Well, that's my best impression of Captain Kirk taunting his adversary in Wrath of Khan and it loses something in the translation. But it's ringing in my head after reading Russert Says He Didn't Tell Libby About CIA Officer by Carol Leonnig and Amy Goldstein:
Prosecutors spent three years investigating whether senior Bush administration officials deliberately revealed Plame's status to punish her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. The CIA had sent him to Africa in 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq had been trying to buy nuclear material there. Wilson found no evidence of the activity...
Wrong. For, by my count, the fifth time--and I'm not checking every day right now. Where's Kid's Post?
Once more with feeling, Susan Schmidt, July 10, 2004:
Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts.
Washington Post editorial, End of an Affair, Sept. 1, 2006:
Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials.
Hey guys, you should read the Post sometime, it's an interesting paper.
Of course, that's the problem:
- Howard Kurtz, July 12,2006: Novak triggered one of the capital's most tangled investigations with a July 2003 column reporting that Plame had suggested sending her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, to Niger to investigate whether Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was trying to obtain nuclear material from that country -- an unsupported claim that was included in President Bush's State of the Union speech.
- Eric Weiss and Charles Lane, July 14, 2006: Wilson had been sent by the CIA to investigate whether Iraq had sought nuclear weapons material from Niger. He reported that the charge could not be proved, but Bush nevertheless asserted in his 2003 State of the Union address that intelligence existed that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.
- Daniela Deane, July 15, 2006: Wilson said yesterday that he told the administration repeatedly that, after two missions to Niger to investigate, he had "found no evidence" that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was attempting to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger for nuclear weapons.
- Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press, Sept. 22, 2006 which ran on A5 in the Post: Among the documents Libby wants to use at trial, attorneys said Friday, are records related to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger. Wilson, Plame's husband, discounted reports that Saddam Hussein's regime had an agreement with the African country to buy uranium for a nuclear weapons program - a claim that Bush later included in his State of the Union address.
The latter is deceptive in a convoluted way. The main allegation that caused the firestorm was that Iraq had sought uranium--not that they signed an agreement. And you might be able to get away with "discounted" if you included the intelligence committee's report on Wilson's findings but added that Wilson, in the end, didn't think it added up. But of course neither Apuzzo nor any of the other reporters say that--they don't refer to the report at all. Bias be damned, this is just broken-down reporting.
Now all you young kids today don't care about the Senate Select Intelligence Committee in two-thousand-ought-four, it's all Libby Libby Libby which even I have to admit is the point of the Leonnig/Goldstein story. So let's go there:
Tim Russert, the Washington bureau chief for NBC News, yesterday swiftly and firmly rejected I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's assertion that the journalist revealed the identity of an undercover CIA officer to him during a telephone call in the summer of 2003.
Testifying as the final, and perhaps most critical, prosecution witness in the perjury trial of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, Russert recounted their conversation that July and how a "very agitated" Libby called to complain about MSNBC's "Hardball." Russert said that the subject of the CIA officer, Valerie Plame, never came up and that he could not have told Libby anything about her.
"That would be impossible," Russert said, "because I didn't know who that person was until several days later."
This is the main narrative of the story, and Russert indeed did say that at the trial. But he also said, and failed to say, some other things. As summarized by attorney Clarice Feldman over at The American Thinker:
In sum, [Libby attorney] Wells established that (a) the FBI report of his conversations (they say he had two, he only recalls one) made far closer in time to the event indicate he conceded that Ms. Wilson's name may have come up in their conversation though he earlier discounted that as "impossible" (b) In a heated matter involving the Buffalo News, his own memory was faulty. He'd made two angry calls to a critical reporter, denied that he had, and then, after checking his phone records, apologized, asserting he had no memory whatsoever of the calls, and (c) while making an impassioned plea for the right of reporters to protect the confidentiality of sources, he'd already twice discussed the Libby exchanges with the FBI and failed to disclose that to the Court or the public.
The Post's Leonnig and Goldstein spared you from these unneccessarily interesting developments.
Follow the Plamaniacs at Just One Minute (as Clarice and many others do) or choose your own flavor at the Media Bloggers Association for direct courtroom coverage if you want to know what's going on. Read the Post if you want to know what mainstream reporters want you to see. Which can also be useful.