I had a brief conversation with Ambassador Joe Wilson tonite at Stanford, where he was about to give a talk. I was with eRiposte of The Left Coaster, who I am sure will also be writing about this. (Early morning update – here it is.) Amb. Wilson said that he had read eRiposte’s latest Treasongate post just this morning. (He is also familiar with Seeing the Forest.) eRiposte had the great honor of giving Amb. Wilson the news that the NY Times had just reported that it was Vice President Cheney who had told “Scooter” Libby that Wilson’s wife was a CIA agent. (I suggested that he verify that because he heard it from a blogger… Very soon after that someone arrived with a printout.) I regret that I did not write down his reaction. Perhaps eRiposte will recall. (It’s quite late now after a long day. I’m sorry that I don’t have time to refine this post.)
Myself with Ambassador Wilson. Pic by eRiposte from my cell phone
I asked Amb. Wilson if he had any information about any CIA damage assessment looking into whether there was additional harm done from this leak. Wilson replied that he had no idea. He said information like that is strictly compartmentalized. They wouldn’t make it public, they wouldn’t tell him, and they wouldn’t even have told his wife. He didn’t even know if they had done such an assessment. He did say that they would generally assume that when an agent’s cover is blown anything related to that agent – contacts, sources, etc. – is also blown.
He went on to say that he only has sadness over this whole thing. He wishes it had never happened. He said Chris Mathews said the other day that if there are indictments, that he (Wilson) would be doing cartwheels down Pennsylvania Avenue and that is just wrong, that this is a terrible thing that has happened, a terrible abuse of power that has harmed the country.
I agree. I wrote the other day, “We’re talking about a government that has caused possible loss of life, damage to our country and our safety, not about some political “us vs them” game.”
As I said, it’s late. I’ll write about Wilson’s talk tomorrow. It was very good. Wilson is a remarkable and dedicated patriot who spent years in service to the country. He was George HW Bush’s point-man in Baghdad during the first Gulf War. I commented to eRiposte that this is exactly the kind of dedicated career professional that the current Bush Administration is so intent on driving out of the government.
(Note – I’m not using quotes because I don’t use shorthand, was taking notes as fast as I could, and though I have the clear sense and most of the words used I’m not sure I have it exactly.)
P.S. I have also touched on this story from a very different direction. During the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston I witnessed Natasha of Pacific Views chasing down Robert Novak to ask him about his notorious leak of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Wilson. Novak actually turned into a giant bat and flew away.