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July 27, 2005

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I seriously doubt that Senator Roberts is going to so any emerging from House hearings.

the very last paragraph of the article you link:

Little said the Senate committee would also review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years.

that's the money shot.

why would Fitzgerald's investigation need a review ? sounds like a shot across the bow to me.

Yeah, it's not really mind-reading when they come right out and say it.

Now, the sole question is "what mind was subject to Kevin's melding"? Because it sure wasn't the mind of Pat Roberts.

And, undoubtably, should Roberts' committee propose more protections for covert agents (as I suspect that it will), Mr. Drum will criticize the proposal as impinging on our freedoms and as inimical to a free press

Accusing someone of doing something, even as you yourself are doing it at the same time as you make the accusation.

Tim:

The House and Senate hearings are being coordinated with one another.

Tim and Cleek:

Read the second paragraph of the Boston Herald article linked by Kevin as his purported "support" for Pat Roberts' malfeasance (I've included an active link in the above):

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence plans hearings on potential national security threats posed by leaks, including leaks to the media, and will aim to toughen legislation barring the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

When the alleged basis for one's nasty speculation specifically contradicts that speculation, you've fallen through the thin ice on which you'd foolishly chosen to stand.

As for Roberts, virtually everyone (but Drum) understood his remarks to express disapproval of the Plame leak, even as he suggested that current law may not prohibit it. See the Financial Times and Reuters articles that I linked, for starters.


Crikey, until I got to the end, I was certain this was written by Charles. This is a joke, right? von?

F-R-M:

I'm forecasting, not mind reading. There is a difference -- and it's not a small or inconsequential one.

F-R-M:

I'm forecasting, not mind reading. There is a difference -- and it's not a small or inconsequential one.

Crikey, until I got to the end, I was certain this was written by Charles. This is a joke, right? von?

Bob:

I respect Drum quite a bit, but: (1) I'm not a Democrat and (2) No one gets a pass.

The word "undoubtably" is not commonly used in forecasts.

I haven't investigated this carefully, but it sure looks like Kevin screwed this one up. The Daily Howler is also taking him to task today.

So, definite slap on the wrist to Kevin. Bad Kevin! Apologize!

Still a little iffy on the whole "let's investigate Fitzgerald at the same time" part of the situation. That still smells pretty bad.

they're also going to see if the agency's use of 'cover' is appropriate. unless the answer is "they need more cover", it'll be a means to take the heat off of whoever leaked Plame's status - retroactively, sure, but that's enough for the political game.

Well, fine, if the laws are inadequate, then provide evidence in terms of agents "outed" in the last twenty years....or "outers" unprosecuted because of insufficient coverage. If there is only one significant instance then there is not enough of a problem to require hearings. One might also wonder if this new legislation is at the request of the CIA, who would have the most interest in their own protection.

Otherwise, there is a whole lot of disingenuous going around.

I've seen speculation that Roberts' investigation may also be intended to provide Rove, Libby, Bolton, et al., with immunity - ostensibly to get them to testify, but actually to pre-emptively protect them from indictments.

Most of the quotes in the Reuters and FT articles are from Hoekstra, the chairman of the relevant House committee, not Roberts, as is the Herald quote in your 5:08 comment.

Maybe we shouldn't send Roberts' sainthood application off to Rome just yet. From the Reuters article:

[Roberts spokeswoman Sarah] Little said the Senate committee would also review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years.

Wonder what that's about.

Then there's this from the Boston Globe: (registration required).

Pat Roberts, chairman of the committee, vowed last year that soon after the presidential election was over, his panel would examine whether Bush or his top aides misled the public about prewar intelligence, or pressured CIA agents to make a stronger case for invading Iraq. But since then, the Intelligence Committee has made no measurable progress on the investigation. Instead, Roberts has offered vague public promises of picking up the key pieces of the probe at some point but has warned that other more pressing matters must be dealt with first.

The word "undoubtably" is not commonly used in forecasts.

Perhaps because it's not a real word...?

I think Drum's interpretation is a bit odd. A more reasonable idea would be that Roberts wants to show that the CIA isn't being careful enough about protecting its covert operatives, so Plame wasn't really covert enough to count.

So maybe today's episode of Daily Howler Drum-beating is more justified than some previous ones. But yesterday's unhinged rant about how unhinged Josh Marshall is was a different story.

I think what Kevin Drum did was question Senator Roberts motives. If that isn't OK in the political arena maybe you should remind those who claim that Joe Wilson went to Niger in order to discredit the Bush White House and possibly bring down civilization as we know it, about that. .

