Den sidste hån + update

I dagens Berlinger (formatet er som bekendt uændret…)berettes om den sidste udvikling i Plame-sagen, den sidste hån i en sag, der kom til at handle om noget helt andet, end journalisterne selv troede.

Vi citerer her et par steder fra indledningen:

Richard Armitage var næstkommanderende i det amerikanske udenrigsministerium fra 2001 til 2005, og han var – ligesom sin chef Colin Powell – skeptisk over for Irak-krigen. Især nærede han uvilje mod krigens nykonservative arkitekter samt dens bagmænd, præsident George W. Bush og vicepræsident Richard Cheney, hvoraf ingen havde prøvet at være i krig. Armitage, der selv deltog i Vietnam-krigen, anså dem for blodtørstige »lænestolskrigere«, afslører ny bog. …

Ironisk er det derfor, at bogen samtidig afslører Richard Armitage i at have spillet en central rolle i Plamegate-skandalen, der handler om Bush-administrationens angreb på en kritiker af Irak-krigen.

Ironisk? Næ, det er bare totalt ødelæggende for den vinkel, MSM hidtil har fulgt i deres dækning af sagen, inkl. Berlingske der på et tidspunkt brugte tre hele sider af Magasinet på den vinkel.

Bogen, der omtales, er Isikoff & Corn, Hubris, der kan bekræfte, at det var Armitage, der afslørede over for journalisten Robert Novak, at Wilsons kone var i CIA. Bogen er yderst kritisk mod regeringen, så det er ikke en afsløring forfatterne er glad for.

Det er da virkelig også en sidste hån. Indtil da kunne man i det mindste klynge sig til troen på, at det var folk tættere på Bush, som havde afsløret konen. Det ville have opretholdt den sidste tråd af den oprindelige historie, at Valerie Wilson (née Plame) var blevet afsløret som en grusom hævn for sin mands “kritik” (ret beset, ubegrundede og fejlagtige anklager, but what the heck). Men det er almindeligt kendt, at Armitage ikke var ude efter at genere the Wilsons, lige så lidt som Novak var det.

Her er et uddrag fra Christopher Hitchens dækning af samme sag. Det er godt en måned gammelt, men udgør stadig en forfriskende erstatning for den ellers dominerende holdning i MSM:

When one thinks of the oceans of ink and acres of paper that have been wasted on this mother of all nonstories, one wants to weep for the journalistic profession as well as for the trees. Well before Novak felt able to go public, he had said that his original source was not “a partisan gunslinger,” which by any reasonable definition means that he was consciously excluding the names of Karl Rove or Dick Cheney. And how likely was it anyway that either man, seeking to revenge himself on Joseph Wilson, would go to a columnist who is known to be one of Wilson’s admirers (praise for him and his career was a central theme in the original 2003 article), is friendly with the CIA, and is furthermore known as a staunch and consistent foe of the administration’s intervention in Iraq? The whole concept was nonsense on its face.

As Novak says, the original question was: How did a man publicly critical of the Bush policy get the CIA’s nomination for a mission to Niger? When he asked this question of his first source, he was told in effect, “That’s easy. His wife works there and recommended him for the trip.” This has since been confirmed by the report of the Senate intelligence committee, which quotes a memo from Valerie Plame making the recommendation in so many words (on the bizarre grounds that Wilson already enjoyed warm relations with the people he would supposedly be investigating at the Niger Ministry of Mines). It seems to me that Novak was well within his rights to check with Karl Rove and with the CIA that this was indeed the case, and to take down his copy of Who’s Who in America from the shelf. As he puts it, “I considered his wife’s role in initiating Wilson’s mission … to be a previously undisclosed part of an important news story.” …

No reporter or lawyer concerned with the case believes that Novak’s original source was any other than Richard Armitage. I have heard it lamely said that, if true, this would “undercut” the idea that Wilson and Plame were targets of an administration vendetta. No. it wouldn’t “undercut” the idea. It would annihilate it. Mr. Armitage exceeds even his own former boss and current best friend Colin Powell in visceral hatred of the neoconservatives.

