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awn. One supposes we are compelled to at least acknowledge the lastest NIE on Iraq
. Frankly, we're not interested very much. Not that there hasn't been some entertainment. Doubtlessly you saw Hadley's Leave-It-To-Beaver-Aw-Shucks effort to bob and weave away from this unhelpful bureaucratic stiletto:
The Intelligence Community judges that the term “civil war” does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa’ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence. Nonetheless, the term “civil war” accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements.
ppositionists naturally view this and other language in the public Executive Summary as a “victory”. A triumph in the domestic hyper-real meme war with the Adminsitration. 'There, you see? Uncle DNI calls it civil war too!' We've written before how both the Administration and its opponents often misunderstand intelligence, the intelligence product cycle and the relationship between policy makers and the intelligence community
You, Dear Reader, the Stiftung (and most sentient, non-Kool Aid-drinking bipeds plus Barney, now) agree with the NIE. A NIE remains what it is, and our agreement does not embue it (or any other, or even SNIE, (Special NIE)) with anything more. NIEs quite rightly seek to mimic judicial trappings, offering “findings” and “judgments”. And like a court, on matters of fact (assuming a Neocon/Chalabi contamination effort is not involved), the intelligence community deserves the most deference: the SS-18 has been tested deploying x number of MIRVs in conjunction with ZAPAD exercises; z regional population migrations are growing at a factor of w percent; Chinese military exercises conform with y doctine, Saddam has been importing x amount of aluminum tubes, etc.
Judgments and interpretation of those facts are due weight but are by definition less compelling. No matter how impressive it may seem to have the XYZ organizations sign off (even then, make sure to read footnotes — something so seemingly innocent looking are often bureaucratic Stalingrads, and a tool for DCIs and now DNIs to paper over dissent). Fingar's effort apparently was more accomodating.
A NIE's impact in an infotainment world increasingly often is in inverse proportion to how many people know anything it discusses. Why so non-plussed?
If the Community speaks with the most authority when it has unique facts and combines those facts with is alleged expertise, where does that leave Iraq? Isn't there something just a little bit comically pretentious about a government memo “judging” Iraq's more-than-civil-war war when the death spiral is shoved into our collective faces fricking 24 hours a day in real time? True, video and image can be misleading. But after 4 years, the world and American people have picked up the plot.
Nothing we see in this NIE's Executive Summary was not blindingly obvious to a non-Kool Aider public observer of the Iraqi scene anytime since Summer 2006. We are not being contrarian for it's own sake. It is useful to see the glaringly obvious confirmed. But we are long past 1967-1968. In 1967-68, fighting over a NIE regarding trends in the Southeast Asia unpleasantness was pivotal to define the issue for the National Command Authoriy and then via Scotty Reston, the NY Times, CBS News, etc. eventually Congress and the American people. Not so today.
The Iraq car wreck is globally transparent — we do not need to rely on the government to filter superior information flows for us. After all, even the Japanese are speaking out against the Administration's war
, which is fascinating in its own right. (The always provactive Adbusters calls them “Japan's Neocons” — which, while not accurate is still fun and worth checking out)
With blogs, cable satellites and video phones, the public, Congress and news organizations more often than not have equal or better overall information available than the Community. True, the instinctive reverance for anything marked “secret” or above still commands American deference. Especially after 6 years of AgitProp by this regime. And it is also true that on any given day or month, micro-factual information, usually of a tactical nature, remains almost exclusively a Community province. On the major strategic issues in the NIE, however, the cat is already out of the bag. This raises the whole “open source” paradigm but we'll save that for another day.
o where does that leave us? This NIE is essentially another meme arrow to deploy against the Bush regime. That's no small thing. And certainly Fingar did a better analytical job than the crapfest Tenet shopped around in October 2002. The NIE's conceptual organization may help Democrats by coaching them how to think through the issue and frame communications beyond sentiment (well founded) and instinct (right on target). Other than Webb, Reed and a few others, some Democrats may need to hide behind the NIE's authority to give them a gravitas that they instinctively know themselves is not felt by the American people — Kennedy is not alone here.
ppositionists embracing the Community and this NIE now (ncluding the Stiftung, btw) so uncritically because of the shared rejection of the regime's AgitProp should also check to make sure they are not quaffing their own Kool Aid. Intelligence does not set policy (with exception of Casey's tenure in some respects). The beauty of the American political system and the intelligence product cycle (when it works) is that elected officials are the ultimate arbiters, not GS-15s and supergrades.
For example, some blogging today many not remember that the Community at one time was sure (but not unanimous) that the worldwide communist effort was a unified bloc. A view shared outside by most informed people at CFR (when being there meant something), etc.
An isolated President and ego-centric national security advisor ignored the bureacuratic and Establishment paralysis and quasi-consensus. They set up secret meetings, flew to Beijing and played the Chinese off the Sovs. Thankfully. More latterly, a former DCI and NSC member, now lately in the news, and others in the Community insisted almost until December 25, 1991, that Gorbachev and Schevarnadze were secret hard liners and should be held at arm's length, etc. (And have been assiduously clouding the historical record ever since).
We take a back seat to no one over disdain for the Warlord, Cheney et al. Or their unrelenting assault on liberal democracy at home and the international order abroad. Their cynical and disasterous abuse of the Community for their own AgitProp purposes is undeniable
. They are, however, entitled to reject this or any other NIE. Or even send a draft NIE back to the Community on Iran.
Exercising this perogative results in disaster when the Nation is hostage to a unicameral Christian Socialist Authoritarian regime like 2001-2006. During that time the Community often felt it had no recourse other than to leak. Now, however, we have a functioning Congress again determined to be a co-equal branch of government. A Congress which we hope rejects the notion that oversight is itself a special access program subject to Executive whim. Perhaps what is left of the old Community — before the recent purges and new levee en masse dilutions — has learned a hard lesson compared to 1975-1983. The only thing worse than congressional oversight is no functional congressional oversight at all. When the Administration rejects this or other NIE the issue of the moment should be resolved in politcal fora, where it belongs — albeit likely in closed session. We happily agree with this NIE. But no Community should determine national policy.
Not now, not then, and not in the future.
, National Intelligence Estimate
During the campaigns, Dems obviously tried to paint Bush's bio in the worst light possible. But imagine if instead of casting aspersions on his record at Andover and Yale and Harvard, they took a different tack. Imagine of they had speard rumors that Bush did not go to Andover, but to Exeter, and then failed out and finished school somewhere unknowns and that he never enrolled in classes at Tale, but that he actually did attend to his National Guard duties. In other words, imagine if they lied , not just skewed, about the basic facts of Bush's bio and then they got away with it. That's what WH and the EOVP did about Iraq post 9-11. Many of the howlers they told about Iraq , mixed with rumors and misunderstanding and misinformation, were every bit as obvious in their falsehood as would be a seemingly meaningless lie about basic facts about Bush's bio - like say getting negative commments about Dubya from Professors at HBS that he never met or had. But the Bushians got away with it - so the NIE is seen as just a small spot of truthful surcease in the endless river of AgitProp.
By truth, we don't mean true in any predictive sense - In that way, the NIE is probably like one of those Outlook-type research products that Wall St. sends to clients to give marketing an empircal gloss ( 'we see rates fluctuating, providing secular trends continue ...' ). But they (both the Wall St reports and NIE) will lay down some basic factual markers that will hinder the process of misleading the the customer - citizen. In the Wall St case, earnings and revenues will be reported and companies will be usually be classified in a reasonable way. Bonds will have to reported as bonds and stocks as stocks, etc. This is a long way off from how Bush and Cheney sold the last war even before teh NIE was cooked up. As Sid B note in recent column:
“Cheney knew that the intelligence for the war had been cooked. He was not obsessed with Wilson because he was angry that Wilson was allegedly falsifying information. Cheney was not seized with a feeling of injustice or a need to inform the public of the truth. Cheney is not a fool. ”Cheney knows how to read intelligence reports. He knows how to read classified information,“ Richard Clarke, former director of counterterrorism on the National Security Council, told me. Of course, Clarke said, ”Cheney had read the reports“ that disproved the administration's line. ”Cheney knew it was false,“ said Clarke. What worried Cheney was that he was keenly aware that the so-called intelligence the administration propagated was phony, shabby and shaky. What also peeved him was that Wilson had said that his mission had been triggered by a request from the Office of the Vice President.”
So maybe this will hinder the cooking or assist those who want to keep track.
Or to put it in Super Bowl terms, it would be like saying the second half we expect to see some turnovers because there were many turnovers in the first half and that the game would finish with a score that likely exceeds thirty. This would not pass muster for analysis in sports, but in our moment of folly, this level of analysis would be regarded as bold because Bears and Colts would be clearly implied from context and that's better than than some of the OEVP links that Hayes and others pushed and the admin implied. If Hayes was predicting the second half, he might imply Manning was playing for both teams like a football Zarqawi and Cheney would hold that up during his presser. Btw- the rest of Sid's column shows a quote from Drumheller that illustrated your “silo” analogy. In all over Drumheller's experience, he never was taught to expect Robert Joseph to sneak a misleading verion of sixteen words into the SOTU.
To take the football allusion a bit further, it's easy to imagine the adminstration commingling the Super Bowl with selling the Iraq war - They would do so knowing that some people would confuse Peyton Manning the QB with David Manning of British Intelligence. - Then they could obfuscate by playing on peoples association of the Colts with Baltimore in days past, and then link Peyton Manning with Lord Baltimore and David Manning with 'intelligent people from Indianapolis'. This is a form of the kind of confusion they used with IranIraq - or mixing up things Joe Wilson did not say, but Tweet did, and intentionally polluting the meme data pool to create a fog of information.
Incidentally - Sid does a great job in his column summerizing how Fred Hiatt used phony information to help complete the disinfo job on Wilson on behalf of the war.
Claification - Sid doesn't say that directly about Hiatt, but he notes the how the fake information in the Senate Intel report (falsely saying Wilson bolstered the Niger yellowcake case) was wrongly used by a WaPo editorial to imply Wilson , rather than Cheney. was dishonest - when the INR material noted in Court indicates Hiatt should have known just the opposite.
Agree with you and S.B. — Hiatt and his OpEd minions are complicit in furthering this Administration's agenda in so many ways. Which made someone like Hiatt hiding at the perceived “liberal” WaPo (like Timmy at MTP) so immensely valuable to the regime — far more than Tony was, for example, at the Washington Times.
Glad to see S.B. make the point so clearly — it needs to be remembered and repeated. Again and again.
It's very frustrating to see people misunderstand how silos and compartmentalization work. It was until very very recently not uncommon for a career in the Community to be so truncated in perspective that one could literally get to senior ranks and actually have little real understanding or real appreciation for what one's organization actually did (and how it did it) let alone others in the Community.
Arriving at senior management in one particular entity could be learning much that was new in house let alone elsewhere. At best, it breeds parochialism. At worst, non-functional outcomes. Despite predictable claims to the contrary that this was and is not the case, etc. it was and still largely is. (This problem is not cured by so-called “fusion” centers, blah blah blah).
There are also implications for the media and public. The airheads who run our news media assume that because someone once worked at XYZ entity, they are qualifed to speak on all matters conceivably related to XYZ. Actually, they don't care, as long as the person can fill air time and be interesting.
We laugh when we see a former regaionl area studies analyst from XYZ on cable talking to a chatty news babe/guy and they ask these silly questions — to opine on tradecraft needed to penetrate the Hugo Chavez/Kennedy espionage network, etc. Or they have an ex mid-level DO officer with Mid East experience (and little language skills even then) answer questions about how overhead imagery of North Korea works or Chinese ASAT tests, etc.
It's not always the ex-officer's fault. Some ex-officers are so eager to brand themselves as media personalities that without hesitation they will state with all the authority that they can muster such and such is the case. Of course, they are pulling it out of their butt and reciting bits from a novel they read at the airport. Or what they read in the NYT like everyone else.
The more honest ones actually blink into the camera, momentarily incredulous that American media can be so profoundly stupid. And some even try and remind their interlocutor that their expertise is really on something else, etc. Those are the amateurs who disappear from the producer's rolodex and are seldom seen again.
(But then, Tweety asks John Fund to opine on constitutional law, so perhaps it is simply beyond salvage).
re silos, straws and lack of “community perspective/understanding” — one reason that the DNI career and human capital plans announced a few years ago are so welcome. And another reason for Harlan Ullman and the late Art Cebrowski to advance their rotation concept when they did.
“But after 4 years, the world and American people have picked up the plot.”
You give the American people too much credit. No one ever went broke misunderestimating the intelligence of the American public.
That Newt quote about Luntz is classic - Luntz was the “first,” eh? Luntz was pitching his book on TV recently and we could not help but chuckle at his choice to highlight word wizards like Larry King in his book and others who just happen to sell books. It does have a good cover though. If Newt can get Luntz to craft a language that facilitates talk of McCain and Rudy while simultaneously setting them up to peek too soon and fizzle, then he may have a shot, but only if the idea of McCain and Rudy has already been raised and unrealized in those two. That's not very clear, but we're still thinking it thru.
Everyone is an expert these days - David Ignatius is hosting a bunch of world worthies at Davos. His expertise is an elusive one. We might have been using your use of the word 'silo' in a slightly different context - in that we were referring to Drumheller's comment, repeated by S.B. , that he thought Powell gave the wrong speech by accident, because he has corrected all those intel curveball 'errors' - but Powell spoke them anyway. But his career expertise presumed that he was supposed to find intelligence to inform, so as to prevent unnecessary war. But being in his silo left him unprepared for the relentless willingness of those to try to create intel ex nihilo if necessary to get the war they wanted. Another amazing thing that S. B. reminds everyone is Powell's two dozen plus - falsehoods spoken at the UN. But Powell still acts like he deserves credit just because he refused to include that other bogus material taht wound up in Hayes column. Powell still tries to get credit for this.
To be clear to new readers — when we referred to “the Hugo Chavez/Kennedy espionage network” that was in full irony/Faux News mode.
Perhaps partly to be provocative and aware of who goat he'll get, Joe Kennedy revels in hyping the association with Chavez- he could mask it if he wanted, thru various means, like Cheney doing deals with the French in Africa. compare his business deals with Vanezuela with Kristol's boss's deals with China.
“Santorum thinks he's Churchhill, when Iran comes up ...,” saith M. Continetti on Hardball. Once again - just another reason to dust off the Churchill Option on Iraq if only to undercut the Churchill Iran meme before it happens.
Passed on Tweety tonight, knowing he would be likely man crushing on Rudy. Too freakish to take in. Tweety loves authority figures more “authentic” than his false bio. At first we thought it was a Roman thing. But there migh be more at play there.
Continetti strikes one as a caricature right out of TV Central Casting. Just like Hayes, who is perfect for who he is. Continetti is one suspects inherently more canny than Hayes, as he is perfecting his cheshire Kristol act rather than Hayes' unwise chug off the Doug Feith Kool Aid bong.
Continetti's shock outrage at Abramoffgate way for him to establish hmself as a conservative who 'gets it' pundit that the mediaocracy can dig. Hayes will have to produce a literary masterpiece to overcome expected howls and yawns from a book about Cheney that has to be updated by trial developments. But too canny can ge grating. Hayes needs a good show with Iran to help change a three act play into a five act play.
It's hard to figure how 'experts' establish themselves - Just as we posted the above comment, we turned on the ostensibly non political History channel and they were discussing Persian history and Iraq and Pollack was one of the experts they had on to help narrate. Now - it's on the record that he has never been to Iran and does not speak the language. There are countless Iranian expats in the US who could speak with vast erudition about Iran and do so in a way that would be politically useful to the Bushians. So it's somewhat of a mystery why they would chose Pollack to speak on Iran. His Iraq book was politically useful for helping Democrats come up with exuses not to oppose invading Iraq or to support it, but you'd think that he'd be a bit less credible now - especially now that it is known that he's just clipping articles.
Think about how crazy it would be to listen to America experts in Mid East try to get away with speaking about America and not knowing English or not visiting. It would be a joke, but here it's done all the time and no one really seems to care. It's strange - not so much that people talk about things that they do not know (that's pretty normal), but that it is actually now standard and part of the culture and the modus. Now the history channel,
Talmadge: Now, if the President could authorize a covert break in, and you do not know exactly what that power would be limited [to] , you do not think it could include murder or other crimes beyond covert break-ins, do you?
Ehrlichman: I do not know where the line is, Senator.
Talmadge: You are a lawyer, and I understand you are a good one.
Ehrlichman: Well I am certainly not a constitutional lawyer, Senator. Far from it.
Talmadge: Do you remember when we were in law school, we studied a famous principle of law that came from England and also is well known in this country, that no matter how humble a man’s cottage is, even the King of England cannot enter without his consent.
Ehrlichman: I am afraid that has been considerably eroded over the years, has it not?
