Patterico's Pontifications


Goldberg on the Real Victims: Joe and Val!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:07 am

Jonah Goldberg is pretty funny sometimes, and today is no exception. Even though I have no reason to question Libby’s conviction, I can tell that lyin’ Joe Wilson’s lies dwarf Libby’s — they just weren’t told under oath. Goldberg puts this well in a piece called The Joe and Valerie show:

SURE, SURE, “Scooter” Libby might go to jail. His career is in tatters, his life a shambles. Even Denis Collins, the omnipresent juror-journalist, says he and his peers feel sympathy for Libby, the “fall guy” in this whole spectacle. But really, who is the real victim?

Joe and Valerie, of course.

Why is that? Goldberg tells us:

“The golden couple targeted by White House machine,” as described by one British paper this week, have had to put up with so much. There’s no need to dwell on the early hardships faced by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV: that arduous junket to Niger helped along by his wife, Valerie Plame; the endless cups of sweet mint tea he had to drink; the awkwardness that his findings, as privately briefed to the CIA, supported President Bush’s famous “16 words” although he said the exact opposite on the New York Times Op-Ed page and in 12 trillion television studios.

Indeed, though (if you will permit me a brief digression) you will never learn that fact by reading the news section of the L.A. Times, the very paper where Goldberg’s op-ed appears. Readers who get all their news from that paper must be furrowing their brows, wondering what the hell Goldberg is talking about. After all, in a recent analysis, the folks at the L.A. Times tell us:

The statement drew the attention of Wilson, who had been sent by the CIA to Africa in February 2002 to assess the claim about Iraq; he had found it baseless.

and today:

The year before, at the CIA’s request [who in the CIA would that be? — Ed.], Wilson, a retired ambassador who had served in several African nations during a lengthy Foreign Service career, had looked into allegations that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had sought to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger, and found them groundless.

Sure, he had brought back evidence that it was true — but never mind that!

OK, my digression is over. Let’s get back to Goldberg’s piece:

A man of less mettle might grow frustrated with the effrontery of the Washington Post’s editorial page calling him a liar, a blowhard and the real destroyer of his wife’s career. Simply because it’s true hardly justifies stepping on his story line. Don’t they know he’s the author of a book, “The Politics of Truth,” and a winner of awards for his self-proclaimed courage for “speaking truth to power”? Why should a bipartisan Senate intelligence report cataloging his dishonesty and distortions stand against a man with such important hair?

The Great Dissenter’s burden doesn’t end there. Joe wanted to appear on equal footing, as befits his stature, with Katie Couric on the “Today” show. Instead he was stuck in D.C., and his “one chance to sit face to face with America’s sweetheart” was dashed. And it must have been those cheap partisans who forced the ambassador to sell himself to the John Kerry campaign, to call for the frog-marching of Karl Rove, to call Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol a “drunk.” Joe’s a statesman, darn it!

It goes on like that. Read it all.

40 Responses to “Goldberg on the Real Victims: Joe and Val!”

  1. I can’t wait to see their lawsuit go forward. Discovery should be fascinating.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  2. I still can’t believe you find nothing wrong with Fitzfong’s actions. And those guilty verdicts: does it not bother you in the least that the facts the lady juror cited in support of the verdict were not, in fact, facts? Or that the jury ringleader was a reporter who knew Russert?

    And there is NO reasonable doubt about whether Libby mis-spoke or mis-remembered versus intentionally lied?

    Incredible. It really is a fraternity.

    jb (d1ee42)

  3. Let’s get links for your assertions.

    I think you’re the same guy who said in another thread that the defense was not allowed to call exculpatory witnesses. I’d like a link for that too. If that’s really true, it’s an easy ground for appeal. But is it? Who were the witnesses, and how was their information exculpatory?

    Patterico (04465c)

  4. For example: if a juror knew Russert, was that disclosed in jury selection? Did the defense keep her anyway?


    Patterico (04465c)

  5. The fact that one juror was a neighbor of Russert was openly revealed in jury selection. Slate has a series of articles covering the trial, including one on jury selection. Every prospective juror was asked if they knew any of the witnesses, and he readily admitted that he had lived near Russert, and had met several others. As I understand it, apparently he didn’t know them very well, but it was fully disclosed. For what it is worth, he didn’t expect to be selected. Defense had every chance to strike for cause. Unless there is something I don’t understand, this will not constitute grounds for appeal.

    T.E.G. (ecd7cd)

  6. The LA Times is simply following the party line: whatever damages the Bush Administration is the truth, and Wilson’s mendacities are just the ticket for the front page.

