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Hey Wait a second

Hey! Wait a second! Does Talking Points have to connect all the dots here? Remember that laptop that went missing from the State Department last year?

Maybe Hanssen snagged it!!!

According to this article just posted on MSNBC: "From February 1995 until January, Hanssen was the FBI's senior representative to the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions, where he oversaw an interagency counterintelligence group."

So maybe the problem wasn't Madeleine Albright running a loosey-goosey, slipshod operation. Maybe it was Louis Freeh sending a spy over to help 'oversee' State Department intelligence. Louis, good goin', dude!!!

P.S. Could Hanssen have been connected to that Russian diplomat who got caught working on an eavesdropping device outside State Department headquarters back in '99? Sure. Why not. Put that on the list too.

P.P.S. Do you have any reason to believe, or does it even make sense, that Hanssen could have been involved in either one of these incidents? No idea. But, hey, we're talkin' about Louis Freeh here so we can use his rulebook, no? Let's wait and see what Walter Pincus and Vernon Loeb come up with.

Robert Philip Hanssen seems

Robert Philip Hanssen seems so obviously guilty that the only mystery remaining now in this espionage case is who Louis Freeh will find to pin the blame on and how he'll do it.

Washington is filled with people who have mastered the art of 'failing up.' But no one has mastered this art quite as well as Louis Freeh.

As the master profilographer David Plotz explained last Fall, what's most fascinating about Freeh is not that his agency has managed to blow many of the high profile cases it's been involved in over recent years (Waco, Richard Jewel, Wen Ho Lee, etc.). The real intrigue is that he's managed to pass almost all of it off as someone else's fault. Who takes the fall for this screw up? Janet Reno? Bill Clinton? Denise Rich? Bernie Sanders? Who? Think fast! Who?

Top Ten Reasons why

Top Ten Reasons why Hugh Rodham (Hillary's brother) getting $200,000 (now returned) to lobby in favor of pardons and commutations for convicted drug trafficker Carlos Vignali and herbal supplement king Almon Glenn Braswell ain't as bad as it looks.

5. Hugh Rodham won't need those secret payments from Marc Rich anymore.

4. Gives Jack Quinn someone to look down on.

3. Even drug traffickers need a break sometimes.

2. Makes clear Bill ain't the only one with a loser brother.

1. Gets that whole Marc Rich thing outta the headlines.

P.S. Hey, you said Top Ten! What happened to 10 through 6? Hey, it's *&#$%&@ free site. Gimme a break!

P.P.S. So Talking Points, are you still a big fan of Bill Clinton's. Yeah, no doubt. But this one's at least good for a laugh, isn't it? And sometimes, hell, if you can't beat 'em join 'em.

P.P.P.S. Is your face a deeper shade of red right now then it normally is? Absolutely.

Hey Wait a second

Hey! Wait a second! Does Talking Points have to connect all the dots here? Remember that laptop that went missing from the State Department last year?

Maybe Hanssen snagged it!!!

According to this article just posted on MSNBC: "From February 1995 until January, Hanssen was the FBI's senior representative to the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions, where he oversaw an interagency counterintelligence group."

So maybe the problem wasn't Madeleine Albright running a loosey-goosey, slipshod operation. Maybe it was Louis Freeh sending a spy over to help 'oversee' State Department intelligence. Louis, good goin', dude!!!

P.S. Could Hanssen have been connected to that Russian diplomat who got caught working on an eavesdropping device outside State Department headquarters back in '99? Sure. Why not. Put that on the list too.

P.P.S. Do you have any reason to believe, or does it even make sense, that Hanssen could have been involved in either one of these incidents? No idea. But, hey, we're talkin' about Louis Freeh here so we can use his rulebook, no? Let's wait and see what Walter Pincus and Vernon Loeb come up with.

Robert Philip Hanssen seems

Robert Philip Hanssen seems so obviously guilty that the only mystery remaining now in this espionage case is who Louis Freeh will find to pin the blame on and how he'll do it.

Washington is filled with people who have mastered the art of 'failing up.' But no one has mastered this art quite as well as Louis Freeh.

As the master profilographer David Plotz explained last Fall, what's most fascinating about Freeh is not that his agency has managed to blow many of the high profile cases it's been involved in over recent years (Waco, Richard Jewel, Wen Ho Lee, etc.). The real intrigue is that he's managed to pass almost all of it off as someone else's fault. Who takes the fall for this screw up? Janet Reno? Bill Clinton? Denise Rich? Bernie Sanders? Who? Think fast! Who?

Hmmmmm ... Looks like

Hmmmmm ... Looks like still more confirmation of the Talking Points doctrine on the quickly diminishing prospects of the Bush tax cut bill. And now it's coming from the New York Times editorial page. It must be true.

