Discussion of White House Leak
Warning: Use of undefined constant template_directory - assumed 'template_directory' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /homepages/10/d87402808/htdocs/backporchbeer/wp-content/themes/andyblue/single.php on line 11

By cynsmith - Last updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - Save & Share - 17 Comments

This is a transcript of a Q&A with Walter Pincus of the Washington Post about the leak naming Joseph Wilson’s wife as a CIA operative, the resulting stories and now possible Justice Department investigation into the matter.

I love Pincus because a)I’ve met him and he’s a wonderful, kind, intelligent man, and b)he’s been doing the most consistent reporting about the intelligence behind the administration’s arguments for attacking Iraq. He’s been on the “inflating the evidence” story all along, but for most of the summer the Post had him buried. Only lately have his stories been on the front page where they belong.

Posted in Politics • • Top Of Page

17 Responses to “Discussion of White House Leak”

Comment from KellyMc
Time September 30, 2003 at 8:57 am

umm, what’s with the synchronized posting, dear?

Comment from etrigan
Time September 30, 2003 at 9:36 am

really, that’s just creepy. please, tell me one of you changed your post-time to match the other’s…

Comment from Rick
Time September 30, 2003 at 10:41 am

To quote Bruce Lee (speaking of creepy): “It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. If you concentrate on the finger, you miss all that heavenly glory.”

All I’m saying is that the bird is not in your hand just yet. The ‘solid information’ that Karl Rove was behind the leak has now become ‘I have no information that anyone in the administration was behind the leak.’ according to former Ambassador Wilson. I’m not saying it is impossible that someone in the administration is guilty – but I’d wait until the Justice Department finds out who did it before I get all atwitter.

That said, whoever did it – from the President to a Democrat trying to make the administration look bad – needs to go to jail. Outing CIA agents just ain’t cool.

Comment from etrigan
Time September 30, 2003 at 11:00 am

The current administration has already perfected thier scapegoat technique. From Ollie North to George J Tennet the GOP has a long history of passing the buck.

Personal responsibility, my ass.

Comment from cynsmith
Time September 30, 2003 at 11:32 am

Funny you should mention it, since George Tenet is the only name I’ve seen mentioned as a source of the leak:

“The Note floats this theory: “Based on the original Novak story; on the language in Sunday’s Washington Post story; on the ‘kind’ of people Novak talks to; on the prophetic warnings of Wayne Slater; and on the fact that CIA agents have memories and the capacity to hold grudges nearly as long as the Bush family — based on all that, here’s what people are thinking:

“Two White House officials lashed out at Wilson, hoping to smear him in the minds of enough elite reporters to discredit him before his platform grew. They didn’t want his wife’s name out there in the public domain, so much as they wanted it in the brains of gatekeeping reporters.

“Again, it might not be right or fair, but we dare you to find a member of the Gang who doesn’t think the Post ‘s source was someone familiar with George Tenet’s thinking.”

Comment from Rick
Time September 30, 2003 at 12:31 pm

I read the Post article – very interesting. There seems to be some dispute over her role at the CIA. Some claim ‘covert’ (bad to expose) and some claim ‘analyst’ (you could probably ask for her from the operator and be transfered). I have also been at a loss to explain how ‘outing’ her could damage Wilson’s credibility. I think everyone else is at a loss, too. A possible punishment? Yes, if she really was a part of covert operations. Not really, if she was an analyst. But in either case, I don’t see how this is a very good ‘smear campaign’…

As for the GOP’s history of scapegoats and passing the buck, I did not have sexual relations with that woman: Miss Lewinski. Whitewater was all above-board. The travel office staff was fired for gross incompetence. I made those campaign contribution phone calls to just catch up with old friends. I guess flat out denial is better than passing the buck, kettle? ;-)

Comment from KellyMc
Time September 30, 2003 at 12:42 pm

It’s a shame we don’t have the independent counsel act anymore to continue the valuable work that uncovered all that scandal. Perhaps congress will bring it back so we can continue to have fair and impartial oversight of presidential administrations.

Comment from Rick
Time September 30, 2003 at 12:53 pm

Amen! An excellent use of resources, no matter who is in office… ;-)

Comment from cynsmith
Time September 30, 2003 at 12:59 pm

> have also been at a loss to explain how ‘outing’ her could damage Wilson’s credibility.

