It's a story, but only a small episode in the real story.
Let's start connecting dots by looking at this photo from AP. Shot from below, the photo has a weirdly triumphalist, Leni Riefenstahl feel to it. However, the photo conveys its message clearly enough: Judy "Kneepads" Miller has management on her side. On both sides, in fact.
Miller's Chalabi-driven stenography on WMDs was the worst disaster to hit the Times since Jayson Blair; so toxic to the Pulitzer-light Time's credibility as a trusted news source that when the Times belatedly issued a grudging mea culpa for its "coverage," they couldn't bring themselves to mention Miller's name.
So why are Sulzberger and Bill "Helen" Keller standing by Miller? It would be irresponsible not to speculate. So let's connect some dots:
1. The Republican playbook includes disinformation campaigns, where members of the press or punditoracy are paid through cutouts to act as agents or operatives for the Republicans, by writing favorable stories or opinions, which are then planted, passed off as legitimate journalism.
2. Most of the press recipients of Republican cash-for-stories remain unidentified. Let's be conservative, and say Bush has $50 million in "PR" money burning a hole in his pocket (Frank Rich said $250 million). And let's be even more conservative and say he's spending most of it on the high-class Armstrong Williams ($250,000) rather than the low rent Maggie Gallagher ($21,500). So, do the math: $50,000,000 / $250,000 = 200. But we only know of six; that leaves 194 to go. Could Miller be one of those 194? Read on.
3. Bush sold the Iraq war using the same disinformation campaign page from the Republican playbook used in the Armstrong Williams affair. Colonel Gardner's research suggests that there were at least 50 manufactured or engineered stories planted in support of the war to fix the facts and the intelligence around the policy.
5. The members of the White House Iraq Group were Karen Hughes, Andrew Card, Mary Matalin, James Wilkinson, Karl Rove—and "Scooter" Libby.
6. "Scooter" Libby was the source that Judith Miller was (we are told) "protecting" (whatever, but as everyone and their sister has noted, this story doesn't add up).
7. I suggest that Times management—Keller, Sulzberger—was embedded in the disinformation campaign run by the White House Iraq Group, that Miller was their operative, and Libby was their handler. Of course, their White House handler wouldn't have been crass enough to offer them money; the access to power, and the promise of scoops, would have been enough. The scoops were to come from Chalabi. (It doesn't matter whether the White House still had faith in Chalabi; what matters is that the Times did).
8. The players are not panicked about the Plame Affair at all; Rove outing Valerie Plame to Novak is the equivalent of the Watergate felons leaving tape on the doors of the Democratic headquarters they were burgling.
9. Here's what the players—the White House Iraq Group, Times management,and all the other members of the press who agreed to plant stories—are panicked about:
The White House Iraq Group records Fitzgerald subpoenaed will reveal a massive disinformation campaign, run from the White House by Bush's direct reports, and including many hitherto well-respected pundits, reporters, editors, and news gathering operations. (At least 50 stories, remember?) As a direct result of this campaign, thousands of Americans, and many thousands of Iraqis, lost their lives.
10. Like good gang members, all the players are obeying the code of omerta. That's what Scooter Libby was saying with his bizarre message about the quivering aspens connected underground (i.e., through the networking of the White House Iraq Group and the disinformation campaign it ran). And that's the message of the Miller photo I began with: Keller and Sulzberger are "on Miller's side" the way two mob bosses walk on either side of a soldier leaving an arraignment—"Don't snitch, and we'll protect you."
NOTE It would be interesting to know if the White House Iraq Group paid for its disinformation campaign with government money, or laundered money. The Iran-Contra page in the Republican playbook suggests the latter.
UPDATE The potential felons involved in the White House disinformation campaign, including her own bosses, would be the "other sources" Miller is protecting. It would be disappointing if the deal Miller cut with Fitzgerald was that the content of the subpoenaed material from the Iraq Working Group is never revealed. If it is not, we will know that this time the cover-up worked.
UPDATE Are Keller and Sulzberger twisting slowly, slowly in the wind? That would account for the mysterious paralysis at the times. Jay Rosen notes at Media Channel:
â€œThe news comes in code, and mostly the silences speak.â€ Last week, thatâ€™s how I describedwhat happens when the New York Times reports about Judith Miller and her time in jail. This is still the case, and people in journalism are noticing how weird it is. â€œI find the Timesâ€™ conduct at this point inexplicable,â€ said Michael Isikoff of Newsweek magazine on CNNâ€™s Reliable Sources. (I was on the show with him; so was Glenn Reynolds. The transcript.)
The host, Howard Kurtz, pointed out that when Isikoffâ€™s poorly sourced story on the desecration of the Koran ran in Newsweek, (see PressThink
on it) the editors â€œdid an investigation and set the record straight.â€ Has the New York Times â€œcome close to doing that here?â€ he asked.
