Jesurgislac’s Journal

July 13, 2008

How To Believe What You’re Told

Filed under: Evil acts by those in power — jesurgislac @ 3:24 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent.

Like many Republican potato-heads, Dana Pico doesn’t want to believe it’s so, because that would mean that he had to believe that Plame had a career of her own independent of anything her husband did, and also of course because accepting the facts would mean he’d have to accept that in 2003, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were implicated in the treasonous betrayal of a covert CIA agent, and that over the next four years, both Bush and Cheney had actively conspired to cover up the treasonous leak, right up to and including giving Scooter Libby exemption from going to prison for obstructing the investigation into Plame’s betrayal. (The CIA employees who were retired and thus allowed to speak out about how they felt about this betrayal were not happy.)

Because of course we know that Plame “was a covert CIA employee for whom the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.” We’ve known this for sure since 29th May 2007, though anyone but a moron could have worked it out long ago from the seriousness with which the CIA, the Department of Justice, and the White House, all treated the leaking of her identity. The Republican potatoheads who still claim there’s any doubt are Bush’s reliable morons, soon no doubt to become McCain’s reliable morons: they won’t permit mere facts to sway them.

But here’s the funny part, and really, it is amusing. Dana swears the reason he can’t possibly believe that Valerie Plame was a covert agent, in the teeth of all the evidence, is because he would have to believe that journalists are lying through their scummy teeth.

To accept Mrs Wilson’s version of the story as the truth, I would have to believe that a lot of other people are liars or fools. That the political operators of the Bush Administration could be lying through their scummy teeth just to get even with Joe Wilson is a possibility that I can accept; politics is a hardball sport in our nation’s capital. But I’d also have to believe that a lot of Washington journalists, many of whom are not exactly political friends or allies with the Bush Administration, are also liars or fools.

That’s right. Dana Pico trusts and loves him the journalists of the Washington Post and other Washington journalists, and he knows they wouldn’t lie just because, well…

Never mind the facts! He knows they wouldn’t! Everyone else may know that Valerie Plame is a covert agent, and that Bush & Co committed treason, but Dana won’t believe it, because journalists don’t lie.

Eh. I can always use a good laugh. And the fact that Dana is still harking back to this most public betrayal by Bush and his cronies, and still desperately repeating what he must believe to be true, a kind of Republican catechism, I suppose goes to show that this scandal still has power to wound: Bush & Co committed treason, and on some level of his mind, Dana knows it. Hence his whimpering pleas that no, no, they wouldn’t lie to me.

There is a graphic novel by Raymond Briggs, When the Wind Blows, published in 1982, which depicts a nuclear attack on Britain by the Soviet Union, told from the point of view of a retired couple Hilda and Jim Bloggs, loosely based on Briggs’ own parents. Mr and Mrs Bloggs have got a government handbook Protect and Survive (which was actually published – it was handed around at my school, and scared more schoolchildren into Youth CND than I think anyone can have quite expected) which tells them what to do in the case of nuclear attack, and solemnly, pathetically, they do what the government told them, hopeful even until death that all will be well. When the Wind Blows is almost funny, too, in the early sections…



  1. J, perhaps you should actually read the book I reviewed before you criticize.

    I am supposed to believe, according to you, that the journalists and editors of The Washington Post, a newspaper which endorsed Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, and hasn’t supported a Republican in my memory, would all have lied to cover up for George Bush and Dick Cheney? That stretches credulity too far.

    I notice that you did not mention a rather significant part of my review, concerning the leak of Valerie Wilson’s name to Bob Woodward, a month before Joe Wilson’s infamous New York Times article that led to what you see as Geoirge Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s “treasonous betrayal of a covert CIA agent.” How did Richard Armitage get to know who Valerie Wilson was? Well, he told you: he knew because her loving husband, Joseph C Wilson IV, had “been calling everybody. He’s pissed off ’cause he was designated as a low level guy went out to look at it. So he’s all pissed off.”

    By his own actions, Ambassador Wilson reduced his wife’s covert status to that of idle gossip.

