Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 09, 2006

The Public Benefits

Comparing today's Washington Post's reporting on page A01 with its editorial on page B06, we find several slight inconsistencies.

The editorial writers at the Washington Post must be smoking some amazingly strong stuff.

It obviously disable them from reading their own paper. But then it does induce some high quality hallucinations.

PRESIDENT BUSH was right to approve the declassification of parts of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq three years ago in order to make clear why he had believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do.
A Good Leak;
Washington Post Editorial; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page B06

...

As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" -- using classified information -- to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.
A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic;
Washington Post Report by Staff Writers; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page A01

-------

The material that Mr. Bush ordered declassified established, as have several subsequent investigations, that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.
A Good Leak;
Washington Post Editorial; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page B06

...

Cheney, in a conversation with Libby in early July 2003, was said to describe Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger the previous year -- in which the envoy found no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there -- as "a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," CIA case officer Valerie Plame.
A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic;
Washington Post Report by Staff Writers; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page A01

-------

Mr. Wilson subsequently claimed that the White House set out to punish him for his supposed whistle-blowing by deliberately blowing the cover of his wife, Valerie Plame, who he said was an undercover CIA operative. This prompted the investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald. After more than 2 1/2 years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald has reported no evidence to support Mr. Wilson's charge.
A Good Leak;
Washington Post Editorial; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page B06

...

Fitzgerald said the grand jury has collected so much testimony and so many documents that "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson."
A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic;
Washington Post Report by Staff Writers; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page A01

-------

As Mr. Fitzgerald pointed out at the time of Mr. Libby's indictment last fall, none of this is particularly relevant to the question of whether the grounds for war in Iraq were sound or bogus. It's unfortunate that those who seek to prove the latter would now claim that Mr. Bush did something wrong by releasing for public review some of the intelligence he used in making his most momentous decision.
A Good Leak;
Washington Post Editorial; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page B06

...

One striking feature of that decision -- unremarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it -- is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.
A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic;
Washington Post Report by Staff Writers; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page A01

-------

Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do.
A Good Leak;
Washington Post Editorial; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page B06

...

The [National Intelligence] Council's reply, drafted in a January 2003 memo by the national intelligence officer for Africa, was unequivocal: The Niger story was baseless and should be laid to rest. Four U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge said in interviews that the memo, which has not been reported before, arrived at the White House as Bush and his highest-ranking advisers made the uranium story a centerpiece of their case for the rapidly approaching war against Iraq.
A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic;
Washington Post Report by Staff Writers; Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page A01

Smoking amazingly strong stuff ... "and the public benefits when they do".

Posted by b on April 9, 2006 at 05:13 AM | Permalink

Comments

this stuff makes me want to scream. un-freakin-real! Bald lies told with great certainty and of course anonymously.

who are they trying to convince? the sycophants don't care what the Post says, they are behind their guy anyway. Could they actually be trying to convince others who already suspect the prez as having gone too far that it really is a normal and good thing to expose CIA agents in order to gain support for the invasion of Iraq?

does that actually work? are people really that stupid? oh yeah, doh!.....sorry.

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 9, 2006 8:24:34 AM | 1

What b has highlighted here, the blatant contradictions (such as the above) has roots in authoritarian ideology, is a key method of persuasion strategy and otherwise known as propagenda. Complete Stasi-Soviet NKVD techniques where the contradiction is particularly overstated to cover up what really happened. All, I suspect, as part of Busch's $1.6B ‘Propaganda’ Efforts.

In Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov, while delirious in the Siberian prison hospital, has a recurring dream. In it, the whole world had been condemned to a terrible and strange plague. Some new sorts of microbes began to afflict people. "Men attacked by them," he writes, "became at once mad and furious. But never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth as these sufferers, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible..."

One hundred-and-thirty years after those lines were written, it is disquieting to see just such "sufferers" among us today. Are we participants in a debate or are we fighting a virus?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 9, 2006 8:38:20 AM | 2

Think Progress has a fact check of the editorial.

Posted by: b | Apr 9, 2006 11:42:09 AM | 3

from the comments at Think Progress:

"The weekend edition of the WSJ had an equally ENRAGING editorial. Saying things like, “Patrick Fitzgerald never said that Valerie Plame was a covert operative”...
===

Behind a paywall I'm sure , however I will look for it and post it if I find it.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 9, 2006 12:26:58 PM | 4

Joe Wilson also read the editorial. He says:

Sunday's Washington Post lead editorial once again misrepresents the facts as the paper's own reporting in the Barton/Linzer article in the same edition makes clear. While I respect the separation of news and editorial function it might be helpful to the Post's readers if the editorial board would at least read the news before offering its judgments. One of the reasons my trip to Niger has been overanalyzed, as the Post editorial says, is because people like those who wrote the editorial continue to misconstrue the facts and the conclusions."
No Joe, they are just high on Kool-Aid and other stuff.

Posted by: b | Apr 9, 2006 12:44:51 PM | 5

Why?

Why, really, do they want the junta to escape unscathed?

.

Posted by: RossK | Apr 9, 2006 2:39:40 PM | 6

I disagree, at least somewhat. The two articles are not really contradictory. They represent a different slant, or take, on a very complicated and carefully formulated (and often oddly unclear) document - Fitz’s filing, as well as a few of the other ‘known’ circumstances, the context of that document, such as Joe’s Uranium Safari.

