Friday, July 15, 2005

The Plame Game

So then Susie told Marla that Johnny was going to dump Beth, but then Alison got all mad because she had told Susie that she liked Johnny and Beth found out and, like, it was so crazy...

Why is it that Washington seems to function more and more like middle school every time I turn around?

Seriously, with today's developments in the who-blew-the-CIA-agent's-cover sweepstakes, the method by which Valerie Plame's identity became known to the general public is starting to resemble a gossip chain. And then somebody told Robert who told Karl who was like, well, duh, and then Karl told Matthew and then Judith found out, and then Valerie and Joseph were really mad because, like, well, obviously...

This whole flap leaves me with two questions. First, how the hell is the CIA so godawful at keeping secrets? Those "undercover operations" that were supposed to be secret? Chile? Iran? Cuba? Guatemala? Yeah, we knew about them ten seconds after they happened. And if they can't keep their undercover operatives safe from politically motivated sabotage, something is horribly, horribly wrong. Is there an online database of this kind of thing? Can you type "undercover CIA agent list" into Google and get a response? No wonder we thought there were WMDs in Iraq - we can't keep people undercover, so I think the intelligence involved some guy somewhere flipping a coin.

Second, what possessed Novak to print something like the name of an undercover CIA agent? For now, let's ignore the fact that somebody was, to paraphrase Billy Crudup in Almost Famous, telling secrets to the one guy you do not tell secrets to. If you have a secret that you should probably keep for fear of endangering someone's life and the security of your nation but could tell to gain a really trifling political advantage, what would you do? To pose the question is to know the answer. In my opinion, Novak isn't getting anywhere near the amount of heat he deserves for this. It was his decision to make the information public. The least he could do is offer an apology.

We're not leaving middle school anytime soon, sadly. Here's the next Washington gossip chain: Then George told Harry he was thinking about going with Alberto, and Harry said okay, but then, like, Bill got all upset, and all his friends started, like, going nuclear and stuff, and then...


Anonymous said...

"Okay guys... heads, Saddam is funding the terrorist training camps that were the cause of 9/11, and was in secret cahoots with Al-Qaeda the whole time. Tails, Saddam had several WMD programs and the goal of using them against the U.S."

"What if the coin lands on its side?"

"Ehhh, we'll make up some crap about spreading democracy."

- pierce

Ben said...

A little convenient for Rove's story about Novak telling HIM about Plame's identity to come up 2 years later, after myriad denials that Rove had anything to do with the leak, after Rove DID tell the Time reporter about it, after Rove was caught with his hand in the Using-Intelligence-For-Political-Gain cookie jar.

I'm just the slightest bit skeptical.

Andy said...

Skeptical, huh? How could anyone possibly be skeptical by 2005? As the (apparently lone) Libertarian on here, this doesn't suprise me at all. Demos cry Fry Rove, he spilled the beans, Repubs say Novak did it first and meanwhile Joe was deceptive before that. All of which furthers my "political" ideology -- having only two party options does NOT mean choosing from Bad or Good, despite what Democrats would have you believe. It means choosing one side of a very stupid D.C. game. One can cry about Rove all they want, but Democrats are no better [insert long list of mistakes here].

I live for days like this -- Dems and Repubs pointing at each other, crying foul. Remember that the next time you vote, it doesn't have to be "the lesser of two evils". It can be a good candidate for once.

Mike said...

Jeff, the middle school dialogue in this post is classic.

Pierce, that's pretty much how I think it went down.

Ben, I can't say as I blame you.

Andy, I agree that the two-party system sucks, but Madison called it in Federalist 10 and apparently it was unavoidable. Also, while I strongly considered voting for Badnarik in the past election, I didn't really think he was the right candidate for the job either. Someday there will be a candidate I can really get behind, but it wasn't this past election.

And I still think Rove should be fired.

Ben said...

That's how the two-party system is supposed to work, Andy. Each side manuevers and points out the other side's shortcomings for political gain. In the process, the American people are able to see the shortcomings of both sides.

If a Libertarian were elected President or any other high office, they would also play the game of politics. No matter your political ideology, in the day of 24-hour mass don't mean a thing if you ain't got that spin.

Also, I'm pointing out my skepticism of Karl Rove because....I'm skeptical of Karl Rove. I'm not a pundit, for crying out loud. My expression of my opinion is not likely to affect a Democrat's prospects one way or the other. Your cynicism is well-placed in modern politics....but you're still getting a bit TOO cynical.

Besides, I will never vote for a candidate whose idea of "freedom" is the government abandoning the poor to their fate.

Except, of course, I voted for that guy in my U.S. House race last election - Max Longley. But how could I resist someone who was pro-life and anti-war? Those don't come along every day.