Saturday, July 16, 2005

Karl's Indispensable

So says a meaningless piece in NYT "Week in Review" section today. It goes through a history of aides to have been booted from the West Wing and concludes that Karl is above it all and will most likely survive. The best line: "It is difficult to imagine intervention by other political power brokers without the consent of Mr. Rove himself."

Frank Rich, on the other hand, is looking for blood in a compelling piece in Sunday's Times. While he says the story is not about Rove, or Cooper, or Miller, or Novak, or Fitzgerald, or Wilson, or Plame but the President, he ends by saying that Karl will fall when all is said and done. That's a new way to ask for his head-blame it on the other guy and call it collateral damage.

In Saturday's Times, John Tierney says that Karl's version of events now looks less like a smear and more like the truth. Shocking, indeed.

NYT had an article in Saturday's edition discussing a State Dept. memo that SecState Colin L. Powell had with him on his way to Africa on July 7, 2003-just one day after Wilson's piece was published in the Times. It's a confusing piece (at least to me) and I'm not sure what's its significance (if any) is.

WaPo details the long history of the Plame kerfuffle. It goes allllllll the way back to how and why Wilson was sent to Niger in the first place, what happened to his memo, how he got so enraged etc. It's well-worth reading. Here are some excerpts:
Wilson set out to discredit the charge, working largely through back channels at first to debunk it. He called friends inside the government and the media, and told the New York Times's Nicholas D. Kristof of his findings in Niger. Kristof aired them publicly for the first time in his May 6, 2003, column but did not name Wilson. This caught the attention of officials inside Cheney's office, as well as others involved in war planning, according to people who had talked with them.
Wait, so wasn't Wilson giving top-secret information to a journalist without clearance to do so? All because no one in the WH read his memo didn't mean he could pass along that information like that! Isn't it illegal to do that?

Administration officials set out to rebuff their critics, Wilson in particular. By the time The Washington Post published Wilson's allegation questioning the intelligence (but not citing his name) on the front page on June, 12, 2003 -- one month before the Plame affair was public -- Wilson was on the administration's radar screen.

The more Wilson pushed, the more the White House was determined to push back against a man they regarded as an irresponsible provocateur.

Up until this point, Wilson had worked mostly behind the scenes, but on July 6, he penned an op-ed in the New York Times, writing, "Some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons programs was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

Here's one really biting comment:
As for the Bush administration, the investigation has exposed how an administration that publicly deplores leaking has engaged aggressively in the practice to advance its goals.
But in the end:
Yet much of the case remains a mystery. Did the White House leak the identity of a CIA operative? Is it a crime? Did Bush have any knowledge of it? Will Fitzgerald have spent this much time pressuring officials and reporters and not deliver an indictment? Those questions may be answered soon, as the grand jury's term is set to expire in October.


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