    Grim fact that the ‘news’ purveyors have nearly unanimously banished the context of the case from their pages – Fitzgerald knew from day 1 of the trial who the ‘leaker’ Armitage was, but barged ahead regardless – the Senate knew and published the falsity of Wilson’s vicious op-ed while all Editors jammed their fingers into their eyes and ears and other orifices – Fitzgerald also knew that Plame wasn’t undercover in the first place, but barged ahead regardless.

    Only yesterday, AFTER the verdict came in, did the Washington Post write a couple of paragraphs clearly stating these facts and more – but the public wasn’t to be trusted with said facts while there was still a parody of a trial to beat the Administration with. Three-plus years of such beatings, and WaPo now changes course to say that “it would have been sensible for Mr. Fitzgerald to end his investigation after learning about Mr. Armitage”. Well, WaPo, you could have said the same any time for months past, but you too withheld the news.

    And even that despicable approach to public information is miles better than the NYT, LAT and their associated toadies in the media.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (01397c)

  7. For example: if a juror knew Russert, was that disclosed in jury selection? Did the defense keep her anyway?


    Yes, the defense knew and accepted the juror. Byron York of National Review quotes the jury questionnaire here.

    Pat, During the trial I read the msm accounts that focused on the prosecution’s case, Clarice Feldman at American Thinker who focused on Libby’s side, and Byron York of NR who I thought was very objective.

    I think the jury verdict was correct.

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  8. The real issue is whether or not the WMD threat from Saddam was exaggerated by the Bush Administration – and we know it was. The White House has stated emphatically that it was a mistake to include the “sixteen words” about Saddam’s quest to buy uranium in that State of the Union speech. You guys remember the “smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud,” don’t you?

    You believed what Bush said when he lied to you.
    You believed what Condi Rice said when she lied to you.
    You believed what Dick Cheney said when he lied to you.
    You believed what Colin Powell said when he lied to you.
    You believed what Ari Fleischer said when he lied to you.
    You supported the invasion based on the WMD threat – including and especially Saddam’s nuclear weapon program.
    We invaded Iraq at a tremendous cost in lives and treasure.
    The WMD wasn’t there! It had all been a big mistake!

    And you think Joe Wilson looks like an asshole?

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  9. While Joe might merely look like an asshole, you’re the one who is being an assho…

    Never mind…

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  10. “The WMD wasn’t there!”

    Yet it still stands that Saddam could easily reactivate any WMD programs.

    G (722480)

  11. The real issue is whether or not the WMD threat from Saddam was exaggerated by the Bush Administration – and we know it was.

    No, it’s not. And no, we don’t.

    The trial was about Scooter Libby and nothing else.

    British intelligence stands by thier claim to this very day.

    No, I don’t think Joe Wilson looks like an asshole, I think he is a self-interested lying sack of dog crap. Oh, how it must have stung J Effing Kerry to drop him from his campaign.

    There, I can speak in unsubstantiated absolutes too!

    Hogarth (a721ef)

  12. The Libby trial proves one thing: a savey prosecutor can find a crime where no crime existed. Fitz was charged with finding out if a crime had been committed in the outing of a covert agent, and if so, who committed that crime. Point #1) Plame has never been proven to have been covert within the time frame allowable by the law and #2) he knew going into the investigation, who had leaked her name to the press.
    At that point, the case was solved. It should have ended at that point. But heady with his new found power, Fitz continued his investigation until he “created” a crime to prosecute. He was not charged with finding out who lied about knowing about Plame or how many people talked about her to reporters, he was charged with presecuting the leaker if she WAS covert. He could not do that.
    And that should have been the end of it.

    I have no doubt that if I was questioned about a “possible” crime, based on my memory, I would not be able to remember all of the events as they played out. Can any of you remember what you had for lunch a week ago Monday? So, I asked you “did you have soup made from an illegal sea turtle on Monday, January XX, 2003?” And you say “no, I don’t think so.” You do not elaborate that you did have soup because you could not remember what you had for lunch four years ago. Then I find out that you did have soup made from an illegal sea turtle but you were unaware that the sea turtle was an endangered species but you still “lied” about what you had for lunch. Bingo! I have you not only on perjury but eating an endanged species.
    Perhaps in my non-legal mind it is just this simple. And shows me that if you are looking for a crime, there will always be one out there someone can nail you for. Can any of you remember if you inadvertently exceeded a speed limit in April of ’02? If I can prove you did and you told me you didn’t think you did, not only did you commit a crime but committed perjury by Fitz’s standards.
    Also, does anyone think there was no hard feelings on the part of Fitz because Libby had whooped him like a red-headed stepchild in the Marc Rich case? Are we to believe that attorneys have the ability to put ALL personal feelings behind them when trying a case?
    This is only the beginnning. As the Democrats have now smelled the blood in the water, you can look for more of the same as they investigate every Republican in the administration for crimes against the nation, both real and imagined. We will have a new rallying cry “No crime too small to indict”.

