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Translating The Woodward Tapes

MSNBC has published the transcript from Wednesday’s night showdown segment on Hardball as host Chris Matthews questioned the Washington Post’s executive editor Len Downie on the recent revelations of Bob Woodward’s role in Plamegate.

Unfortunately, however, the transcript appears in the obscure and barely understandable beltway dialect known as Newspeak. Because I think no sacrfice is too great for my readers, I have taken the time to translate this important document for you into everyday English. Below find an edited portion of the transcript.


MATTHEWS: Let me thank you for your time today. Why do we now know that Bob Woodward got a leak from a senior administration official?

TRANSLATION: Why in the hell are we hearing about this two years too late?

DOWNIE: Chris, at the time that this conversation took place back in June of 2003, Bob was conducting a series of interviews with this and other sources for his book, “Plan of Attack.” …And this came up as a small business of banter within a much longer interview about other things. Later on, when the leaks investigation began… he became concerned about protecting that source and also concerned about whether or not he, himself, might be subpoenaed in that investigation.  And that‘s why he didn‘t tell me at that time.  I‘ve told him, however, that those were not sufficient reasons to not bring me into his confidence. But he should have told me about it and that‘s why he has apologized today.

TRANSLATION: Not wanting to be overshadowed by the New York Times, we granted Woodward the same run-amok unaccountability that Judy Miller enjoyed. Woodward pissed all over us. We enjoyed that too.

MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s what I don‘t get. What has changed between then and June of 2003 and now?  What freed him up to tell us that, the information itself? 

TRANSLATION: What the fuck does that mean?

DOWNIE:  What‘s happened since Bob first told me about this toward the end of October, shortly before the indictments came down … is that he was contacted by the special counsel, asked to give this deposition and then sought waivers from the three sources the special counsel wanted to ask questions about, because Bob couldn‘t give testimony unless these waivers were given for the purpose of testimony.
All three gave him waivers for that.  He also asked for waivers to be able to write about it.  And, one, Mr. Libby gave him a waiver to be able to write about it in today‘s paper.  It took a while to reach Andrew Card, who is traveling with the president, the president‘s chief of staff.  We now have his waiver to be able to write about. But the other source has not given us a waiver, so we still can‘t name him or report on the substance of the conversation.

TRANSLATION : I have no good answer, Chris. Other than Bob is still covering for Cheney or someone else in his office.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about being used here by his source.
The source says you … can say somebody leaked this back in  mid June of 2003 before it was leaked by Scooter Libby, according to the indictment language. In other words, that‘s all useful to somebody if they want to help Scooter get off.  But it‘s not telling the whole story, it‘s just telling the useful part of this story.  I mean, the people over at Libby‘s legal operation are ecstatic now.

TRANSLATION: Do you mind getting bungholed by the White House?

DOWNIE: I‘m not drawing any conclusions about that.  That‘s their business. What we are doing is maintaining our relationships with the confidential source, as we do with many other confidential sources.  That‘s very important to us.

TRANSLATION: We don’t mind. Doesn’t feel that bad. Anyway, we’re used to it.

MATTHEWS:  Does it bother you that the confidential source could be using rolling disclosure here for a political purpose; in other words, peeling off the confidentiality just enough to achieve a political goal, which is to take perhaps some of the political—or the legal heat off of Scooter Libby?

TRANSLATION: And you perform all these acts without any protection.

DOWNIE: Chris, I can‘t engage in that kind of speculation, you know that.  We have a confidential-source relationship to protect here.  Woodward protected the name of deep throat for 30 years.  That is why he was seeking to protect this confidential-source relationship.  But he should have told me about it.

TRANSLATION: It’s not easy as it looked in Deep Throat. But Bob can really get it on with his "sources."  Sometimes he makes me jealous, but I live with it.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s talk about the role of an editor in a case of like this.  Let‘s talk about the period between what Bob refers to as mid June of 2003 and the time that you ran… the Bob Novak column…  Would[n’t] you have liked to have had that story sometime before he did it and would you have ran it, if Bob had given it to you. 

TRANSLATION: You are aware that your Prima Donna Woodward who makes a huge salary as a Post editor allowed your own paper to be scooped by Bob Novak while you were asleep at the wheel?

DOWNIE: I would have liked to have known this from Bob at the time, so we could consider exactly the kind of considerations that you‘re raising now.  We were unable to do that at the time.  But, I don‘t know if our decision would have been we‘d be able to publish the story, because of the confidential nature of the interview.

