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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Andrea Mitchell's "Retraction"

I recently received a comment on a November 12th post entitled Plame's Big Identity Secret? . The post was in reference to five people who have claimed that the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA employee was known in Washington well before it appeared in Robert Novak's column.

The commenter, who calls himself/herself, Abben, begins by stating that it looks like I have my facts wrong. Abben then proceeds to quote an article from a website called Media Matters for America . This article attempts to discredit the claims of four of the five people whom I quoted in my original post.

So I checked the Media Matters for America article. I also checked some other references to see if Abben was correct. I wanted to know - did I have my facts wrong? I doubted it, but I checked anyway. Guess what I found.

The Media Matters for America article completely fails in its attempt to cast legitimate doubt on former CIA officer Wayne Simmons', General Paul Vallely's, National Review's Cliff May's, and NBC's Andrea Mitchell's claims that Plame's CIA employment was well-known. To read my complete rebuttal of the Media Matters for America article, and of Abben's claim that I have my facts wrong, you can check the original post and comments. However, I want to share in this post what Media Matters for America says about Andrea Mitchell's claim.

On Oct. 3, 2003, Alan Murray, host of CNBC's Capital Report, asked Mitchell:

"Do we have any idea how widely known it was in Washington that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA?"

To this question, Mitchell replied:

"It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger. So a number of us began to pick up on that."

Media Matters for America reports that Mitchell later retracted her claim. The implication, of course, is that we should not believe Mitchell's original claim because she later retracted it. However, looking at Mitchell's attempted retraction, we see that the retraction is absurd.

On November 10 of this year, Don Imus of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning asked Mitchell about her October, 2003 statement. Here is Mitchell's reply:

"I - I - I said it was widely known that an envoy had gone - let me try to find the quote. But the fact is what I was trying to say in the rest of that sentence - I said we did not know who the envoy was until the Novak column."

That's not what she was saying in October, 2003. Look again at the original question and at her original answer. Mitchell was asked "how widely known it was in Washington that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA." Her answer was that it "was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community." She did not say that it was widely known that an envoy had gone, as she tries to claim in her so-called retraction.

Mitchell's pathetic attempt at a retraction really makes her original statement more believable. It reminds me of when Bill Clinton explained, "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is. When someone says something like that, you know that person is lying. And if Mitchell was lying in her retraction, it makes me believe that her original statement was true.


Blogger Malott said...

Her "retraction" on Imus speaks volumes about Adrea Mitchell's dedication to the truth, doesn't it? Pretty sad.

5:23 AM  

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