Assumptions and facts
Yesterday, Mark Kleiman wrote: Surely Plame’s actual status was known to the top people in the White House within days, if not hours, of the appearance of the Novak column, and the David Corn piece about it, in July. And yet they continued to let their friends spin that as an open question. Did the ...
Yesterday, Mark Kleiman wrote:
Yesterday, Mark Kleiman wrote:
Surely Plame’s actual status was known to the top people in the White House within days, if not hours, of the appearance of the Novak column, and the David Corn piece about it, in July. And yet they continued to let their friends spin that as an open question. Did the White House, perhaps, prefer to have people, including its own supporters, confused?
Paul Krugman writes today that:
Before we get bogged down in the details — which is what the administration hopes will happen — let’s be clear: we already know what the president knew, and when he knew it. Mr. Bush knew, 11 weeks ago, that some of his senior aides had done something utterly inexcusable. But as long as the media were willing to let the story lie — which, with a few honorable exceptions, like David Corn at The Nation and Knut Royce and Timothy Phelps at Newsday, they were — he didn’t think this outrage required any action.
This is the premise behind Brad DeLong’s assertions that the Bush team has covered this up since July as well. Here’s my question: how are DeLong, Kleiman, and Krugman so sure that senior people at the White House — besides the leakers — knew about this? How do they know Bush knew about this? The stories by Novak, David Corn, and Time.com might not have been enough to register on the White House radar. A Lexis-Nexis search reveals that none of the major dailies (NYT, WaPo, WSJ, USA Today) mentioned Valerie Plame during the month of July in a news story. Krugman, to his credit, did raise the issue in his July 22nd op-ed, but I’m willing to bet that that Krugman is not considered required reading at this White House. [But Scott McClellan was asked about it at a White House briefing in late July–ed. Big deal — do you think the senior staff becomes aware of every issue that Helen Thomas raises?] Kleiman, Krugman and DeLong might be correct — but I don’t see any evidence confirming it. They’re making an assumption. UPDATE: Nick Confessore — hardly an administration sympathizer — blogs in Tapped the following possibility:
I have a hard time believing the Plame leak was cooked up at a meeting — it seems more likely that a couple of top officials cooked it up in the men’s room and acted rashly out of the belief that they would never be caught or held accountable. That the White House would nevertheless circle the wagons is not surprising — any administration would do the same, at least at first, no matter how in the wrong it was. But the fact that President Bush‘s inner circle would risk further damage to him over actions he probably had nothing to do with — instead of hanging the culprit out to dry and moving on, which would be the smart thing to do — suggests that whichever official is being protected is either too important to lose or is powerful enough in his own right to demand that he not be hung out to dry. That certainly reinforces scuttlebutt around Washington that a certain special advisor to the president is allegedly involved. (underline added)
Link via Kevin Drum, who offers his own, more pessimistic, speculations.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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