TRANSLATION: As I said, Chris, it’s Bob’s World. We just live in it. 

MATTHEWS:  Andy Card was mentioned on-line today from “The Washington Post” as one of the other sources.  Scooter Libby is the—who is the third?  Are we going to know that at any time soon?

TRANSLATION: So when are you going to tell us what really happened?

DOWNIE: I don‘t know. Obviously, we‘re interested in having the source free us from our obligations.  We‘ll have to wait and see if that happens.

TRANSLATION: I’ll have to check with Bob and get back to you.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the significance of this whole thing.  As a journalist, as an editor of one of the great papers in the country and the world. Is it important—is there a conflict here between Bob‘s writing books—and they‘re hell of books, everybody reads them, they‘re best sellers—and his role as a daily newspaper editor?

TRANSLATION: So the Washington Post pretty much exists to serve Bob Woodward’s private for-profit interests?

DOWNIE: Scores of members on our staff, including myself on occasion, have written books.  And we think that‘s an important thing for our professionals to be able to do.

TRANSLATION: That about sums it up.

MATTHEWS:  Bob‘s been very tough on Fitzgerald.  He has called him a junk-yard dog.  He‘s dumped on this whole investigation.  I think I understand why.  I‘d like you to tell me why.

TRANSLATION: How come Woodward gets a free pass to break the Post’s ethical guidelines and go out in public to argue his own personal political position – and in a case of clear conflict of interest, no less?

DOWNIE: I have also told him that when he appears on television, he is not supposed to state his personal opinions.  That is the policy of the Post and he is going to better about that in the future as well. 

TRANSLATION: I’ve asked him to write “I’m sorry” ten times on the blackboard. Other people, we’d fire for that. But not Bob.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I keep pushing for that opinion.

Translation: What a crock, Len

65 Responses to “Translating The Woodward Tapes”

  1. Kevin Says:

    LOL! Well done.

  2. Mark A. York Says:


    “I’ve asked him to write “I’m sorry” ten times on the blackboard. Other people, we’d fire for that. But not Bob.”

    I’ve been ordered to do this before, and refused, but I was going to be laid off later anyway.

  3. Natasha (the one in college) Says:

    Another triumph!!

  4. civil truth Says:

    Marc, your version kept me awake and got to the point. And then there’s the Reader’s Digest version, which would go like this:

    DOWNIE: We got screwed suckered and we had to pay for it too!

  5. civil truth Says:

    The html coding didn’t work. “screwed” was supposed to have a strikeout through it…

  6. rosedog Says:

    Excellent translation. Entirely nuanced.

    Marc….and to further support your theme that It’s All About Bob, I note that in his official “statement” explaining what he said in his grand jury testimony, Woodward manages—against all logic and incredible odds— to work in four separate times the fact that he was researching a book back in the Plame-leaking day. In addition, he works in the title of said book twice in his 1000 word statement, for a grand total of six plugs for his 2004 book.


  7. Michael Turner Says:

    I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

    It started in the middle of Woodward’s report on his testimony, where he says that Pincus doesn’t remember Woodward telling him that Plame was a WMD analyst for the CIA — as well he would have, given his preoccupation with the story at the time. The very end of Woodward’s account was where it really started to gnaw at me — where he writes that this was first time he’d ever had to give grand jury testimony. Why is that worthy of remark? Perhaps because it’s the first time that he — as one of America’s laureated truth-tellers — has ever been on the hook over any higher stakes than just his job and his rep as a reporter. A small slip-up in a story goes into the more-ignored-than-not errata column. A big slip means you end up holding down the civic affairs desk in Hooterville. But perjury is jail-time offense. It was almost like he was quietly muttering, “it implicitly impugns my integrity that I even had to go under oath.” The most subtly muted plea for sympathy for him and indignation against the Fitzgerald Jihad, that’s how I read it.

    I hate to think this, I truly do, but what if Woodward is simply lying? What if he has decided to play ball with this administration not only out of sympathy for their cause, but also in the interests of future access (primarily for himself, but also in the name of ensuring source protection for journalists generally)? When there’s blood in the water and the sharks are circling, bring in the octopus to squirt some ink for cover.

    Could the administration have picked anyone better? The Plame outing could be their Watergate — so who better to have on their side than one of the original underdog dynamic duo who did Watergate? And he has been so reliably stenographic as well.

