27 July 2005

Reporters In Jail, Nukes in Iraq

Here’s a must read article in today’s Washington Post about the apparently expanding probe into what the White House staff knew and said about Valerie Plame’s status in 2003.

Matt Cooper may be off the hook and Judith Miller may be in jail, but the special prosecutor who threatened them both has set his sights on the White House. Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, was sent by the White House in 2002 to Niger to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had ever tried to by nuclear materials from that country. Wilson said there was no evidence of that; the White House tried to discredit him; and part of that campaign seems to have involved casually leaking Plame’s identity to the press.

If all seems rather pointless and confusing, it is. The interesting thing is that the White House apparently had the time, and thought it was important, to discredit Wilson, and undertook to do so. It seems to me the biggest thing that will come out of this particular investigation is a worry about why the White House was using 2x4s to swat flies, and what they might have been doing instead to, I don’t know, fight the war on terror and revive the economy.

Bigger than this story itself is where it might lead. Why was it so important to discredit Wilson, who had been sent to Niger at the administration’s request? How does this fit in with things like the Downing Street Memo (more info here)? And will we ever get the whole story from this administration, about anything?

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