It’s Hadley

Or so say Michael Smith and Sarah Baxter in the London Times.

THE mysterious source who gave America’s foremost journalist, Bob Woodward, a tip-off about the CIA agent at the centre of one of Washington’s biggest political storms was Stephen Hadley, the White House national security adviser, according to lawyers close to the investigation.

Are we sure?

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council (NSC) denied that Hadley was the journalist’s source. However, in South Korea on Friday during an official visit with President George W Bush, Hadley dodged the question.

“I’ve also seen press reports from White House officials saying that I am not one of his sources,” Hadley said with a smile. Asked if this was a yes or no he replied: “It is what it is.”

A White House official said the national security adviser’s ambiguity was unintentional and repeated that Hadley was not Woodward’s source. But others close to the investigation insisted that he was.

This is the part that makes no sense to me:

Supporters of Cheney’s disgraced aide are jubilant that this casts doubt on special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s contention that Libby was the first to spread the word about Plame.

Fitzgerald only said that Libby was the first KNOWN administration official to spread the word about Plame, and I don’t see how Libby’s being first, sixth, or twenty-seventh makes a dadblamed difference to any of the charges against him.

If anything, seems to me it looks a lot worse for the Bushies if someone else was in on the word spreading, especially a whole month earlier. Can we say, conspiracy?

In the past few hours we’ve learned that the Source, whoever it was, kind of “forgot” about the conversation and didn’t go to Patrick Fitzgerald to ‘fess up until Bob Woodward “reminded” him about it. Has Hadley offered any testimony to Fitzgerald or other federal investigators before this? I don’t know. What about the email Karl Rove sent to Hadley after his July 2003 conversation with Matt Cooper? Why did Rove email Hadley?

Steve Soto asked,

If Hadley came forward to tell Fitzgerald that he was releasing Woodward from any pledge of confidentiality, what and who prompted Hadley to do this? Did Scooter or Cheney force Hadley’s hand, knowing that Libby wasn’t the first to talk with reporters about Plame’s identity? Remember that just before the Libby indictment, there were stories that Hadley assumed he would be indicted. …

… If Hadley was in fact the first administration official to talk to a member of the media about Plame’s identity, and knowingly revealing that she was a possible covert operative due to her assignment in the Directorate of Operations, how plausible is it that his boss at the time didn’t know about this either. You know, his boss, the current Secretary of State?

Why would Karl Rove have emailed Hadley, in particular? Hmm.

Rightie Challenge II

This is a follow up to yesterday’s post that challenged righties to answer a couple of basic questions about Iraq. There are some great comments to that post, but none from righties. It’s possible none happened to drop by. I don’t exactly keep a “Righties Welcome” sign out, do I?

Anyway, Josh Marshall expresses some of the same ideas:

… The real problem though — and this becomes clear listening to the president, and increasingly from his supporters — is that the president no longer has any coherent idea of what the war he’s fighting amounts to or what victory would look like.

He says we’ll fight it out to victory or that “as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” But it’s been a really long time since I’ve heard any coherent plan for what we’re trying to do besides slogans like this.

If we’re honest I think what the president is saying is this: We’re going to stay in Iraq until the place calms down and we can leave with a sense that we’ve accomplished something.

Isn’t that basically the idea?

Isn’t it? If not, why not?

At Kos, Armando argues that some kind of withdrawal really is the only plan on the table, and all the “never surrender” talk is … just talk. Beside getting out … sooner or later … there is no plan.

Eleanor Clift writes in Newsweek

If Bush wants to retrieve his credibility, he should call off the attack dogs and make a televised speech to the American people conceding that the certainty he presented about weapons of mass destruction was not there, and that the administration relied on a single source, aptly named “Curveball,” who was later discredited. Bush can then present his case–what he saw, why he acted, and why he still believes he did the right thing.

Bush won’t give that speech because he can’t tolerate ambiguity. It’s part of his personality. He gave up drinking cold turkey, and it’s all or nothing. He demands simplicity, and he equates dissent with disloyalty. The result is a White House that has become dysfunctional.

Bottom line: The invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and George W. Bush isn’t man enough to admit he made a mistake. And all the smearing and derision and bluster coming out of the Right is just enabling.

At The Left Coaster, larre writes,

A somewhat obscure blog known as Kazablog already is saying this is the tipping point. There will soon be many more. Just watch Technorati or Blog Search or Daou Report or Lefty Blogs or any of the dozen other blog aggregates, left and right.

That’s what has war supporters of both parties gnawing their tails. They know that If you really want to support our troops, military leaders are saying through Mr. Murtha, you’ll help to bring them home now.

By January, the criminal George W. Bush will be trying to join the chorus.

We’ll see. I think the tipping point has been reached as far as the majority of Americans is concerned. The question is, how long will it take before the Bitter Enders — now down to 34 percent — realize this?

Update: See the Mean Jean smackdown by ReddHedd at firedoglake.

Not Like a Virgin

It’s kind of like virginity. It is hard to get back.” — John Zogby on President Bush regaining public trust

Steven Thomma of Knight Ridder writes that “Bush has lost his aura of invincibility” and Republicans are losing cohesion and direction. “‘There’s been an erosion of power at high levels,’ California Institute of Technology’s Alvarez said. “They’re not able to focus on maintaining the kind of cohesion that has been their hallmark since 2000. They’re not able to put the energy into cracking the whip.'”

House Republicans looked back in form last night as they pulled a political stunt to block serious discussion of Congressman Murtha’s Iraq redeployment proposal. However, seems to me yesterday’s episode in cowardice and misdirection could easily backfire on the Republicans. In spite of the GOP’s shameless mockery of his serious proposal, I don’t believe John Murtha is going away. Much depends on whether Dems get some spine and back him up. Early yesterday that looked iffy, but last night’s House debacle may have pissed off enough of ’em that maybe they’ll finally form a line of battle and start fighting together.

One of Congressman’s Murtha’s points, that Iraqis are not going to “stand up” as long as we’re there to do the standing for ’em, has a nice “tough love” ring to it that could be very appealing to a lot of Americans. It even sounds kinda conservative; it makes me think of old conservative arguments about welfare dependency — that some people won’t get serious about working as long as they can live on the public dole. Considering that at least 60 percent of the public has turned against the war, I think Murtha’s is a much stronger argument than Bush’s mushy “As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down,” which leaves control of when we leave in the hands of Iraqis. Continue reading