KEEPING UP WITH THE WILSONS
Re: John Tabin’s Did Valerie Plame Lie?:
Regardless of whether Plame lied, or consciously left out “inconvenient” facts, Republicans will fail to act on or publicize them. Why? Because, they have no spine for any kind of political fight. They let their nominees twist in a political wind which they have no idea of the direction. We watch the painfully obvious from flyover country: Republicans stumbling all over themselves to “make right” with the media and Democrats using the U.S. Attorney firing to mask that; THEY HAVE NO AGENDA in Washington.
As we watch each arm of the executive become politically compromised by careerists that will undercut any elected officials they disagree with, we will see government get worse and less functional (if it can get any worse) until it Reagan’s memory is truly regarded as an “anomaly of history” by even the most objective historians, while the delighted inheritors of the Bob Michel-Bob Dole Republicans (without those noisy Tom DeLay types around) hope for a golf date with the Dems’ House or Senate Leader.
— P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
With Democrats in the majority in Congress, there is little chance Mrs. Wilson-Plame’s testimony will be pursued. An avenue of inquiry that could yield the true facts would be a civil suit by Libby or a public service law firm against the CIA Discovery might yield the names of those in the CIA, the Democrat Party and the media who helped Mr. and Mrs. Wilson advance their false claims and expose the fraudulent means used to accomplish their goal of painting President Bush as a liar.
— Howard Lohmuller
Of course she did, under oath — as did Mrs. Bill Clinton, Mr. Bill Clinton, Webster Hubbell, “Hamilton” Berger, and countless other Clinton luminaries, and yet only Libby is under looming sentence of prison. This will be Bush’s red badge of shame until he pardons Libby. Each day he hesitates confirms the lack of principle at the heart of his administration.
— J.R. Wheatley
Harper Woods, Michigan
Really, does it even matter any more? If she did, the Democrats and liberal wouldn’t pursue it. Their mouthpieces in the mainstream news media — wait, that means all the MSM — would ignore it. And the conservative press, such as TAS, would just get lambasted for being on a witch-hunt.
— C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
Question: Did Valerie Plame Lie? Answer: Who cares?!?!?
Whether or not Valerie Plame lied in her testimony last Friday is utterly irrelevant. She probably did, and she’ll probably get away with it.
Why? Simple, Because the leaders in the Republican Party (if we can call them “leaders”), including the White House, will do nothing to make her pay for her lies, the lies told by her husband, “007” Joe Wilson, and the lies told by the Democrat Party during this entire fiasco.
But this is really nothing new. The Democrats learned a valuable lesson during the Clinton Impeachment, that lesson being that the Republican Party does not have the intestinal fortitude to play hardball with them on any issue. In addition, the Republicans are terrified of the mainstream media’s ability to make them look bad to readers of the New York Times.
So Plame, like Clinton, and Sandy Berger, will go free. In fact, she’ll probably be anointed a new Hero of the Left for her lies, like Daniel Ellsberg before her. Meanwhile, Scooter Libby will go to jail, Al Gonzales will be forced to resign, and the President will be forced to answer for rats at Walter Reed Hospital.
So I don’t care whether Valerie Plame lied. I can’t. I simply have no energy left to invest in either this President, or this Party. They have proven repeatedly that they are unworthy of the loyalty of the millions of Americans who sent them to Washington in the first place.
The years between 2008 and 2012 are going to be very difficult.
— Gavin Valle
Peapck, New Jersey
Miss Valerie Plame’s conflicting testimonies about how her husband was recommended for the Niger work for the CIA raises the question: Is there a policy regarding nepotism at the CIA? If there is, did Miss Plame violate the policy? Was nepotism investigated? If she violated the policy was she punished for any misdeeds? Has an investigator (read congressman), asked the CIA about this?
I find it interesting that Miss Plame denied nepotism in the incident. I don’t recall reading the word nepotism in any articles about this topic. She apparently is sensitive to the issue. She should be, she shares in the treasure her husband reaps from his efforts: the pay for the trip, the subsequent payments for op-eds, books, movie rights.
I trust the CIA will be happy to tell us why they did or did not investigate for nepotism. If there was no investigation, why not? Who made that decision? The appearance of impropriety is rampant in this case. Now, the reputation and integrity of the Agency is impugned because the spouse of an employee has political and financial interests misaligned with those of the Agency.
