Monday, July 18, 2005
Aidan Delgado, Hadley, Rove, crotch rot
It's Monday and before we go any further, thanks to C.I. and Isaiah for letting me rerun the cartoon this morning. A lot of you e-mailed to say you really enjoyed it.
In fact, we all enjoyed it so much that I'm going to rerun it again!
Now let's go to Democracy Now!
Rove Watch: Time’s Cooper Speaks About Grand Jury Testimony
The Sunday talk shows this weekend were dominated by the ongoing investigation into the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. One of those at the center of the story, Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper, appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" where he discussed his testimony in front of the Grand Jury. Cooper also has an article piublished last night by Time in which he says that President Bush's senior advisor, Karl Rove, was the first person to tell Cooper that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer. Cooper said he told that to a grand jury last week and that Rove ended the call by saying "I've already said too much." Cooper wrote that Rove did not disclose Valerie Plame's name, but told him in July 2003 that information would be declassified that would cast doubt on the credibility of her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson. Cooper wrote, "So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert? No. Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes," Cooper continues, "When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don't know. Is any of this a crime? Beats me." Cooper wrote he had previously told the grand jury he had also discussed Wilson and his wife with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. He said he asked Libby about Wilson's wife playing a role in the Niger trip, and Libby replied, "Yeah, I've heard that too." This all raises serious questions about whether several administration officials intentionally misled the public and investigators about the involvement of Libby and Rove. White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said in October 2003 that Rove, Libby and another official had assured him they were uninvolved in the leak.
So what's everyone thinking about all this? From the e-mails, most of you are wondering why no one's name checking Hadley? Well I put up C.I.'s thing and C.I. caught that on Saturday. Cynthia wrote in about that and said I could share her thoughts.
Before I do that, I should probably make sure everyone's on the same page. So let me quote from C.I.'s thing:
If people are paying attention to today's talking point, Rove just ratted somebody out (though he probably doesn't realize it). Did he tell who he got the information from?
But the talking point advises us that the deputy of national security knows the press is talking about Valerie Plame being a CIA agent. Did Hadley follow up?
Don't toss out any nonsense that, "They may not have known she was undercover!" Hadley's job should have required him to find out what Plame's position was. Regardless of what her job was, the CIA should have been advised what was about to break. And Plame should have been warned.
Was the CIA advised? I don't know. But from Joseph Wilson's reactions, Plame sure wasn't warned. From his statements, she didn't get a heads up. Novak's column appears on the 14th of July. Rove talks to Cooper on the 11th of July. In those three days, what did Hadley do? What was the administration doing? (Yeah, I know, probably helping the story along, but that's not in their talking points.)
How did Hadley follow up? Did he report it to his superior? (Condi Rice.) What measures did they take to protect Plame? She wasn't assigned body guards at the time. Wilson's made no reference to her getting a call that said, "Hey Val, just a heads up, the press are talking about you, you're probably going to be the topic of a story and be named. Those friends and neighbors that don't know anything about who you really work for -- you might want to break it to them."
Hadley's job was not to protect Bully Boy from fading poll numbers. His job was national security.
If people are paying attention to today's talking point, one question should be, "What was done when Hadley was informed?" What steps got taken?
Was the CIA informed what was coming down the pike?
Or was everyone who is supposed to be working for the nation suddenly under the impression that their job was serving on the election committee for the Bully Boy?
Let me toss out something else before I get that topic. Know how Cynthia found the thing C.I. did? Not from my site. She just started going to The Common Ills this weekend and she's been going around to different links and getting to know the community. So how she'd find it?
Something called Waypath. It indexes posts by things mentioned in them and all. Cynthia found it at Waypath while looking up news on Matt Damon!
C.I. does this thing in there where there's an illustration of what Rove did and C.I. asks you to pretend you're a reporter and C.I. is a flack for Matt Damon. It's funny and you should read it.
But like Saturday when we were all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review, Jim was telling C.I. how great the post was and the only thing he'd change was the Matt Damon part. And C.I. goes, "Really, cause that's the only thing I wouldn't change." I have Jim's permission to tell that story and Jim doesn't think C.I. will mind because it goes to one of C.I.'s big points and all.