    As I say, I really hate to think this, but the timing is so suspicious. Yes, Woodie, why NOW? Because the firewalls have all been tested and found to be firm enough?

  8. Shelly Sloan Says:

    LOL, indeed, LMFAO.

    Scooter scoots with this one…

  9. Myopic Zeal Says:

    Woodward Leak Identification Game

    Tom Maguire makes the case that it was Richard Armitage.
    Aquarian Conspirators adds:
    In fact, only a small group of officials – at the White House, the State Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency – are believed to have known by early June …

  10. » Blog Archive » Do you mind getting bungholed by the White House? Says:

    [...] Amusing ‘translation’ of an interview with Woodward here. [...]

  11. John Van Laer Says:

    TRANSLATION: How come Woodward gets a free pass to break the Post’s ethical guidelines and go out in public to argue his own personal political position – and in a case of clear conflict of interest, no less?

    Marc Cooper is pissed off because a bigfoot reporter from the WaPo just blew a hole in the Plame *scandal*, thereby scoring a goal against his own team. Get used to it. Woodward is a grownup and doesn’t suffer from the BDS that renders most of the MSM delirious.

  12. Marc Davidson Says:

    Great job, Marc, cutting through this spin.
    “…a bigfoot reporter from the WaPo just blew a hole in the Plame *scandal*….”
    OK… so you’ve bought the smoke screen of the Libby defense team, which is, by the way, entirely accepted by your “delirious” MSM. Something tells me that Fitzgerald is not buying and that the whole lot is in even bigger trouble than before.
    My only hope is that Woodward and Miller represent a small minority of reporters who have accepted their role as sycophants in return for the chance at a lucrative book deal, or at least an afternoon of hobnobbing. A pox on those media that keep them on their staff!

  13. james malcolm Says:

    I still don’t get it. Why shouldn’t an administration, any administration, before justified in answering a public attack like the one made by Joe Wilson. “Well no, it wasn’t Cheney who sent Wilson to Niger as he alleges, but his wife who works at the CIA.”
    Wilson outed Plame. Why is this a big deal (she wasn’t covert and blah, blah, blah) and the special prosecutor has a stalwart demeanor which masks that he has a no case.

    Thank you, J malcolm

  14. richard lo cicero Says:

    To all those people who think Woodward’s confession helps scooter: what part of “Perjury” and “Obstruction of Justice” don’t you understand? And to those who think this “blows a hole” in the case I ask this. We now know that AT LEAST three different WH people leaked Plame’s name, Do you really think that this is a coincidence? Fitzgerald is now reported to be presenting evidence to a new Grand Jury. Can you say “Conspiracy?” I’m looking forward to Fitzmas II!

  15. richard lo cicero Says:

    And let me answer mr Malcom’s question. They had to go after Wilson because any close look at the rationale for war would have revealed the lies and deceit behind this fiasco. And the fact that Plame was a NOC – a covert agent with “Non-Official Cover” – is not in dispute by anyone outside of the GOP and their allies who are tryining to minimize this. Remember the case is here because the CIA sent a referral to the DOJ stating that the law may have been viokated. I think they know who is covert and who is not.

  16. Mike Stanley Says:

    Let me answer Cicero’s “point”, Wilson had NADA as the Senate investigation pointed out. Furthermore he lied about who sent him and what he “found”.

    The “lies and deceit” gibberish is just a variation on the “BUSH LIED!!!” meme that no one with access to Google and an IQ above room temp could accept as fact.

    There’s just no getting around the fact that Pres. Clinton was saying the same things (“Today I ordered… Iraq’s WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRCUTION SITES…”) in1998.

  17. Mike Stanley Says:

    BTW, Cicero, harping on Plame’s alleged covert status means BUPKIS as WILSON exposed her first and NO ONE’S been charged on those grounds. Give that one up.

  18. Michael Turner Says:

    Kind of off-topic, but isn’t it amazing how many second acts — or at least curtain calls — there are in American lives? Woodward’s looking to go through something like another Watergate, but from the other side of the fence. Clinton’s in the news for coming right out and calling the invasion of Iraq a “big mistake”. Murtha’s been around for mule’s years, a pretty hawkish guy, then he gets with this “out now!” bandwagon. Stansfield Turner — wow, is he still around? — talking about how we’ve got a vice-president for torture in Dick Cheney.