Also, have I seen the official CIA pronouncement that Miss Plame was not a “covert agent” covered by the law written to protect agents and their networks?
Methinks the maiden doth protest too much. She is trying to cover her nepotism and in the aftermath enrich herself.
Did Plame Lie? I believe she did, and I also believe she will get away with it. She would never have appeared before Waxman’s committee if there was the slightest chance that she would be prosecuted for perjury. Her “oath” to tell the truth was a sham. Had the Republicans been in control of Congress, she would have appeared only under subpoena, and then would have taken the Fifth Amendment.
Elections have consequences, as we now see clearly.
— Bill Storey
Rancho Murieta, California
The justice demanded by Mr. Tabin in this Orwellian horror show known as the Plame investigation will never come to pass. The Bush Administration and particularly the Justice Department are incapable of such actions because they have neither the will nor the desire to fight back. For reasons completely inexplicable to many of us, Mr. Bush long ago abandoned the battle field and ceded his moral high ground to the Democrats who, under the direction of Rep. Waxman on Friday, gave one of the most memorable performances of Orwell’s Animal Farm seen in Washington to date.
Having dispatched the Republicans in November, as Orwell’s pigs did to the human population, the Democrats, with Waxman in the starring role of head pig Napoleon, put on a show trial that even Joe Stalin would have envied. The normal rules of inquiry were mysteriously fixed from the get go; with questions carefully crafted and areas of inquiry completely off limits.
Whether Ms. Plame was “covert” at the time of her “outing” by Richard Armitage, not Messrs. Cheney, Rove or Libby (a point of no consequence to the Committee) was never established. The fact that Mr. Fitzgerald, after some 2 and a half years, could not produce an indictment for this crime, was of no concern to Waxman. A simple inquiry and her subpoenaed personnel records would have easily put the matter to rest. But of course, that was never the point of this farce. Rather, it was to allow Ms. Plame and others to carelessly throw out the word covert, without proof or justification.
The high drama of this perverse morality play came when Attorney Victoria Toensing, author of the federal statute dealing with the protection of identities of covert agents, Title 50 sec. 421, attempted to drop the curtain on Waxman and his merry band of henchmen. Of course, Waxman would have none of it, as he consistently badgered and interrupted Ms. Toensing.
And yet, Mr. Tabin, hopes that Ms. Plame will share Libby’s fate. If anyone is to share Mr. Libby’s fate, it just might be Mr. Bush. There’s a lesson to be learned here by Mr. Bush; failure to shut to door on these amoral Democrats will only lead to more of this perversion, with both Messrs. Bush and Gonzales being dispatched back to Texas, Orwellian style.
— A. DiPentima
I just wanted to respond a little to John Tabin’s article about Valerie Plame. Please understand that I am not a Republican and so my views may, and often would, differ greatly from many things The American Spectator may publish and believe. There are a lot of political opinion pieces that are written on both sides.
Certainly as relating to Valerie Plame, Mr. Tabin’s quotations of her sworn testimony seem to be quite correct. And I did read his piece carefully. He puts a good deal of “spin” on things, but don’t we all. His analysis of the Libby verdict is quite flawed I believe, but again political views may again impact on much of what we see and read.
The only place we should be able to come together, even in the extremes of political debate, should be when facts are clearly available which both sides should be able to agree upon.
For instance, there should be no question that George W. Bush is President of the United States and has been for quite a while now. There is no question that Libby has been convicted on four counts after a long trial and a lengthy jury deliberation.
There is no question that Valerie Plame’s name was revealed and that it did destroy her usefulness in doing undercover work for the CIA overseas. Her career and training with the CIA covered approximately two decades. I’m not even sure you could you could argue over the fact that the exposure of her position at the CIA was based solely on political issues relating to responding to her husband’s Niger piece in the Times accusing the White House of twisting information supporting the grave danger of Iraq gaining nuclear weapons.
Perhaps you might find some argument to the above, but I don’t think so. All I’m trying to say is that public discourse is best served when whatever opinions are stated (Republican or Democrat) at least have their facts straight. Of course, sometimes facts can be hard to come by and sometimes they can be distorted.
Still let me take one of Mr. Tabin’s observations — “given that Fitzgerald found no evidence that the leak of Plame’s name was a crime” — his opinion was even supported by sworn testimony in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from lawyer Victoria Toensing as well as testifying that Plame did not qualify as a covert agent under the law.
