July 13, 2004

Truth and Consequences

Then last week in The New Republic, the unidentified former ambassador to Niger confirmed to authors Spencer Ackerman and John Judis that the CIA had in fact sent his report to the vice president’s office. “They knew the Niger story was a flat-out lie,” he [Joe Wilson] told the magazine.

--Josh Marshall, in an old piece from the Hill.

The Central Intelligence Agency should have told the Vice President and other senior policymakers that it had someone to Niger to look into the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal and should have briefed the Vice President on the former Ambassador's findings.

--Conclusion 14, p. 74 of the SSCI report.

You know, Josh Marshall is very much in moving the goal-posts mode these days.

He's lost the battle that Bush knowingly lied in the SOTU (the 16 words).

It turns out the Veep wasn't aware of Wilson's mission contemporaneously.

And Marshall was, pretty much, flat out lied to by Wilson about whether his wife put him up for the Niger mission or not.

Listen, like Dan Drezner, I think it's damn serious to out a covert agent. Heads, pending resolution of some legal issues, should likely roll for it.

But Wilson is getting pretty radioactive right now with his credibility in a tailspin.

And journalists like Marshall swallowed his lies with alacrity.

If Josh and his ilk are going to poke fun at the Judith Millers--shouldn't they come clean on similar issues related to swallowing a load of bull?

A belated mea culpa, of sorts?

Josh is now going heavy on the 'fruit of the poisonous tree' theme (the argument that the forgery taints all the Niger intel).

Relatedly, he's likely still looking into questions like: Who was that forgery-wielding Italian security consultant? Who did he consult for? etc etc?

But I'm pretty confident that the FOPT argument won't get Josh and ilk where they want to get on this story (more on that soon). So's Johnnie Red-tippling Hitchens, by the way.

And, remember, that is after some mega-goal-post-moving.

Call it defining gotcha-journalism down.

It ends with a whimper; not a bang.

Bottom line: Marshall (and Spence Ackerman) approvingly quoted Wilson to the effect that Cheney (or at least his office) knew the Niger/uranium story was a flat-out lie pre-SOTU.

But the SSCI report explicitly states that the Veep wasn't even briefed on Wilson's mission during that time-frame.

It's just that simple.

Unless someone is going to start arguing the bipartisan SSCI report itself is a cover-up.

...Calling Michael Moore...

Posted by Gregory Djerejian at July 13, 2004 11:21 PM
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