I am surprised by your naivitee Von. You seem to be suggesting politicians should be taken at their word. I used to think we could all agree that Politicians sometimes say things that aren't necessarily the whole truth. Maybe I am wrong about that.

KenB, read the page you link to. If "undoubtable" is a word, "undoubtably" is too. Dictionaries don't list all normally formed derivatives of a word.

undoubtedly; indubitably.

"Roberts wants to show that the CIA isn't being careful enough about protecting its covert operatives, so Plame wasn't really covert enough to count."

From WaPo, by way of dKos:

"Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified information."

OK, so far we've had everyone who's in a position to actually know whether a person is covert or not say that Plame was covert.

In other words, we have CIA officials saying she was covert. We have people she worked with saying she was covert.

The only people who are still bobbing and weaving around that one are doing so for no other reason than to protect the Bush Administration.

That includes Roberts, who isn't exactly new to political hackwork.

Hey, if the Republicans on this board want to take their stand alongside the likes of Rove, Roberts and Novak, that's up to them. It does sort of make me wonder what ideals and virtues they're upholding, though.

Let me be the second to congratulate Kevin Drum for his newfound ability to read minds.

This may be the clumsiest example of sarcasm I've ever encountered.

I think what Kevin Drum did was question Senator Roberts motives.

What a clear explanation of Drum's two paragraphs! Blue Neponset must have one of them fancy educations.

von, if it doesn't require too much "mind-reading," would you care to speculate on why Roberts wishes to investigate the investigation?

Open Season on the CIA

Kevin Drum is not deterred. (Wash Monthly is a little flakey for me this day; it is regularly my most difficult site to access)

It wasn't the attack on Kevin that upset me;I am not in the habit of defending people.
It was the defense of Roberts. And I have to wonder, on rereading Kevin's post, if his final line about: "This is your Republican Party" that was especially disturbing.

I am sorry, von, but there is a very apparent conspiracy to defend what is obviously at best grossly unethical behavior and an unconscionable coverup that extends all the way up to the President. And extends down to every right blog I come in contact with and every Republican voice I hear. I truly wish it were otherwise, and were it Hadley instead of Rove I think it would be. And, of course, if the President weren't so clearly implicated in the coverup.

Although I have watched it since Watergate, I still find this loyalty to the undeserving remarkable.

This may be the clumsiest example of sarcasm I've ever encountered.

You don't get out much, do you?

Who has a better handle on what is going on here regarding Plame -- von or Drum?

From this Drum comments thread :

There are some on the right who are (foolishly) minimizing the importance of Plame's outing, but they do not represent the "new Republican party" -- or any Republican party, for that matter.

von

What hole have you been in for the last two years? This remark is, at best, naive. The entire effort to minimize the importance of the Plame outing is being orchestrated by the leadership of the Republican party from the White House itself, has been underway for two years now, and continues full steam ahead.

As for the Drum conclusion you challenge regarding Roberts' motivation, Josh Marshall previously came to a similar conclusion as Drum in a blurb with more sourcing. He has also written concerning many other episodes of political hackery by Roberts concerning the CIA and the Senate Judiciary Committee -- check it out to get a full picture.

At least as to the Senate hearing (as opposed to those running the House hearing), there is every reason to believe it serves the political purpose ascribed to it by Drum. Robert's is one of those casting doubt on whether Plame was "really" covert -- implying that the CIA was careless in its methods for concealing her role. That is one method of downplaying the episode, and is clearly documented by Marshall.

And yes, your Republican Party is moving heaven and earth to minimize the importance of the Plame outing, since the conduct and the now two year cover-up goes right to the highest levels of the White House, and is a window into the larger campaign of lying and deception to sell the Iraq war.

And you don't have to be a mind reader to figure it out.

CaseyL:

Hey, if the Republicans on this board want to take their stand alongside the likes of Rove, Roberts and Novak, that's up to them. It does sort of make me wonder what ideals and virtues they're upholding, though.

I haven't seen many conservatives on THIS board do much defending of Rove or the outing of Plame. At worst, they're withholding judgement until the indictments start raining down. Something I'm trying to do myself, although in the case of Novak it's very hard.

Meow! I didn't realize you were so fond of that remark. I take it all back. Your sentence is merely one of many clumsy pieces of sarcasm. Still pals? That's a relief.

Now why do you think Roberts wishes to investigate Fitzgerald's investigation?

Bobzilla: I haven't seen many conservatives on THIS board do much defending of Rove or the outing of Plame.

Nope: I've noticed they tend more to sit back and go "no one's proved a crime has been committed yet" (that is, whether or not the person who outed Plame can be indicted) and to attack those who (in their view) go too far in attacking the defenders of the person who outed Plame/the people who covered up for him.