The question now is whether anything has really changed at all or whether people just got spun by a good bluff from the Bush communications office. This isn't the first time this has happened. Think back to last November when Karl Rove had his man spend precious time in sure-lose states like California and New Jersey on the eve of what promised to be a squeaker on November 7th.

As I wrote at the time:

Coming into the campaign's final week, Karl Rove, George W.'s oily Svengali sold the governor's campaign on a pet theory of his that went like this: Not having much of a mind of their own, late-deciding voters look to see who's out front in the waning days of a campaign and cast their lots with the winner. Call it a bandwagon effect. The implication is clear: Act like the winner and you'll become the winner, and maybe even a big winner. And that's just what the Bush campaign did for the first week of November. Rove told the traveling press that the governor would win the popular vote by six or seven percentage points, and the electoral college even more comfortably. Bush coasted in and out of states like California and New Jersey, which he hadn't a prayer of winning, and kept a planeload of canny political reporters squinting their eyes and wondering whether Bush's chief strategists were magicians or morons.

They turned out not to be magicians, of course. Bush didn't win big. In fact, he didn't win at all, at least not if you're figuring the popular vote. Rove's bandwagon theory turned out to be just what it looked like: a souped up version of an old-fashioned confidence game. Only the Bush folks had conned themselves.
Something very similar happened after the election when Bush hung out in Austin for the first few days of the Florida stand-off assuming people would just agree he was president-elect if he pretended like he was.

This is the emerging MO.

Dana Milbank is such

Dana Milbank is such a good political reporter. Since when does he write pieces as sycophantic as this one about White House CoS Andy Card?

If Dick Cheneys Chief

If Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Lewis Libby, is so outraged about President Clinton's reference to him as a supporter of the Marc Rich pardon, then why won't he express that outrage or deny the assertion on the record?

Much as I dont

Much as I don't want to run out into the middle of the highway with a blindfold on, I think I must on the matter of the Marc Rich pardon.

Like so many other episodes in the Clinton saga, the profound folly of the ex-president's original action is quickly buried in a heap of sanctimonious outrage and over-statement about it.

The driving story today is Bill Clinton's New York Times Op-Ed defending the Rich pardon. The column has already unleashed yet another mini-blow-up - this over the former president's statement that

the case for the pardons was reviewed and advocated not only by my former White House counsel Jack Quinn but also by three distinguished Republican attorneys: Leonard Garment, a former Nixon White House official; William Bradford Reynolds, a former high-ranking official in the Reagan Justice Department; and Lewis Libby, now Vice President Cheney's chief of staff.
Referencing Jill Abramson's article in today's New York Times, my friend Mickey Kaus, calls this an "apparent astonishing lie." And Kaus is hardly the only one saying this -- just the easiest to link to.

Well, let's start with Libby. We'll get to Len Garment ("I don't know why he did it, but I think Clinton did the right thing.") and Brad Reynolds later.

Tom Brokaw, NBC Nightly News, on January 29th : "Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, also once represented Rich and also tried to arrange a pardon for him during that time…"

On February 5th The New Yorker wrote that Libby had been one of the "most aggressive lawyers" seeking clemency for Rich and continued to work on his behalf until taking his new job at the White House.

As the New York Daily News blurbed the New Yorker story:

Mary Matalin, Cheney's communications director, said when asked about Libby's role in seeking a Rich pardon: "He was part of the team that represented Rich, but I don't think he wants to talk about the particulars of the case. We're moving forward, not looking back."
We'll talk later about the accuracy of the former president's statement. But can repeating an undisputed statement in the public record be an "astonishing lie"?

Last Friday John Fund

Last Friday John Fund of the Wall Street Journal Editorial page went on the Geraldo Rivera show to chat about the brouhaha surrounding the Marc Rich pardon.

At one point, in exasperation, Rivera asked Fund, "Have you apologized yet for the [false] stories about White House vandalism? Have you apologized?"

Here's the interchange that followed...

FUND: I never ran--I never ran any stories about it.

RIVERA: Have you apologized--has your newspaper apologized for the stories about...

FUND: We never--we never referenced it.

Now my understanding of this back-and-forth is that Fund first denied that he had ever written about the prank story. Then when he says "we" he's talking about his publication, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and it's public online incarnation Opinionjournal.com. So in the second run-through he's denying that the editorial page had ever played up prankgate.

So is this true? They'd didn't even mention it? Please! Not even close. How about the predictable Peggy Noonan on January 26th (Back to Normal) or Tunku Varadarajan on January 29th (No Joke)? Or do only unsigned pieces count? Well then how about this piece also from January 26th (Gary Aldrich Was Right)?

An editorial zinger to drive the point home?

Nope. I think this one speaks for itself.

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