Which is? People need to speak in their voices. If I'm answering a question about oral sex who knows who comes by to read that? And this is advice C.I. gave me and I think it's okay to share and it's when I get on to blog, I don't need to try to sound like Bob Somerby. C.I. goes "Bob Somerby is the best Bob Somerby. You be the best you. That's how you'll enjoy yourself and how you'll reach people."
And it may not be serious enough for some people (and I'm not attacking Jim who's a buddy now) but that might be just what gets someone to notice. Jim is against talking points too. And he'll tell you that the talking points have pretty much reached everyone that they are going to reach on any subject. You have to do more than talking points unless you just want to reach only the same group of people.
And I called Jim when I read Cynthia's e-mail and he goes, "See, I was dead wrong. C.I. was right about the Matt Damon part." (There's a longer version of that conversation Saturday and if I get C.I.'s permission to put it up here, I will.) Jim goes it's like Ava & C.I.'s TV reviews and how they pull people into The Third Estate Sunday Review. And some of those people will check out the editorial and other stuff but the drawing power is the TV reviews that Ava & C.I. do. And Jim went into this thing about how their TV reviews are political and they are political but I don't want to get lost on that.
But Jim goes he was really amazed that Matt Damon grabbed someone and that proves C.I. was right to do it that way because I told him what Cynthia said about being burned out on going to some sites that are just too cut and dried and "have a stick up their ass" and she just wants to scream, "Okay, I got that already!" She said reading that stuff is like sitting in her geomerty class and "politics shouldn't be boring!" (She uses a lot of exclamation points.) "Make me laugh! Make me angry! But don't make me bored!!!!"
I hear you, Cynthia!!!! :D
So Cynthia's theory is two parts. She thinks that in terms of online, people didn't notice Hadley and they won't now because it's out there and it wasn't them that noticed. She's talking about people who wrote about that article. Now in print ("coporatocracy" is what Cynthia calls it), they're not going to touch it. "Maybe later but right now it's too scary!" Why is that?
Because it does lead up. It does ask questions. She said it's like any other scandal, the "corporatocracy" will focus on the individuals named already because "they don't lead!" And she's right. They haven't led on any of this. Online has driven this story for two years. So Cynthia thinks that unless they're "forced to get their heads out of their asses" they won't do a damn thing on this.
For the people who wrote going no one touched this, it was brought up at The Third Estate Sunday Review. I'm going to reprint their editorial (I helped with it and so did others, there's a credit at the end):
Editorial: What did Hadley know and what did he do?
Karl Rove's latest defense (as pointed out by The Common Ills) is that after speaking with Matt Cooper when Valerie Plame's name came up he immediately e-mailed then deputy national security advisor Stephen J. Hadley. And then what?
And then what?
Did the e-mail confuse Hadley? Was their a follow up conversation of "Karl, what's this e-mail about?" Did Hadley immediately notify his boss (Condi Rice) what was going on? Did she follow up by notifying the Bully Boy?
For those who forget, before she moved over to the State Department, Condi Rice was in charge of national security issues. It's easy to forget that because 9-11 happened while she was in charge and there was no accountability for her. There needs to be accountability on this.
Did Hadley do his job? If so, did others do their job?
We're not foolish enough to think the White House wasn't orchestrating the outing of Plame. But if that's going to be the spin point ("I prove I'm not guilty with my e-mail to Hadley!") then let's examine that spin point.
The spin argues Rove passed the news on up. Did it stop there? If so Hadley didn't do his job.
Did it go higher? How much higher? A CIA agent was a national security issue. The outing of an agent was a national security issue.
No one's attempting to say Rove's absolved and innocent. We think he's neither. But if he's going to push this latest point, then we say let's explore it.
Once someone in charge of national security was notified, it was incumbent upon them (due to their position) to immediately determine the nature of Valerie Plame's work. It was also incumbent upon them to notify then CIA director George Tenet. If they themselves did not alert Plame, the reason should be because they were given assurance from within the CIA that someone in the agency would alert Plame.
Plame doesn't appear to have been alerted. Nothing in the public record suggests that she was anything but surprised when Robert Novak outed her in a July 14, 2003 column. Cooper spoke to Rove on the 11th of July. Rove's spin is that he e-mailed Hadley immediately upon getting off the phone with Cooper. What was being done by the administration in those three days? Rove's conversation with Cooper, by Rove's account, made it obvious that the press knew Valerie Plame was CIA. What did Hadley do? If he didn't know who Plame was or what her position was, he should have checked with the CIA (or maybe read the memo that the State Department prepared). That was Hadley job.
Unless Condi relieved him of the responsibility. Then it became her job. (And regardless, his actions reflect upon her because she was his boss.)
Did anyone contact the CIA to alert them? If Plame had been a translator for the CIA, we'd argue a notification would be required. If she'd been an office assistant, we'd argue a notification would be required. If Hadley and/or Rice had done any work on the issue, they'd know that she had been an undercover agent.
And as such, regardless of when she was last undercover, it was their job to ensure that she and those she worked with while undercover knew what was coming. This goes beyond the quibbling by Republicans of whether a law was broken due to some five year rule on when you were last undercover. Plame appears to have been undercover as late as 1999 so the rule is in place and outing her was a violation of the law.
But in terms of procedures and responsibilities, it didn't matter if Plame had retired from the CIA ten years prior. It terms of procedures and responsibilities, the administration should have been working overtime to ensure that all working with Plame and Plame herself knew what was about to come out.
Whether you personally favor the use of undercover CIA agents or not, it should be obvious that having gone undercover for their government, when their cover is about to be blown, it's the government's responsibility to alert them.
That was the administration's responsibility. Did they carry it out? If not, why not?
Were any agents currently undercover and in the field, agents who had worked with Plame, alerted that someone who'd taken part in missions with them was about to be outed and that, therefore, their own cover was in danger?
It doesn't appear that they were.
The latest spin is "Rove's not guilty! He alerted Hadley!" The spin doesn't prove that. But the spin argues that the administration knew (Hadley) and that they did nothing. The spin suggests that Plame was outed with the administration's knowledge while the administration (with at least a three days heads up) sat around and waited for the explosion.
The spin's imploding. This talking point is cratering. Not only does it not clear Rove, it suggest incompetence (at best) on the part of the administration. It's time to know what Hadley did after he received the e-mail from Rove. If he did nothing, he needs to explain why. If he passed it up, we need to hear what those above him did.
It's time for Congressional hearings on this matter. We're no longer dealing with only the outing of a CIA agent. We're now dealing with, by Rove's talking point, the impression that the administration sat by and waited for a CIA agent to be outed. There need to be some answers and there needs to be some accountability.
[This editorial was written by the following: The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava, C.I. of The Common Ills, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Kat of Kat's Korner and Mike of Mikey Likes It!]
So is Cynthia right? Do you think it won't become an issue? Or do you think some people may start to notice?
It's a good question. Cynthia also said she read some of my old stuff from a few weeks back and was wondering what made me decide to blog?
It was seeing stuff like Cynthia saw at The Common Ills and wondering why no one else was talking about it. Like the Rainbow Warrior getting sunk. Two weeks before the news broke about the president of France in the 70s giving the okay to sink the Rainbow Warrior, a guy who died on the ship, his daughter was in the news. "Who was Fernando Pereira?" was about that. And C.I. didn't pretend to be an expert and even writes about not pretending to know about this event before. So we get a walk through of the events and what happened and the questions that still remain on June 26, 2005. So like when July 10th rolls around and suddenly it's news that the former president of France, they got documents that prove he gave the okay, we already have a basic knowledge of the events when "Where is Fernando Pereira in 'Report Says Mitterrand Approved Sinking of Greenpeace Ship'" comes up. Stuff like that happens all the time and my folks say it's the difference between writing about the same topic everyone else is writing about or going elsewhere. They're big on social justice, my folks, so they really love The Common Ills. (But since I'm their son, they love my site best!)
