07 March 2007

What Happens When There's No "There" There

The WaPo gets it:

Mr. Wilson was embraced by many because he was early in publicly charging that the Bush administration had "twisted," if not invented, facts in making the case for war against Iraq. In conversations with journalists or in a July 6, 2003, op-ed, he claimed to have debunked evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger; suggested that he had been dispatched by Mr. Cheney to look into the matter; and alleged that his report had circulated at the highest levels of the administration.

A bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife. When this fact, along with Ms. Plame's name, was disclosed in a column by Robert D. Novak, Mr. Wilson advanced yet another sensational charge: that his wife was a covert CIA operative and that senior White House officials had orchestrated the leak of her name to destroy her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson.

The partisan furor over this allegation led to the appointment of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Yet after two years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald charged no one with a crime for leaking Ms. Plame's name. In fact, he learned early on that Mr. Novak's primary source was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, an unlikely tool of the White House. The trial has provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame's identity -- and no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.

It just like when they 'got' Martha Stewart: Because of either slanted or stupid coverage in the mainstream press, 99% of men-on-the-street thought Stewart had been convicted of crimes involving improper securities transactions, which isn't true. In the Libby matter, it's too bad that the coverage so follows the same flawed template; always repeating the 'outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame' as part of what Libby was supposedly being tried for.

Good for the Washington Post to put this in the laps of the 'Gotcha' crowd. So many others are blinded by their "Get Cheney" mentality to acknowledge that the Libby convictions had nothing to do with "blowing the secret" of who Valerie Plame was/is. In fact, Plame ans Wilson are such private people both politically and professionally, the TV movie, book deal, lecture circuit, have already spooled up. You didn't miss their kiss kiss bang bang treatment in the The New Yorker, did you?

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