~Watergate Committee (1972)
Senator Talmadge questions
“Ehrlichman was unendurable. He acted as if he were proud to be on the side he was on; his pride was what could not be suffered. For it spoke of a world whose real complexity could savage a liberal brain. Liberals could certainly live with the hot idea that they were fighting Mephisto's own Nixon, but they couldn't support the Kierkegaardian complexity that the good guys might be right next to the bad guys on the same team ... So Ehrlichman was his own man for five days and took a cannonading of cross-examination and never looked worried, and the liberals never forgave him, because he had tried to deny them a clean-cut holy war by suggesting that end of Richard Nixon did not end a single one of the world's ongoing fevers.”
Interview with Ehrlichman (1976)
“If you put a termite in a block of wood, you expect him to do his job without a lot of supervision.”
~John Ehrlichman (1976)
Mailer's Int. w/ Ehrlichman
Erlichman I think went to the great Howard Johnsons in the sky believing that the Agency was set him and Nixon up. Perhaps Scooter has some ouija board connections that Fitz needs to subpoena — or more interestingly, Lynne.
We guess Scooter probably does not think , in this particular case, the Agency set EOVP up, but only because he was in the decision loop enough to see how the Agency followed up, rather than initiated, the trip to Niger*, after interest expressed by EOVP. But - that's where it gets complicated because the Scooter's awareness of OSP's boostering of the Niger stuff and his awareness of the forgeries was conected to his larger awareness of a conflict between EOVP/OSP V. Agency, et al. So even seemingly friendly requests and exchanges of information are actually forms of passive combat between proxies; in this case EOVP/OSP being a proxy and cut out for a faction of the Bush family and this patchwork alliance of neocons, ideologues, sundry Levantine and Gulf interests, and the magazine grenadiers. The Agency is the cut out for the inner national security state, but operating under official cover as Bush's proxy.
*Ofcourse, there were other 'missions to Niger' beside Wilsons and that's the wrinkle. Was Scooter aware of the awareness of other missions to Niger? If so, he may have intuited the Wilson mission as Agency Kabuki. If he was aware that several others had evaluated the Niger angle and reputiated it, he may have sensed that the Agency's willingness to send Wilson, rather than dispute the Niger BS directly, was a form of passive aggressive faux naivte on the Agency's part, slam dunk not withstanding. It does seem unlikely, Kool aiders excepted, that Scooter ever thought or Cheney ever thought that Plame sent Wilson, because awarensss of her meant awareness of her rank, and her rank was not such that she could send Wilson. Cliff May can pretend she did, but Scooter's likely awareness of the facts indicates a deeper game.
That above comment is very confusing and may make little sense, which is partly the point. but we do think Ehrlichman / Scooter comparisons and contrasts can be of interest. Looking back on Watergate, you see this scaffolding of awareness among the Nixon people that continues somewhat with today's gop, despite many changes brought by movement conservatives, the basic party psychology remains. Same what one could broadly describe as the 'liberal' opposition. Aside, if Scott McClellan was a farce, then Nixon's Clark MacGregor could have been tragic, because MacGregor, in old clippings, comes accross as McClellan-esque in his earnestness of his belief in the solid 'charcter' of the men he is forced to defend. But as Mailer notes, MacGregor was impressive on a certain level. But McClellan seemed, perhaps by Bushian design, somewhat over his head. Interestingly, even now he seems somewhat surprised that his boss was considerd divisive because when he started working for Bush, Bush was considerd bipartisan, etc.
Point taken. Put that way, a Ouija board might not be much use.
Does that great HoJo in the sky have a connecting bowling lounge cum Bob Hope comedy club? The banality of salvation?
There's so much of interest with the Scooter contratemps, but one thing that we think stands out is how the meme battle has been waged. At this stage, we think the Bushians are in a holding action - Save York and some, they are giving their immortal vigor some rest. Now they want inevitable events within the courtroom to play out within a closed loop, then firewalled and bulkheaded off from rest of the Admin , until a safer time allows for a victory on appeal or pardon. But before the indictments, the meme battles with the opposition and their realist allies, were pretty hot. Though they may have lost the AgitProp war - it was close, they did inflict some damage - Even today, Plamesymp reporters unconsciously use false memes -remnants of the large cluster meme attacks - in their stories about the case. For instance, the Hiatt job that legitimizd the duo-faux meme that Plame both sent Wilson and Wilson validated yellowcake, is one that has been officially discredited via the discrediting of the Senate Select committe report. Garbage in, garbage out. But even now - save the totally gamefaced Plameologists - the so called liberal mainstream media will still regurgitate that discredited meme (Wife send husband on malicous junkett) even when reporters with an anti Cheney bias, think they are writing hard hitting stories about Cheney . In other words, as the neocons would say, much of the media is still objectively, to a degree, pro Scooter-Cheney-Bush, even though this same media increasingly thinks they are subjectively pro Fitz-Wilson-Plame.
