Who investigates himself?

Henry Waxman, committee on oversight and government reform chair (emphasis added):

Rep. Waxman asks White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten to explain why the White House failed to conduct any investigation following the disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson’s covert CIA employment. The letter follows the testimony of the Director of the Office of Security at the White House, James Knodell, that the White House Security Office did not follow the investigative steps prescribed by Executive Order 12958.

There was no investigation. Why would they perform one? It would just incriminate the president.

Hat-tip Ellroon. More from Shakes and Brad Friedman.

And just to clear up any mistaken ideas you might have about whether there was a crime committed, Rep. Waxman reports:

General Hayden and the CIA have cleared these following comments for today’s hearing. During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was undercover. Her employment status with the CIA was classified information, prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.

At the time of the publication of Robert Novak’s column on July 14, 2003, Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment status was covert. This was classified information.

And there you have it.

Hat-tip Pudentilla.

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18 Responses to “Who investigates himself?”

  1. ombudsben Says:

    What’s most surreal to me is that this stuff gets defended by the same conservatives who were so vituperative over Bill Clinton trying to keep his quickie with Lewinsky quiet.

    Had the Clinton administration demonstrated the same colossal mismanagement, malevolence, and reverse Midas capacity to turn what works into disaster, the conservatives would have been apoplectic a couple years ago and currently self-medicating themselves for their various coronaries and strokes.

  2. whig Says:

    For what it’s worth, I was one of those calling for Clinton’s impeachment for perjury. I never cared particularly about who he had sex with or whether it was vaginal or oral, but that he lied about it was to me an absolute impeachment of his honesty and capacity to be president.

    Dammit, I want honest politicians, and I’m tired of that being a joke.

  3. whig Says:

    For me, Bill Clinton was impeached when he debated over, “that depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

  4. whig Says:

    Or it might have been when he said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” when he in fact did by any honest definition of the words.

    I considered George Bush impeached when he was caught out right here and admitted he was a liar.

  5. Who Ya Gonna Believe? « Mercury Rising Says:

    [...] a comment on this post, whig points us to a post in cannablog that zeroes in on a statement that should settle once and for all the question of whether Valerie [...]

  6. ombudsben Says:

    I suppose taken to it’s logical extreme then, we should vilify Ike for lying about Gary Powers and the U2 incident, for having an affair with his female chauffeur in WW2, hold FDR accountable for dying in the company of his other woman, and anything JFK accomplished should be discarded for how over the top he was. They all deceived, after taking an oath, and noen of them faced the inquisition Bill got by his hate-filled enemies, and too many american splayed into those enemies’ hands.

    Bill didn’t want to be exposed, his family embarrassed. In Arkansas ploticians had a long history of claiming it wasn’t sex if it was oral. (This is the kind of tabloid *”issue of the day!”* Faux news exploits so well.)

    Frankly, we knew what we were geting with Clinton back in ’92. He was my least favorite of the 5 Dem candidates. I likked Jerry Brown better, Harkin, Tsongas, and even Kerry of Nebraska better. Clinton was transparently slick, too smarmy and smug for me even then.

    But in time I came to appreciate his management skills, that he really cared about helping the midle class rather than stratifying us into the haves and have-nots, and he was *a dream* compared to this crap.

    The right was out to crucify him from the start, from Whitewater and the Hillary’s single-payer health care which tjis nation sorely needed then and now. But the right wanted blood, and they dug and fought untilt hey found it. Hardly anyone ever talked about the legality of the Tripp/Lewinsky wiretap.

    Few sane, balanced people want to go through the ringer of a national campaign with all the mudslinging, and the dirty infighting in DC that comes with governance.

    I mean that our best possible presidents generally stay home. You seem to want an ideal, someone without compromise. Virtually every human makes compromises.

    *How many people do you know on the blogosphere who will willing publish their full names and addresses and divulge all details of their lives to everyone they know?*

    Life is all too often all about compromising, and few of us can go through life without inherent contradictions, our lives an open book, ready for any and all to come in and inspect every corner.

    As Molly Ivins used to say, you gotta dance with them that brung ya.

    Bill brung us. No, I didn’t like his fooling around or his equivocations, but so long as it was consensual I figured it was his business and good christ it ain’t like we didn’t have more important fish to fry.

    Look at the mess we’re in now.

  7. whig Says:

    Ben, I can’t comment on administrations before I was born. I don’t have an adequate context. I might have been wrong to favor the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I hold more against him than lies under oath, there was also the small matter of the handling of the seventh-day Adventist group in Waco. Attorney General Reno might be the main person responsible for that cock-up, but like Alberto her boss has to take the blame unless it resulted in her resignation or removal, and it did not.

    Again, I could be wrong, but this is what I did believe at the time, and in the interest of full disclosure I ought to tell you so.