So, Cynthia, it's like what you're feeling, "Why isn't anyone else talking about this!" That's why I started blogging. And that's why I love Democracy Now! and why I'm really loving Amy Goodman and her brother David's book The Exception to the Rulers. That is an amazing book. I'm half-way through it and I'll talk about it next week because it's one of the books we're going to be doing at The Third Estate Sunday Review this coming Sunday. But Amy Goodman is a candle in darkness. That's why Ma says. She says that if there's a story that matters to you and it's not being discussed anywhere else on a TV or radio show, you know it will be discussed on Democracy Now! because Amy Goodman's not going for the easy stuff. Dad agrees but he says it's also that the network guys anchoring have gotten too fat and rich to give a damn about what effects most of us.
If you haven't checked out Democracy Now!, Cynthia, I hope you'll look into it. From your e-mail, I think it's a show you would really enjoy.
Now for other e-mails. Tonya says thanks for writing about crotch rot but wonders how you bring the subject up with someone? Her boyfriend's got a problem there. It just started in the last week, she writes, and it's never been a problem before. But she's not in the mood for oral and keeps telling him no to her and no to her doing him because she wants to gag. She put "911" on her headling for her e-mail cause she doesn't think she can wait long for an answer.
I thought she should just tell him. Then I thought, "Wait, cause I probably wouldn't just tell some woman I was seeing if she had a problem like that." So I asked my sister to get her point of view.
My sister never had the experience and first thought the guy just wasn't watching. So, Tonya, I told her how you said he takes a shower or a bath at least one time a day and now that it's summer and it's hot and he's sweating, he's taking at least two and sometimes three. (This is my youngest sister by the way. She's still in high school.) I was explaining to her about what I had to do that summer and she said you should be with him when he's getting ready to go out on a date. She said like tell him you want to help him pick out what to wear.
So while he's using his deodorant, she said grab it and go, "I really like the smell of this." And then laughingly start applying it around his groin.
I think it would work too because if you pull off his towel and are anywhere near his equipment, he's not going to argue with you. He's going to be wondering what's coming next. So then go out on your date and see if it didn't clear up the crotch rot by the time you two are winding down.
Hope that helps you, Tonya. If it doesn't, drop a line and I'll try to take another shot at it.
Now I want to note a story called "A Different Duty." It's from In These Times magazine and it was written by Lisa Sousa and it's about Aidan Delgado.
Unlike most soldiers, Delgado speaks Arabic, having grown up in Egypt as a diplomat's son, and was able to communicate with Iraqis. He thought differently about fighting after interacting with prisoners of war. "When I came face to face with the people who were supposed to be my enemies, I thought that I had no reason to fight them," he says. "They were the same as the guys in my unit." The captured men were mostly young and uneducated, and did not have many choices in life.
"I felt like they were trapped in the war as much as I was and we were all victims of it, so I felt that fighting them would be wrong," he says.
During his third month in Iraq, Delgado told his commander that he wanted to be a conscientious objector. "I turned in my weapon, I said 'I'll stay. I'll finish my duty, but I'm not going to fight. I'm not going to kill anyone.'"
Obtaining conscientious objector status was difficult. Delgado endured investigative interviews, bureaucratic paper work, and harassment from his superiors and his peers, some of whom regarded him as a traitor. His commanders also confiscated part of his body armor, rescinded his leave time and assigned him to 16-18 hour shifts. Delgado was granted conscientious objector status and an honorable discharge only after completing his year-long tour in Iraq.
Now the guy goes around trying to educate people about what's going on.
He's really making a difference and I think that's cool and something we should know about.
Cause like, he's trying to make a difference by talking about it. But that only works if people listen and they talk about it. And like that's what Cynthia was asking about kind of. When she was asking me about why I started a blog and all. (And that's also what C.I. was asking about this weekend when I got asked what I was hoping to accomplish.) So that's the sort of thing I feel like we should know about. And maybe you'll see it elsewhere and maybe you won't. But you saw it in In These Times, you saw it at The Common Ills (that's how I found it) and you saw it here. And like maybe it's not being talked about when you get together with your friends? Well you can bring it up. That's the only way word gets out or that we make a difference. The guy's name is Aidan Delgado so try to find someone to pass on his story too.