    You have, in the past, tried to make a big deal of asking, “how did Richard Armitage/Dick Cheney/anyone else know her identity.” I think that’s a very good question. Mrs Wilson was not the head of the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, but part of the staff. It would be rather unusual for a division report, really from anywhere, public or private, to go out with the names of everybody on the staff on it; normally, if a name were on it at all, it would be the department head, which Mrs Wilson was not. Add to that the fact that Mrs Wilson was supposedly classified as a NOC (non-official cover) agent, whose name is not supposed to be released, and it’s almost unimaginable that her name would be attached to a report being distributed to various agencies. Even if her name had somehow been on the document, Wilson is the eighth most common surname in the United States; it wouldn’t be reasonable for anyone to simply conclude that Joe and Valerie Wilson were husband and wife based simply on having a common last name.

    Now, it’s obvious that Richard Cheney and Richard Armitage have access to any classified material they want; if they wanted to know who was in the CPD, they could have gotten that information. But so far, there have been neither any documents or verbal reports made that anyone requested to know the names of the staffers of the CPD. Such a request would raise a red flag, because nobody in particular needed to know. Valerie Wilson worked for the CIA for almost three years following the disclosure of her name, yet nowhere in her book does she ever claim or even hint that either the Vice President nor anyone at the State Department nor anyone else ever made a request that would have concerned disclosing her identity.

    The only thing even remotely connected with how Mrs Wilson’s identity was disclosed came from Mr Armitage, in a tape made a month before the NYT article, in which he says that “everybody knows” that Joe Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA, and that they knew because Mr Wilson was the one running his mouth about it, “calling everybody.” Nowhere in the book you obviously haven’t read does Mrs Wilson even attempt to tell us how Mr Armitage knew her name if his taped account is not to be believed.

    Now, the independent counsel had documented confessions from Karl Rove and Mr Armitage that they had disclosed Mrs Wilson’s name to reporters; neither believed it to have been classified. Yet Patrick Fitzgerald declined to indict them or anyone else for disclosing Mrs Wilson’s name. Apparently even with confessions in hand, he didn’t think it a violation of the Intelligence Agents Identity Protection Act or, to use your word, “treason.” (Treason, byu the way, is the only crime defined ion our Constitution, and even if the disclosure were made deliberately, knowingly and vindictively, it wouldn’t meet the constitutional definition.)

    You wrote:

    That’s right. Dana Pico trusts and loves him the journalists of the Washington Post and other Washington journalists, and he knows they wouldn’t lie just because, well…

    Never mind the facts! He knows they wouldn’t! Everyone else may know that Valerie Plame is a covert agent, and that Bush & Co committed treason, but Dana won’t believe it, because journalists don’t lie.

    One might ask: just how do you know “that Valerie Plame (was) a covert agent, and that Bush & Co committed treason” when her name was disclosed. It wasn’t just The Washington Post which concluded that the whole thing was overblown; there are no journalistically responsible sources in our country — a definition which excludes the partisanly motivated publications and websites — which have come to the same conclusion as you have.

    The evidence simply does not support your conclusions, J.

    Comment by Dana — July 13, 2008 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  2. One might ask: just how do you know “that Valerie Plame (was) a covert agent, and that Bush & Co committed treason”

    One might, if one was not able to read the blog post to which one was commenting.

    Dana, why do you bother responding to blog posts when you do not read them? Is it because I don’t use small enough words?

    Comment by jesurgislac — July 13, 2008 @ 7:34 pm | Reply

  3. tin-foil hat alert:

    What better way to go to war in Tehran (where real men go) then to defang the intel section which might have a clue as to whether or not Ira[q/n] was really working on nukular WMD? Plame was not the only one compromised.

    Comment by Uncle Glenny — July 28, 2008 @ 2:08 am | Reply

  4. Uncle Glenny, I think that given the panicked reaction of the Bush administration when they discovered what Cheney et al had done, it seems likely that this wasn’t actually a planned scheme – though you may be right that they regarded anyone with actual knowledge of WMD in the Middle East as the enemy.

    Comment by jesurgislac — July 30, 2008 @ 8:08 am | Reply

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