Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Did Valerie Plame Lie To the Senate?

No! No, dammit! The title was google-bait for wingnuts. Hi, wingnuts! Welcome aboard - I put out donuts for ya.

Valerie Plame, testifying before the senate on Friday, said that she had nothing to do with sending Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate claims that yellow-cake uranium had changed hands there. "She's lying!" the blogs all scream. "It's perjury! You guys prosecuted Scooter for perjury, and he didn't even DO anything!"

So, where to begin -- no one is disputing Plame's statement that she didn't have the authority to send Wilson to Niger. What they're saying is perjury is Plame's claim that she didn't suggest that he be sent there. The proof? An addendum to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report, in which three Republican senators disagree with the report's conclusions that Valerie Plame didn't have anything to do with sending Joe Wilson to Niger.

The addendum quotes an unnamed intelligence staffer (they're willing to concede that SOMEONE in the office is covert) who said that she was going to recommend that Wilson be sent. However, according to Plame's testimony, "He said his words had been twisted and distorted. He wrote a memo, and he asked his supervisor to allow him to be re-interviewed by the committee. And the memo went nowhere, and his request to be re-interviewed so that the record could be set straight was denied."

It will be easy enough to get another statement from the guy, and the Senate is apparently requesting one. Once it comes in, sane people without an agenda can evaluate it. As for now, the whole talking point rests on this - the official record agrees with Plame, but an addendum to the record written by water-carriers for the administration says she's lying, therefore it must be perjury. You could pursue this argument, but it would be like me saying "hey, it DOES depend on what the meaning of 'is' is!"

Tenuous as the talking-point is, I'm guessing it will get continued traction on Fox News, because it's all they have to fill the news hole left by not discussing Alberto Gonzales resigning and Dick Cheney resigning. And the 4th anniversary of the Iraq war. And the blowback from Bush's South American tour. And whatever happens today, before lunch.

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