    And I just got done reading a remarkably cogent piece about what to do in Iraq, in Foreign Affairs, from a guy nearly 85 years old: Melvin Laird, a SecDef under Nixon. Hadn’t heard his name in a decade, I think. I’m not saying I agree with him point for point — hardly. Still, there’s something about the refreshingly blunt (but not over-the-top) way he expresses himself that made me kinda happy that he ISN’T long since dead. If only all conservatives (and more liberals) talked this way, maybe we could actually have a civil bipartisan conversation in this country. Cruise over to the Foreign Affairs website and check it out.

  19. Jim Strain Says:

    Woodward’s cozy relationship with the administration while writing his books gives a whole new meaning to the term, “embedded.”

  20. Mavis Beacon Says:

    Yikes. The Open Pajamas are already at work, giving us an opportunity to fight the same fights with small half-truths over and over.

    It’s Woodward’s Post and Judy’s Times. Marc, when are you going to get a paper? I’m not saying you need a major metro daily but you could at least hijack the Weekly. The Post’s may have blown it on this one, but, since we’re grading on a curve here, compared to the NY Times they still get a B+

  21. doubled Says:

    What I can’t believe is how the fact that the Cia felt Wilson , as the HUSBAND of an ‘undercover’ agent , was the best person to send on the mission. Further , that Wilson felt it perfectly normal to not give a written report to the CIA , but to the New York Times. So his mission was for what again? To REALLY get to the bottom of Saddam’s WMD deals (which could have been carried out with and/or in multiple countries and continents , so I don’t see how visiting ONE country for a week proves anything), or to embarress a sitting President?

  22. Sigivald Says:

    Is it just me, or does everyone see &lt!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–&gt sprinkled throughout this?

  23. Rob Grocholski Says:

    Mr. Cooper & All:

    LOL!! Your ‘translation’ was wonderful.

    On other comments, I’d agree with Lo Cicero in re Libby. Perjury and Obstruction all happened during the investigation. Libby can sue his attorney for letting him say stupid things to Fitzgerald, but I think ol’Scooter has gotten himself in a Martha Stewart-like pickle.

  24. reg Says:

    Mike Stanley and James Wilson prove the Ken Mehlman/Dick Cheney Rule: “It doesn’t sound as much like blatant falsification if you get enough of your stooges to repeat it often enough.” Is this braindead echo-chamber bullshit fallout from OSM ?

    The key to understanding the GOPer’s current desperation is that they are hauling out the people they most detest – FDR, Pres. Clinton, Hillary, ANYBODY – to justify their failure and deceit. When a reactionary little shit like Jonah Goldberg tries to lure us with tales of FDR’s greatness and prescience in order to cover W’S dirty little ass, they’re clearly cornered… And Clinton has morphed in the annals of the crackpot Right from a guy who created false national security alerts to divert attention from scandal to the hero who launched the war on Iraq which Bush merely decided to finish with…well, a clarion call about our national security that was obviously bogus at the time, not nearly enough troops and no occupation plan, but, hey, nobody’s perfect – especially when “success” has swept you way past your moral and intellectual depth and you’ve got a huge chip on your shoulder. Gotta love it ! There is no straw too small to escape their grasp when they’re going down.

    As for the Terrible Two above, it would be real nice if they actually gave evidence for the “Wilson outed Plame” meme. It’s winger crap, but I want to see what kind of tap dance they are capable of or if they just repeat any line posted at LGF.

  25. The Tar Pit Says:

    Woodwardgate: cuckolded Downie stands by his man

    Is there a national hotline for battered editor syndrome?

  26. too many steves Says:

    And this is why i keep coming back here: because Marc provides a superior customer experience.

    Well done!

  27. David Ehrenstein Says:

    And speaking of acountability, how are those new Pajamas of yours? A snug fit, or does Roger Didger give you enough “wiggle room” to be a “centerist”?

  28. Marc Cooper Says:

    David.. u have permission to go piss up a rope. If you were paying any REAL attention to the Pajamas launch you would see 1) it’s mostly chaotic, ill-defined, poorly co-ordinated and anything BUT a neocon blog wehrmacht and 2) it has been quite pluralistic in its material selection, liking to a number of liberal uber-blogs including TPM, critical of the Republicans etc etc. But why should u let any facts mar your primitive manichean view of things? So if it makes u feel better.. yes,. every half hour a little German guy in a motorcyle side car brings me the latest marching orders from Roger Simon.

