Monday, May 15, 2006

The Junket Kerfuffle

Two things have struck me about the latest filing revelations in the Plame investigation. One is that curious word "junket" that appears on a copy of the Wilson Op Ed, which Dick Cheney wrote shortly after the editorial's publication. If memory serves correctly, that word "junket" became the de facto definition for Joe Wilson's trip to Niger across the conservative/right wing media-scape and has never really gone away. And, actually, I don't need my memory to serve here, because google does a much better job.

With the new found knowledge that Cheney immediately thought to cast Wilson's trip as a junket, suddenly, it all begins to make sense; all those howling hacks grabbed that word and spread it far and wide, as though Dick had been tuning in all those willing to do his bidding with some super-genius mind energy. After the Cheney notation revelation, I'm guessing this mind energy beam might be a common tool of communication both to, and from, the White House.

So, let's have a look at what Cheney scribbled on that offending Op-Ed:
..Or did his wife send him on a junket?
-- Cheney's notes on July 6, 2003 Wilson Op-Ed.
Ah-ha! Ha ha ha! We have a solution and a cascading one at that, with some adjectival variation thrown in. Preston starts out the chorus, if slightly out of tune. Maybe he didn't get the memo:
And he sipped tea poolside, never really investigated a thing,
-- B. Preston, July 18, 2004

On one side of this argument are those who remain convinced that an eight day tea drinking junket ....

...Val and pals from the CIA send Joe on an African junket....
-- Tom Bowler, July 21, 2004

It subsequently emerged that Plame had recommended Wilson for the Niger junket...
-- James Taranto, WSJ, February 25, 2005.

The “trip” was former ambassador Joseph Wilson’s famous junket to Niger...
-- Tom Veal, July 11, 2005

...Plame recommended her husband for the African junket.
-- David Limbaugh, July 15, 2005

Novak just reported she worked at the CIA (in the context to explain why Wilson got his junket)
-- PoliPundit, July 15, 2005

Wilson called George Bush a liar based on a two-week junket to Niger in which he lounged by a hotel pool ....
-- Michael Bowers, July 17, 2005

CIA has portrayed a third-rate analyst [Plame] as a James Bond in high heels and her husband as the definitive authority on transfers of uranium to terrorist regimes after an eight-day junket to Africa.
-- Jeff Gannon, July 18, 2005

Who better to send on a junket...
-- Samuel Hamilton, July 25, 2005

This is the same CIA that sent an unqualified ambassador to Niger to do an investigator's work, then supported him in lying about that junket....
-- I. Shawn McElhinney, Sep. 16, 2005

... indeed, she seems to have set up her husband for the Niger junket because she believed that there was nothing to the story....
-- Michael Noonan, April 16, 2006

[Plame] was actually the one who pushed for him to be sent on the CIA junket.
-- GOP Hawaii County, May 6, 2006.
I like that last one; CIA junket. Sounds fun.

The second thing that struck my memory, again ably assisted by google confirming my remembrances, was the derision righties had tossed upon those who would believe that the Bush/Cheney administration was not only capable of such callous and reckless behaviour but would, in fact, conspire to execute such as a vendetta against Wilson. Conspiracy nuts, they gleefully howled, filled with "paranoid pieties":
The essence of the entire scandal has been the contention that the White House deliberately endangered a CIA agent's life in order to punish Wilson. Must we recount all of the paranoid pieties about how "this White House will stop at nothing to silence its enemies"?
-- Jonah Goldberg, July 10, 2004
But let's examine Fitzgerald's filing describing this evidence and the reasons it is material to the Libby case:
... the government will propose an instruction to the jury that the statements made in the Wilson Op Ed may not be considered as proof of the truth of the matters asserted but, rather, may be considered solely as evidence that the statements in the article were made and published, and may have caused others to take action in response.

The second principle reason for the admissibility of the annotated Wilson Op Ed lies in the annotations place on a copy of the article by the defendant's immediate superior, the Vice President. Those annotations support the propostion that publication of the Wilson Op Ed acutely focused the attention of the Vice President and the defendant -- his chief of staff -- on Mr. Wilson, on the assertions made in his article, and on responding to those assertions. [emphasis added]
-- Document 105 (Fitzgerald filing), Case 1:05-cr-00394-RBW, May 15 2006
Fitzgerald. What a paranoid.

As a parting shot and as an illustration of the illustrious nature of WSJ Opinion Journal, I will leave readers with this snippet from the way-back machine: James Taranto announcing his observations of the Plame "kerfuffle." It really is getting difficult to keep track of how wrong these guys are on so many different subjects:
So cool, like jazz on a summer's day, the Valerie Plame kerfuffle appears to have just blown away.
-- James Taranto, WSJ, July 12, 2004.
Next filing in the Plame case: notes by Cheney in 2003, describing the expected investigation as a "kerfuffle."


Blogger gary said...

And let's not forget that President George W. Bush suprised many by using the word "kerfuffle" in a sentence.

1:36 PM  

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