This Isikoff piece is just weird. Not in the almost-true-but-misleading sense that Isikoff is normally weird. But in the way he forgets his own book. He (and Mark Hosenball) present the memo confirming Valerie Wilson's covert status as big new news.
In the “unclassified summary” of his memom which was based on information cleared by the CIA and became publicly available Tuesday, Fitzgerald provided new details about Wilson’s previously classified activities at the agency. In January, 2002, she was working for the agency “as an operations officer” in the Directorate of Operations’s Counterproliferation Division (CPD) and serving as “chief” of a unit with responsibility for weapons proliferation issues related to Iraq. In that capacity, he added, she traveled overseas in an undercover capacity.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but all of that "new" information appeared in a book published last fall. It's called Hubris, authored by one Michael Isikoff and David Corn. The updated paperback edition was released ... yesterday. But Isikoff seems to be unaware that this is not new news--at least not to him. Wouldn't you have expected him to write, "the report confirms reporting published in Hubris last year..."? Or maybe Isikoff is still cross that David Corn got that into the book.
Isikoff also uses this opportunity to suggest that, by comparison with Libby, the other Administration leakers did not leak intentionally.
Libby’s trial earlier this year established that at least three other Bush administration officials —former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer (who testified under a grant of immunity) — also disclosed information about Valerie Wilson’s identity to journalists. But Fitzgerald contends that Libby’s disclosures—primarily to New York Times reporter Judith Miller—were made “deliberately and for the purpose for influencing media coverage of the public debate concerning intelligence leading to the war in Iraq” [my emphasis]
Isikoff must have missed the day where Ari said he deliberately leaked Plame's identity because he thought it would get the press to stop pursuing the Joe Wilson story. Or the entire history of Rove's career, where he does little, if anything, that is unintentional.
Similarly, Isikoff presents only the harsh attacks on the Wilsons from the SSCI, not the significant retreat from claims that Valerie Wilson's role in her husband's trip was improper.
three Republican senators-including Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, vice chairman of the panel—filed “additional views” harshly criticizing Valerie Wilson and her husband for allegedly misleading the committee in 2004 about the role she played in suggesting her husband’s trip to Niger to investigate reports that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. Citing allegedly contradictory statements she has made more recently to a House committee, the GOP senators called for a re-interview of Valerie Wilson.
This one, honestly, may take a bit of subtle reading. But I find the news that the SSCI truncated all the reporting that Valerie's went out of her way to avoid a conflict of interest with Joe's trip pretty significant, not to mention the minority of the minority's retreat from claims that Valerie's role was improper.
But that would involve reading through the spin.
Don't get me wrong. For much of the world, the news that Valerie Wilson was covert seems to be new news. But the second-to-last person in the press corps that should be true for--after, presumably, David Corn himself--is Michael Isikoff.