doesn't matter how he found out. He knows better, and he flagrantly risked national security for petty revenge.

And the bickering continues. Now there's ANOTHER tidbit of information that might swing the pendulum back the other way.
here's what Novak said in his first interview that we know of just after he leaked Plame's name in print:
Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."

At any rate, the arguing seems to be hurting the President in the polls. Just a tidbit to get you interested:
Only 50 percent of those polled gave him high ratings for being easygoing and likeable, down from 57 in January; 43 percent gave him high ratings for being smart, down from 50; 40 percent gave him high ratings for being compassionate enough to understand average people, down from 47; and only 29 percent gave him high ratings for being willing to work with people whose viewpoints are different from his own, down from 33.

Bonus Blogs

Oh, now, THIS is really comforting. Another threat from China.
We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.

We'll let the National Journal do some legwork for us. Here's today's blogometer on the Karl Rove story. Links to what darn near everybody is writing about it.

After a week of increasingly hypothetical hyperactivity surrounding Karl Rove's involvement in the Valerie Plame case, the story takes a bit of a turn today on a New York Times story indicating that Bob Novak actually 1st mentioned Plame to Rove, not the other way around. While the left blogosphere has taken the lead on playing up and picking apart various reports this past week, today the right blogosphere pushes this story to the top. In addition, the right is pretty sure once again that Plame was not a "covert" agent at the time Novak's column was published -- that is, she had not worked overseas within 5 years of '03. Meanwhile, the conservative "dump Rove" meme we noticed at midweek seems to have faded decisively.

If the late afternoon information (like this) keeps building into the weekend, things could be very interesting. Here's the tip:
RADAR got a pretty good scoop here (I had nothing to do with it). Interestingly, not only does it say that Novak spilled his guts to the grand jury, but he reportedly told them that the NYT's Judith Miller told Novak about Valerie Plame's CIA identity, then Novak called his two White House sources (one of which was Rove) for confirmation.