    Bill Clinton is not the “one that brung me.” I was not a Democrat then. I was a former Republican, who had lost faith in George Bush senior for breaking his “read my lips” promise.

    In any case, I do not expect a president (or anyone) to say everything he or she knows or can say. I do expect that if you have nothing honest to say, you should refrain from commenting or misleading unless you have a very good reason which would justify your doing so.

  8. whig Says:

    A person who will lie will break oaths, and a person who does lie and has no good reason to do so will break oaths with no good reason.

    A thief can even be honest, but an oathbreaker cannot be more than a common criminal until a new person emerges that tells the truth.

  9. whig Says:

    If Bill Clinton had told the truth, then Ken Starr would have gone after him for adultery. He lied to protect himself from that. He persuaded himself that the country would be ill-served by such a cocked up (to use this strangely appropriate word) investigation and witch-hunt, that it was a distraction on his ability to do his job, and it didn’t have anything to do with the public’s business.

    Does that seem it could be his “good reason”?

    The irony is that it didn’t protect him one bit or the public. His deception was not effective, not only because of what he did but because he lied in public.

  10. whig Says:

    I make mistakes, and I try to admit them honestly. Everyone can have a second chance or a seventieth.

  11. ombudsben Says:

    I’ve heard Clinton talk about the “Lewinsky incident” after he left office.

    It’s pretty easy to Monday morning QB things when we aren’t sitting in the oval office ourselves.

    At the time he had some big things on his plate. He thought adultery would be given the weight it merits, and be over soon, yesterday’s news. And then he could get back to the people’s business, which he generally did all right at (I think) except that he was too conservative for me — but I believe the conservatives hated him more than most because of that very thing, he stole their thunder.

    So he thought it would pass. He was very wrong about that. And he was wrong about the web woven to snare him, including illegal wiretapping.

    We paid quite a price for national puerility, and none paid more than Bill for our being an uptight nation since dominated by the same caste of sanctimonious prigs and hypocrites who tore him down.

    The Europeans, especially the French, laughed at us for this, for our niavete.

    They were right to.

    Diogenes carried a lantern and ostensibly spent his life looking for an honest man. Be my guest, if you want, as we seem to lack them on a wide scale. (Include “read my lips”, “I’m not a crook,” Iran/Contra deceptions, and count the virtuous POTUS of the last 40-50 years left standing.)

    But meanwhile, we have a seat in the oval office to fill, and if we wait for the perfect candidate, the GOP will hand us our butts on a platter every time.

    Nobody died when Clinton lied.

  12. whig Says:

    You have some good points, and by comparison Bush is much worse, no argument there.

  13. whig Says:

    Are you an honest man, Ben?

  14. ombudsben Says:

    I try to be honest.

    But I do think deceit is endemic throughout nature, that primates are all excellent at deceit, and that we humans are positive geniuses at it.

    I think this might be part of why we like fictions so much as ways of reavealing deeper truth.

    Sidenote: I was very struck as a kid by reading of the father of Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave who led slaves to freedom, who blindfolded himself when his daughter visited (whom he dearly wanted to see) so he could answer the slavehunters that he had not seen her.

    Was he honest?

    I’ll cop to trying, and to busting myself sometimes by saying “no, that’s not quite right” and trying again.

    But I’m decidedly of a contrarian view to our Judeo-Christian heritage on this. My sense of what they believe is that we are all born basically honest and some of us sin by deceiving.

    As stated above, I think the opposite. Could add more, but that’s the nutshell–nutty as it may seem. :)

  15. whig Says:

    There is no way to try to be honest. You can either be honest or not. If you must tell a deception to protect someone from harm, then you are going to lie intentionally in that instance. If you are deceiving for no good reason, then you are not to be trusted.

  16. ombudsben Says:

    Words are by themselves lies. Take the words “bag of pot and a pipe”. The word “bag” is not a bag, the word “pot” is not pot, and the word “pipe” is not a pipe.

    Verbal communication is all too often a form of disconnect between the reality and the thing, and once people learn to read that disconnect can become even greater.

    If you know the works of Toni Morrison, you may have read of the slave who didn’t want to learn to read, as he feared having his mind changed so he would stop seeing things for what they are.

    You want everything easy and black and white, if you think people cannot “try to be honest.”

    You didn’t answer the question, either. Was Harriet Tubman’s father honest when he answered that he had not seen his daughter?

  17. whig Says:

    Again, you have good points to make and I agree with them, as I think I’ve been fairly consistent in the point of view expressed throughout this blog. A metaphor is not a complete description of the thing it stands for, it is also not dishonest.

    Language is imprecise and misunderstanding is inevitable, even between people who are completely honest and straightforward with one another. You do not know the contents of my mind, and I do not know the contents of yours, so when I say apple I may think of a green fruit and you might think of a yellow one.

    I am not going to judge the honesty of others unless they lie to me.


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