Instapundit points out a post by Jim Lindgrin on the Volokh Conspiracy about Joseph Wilson’s appearance on NBC’s The Today Show. It’s good and you should really go read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:
As the Washington Post reported: “According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998.” So Wilson had found evidence that tended to confirm the substance of the sentence in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee 2004 report exposed Wilson’s lies on what he found and told the CIA, as well as the one about how Wilson was hired.
Wilson said that his wife Valerie Plame had nothing to do with his being hired: “Valerie had nothing to do with the matter.” “She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip.” But the 2004 Senate Intelligence report said that she first suggested him for the trip and then followed up with a memo touting his suitability for the mission.
It would be great if NBC TODAY would probe Wilson on these matters. The Wall Street Journal says that Wilson had started lying to the press and public about how he was hired before his wife was outed, in part by Rove. Correcting this lie (were Plame not a covert agent) not only would be a smart partisan thing to do, but it would be the right thing to do. Wilson was publicly lying about what he found in Niger, publicly lying about what he reported to the CIA, and (according to the WSJ) publicly lying about how he was hired. Except for the “covert agent” issue, it would be right to correct all these lies. Indeed, reporter Cooper’s email reveals that Rove was offering a “big warning” “not to get too far out on Wilson,” a warning that the press should have heeded but didn’t. They believed Wilson, only to find out that his account was untrue.
This touches on something that I’ve wondered about. Wilson and others are completely free to run around and say whatever they want about this issue knowing full well that the proof to disprove their remarks (if it exists) is contained in classified reports or would reveal things about the intelligence community that cannot be revealed.
It’s sort of like how most of Legacy Media is running around shouting about how Karl Rove is the one who revealed Valerie Plame and that President Bush should suffer for it. But when the courts attempt to determine who, in fact, is the one who revealed this secret, those same Legacy Media types take out full-page adds in newspapers arguing that reporters shouldn’t be made to reveal confidential sources.
They’re having so much fun with the source being secret, why would they ever want it to be out in the open?
This reminds me a bit of a certain line of questioning put toward then-NSA Condeleeza Rice during the 9/11 Commission hearings by Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste. He badgered her about the title to the infamous 08/06/2001 Presidential Daily Brief, but he certainly didn’t want to discuss the brief itself. I wrote at the time:
Why did Ben-Veniste go after Rice so hard on the 8/6 PDB? In case you have missed it, or at least missed the unedited version, here it is again:
BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?
RICE: I believe the title was, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”
BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.
RICE: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste…
BEN-VENISTE: I will get into the…
RICE: I would like to finish my point here.
BEN-VENISTE: I didn’t know there was a point.
RICE: Given that — you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.
BEN-VENISTE: I asked you what the title was.
RICE: You said, did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.
Ben-Veniste certainly wanted the title out, and he got it. However, as has been extensively discussed elsewhere, he apparently screwed up by accidentally asking if the PDB warned of attacks. Rice caught him, and he paid dearly.
Now, Ben-Veniste had seen the PDB, so he knew exactly what it said. And, even though some will choose to interpret it more harshly than others, he must have known that it certainly wasn’t a smoking gun, or even a loaded gun. It wasn’t even a gun, really. It just noted that a gun may, in fact, exist somewhere.
Why, since he must have known all of this, did he work Rice to get the title out? Did he hope that the title alone would implicate the administration? Yes, but why didn’t he think the contents would be released?
Thursday evening, while watching the testimony, I stopped and replayed that segment several times. My wife, who was already fed up with Ben-Veniste, asked why he was pushing that angle so hard. I responded that there were two main possibilities: 1) The briefing contained classified information – though not 9/11-specific – that precluded its release, so he wanted to use the title to score points, knowing it would never see the light of day. Or, 2) The briefing DID contain 9/11-specific information, and he was trying to force the administration into releasing it. [emphasis added]
When the PDB was, in fact, released a couple of days later, Ben-Viniste was revealed to have no legs to stand on.
Legacy Media has been building up to this “burn Rove” frenzy for so long, the last thing they want to happen is for the actual perpetrator (if it, indeed, was a crime) to be identified.
Normally, someone would have to be proven guilty before this sort of mania caught on. But they seem to be traipsing along, not a care in the world, happily smearing Rove as they go. Is it because they know that the actual evidence will never see the light of day and their game won’t end until they tire of it?