    Your characterization of me as a centrist makes me laugh. You know even less than what is apparent in your blogging. Blog on.

  29. reg Says:

    By the way, this post of Marc’s was terrific.

    You’ve been coming out swinging recently and it serves you – and your readers – well. I guess the guy commenting above hasn’t been keeping up since you’ve decided to become “a gog in the blogomerate machine.” If your recent posts are an example of “wiggle room” afforded by Open Pajamas (thank you Mavis, for that), more power – and I hope the checks clear.

  30. David Ehrenstein Says:

    “David.. u have permission to go piss up a rope.”

    Right back atcha!

    So I’m a “primitive manichean”? I LOVE IT!

    “Your characterization of me as a centrist makes me laugh.”

    Your reading skills call for a touch-up.

  31. Marc Cooper Says:

    Thanks. As I said allm along, OSM has no say over what or any other blogger does. This current piece was linked to by both OSM and OSM Chair Instapundit or their own volition.

    Right now, almost the entire OSM board, we few lefties and the rest of the righties are engaged in a barrage of email exchanges trying to fix what looks like a pretty underwhelming launch site. I am actually relieved to some degree because — like you– my worst fears was that it could become a wall of right-wing propaganda. Fortunately, it’s nothing like that (which was my jopeful bet). Unfortunately, it’s not much of anything. With some luck we will get it fixed and make it a worthwhile read. For the moment, though, the darkest fears about it should be erased.

  32. Daniel Says:

    So Woodward now claims he heard, in confidence, that Plame worked for the CIA. And he kept that confidence, more or less, though he did tell a colleague about it.
    And all this was spelled out, we are told in a deposition, sworn under oath. So if these are lies there is perjury here.
    Wonderfully enough, the colleague denies having been told this! Also under oath? If so, by Fiitzgeraldian logic, one or the other must be lying under oath, and an indictment for perjuty and obstructing justice should be forthcoming
    What was Woodward’s motivation to perjure himself? Hard to figure. But what was Libby’s? Equally hard to figure.
    How about the deniers of the conversations?
    Each could have been protecting his or her self from questions about sources, or in the current case trying to protect Woodward himself. By Fitzgeraldian standards this means that Woodward must have committed perjury, and we can expect him to be indicted, when a new grand jury is raised.
    What fun!

  33. rosedog Says:

    FYI: Fitzgerald just said in his newest court filings that his upcoming proceedings will involve a new grand jury.


    (And yes, I know I mispoke above about Woodward’s account of testifying in front of a Grand Jury. Careless. My bad. I meant sworn deposition.)

  34. Michael Crosby Says:

    Marc, great piece…since I missed the original, particularly. You got it square on, I think. “Do you mind…?” “Not if it pleases Bob….”

    The suggestion that the problem is that Woodward was “expressing his opinion” is the most disgusting idea actually advanced. It kind of missed the point that the “opinion” he expressed was that the investigation that was headed his way was a bad machine driven by a bad man, and so whatever it dug up should be ignored by the American people. Kind of, you know, self-serving, and sort of, well, evil, given the failure to disclose his own involvement.

    It is interesting to see how many people have been harboring strong feelings about Woodward and his role as Boswell to the powerful, especially the Bushie I type. I had just been discussing this with a colleague a couple days before this unexpected development surfaced.

    It is impossible not to wonder what relationship this has with the news that Fitzgerald is summoning a new grand jury to continue the probe. Btw, I am of 2 minds about this. Certainly there is reason to believe that the first indictments against Libby did not cover all the law-breaking arising from the disclosure of Mrs. Wilson’s identity and vocation, and the broader coverup of the fraud involved in the selling of the invasion of Iraq. At the same time, though, I’m not sure the nation is well-served by another 4 year term-length investigation like Whitewater, which has to justify itself by finding someone doing something wrong somewhere.

    Maybe I am wrong about this, maybe it is a good thing….Maybe what we need to do is swear in a sort of special prosecutor every 4th January 20th, to monitor the doings in each administration. Kind of an ethical/legal GAO.

    And establish a website and CSpan channel.

  35. Patrick Lasswell Says:

    I nearly passed coffee through my nose while reading this. You have a great regular feature and possibly a book in this translation service.

  36. Carol_Herman Says:

    Marc Cooper gives the democratic spin. But the truth is MOST OF US avoid the IRS and getting subpeona’ed, just like Bob Woodward did.

