Christopher Hitchens has written some incredible pieces on the Plame story, and his latest is no exception. Some readers are tired of hearing about it, but I think it is important that the record be set straight.
I had a feeling that I might slightly regret the title (“Case Closed”) of my July 25 column on the Niger uranium story. I have now presented thousands of words of evidence and argument to the effect that, yes, the Saddam Hussein regime did send an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat to Niger in early 1999. And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention. But there was always another layer to the Joseph Wilson fantasy. Easy enough as it was to prove that he had completely missed the West African evidence that was staring him in the face, there remained the charge that his nonreport on a real threat had led to a government-sponsored vendetta against him and his wife, Valerie Plame.
In his July 12 column in the Washington Post, Robert Novak had already partly exposed this paranoid myth by stating plainly that nobody had leaked anything, or outed anyone, to him. On the contrary, it was he who approached sources within the administration and the CIA and not the other way around. But now we have the final word on who did disclose the name and occupation of Valerie Plame, and it turns out to be someone whose opposition to the Bush policy in Iraq has–like Robert Novak’s–long been a byword in Washington. It is particularly satisfying that this admission comes from two of the journalists–Michael Isikoff and David Corn–who did the most to get the story wrong in the first place and the most to keep it going long beyond the span of its natural life.The Democrats spent years pounding the President and those in his administration over the supposed intentional outing of a covert agent. It was stated as settled fact by almost every network journalist who reported the story that Joe Wilson proved the President lied in his 16 words in the State of the Union about Saddam seeking uranium from Africa. It was also stated as fact that Valerie Plame was a covert agent whose life was endangered as a result of her outing and that the outing was intentional and done by the administration as an act of revenge against Joe Wilson who dared to expose the President’s lie. All of that was wrong, and it was disputed by statements from Novak at the time, but it was swallowed hook, line and sinker by a media desperate to destroy the Bush presidency.
If the media payed anywhere close to as much attention to recent revelations that have shown Joe Wilson and others to have been lying (or at the very least, guilty of malicious disregard for the truth) then Democrats who capitalized on those accusations would be paying dearly for it now. Of course, if journalists covered recent revelations as prominently as they played the original story, there would be some journalists paying with their credibility for the misinformation they passed on to their audiences.
Update: Sister Toldjah has some lying Wilson video and asks the question I thought I had asked in my post, but see that I left out, which is how do you think Wilson/Plame’s book deal will be affected by this.
Forget the book, will this kill the movie deal? I guess they could always keep the script the same and just cast Jon Lovitz as Wilson. Yeah, that’s the ticket. They could even cast his wife, Morgan Fairchild, as Valerie Plame.
Update II: The Wall Street Journal says the Armitage revelation shows the “internal dysfunction of the Bush Administration and the lack of loyalty among some of its most senior officials” and wonders why the President has allowed such insubordination to his policies.