There have been attempts this week, allegedly by Bush administration officials, to undermine the status of Joseph Wilson, the former ambassador who was sent to Niger by the CIA to check up on the claims. He went public with his findings and has since been the subject of leaks by the administration.Very, very evasive... not saying what the leaks were about nor why they're important. Odd that they'd be so circumspect when the Canadian syndicate ran the story straight:
Efforts by White House officials to intimidate those who questioned intelligence used to justify invading Iraq could be illegal and must be investigated, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said Tuesday.That's much more forthright, although they're still couching it in partisan terms and highlighting "whether" things had gone this way... as if it weren't utterly obvious what had actually happened.
Durbin demanded a Senate committee find out whether the U.S. administration illegally revealed the wife of former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Joseph Wilson works as a CIA operative. Wilson, who disputed claims Iraq was trying to buy nuclear material from Africa, said angry officials made public his wife's name and occupation.
The most important issue for me right now is whether or not this story gets traction in the U.S. media. If anything is to be done about this crime (if indeed a crime has been committed, although it seems very likely at this point), it will have to be supported by the U.S. media, because it seems extraordinarily unlikely that Democrats like Mr. Durbin will be able to break through Republican stonewalling without the prospect of a big nasty media stink to help move things along. Krugman's column helped, as has this international coverage, but this is fundamentally a domestic matter and as such must be ultimately brought to light by the domestic media.
By the way, listen to McClellan's denial:
White House spokesman Scott McClellan denied the assertion about Wilson and his wife.Notice how weaselly this is- it never denies that it's possible that it happened, only that it "is not the way this president operates" and that "he's seen no evidence". Perhaps Scott wants to make sure that it isn't his ass nailed to the wall if this thing gets pursued? Perhaps he simply doesn't know Bush well enough? Whatever the case is, this is a surprisingly weak denial. Maybe they're hoping it'll go away.
"That is not the way that this president or this White House operates and I've seen no evidence to suggest there's any truth to it."
A suggestion to the good Senator from Illinois- don't let that happen.