A quick synopsis of the Plame Controversy

Posted by Peter

While i was reading comments over at Captain's Quarters I came across a great synopsis of the events in Plamegate - and what may be happening. Here it is:

First I want to clarify something that the left and right often talk right past each other. The facts of what Wilson found, and the conclusions of the intelligence community (IC) about Niger and Uranium. Wilson himself, using his excellent contacts, talked to the Prime Minister of Niger. The PM told him that he was called upon by an Iraqi trade delegation, and that he interpreted their overtures as a desire to buy uranium. The PM also said he refused, and the consensus of the IC believes him.

So there are two distinct facts. The left talks about one, the right, the other. Fact one: The IC concluded that Iraq did not buy uranium from Niger. The left loves this fact. The right generally ignores it as irrelevant. Fact two: Iraq did TRY to buy uranium from Niger. The left ignores this fact, and the right highlights it. Left and right often talk past each other, without realizing that they are talking about two different facts.

In his SOTU speech, the President highlighted fact 2 as a way of demonstrating that Iraq was making efforts to reconstitute its WMD programs. He said Iraq tried, not that Iraq succeeded. He was talking about efforts and motive. The left screamed that he was strongly implying that Iraq succeeded and was therefor a liar. But the important point the President was trying to make (and could have made more clearly) was that Saddam was indeed making efforts to reconstitute his WMD programs. Whether he has succeeded yet or not is a different question, but how long would you like to let him keep trying?

How does this apply to the current Rove/Plame/Novak/Wilson/Miller/Fitzgerald kerfuffle?

Speculation follows.

Here is my current thinking.

People generally act in their own self interest. Even when they act 'on principle' it generally conveniently correlates to their self interest.

Several people have challenged 'If outing Plame wasn't a crime, what is Miller sitting in jail for?' The answer is that is far from the only possible crime committed. It gets the most play because that is the one the media party is trying to convicy Rove with. But there are many other possible crimes. For instance, perjury. That could go all sorts of ways with different players. Or disclosing classified information...Plame's identity is FAR from the only leak. Heck, this leak about Novak telling Rove could well be a crime, and there were no shortages of leaks out of the CIA in the run up to the war.

So why is Miller in jail? Because it suits her and her employers interest. How so?

I see several possible reasons. I don't have any good way of determining which, or possibly several, apply.

The most devastating would be that Miller (who has good CIA-WMD contacts) had a lot more knowledge about what was happening before Wilson's famous oped. For instance, she might have already known that Wilson did in fact talk to Niger's prime minister and he corrorborated Iraq's efforts (not success, fact 2, not fact 1) to buy uranium. So in fact, that piece of Wilson's findings strongly corroborate the President's famous 16 words in the SOTU. If the NYT understood that distinction before Wilson's oped and the 16 words hype...the NYT would have absolutely no credibility. It would be reduced from the 'paper of record' to the Upper West Side Daily overnight, even among leftists and the rest of the media. It is possible they deliberately and knowingly served as a platform for a liar and deliberately spread misinformation. That would be worth going to jail to keep quiet.

Another possible reason is that Miller and her sources are the source of Plame's name. Cooper got it from Rove, Rove got it from Novak, who'd Novak get it from? It was apparently the talk of the DC party scene, how'd it get there? Miller had good contacts at CIA on WMD. One strong possibility is that Plame was one of Miller's key sources, and broke the law with several classified disclosures. It is also possible that another source at CIA-WMD clued Miller in about Plame and Wilson, and thus is far closer to the guilty party than Rove ever was. Thus Miller's sources could be in big legal trouble.

Depending on how this plays out, so too could the NYT credibility...assume for a moment that Miller is the ultimate source and that the NYT knows it. Then re-read their trashing of Rove....and think about their correction for that and their credibiliity in the aftermath.

Seperate from why the Prosecutor wants Miller's testimony, this addresses why Miller isn't giving it. The NYT did a lot of 'experts say' and 'sources say' and Miller could be caught in an integrity trap. She knowlingly gave highly partisan politically motivated leaks the pleasant patina of 'expert authority' rather than disclosing their motivations. That is a big journalistic no no.

If Fitzgerald is being petty, he could be going after Plame for nepotism in getting her husband the job. I don't think that is the case, but nepotism is illegal.

Miller's testimony could be important to establishing a perjury charge against someone else. If that person was another media person, she might be willing to take the hit rather than talk and either perjure herself or prove the perjury of someone else.

Shifting gears here, I want to talk about Cooper's testimony and why he waited 18 months after his source gave him permission to testify. I think it speaks to Miller's non-testimony. Rove signed a broad prosecutor written disclosure 18 months ago. That freed Cooper to talk. He didn't. Why? Because it was not in his interest. Why? Because his testimony (or at least his emails) disclosed substantial discrepancies between his story and the facts. Cooper wrote what amounts to a hit piece on the administration strongly suggesting that the Administration (Rove) was shopping a story outing Plame as revenge for Wilson. His email to his editor doesn't even suggest such a thing. In fact, he called Rove. And about a different subject, then changed it to Plame. And Rove talked about Plame in the context of how an opposition partisan hack got into a position to do such damage....and the answer....nepotism from his wife at the agency. And Cooper totally ignored Rove's point...don't go out on a limb with Wilson...he isn't credible and turned it into an administration revenge sliming. Don't believe Wilson and here is why is a far cry from a revenge outing. But Rove gave Cooper the first and Cooper wrote the second.

Cooper's story is the false meme that the colored the entire story from then till now. Cooper is the one who falsely attributed the motive of revenge that the left is still running with. That is why Rove was more than willing to let him testify 18 months ago...and Cooper wasn't willing to until he faced jail. Cooper's journalistic fraud is what prevented him from testifying until faced with jail. I think something very similar is facing Miller, but hers was big enough that she would rather go to jail than have it exposed.

Why isn't Miller testifying? Because her own and the NYT credibility is on the line.

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