The strategy was to say that the only reason he got the job was because his wife recommended him for it, not because his career history as a diplomat in Africa and Iraq made him eminently qualified.

As for Whitewater, many years and millions of dollars were spent investigating it and NO CRIME WAS EVER DISCOVERED OR PROSECUTED. What’s the point of the inquiry if not to discover and punish wrongdoers? It wouldn’t be to cast a shadow of scandal and create unwarranted suspicion, would it?

Comment from jank
Time September 30, 2003 at 1:05 pm

Drudge has Novak stating “Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. In July I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador Wilson’s report when he told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction. … According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operator, and not in charge of undercover operatives.”

The independent council law was allowed to die after the realization that it was way to often used as a political tool. There was much rejoicing on both sides of the aisle when the statute died. It needs to remain dead.

This sudden crisis over nat’l security from the left cracks me up. Where were these folks when the Clinton administration gave missile guidance technology to China, etc?

Lastly, Amb. Wilson’s hardly without interest here. He’s a fairly large donor to the Kerry campaign. Why no investigation into that conflict of interest, or mention in the Post?

Comment from jank
Time September 30, 2003 at 1:31 pm

Belay my last: Wilson has donated early and often to both sides.

Comment from cynsmith
Time September 30, 2003 at 1:35 pm

>This sudden crisis over nat’l security from the left cracks me up. Where were these folks when the Clinton administration gave missile guidance technology to China, etc?

Jeez, you don’t think it has something to do with the fact that we’re actively and openly engaged in a war on several fronts, do you? Not to get all cliched here, but everything changed on 9/11.

Comment from jank
Time September 30, 2003 at 1:59 pm

Isn’t openess supposed to be our way to make peace with the world?

Seriously, though – 9/11 didn’t change a thing with regards to the need to keep secrets. Al Quaeda, North Korea, Iraq, and many others wanted intel on how to kill Americans, and what Americans were learning about them long before 2001 as much as they did after 9/11. I was a submariner for a few years before becoming a civilian again. Intel and secrets are second nature to me.

The essential question to be asked here is if Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, or if she was involved in operations. If she was in operations, then there is the real possibility that, much like ex-Sen. Patrick Leahey’s (D-Vermont) leaks about Lybia, there may be real people in real danger for their lives. If she is an analyst, then, again, like Rick mentioned, she’s in the phone book.

Comment from jank
Time September 30, 2003 at 2:09 pm

And, with all the new-found concern over ‘everything changing after 9/11’, what light does that put these leaks from the Senate last summer in?

On the basis of the leaks, the American media revealed that two highly sensitive messages intercepted by the top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) on the eve of the attacks were not translated until 12 September. … The Arabic-language messages intercepted by the NSA said “The match is about to begin” and “Tomorrow is zero hour”.

Jesus, tell me that Al Quaeda couldn’t use that to determine if/when/how their communications were compromised. But the San Jose Mercury News had a Washington Post story which alleged that:

Requesting calendars, phone logs and schedules over a two-day period “has much more of a fishing-around feel to it, trying to find out which senators are talking to the media,” said … a University of Baltimore law professor … “That might frighten senators out of the business of telling the public what they need to know.” … Some officials generally involved in the probe believe that quashing the release of information to the public about embarrassing or sensitive information related to the Sept. 11 attacks was exactly what the administration intended when it sent Vice President Dick Cheney to chastise committee members for unauthorized leaks that end up in news reports.

I want Sen Bob Graham to follow up on this. What were the source of those leaks, damnit? It’s been over a year…

Comment from cynsmith
Time September 30, 2003 at 2:14 pm

All good points indeed. Perhaps the difference here is that the CIA asked Justice to investigate this one? I don’t know why they didn’t do the same with the others you have mentioned.

Comment from cynsmith
Time September 30, 2003 at 2:17 pm

Sorry – posted before following your links. “An investigation was launched at the Senate’s request after information was leaked from the hearings in June.”

Maybe we haven’t heard anything because the investigation itself was secret?

Comment from jank
Time September 30, 2003 at 2:18 pm

Justice was running the probe that was ‘quashing the release of information to the public about embarrassing or sensitive information.’

In the case of Sen. Leahey (D-VT), the operatives who ended up dying were not Americans, so other than the long-term loss of credibility for the CIA and diminished ability to operate in the Muslim world, there wasn’t much we (the USA) could do.

Write a comment

You need to login to post comments!