Don't Buy the "Smear Campaign" Hype (Or Be so Sure About Who Is Smearing Whom)
[Note: a whole lot of people are coming to this relatively old post, so I thought I'd point out that I've picked up the topic again with all the latest information (which isn't much more than all the old information) as of September 29 here and here.]
Sheesh! Pop a controversial name like "Valerie Plame" into Google, and you uncover a whole lot of speculation presented as evidence for a lynching. The left half of the Internet is seething that "the White House" "outed" Valerie Plame, who works in some undisclosed capacity within the CIA, as the wife of Joseph Wilson, the former ambassador who filed the now-famous report about the Niger-Iraq documents being false. This story will certainly expand, and it's already meeting up with the dubious claims of a "smear campaign" against the reporter who quoted some malcontents in the military. As Drudge subsequently illustrated, in that case, word choice, vague or specific, appears to be of utmost importance, and questionable parsing seems to be the dagger in the dark.
The Minuteman, in the best roundup of the Plame/Wilson epoch that I've seen, observes the web of quotation attributions and careful references to "administration" versus "government" officials. They are obviously being treated as different by all sources involved, and nobody with direct information has disclosed from which group the damning Wilson-Plame-CIA connection came. The Minuteman concludes, for the time being:
If you're inclined to go in search of information, don't; there's just not enough out there to justify the time beyond what the Minuteman provides. Based on the little that is known (and I'm sure more is forthcoming), I'm thinking that there are deeper, broader battles being fought than simply the administration versus the Wilsons or even internecine feuding in the CIA. Consider this statement from Wilson to Newsday:
What strikes me as odd, in that paragraph, is that every bio of Wilson that I've found, such as this one, identifies his wife as "the former Valerie Plame." In that light, neither the release of "her relationship to him" nor the divulgence of her maiden name appears to be sinister. It is the "outing" of her as a CIA agent that is causing the rumbles of accusations, which makes this, from Wilson, peculiar, too:
So, did the "administration officials" out Plame, or are they significant mostly for claiming that she suggested her husband take the trip? What's the controversy, as it relates to the White House, here? I'm starting to get the sense that a whole lot is going on underneath the surface. As I've said, if it is the White House attempting various smear campaigns, the administration is doing so in about as bumbling a manner as possible, something that it can ill afford in a nation with a hostile press. Of course, another possibility is that somebody is (or somebodies are) trying to damage the President's credibility and cast him as a less trustworthy figure than the American people take him to be.
Hmmm. Let's take another look at Wilson's biography...
Posted by Justin Katz @ 12:39 AM EST
The Minuteman @ 07/23/2003 11:52 PM EST
The Minuteman @ 07/23/2003 11:54 PM EST
Bill Hobbs @ 07/24/2003 11:05 AM EST
Justin Katz @ 07/24/2003 03:31 PM EST
Cathy @ 10/01/2003 08:45 PM EST
Justin Katz @ 10/01/2003 08:50 PM EST