1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting story from RICHARD W. STEVENSON and DOUGLAS JEHL just appeared on the Times site. Gist is it’s the war, stupid (Leak Case Renews Questions on War’s Rationale). (See preceding post for Wilkerson discussion and links).

    Mr. Wilkerson complained of a â€cabal†between Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that bypassed normal decision-making channels when it came to Iraq and other national security issues. He described â€real dysfunctionality†in the administration’s foreign policy team and said that Mr. Powell’s aides had thrown out â€whole reams of paper†from the intelligence dossier developed by Mr. Cheney’s staff for use in Mr. Powell’s presentation of the case against Iraq to the United Nations in early 2003.

    You’ll see some familiar names. Bolton, Fleitz, Hannah, and of course Libby and cheney.

  2. Anonymous says:

    as to Hoagland,

    No one should advocate the reckless or malicious disclosure of the names of CIA agents or other properly classified, sensitive information. But Fitzgerald has wielded his prosecutorial discretion like a bludgeon, with scant regard for the need for a balance of official candor and journalistic responsibility that serves the public good.

    Like his colleague Richard Cohen, the wise Hoagland knows what Fitz is going to do, and has already decided it’s wrong. Hoagland seems to have as much respect for current facts as he did when profiling Chalabi. Which is to say, none. But he’s right about one thing. After this there will be a reckoning of how the press covers the WH. And about time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Missed you emptywheel.

    Swopa was all over Murray Waas’ most recent article that confirms that you and Jane got it right with your Fitzmas â€mousetrap†theory.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I read that Hoagland article on Thursday, and I think it might be the single worst article written by one of the press mandarins on the Plame investigation. Hoagland is a ponderous fool, his stentorian banalities covering the foreign affairs world while his equally ponderous and equally foolish partner David Broder handles domestic affairs. But Hoagland really outdid himself in this column, with bullshit like this:

    Like the subplots and intrigues that divided post-World War I Berlin into hostile camps that reflexively rubbished any political idea, artistic creation or strategic proposal coming from another camp — historian Walter Laqueur’s â€Weimar 1918-1933†describes that collective and destructive pigheadedness brilliantly — the Fitzgerald investigation will be more important for its effect than for its cause.

    This scandal’s greatest importance lies, Weimar-like, in its ability to distract the public’s attention, energy and commitment from more important questions. In this regard, Fitzgerald’s investigation also resembles in spirit and effect the efforts to impeach Bill Clinton over his affair with a former intern.

    Fitzgerald’s most lasting legacy in this case will not be as a prosecutor. It will be as a censor. He has built his case around the discussion of possibly classified information — Plame’s name — by government officials with journalists. He is sending a message — one that President Bush fully endorses, even as it creates severe complications for him — about the dangers of talking to journalists about national security matters.

    I could write all day on the idiocy of those paragraphs; the complete failure to acknowledge that people’s lives were put in danger, that it compromised our national security, that it wasn’t about acts motivated or related directly related to national security, but to partisan political reprisals, that it was part of a disinformation campaign to lead the country into war, that it’s irrelevant to his comparison to Wiemar culture, that he hasn’t a fucking clue about Weimar culture, that Fitzgerald’s investigation isn’t about art or culture, and that it’s unlikely to create or reflect partisan divides, but more likely to bring a strong reaction against the administration by many people who voted for it. And as Kagro has been predicting, he equated Starr’s investigation with Fitzgerald’s, which by implication means he thought the Starr investigation was wrong (but only in retrospect, because it was OK when it was directed against Clinton).

    As someone who knows a little bit about Weimar culture, society and politics, it was the Wiemar comparison that made my blood boil. By the end of the Wiemar era, there was almost no significant political middle. The liberal, center and traditional conservative parties (but for the Catholic Center party) were almost completely irrelevant, and the country was split between a far left (the Communists were ascendent, taking votes and support from the Socialists) and the far right coalition, which after 1932 included the Nazis. By 1932, not only was Germany divided culturally–which seems to be Hoagland’s entire basis for comparison–there was very little support for the continuation of democracy. A sizeable chunk of the country vocally (and often violently) supported either a rightwing dictatorship or a communist state.

