Nov 02 2009

We know who leaked, but the reporter apparently doesn’t

Category: mediaharmonicminer @ 9:44 am

You have to wonder how any reporter could write an article today about the Plame affair and title it Cheney told FBI he had no idea who leaked Plame ID.

Vice President Dick Cheney told the FBI he had no idea who leaked to the news media that Valerie Plame, wife of a Bush administration critic, worked for the CIA.

The entire article is an attempt to cast doubt on Cheney’s truthfulness… which is a silly exercise on the part of the reporter, a case of simple occupational ignorance, I suppose, since it is now well-known to anyone who cares to know that Richard Armitage, out of Colin Powell’s state department, was the source of the leak.

This is, by now, such old news that one must wonder if the reporter, Pete Yost, is just willfully ignorant, or merely too lazy to do a tiny bit of background research.

When Cheney said he “has no idea” who the source of the leak was in 2003 or 2004, he was probably telling the truth, since Armitage hadn’t confessed yet, and given the enmity between the Powell State Department and Cheney, it’s unlikely they were comparing notes.

However, this line from the news story is priceless:

According to courtroom testimony, Rove was one of Novak’s sources for his column disclosing Plame’s CIA identity and Rove and Libby were sources for Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper, who also wrote a story identifying Plame.

The phrase, “According to courtroom testimony,” represents a clear dodge of the facts to try to sling mud at Rove, since it doesn’t really matter what “courtroom testimony” indicated, given that Armitage didn’t confess until after the proceedings were over.    Note well that the source of the “courtroom testimony” incriminating Rove is carefully not mentioned.  The most Rove may have done is not to deny the information that Bob Novak, the person who broke the original Plame story, already had from Armitage.  You know how that conversation is likely to have gone:

Novak:  Karl, we have a confirmed report that Valerie Plame is a CIA agent and we’re going to print it.

Rove:  Bob, I really wish you wouldn’t do that…  that would be unwise, and possibly illegal. 

Novak:  Ah, so she IS a CIA agent?

Rove:  I didn’t say that.

But, of course, the cat was already out of the bag, from Armitage, and it was futile to deny it at that point.

I have no idea what Mr. Yost’s politics may be, but this particular piece of reporting is not a confidence builder.

And the broader point is that the Associated Press is simply not a reliable news organization.  You can believe about half of what you read in it…  but unfortunately you don’t know which half.