Monday, July 25, 2005

The Press and The Plame Affair

While the left breathlessly and giddily awaits the impeachment hammer to drop on the hated Bush administration, those pesky facts keep stalling the process. As noted here and here, there remains substantial doubt over whether a crime has even been committed in the Plame Affair.

Today we noted a post by JustOneMinute [via The American Thinker] that suggests more press complicity in the Plame Affair. Here's the opening:

"I believe there may be a substantial, ongoing press cover-up in the Plame leak investigation. Various White House staffers claim to have heard about Ms. Plame from reporters, but not many reporters seem to have been subpoenaed - for example, in their recent coverage Adam Liptak of the Times only noted Matt Cooper of TIME, Judy Miller of the NY Times, Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler of the WaPo, and Tim Russert of NBC News, in addition to the shadowy Robert Novak."

The whole post is fascinating reading, and goes into significant detail on how the press is reporting the story.

I find it very interesting that the MSM is, on the one hand, shocked that someone leaked the name of a CIA employee (the facts surrounding her real status as a NOC notwithstanding), yet on the other hand has filed an amicus brief to maintain the confidentiality of their sources! In a town such as Washington, where the press and those actually in positions of power in government have such a symbiotic relationship that lives on leaks, it is amazing that the press has the audacity to feign shock at this leak, but at nearly the same time hold up as a 'triumph of journalism' the leaks of Mark Felt, aka Deep Throat.


While reading JustOneMinute, I also saw this interesting post about the possibility that Ari Fleischer, who was White House Press Secretary at the time the Plame Affair emerged, may be the real leaker. The timeline certainly makes sense.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Plame Affair

To follow up my recent post on the Plame Affair, it is worthwhile to dig deeper into two areas: First, the question of whether a crime has even been committed; and second, considering their incredibly zealous pursuit of Karl Rove,what exactly did the mainstream media (MSM) argue before the US Court of Appeals in the Cooper/Miller (Plame) case?

First, a look at the Intelligence Protection Act of 1982 (amending the National Security Act of 1947), the controlling statute in this situation. This act lays out several conditions which must all be met before a crime has been committed. These conditions are:
  1. That the 'leaker' has or had access to classified information that identifies a covert agent;
  2. That the US government is taking "affirmative measures" to protect the identity of the covert agent;
  3. That the 'leaker' knowingly leaks classified information with the intent to "out" the covert agent;
  4. That the recipient of the classified information is not authorized to receive classified information;
  5. And finally, that the US government had not "publicly acknowledged or revealed" the covert status of the agent.
Based on what I know about the case today, Karl Rove certainly had access to classified information (condition 1), though it seems unlikely to me that he would have access to classified information on the identity of specific covert agents, particularly such a low-level agent as Plame.

Since Plame was evidently coming and going to CIA headquarters every day through the main entrance, it seems unlikely that condition 2 has been met. Moreover, Plame's husband admitted that his wife was not a clandestine officer when the Novak article ran. In addition, if Plame really was using the front entrance, and working under her own name, and the CIA allowed such open entry/exit, then it seems to me that such allowance qualifies as "publicly acknowledging" her relationship with the CIA, providing further exculpatory evidence for Mr. Rove, and satisfying condition 5.

Plame was also named at least as early as 2002 as the wife of Ambassador Wilson, and was known in the mid 1990's by Russian intelligence, as well as in Cuba through the mis-handling of secret documents by US officials at the Swiss embassy in Havana, both of which, by the way, occurred prior to Novak's article in July, 2003.

Based on what I have read and heard Mr. Rove's conversation with Michael Cooper, wherein the identity of Valerie Plame was discussed, Rove's intent was to dissuade Cooper from publishing a story that contained 'false statements'. He did not pass along her name at all, according to Rove's attorney. If this is true, then condition 3 (above) is also not met.

Condition 4 certainly is met, considering that Novak is hardly authorized to receive classified information.

This brings us to the amicus (PDF), or "friend of the court" brief filed by the consortium of news organizations that is a virtual "who's who" of the MSM. [Hat tip, Andrew McCarthy, NRO]

In this brief, which the MSM consortium filed in an effort to protect journalists from divulging confidential sources (a strange irony, I know!), they argue passionately and with compelling supporting facts that since she was so well known prior to this episode as an intelligence officer, that no crime could have been committed by her "outing" in the Novak article.

They cite these facts (among others):
  1. That Plame's husband, former Ambassador Wilson, was not a CIA officer;
  2. That he was not required to sign a confidentiality agreement;
  3. That he was not prevented from writing an op-ed piece about his trip;
  4. That when Novak called the CIA to confirm that Plame worked for the CIA, the CIA confirmed that she did, and that "the agency failed to give him a serious request not to publish her name". (They argue that usually in such cases (a covert officer's name potentially published) a senior-level officer contacts the journalist and ask that they NOT publish);
  5. And that the CIA did nothing to prevent Plame from making political contributions in her own name;
We do know that eventually, the Supreme Court ordered they reporters to divulge their sources, and eventually Mr. Cooper did so. We also know that both he and Judith Miller received written releases from their confidential sources at least a year ago, so why they waited until the threat of jail was about to be carried out to give them up (Miller did not divulge her sources, and is now in jail) is a mystery that raises new questions about their motivations in this regard.