Why is this? Partly from the oppositions general inability to see things plain. The Next Hurrah is a top tier opposition blogger, but even they are surprised by Addington's formidable qualities. Even these hyper aware opposition bloggers keep having to pinch themselves - because they share a liberal instinct to underestimate their adversary's in a variety of ways. Plus, they have a hard time digesting this type of high performance Ehrlichmanian (before his fall) personality. So just think how totally whipsawed the far dumber larger media was by those alligned with Bush.
Re Ehrlichman and his belief in a possible Agency set-up, not only thought they may have placed 'termites' within the WH (unlike Mailer, who just assumed they infiltrated CRP/CREEP), but that Helms was able to commander Congress: “So that attitude on Helms' part was totally natural, because this [Congress] is his vineyard. Those were his grapes [Watergate committee] sitting up there.”
Doc - think about that - Termites, Vinyard, & Grapes. Not bad.
Brooks is on Charlie Rose, re-centering the Scooter debate, expressing sadness and disappointment at the possibility Scooter may actually have been a fall guy for Cheney. EJ Dionne is trying to mirror Brooks's hush puppy demeanor, but Brooks has an edge because Brooks is saying more things that he doesn't believe than Dionne. The Brooks thrust is now that EOVP, in an abundance of patriotic vigor, may have sent Scooter the wrong signals , thus this baloney. But Brooks suggest Americans should not care about this story when Iraq is on fire. As if the latter was not linked to the former.
re HoJo — that would be a nice touch. With a HItch sentenced to be maitre'd wearing a name tag.
100% agree with your point on the subjective/objective victory, even now. For non-media Oppositionists, in fairness, this really new for many of them as active meme participants contra consumers. The Weinberger, Abrams, North experiences, however, are fresh in the minds of the regime and supporters.
Your're right to see the larger game. Patience, allowing vilification to play itself out, followed by a procedural coup de main (pardon, etc.) and eventual career rival (even if limited to within the Movement's cultural reach say Fox, NY Post, etc.)
re Helms, — the Old World swept away by Nixon et al. downfall. Little or no questions, complete deference to the Agency. One conversation with one or two Senators and the deals were done — seniority meant something.
re Brooks, we should bookmark this date. One wonders how soon before Brook starts exclaiming — in the same tone of voice of hot dogs getting slightly over done on the grill — why should Americans worry about Iraq when Iran is going to catch fire?
For all we know, Scooter is a great person, on a personal level or whatever. But we could not help but laugh at hearing Brooks' character defense of him. Is there anything more damming than hearing Brooks vouch for a public official by talking about how he would slide a twenty dollar bill on the lunch table to pay for lunch? Anyway, Tweety was on TV today saying some questionable things - He said that someone cannot accept a pardon, without accepting guilt? Say what? Is Matthews confusing religious confession with Constitutional pardon?
Re Scooter trial - some of the Cheney related notes that have been read at trial have a contrived sounding quality, as if Cheney was saying somethings knowing they were going to be read by others. Like when Nixon would speak on the tapes - at certain times - and you could hear a shift in his grammar and tone and you realize that he's speaking consciously with the tapes in mind. That's what the Cheney related note about him sayin McClellan should not clear Rove while leaving Libby out in the cold. Maybe we're wrong, but that note and some others do seem like lazy contrivances - for no benefit. Cheney's real effort at misdirection that failed though was his trying to get word out that State and others were the ones, not EOVP, that sent Wilson. The whole dodge of Cheney and Co. trying to take advantage of Matthews' lazy way phrasing things and atributing Matthews' lazy words to Saint-Wilson back fired because that's a distinction that doesn't wash outside wing land. If the President tell's Ike to invade Normady, he's not telling individual soldiers to take the beach.
