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Thursday, June 14, 2007
AIM Recycles Dubious Claims in Libby/Plame Case
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A June 11 Accuracy in Media "special report" by Roger Aronoff recycles the (misleading) conservative line about the Valerie Plame-Scooter Libby case.

Aronoff repeats the claim that "it was Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell, not anyone from the White House, nor a supporter of going to war in Iraq, who told Robert Novak and Bob Woodward that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, worked for the CIA and had recommended her husband for the trip to Niger." But as we've noted, this ignores the fact that Libby was also discussing Plame's identity with reporters at the same time, and it's irrelevant to focus on Armitage since Novak was merely the first to report it.

Aronoff also claimed that Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, "suggested" in a July 2003 New York Times op-ed that Cheney's office sent him to Niger. In fact, Wilson specifically stated that "I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report" and that "The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office." Wilson never said that Cheney's office sent him.

Aronoff then attacks Fitzgerald for not addressing the issue of whether Plame was a classified or covert agent at Libby's trial. But Libby was not charged with anything related to Plame's outing; he was charged with lying to investigators and obstructing justice in the investigation of Plame's outing. Plame's status is irrelevant to the charges against Libby.

Finally, Aronoff asserted that Plame "has some explaining of her own to do" because of a recently released memo that "appears to contradict a statement she made under oath before a Congressional committee," suggesting that Plame "lied under oath" when she said she "she unequivocally denied having played any role in picking Joseph Wilson for a fact-finding trip to Niger."

But that's not what Plame said. As we noted (as well as National Review's Byron York, who Aronoff cites), Plame denied that she "supported" or "recommended" Wilson. The memo, in fact, supports that contention; it's clear from the context that CIA officials, not Plame, initiated the idea of Wilson going to Niger and that Plame is ambivalent at best about it and willing to defer to the judgment of others -- hardly the stance of someone actively lobbying for her husband, as Aronoff suggests that Plame did.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:45 PM EDT

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