Huh. So two intelligent, well informed people see the same vague sound bite about the intentions of a particular Senator. One of them assumes the worst about the actual consequences that might flow therefrom. The other one assumes the best, supports his contention with a different (even vaguer) soundbite from a different politician, and takes the first one to task for assuming the worst.

Nowhere in all this are there any non-circumstantial indicators about what sort of content these hearings might provide, or what sort of legislative action might result from said hearings. Nothing but sound bites and past performance (which is of course no guarantee of future results). At the end of the day von is taking Roberts and Hoekstra at their word, while Kevin pronounces them guilty until proven innocent.

And von, brave soul that he is, is so convinced that Roberts' purpose is in fact to protect covert agents and that these will be non-ridiculous, non-politicized hearings, that he stakes another little bit of his reputation on it.

Well, we shall see.

Good governance: football. Republicans: Lucy. von and Pejman: Charlie Brown. It's kinda funny the first few hundred times.

Well, God fobid anyone should impute bad faith to a Republican on this issue. Just a few days ago, Pat Roberts very loudly and publicly asserted that Valerie Wilson was not covert because of her so-called "desk job" at Langley. This "investigation" is obviously being set up to cherry pick testimony in defense of the indefensible. "Responsible" Republicans, if there are any left, ought to be horrified by their colleagues' brazen elevation of party over country. It is disgusting, and downright dangerous.

I haven't seen many conservatives on THIS board do much defending of Rove or the outing of Plame

Of course not, it is better to attack than defend, right? And I have seen plenty of conservatives on THIS board attempting to smear Wilson and his wife.

Um...I believe I've said more than once that Wilson's trustworthiness is irrelevant to this case.

Slartibartfast Changes Course. Will Enough Bushist Regime Dead-Enders Follow?

Slartibartfast Changes Course.

Did I, indeed? It's so hard to remember where I've been.

Uh--well I inferred from an earlier exchange you had with Anarch that you had at least changed party affiliation.

Meow! I didn't realize you were so fond of that remark. I take it all back. Your sentence is merely one of many clumsy pieces of sarcasm. Still pals? That's a relief.

I wasn't all that fond of the remark, actually. Just found it hard to believe that it was clumsiest example of sarcasm you've ever read.


And I have seen plenty of conservatives on THIS board attempting to smear Wilson and his wife.

Why yes, we do get a few trolls here. Just be glad it hasn't turned into a DKOS or Redstate style echo chamber. Is that what you want, or are you just looking for an excuse to whip out a few I told you sos, bush sucks, nyah, nyah, nyahs?

What more is there to say other than the fact that Rove (at the very least) conspired with others to commit a despicable and dishonorable act? At least until the indictments start getting handed down (and I'm very sure there will be indictments of some sort issued). As others have noted, this is a very difficult case to follow, even without all the leaks and obfuscation from both sides. Fitzgerald has kept his cards so close to the vest that I think it's "mind reading" to predict what he's going to unveil.

I personally want to see Rove due the "perp walk" as much as any other liberal on this board, but I'm willing to be patient. I'm certainly not going to criticize the conservative posters here for taking the same course of action.

I've seen speculation that Roberts' investigation may also be intended to provide Rove, Libby, Bolton, et al., with immunity - ostensibly to get them to testify, but actually to pre-emptively protect them from indictments.

So far, this seems like the most credible theory to me. Roberts has a recent, demonstrated public record of comments that provide more than enough justification for a reasonable person to question his motives, and it's not like this isn't a trick the GOP has used before to give their felons a get out of jail free card.

For that matter, so do I.

Hopefully I didn't hose the html again.

Because that would suck.

Read the second paragraph of the Boston Herald article linked by Kevin as his purported "support" for Pat Roberts' malfeasance (I've included an active link in the above):

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence plans hearings on potential national security threats posed by leaks, including leaks to the media, and will aim to toughen legislation barring the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

Hahaha. Right, the same way they tried to "strengthen" Social Security. Seriously, we're just supposed to believe this because they say so?

How is doubting a politician's word "mind-reading," particularly in this case? Roberts and the rest of the Republican leadership, as well as their hack army, have engaged in a long, intense campaign on the Plame issue. Are we supposed to presume that this is a coincidence, or an honest non-partisan effort?

What more is there to say other than the fact that Rove (at the very least) conspired with others to commit a despicable and dishonorable act?