Going forward on this we're wondering how team scooter will craft the narrative. Folks like Byron York have their limitations - Cheney knew Wilson from back when Wilson waa Charge D'Annoying in Iraq after the Baker Curve commenced. So maybe a la Ehrlicman, they will pretend it was set up, not to send somone to Niger, but to send that particular man. This will be painted as an old rivalry - You see they are now doing that too with Fitz and Scooter by saying it's payback for Marc Rich. The wsj dipped it's toe into this meme last week. Another factor going foward with the narrative will be the DC jury being biased against Cheney and Scooter. This was also the case with Ehrlichman.
One more thing that interests us with regards to the whole Scooter coverage is that we think the opposition blogs are missing something that is staring them in tha face. The other day, they remarked upon Addington's understated style and his apparent competence, but they did not put two and two together and realize that Addington's substance, more than his style, is what probably will explain Cheney's action. The opposition keeps wondering when Cheney may have declassified Plame's status, so as not to violate the Intel Identity act or when he declassified the parts of the NIE that made it legal to pass on parts to reporters on the q.t. They are looking for dates and paper trial, so as to catch a descrepency. But we think that if Libby is forced to explain or if Cheney is - the actual process of declassification will be explained as when Cheney, as authorized by Bush, moves his mouth - and the Intel Identity act is irrelevant because it conflicts with Cheney's EOVP role and the role the Commander in Chief delegates to Cheney and Cheney passed on. So they will say they didn't violate the act because the act doesn't apply to them - They just won't use the reasons Toensing articulated. But the point will be thaat Cheney cannot violate laws - he doesn't have to officially declassify things, as if he were a little beaureucrat - And since that was passed on to Scooter, then Scooter gets a pass. Then he will say the specific IIPA doesn't apply to him anyway. But here's a clip from Emptywheel, that show's where we think she's (and others) are missing this - even though they noticed Addington's stle:
“ I made the point the other day that if Cheney were put on the stand, he might be put in a place where he refuted some of Libby's testimony. Specifically, Cheney might have to admit that he and Libby talked about revealing Plame's identity with reporters during the week of July 6. And this presents a problem, because it either means both Libby and Cheney would claim to have forgotten about Plame's ID, then learned it again as if it were new the week of the leak. Or, they'd effectively be admitting to leaking Plame's ID after having learned of it through classified channels, making it a possible violation of the IIPA (barring, of course, a Cheney claim to have declassified Plame's identity before leaking it to reporters, which is where I think we are heading). ”
To elaborate on the substance of the above points. Consider this:
And here's the fourth branch language in the Plum book:
“The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. The Vice Presidency performs functions in both the legislative branch (see article I, section 3 of the Constitution) and in the executive branch (see article II, and amendments XII and XXV, of the Constitution, and section 106 of title 3 of the United States Code).”
They go on to say that this is the kind of thing Addington would pull - in lieu of submitting a list of workers and to carve out some Constitutional space for , what seems to be, a permenant Bush cut-out office.
Re: “Brook starts exclaiming — in the same tone of voice of hot dogs getting slightly over done on the grill”
You have a great description there about Brooks. Hot dogs slightly over done. Excellent. Brooks does have that quality. Newt sometimes sounds like overdone Microwave hotdogs popping. Newts over-the-top descriptions of people like Luntz are a bit like that. Luntz is a smart guy - a facilitator, but not a revolutionary.
Part of us thinks of Brooks a bit like one of those baloney sandwhiches that you used to be able to buy in vending machines and then heat up with the seventy five cent lipton soup.
Too bad the revisionists have been toning down purgatory - Because a lower purgatory would be perfect place for a pundit hell - Hitch with the forced Hello name tag would be perfect. Forced to stand in hallway, on one said of the hallway is a Bob Hope show to a Rotary convention and it just repeats. The other side of the hallway are a group of b-list editors who just laugh all day long at Andy Borowitz humor. And Hitch is forced to stay there, in the middle - while knowing that in another inaccessable room is a permanant panel discussion in his honor about his brilliance and Henry's villiany, with Barzani and Talabani as co hosts.
I agree re Cheney's a walking declassification order when he as you say opens his mouth. Looking for factual discrepancies in dates miss that larger point.
re TPM and Josh's link — indeed. One more example.