Ah, velgørende klart formuleret. Men Hitch har jo heller ikke noget i klemme. Han har ikke dummet sig og demonstreret sine manglerne evner til kildesøgning, og ingen mistænker ham for at være Bush-tilhænger.

I Berlingerens dækning prøver man tappert at fastholde fokus på Rove:

Det har længe været kendt, at to toprådgivere i Det Hvide Hus, Lewis »Scooter« Libby og spindoktor Karl Rove, også har lækket Plames identitet til reportere med det formål at genere en kritiker.

Tja, bum bum. Enten ønskede de at lade offentligheden vide, at Wilsons kone var i CIA for at skade hende ved kynisk at afsløre hende som undercover agent og dermed “genere” hendes kritiske mand. Men de er ikke blevet tiltalt for at have afsløret hendes status som undercover agent, formodentlig fordi de simpelt hen ikke vidste, at det havde været hendes job i CIA. Så genen skulle altså alene ligge i at afsløre, hvor hans kone arbejdede? Det lyder ikke rigtig sandsynligt.

En anden plausibel forklaring er, at de ønskede at fremhæve, at Joe Wilson ikke var den uafhængige ekspert, han fremstillede sig selv som, men derimod havde en tæt personlig kontakt til de kredse i CIA, der var i gang med at skyde ansvaret for de fejlagtige WMD-efterretninger fra sig i det sædvanlige blame-game. Døm selv.

Så hermed synes sagen omsider at dø. The Wilsons har i desperation over det svindende scenelys anlagt en privat sag, hvilket for en kort stund fik MSM til at gentage vrøvlet, men den bringer næppe noget frem, som statsanklageren ikke kunne finde.

Sagen blev dermed den skandale, den var tænkt som. Men det blev ikke en skandale om Bush-regeringen. For en sjælden gangs skyld synes inkompetencen ikke at høre hjemme her.

Inkompetencen ligger hos MSM, der bl.a. begik følgende faktuelle fejl i dækningen:

1) Wilson afslørede, at Irak ikke havde forsøgt at få uran fra Niger.

2) Wilsons rapport blev forelagt Det Hvide Hus, som bevidst ignorerede den, fordi konklusionerne ikke passede dem.

3) Bush løj i sin tale til nationen, da han hævdede, at den britiske efterretningstjeneste havde fundet, at Irak prøvede at skaffe uran i Afrika.

4) Den britiske efterretningstjeneste blev fuppet af falske dokumenter til at tro, at Irak havde søgt at skaffe uran fra Afrika.

Svaret er, som det klart fremgår af Senats rapporten om pre-war intel og den britiske Butler-rapport (begge helt tilbage fra 2004): nej, nej, nej og atter nej. Enhver journalist, der havde gjort sig ulejlighed med at læse disse rapporter, eller blot fulgt med i links på Instapundit, ville have været for klog til at begå disse fejl. Alligevel faldt de alle i, NYT, WaPo, BBC, DR, TV2 og Berling
eren.

Det viste sig,
at gamle Bob Woodward havde ret, da han sagde, at der ikke var kød på sagen. Han forstod blot ikke, hvor lavt branchen er sunket siden.

UPDATE (30/8): Som supplement til Peter KKs posting med en full-text gengivelse fra WSJ tilbydes her Christopher Hitchens seneste indlæg fra Slate, nu hvor Armitage er outed. Læseværdig er også Jake Kellys artikel fra RealClearPolitics.

Begge hæfter sig ved, at ikke bare Armitage, men også hans omgangskreds fra et tidligt tidspunkt vidste, at “afsløringen” af Valerie Wilson/Plame ikke var et ondsindet angreb fra Bush og hans neo-cons. Alligevel lod de historien fortsætte i flere år og bygge sig op til det orgie af Bush-lied-people-died hysteri, som stadig lever videre. Selv Berlingeren er som nævnt ovf. ikke helt ajour med den seneste udvikling.

