Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Gene Lyons' smart take on the WMD cover-up mentality driving the Plamegate scandal.NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source Although some Times' editors have referred to Miller's initial refusal testify about her sources as a "whistleblower case," Lyons points out:

It wasn’t a whistleblower case at all. It was the exact opposite : the most powerful people in the United States using the press to damage a whistleblower by endangering his wife, something even the Mob won’t do. Indeed, it’s intriguing to speculate that Wilson, outspoken critic of pre-war propaganda about Iraq’s nuclear weapons programs, wasn’t the leak’s main target. White House apparatchiks may have been more leery of Plame, a specialist in nuclear proliferation, and her CIA colleagues.

Here’s why : In a Times interview, “Little Miss Run Amok,” as Miller dubbed herself due to her ability to avoid editorial supervision on her way to fame and glory, admitted what the Times called “serious flaws in her articles on Iraqi weapons.” “ WMD—I got it totally wrong, ” she said. “The analysts, the experts and the journalists who covered them—we were all wrong. If your sources are wrong, you are wrong. I did the best job that I could.”

But that’s simply not so.

“Infighting among U. S.

intelligence agencies fuels dispute over Iraq” was the headline of an October 2002 article by Knight Ridder’s Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay. The article detailed a “bitter feud over secret intelligence” between the CIA and Bush administration appointees at the Pentagon. “The dispute,” they wrote, “pits hardliners long distrustful of the U. S. intelligence community against professional military and intelligence officers who fear the hawks are shaping intelligence analyses to support their case for invading Iraq.” In an earlier article co-written with John Walcott, the authors quoted an unidentified official who said that “analysts at the working level in the intelligence community are feeling very strong pressure from the Pentagon to cook the intelligence books.” Nobody else they interviewed disagreed.

Maybe that’s the story Scooter Lewis and the country-club toughs in the White House really feared. What’s more, it was always there to be written, but not by Washington courtier-journalists who pride themselves more on the quality of their dinner party invitations and TV appearances than their professional integrity and skepticism. Do I believe that Miller can’t remember who told her “Valerie Flame’s” name ? A child wouldn’t believe it. The more clever of my two basset hounds would be suspicious. The real shame is that, absent an aggressive prosecutor, none of this would have become known.

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