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April 20, 2006

More Wilson-Bashing By Hitchens

From Radio Blogger:

HH: I want to ask you first about the New York Times story that lawyers for NBC News, New York Times and Time Magazine are resisting federal subpoenas to produce appropriate documents, and eventually witnesses, in the Wilson case or the Libby case. Appropriate for these media outlets which are baying for the head of Scooter Libby to hold back on what might exonerate him?

CH: Well, look. They brought this on themselves. I still think the press should defend itself from too much intrusive prosecution or prosecutorial action, but the press demanded that one of the most repressive laws on our books be used in the Wilson case, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, the author of which, Senator Robert Dole, has repeatedly said, and said to me personally, was never intended for this kind of thing, was intended only to punish rogue agents who gave away real people in the field, and certainly should never have sent Judy Miller to jail. And now, they've made a rod for their own back. Now anything that happens, there will be a prosecution over...where there'e supposed to be a prosecution over who told the New York Times that the National Security Agency was wiretapping Americans. There's been a terrible collapse of, and surrender of, the 1st Amendment in the last few years, and it's very largely the fault of a press that's lost all sense of proportion in its determination to get Karl Rove.

HH: And all sense of proportion, of course, we go back to your piece on Wilson and the uranium in Slate ten days ago, and obviously, the original kerfuffle here was based upon Joe Wilson's incompetence and overwhelming arrogance.

CH: To put it at its mildest. I mean, in case your listeners don't all know this, and what I've established beyond any doubt, is that a man named Wissam Zawahie, Saddam Hussein's chief diplomat for nuclear matters, he'd been Iraq's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, he'd been its delegate to non-proliferation conferences at the U.N., senior point man on nukes, went, on February 9, 1999, to Niger. Now I'm sorry. I cannot be brought to believe that he went there to discuss the price of goats or ground nuts. Niger and its president testified, was reported as testifying to, I think, the 9/11 Commission. No one ever comes here, save for, I think, yellowcake uranium. That's all we've got. Now Wilson's book, ridiculous book, called The Politics Of Truth, does not mention the name Wissam Zawahie in this connection. He says he knows the man from Baghdad, but that's in another connection entirely. He appears to have never understood that this had happened. So the value of his mission, as a means of ruling out an Iraq connection to Niger, is not even nil. It's less than nil. A positive threat to national security. It's a man who didn't even try to find if there was a threat coming up, and who missed something very conspicuous, and who has been, I have to...can't mince words, simply lying his head off about it ever since.

HH: Well this is why I welcome a trial, Christopher Hitchens, because he...

CH: Yes, absolutely.

HH: He will be in the dock, and he be obliged to answer these questions, don't you think?

CH: Let's bring it on. He lied about whether his wife, who works for the CIA, nominated him for the trip, which [s]he did, on the grounds that he was, of all things, friendly with the Niger minister of mines, who had been in the 80's the supplier of Saddam Hussein's uranium. So they send a friend who has no curiosity, who doesn't discover that Saddam's point man on nukes has come calling a few months before, in fact. So I mean, it's astonishing, and I don't think, even though he's been so far hugely overpraised in the media, I don't think that his reputation can last very much longer. I think he's through.

Now who's being naive, Kay? Odd, because Hitchens doesn't generally strike me as a naif.

But now he suddenly believes that the media will have to modify its coverage based on... mere indisputable facts.

Has he been vacationing on Neptune for the past thirty years?

The media can support the reputations of the most odious if it sees that as a way to support their political agenda. See Sheehan, Cindy; Kerry, John; Gore, Albert Alphonse Jr.

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posted by Ace at 01:12 PM

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