Saturday, July 7, 2007

Plame scandal

I'll do a little follow up post to my July 4 "Plame scandal" post sometime soon, incorporating a few comments I wrote on the Washington Monthly blog recently. Then, maybe sometime after that (in a few days or so) I'll rehash both the posts together so they're very clear and concise and I've made sure of thought of everything.

Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann and 60 Minutes should both be looking into getting him a place on the show when his contract runs up. They're a really good place for a guy like him- either he can be groomed to be a journalist by the old ones there before they all retire (it's got to be coming soon) or he can be an Andy Rooney there (seems they'd have to give him a little more space than Rooney gets, though, since he already gets to be in front of the camera so much on his show, and do his own "editorials" already. But then, probably a lot more people watch 60 Minutes...) The real heroes on 60 Minutes are getting old, and that's just a fact of life, and they need someone they can count on to fill their shoes before it's time to pass the torch. I never watched the show that much, but it's nonetheless a really great American institution and it would be sad to see it fade away or turn into something else.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Plame scandal

I wrote some comments on the Plame scandal last night. Here they are, in slightly-edited form. A commenter on the Carpetbagger Report wrote:

And while I do not condone renegade actions by our own CIA, I would be highly intrigued if a member of our intelligence community would drop off some files of dirt about Scooter and his cohorts to a credible reporter like Sy Hersch to show that the CIA doesn’t approve of politicians f*cking with the secret covers of its operatives.

And I responded:

How do we know the CIA wasn’t cool with the Plame leak? How do we know they didn’t consider blowing Plame’s cover a good way to get at Wilson, and an acceptable sacrifice to advance Bush’s agenda in the context of whatever she was doing operationally? For all we know, Plame was even complicit in it, and for all we know, Plame isn’t even really a liberal (if that’s what she holds herself out as). Whatever really went on in this case, there’s a lot more to it- a bunch of cloak-and-dagger stuff- than just Bush, whose dad was a CIA agent, taking revenge on Wilson by outing Wilson's wife through White House minions and foolish journalists. Bush and Cheney have a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with the CIA, they’re not going to just say ‘Fuck you’ to the CIA lightly. I think that was something in this case that was totally missed by the media and public, but that's perhaps to be expected-- it’s natural for people not to want to speculate about the doings of the CIA at length in these times, since they’re involved in national security. Also, perhaps it's natural in such times to want to believe the fantasy, that the CIA are a bunch of super-heroes who are out to save us- rather than that sometimes the people you are counting on to protect you are victimizing you, too.

Also, if Cheney and Bush (a couple of assholes) want to use the CIA (also possibly a bunch of assholes) to do things the CIA is not supposed to do and that would really revolt people, then the whole scandal serves the purpose of making it look like Bush and the CIA are at odds, so that people won’t be too alarmed at the risks of an autocrat that historically come with an executive who assumes a lot of power. However, this explanation seems a little too far-flung and Machiavellian to me- 1) first of all, it seems too clever for Bush and his type, and 2) it flies in the face of the facts we know about the case- it seems like the details of this thing (that is, that the White House at the highest level of command was behind it) is something that was really sought to be kept in the dark. But it’s just a possibility. At least, if the CIA is going to engage in things they shouldn't do- whether or not Bush orders it- and if Bush is their favorite politicians because he's wielding the power of the President, and he's a conservative, neocon yes-man, then they wouldn't want people to connect Bush with them if it ever happened to come to light what they were doing- they wouldn't want the public to see the Republican President as running a Gestapo. But as regards the chance that the Plame scandal specifically was used up to achieve these ends- to me it’s a more likely explanation that Bush (or Rove) just wanted to show a bunch of people that a lot of dirty tricks could still happen to you if you were going to try to criticize the White House / conservative war policy- they tried to nip the criticism in the bud- but, attacking people comes with the risks of attacking people. How to attack people (and thereby terrorize their peers against opposing you) but not risk drawing harm to yourself? Create a fake attack on one of them. The CIA says, ‘You could out one of our guys that’s married to a critic of yours, it’s perfect.’ And either more or less people are actually in on it. If less people are in on it, maybe they don’t really care so much because they figure she’s a woman and therefore not a ‘real’ CIA agent, and plus she’s married to a liberal. If more people are in on it, then maybe Plame herself doesn’t even care about what happened.