Of course, Cheney could have made that point when this whole Plame business started, but as soon at the WH issued it's first insincere apology for the sixteen words and Tenet same, then Cheney was boosted in just covering up for principle. It's insane - as the that fourth branch stuff. But they are all sane compared to Matthews - still flogging that Hillary joke for the second week. This time to poor MacAuliff who has to pretend not to loath such baloney. Matthews is really weird. How can he talk about this same non issue for two weeks - but now he has a new angle. He now says it was funny - but last week he said it wasn't funny and Buchanan, of all people, had to correct him and point out that the audience did indeed laugh.
MATTHEWS: Is Bill Clinton going to be a problem in this campaign?
LEWIS: Absolutely not.
MATTHEWS: Is he going to behave himself?
LEWIS: Bill Clinton has been around—in the first place, he’s been around the world saving lives.
MATTHEWS: Is he going to behave himself?
LEWIS: He’s going to do what he does best.
MATTHEWS: Is he going to behave himself—
LEWIS: Yes, he is.
MATTHEWS: —and not cause a publicity that gets her embarrassed?
LEWIS: He goes out—you go ask Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel how often they asked Bill Clinton to go out there and campaign for Democratic candidates.
MATTHEWS: I know he does a lot. He’s a multi-tasker.
LEWIS: He did it because people want to see him.
MATTHEWS: Because he’s a multi-tasker! He’s going to behave himself, right? No bad publicity? Did you see that story in the New York Times, though, a couple months back about Bill Clinton better watch it? Front page, top of the fold? He better watch it?
LEWIS: You couldn’t miss it. And I was interested to see that that was the most important news that the New York Times could have, was to try a write a story about people’s private lives. But you know what? At the end of the day, you read the story, it said there’s no “there there.” Guess what? That’s the story, folks! There’s no “there there.”
MATTHEWS: So you think the New York Times is going to stop writing about this?
LEWIS: No. I think Bill Clinton is going to continue doing his work, going around the world, saving lives—
MATTHEWS: So he’s going to behave himself.
LEWIS: He’s going to be out on the campaign trail—
MATTHEWS: And he’s going to behave himself so Hillary can be the first woman president.
LEWIS: You’re all going to be applauding—
MATTHEWS: I think it’d be great for the country if we were not once again distracted—
LEWIS: So do I.
MATTHEWS: —by what you call private life. And I think the way to avoid getting distracted is to have nothing there to distract us.
LEWIS: Well, I agree with that. But we just spent how many minutes of this segment—three minutes?—talking about there should be nothing to distract us. Why don’t we stop talking about it and talk about the issues?
MATTHEWS: Well, because I want to have some assurances from people that I trust and like to spread the word that—
LEWIS: Why don’t you watch—
MATTHEWS: —he better watch it.
LEWIS: —what he’s been doing? Why not see what he`s done for the last—
MATTHEWS: I am watching, unfortunately. Anyway, thank you, Ann Lewis.
Just after we posted our remark about Borowitz, we happen over to Clemons blog and see that Borowitz followed your lead on the shark jumping.
Your call on Terry M as an authentic bon vivant on vivid display — he simply bowled over Tweety's dark obsession with the Clintons with a laugh and a smile.
“He better watch it! I am watching!”
An already swollen head inches outwards.
We would never suggest that Terry might not exaggerate some things or that his perspective is an accurate one. But there is no question that his success is due, in large measure, to his ability to err on the side of being upbeat. It just struck us because before we ever saw him speak, we had read about him in Novak's columns and the contrast was stunning. We're not addressing the specifics of what Novak wrote about him, but the picture he painted of Terry was of an extremely dark and cynical personality - very hard boiled and noirish. Maybe Bob was projecting.
But you can imagine Terry listening to Tweetmaster Crash and privately shaking his head in bemused sadness while nodding along gratuitously during his Clinton psycho show. Tweetmaster Crash is really weird with this stuff - and many people are beginning to notice - because he keeps trying to lure others to validate him in this. But they all think he's out of his mind.
Polonius: Do you know me, my lord?
Hamlet: Excellent well; you are a fishmonger
Polonius: Not I, my lord.
Hamlet: Then I would you were so honest a man.
Polonius: Honest, my lord!
Hamlet: Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Polonius: That's very true, my lord.
“Lynndie England and Charles Graner were two wretched individuals from red America who were trying to act out the fantasies of blue America.”