    And this is an interesting read by a liberal Democrat:

    retire05 (903139)

  13. The SMOKING GUN will arrive in the form of a MUSHROOM CLOUD!!!!!!!11111

    Duct tape and plastic over your windows and doors!


    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  14. The outcome of the trial as far as I am concerned is that I will never answer any questions from law enforcement without a grant of immunity. Of course, it is extremely unlikely I will ever be asked any questions by law enforcement.

    ROA (f477eb)

  15. Ok, LA’s officially become unhinged…

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  16. I’m astonished that the Washington Post is the only traditional news outlet that consistently reminds people about the context of Wilson’s own lies.

    This whole mess is especially frustrating for people like me who never felt that the WMD issue was ciritical for decding to go to war against Saddam in the first place.

    As a side note, I think the jury did the right thing here (both in terms of the verdict and the calls by some for a pardon). I don’t think Libby’s transgressions were all that bad. But if you give him a pass for lying under oath the way he did, then you admittedly also have to give Clinton and Martha Stewart a pass too (something I’d rather not do myself).

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  17. I have a real question that I hope Pat will be able to answer, based on his trial expertise. I’m somewhat troubled by the following passage of a recent Byron York article, describing Fitzgerald’s closing statements:

    Fitzgerald argued that Libby must have known that the subject of Mrs. Wilson’s role was important — and therefore it is unlikely that he forgot about it, as he contends — because he was “discussing something with people that could lead to people being killed.” “If someone is outed,” Fitzgerald said, “people can get in trouble overseas. They can get arrested, tortured, or killed.”

    At that point, the defense objected, in part because Fitzgerald had just bulldozed over one of the main trial rules set down by Judge Reggie Walton. On the first day of the trial, Walton told the jury, “No evidence will be presented to you with regard to Valerie Plame Wilson’s status. That is because what her actual status was, or whether any damage would result from disclosure of her status, are totally irrelevant to your decision of guilt or innocence. You must not consider these matters in your deliberations or speculate or guess about them.” . . .

    The problem was, of course, that [Fitzgerald] had no proof of what he was saying. After the defense objection, Fitzgerald stressed that he wasn’t telling the jury that any of that happened, only that it could have happened. And, more importantly, that Libby might have thought it could have happened. And if he did, that would make it important, wouldn’t it? So it would be something he wouldn’t forget, right? Fitzgerald told the jurors they should think about this imagined “people being killed” scenario to understand Libby’s “state of mind,” but they should not draw any conclusions about “whether it’s true or false.”

    When Fitzgerald finished, Judge Walton felt the need to step in. “I’m going to give you another cautionary,” he told the jury. “The truth of whether someone could be harmed based upon the disclosure of people working in a covert capacity is not at issue in this case. Remember what I have told you several times. Mr. Libby is not charged with leaking classified information.” And with that, the day ended.

    Does this seem like a significant error, Pat? Did Fitzgerald transgress Judge Walton’s rule about not presenting evidence on Valerie Plame’s status? If so, was Judge Walton’s subsequent instruction sufficiently curative? I don’t know enough to have an opinion one way or the other, but I wonder what you think of this, and whether, as a prosecutor, you would say what Fizgerald said if in his place. Thanks.

    NYC 2L (41251e)

  18. Would somebody please spell out Wilson’s lies for me?

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  19. LA,
    They’ve been spelled out ad infinitum (Or ad nauseum).But they won’t mean anything for you..I see you’ve not taken my advice.

    corwin (dfaf29)

  20. First, I went to Africa and came home and wrote a report saying SH was looking for yellowcake. Then I wrote an NYT op-ed claiming just the opposite.

    I, Joe Wilson, am a Liar (3bc37f)

  21. You believed what Bush said when he lied to you

    Except you can’t name a single lie he allegedly told.

    Not one.

    The Ace (ea76c3)

  22. Would somebody please spell out Wilson’s lies for me?

    And then what? You would actually believe he lied?