    And, Judith Miller TRIED TO DO by not publishing the “gossip and chatter” that she heard.

    Yes, the CIA is up to its old tricks. But we’re still better off … No “lone gunman, at Dealey Plaza.” We’ve moved on up to character assassination through the media. Which is not only connected to the CIA; I’d even believe Judith Miller was an agent there, with a handler. Her cover has not been blown.

    While, on the other hand, Valerie Plame, who began working at the CIA when she was 22 … was hired to be their in-house whore. Before she became this WMD “analyst, a job she’s proven to be incompetent at doing, she was sent out TO SLEEP WITH THE ENEMY!

    Her super-duper secret may be that she’s blond top and bottom. Other than that she has no cover; since her status was leaked by a real traitor, early in the 1990′s. Doesn’t mean she didn’t “feel Castro’s cigar.” Only that it’s a shame what the CIA can really get away with.

    And, to quote the wonderful senator from New York, posthumously … Daniel Patrick Moynihan is on record as saying THE CIA SHOULD BE ABOLISHED!

    Maybe, if we’re lucky, some day it will be. And, maybe, if we’re lucky the dems aren’t going to have any luck trying to re-invent the 1970′s.

    God knows, we’ve tossed out the typewriters. People no longer take their “news” from the TV, in sound bite spurts.

    And, he who is fastest in understand the changing marketplace usually does better than those who refuse to change until its too late.

  37. civil truth Says:

    Carol, I haven’t read about this aspect of Plamegate. Please elaborate about Valerie’s work between the sheets that left her withour a cover, or her mission to discover whether Fidel’s cigar had any distinguishing marks. This could put a different bent on things.

  38. MnMnM Says:

    Grand Jury testimony of longtime Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor).

    It is posted at: Bob Woodward Tells Grand Jury Who Leaked First

    Bobbing and weaving, a tangled web we do. Book him, Danno.

    Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret.
    Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

  39. NeoDude Says:

    Bush and Cheney are very deceitful politicians.

  40. civil truth Says:

    Re Bob Woodward Tells Grand Jury Who Leaked First

    MnMnM, So how did Bob Woodward know so much about Valerie’s first CIA assignment (apropos Carole’s comment)? Was he there with his notebook behind the curtains, or was he actually Valerie’s first enemy assignment? Don’t stop now, keep singing like a canary…

  41. reg Says:

    “Marc Cooper gives the democratic spin”

    Something he’s noted for among us reg’lars….

    (Guess it’s time to prepare to “pass coffee thru my nose” with some degree of regularity as the Open Pajamas/LGF crowd descend…or rather “ascend”.)

  42. reg Says:

    Gawd…I just read the entire of “Carol_James”…in her case the ascent must have been quite a climb.

  43. Dan O Says:

    right on reg. I was gonna respond to Carol earlier and then I just couldn’t muster the energy. If I ever start feeling insecure about my capacity for reason, I’ll just come back and read some of these posts. Now I’m starting to be snarky. I better cut it out. Well not yet…someone should pass this post on to Joel Stein who can finally see, first hand, what humor actually looks like.

  44. reg Says:

    Apologies to Carol_James, whoever she might be…that was Carol_Herman.

  45. Michael Turner Says:

    “What I can’t believe is how the fact that the Cia felt Wilson , as the HUSBAND of an ‘undercover’ agent , was the best person to send on the mission.”

    Career diplomat, known to dog Saddam when he was in Iraq, understanding of uranium production, skills in French good enough for dealing with Francophone Niger. Having a wife who was a WMD analyst actually amounts to a qualification, if anything. Diplomats in bed with spies? Yawn — tell me some NEWS. “The best person”? Who knows. Good enough? Clearly.

    “Further , that Wilson felt it perfectly normal to not give a written report to the CIA , but to the New York Times.”

    If those who dispatched him felt that an oral debriefing was sufficient, who are you to second-guess them?

    “So his mission was for what again?”

    To check out these “crazy reports” (as they indeed turned out to be.)

    “To REALLY get to the bottom of Saddam’s WMD deals (which could have been carried out with and/or in multiple countries and continents , so I don’t see how visiting ONE country for a week proves anything) …”

    By itself, it doesn’t. What we DO have proof of, however, is that certain people were willing to falsify documents in order to trump up a particularly dramatic (but particularly implausible) “WMD deal” scenario. Did Iraq go on uranium shopping expeditions to other African countries, making “the sixteen words” effectively correct? All we have is Lord Butler’s word for that — nobody has ever opened the sources that would prove it, even though it’s hard to see how, at this late date, that could compromise any British intelligence assets irretrievably, which remains the British excuse for not opening up.

