Media Blog

HuffPo’s O’Donnell: Fat Chance, Joe

It seems not every liberal is falling in line to support Joe and Valerie Wilson’s lawsuit against the entire Bush administration. The Huffington Post’s Lawrence O’Donnell, for instance, told Keith Olbermann tonight that it looks like “a very weak case” and “a political piece of litigation”:

OLBERMANN: Is winning even the point here? Would not the real victory, perhaps for the Wilson’s, come simply in putting the White House on trial — quite literally having their day in court at the White House’s expense?
O’DONNELL: I think winning better not be the point, because the one quick disagreement I have with John Dean is I think this is a very weak case. I wrote a book about a civil rights case, and I don’t recognize any of the applications of civil rights law that they’re using in this complaint. Bevins has entirely to do with law enforcement officials — guys with badges and guns. That’s not what’s involved here.
I think they’re going to have a lot of trouble keeping this case in court. I think the vice president’s side of the case has a very, very strong case in going for dismissal. […]
It is a political piece of litigation, and you know that by reading the first paragraph of the complaint, Keith. This is not a legalistic document. The first paragraph quotes the first President Bush saying, in 1999, “We need more protection for the methods we use to gather intelligence and more protection for our sources — particularly our human sources, people that are risking their lives for their country.” That’s what Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame want the country to think about. They want the country to think about what the first President Bush was thinking about when he was talking about the urgency and the importance with which we must attach to protecting the secrecy of CIA human resources, and that’s really the point that they’re trying to get across here.

Unfortunately for the Wilsons, those of us who have done some thinking about “what the first President Bush was thinking about” have discovered that any honest analysis of Bush’s remarks must conclude that Bush was talking about the malicious outing of undercover operatives without regard to their safety and with the intent of impeding U.S. intelligence-gathering operations. It is widely understood that Bush’s comment that those who expose sources are “the most insidious of traitors” was a reference to CIA turncoat Philip Agee, whom Bush always held personally responsible for the death of a CIA station chief in Athens.
As anyone following the Libby case knows – and as Bob Novak’s revelations this week make even clearer — the “outing” of Valerie Plame bears no relation whatsoever to the type of anti-U.S. outing campaigns to which Bush referred in his 1999 speech.
O’Donnell is not a newcomer to Plame-watching — for instance, he predicted that Rove was a source for Matt Cooper before Newsweek broke that story. His analysis of this lawsuit is well-informed and probably correct.
Even liberals agree: Fat chance, Joe.
Video here.


The Latest