Eric Boehlert talks about how "Scooter" Libby could have first become aware of Valerie Plame.
Bush apologist Carl Cameron reminds me of that kid on the playground you wanted to smack around for being smug while saying something stupid. He has made a doozy of an excuse for Bush on his backpedaling on firing Karl Rove. It amounts to this: When you say "losing your job," it doesn't mean getting "fired".
Billmon shows us how CNN's John King got egg on his face by Bloomberg News reporting the truth about the White House trying to get the spotlight off Karl Rove by pushing up the nomination of John Roberts by a good number of days. (Billmon gives props to Atrios and Kos). Howard Kurtz winds up looking foolish, too (see Media Matters).
Josh Marshall points us to a reader blog at TPM Cafe, which in turn, leads us to this press gaggle from 2003. Condi Rice enters the picture. Her involvement, at such an early stage, and her odd mention of Joseph Wilson at this gaggle, makes it seem (and I'm only speculating) that this may have been a distributed high-level talking point intended to be used for full-scale damage control.
Q Dr. Rice, when did you all find out that the documents were forged? DR. RICE: Sometime in March, I believe. Is that right? MR. FLEISCHER: The IAEA reported it. DR. RICE: The IAEA reported it I believe in March. But I will tell you that, for instance, on Ambassador Wilson's going out to Niger, I learned of that when I was sitting on whatever TV show it was, because that mission was not known to anybody in the White House. And you should ask the Agency at what level it was known in the Agency. Q When was that TV show, when you learned about it? DR. RICE: A month ago, about a month ago. Q Can I ask you about something else? DR. RICE: Yes. Are you sure you're through with this?
Note: This is highly questionable. It was known, by the White House, that Wilson took the trip by early June. Wilson didn't mention the trip on TV until July 6th, 2003, the same day his column came out. The White House was well aware of Wilson's trip by early June. See WaPo
Matthew Yglesias has an excellent column asking about those forged Niger documents.
"...no officials anywhere, including the authors of the Butler report, deny the basic point that the Niger uranium memo was forged. What's more, the forgery was not especially hard to detect because there was not one forgery but two, the second of which was especially crude..
...Who produced these documents, and why? I don't even have a "gotcha" speculation to offer -- I'd genuinely like to know. What we do know is that according to a footnote in the SSCI report,
"..in March 2003, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator [Jay] Rockefeller, requested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigate the source of the documents, [clause redacted], the motivation of those responsible for the forgeries, and the extent to which the forgeries were part of a disinformation campaign. Because of the FBI's investigation into this matter, the Committee did not examine these issues."
The FBI, so far, seems to have come up with, well, with nothing. What we do know about the documents is that they were brought to the U.S. Embassy in Rome by Elizabetta Burba, an Italian journalist. According to European press reports, she got the documents from Rocco Martino, a former Italian military-intelligence official turned businessman with some kind of ties to French intelligence services. Martino has been to the United States at least twice since being publicly identified as the source of the documents, and the FBI didn't bother to interview him.
It seems clear that some powerful elements in Washington don't want to know the truth, which should raise suspicions."
When you're done with the Laura Rozen blogpost, move on to Juan Cole's post about the Larry Franklin espionage story.
"The Niger forgeries also try to implicate Iran. Indeed, the idea of a joint Iraq/Iran nuclear plot was so far-fetched that it is what initially made the Intelligence and Research division of the US State Department suspicious of the forgeries, even before the discrepancies of dates and officials in Niger were noticed."
This whole Valerie Plame outing REEKS of a major conspiracy.
"Why is Larry the result of FBI investigational success instead of the names of the Pentagon senior operatives who shared classified information with Ahmad Chalabi regarding American success in reading coded Tehran communications, specifically now as neoconservatives rage for war in Iran? Or instead of the names of senior White House operatives who revealed and destroyed the U.S. security mission of Valerie Plame?
When one element of any case, or story, or diplomatic or political event makes no sense, that is generally the place to start to look for the truth. When some piece of the puzzle is jarringly out of place, that's the spot to begin. So it is here. Since Valerie's name, or even position, made no sense in the story itself, the people who "outed" her could only have been doing it to damage her husband....The real scandal is about the ongoing struggle over an unjust and unnecessary war, and this diplomatic couple happened to provide a negative piece of the puzzle that is still tormenting the administration.