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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Foggy Throat

Josh Marshall has a post up about today's Pincus-VandeHei WaPo article. Josh excerpts the article's mentioning the "secret" classification of the June 17, 2003 memo, and he writes:
What does that mean? First of all, I think this is pretty much what we'd expect in such a memo that contained that sort of information. What this does is knock out one more basis for a defense based on ignorance. Whoever saw this memo knew that the information was not to be revealed.
I certainly agree with Josh's inference.

But I think this WaPo article is both less and more significant than Josh lets on.

Why less significant? Because other discussion of the memo made the classified nature of the memo clear. Consider the lead sentence in yesterday's Squeo-McKinnon WSJ article:
A classified State Department memo that may be pivotal to the CIA leak case made clear that information identifying an agent and her role in her husband's intelligence-gathering mission was sensitive and shouldn't be shared, according to a person familiar with the document. [Note that the story says "familiar with the document", not the investigation.]
If you go read that article and then read today's by Pincus-VandeHei, you'll see that P-V don't really add much, beyond the level of classification (secret, rather than either the lesser classification of confidential or the greater classification of top secret). That's why I think today's WaPo offering is less significant than Josh argues.

Why more significant? Two reasons.
  1. It's obvious from each article (as well as Richard Stevenson's Saturday article in the NYT) that someone who is in a position to know a lot and used to be way up the State Department ladder has been talking a lot. If you read these three articles, I think you have to conclude that Foggy Throat is either Powell (doubtful), Armitage (most likely in my book) or Carl Ford (somewhere in the middle); Marc Grossman is a lesser possibility, though it's unclear that he would have known about Armitage's call to Ford at home (mentioned in Sat's Post article). Of course, there's no reason to assume that only one of these folks is talking to journalists -- there could be multiple Foggy Throats.
  2. The way this person(s) information is showing up is, I think, highly significant. Drip, drip, drip. Moreover, as I noted above, the volume of today's drip is nearly trivial. But it's in the Post, not the WSJ (or the NYT).

    That's three major newspapers getting little pieces of the same big story, most likely from the same person, in less than a week. Why are these facts significant? Because they mean that Foggy Throat very much wants this story kept alive and kicking.

    The Bushies clearly have been hoping to use the nomination to knock the RoveWarLiesDeathGate off the front page. But today's WaPo story is over the fold, on the front page. Because Foggy Throat wants this story to stay there. And Foggy Throat is expertly leaking one little drip at a time to make sure that happens.

    That's what's really significant about today's WaPo story.

Update: A person who would know confirms my thinking.....


Blogger cornhuskerblogger said...

my money, what little of it there is, rests on Marc Grossman. he's now with the Cohen Group -- he's got a not crazed reputation and isn't known for the crushing loyalty that armitage is. then again, w mark felt was known to be incredibly loyal to his superiors too. thank god he wasn't. that's not open for debate -- and i'm talking to you Chuck Colson et al.

7/21/2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger Jonah B. Gelbach said...

interesting...didn't know much about grossman (aside from the cohen group part).

i understand armitage is pretty loyal, too....to powell.....

7/21/2005 11:21 AM  
Blogger strategery4 said...

But who leaked the info in the memo to Novak? Lets link the recent scandals together, shall we -- it just has to be Bolton, doesn't it? I'm sure he ran into Novak at the Crazy Conservatives Convention. And maybe Wilson was one of the names he was looking for from NSA.

7/21/2005 1:52 PM  
Blogger Jonah B. Gelbach said...

i've been thinking about bolton for quite a while now. i think it would behoove an enterprising msm reporter to call his office at state and ask whether

1. he's been asked by fitzg to sign a waiver of confidentiality

2. if so, he's signed it

just a thought.

but bolton would certainly fit nicely into the overall conspiracy theory we've been considering here at ccm.

7/21/2005 2:45 PM  
Anonymous bu$h ate my baby said...

Until we can somehow link Big Oil or The War Machine into this conspiracy (Big Coat Hanger is already implicated what with the Roberts SCOTUS nomination), it just won't fly. What's Halliburton's angle -- and which Bu$h minion would have leaked Plame's identity to them? Was this the subject matter of those "meetings" with Cheney? Was Cheney propping up the value of his Halliburton pension by discrediting Wilson?

7/21/2005 3:28 PM  
Blogger Jonah B. Gelbach said...

Peter, I think you are getting a little paranoid. Nice handle, though!

7/21/2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger cornhuskerblogger said...

it would be too-too if bolton was on the hook here...but his shenanigans regarding the intercept of us diplomats' communications - and the WH's reluctance to share this info with the Senate foreign relations panel handling bolton's nomination to the one world gub'ment in nyc - amps up the possibility i'd say.

7/21/2005 5:23 PM  
Blogger strategery4 said...

Today's NTY appears to let Bolton off the hook. He was out of the country the whole time (though it's not like his cell phone didn't work or he couldn't have gotten that memo) and more importantly it doesn't look like he testified before Fitz. But keep hope alive!

7/22/2005 12:19 PM  

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