Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei have a p.1 piece in today’s Washington Post that asserts – as though it were established fact — the Joe Wilson/David Corn allegation that “the White House was attempting to discredit Wilson…”
The story nowhere even suggests the alternative possibility: That Wilson had been attempting to discredit the White House and that an effort was being made to counter Wilson’s false statements and allegations with the truth.
All this, of course, is what the independent prosecutor is attempting to figure out. I guess he needn’t bother – the Post’s reporters and editors have already solved the crime, at least to their own satisfaction.
This interesting tidbit: the Post story says Novak told someone that Wilson’s wife “worked for the CIA as a specialist in weapons of mass destruction …” Does that sound like Novak knew that she was or had been an undercover agent? Or does that sound like Novak believed she was an analyst of some kind?
Novak has consistently maintained that he didn’t know Wilson’s wife what the Nation’s David Corn called a “top-secret operative,” had not been told that by his sources and would not have named her if he had understood that. Novak was asked by the CIA not to print her name, though he wasn’t told why – understandably if she had undercover status, since that would be classified.
For the record, I think Novak was wrong to name her. But I also understand why he and many other reporters would decline such a government request unless they were certain there was a very good reason for it — a reason more compelling than that the CIA would be embarrassed if it were revealed that agency employees were sending their husbands on foreign missions that spies and investigators ought to be handling.
The VandeHei/Pincus piece also asserts that the White House launched “twin attacks: one on Wilson and the other on the CIA.” Not a word about CIA attacks – through leaks, CIA operative Michael Scheuer’s “anonymous” book and other means – to attack the White House.
Also if Wilson has been a confidential source for Pincus in the past, does Pincus not have an obligation to disclose that to readers? Would it not be a conflict of interest for Pincus not to disclose that? I’m sure the Post’s ombudsman will take this up any day now.
And BTW: In today’s Post also is an op-ed co-authored by Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger – yes, the Sandy Berger who stole and shredded classified national security documents. That’s not mentioned in his I.D.