Well there is a lot more than that to say. Bush said if anyone in his administration was involved, they would be gone. We now know, both you and I, that he lied. His story now is that if anyone in his administration committed a crime they would be gone. But we know that's a lie too, because at least 3 people in his administration have been convicted of crimes. I'm sure that if that was brought to his or his spokesliar's attention he would have a new standard, and we both know that the new standard would also be a lie.

Gee, is that too harsh for you? I don't like to be lied to. Maybe you do. This is not about Rove anymore. Everyone, Bush, his dad, you, me, the press, aliens in distant galaxies, we all knew from the outset that Rove was pond scum. No one disputes this. I may be wrong, anyone one want to stand up and argue what a great human being Rove is? Oh. I didn't think so.

We don't have to wait for indictments to be handed down to comment on this. If no indictments are handed down, it is not like the administration has been vindicated. This is not a "very difficult case to follow". That's absurd. Whether or not anyone in the Bush administration committed a crime, we know what happened, and we know, all of us, that what happened was wrong. I don't care about seeing Rove doing the "perp walk". I care about Americans taking their government back, and I care about having a press that is willing to look at a spade and say, "Yep, it's a spade", and I care about having representatives who will stand up to liars and say, "You are a liar".

This is basic, simple stuff here. You either care about democracy in this nation or you don't.

G-SAVE will be coordinated through the Pentagon. The CIA's ability to leak off-message information to the press must be tamped down. "Information warfare" (you thought this was walked back? mission accomplished) is hard enough to do without agencies going off-message. Western Washington state gets more sunshine than our government under this administration. Unfortunately half of the country appears to prefer being mushroomed.

Update from Kevin Drum. (I think Von ought to link to this from the post itself: it would look a little more evenhanded that the current Birdian trashing.)

If Roberts had kept his promise to run Part 2 of the SSIC enquiry (on admin use of Iraq WMD intelligence) I wouldn't be thinking that Drum & Marshall were on the money. That and the timing and the mention of Fitzgerald.

Hey von, a rebuttal of Drum's latest, mentioned by Jes, definitely seems called for. I know we just have to wait for actual hearings to see whose predictions turn out to be correct, but you do feel that your case has merits, right?

Kevin Drum has a theory which adequately explains all the currently available data. As a competing researcher in the same field, asserting that your theory is just as good as his because neither has been deductively "proven" is not a good way to win the respect of your colleagues. You must either produce data not adequately explained by Kevin's theory, or propose an alternate theory (or modify your existing one) to explain all the currently available data. Kevin has now produced data (Roberts' curious timing, and the quote about "ambguities" in the definition of cover) which is not explained by your theory.

If you want your theory to survive this would be a good time to explain how it handles Kevin's data points.

Well, we have "Clear Skies," "No Child[ren are being] Left Behind," and now I suppose we will get the "Covert Operatives Protection Act (COPA)."

Civil service or agency leakers can/would be fired or reassigned to northern Alaska for disclosing classified information that harms national security or their agencies. Reporters don't get access to this information without help. That leaves political appointees. In saner times, political appointees who leak of classified information that harms national security quickly find that their service no longer pleases the president.

Further penalties do exist, and perhaps Hoekstra's committee will consider adding to those. That doesn't change the fact that the normal response is Bush's original promise - namely that if political appointees had leaked this they'd be canned. President Bush's backpedaling, especially refusing to revoke clearance, while stalling, obfuscating and dragging the process out as long as possible is exactly the problem. He is the one with leverage over the leakers. They serve at the pleasure of the president. He is still the leader of his party; if he wanted to make examples of the leakers it would be done. He doesn't http://www.smh.com.au/news/US-Elections/Bushs-architect-will-be-last-man-out-the-door/2004/11/08/1099781301323.html>want href> to, and that failure is his alone. Sadly, there seem to be far too many people (including some Senators) willing to support or justify that failure.

I want to retract my "Bad Kevin" from earlier.

And more importantly, I too am very interested in what von has to say to the new and improved and clearer Kevin Drum hypothesis.

now I suppose we will get the "Covert Operatives Protection Act (COPA)."

Go whole hawg: COPA-CABANA; pick your own words for the second half.

My guess is some COPA cases would be heard in a special forum: the Court of Extraordinary Terrorism and Intelligence Cases.

Heh. That took me a few seconds to decode.

And more importantly, I too am very interested in what von has to say to the new and improved and clearer Kevin Drum hypothesis.

It must've just been me, but I immediately knew what Kevin meant in his original post since it was basically my theory too. I was a mite bewildered why everyone was dismissing his theory out of hand, von in particular; now that it's been clarified, I'm somewhat gratified to see everyone agreeing (or at least giving it some credence).

In the face of this you've got to hand it to von for his faith in human nature.

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