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May 02, 2006

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Did I miss something? When was it proven that Bush ok'd the leak of Plame's name?

Giving BushCo the benefit of a very huge doubt, it's possible that outing Plame was a two-fer, as has been suggested before: perhaps Plame's group wasn't finding the intel that would be needed to justify a war against Iran. So outing her wasn't just to punish Joe Wilson; it was a pre-emptive strike, to make sure the only intel on Iran was stovepiped and cherry picked to conform to a pre-set policy.

Like I said, that's giving BushCo the compliment of assuming they thought that far ahead. As opposed to ruining a vital intel operation for political revenge, and neither knowing nor caring what the actual impact on national security might be.

If Bush keeps pushing for confrontation with Iran, it would be nice if someone, somewhere, asked, "In view of the fact that your Administration destroyed the operation tasked with tracking Iran's nuclear programs, what intel network are you now relying on?"

Jeff: Bush may or may not have approved the leak. I have no idea. But he has kept Karl Rove on staff, despite everything he said about firing whoever was responsible for the leak.

Its like a giant evil puzzle slowly coming together. I wonder what they will do before the presidential elections in a couple years...

Anyone have any thoughts on what sanctions/actions the UN security council might impose on Iran? What could actually work? Or the chances of getting Russia and China onboard to vote?

Fine Hilzoy, but you accused him of outing an agent, when you just admited that you don't know whether he actually did. If you don't know that he actually outed Plame, don't accuse him of doing so.

Jeff: point taken. I'll update. Thanks.

i saw a 2004 election bumper sticker this weekend that said "10 out ot 10 terrorists agree: Anyone But Bush".

i've been scratching my head for days now, trying to figure just what it is people see in Bush that would make them want to broadcast such a sentiment. for starters, terrorism has increased exponentially since W took office... unless the thinking is that suicide bombers wish Bush wasn't in charge so that they wouldn't have to kill themselves... ?

It's easy to understand: the point isn't to stamp out terrorism, it's to give evil people the unhappiness they deserve. If there were ten times as much terrorism, that would mean the terrorists were ten times as upset, so we'd be winning against them ten times as much!

outs agents working on keeping that country from getting nuclear weapons, for purely political reasons.

No no no hilzoy, you have this all wrong. You see, in their mind, only George can save us from the terrorist hordes that are sweeping the nation (I mean, just last week we lost Florida, despite Jeb's valiant last stand on the steps of the capital in Tallahassee). In order to save us, he has to remain President, and in order to remain President, he has to do what Karl Rove says. Karl said that the whole WMD/Niger uranium story could ruin his re-election chances and it had to be stopped, and so they outed Plame. As you can see, outing Plame was necessary to save the nation from terrorists, and therefore as far from purely political reasons as you can get.

unfortunately, i think Ugh is very close to the truth...

Bush occupies the same position for a diminishing sliver of the electorate as the magical, tiger-repelling rock Lisa Simpson sold to her father.

My idea for Presidential campaign reform is that we let Brit Hume pick a country to blow up, say, three months before the election. The candidates are given publically-funded munitions of all sizes and shapes. Whomever makes the biggest mess gets the job.

As much as the giant evil conspiracy puzzle is elegant, a lot of signs suggest that the Bush administration simply didn't have a policy about Iran (besides vaguely wishing for regime change and making threatening noises about that every once in a while).

As much as the giant evil conspiracy puzzle is elegant, a lot of signs suggest that the Bush administration simply didn't have a policy about X (where X represents everything but tax cuts).

(where X represents tax cuts for the wealthy and self-preservation)

Am I the only one impressed by Rove's use of his mind control techniques that forced Joe Wilson to write a story riddled with misleading statemets that eventually led to his wife's name appearing in the paper?

Shouldn't we want men this powerful to remain in control?

Have I missed the part where Fitz comes out and says that Plame was undercover?