De peger også på det klamme i, at Isikoff & Corn omtaler anklagerne mod Bush i neutrale termer, selvom det var dem, der startede hysteriet. NYT er i øvrigt også påfaldende tamme i deres omtale af påstanden om den ondsindede outing. Endvidere har Isikoff & Corn åbenbart også kendt til Armitages rolle længe nok til at få det med i en bog, men har først offentliggjort det i forbindelse med lanceringen af bogen. Nice move, nice money.

Jep, jeg vedkender mig en aparte interesse for denne absurde historie. Ikke siden Rathergate har vi haft et så manifest bevis på, hvordan journalisterne i MSM ikke gider tjekke deres kilder, men ukritisk citerer hinanden, fanget som de er i et klaustrofobisk venstreorienteret miljø, hvor man ikke en gang aner, når man er langt langt ude. Jeez.

3 Kommentarer

  1. Mens jeg nok er mioderat mindre interesseret i denne sag end Mr. Law, så kan man sige, at Berlingske Tidendes ene korrespondent, Karl Erik Skovgaard (fhv. Nielsen), nok kunne have haft godt af at læse denne ledende artikel fra dagens WSJ, som nok så klart (omend indirekte) opsummerer, hvor mange misforståelser, der er i Berlingskes “dækning” af sagen:Fess Up, Mr. Armitage Time to put the Plame conspiracy to its final rest. Wednesday, August 30, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT From its very start, the ballyhooed case of who leaked the name of CIA analyst Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak has been drenched in partisan politics and media hypocrisy. The more we learn, however, the more it also reveals about the internal dysfunction of the Bush Administration and the lack of loyalty among some of its most senior officials. The latest news is that the Bush official who first disclosed Ms. Plame’s identity was none other than former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. According to a new book by liberal journalists David Corn and Michael Isikoff, Mr. Armitage was Mr. Novak’s primary source for his now famous column of July 14, 2003, that first publicly revealed Ms. Plame’s CIA pedigree. In other words, the leaker wasn’t Karl Rove or Scooter Libby or anyone else in the White House who has been accused of running a conspiracy against Ms. Plame as revenge for her husband Joe Wilson’s false accusations against the White House’s case for war with Iraq. So what have the last three years been all about anyway? Political opportunism and internal score-settling, among other things. Mr. Armitage, recall, was part of Colin Powell’s team at State and well known as an internal Administration opponent of the “neo-cons” who supported the ouster of Saddam Hussein. The book alleges that Mr. Armitage knew as early as October 2003 that he was Mr. Novak’s prime source, yet he kept quiet about it even as his colleagues in the Administration were dragged through years of criminal investigation and media accusations as the possible leaker. Even now Mr. Armitage hasn’t admitted to being the leaker, though doing so would help to clarify several things about the case.For starters, fessing up would put to rest the conspiracy theories once and for all. Bush opponents have continued to promote this myth, with Mr. Wilson writing in June 2004 that “the conspiracy to destroy us was most likely conceived–and carried out–within the office of the vice president of the United States.” Not a word of that was true.Mr. Novak hasn’t himself confirmed that Mr. Armitage was his primary source, since Mr. Armitage hasn’t yet given him leave to do so. But Mr. Novak has written that his source was not a “partisan gunslinger,” and the columnist has also said that he himself put in the call to Mr. Rove to confirm what he’d first heard from his main source (presumably Mr. Armitage). The White House, in short, was not engaged in any campaign to “out” Ms. Plame.All of this matters because it also casts doubt on the thoroughness and fairness of special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s probe that began in December 2003. The prosecutor never did indict anyone for leaking Ms. Plame’s name, though this was supposedly the act of “treason” that triggered the political clamor for a probe. Instead, he has indicted Mr. Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. Mr. Fitzgerald has nonetheless also tried to spin an aura that Mr. Libby was responsible for outing Ms. Plame. In his press conference on October 28, 2005, the prosecutor asserted that “In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to [former New York Times reporter] Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.” But we have since learned that Mr. Armitage also told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward about Ms. Plame–a fact that Mr. Fitzgerald never uncovered until Mr. Woodward came forward after he heard Mr. Fitzgerald make that false public assertion.Strangely, Mr. Armitage never seems to have told Mr. Fitzgerald that he’d talked to Mr. Woodward. And Mr. Fitzgerald never seems to have asked to see Mr. Armitage’s appointment calendar, which would have showed his meeting with Mr. Novak. It’s all enough to make us wonder if Mr. Fitzgerald didn’t buy into the liberal “conspiracy” theory of this case from the start and target the White House while giving Mr. Armitage a pass. Meanwhile, according to the Corn-Isikoff book, Mr. Armitage never did tell the White House or his boss, the President, that he was the leaker. Instead, in October 2003 he told Mr. Powell, who told the State Department general counsel, who in turn told the Justice Department but gave the White House Counsel only the sketchiest overview of what he’d learned and didn’t mention Mr. Armitage’s name. So while Mr. Fitzgerald presumably knew when he began his probe two months later that Mr. Armitage was Mr. Novak’s source, the President himself was apparently kept in the dark, even as he was pledging publicly to find out who the leaker was.At a minimum, there appears to be a serious question of disloyalty here. By keeping silent, Messrs. Powell and Armitage let the President take political heat for the case, while also letting Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby and other White House officials twist in the wind for more than two years. We also know that it was the folks in Mr. Powell’s shop–including his former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson and intelligence officer Carl Ford Jr.–who did so much to trash John Bolton’s nomination to be Ambassador to the U.N. in 2005. The State Department clique that Mr. Bush tolerated for so long did tremendous damage to his Administration.As for Justice, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the case in an act of political abdication. That left then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey in charge, and he also presumably knew by October 2003 about Mr. Armitage’s role as the leaker who started it all. Yet if the book’s account is correct, he too misled the White House with his silence. Mr. Comey is also the official who let Mr. Fitzgerald alter his mandate from its initial find-the-leaker charge to the obstruction and perjury raps against Mr. Libby that are all this case has come down to. Remind us never to get in a foxhole with either Mr. Comey or the Powell crowd.There is more to be said at a future date about the specific case against Mr. Libby. But for now the Armitage news should concern one man in particular, and that’s the President of the United States. How much differently would he have behaved had he known about Mr. Armitage’s role in 2003? Would he have kept echoing the media-liberal spin that there was some nefarious White House leaker to discover, and continue to let the aides who most believed in his policies–Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove–be hounded by a special counsel? And why has he tolerated so much insubordination to his policies?Someday we hope Mr. Bush will tell us. Meantime, as he absorbs the partisan and ultimately trivial truth of this case, why shouldn’t he pardon Mr. Libby and put the entire sorry saga to rest?

