Plame Hypocritical

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From the gutter, the Cole-Hitchens fight has descended into the sewer. Now Cole is quoting a letter by an anonymous "insider" on his blog that is both inaccurate (Hitchens never "threw in" with David Irving) and, indeed, borderline libelous. Cole was affronted by Hitchens' unethical quoting from a letter Cole posted to the private Gulf 2000 website, but has no ethical constraints when it comes to tarnishing Hitchens' reputation by using an anonymous source who also happens to be wrong.

(C'mon Juan, some transparency, I mean it was you who was whining hardest about how scurrilous the Bush administration was in its anonymous leaking about Valerie Plame's CIA affiliation. In the same way as you've been trying to discover who outed Plame, we really would like to know who your "person of long and wide experience with journalism and politics" is. )

Cole is, of course, on a straight course toward professional suicide, and I really can't see how Yale will hire him after his nutty performance in the last few days. I mean doesn't the university have enough problems as it is with all that publicity surrounding the Taliban student?

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  1. Using an anonymous source is the same as outing Plame??? Please explain.

  2. Yeah, Mr Young – and just how do you know he’s “wrong.”

    JMJ

  3. There is a difference. In the Plame case, it constitutes a crime.

    I had had the fortune/misfortune to work at a company that had Department of Defense contract, which meant that for a while I had a security clearance. We were told in no uncertain terms that any bit of classified information that we released in the world at large would result in lenghty prison terms and a substantial fine. Never mind how inconsequential the bit was, never mind that our intentions might have been good, never mind that it was a half-known secret anyway.

    We were not even to let it be known that we had a clearance..

    Those were the rules, and we abided by it. The Bush officials who let it slip about Valerie Plame, they should do it too. Never mind that it did little harm, never mind that their intentions were good, never mind that it was a half-known secret. The same law should apply to them as to the rest of us.

  4. “Cole is, of course, on a straight course toward professional suicide.”

    Uh huh. Just as sure as Hizbollah ceased to be an important force in Lebanese politics last year, right, Michael?

    And just so you’re clear, the reason Cole was upset with “the anonymous leaking” of Valerie Plame’s identity was about the “leaking” part, not the “anonymous” part.

    Seen the latest on that, btw? Plame was working on the Iranian nuke program when her cover was the blown, and the CIA believes its efforts were compromised because of it.

  5. The problem with the whole “leaking” issue is that so long as Bush sent down the order to do a full court press on getting their side to the reasons for the Iraq invasion out there, it wasn’t confidential anymore. The President is the final authority on what is or isn’t confidential, and though he can (and does) claim things are confidential that the law clearly compells him to reveal, the opposite can’t happen. If Bush authorized Cheney, Scooter, and Armitage to explain to the public all the reasons they felt Wilson was full of shit, then that’s that. You might not like it, but he’s the buck and those decisions stop with him. And personally I’d rather the President do more erring on the side of disclosure. His penchant for secrecy and refusal to adaquetly explain his rational for warmongering are the traits that bother me most about him.

  6. “The President is the final authority on what is or isn’t confidential, and though he can (and does) claim things are confidential that the law clearly compells him to reveal, the opposite can’t happen. If Bush authorized Cheney, Scooter, and Armitage to explain to the public all the reasons they felt Wilson was full of shit, then that’s that.”

    Let’s follow that logic a little. Yes, the occupant of the office of POTUS has the final authority to classify and declassify national security-related information through his Commander in Chief powers, just as he has the right to order military strikes.

    But we are a nation of laws, not of men. George Bush doesn’t have this power because he’s George Bush; he has certain powers granted to him under the law, and he remains subject to that law. There are procedures for declassifying information; when these procedures are circumvented and the president simply violates the law, are we to assume his doing so constitutes a directive under the authority of his office?

    Let’s go back to ordering military strikes. George Bush gets into a road-rage incident. He jumps out of his car, walks up to the other driver, and shoots him in the face. Using Fat, Drunk, Stupid logic, we would conclude that his act should be interpretted as a military strike that he ordered under his authority as CinC, and that the victim had been designated as an enemy by the chain of command.

    Does anyone want to live in that country?

  7. Cole vs Hitchens. Nothing but a bigass Sissyfight.

    Are either of them really relevant to anyone besides the partisan-obsessive commenters before me?

  8. “I mean doesn’t the university (Yale) have enough problems as it is with all that publicity surrounding the Taliban student?”

    Actually I might rephrase that to “I mean doesn’t the university have enough problems as it is with actually graduating someone who can’t even say the word Nuclear, Mr. President?” 😉

  9. I dunno about comparing this to the Plame mess, but Cole’s line is equivalent to “lurkers are supporting me in email,” which has been regarded on the net as the lamest means of buttresing your argument for as long as I’ve been online.

  10. The President is the final authority on what is or isn’t confidential…

    That is not what FOIA says.