So if the MSM is so convinced that no crime has been committed, as their brief lays out so well, one must ask why they are not with equal vigor defending Karl Rove instead of attacking him. It is difficult to draw any conclusions other than media bias, and their obvious hatred of Bush, Rove, and Cheney.

The facts do not support further investigation, and unless some new and stunning information is unearthed by the Special Prosecutor, no indictments will be forthcoming.

This post also appears on Blogger News Network.

Edited last sentence of paragraph preceeding the cited facts from MSM amicus brief, and corrected punctuation in second-to-last paragraph.. -JZS 7.24.05

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Left's Obsession with Karl Rove

Reviewing the left-wing websites and blogs about the so-called "outing" of Valery Plame by the guy they may hate even more than George W. Bush—Karl Rove—one can only come to the conclusion that the Angry Left is living in some kind of parallel universe. Many of these Angry Leftists (AL) are convinced that Rove illegally "outed" Valerie Plame as a NOC (non-official cover) during a phone conversation with columnist Robert Novak.

However, many of the facts don't actually fit the "crime". First, for a crime to have been committed, the agent must be actively working to keep their affiliation secret. Second, the person 'leaking' the information must knowingly do so knowing that the person in question is undercover.

In the Plame case, she was openly working at CIA headquarters, her friends and neighbors knew she worked there, and, reports suggest that a State Department memo had circulated through Airforce One, including the press corps, as well as in other places in Washington. That she was a NOC CIA operative is not in dispute, but the fact that she was hardly concealing her relationship to the CIA, and the apparent fact that most of the Washington press corps knew about it seems to have been conveniently forgotten by the MSM.

And speaking of the MSM, a consortium of 36 major MSM outlets (all the mainstream media, including NYT, WP, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, etc.) filed an amicas brief (scroll down) with the court in the case of the two reporters ordered to divulge their sources or go to jail, arguing that the two reporters should not be required to divulge sources since no crime was committed. How convenient that they now seem to believe otherwise.

Despite the obvious "no there there" to this matter, the left is all a tingle, thinking that Bush will even be impeached over this! I will admit that with a special prosecutor involved, anything could happen, but based on what I know about this case, I don't even foresee an admonition coming down. No crime was committed, and no breach of trust was committed, and the facts will continue to support this contention.

This post also appears on Blogger News Network.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The City of San Diego in Crisis

If you haven't been following the political melt-down in San Diego government, you've missed some incredible drama. First, there is an on-going federal investigation into the city employee's pension fund. Seems that big increases in retirement benefits without adequately funding these increases paved the way to a $1.7 billion short-fall, which lead to the down-grading of municiple bonds to junk status. The pension board itself is the target of several criminal investigations, and many on the board have resigned.

This situation, several years in the making, lead to a very tight mayoral election in 2004 that gained national attention with the late write-in candidacy of a sitting council member, which was eventually decided by a state judge in favor of the incumbant mayor. However, the widening multiple scandals in town lead to the now re-elected mayor to resign, effective July 15th.

The deputy mayor, who, along with a fellow councilman was on trial for corruption, assumed the duties of the mayor on Friday, but before he could preside over his first council meeting as mayor on the following Monday, was convicted. He has since resigned, and his co-defendent on the council is expected to resign on Thursday.

The odd thing about this is that there was apparently no back-up plan by the council in the event that the deputy mayor was found guilty, so it's not clear who is in charge at City Hall.

Add to this embarassing mess the situation that congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham finds himself in regarding a highly questionable (the best I can say about it) real estate deal with a defence contractor who's business stands to gain from favorable treatment by Cunningham's Appropriations Committee, and you have a real political melt-down.

There will be a special election next Tuesday to fill the mayoral position, but there are over a dozen candidates on the ballot, and if one doesn't receive a majority (50% plus one vote) then a runoff will be held in November.

The pension fund is likely to go into receivership, no one wants to serve on its board, and there are lawsuits being filed seemly daily.

At least the weather is perfect!

This post also appears on Blogger News Network.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Global Warming & G8

Philip Stott writes today in today's Spiked about the failure of the G8 conference in Gleneagles, Scotland to address global warming in a way that could be viewed as a victory for greens.

Mr. Stott's analysis is very interesting and discusses how the issue is viewed in Europe, and how much "faith" is involved in being a "believer".

An exerpt:

"Despite all the hype, where 'global warming' is concerned, the Greens have failed to force their paranoid religion on to the world. Like many Europeans, most Canadians are happy to talk 'green', while they continue to promote a profligate and hedonistic lifestyle that would make even George Bush blush beneath his Texan hat. In yuppie Yaletown and gaudy Gastown, patio heaters spring up like salmonberries. Canadian suburbs should be renamed the SUVurbs, while Canadian drivers idle with the best."

CIA "Outing"

Byron York has a great commentary today in The Hill on the Plame/Rove controversy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions"

I don't know who said that originally, but it seems very appropriate when applied to modern left-wing idealogy. I wasn't around during the Russian Revolution, but I suspect that Lenin and his followers had the 'peoples' best interests in mind when they overthrew the Czar and installed communism. It seems logical that Stalin later meant to build a better socialist state when he starved millions through his actions, or lack of actions during the 1930's. Hitler's National Socialist Party sought to make life better for Germans by ridding them of their Jewish brethren and by seeking the domination of the western world. Pol Pot and his regime were only trying to build a better 'workers paradise' when they killed as many as 1/7th of their population.

In all of these cases, millions died as a result of government believing it could put to better use private property.

These are only a few of the many examples I can cite of good intentions of the left gone bad. Consider the recent Kelo decision of the US Supreme Court. In that decision, the court's majority held that government can seize private property if government can show that the state (and therefore the people) can gain higher return (through higher tax revenues) from he property if it is turned over to government or a third party for development. How is this view different from that of the notorious leaders discussed above?

That is the problem with so many leftist, progresssive "programs". The basic assumption is that the people are really not smart enough as individuals to "properly" make use of their property and labors, and that only through government action can the needs of the people be met.

That so many on the left think those on the right are none-too-smart is clear; consider the angst of the left in the days following the complete electoral victory of the right at the polls in 2004. Since then the shrillness of the attack on the right from the left has only gotten worse. Given the desparation of the left in these post-election months, it is easy to see how the leaders of the failed socialist regimes of the 20th century felt that it was their duty to rid themselves of those who they felt were clearly not as smart as they, and were therefore a threat to the success of socialism.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More Justification For the War On Terror

(As If We Needed Any More!)

RightWingNews has an excellent post about the War on Terror, justifications for it, its connections to Iraq, 9/11, and debunks fully the many false claims by the Left on these issues.

(via Dissecting Leftism)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The War on Terror

The war on terror continues. The 7-7 bombings of London this week clearly illustrate the global nature of the war. The first engagement of the war is generally considered to be the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, although its origins can go back further:

  • 1973 terror attack at the Rome airport, where more than 30 people were killed and a plane was hijacked;

  • The assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981;

  • The 1983 bombing of the US embassy in Beirut by Islamic Jihad, wherein 63 people died;

  • The 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut (242 killed), and the French barracks in Beirut (58 dead);

  • The kidnap and murder of diplomat William Buckley in Beirut, 1984, by Islamic Jihad;

  • The 1984 bombing of a restaurant in Spain frequented by US servicemen (18 sailors killed, 83 injured);

  • The Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 (1 dead);

  • The 1985 Rome and Vienna airport attacks by the Abu Nidal group (16 deaths, more than 100 injured);

  • 1986 Berlin disco bombing, killing 2 and injuring 79 US servicemen;

  • Pan Am flight 103, blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland (259 dead);

  • The foiled Iraqi bombing of the US ambassador to Indonesia in 1991;

  • The World Trade Center bombing (mentioned above) where 6 died and more than 1,000 injured;

  • The 1993 attempted assassination of former president Bush in Kuwait by Iraqi intelligence agents;

  • Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 US servicemen and wounding 515 others, including 240 US servicemen;

  • US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Africa in 1998, killing 301 and injuring over 5,000;

  • USS Cole bombing in 2000, killing 17 and injuring 39;

  • And of course, September 11th, 3,025 killed in 3 hijacked airliners that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and a the crash of the third plane as US citizens made the first counter-strike and fought to regain control of the plane from the terrorists. Who knows how many more would have been killed at the US capitol or the White House had not brave American civilians been willing to fight back...
As noted in this space before, the war on terror is a battle for freedom and democracy the world over. For the radicals who perpetrate these atrocities, no amount of reasoning will stop the violence. They understand only the smoking barrel of a gun and the power of a bomb.

Despite claims by the Left to the contrary, Iraq,and 9-11 are linked directly as they both are part of the long timeline above. Iraq, as outlined recently on NRO, was directly linked to 9-11, and the toppling of Sadam Hussien has made the world safer.

There is a tiny bit of good news in this recent tragedy, however: (hat tip, RealClearPolitics) An excerpt:

More striking have been the condemnations from radical groups like Hamas, Hizbullah and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, all of which have denounced the bombings. Many of them have, of course, coupled their attacks on the terrorists with denunciations of American and British policies in the Middle East, particularly regarding Iraq and the Palestinian territories. But that kind of rhetoric is old news. What is new here is the fact that no one, not even Hamas, can continue to condone or even stay silent about these barbarities.

This post also appears on Blogger News Network.

Friday, July 08, 2005

London's 7/7 Bombings

As I write this, the death toll from the 7/7 bombings in London have reached 50 souls. As we were all New Yorkers in the days after 9/11, we are now Londoners, just as we have agonized over the daily bombings in Iraq. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed or wounded, and we hope that those responsible are brought to justice swiftly. If foreign governments can be connected to this, then we must bring those countries to justice as well, if necessary, by the use of military force.

Why would someone do this? Amir Tahiri writes a guest opinion in today's Times (of London) that may shed light on this question.

(Hat tip, RealClearPolitics)