Man Without Qualities

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Some Questions For The CIA

The Washington Times reports:

Joseph C. Wilson IV, the man accusing the White House of a vendetta against him and his wife ... wrote in an article in the far-left Nation magazine that was published before the Iraq war began, [that President Bush] is not interested in democracy in the Middle East but "this new American imperialism." "The new imperialists will not rest until governments that ape our world view are implanted throughout the region, a breathtakingly ambitious undertaking, smacking of hubris in the extreme."

Why was this man sent to Africa on his controversial mission? Who at the CIA accepted his wife's putative recommendation for the job?

UPDATE: Is this whole thing heading for a big "never mind?" It seems to be unlikely that Valerie Plame was a "covert" operative after all - as that concept is employed in what seems to be the relevant federal statute simply because she probably lived in the United States for the last five years.

Can't the CIA answer the question "Did Valerie Plame live in the United States for the last five years?" without compromising her or itself further? For that matter, can't her husband - who is running around making accusations against Karl Rove and others that require information he does not possess - answer this question on the basis information he does possess without endangering his wife or transgressing the law?

And if it turns out that Valerie Plame was not "covert," won't all the people calling for "independent" or "special" prosecutors look like charlatans or fools?

On the Justice Department side, investigators say they may greatly expand the scope of their investigation to include lots more people and departments. That move should help blunt calls for "special prosecutors" by making the Justice Department seem more diligent and aggressive, while simultaneoulsy blurring the focus on the White House - and therefore on the "retaliation against Wilson" aspect of the case.


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