Let me respond with a few facts relating to above paragraph. If I may, I’m going to include a message I sent to Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post) as how such statements should be answered with the facts of the case.
If I’m somehow mistaken in what I provided as “facts” please do let me know. I’m always ready to be corrected. If, on the other hand, your own fact checking confirms the truth of what I’ve included, I think in fairness to your readers and to a proper debate, you should pass this information on to all who write for you and may sometimes be confused by a variety of conflicting statements.
Here is what I wrote:
It’s been a while since my last note to you. I was listening to “Left, Right and Center” which I always catch if I can. The never-ending issue of Valerie Plame’s covert status once again came up, which by now obviously isn’t really a question without an answer. Still Tony Blankley brought up the argument that the charges in the Libby trial were not based on the crime of “outing” a covert agent, because it appears the wording of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 states that a “covert agent” must have been on an overseas assignment “within the last five years” to make such an “outing” a crime.
Unless I am mistaken and missed it somewhere, Patrick Fitzgerald has never said that she wasn’t covered under the Espionage Act. The CIA, The Justice Department and at least two judges have moved this case ahead and at no time was any red flag put up based on her outing being a non-crime.
I’ve just done a search and let me quote from Media Matters if you’ll allow me: “… the claim made by numerous conservative media figures that the Libby indictment established that no ‘underlying crime’ was committed is baseless. Fitzgerald’s October 28 press release summarizing Libby’s indictment explained that the grand jury’s attempts to fully investigate the Plame leak ‘were obstructed when Mr. Libby lied about how and when he learned and subsequently disclosed classified information about Valerie Wilson.’ Moreover, in an October 28 press conference, when asked by a reporter, ‘Is this another leak investigation that doesn’t lead to a charge of leaking?’
“Fitzgerald responded using a baseball metaphor: ‘And what we have when someone charges obstruction of justice, the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes. He’s trying to figure what happened, and somebody blocked their view. As you sit here now, if you’re asking me what his motives were, I can’t tell you; we haven’t charged it. So what you were saying is the harm in an obstruction investigation is it prevents us from making the fine judgments we want to make.’ Fitzgerald never stated, or even suggested, that the leak itself was not a criminal act.”
Also unless I’m very much mistaken, there is information out (possibly from Plame herself) that there was a mission overseas within five years. Again with a search I find this confirmation (from Newsweek quoted by the National Review): “But special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done ‘covert work overseas’ on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA ‘was making specific efforts to conceal’ her identity, according to newly released portions of a judge’s opinion.”
I know you’re going to be a lot of places talking to all sorts of important people and I just wanted to make sure you can throw these facts (which they seem to be) into the pot or their faces, as the case may be. Perhaps even more important than answering those incorrect statements being made is perhaps this question…
If we are saying there is no crime, does that mean anyone has permission to give out a covert agent’s name if they happened to learn it and it didn’t qualify under the strict rules of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act? What if, because of this action, five of the agent’s assets they have been linked to are killed by our enemies in foreign countries? Is there still no crime?
Okay, perhaps no one is killed and instead the outing only results in the arrest, questioning and torture of ten possible assets the covert agent was associated with overseas. Actually four of those picked up aren’t assets, but only good friends of the agent. Two of the others unfortunately are forced to talk and perhaps five years of undercover work to develop key sources to learn secret information about WMD development in countries potentially dangerous to America is destroyed.
Do we still laugh that off and say no crime has been committed. Isn’t the fact that someone is being protected by the CIA as a covert agent in itself highly classified information whatever the time frame? I suspect there are many laws about giving out classified information without authorization that must come into play here. If not, the whole game of classified information is wacky, which of course, in some respects it already is.
Best wishes for your continued success,
And best wishes to you and your magazine and the hope we can all continue a healthy political debate based on fact, not fiction. And that’s a problem both sides need to watch out for.
— Barry Downes
John Tabin replies:
Mr. Downes’s assertion that “issue of Valerie Plame’s covert status…by now obviously isn’t really a question without an answer” is incorrect. Ms. Plame Wilson herself, according to her testimony last week, still isn’t sure whether she was legally covert. That this hasn’t been settled is one of the many peculiarities of this drama.
WAR OF THE WORDS
Re: Laurie Mylroie’s What Is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Saying?:
Ms. Mylroie is persuasive. Readers familiar with her books and able to appreciate the breadth and profundity of her knowledge of the Islamic world know well the meticulous, detailed evidence supporting her view of the nature of our enemy. Odd, isn’t it, that she’s got to adduce such a torrent of argument to persuade us of a simpler, more parsimonious account than the one we’ve bought into willy-nilly.