  2. En ting er, at sagsforløbet viser, hvor galt det står til i MSM både i Danmark og i USA.Det, der er virkelig forstemmende, er, at den særligt udnævnte anklager, Fitzgerald, har vidst besked om Armitage næsten lige så længe, men alligevel har fortsat med at insinuere en politisk sammensværgelse. Den rigtige vinder i sagen er det amerikanske folk, der har formået at skue igennem sagen og se den som uvæsentlig i tidens vigtige politiske spørgsmål!I dette forum kan vi jo tage sagen op igen, hvis der skulle ske noget spændende i Wilson/Plames civile søgsmål.I mellemtiden kan vi så beskæftige os med nyhedsmediernes langt mere farlige manipulation af begivenhederne i Mellemøsten.

  3. Har man læset Berlingske Tidende, eller set Ritzaus dækning af sagen tror jeg de fleste læsere af historien vil fornemme at Wilson/Plame er ofre for en ondsindet kampagen fra The Oval Office, og at det igen var Cheney der trak i trådene.Ikke noget om Nigersagen – ikke noget med Butlerrapporten eller Wilsonshensigter.Jeg synes det er frustrende så ringe sagen har været dækket i de danske medier.Den er i sig selv kompliceret og meget langvarig. Men beskrivelser i Danmark er helt ved siden af.Forståeligt at Ekstra Bladet med Bo Elkjær og Engel har en agenda – men at en avis som Berlingske Tidende ikke kan dække den mere objektivt er mildt sagt skuffende.

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