Friday, July 15, 2005

The Admission That Wasn't

Doing a bit of catch-up on the Plame Game, I came across the beginnings of a web firestorm (see here, here, here, here, and here) about an apparent admission from Joe Wilson that his wife wasn't undercover at the time Robert Novak divulged Plame's occupation.

At issue is the following exchange Wilson had with Wolf Blitzer on CNN:
BLITZER: But the other argument that's been made against you is that you've sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife, who was a clandestine officer of the CIA, and that you've tried to enrich yourself writing this book and all of that.

What do you make of those accusations, which are serious accusations, as you know, that have been leveled against you.

WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.

BLITZER: But she hadn't been a clandestine officer for some time before that?

WILSON: That's not anything that I can talk about. And, indeed, I'll go back to what I said earlier, the CIA believed that a possible crime had been committed, and that's why they referred it to the Justice Department.

She was not a clandestine officer at the time that that article in Vanity Fair appeared. And I have every right to have the American public know who I am and not to have myself defined by those who would write the sorts of things that are coming out, being spewed out of the mouths of the RNC...
One reading of this is that taken by John Podhoretz at National Review's Corner:
Here is Joseph Wilson himself, talking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN today: “My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.” Read that again. Now reflect on the fact that there has been an ongoing investigation FOR TWO YEARS conducted, we were breathlessly and rather constantly told in the weeks surrounding the initial controversy, on the basis that the White House and reporters OUTED A CLANDESTINE AGENT. Now we know. She wasn’t. Not then.
As smarmy and self-aggrandizing as Joe Wilson is (what normal human being would put his name on a book called "The Politics of Truth"?), he's not so stupid as to completely undercut everything he's been yapping about for two years now. Obviously, he meant to say that his wife was no longer "under cover" the moment Creator's Syndicate released Bob Novak's column which mentioned her. I hope the bloggers who misinterpreted Wilson in this instance will correct the record.

Thankfully, Wilson's ill-deserved and over-utilized fame will soon be coming to an end as USA Today and the New York Times report that 1) Plame likely was not "covert agent" covered under the law administration critics accuse Rove and others of violating, 2) Rove heard about Plame from Novak and other journalists.

UPDATE 3:48, Podhoretz corrects the record, mostly.