    The Ace (ea76c3)

  23. In discussion I heard on Bill Bennett this am with Andy McCarthy and Byron York, the defense didn’t strike the fellow who had been a WaPo reporter, friend of Russert, (and now poster on the Huffington Post), because he was using up his strikes on other candidates who were worse, including contributors to, and hoped the judge would intervene. That’s what I heard them say, could be all nonsense with my legal background (not!). But it does raise the interesting question as to what constitutes a “jury of one’s peers”. Is a reporter in Washington DC on the Post a peer of an aid to a Republican VP???

    Thank you for posting on this, Patterico. As said previously, this is the big problem on a national scale, the overwhelming majority of press agents and democrats, and probably the majority of the US population that isn’t paying close attention, think that Wilson and Plame are heroes and Dick Cheney is about to be impeached for being behind their “persecution”.

    I didn’t know Wilson had written a book called “The Politics of Truth”. Is there a Yiddish word for chutzpah taken to extremes?

    Joe, thanks for popping in to clarify that point. That is enough, but you forgot to mention you denied your wife had “anything” to do with your trip, and that VP Cheney sent you.

    Too bad for us that lying to reporters, misleading the American public, and undermining national security is not against the law.

    Also too bad that Armitage can’t be tried, at least in a civil trial for costing the US so much money when it could have been avoided had he been up front with the truth. I would hate to work in the same office with him, if this is how he treats his coworkers.

    If Fitzgerald was so darned worried about people dieing then maybe he should investigate who blew the cover of the small airline that did covert work for the CIA, who ruined the effective program of monitoring terrorists funds, and what was so important for Sandy Berger to destroy from the National Archives. Sufferin’ succotash!!!

    One last thing. There were many, many boxes of documents recovered after Saddam’s fall from power, probably the majority of which are still untranslated. A few months ago some were put up on the web, and it was discovered to be info on making atomic bombs that was felt to be detailed enough to be a security risk and was taken down. Some Democrat lawmakers had complained that we were putting the US at risk by putting “info on how to make an atomic bomb on the internet”. Of course, these complaints came from the same people who said that Saddam had no WMD program, especially no nuclear program.
    (It really wasn’t a security risk, as while the plans were what they were, they are easily enough found out, unlike obtaining yellow cake and isolating uranium-235 to amke the bomb.)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  24. Links.

    Comment by Patterico — 3/8/2007 @ 7:31 am

    Start with this one from Tom Maguire’s site. Then go read some of the other posts there as well. The case up to and including the trial and aftermath has been very thoroughly covered on that site, with plenty of additional links, details on Walton’s rulings, details on the testimony, etc.

    Nevertheless, if you can read through the post linked above and still not have problems with Fitzgerald’s actions, then his other assertion is correct – it really is a fraternity.

    thirteen28 (1da714)

  25. Dammint, forgot to include the link itself:

    thirteen28 (1da714)

  26. Surrealism alert- Three days after Libby is convicted for his role in Plamegate the BBC carries a story that the IAEA is investigating uranium smugglinng in the Congo that has been going on for years. Coincedentally the Congo is in Africa and was one of the countries referenced in the Butler Report as a possible source of uranium for Iraq.

    IAEA investigating uranium smuggling

    chad (719bfa)

  27. […] I might not be the only one who has noticed this, Justin Levine, who occasionally writes on Patterico’s Pontifications, commented: I’m astonished that the Washington Post is the only traditional news outlet that consistently reminds people about the context of Wilson’s own lies. […]

    Common Sense Political Thought » Archives » Why The Washington Post saw through Joe Wilson when the other liberal papers missed it. (819604)


    Gosh Patterico. I’m sure both Fitzfong and you will be pressing for an indictment against Russert. Right? Oh, wait. Fitzfong already said he wasn’t going forward. Hmmm. I’m not able to see any meaningful distinction between Libby’s lies and Russert’s lies. But I’m sure you and Fitzfong do. What is it?

    I’m just completely flummoxed by your position.

    And again. If we don’t even know for sure whether Secret Agent Girl was covert or not, what the hell were we investigating? Shouldn’t determining her status have been job one?

    And nobody deposed Armitage for feck’s sake? And you’re ok with that too?

    In what crazy mixed-up alternate universe?

    jb (d1ee42)

  29. Despite the investigation being bogus, the rule is that you DO NOT LIE. The jury says he lied. I was one of the people cheering when Clinton was caught lying and I will not apply another standard to someone just because they are “one of mine”.
    The desire to live up to our standards is part of what makes us expecting a lesser one for ourselves is hypocritical in the extreme. If that’s the new way of Conservative thinking, we should just start calling ourselves Democrats.

