Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Conservative Media (Surprise, Surprise) Trying To Discredit Plame

Conservatives can't make the "Who leaked Valerie Plame's identity?" story go away.

So instead, they've tried to diminish its importance. They've suggested Plame wasn't covert, but a recently leaked 2003 memo put that falsehood to rest. They've said that senior White House officials Karl Rove and Lewis Libby merely repeated information from reporters, but as more leaks come from testimony given to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, that argument increasingly lacks credibility.

And of course, they've tried to discredit Plame's husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, though what Wilson said in a 2003 New York Times editorial, or whether he assisted 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, is irrelevant to Fitzgerald's prosecution of White House leaks.

The latest salvo from the conservatives is a New York Post story that made the rounds this morning, and which no doubt you'll be hearing a lot about from talk radio today, and probably from at least one of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson and Chris Matthews tonight.

The story, from Hardball favorite Deborah Orin but based on information on Time magazine's web site, offers the following scandal: Plame gave $372 to America Coming Together, an "anti-Bush group," for two tickets to a concert starring Bruce Springsteen.

"It's the first revelation that Plame participated in anti-Bush political activity while working for the CIA," Orin writes.

Oh my goodness!!! Stop the White House leak investigation!!! Plame is a Democrat!!! How scandalous!!!

But, as Orin notes late in the story, "CIA rules allow campaign contributions."

So, maybe it's not so scandalous after all.

But certainly the Wilsons are trying to hide the fact that they supported the "anti-Bush group," right? Nope. Wilson told Time that the anti-Bush concert was "great."


"CIA rules allow campaign contributions, but the fact that Plame gave money to the anti-Bush effort is likely to raise eyebrows," Orin writes.

Really? Let's see. Plame's career was ruined, and perhaps her life was put in jeopardy, because her cover was blown. Who blew her cover? There's mounting speculation that it was Rove and-or Libby -- two men who continue to work for the Bush Administration.

Would Orin -- speaking on behalf of the eyebrow-raising community -- actually expect Plame and Wilson to continue to support Bush?

And the last time I checked, the CIA was not a political body. As has been made clear in recent days, the Bush Administration has lots of critics in the intelligence community. Seemingly, many of these people voted Democrat in 2004 -- if for no other reason than to protest the administration's handling of the Plame leak.


Orin has one more scandalous detail in her story -- one that will no doubt be repeated many times in the days to come among the "conservative media."

She writes: "America Coming Together is one of the anti-Bush activist groups bankrolled by Bush-opposing billionaire George Soros."

Scandalous! Plame can be tied to Enemy #1 among conservatives, financier George Soros. Remember, any time a conservative wants to discredit something from the left, they will look for a tie to Soros. Anti-Soros rhetoric increases ratings, and takes people's eye off the ball.

And once again, the story line is that a special prosecutor is investigating White House leaks of a covert CIA agent. The same special prosecutor is likely investigating whether White House officials perjured themselves in their testimony.

Hopefully, the conservative media won't be able to keep the scandalous "Plame Buys Concert Tickets From Soros" story afloat for very long.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truely disgusting. Who would blame Wilson and his wife anyway for supporting Kerry after what the Bush Administration did to them?
Here's something I found on the web today also truely disturbing. Sorry for the lengthy post, but feel this is particularly suited for this blog.
It demonstrates how difficult it is for the TRUTH to blast through right-wing lies and propaganda infiltrating the mainstream media.

The Washington Times was asked to run a retraction but refused. This message is split into two postings because of space limitations.

-----Original Message----- From: Farber, Allen V [Counsel for the Washington Times] Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 4:51 PM To: Wolf, Christopher Subject: RE: Record of our Conversation Today

Thanks for the email. Suffice it to say that The Washington Times disagrees with the contentions in your letter, and denies having violated your clients' rights.

-----Original Message----- From: Wolf, Christopher Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 To: Farber, Allen Subject: Record of our Conversation Today

Dear Mr. Farber:

Thank you for your time on the phone today. In our conversation you stated that your client, The Washington Times, stands by the assertions contained in the editorial that I challenged in the e-mail that follows and that it will not run a retraction.

You invited me or my client to submit a letter to the editor that you said the paper would consider running. I told you that we did not feel it was our responsibility to correct the record. As I said, when the Times makes a factual error, especially one serving as a predicate for a defamatory attack on someone, it has the responsibility of issuing a retraction. I also pointed out that one of the mistakes in the challenged editorial was repeated another editorial today, pasted below, that "numerous neighbors were aware that she worked for the agency".

I told you that this is a matter I have investigated thoroughly, including by interviewing the neighbors, and there is no basis whatsoever for that assertion. It appears that your client has made it up out of whole cloth in order to engage in defamation. You responded by saying that should we proceed to sue, you would accept service on behalf of your client. I concluded by saying that the statute of limitations is a year and that you may indeed he hearing further about this matter.

As one last chance for your client to avoid exposure for its defamatory falsehoods, we urge it to reconsider its position.

Thank you for your professional courtesy.

