Friday, August 05, 2005

Try to Believe He Said It!

Holy moly! Why is it that your press reasons so poorly? Here at the Ape Man, we don't have a clue. But what is to be done when even those who, incomparably, watch the watchers can be hornswaggled by their own fuzzy thinking?

Over at the The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby speculates that Robert Novak's source may have been George Tenet. But is that plausible?

In Novak's second column about plame, "The CIA Leak", he gives us the chronology of his inquiry into the Plame matter. According to Novak, he talked to a "senior administration official" who told him that "Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife."

This statement was, itself, The Leak. Novak then called a second administration source, now known to be Karl Rove, to get confirmation, which Rove gave him, saying "Oh, you know about it." At that point Novak contacted the CIA for additional confirmation and was put through to a CIA official now known to be Bill Harlow.

Now Somerby, apparently after working it over in his big brain for many moons, has decided the original leaker was probably George Tenet. Whaaaaaaaaaaa? Novak was leaked a piece of info by the director of the CIA, so he called to get confirmation from CIA nobody Bill Who-low?

We're sorry, fellow Howler-lovers. This explanation just doesn't pass the laugh test. There is no way the original leaker was George Tenet. Here at the Ape Man, we still believe that original source was none other than Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff. Now, we don't claim to have any more evidence for our position than Somerby has for his, but at least our guess has the benefit of not being howlingly stupid.

Why is Libby the most likely candidate? Well, for one thing, if Novak had been looking for information on the search for evidence indicating Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, the first call he would have made would probably have been to the Vice President's office. It was, after all, Cheney who put pressure on the CIA to investigate the Niger uranium claim in the first place.

Second, we'll do well to remember whose name was on the letter that was sent to the Justice Department in 2003, requesting a criminal inquiry into the leak. That's right - it was George Tenet's John Hancock on the bottom of that note. Why would Tenet call for a criminal inquiry into a crime he himself committed? Somerby doesn't say.

We here at the Ape Man have an idea about why that is - Bob came up with this idea in a hurry, and didn't bother to check out whether it made any sense. In short, he used the same fuzzy methods for which he incomparably (and rightly) slams our celebrity press, day in and day out. Has the Howler itself succumbed to the disease he aims to diagnose?

Honestly, given the quality of Bob's usual work, we doubt it. We certainly expect Bob to return to his usual self soon, but in the meantime, readers, we'll be keeping an eye on the intrepid watchdog-watcher, for further signs of intellectual meltdown.

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