It is a technique - cherry picking, emphasis, etc.

The first article support’s Bush’s actions - some declassifications are good and right, moral and true!

As far a good declassifications go, this one must win the prize.

The declassification was obviously announced post-hoc, after the leaking. Scotty boy announced it on the 18th (?) as having taken place that day. (Then he retracted, and said it took place before, but was announced that day.) So it wasn’t a leak, but a declassification. Hmm. As the second article does point out, the disclosure - leak or whatever (from the NIE and a report of the Safari, not the Plame name, in case anyone is badly confused) - concerned information that was:

a) known and in the public domain; b) false. What is being discussed is very opaque and confusing, and even rather trivial. An article like the first one serves to bolster and justify pro-Bush or Gvmt. attitudes, showing they did the right thing.

It is carefully written. Even some of the objectionable passages are not exactly false:


In last week's court filings, he stated that Mr. Bush did not authorize the leak of Ms. Plame's identity. Mr. Libby's motive in allegedly disclosing her name to reporters, Mr. Fitzgerald said, was to disprove yet another false assertion, that Mr. Wilson had been dispatched to Niger by Mr. Cheney. In fact Mr. Wilson was recommended for the trip by his wife.

Just one example, as all this is rather tiresome. Fitz did not state that Bush did not authorize. Fitz wrote that Libby said that Cheney told Libby that the President was ok with (some not well specified) disclosures. However, while the statement is misleading, the facts so far known don’t contradict it: nobody so far has said, written, testified that Bush “authorized” leaking the Plame name.

The second article reports the facts at length and mostly correctly. It is very confusing and probably incomprehensible to anyone not in the know.

So the newspaper presents a simple Gov-Prop article, which is supposed to do the job, and a second, with incomprehensible detail, to save face.

The confusion that is deliberately being maintained is this: Bush-Cheney via conduit Libby declassified or leaked, and that should be discussed! Who is responsible? What does the law say? Etc.

Two separate issues - illegally or properly declassifying the NIE report which contained sniippets about yellocake vs. communicating the Plame name (treason!) are mixed together so that people cannot perceive the difference between the two and cannot figure out what really went down.

That confusion was created by Fitz, and the WaPo perceives it dimly - on the one hand, declassification was illegitimate, or was acceptable, who knows; on the other, Bush never leaked the Plame name. The WaPo reporters don't know anything at all about this story and follow the lead that is fed them.

The Sunday times has an article which allegedly identifies the original forgers of the Yellocake Docs - Niger’s consul and his assistant, at the Embassy in Rome.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2125630,00.html>Link

Posted by: Noisette | Apr 9, 2006 3:04:54 PM | 7

What influence/power does Bobby Woodward have @Pravda-on-the-Potomac? Does he write editorials? Does he have Graham's ear? Why hasn't he been excoriated & fired?

Posted by: jj | Apr 9, 2006 3:06:22 PM | 8

noisette, i responded to an earlier post of your on the same topic hereand here

fitz was just sending a little payback for having to deal w/such a rediculous request.

late yesterday @ fdlhere and here jane makes similiar points.

The most enjoyable part about reading his new filing is watching him stick it to Scooter with the mountain of lies offered up by BushCo. as they attempted to distance themselves from toxic Plame fallout.

The confusion that is deliberately being maintained is this: Bush-Cheney via conduit Libby declassified or leaked, and that should be discussed!

Two separate issues - illegally or properly declassifying the NIE report which contained sniippets about yellocake vs. communicating the Plame name (treason!) are mixed together so that people cannot perceive the difference between the two and cannot figure out what really went down.

That confusion was created by Fitz, and the WaPo perceives it dimly - on the one hand, declassification was illegitimate, or was acceptable, who knows; on the other, Bush never leaked the Plame name. The WaPo reporters don't know anything at all about this story and follow the lead that is fed them.

it is not fitz job to spell anything out to us, nor do i think he really cares about whether this leak is declassified or not.
the WH on the other hand in now in the uncomfortable position of justifing the declassification retroactively of the portion of the nei that supports a theory that had already been disclaimed by the time it was(wasn't)declassified or leaked! and absolutely nothing so far leads to the assumption that bush had nothing to do w/hurting wilson. quite the contrary given the timing of this 'disclosure' from the nie report.

Bush never leaked the Plame name
maybe, maybe not, but did he ask libby to do it(via cheney) or authorize it at the same time he authorized the 'declassification'? that remains to be seen

Posted by: annie | Apr 9, 2006 3:57:04 PM | 9

The Sunday times has an article which allegedly identifies the original forgers of the Yellocake Docs - Niger’s consul and his assistant, at the Embassy in Rome.

Josh and Laura debunked this quite a while ago.

Also TPM on the WaPo editorial

Posted by: b | Apr 9, 2006 5:46:55 PM | 10

the editorial being entitled a good leak immediately brings to mind the old military saying when someone insults your intelligence w/ a bold-faced lie -- "don't piss on my leg & tell me it's raining". freudian slip or witty double-entendre?

Posted by: b real | Apr 9, 2006 10:25:55 PM | 11

A lot of folks feel pissed on by the editorial.

The washingtonpost.blog has some of them. E&P is not amused .

There will heads roll over this and that is good.

Posted by: b | Apr 10, 2006 1:50:09 AM | 12

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