That would be the Vast Islamic Wing Conspiracy theory, the one requiring us to believe in all sorts of entities and, well, djinns that have never before existed. The conception of the enemy we cling to, refusing to revoke our suspension of disbelief.
The conventional view of Al Qaeda is endothermic. Very much so. We’re burning a lot of fuel propping that view up with all sorts of Rube Goldberg conceptual devices. I’m surprised the Greens haven’t condemned it as a contributor to climate change. Why don’t we all just relax, chill, and keep it simple? Laurie Mylroie is asking us to remember that there’s nothing new under the sun. She’s got parsimony on her side.
— Paul Kotik
Ms. Mylroie’s article “What is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Saying” contains the comment by a senior Iraqi politician that “there is no lack of suicide bombers there — they are all stacked up and ready to go.”
This is true not only of Iraq, but of other locations around the world. And there is no political action, no military force, no expansion of democracy that will change that fact. The only hope the Western world has to confront and possibly relieve the reality of this malevolence is to expose the very basis of the Qur’an as a deception. It is exactly because the Qur’an cannot withstand genuine scrutiny that Islamic clerics, whose power derives from the Qur’an, mount such a loud and even violent effort to prevent anywhere near the challenge that the Christian Bible has endured — literally — for millennia.
I realize that this is a very bold prescription. I realize that such exposure could create great unrest among the arguably 1.4 billion Muslims throughout the world. But I also believe that a failure to expose the lie that death “fighting in Allah’s cause” opens the door to paradise (as defined by the Qur’an) for those so “martyred” will allow the deception to continue — if not to flourish — and thus to continue to threaten Western civilization until dar al-Harb is finally subdued and all the world is dar al-Islam. The truth is powerful and the truth sets men free, but men will remain in bondage to the lie without courageous action to bring them the truth.
— Dave Smith
THE GOVERNMENT WE DESERVE
Re: W. James Antle III’s Peanuts for the Troops?:
If we who vote are dumb enough to fall for Congress’ tactic of smearing political pork fat on budget requests, hoping the aroma will mask the stench of congressional cowardice and politicization of the deaths and injuries of our troops, then we deserve such incompetent governance.
— C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
BAN THE BAGGAGE
Re: Paul Chesser’s The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Closet:
One thing which never seems to come up in these rants about the “rights” of homosexuals to serve in the military is what it is like to actually have to work for, with, and to supervise them.
I had all three happen to me over 21 years of active duty, and with one glaring exception in Vietnam I have to say it was not their homosexual activity which caused problems; it was all of the other emotional baggage they brought with them which caused problems.
Consider trying to supervise women who are either “man haters” — ones who resent men and refuse to take orders from them — or the “bull dyke” macho types who have to out-masculine the men around them. It is not easy to deal with them if they “have not told” as you cannot make any sort of accusations, even when their fellow troops know who they are and what they are. (I had one bisexual woman as well, but after a weekend where she reportedly took on three British NCOs she decided “straight” was more fun.)
Men brought other problems. Giving a linguist an order to carry out a common but noisome task like breaking down a split-rim wheel to change tire and being met with a flood of tears is something most NCO schools don’t prepare you for. Or, a sergeant major who thinks motorcycles are scary and does everything he can (illegally) to punish riders.
Yes, linguists tend to have a higher percentage of homosexuals than other career fields. An old USAF joke used to go “What’s a 406? Two 203s in a dark room.” (AFSC 203 used to be the code for linguist 35 years ago.) We were generally saddled with the epithet “Monterey Marys” (the Presidio of Monterey is home to the Defense Language Institute) for that reason, and even if not a homosexual many DLI grad were prima donnas…
By and large, however, the military runs better without them.
— Cookie Sewell
Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Maryland
THERE THEY GO AGAIN
Re: The Washington Prowler’s Fred Thompson item in The Clinton Portfolio:
Fred Thompson for President is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of except the election of Ronald Reagan.
Re: Thomas Bateman’s letter (under “Inside the Class War”) in Reader Mail’s The Clinton Portfolio:
Oh if we could just get some politicians that had the thinking of Mr. Thom Bateman, we would really be better off. He is so right, the more you hand out to the poor, without asking something in return, the more hands are
out. And the “education” system we have stinks.
— Elaine Kyle