Late Alert for Red Herring <$NoAd$> Egregious Mumbojumbo Watch!
Ken Mehlman is now pushing the same argument as Rove attorney Robert Luskin.
This from the AP ...
Rove "was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise," said Mehlman. Cooper's e-mail says that Rove warned him away from the idea that Wilson's trip had been authorized by CIA Director George Tenet or Vice President Dick Cheney.
The argument, as elaborated by others, is that Rove was warning Cooper off Wilson's phoney story because it was about to be debunked by a soon-to-be-released statement by George Tenet.
A great argument. Only Wilson never said that. He said that the CIA, following up on a query from the vice president, sent him on a fact-finding mission to Niger.
Here's his account from his New York Times column ...
In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake â a form of lightly processed ore â by Niger to Iraq in the late 1990's. The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office.
After consulting with the State Department's African Affairs Bureau (and through it with Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick, the United States ambassador to Niger), I agreed to make the trip. The mission I undertook was discreet but by no means secret. While the C.I.A. paid my expenses (my time was offered pro bono), I made it abundantly clear to everyone I met that I was acting on behalf of the United States government.
Whatever else you can say about Wilson, no one has ever disputed these points. He never said that Cheney or Tenet authorized his trip. A vice-president would never 'authorize' such a trip. Nor would there be any need for the DCI to 'authorize' it. The whole thing is a dodge and a distraction. It's irrelevant to the question that was under discussion.
It's just yet another attempt to whip up a phoney cover story after the fact. Or, in other words, more scofflaw Republicanism.
Late Update: RawStory has just published a copy of RNC anti-Wilson talking points. Item three says that "The False Premise [which Rove was trying to knock down] Was Joe Wilson's Allegation That The Vice President Sent Him To Niger." This is such a ridiculous up-is-down lie you'll want to keep an eye out for gullible reporters who parrot it. Clear as day it's a lie. But if they think if they repeat it often enough people won't check.