Friday, November 18, 2005

Fitzgerald, Libby, Woodward

The latest revelations out of Plamegate are that some (as yet unidentified) administration official divulged Plame's name to Bob Woodward before Irvine Lewis "Scooter" Libby divulged it to other reporters.

Libby's lawyers immediately spun the issue as blowing apart Fitzgerald's case that Libby was the first official to leak Plame's name to a reporter, which is pure bullshit.

Some of the mainstream media, and a lot of left-wing bloggers, have tried to show why that claim is bullshit, but all of the ones I've seen have missed the obvious.

All of them point out this comment by Fitz (emphasis mine):


In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.


They all point out that later in his statement, Fitz said this, which is what Libby's Lawyer and the right-wing spin machine pounced on:


He was at the beginning of the chain of phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter.


As the others point out, it should be understood in light of Fitz's earlier comment which included the word "known" that he intended that meaning here too. It was a long statement. Humans often "contextualize": that which is said should be understood in the light of earlier comments. An example is the use of the indirect pronoun "he" in the first sentence of this paragraph, which refers back to Fitz. Another example is the use of "Fitz" in the first sentence of this paragraph, which refers to Fitzgerald. Contextualization can extend back much further.

But here's the point that the others miss. It should go without saying that even if Fitz had not first used the phrase "first official known" and instead had said "first official" that it was the first official known to Fitz's investigation.

Fitz would have to have interviewed every reporter on the planet and be absolutely certain that he had obtained the truth from every last one of them in order to know which reporter was given the information first. He would have had to persuade every last one of them to divulge the identity of their source to find out which official was the first to leak.

God, if there is one, knows which administration official leaked first. The leakers themselves may know which one leaked first, if they have all discussed it with each other. In a Grand Jury investigation, Fitz can know only what the evidence uncovered so far tells him. He can know only which official, according to the evidence uncovered so far, is known to the Grand Jury to have leaked first.

That ought to be so damned obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that Fitz ought not to have needed to emphasise it. But he did so anyway, for the benefit of the hard-of-thinking. And he did so early in his statement, so that there would be no doubt if he later contextualized and omitted the "known."

Look at it another way: how the hell could Fitz tell us what he doesn't know? He can't.

For those who want to have us believe that Fitz should have been more careful throughout his very long statement, they should first demonstrate that President Fucktard can string together two coherent sentences without a single error, and the meaning of which does not contradict reality.

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