Thursday, March 08, 2007

Plamegate post-mortem

The silliness that has been the Valerie Plame "outing" has come to an end with Scooter Libby having been convicted of, basically, being Bill Clinton. I never really had much interest in the whole thing once it became clear that there was no underlying crime, just a guy making inconsistent statements during the investigation of a non-crime. Whether he did so out of forgetfulness or on purpose doesn't really matter to me since there was nothing to actually cover up.

What is a continuing source of humor is that not only was her disclosure not done by the White House and not done with any malice, it was done by an official (Richard Armitage) who has been a consistent Bush administration critic and vocal opponent of the Iraq War. It wasn't about hostility, it was merely random Washington gossip. The idea that there was some kind of revenge outing by the White House, as well as her husband's entire narrative about his trip to Niger, have been conclusively proven false.

If you're looking to have some fun, be on the lookout for media reporting Wilson's story or the notion of a vengeful White House outing as fact instead of as completely discredited. As with the many times over debunked idea that "Bush lied about WMD" the theory is that if you keep repeating the lie often enough, those who are ignorant of the facts will believe you. Documenting them could make for an office pool for folks who don't care about NCAA hoops but want to get in on the fun in March - Plame Madness brackets! Damn, I had Chris Matthews going to the Elite Eight, how could he lose to Matt Lauer?!?

I'll leave the last word to the Washington Post's editorial (as excerpted here):

A bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims [by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV] were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife... The [Libby] trial has provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame's identity -- and no evidence that she was, in fact, covert... The former ambassador will be remembered as a blowhard. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were overbearing in their zeal to rebut Mr. Wilson and careless in their handling of classified information. Mr. Libby's subsequent false statements were reprehensible. And Mr. Fitzgerald has shown again why handing a Washington political case to a federal special prosecutor is a prescription for excess. Mr. Fitzgerald was, at least, right about one thing: The Wilson-Plame case, and Mr. Libby's conviction, tell us nothing about the war in Iraq.



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