    Comparing American democracy in its 22nd decade to German democracy in its first is ludicrous, and shows Hoagland to be an idiot. By the end of Wiemar there was almost no political middle. In the US, the vast majority of the population is in the middle, but the GOP has been pulled far to the right, forcing them to conceal their true intentions in servicing their base and neccisitating symbolic nostrums (like compassionate conservativism) and actually delivering some goods (like not cutting entitlement spending or pork and passing the Medicare drug plan) which pisses off the right. And tools like Hoagland help paper over the policies, actions and intentions of the rightwing Republicans, who so often act in contradiction of the wishes of the American people.

    Hoagland is an idiot, and I suppose somebody finds him a useful one.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good to be missed, John.

    I have to saw the mousetrap theory was one of my theories in which I have had the most confidence. Having read Judy’s war reporting, there was no way she was on the up and up. Still isn’t, in fact. I suspect Fitz has one or two surprises in store for her.

  6. Anonymous says:


    Your comments about Weimar are right on (I had some similar thoughts myself, but you argue the case much better than I did in my head). But I wonder whether Hoagland wasn’t instead invoking Weimar because he has a real fondness for Nazi metaphors. He used it in at least one of his previous articles I cited. And he has used it before. This time, it’s the neat â€impending Nazism†scare, rather than the claim we’re fascists now. Doesn’t excuse it, mind you. Or excuse the historical sloppiness. But it seems to be a conceit for him.

  7. Anonymous says:

    David Corn refers to this:

    TRUSTING LIBBY. Thanks to Michael Isikoff for the shout-out. On HuffingtonPost.com, he writes,

    Forget the aspens turning in clusters–or, for at least the next couple of days, the prospect of indictments. (Nothing, it now seems, until next week.) The real story of last weekend’s Judy Miller revelations is not what Scooter Libby may have told her about Joe Wilson’s wife. It is how Libby clearly, and unequivocally, misrepresented the contents of the classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) about Iraqi WMD. Save for the estimable David Corn of the Nation, nobody has picked up on this. But it’s huge. At a time when questions about the Bush administration’s case for war were beginning to mount, Libby assured Miller: Don’t worry, there’s still secret stuff out there that will prove we were right all along. As a Washington reporter who frequently writes about intelligence matters, I can assure you, this is the way it always works: â€Trust me,†the high level government official will tell you, â€if you knew what I knew–if you could read the top secret reports I’ve read–you’d know why we’re doing this.†Only in this case, we know what Libby told Miller at their two hour breakfast at the Ritz Carleton Hotel on July 8, 2003, wasn’t true.

    For Isikoff’s full examination of how Libby tried to mislead Miller (who seems to have been rather willing to be misled) about the prewar intelligence, see his â€Terror Watch†column (written with Mark Hosenball) here.

    With or without indictments, there’s reverberations. Hoagland and Cohen be damned. The rest of the media is writing about the manipulation of journalists, and life will not be quite the same again.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I used to like Hoagland’s columns, before the war made clear what a poser, and what a tool, he really is. At least he was an opinion columnist all along, so it’s not quite the same as with Miller. He did, however, have a certain amount of general credibility, which enabled him to do some of the same kinds of harm.

    I don’t really think, though, that he was pushing the INC mainly as a team player for Cheney and Rumsfeld. That’s because I think he distinguished himself even among the neocons for his loyalty to Chalabi after the falling-out. I don’t know if you were going to bring this up anyway, but check out his column from 5/21/04. He actually accuses the administration of trying to encourage Chalabi’s assassination. Of course, it’s all the CIA’s fault for turning everyone against him. But Hoagland also explicitly blames Cheney for being â€either powerless or not disposed to help him now.â€

    For Hoagland, at least, I think the friendship that goes back to 1972 in Beirut, or whatever, takes precedence even over whatever tasks his administration contacts may have been assigning him. Then again, I guess other people seemed to feel strongly about Chalabi too based on friendship. There needs to be a book written about how that man managed to do what he did.

    (What it reminds me of, actually — one last thing — is Ngo Dinh Diem, the ascetic non-Communist nationalist brought in from his exile in New Jersey, and how he had right-wing American Catholics wrapped around his finger for some years. We Americans seem to have a fatal willingness to let ourselves be suckered by exiled players.)

  9. Anonymous says:


    Good points, all around. Yes, I agree, Hoagland is actually shilling for Chalabi first and DOD second. Although the way that impacted the fight between DOD and State is negligible–Chalabi was following the DOD script so closely that Hoagland basically did too.

    And yeah, we do fall for the exiled leader. The Neocons really played on that too, in portraits of Chalabi as a freedom fighter.