Plamegate Summarized

Following up on last week’s excellent interview with Brent Scowcroft, the New Yorker featured a well written and thought provoking article on the Valerie Plame Wilson affair this week. The article doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, but it’s the best summary I’ve seen so far of the scandal. If you haven’t been following every twist and turn day by day, you’ll probably learn something new. Even if you have, the article puts the whole thing in perspective in a way I haven’t seen elsewhere.


  1. Russ Jan 28

    Interesting article, in that it never mentions that Joe Wilson was a liar. The aricle seems to think that there is some issue with an administration that discredits a liar, and points out that it was not the vice president that sent him, as he claims, but his wife, who works for the CIA.

    BTW (credit to powerline) here are some good questions for the CIA:

    (1) Why wasn’t Wilson’s February 2002 trip to Niger made subject to a confidentiality agreement?

    (2) Did the Agency contemplate that Wilson would publicly discuss the trip at will upon his return?

    (3) Did the agency anticipate that if he did so, it would attract attention to the employment of his wife by the agency?

    (4) Why did the Agency select Wilson for the mission to Niger to check out such an important and sensitive matter given his lack of experience in intelligence or investigation?

    (5) Was the Agency aware when it selected him for the mission of his hostility to the Bush administration?

  2. Adam Rosi-Kessel Jan 28

    I don’t think I agree with Russ’ premise, but let’s assume for the purposes of argument that it’s all true. I don’t see how any of that has any impact on the felony of disclosing the identity of a covert agent, or lying to a grand jury. At least as a legal matter, perjury is a crime even if the underlying proceeding (in a criminal context) doesn’t result in a conviction. It’s basically the same thing with a court injunction–you may not agree with court’s decision, but you still have to obey the order or risk contempt of court. Even if the court’s order is ultimately reversed on appeal, if you disobeyed it in the meantime you can still be held in contempt.

    Similarly, even if (1) Wilson was a liar and (2) the administration was “right” in attempting to discredit him, it would still be illegal to out a CIA agent.

  3. Russ Jan 28

    Just as deepthroat broke the law I suppose. Sometimes, telling the truth is illegal. I don’t think its fair to compare the actions of the Wilsons and the actions of the Nixon administration though. (Nixons being much worse)

  4. Russ Jan 28

    I suppose it doesn’t help that the specific charge is obstruction and purgery…hmm

  5. Steve Laniel Jan 28

    I’m always astonished — really, deeply astonished — by the intellectual contortions that some people will go through to justify a conclusion that they already came to. As Adam rightly points out, none of Russ’s questions bear on the basic question of Plamegate, which is: did the Bush administration deliberately out a CIA agent?

    Now, since when did the supposedly morally-upright conservative movement draw ethical grey areas around the outing of a crucial part of our national security? When did we start questioning the rightness of doing this?

    Combined with the right’s recent willingness to embrace torture, this does not bode well for the moral center of the Republican party.

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