    “… or to embarress a sitting President?”

    Yeah, right: George (“slam-dunk”) Tenet was really out to embarrass the sitting president he worked for, even at the cost of his own reputation. Face reality, already: this sitting president would have embarrassed himself, with or without Wilson. Erase Wilson from history, and you don’t suddenly create a credible nuclear threat from Saddam’s Iraq in 2003.

  46. richard lo cicero Says:

    Well Michael Turner beat me to it but I’ll add that Wilson was a career diplomat with extensive experience in Africa as an Ambassador and served as head of the Africa Desk at the NSC under Bush I and Clinton.

    Please, please, all of you saying that the “bipartisan Senate Report” cleared Bush of lying Read it again. The Repubs implied it but the Dems demured. The question of cooked intelligence was to be the subject of “Phase II” of the enquiry. But the GOP never got around to that and, last week, Bill Frist reneged on a promise to bring it up after Harry Reid shut down the Senate.

    Off topic slightly, but I know I should not be surprised. Still I’m disgusted to see the treatment Jack Murtha is getting from the thugs in the GOP. I thought John McCain handled it right when he told Chris Matthews yesterday that, while he held no one in more respect than Murtha, he thought the Congressman was wrong on his prescription. But that classy response was too much for the Repubs, Hastart called him a coward, Scott McClellen compared him to Michael Moore and Jean Scmidt was really offensive today on the quickie resolution. Really, you defenders are going to have to work overtime to excuse the sliming of a patriot like Murtha. Shame on you!

  47. reg Says:

    Jean Schmidt is a disgrace…it was pretty clear she was an incompetent, brain-dead GOPer geek when she was running against Paul Hackett. I’d say she’s guaranteed herself to be a one-termer and will definitely be a factor in Ohio turning bright blue for the foreseeable future.

    Mark Morford, local columnist for the Chron, wrote this today (speaking of GOPers gasping in the gutter):

    “…I’m here to tell you hope abounds. In fact, George W. Bush gives me hope. He gives me hopebecause he has led the country into a zone where the only way to go – morally, spiritually, economically – is up. Is out. He gives me hope because after it has all appeared so bleak and ugly and lost for so many years, it would now appear that all laws of karmic and poetic and moral justice still hold true….He gives me hope because his narrow and myopic political ideology is right this minute being proved wildly unsound across the board, and his vicious leadership circle is revealing its true bloodstained colors and his party is crumbling at the center due to some of the worst policy decisions you will see in your lifetime….The iron grip is slipping, sooner and more quickly than any of the right’s political architects predicted, surely sooner than Rove had strategized, far sooner than the 20-year master plan the GOP had in place…So thank you, George…for reminding us all, through such a litany of painful and nauseating policies and lies, that the universe still repays such abuse with well deserved slaps upside your aw-schucks head.”

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  50. Skippy Greyswood Says:

    This is the best thing I’ve read that deconstructs not just the Administration’s lies, but also the complicity of our lazy, overpaid, quasi-celebrity journalists, who would much rather be garnering book deals than performing the boring tasks of supporting ‘paper of record’ imperatives that are the last barrier between our democracy and fascism.

    But then, those hors d’oevres at DC cocktail parties are so good – how can you give those up to piss people off? It’s not worth it.

    Oh well, democracy isn’t that important if you make over 125K a year and have a pension, anyways, and own a property that is worth 1 million dollars or more. And that’s the majority of Americans right? Right??

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  65. Soma Says:

    Clinton, Hillary, ANYBODY – to justify their failure and deceit. When a reactionary little shit like Jonah Goldberg tries to lure us with tales of FDR’s greatness and prescience in order to cover W’S dirty little ass, they’re clearly cornered… And Clinton has morphed in the annals of the crackpot Right from a guy who created false national security alerts to divert attention from scandal to the hero who launched the war on Iraq which Bush merely decided to finish with…well, a clarion call about our national security that was obviously bogus at the time, not nearly enough troops and no occupation plan, but, hey, nobody’s perfect – especially when “success” has swept you way past your moral and intellectual depth and you’ve got a huge chip on your shoulder. Gotta love it ! There is no straw too small to escape their grasp when they’re going down.