Friday, October 21, 2005

Wilson, Plame, Rove, and Libby Wilson, Plame, Rove, and Libby

I commented in my immediately preceeding post about today's NYT article: "Cover-Up Issue Is Seen as Focus in Leak Inquiry". But even more interesting to me was its article five days ago by Judith Miller: "My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room".

It appears that at the time that Joe Wilson published his NYT article, "What I Didn't Find in Africa", it was becoming readily apparent that we weren't going to find the WMD in Iraq that almost everyone expected to find there. The obvious culprit would have been the CIA. After all, that was their job. So, they were in the process of bureaucratic CYA. And part of this CYA appeared to the Administration to have been the Wilson article. The CIA had sent him (at the suggestion of his wife who was employed there), and was at least somewhat complicit in the publication of his article. Worse, in Miller's second interview with Libby, he indicated that the VP's office's pique at being blamed for Wilson's trip when they hadn't authorized the trip, nor even received a report on it from the CIA.

So, at that point in time, we have Libby sitting there with a declassified version of the pre-war intelligence from the CIA indicating that they believed quantities of WMD to be present in Iraq, and having read the classified version which was even more adament. And then the CIA starts leaking like crazy trying to distance itself from all this. Add in the Joe Wilson trip to Niger and his damning NYT article, and no surprise that the Administration was getting increasingly upset at that Agency. It felt that the Agency had screwed up royally, and was trying to pass the blame to the Administration.

Since then, of course, we have heard a constant refrain of "Bush Lied, People Died", referring to just this controversy. But this ignores that the CIA appears to have been asleep through this whole thing, and then tried to move the blame to the Administration - and that the MSM, and, in particular, the NYT, were complicit in this.

Equally important though is to remember that the entire Wilson / Plame / Rove / Libby scandal is just a small part of the attempt by CIA employees to exonerate the Agency from its blatent intelligence failures leading up to our invasion of Iraq.

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