Most I have heard him say is that her status is classified. Maybe the ObWi gods have been using their mind control techniques on Fitz to get to the truth.

If only Joe Wilson had told the truth about his trip...

I think ttlr is actually a parody art form created by the ObWing front page posters, and they're collectively snickering behind the kitty waiting for the rest of us to catch on.

Over at Tapped, I see that Pincus at the WaPo is working on the story, presumably trying to see if his intel contacts provide any confirmation of what appears to have first been reported by a blogger in Iran.

On a slightly related note, I notice that David Frum titled his column "Who Lost Iraq". While his contention that if Franks had backed Chalabi all would have gone well is nonsensical (and indicates the neo's still believe in ponies) it is the first indication that I have seen that they have joined the "Iraq is lost" reality based world.

Am I the only one impressed by Rove's use of his mind control techniques that forced Joe Wilson to write a story riddled with misleading statemets that eventually led to his wife's name appearing in the paper?

yes

"...of what appears to have first been reported by a blogger in Iran."

I long ago, on this very blog, developed an indirect argument and argument by inference that Plame's desk duty involved preventing nuclear materials etc from getting to Iran.

1) We knew, to the extent we ever know, that Plame's deep cover assignment in the Stan's late 90s was developing a network of smugglers and border watchers with an anti-proliferation purpose.

2) A glance at a map would show which countries had the borders that might bear watching. Afghanistan wasn't a likely propect for expensive centrifuges or intermediate missiles, the politics or economy couldn't support it. Pakistan already had them; Turkey or Nepal or Bangladesh or anything else East isn't AFAIK interested;I presume we had better existing networks in Kurdistan and other means to watch Iraq. That left Iran.

Presuming 1), which could be accompanied with cites, after long research 2) pretty easily follows. The kind of evidence were statements like:"Plame had been establishing networks of smugglers to watch and report border-crossing activity." What activity, fur-smuggling? Deep cover is rare and expensive, and used only on very high-value projects. Certainly someone with her immediate experience overseas, and an ongoing need to maintain her networks, she would not likely have been assigned to the Cuba desk. There was other circumstantial evidence, the fury of the CIA after she had been outed for instance.

Anyway, my first comment to this effect is in the archives. I guess we needed an anonymous blogger in Iraq, and some inside unnamed sources before we could actually apply our brains and logic to the question.
Otherwise, just silly speculation, huh.

We had other information. Why, when the subject of Niger yellowcake and Iraq came up, was Plame anywhere near the room? What did that tell us about her responsibilities and portfolio? Told us something.

This recent story is not really news or fact, except that "news" is defined as something Walter Pincus says, because we trust his sources. But we can't trust Judy Miller. Or something.

Jackmormon and Ugh:

If you wish to state that the Bush Administration has had no plan for Iran... go look at a map of the middle east and tell me what you see on either side. There are plans which the government doesn't talk about.

A little OT: but a callout to the kitten to please pass on to the ObWi PTB the following LINK : "Online Integrity": a worthy manifesto to sign onto - even if the list of endorsing sites does contain a few names one wouldn't (from this end of the spectrum, anyway) associate with respect for privacy and online decorum.

As much as the giant evil conspiracy puzzle is elegant, a lot of signs suggest that the Bush administration simply didn't have a policy about Iran (besides vaguely wishing for regime change and making threatening noises about that every once in a while).

I agree. Michael Ledeen bemoaned this fact over and over again. (So much for the all-powerful Israeli lobby claims lately). His "faster please" columns were meant to support grass-roots opposition to regime before the last election in Iran. It didn't happen - there was no US or international support for the people of Iran to have a real choice in the election. But this hands-off policy has bretty much gone on since Pes Carter, an example of how realist foreign policy can be ineffective.

Dave, and anyone else interested, I recommend you follow Jim Henley's blog; he's got a fine skeptical eye about who's playing whom in the great international arena of What To Do About Iran.

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