    Hard Right (e7c1a7)

  30. EDIT:
    Despite the investigation being bogus, the rule is that you DO NOT LIE. The jury says he lied. I was one of the people cheering when Clinton was caught lying and I will not apply another standard to someone just because they are “one of mine”.
    The desire to live up to our standards is part of what makes us Conservatives. Demanding one standard of others while expecting a lesser one for ourselves is hypocritical in the extreme. If that’s the new way of Conservative thinking, we should just start calling ourselves Democrats.

    Hard Right (e7c1a7)

  31. If he lied, he should be convicted, and it should stand IF given a fair trial, that is the concern for Mr. Libby.

    Even if Mr. Libby lied, it doesn’t appear to make sense, as there is no other evidence of wrongdoing of the administration concerning Wilson and Plame. The concern for the country is that people see Libby’s conviction as vindication for Wilson, which it should not be.

    I agree, if he lied he should be convicted in a fair trial and punished. Had he said, “I don’t remember clearly” a few times, there would have been nothing found in the investigation to take to trial. I just hate to see Wilson and Plame go down as heroes. It should be a crime to do classified work for the US and lie about it to the public in order to hurt the country. (President Bush is the President of the US, and any deception that hurts him, hurts the US).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  32. I’m astonished that the Washington Post is the only traditional news outlet that consistently reminds people about the context of Wilson’s own lies.

    It doesn’t though. You’re giving the Post way too much credit.

    The editorial page has indeed pointed this out, what, twice?

    The Post’s news pages have consistently said the exact opposite (and false) thing. Including recently–nearly every day during the Libby trial, reporters Carol Leonnig and Amy Goldstein have said, in one way or another, that Wilson found no evidence to support the charge that Saddam was seeking uranium in Niger. One of my recent posts along these lines is here. For example, in the Leonnig/Goldstein story on the conviction, they wrote:

    Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, publicly accused the White House of using flawed intelligence to justify the war and cited a CIA mission he took to Niger in 2002, which found no merit to claims that Iraq was trying to buy weapons-grade uranium.

    That is the theme that the Post has promoted in every supposedly straight news story that I have read since at least July of last year, when Howard Kurtz got it wrong as well.

    Christopher Fotos (f9677b)

  33. IF he lied, yes, he should be convicted. But if you followed the case closely enough, it’s very hard for me to believe that they established that Libby did beyond a reasonable doubt, and that’s another IF that has to be taken into considertion – IF the prosecutor proved his case.

    IMO, he didn’t, and for whatever mistakes Libby’s counsel might have made, he managed to raise doubts about the recollection of every single prosecution witness within the narrow framework the judge let him work. If every single prosecution witness can forget pertinent details about who told who and when, why is it such a stretch to believe Libby could have done the same?

    thirteen28 (5ad670)

  34. Val and Wilson are anything but heroes. They are left wing partisan loons who make their decisions based off their political views regardless of what the facts are. Only the left thinks they are heroes. They also think Castro is a hero so consider the source.

    Hard Right (7900e3)

  35. Hard Right wrote:

    Val and Wilson are anything but heroes. They are left wing partisan loons who make their decisions based off their political views regardless of what the facts are.

    I’ve wondered about that. That Mr Wilson is less than ethical is no surprise, but I don’t really have a clue about Mrs Wilson; his media personality completely overwhelms hers.

    Dana (3e4784)

  36. The LATimes, Vanity Fair, WaPo, and Harry Reid all think they are heroes. Erwin Chemerinsky who has their civil case thinks they are heroes. The publisher who is going to give them a book deal and everyone who will buy it think they are heroes.

    Currently the Left Wing, be they loons or not, are in control of the Congress.

    Mrs. Wilson recommended Mr. for the job. Was she surprised when he came back and lied to the public to make the administration look bad??

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  37. Iraq had piles of yellowcake already.
    That was not something it needed.

    Wilson is a blowhard but the forgeries were forgeries.
    Bush’s lies were lies, Libby committed perjury…

    and you still refuse to discuss anything or real importance: the conduct of the war/the scandals at DOJ etc etc.

    AF (400cbc)

  38. Iraq had piles of yellowcake already.

    I wonder why.

    That was not something it needed.

    Then why did Wilson tell the CIA that he met with the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Niger who told Wilson that Iraq wanted to expand trade with Niger and that the ex-PM/FM interpreted that to mean they wanted to buy yellowcake? (Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report P.48)

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  39. Wilson is a raging liar. He’s been caught in many lies about the whole affair. That means Bush didn’t lie. Too bad, so sad for you lefties.

    Hard Right (7900e3)

  40. Plame’s lawsuit has been dismissed:

    “A judge has dismissed former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s lawsuit accusing members of the Bush administration of leaking her identity.”

    DRJ (bea74b)

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