Wednesday, October 19, 2005

News or editorial?

Via James Taranto (link not yet available) comes this AP story on the CNN website:
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a tactic of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the president's Iraq war policies.

If top officials are indicted, it could seriously erode the administration's credibility and prove yet another embarrassment to Bush on the larger issue of how he and his national security team marshaled information -- much of it later shown to be inaccurate -- to support their case for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

More than just their two lead paragraphs, the experts quoted have also made up their minds:
"The grand jury investigation has the possibility of really shining a light on the credibility of the administration, how officials tried to undermine those who were criticizing them and how they then covered up that attempt," American University political scientist James Thurber said.

"The question of whether the vice president was involved, we'll probably never know. But it was pretty close to him," said Thurber. He questioned whether Rove and Libby would have operated "on their own" in discussing Wilson's wife with reporters.
Sounds like to Thurber the question is not whether a crime has occured, but how the crime occured. Say, when did all this Wilson stuff start anyway?
It came at a particularly difficult time for the president and his aides. The war clearly was not going well, despite Bush's "mission accomplished" speech two months earlier. And Bush was already reeling from criticism over mentioning the African yellowcake connection -- which turned out to be based on faulty British intelligence -- in his State of the Union address.
(My bold.) Again, recall this is a news story, not an editorial. Also, my recollection is that the Brits stood by their intelligence. I'll have to dig around to see if I missed something.

Who else did the AP talk to?
"This is an administration that was trying to play hardball at every level," said Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy scholar at the Brookings Institution. "And that's what they were doing with Wilson. And he of course was playing hardball, too. It was an ugly back and forth."
Well, as long as there is somebody to speak for the administration's side!

That is all for now.


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