Saturday, July 23, 2005

I'm Shocked, Shocked I Tell You

In testimony that surprises no one, former CIA anaylyst (and registered Republican) Larry Johnson stated yesterday that Bush's lack of action on the Valerie Plame issue has jeopardized national security.

The pool of potential informants has suddenly dried up. Who would be willing to put their neck on the line to help the US if we can't guarantee their anonymity and safety?

Johnson stated that he wanted a GOP lawmaker with integrity to speak out on the issue. [GOP integrity? Larry, that in itself seems to present a problem.] "I expect better behavior out of Republicans." [And I don't know why, in the face of all the evidence pointing the other way, he would have that particular expectation, either.]

And meanwhile Karl "The Traitor" Rove still has his White House job and his security clearance, and he's still sucking on the public tit.

Give me a fucking break. If this were a Democratic administration, the torch-and-pitchfork-carrying villagers would already have chased Rove -- and Bush along with him -- to the old mill and set fire to it.


merlallen said...

was Ike the last republican with any integrity? when i was a kid and thought of pubs, i always thought of him

Anonymous said...

From USAToday:

A neighbor's view of Valerie Wilson's 'outing'
By Christopher Wolf

Joe and Valerie Wilson are my next door neighbors in a hilly neighborhood just west of Georgetown. We moved in within months of each other seven years ago, attracted to our respective houses by the view of the Capitol in the distance and the Washington Monument in the foreground. The patriotic view is stirring.

I have another view from my window, of a neighbor who is a working, devoted mother of 5-year-old twins, a volunteer for charities, a woman active in her church, and a caring person. Soft-spoken, self-effacing and very private, Valerie is very easy to label "the lovely woman next door."

To some, I am known as Joe and Valerie's lawyer, a fact that has surfaced by my occasional statements on their behalf. The Wilsons don't need a lawyer for any pending proceeding; I am simply helping them understand some of the technicalities of the criminal investigation and collecting facts for any eventual civil suit. Before Robert Novak's column, I was simply their friend and neighbor, a role that will continue long after the White House leak matter is over.
When I first met Joe and Valerie, I quickly got to the classic Washington question: What do you do? Joe explained that he was a former ambassador to a number of African countries, who had worked in both the Bush I and Clinton administrations.

Valerie's answer was more than a little vague. She quickly said she was a consultant. As a fourth-generation Washingtonian, I have learned that when someone says, "I'm a consultant," that is a cue to back off, as it usually means the person is unemployed or "between engagements."

So, from 1998 to July 14, 2003, we were simply neighbors sharing cookouts, borrowing missing ingredients for a recipe from each other, laughing when, unrehearsed, one of their 3-year-olds decided to call me "Wolfie" (instead of Mr. Wolf as instructed by his mother), and having me serve as amateur photographer for the Wilsons' Christmas card photo.

On Friday of July 4, 2003, the Wilsons and I walked down Reservoir Road to MacArthur Boulevard for the annual Palisades neighborhood parade. The parade is a very small town kind of affair, with people marching their dogs in red, white and blue costumes and the local fire engines driving by with the crew throwing candy to the kids. As we watched, someone remarked that Karl Rove was down the street watching the parade. Little did I know then the role Rove would play in the Wilsons' lives.

As we walked back from the parade, the war in Iraq came up in conversation. Joe said he wanted to show me something he had just written. When we returned home, he handed me the draft of an article he said was going to be published in Sunday's New York Times entitled, "What I Didn't Find in Africa." When I read it, I knew this was going to be news: the first real challenge to the administration's rationale for war.

That surprise was nothing compared with the shock I experienced 10 days later. On that sunny Monday morning, I was sitting outside at the table on my deck, having breakfast and reading The Washington Post. When I turned to the op-ed pages, I noticed a column by Novak entitled "Mission to Niger," addressing Joe's op-ed the previous week. I was stunned to read that "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction," citing two administration officials as sources.

Stricken reaction

As I finished reading the column, Joe ventured out onto his deck and offered a neighborly hello. I held up the paper and yelled over, "I had no idea about Valerie!" Joe looked stricken and gestured to me to keep my voice down. I immediately realized the "outing" of Valerie as a covert CIA operative had had a devastating effect on the Wilson family. In the weeks to follow, I came to understand just how harrowing the disclosure was. Obviously, the identification of Valerie meant an end to her decades-long career. It also meant the country had lost an essential part of the services provided by someone who was an expert on weapons of mass destruction.

Much more than that, it meant — along with the danger faced by Valerie's secret sources because of her exposure — the Wilson family was in danger. There is no shortage of crazies in the world who blame the CIA for their problems. What a tragedy that the Wilson kids cannot play in their yard without their parents having some degree of worry because of this episode.

So I was more than a little surprised that after Valerie was outed, the CIA did not (and never has) posted security at their house. Some neighbors are so jittery that they have called the police reporting people lurking in the bushes. One report produced a squad of police in our house as we arrived home, having entered through a back door inadvertently left unlocked.

Beyond the physical danger, Valerie's privacy is over. My quiet, demure and, as we all now know, secretive neighbor has every aspect of her life exposed and her name plastered on newspapers, magazines and TV literally thousands of times a day.

Two years following the Wilson op-ed and the Novak column, we know that Joe was right — there was no basis for the administration's claims regarding Iraq's nuclear plans. After Joe's op-ed appeared, White House officials admitted they were wrong to include the claim in the president's State of the Union. The White House has never retracted that retraction. We know that but for Joe's whistle-blowing, the administration would not have admitted that it was wrong to use the nuclear scare as a ground for war.

And we also now know that the only reason Valerie Wilson was mentioned was because, as Time magazine put it, the administration had declared "war on Wilson" for his whistle-blowing. The outing of Valerie seemed intended to send a not-so-subtle message to other potential critics, "Mess with us, and we'll mess with your family."

The purported justification for the "double super secret" leak by the White House was to allege that Valerie was responsible for Joe's trip. Even if true, and it is not true, the allegation makes no sense. There would have been nothing untoward about a CIA expert on WMD arranging an unpaid trip for her husband, an expert on Iraq and Niger, to examine whether there was an Iraq-Niger uranium connection.

The more important point is that the CIA has denied that Valerie was responsible for the trip, a fact Novak has acknowledged. As recently reported in The New York Times, Valerie wanted to set the record straight about how Joe's trip came about and her peripheral role in the arrangements, but the agency will not permit any public comment from her. What a shame that in addition to the personal harm she has suffered, Valerie cannot address the bum rap again being circulated by Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and his allies now doing the bidding for the no-comment-mode White House.

Though I am a lifelong native Washingtonian, the White House leak episode has been eye-opening. I have witnessed how an abstraction such as political payback has real personal consequences. Real people get hurt and are put in danger. I have seen up close from my window the profound personal effect a very public "outing" has had on the lovely woman next door.

Christopher Wolf is a partner at the law firm Proskauer Rose.