  11. If you criticize someone’s use of language just once, they call you anti-semantic. Well, forget that.

  12. At the risk of appearing terminally uncool, I have only the vaguest idea who Cole and Hitchens are, and couldn’t care less about any little hissyfights they might be having.

  13. At the risk of appearing terminally uncool, I have only the vaguest idea who Cole and Hitchens are, and couldn’t care less about any little hissyfights they might be having.

    If you couldn’t care less, why bother saying so? They both write about and comment on the Middle East a lot.

    I am impressed with Hitchens here. He baited Cole with perfect timing and Cole is acting more hysterically than one might have guessed. Hitchens drew blood.

    Cole’s anonymous source says Hitchens “threw in with the neocons sometime in the mid-1990s, and with David Irving about that time, too.”

    He didn’t “throw in” with Holocaust revisionist David Irving. He defended Irving’s right to free speech. From February:

    http://www.ivanyi-consultants.com/articles/inprisonment.html

    Hitchens isn’t neocon very much either. Like Cole, he thinks a war with Iran is a bad idea. However, he doesn’t minimize how bad the Iranian regime is. Cole does. (I imagine Irving would say the Zionists are exagerating the danger of Iran too).

  14. Cole is, of course, on a straight course toward professional suicide, and I really can’t see how Yale will hire him after his nutty performance in the last few days.

    Are we living in the same world? Nutty public performances are often a PREREQUISITE for getting a professorship.

  15. Tim Lambert, Adriana,
    Just for the record, I wasn’t comparing the legalisms of what Cole did and the Plame case; they’re obviously very different matters. But ethically, in the same way that the administration allegedly thought it could get away with releasing damaging information by relying on the continued anonymity of the sources, you have to wonder about Cole’s publishing a comment from someone who refuses to give his name, or who Cole decided should not be named.

    The issue, as I wrote, is really one of transparency; if you cite an anonymous source against someone, then (a) there is no sense of what the motive for his/her quote was, and therefore (b) the reliability of that source. From someone like Cole who has gone on about the lack of transparency in this administration, you would have thought he would shun such tactics.

  16. you would have thought he would shun such tactics.

    Especially when it would have been far easier to point out that Hitchens hasn’t been on television sober for a few years.

  17. Are either of them really relevant to anyone besides the partisan-obsessive commenters before me?

    Hitchens is often relevent when he’s talking about something other than Iraq. His literary criticism is sublime and often beautiful.

    Especially when it would have been far easier to point out that Hitchens hasn’t been on television sober for a few years.

    Easier, but demonstrably false. As false as the claim that he’s a neocon or that he “threw in” with David Irving.

  18. Michael Young, looking at this thread I see that you have allowed lots of people to comment without giving their real names. How is that different from Cole posting a comment from someone who doesn’t give his real name?

  19. I find it odd that Hitchens’ sobriety is always brought up. Maybe someone can explain how that impacts his arguments.

  20. Uh, Tim, because Michael Young isn’t using someone’s comment from this site to defame a public figure.

  21. “…If Bush authorized Cheney, Scooter, and Armitage to explain to the public all the reasons they felt Wilson was full of shit, then that’s that. You might not like it, but he’s the buck and those decisions stop with him…

    Comment by: FatDrunkAndStupid at May 5, 2006 09:29 AM”

    If that’s true, then Bush knew all along who leaked the information, lied to the public about it for years and deliberately obstructed the investigation.

    There’s also the problem that if he had declassified the information, this would have been known two years ago.

  22. MIchael Young: “Hitchens’ unethical quoting”

    Was Hitch a member of the mysterious maillist that supposedly administers an oath of secrecy on its members?

    If he wasn’t, what was unethical about using Cole’s own words to hang him? Maybe it would be ok with you if instead of “Cole” we substitute “Pentagon” and “Hitchens” gets replaced by “NY Times”?

    Whoever forwarded Cole’s post to Hitchens may have acted unethically – I haven’t read the conditions, etc placed upon members of the maillist – but Hitchens bears no stain.

    email is human readable – aloud

  23. joe,

    Do you have evidence the chimp didn’t follow proceedures?

    Why isn’t he being impeached?

  24. I wish people brought up Grant’s sobriety more often. I think it is being covered up.

  25. In fact I think Grant’s sobriety is being buried.

  26. Cole also claims that he is supported by a lot af anonymous sock puppets.

    Of course he will deny he made any such stipulation and if he did it was removed from his site well before it appeared there. And besides there is no proof and screen shots don’t count. He knows about photoshop too.

    Well when others use it. He himself is totally ignorant of its uses.

  27. Maybe someone can explain [Hitchens’ sobriety] impacts his arguments.

    Not a bit, just crackin’ wise.

  28. In regards to legality being the distinguishing factor, I disagree. I’m more interested in whether something was smart and ethical than I am in whether it was legal.

    …and did anyone claim that using anonymous sources was unethical, per se?

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