Friday, July 22, 2005

Speaking of Lying...

Bloomberg is reporting that a "senior administration official" (Washington-speak for "Colin Powell") saw Ari Fleischer looking at a document that detailed Valerie Plame's identity and covert status while Fleischer and "senior official" were on a plane to Africa.

Ari told the grand jury that he had not seen the document. So now Ari has a big problem.

One thing I'd like to say, not so much in defense of Ari as in criticism of Powell (if he is the source) is that it's really cowardly to accuse someone of lying without allowing the publication you're accusing them in to use your name. Now if this were some low-level staffer, I could understand to some degree. But a "senior official" is a made guy. No matter what he says, he's never going to get whacked or even to be wanting for a livelihood.

So there's no excuse for the anonymity of this accusation. Which, contrary to what the administration's defenders will say, in no way suggests that Fleischer did not in fact perjure himself, which I think we can say he almost certainly did.

Why do I say that? Well, unless my understanding of this plane ride is way off, the smear campaign against Wilson was Topic A among the political people on the plane, which emphatically does include Fleischer. So his claim that he never saw the official playbook on how to attack Wilson's credibility doesn't pass the laugh test.

That goes for Rove, too. The idea that these guys were on this plane and there was this document there that everyone now seems to know about, and which was being passed around, and the two guys who are arguably the two most important political operatives in the White House did not see it, well, that just isn't credible.

And it appears now that there is someone, currently anonymous, who was on the plane and who is willing to call these guys out. If that someone winds up (or already wound up) in front of Fitzgerald's grand jury and testifies that Rove and Fleischer saw a memo they swear they didn't see, indictments will be a slam dunk (conviction is another matter.)

No comments: