Monday, April 10, 2006
The story is now that the Bush administration wanted to refute Joe Wilson by leaking to Judy Miller that the National Intelligence Estimate supported the uranium-from-Niger claim
But this claim had already been discredited before the "leak" occurred.
Here is the timeline:
July 6, 2003 - The New York Times publishes Joe Wilson's Op-Ed "What I Didn't Find in Africa"
July 7 - The White House retracts the Niger allegation, which was its first admission of a flaw in the case for war
July 8 - Scooter Libby meets with New York Times reporter Judith Miller over a two-hour breakfast and supposedly leaks the NIE story
July 11 - George Tenet issues a statement taking the heat for the 16 words, that they should not have been included in the SOTU.
July 13 - Novak's column "Mission to Niger" published: Plame outed to public.
July 18 - A declassified version of the NIE is released. (Newsweek)
So the seeking-uranium-in-Niger story was already toast by the time Libby and Miller met.
Now, perhaps Cheney is so far around the bend that he thought the NIE could still be waved around like a magic wand to convince a doubting nation that war was justified after all.
But for stone-age white guys like Bush and Cheney and Rove and Libby -- and for Novak and Woodward too -- its much more likely that they would think the Plame revelation was a great, juicy smear.
A long-haired, limp-wristed liberal, whose brassy-blond spy wife gets rid of him by sending him on junkets -- wow, they would think, what a wimp...
So I think THIS is the leak Libby was told to spill.
It must have surprised them that Miller didn't care what Valerie Plame did for a living-- nor did Walter Pincus or Matthew Cooper. They were actually more concerned about the war, amazingly, and so none of them wrote a story about Plame.
But good ole boy Bob Novak went along with the pussywhipped spin, and so did Woodward.
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