Michael Barone is always worth reading. This one is very insightful.
Beyond the confines of this criminal case are the perspectives of the Bush administration that will be taken by history. The view from Woodward’s books is of a president and his advisers trying to find policies that will protect this country and advance the causes of freedom and democracy in a difficult world. The view from the reportage of Pincus and of the “Bush lied” crowd of Democrats is of a “cabal” (Colin Powell’s chief of staff’s word) bent on distorting intelligence and willing to risk the country’s security by outing a secret CIA agent in retaliation for her husband’s critical op-ed piece in the New York Times. I think the outlook from Woodward’s book is more accurate. And I think his bombshell revelation weakens the already weak case for the alternative point of view. At a dinner at the Australian Embassy, I asked the by then former CIA Director George Tenet whether people in the agency had been engaging in covert attacks on administration policy. He said that absolutely no such thing had taken place. I doubted that then and doubt it very much more now. Bob Woodward first won his fame by exposing the lies of a White House that had attempted, unsuccessfully, to use the CIA to refute charges that its campaign committee had engaged in criminal activities. Now he comes forward, reluctantly it seems, to provide evidence that advances the case that the CIA tried to derail and delegitimize the policies that a White House was pursuing.