Christopher Wolf


by capcityman - Wednesday July 27, 2005 07:22:05 AM EST - reply to this comment - flag this comment

re: Wash. Times editorial baselessly claimed that Plame's covert status at CIA had been compromised before Novak's column


-----Original Message----- From: Tony Blankley [] Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2005 4:58 PM To: Wolf, Christopher Subject: Re: Request for Retraction

Dear Mr. Wolf,

We are referring your letter to our legal counsel.

Sincerely, Tony Blankley

From: "Wolf, Christopher" Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 14:48:09 -0400 To: Subject: Request for Retraction

Dear Mr. Blankley: I represent Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph Wilson. In your July 19, 2005 editorial, "Knifing Rove, whitewashing Wilson-Plame", you make a number of false assertions. I am writing with respect to only a few and to request a retraction, reserving all rights with respect to the remainder of your piece.

The assertions and our complaints follow:

"In July 2003, when columnist Robert Novak first mentioned in passing that Mrs. Plame worked for the CIA, she was not functioning as a covert agent and her work for the CIA was common knowledge."

[WHY THIS IS WRONG] There is no basis whatsoever to conclude that her work for the CIA was common knowledge. The CIA itself referred the disclosure of her identity and status to the Justice Department for investigation, and her status also was referred to by the United States District Court and United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the reporters' privilege case, which you apparently did not read. While the materials relied upon for the findings are sealed and non-public, the conclusions are public.

"But in interviews with The Washington Times, most of Mrs. Plame's neighbors in Northwest Washington said they knew she worked for the CIA."

[WHY THIS IS WRONG] I myself am a neighbor and I know all of the adjoining neighbors, including those to whom you reporter spoke, and either your reporter got it wrong or is misrepresenting his interviews. Valerie Wilson's neighbors did not know her status until she was "outed" by Robert Novak. This misrepresentation in your Editorial has been picked up by at least one other newspaper, the Dallas Morning News in is own editorial.

by capcityman - Wednesday July 27, 2005 07:25:36 AM EST - reply to this comment - flag this comment

re: Wash. Times editorial baselessly claimed that Plame's covert status at CIA had been compromised before Novak's column


"That if there were-- against the public record -- a covert status to be exposed, it was possibly Mr. Wilson, with a speculative assist from David Corn, who writes for the Nation magazine҆.Ironically, Mr. Rove says he learned of Mrs. Plame's identity from a reporter. How did a journalist get that information? Very possibly, Mr. Wilson himself was the original source of the leak of his wife's identity as a secret agent."

[WHY THIS IS WRONG] This is a complete falsehood and you have no basis for this assertion that Mr. Rove possibly learned of Ms. Wilson's from a reporter to whom Mr. Wilson leaked the information.

The bottom line is that based on what is currently known about the Plame case thus far, there is absolutely no legitimate reason to believe that Mr. Rove is the original source of the leak about Mrs. Plame's identity. Matthew Cooper has said (on "Meet the Press") and written (in Time magazine) that the first time her learned about Valerie Wilson was from Karl Rove.

Accordingly, we demand the following retraction be published on your Editorial page in a forthcoming edition this week:

In our July 19, 2005 editorial, "Knifing Rove, whitewashing Wilson-Plame", we made a number of assertions regarding Valerie Wilson's identity as a CIA agent being common knowledge, including to most of her neighbors, prior to the Robert Novak column in July 2003 and we suggested that her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson may himself have been the source of the leak. We retract those assertions and regret our error in making them.

Please let us have your response at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your cooperation.

Christopher Wolf Counsel for Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph C. Wilson, IV


The Washington Times

More misinformation on Wilson-Plame Published July 26, 2005 [AFTER COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR RETRACTION]

"she was by all accounts working under very light cover for the CIA, as evidenced by the fact that numerous neighbors were aware that she worked for the agency."

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't she make a contribution to the Al Gore campaign as well? If I recall, the shell company that she was alleged to be affiliated to made the same or a similar contribution.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, but regardless, it has nothing to do with the worthiness of the special prosecutor's investigation.

The NY Post just wants to confuse and cloud the issue, and hope that in the end, people won't care.

The question to be asked is: Who alerted Time's website of the ticket purchase? Could it be someone inside the administration, or friendly to Rove or Libby? Hmmm.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They'll find a way to work in there soon. I just know it. It'll get there soon!

But yeah, I read that too, forget where. But yeah, that's the thing, that she "gave money to an anti-Bush group."

Um, right. AFTER the administration ruined her career.

Damned fools.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did they "ruin" her career when Al Gore was running for President ?

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You missed the point. They ruined her career by outing her.

That's unrelated to supporting Kerry, Gore, or any other Democrat. It doesn't matter if she's a Democrat, Republican, Socialist or Libertarian.

She was covert. She shouldn't have been outed.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing to suggest that her career has been derailed. From my understanding, she had a desk analyst job and had been out of the field for some time. It is not a normal career path for her to go out into the field.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your understanding -- no doubt from the desk of Ken Mehlman or Rush Limbaugh -- is wrong.

The woman was covert, which is why the CIA asked for an investigation of who leaked her covert status.

9:57 AM  

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