It appears Fitzgerald is the big partisan hack we all suspected him of being:
After her hour-long speech and question-and-answer session, Plame dropped one bombshell almost casually.
She said a lawyer had called her just before her talk began and told
her that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald had agreed to turn
his transcripts of interviews with Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick
Cheney over to U. S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who is known for his
relish for investigating wrongdoing by Republicans.
Leave it up to ole’ Fitz to do a stunt like this. Hand over transcripts of testimony to the one man who has wasted time and money on his witchhunt against the administration.
Meanwhile Plame had a few words to say about the new NIE:
Valerie Plame Wilson, whose cover as a covert CIA agent was famously
blown by top Bush administration officials, told a Brown University
audience last night she is pleased that the U.S. intelligence community
has released an assessment concluding that Iran halted its covert
nuclear weapons campaign in 2003.
“I’m pleased that they have some gumption and have pushed back”
against the Bush administration, which has often pointed to Iraq as a
rouge nation that is developing a nuclear arsenal, Plame told a packed
house on campus last night .
While the new intelligence report appears likely to make President
Bush’s “case for war somewhat more problematic,” Plame said, his
policies in Iraq and Afghanistan have been a boon to Iran’s government.
“We have done grave damage with our policies in Iraq,” said Plame.
“We’ve taken care of Iran’s enemies — the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.”
AJStrata is suspicious of the timing of this media event so soon after the release of the NIE:
Amazing how Plame is giving a speech only days after her old coworkers
in the IC release the controversial NIE. In addition, Plame’s speech
was a staged media event announcing collusion between a Federal
Prosecutor (Fitzgerald) and a Liberal Congressman (Henry Waxman) to
hand over FBI investigative files so the Liberal Congressman can use
them to conduct witch hunts in Congress and – surprise, surprise –
effect the 2008 elections.
I agree, it is quite suspicious that this fraud would have a whole media event staged so soon after the release of the NIE, put together by some of her anti-Bush buds.
Meanwhile some Republicans are pushing back themselves:
Senate Republicans are planning to call for a congressional commission to investigate the conclusions of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran as well as the specific intelligence that went into it, according to congressional sources.
The move is the first official challenge, but it comes amid growing backlash from conservatives and neoconservatives unhappy about the assessment that Iran halted a clandestine nuclear weapons program four years ago. It reflects how quickly the NIE has become politicized, with critics even going after the analysts who wrote it, and shows a split among Republicans.
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) said he plans to introduce legislation next week to establish a commission modeled on a congressionally mandated group that probed a disputed 1995 intelligence estimate on the emerging missile threat to the United States over the next 15 years.
“Iran is one of the greatest threats in the world today. Getting the intelligence right is absolutely critical, not only on Iran’s capability but its intent. So now there is a huge question raised, and instead of politicizing that report, let’s have a fresh set of eyes — objective, yes — look at it,” he said in an interview.
Ensign’s proposal calls for Senate leaders to put an equal number of Republicans and Democrats on a panel to study the NIE and report back in six months. “There are a lot of people out there who do question [the NIE]. There is a huge difference between the 2005 and 2007 estimates,” he said. The 2005 intelligence estimate reported that Iran was still working on a clandestine military program, and the new assessment basically says the previous judgment was wrong on a key point.
“If it’s inaccurate, it could result in very serious damage to legitimate American policy,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). As recently as July, he noted, intelligence officials said in congressional testimony that they had a high degree of confidence that Iran was intent on developing the world’s deadliest weapon. “We need to update our conclusions, but this is a substantial change,” he said in an interview.~~~
Critics of the NIE have seized on the fact that career government officials who had battled with conservatives earlier in the administration on policy issues have now migrated to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which coordinated the writing of the estimate.
“The problem is not the nature of the intelligence, it’s the nature of the presentation. This NIE was presented with a clear intention to deceive and to redirect foreign policy,” wrote Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute, in an e-mail. “I have no doubt that these people believe they are protecting the nation from the President, but our constitution doesn’t contemplate the non-proliferation center at the ODNI governing U.S. national security policy.”
And even some on the left are having issues with the new NIE:
Iran expert Ray Takeyh, a former professor at the National War College and National Defense University, said that although his own politics are left of the president’s, he agrees with Bush that Iran’s nuclear program is a continuing threat.
“The position I take is that President Bush is right on this,” said Takeyh, now at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Takeyh, who has long argued for engaging Iran in diplomacy, said the intelligence report was too easy on Tehran by not objecting to the uranium enrichment program, which many Western governments have alleged is meant to build the knowledge base to eventually develop nuclear weapons. The American intelligence agencies, in effect, accepted Iran’s contention that the enrichment is for peaceful purposes, Takeyh said.~~~
Gary Samore, who was a top arms control official in the Clinton White House, agreed that the National Intelligence Estimate did not adequately emphasize Iran’s continuing efforts to enrich uranium and build missiles.
“The halting of the weaponization program in 2003 is less important from a proliferation standpoint than resumption of the enrichment program in 2006,” said Samore, director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Samore said the report undermined Bush’s warnings about Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons and left Tehran in a strong position, allowing it to develop its enrichment capacity without a substantial challenge from the United States and its allies. The secret weaponization program is “on ice,” he said, but Iran preserves the option to resume that when it wishes.
Lastly, Israel won’t let the US liberals give a nuke back to Iran without a fight:
Disappointed after failing to make their case on Iran and influence the outcome of the United States’s National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released this week, Military Intelligence will present its hard core evidence on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program on Sunday to the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff during a rare visit he will be making to Israel.
Admiral Michael Mullen will land in Israel Sunday morning for a 24-hour visit that will include a one-on-one meeting with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, as well as with Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
According to a Time magazine article published Wednesday, Mullen is a member of the Pentagon’s “anti-war [with Iran] group” that includes Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral William Fallon, current commander of the US Central Command.
In a recent press briefing in Washington, however, Mullen took a hard-line approach, refusing to rule out the possibility that military force will be used to stop Iran’s race towards nuclear power.
“I would never take the military option off the table,” Mullen told reporters, although he stressed that his remark did not mean that force would be used. Diplomacy, he added, was very important.
So while Plame and the gang are doing their best to undermine the security of this country, and Israel’s, at least some conservatives are pushing back.