No, it hasnâ€™t. And no one knows why. The official story seems to be: â€œWait for the official story.â€ Until then, normal operations are suspended. Weâ€™re told that Miller is talking to the paperâ€™s reporters, and a major article is on the way. Weâ€™re also told itâ€™s been delayed. There is no date for it. The editors will barely talk about it. Meanwhile the story keeps heating up.
The reason Keller and Sulzberger aren't doing anything is that they can't do anything. Fitzgerald has the records from the White House Iraq Group. They're probably hunkered down under their desks—or maybe Keller is hunkered down under Sulzberger's desk—hoping against hope it will all blow over. Chortle.
UPDATE Treasongate: The Crime, The Means, The Opportunity, and Now The Motive (Hint: It comes from the PNAC)
UPDATE I've organized this series of posts into a book. Click on the "Previous" and "Next" buttons to follow the story as it unfolds for us.
UPDATE Welcome, Huffington Post readers. Any of the courteous, uniformed guards of The Mighty Corrente Building will supply you with whatever amount of foil you may request for the duration of your stay.
On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal confirmed that the Iraq group was under scrutiny.
â€œFormed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. [Karl] Rove and [Lewis] Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion,â€ the Journal reported. â€œThe group likely would have played a significant role in responding to [former Ambassador Joseph] Wilson's claimsâ€ that the Bush administration twisted intelligence when it said Iraq tried to acquire yellow-cake uranium from Africa.
Rove's "strategic communications" task force operating inside the group was instrumental in writing and coordinating speeches by senior Bush administration officials, highlighting in September 2002 that Iraq was a nuclear threat.
"Strategic Commmunication," eh? Not a lie?
Here's my picture:
The speeches were the above-ground part of this operation. The 50 planted stories were the underground part.
One Rovian hand washes the other, right? A story gets planted in the media, then an official cites it in a speech. Kinda like an echo chamber, isn't it?
Or do you think these guys leave "intelligence and facts" to chance?
So, will Fitzgerald expose the underground work done by the W.H.I.G.? Unknown. But that's why the WhiteWash House is desperate to claim that the leak was to themfrom the press.
Because if the leak was from them to the press, then the channels through which the stories were planted, to fix the intelligence and facts around the policy, would be exposed.
NOTE I remember playing whack-a-mole on the shifting reasons for the war, and ever-changing stories. The tubes, the drones, the gas, the this, the that. I remember thinking at the time it was almost as if they were throwing any story out there they could, hoping one would stick. Silly me. What was I thiking, "as if"? As usual with these guys, no matter how cynical I am, it's never enough. Je repete:
this whole thing reminds of that great old Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express.
The whodunnit is totally confusing, clues pointing every which way and
cancelling each other out, until Hercule Poirot figures out that the
reason the clues could only make sense if they were all in on it, is
that, indeed, they were all in on it.
UPDATE I've organized this series of posts into a book. Click on the "Previous" and "Next" buttons to follow the story as it unfolds for us.
Curiously, America's Greatest Newspaper (not!) has never mentioned the White House Iraq Group. Not once.
Why is this curious? Because to make the case for Bush's war of choice in Iraq, the W.H.I.G. was tasked with fixing the facts and the intelligence around the policy through a disinformation campaign that involved more than 50 planted stories in the press. The W.H.I.G. membership? Karen Hughes, Andrew Card, Mary Matalin, James Wilkinson, Karl Roveâ€”and â€œScooterâ€ Libby, the source Judy "Kneepads" Miller was, erm, "protecting."
Why would the Times not cover this story? Why wouldn't anyone else? Here are some theories, in increasing order of institutional corruption.
Timesman Paul Krugman, curiously, circles round the problem, characterizing the behavior of the press under the Bush regime not as an institutional collapse, but as the result of personal ethical failures:
Let's be frank: the Bush administration has made brilliant use of journalistic careerism. Those who wrote puff pieces about Mr. Bush and those around him have been rewarded with career-boosting access.
(via the Times print edition and here)
However, Krugman has focussed—was allowed to focus?—only on the side issue of Bush hagiography, rather than on the central issue of how the press covered the runup to the Iraq War. (No talk of 50 planted stories here!)
Sid Blumenthal at least characterizes the behavior of the press as an institutional breakdown:
Unlike in Watergate, which was largely advanced by the press, [TraitorGate] has unfolded despite much of the press corps' efforts to avoid, demean or restrain the story until very recently. Also unlike in Watergate, major influences in the press have aligned with their sources in the administration, not with the professionals in the government acting as whistle-blowers.
However, Blumenthal is curiously imprecise about the way in which the press has "aligned" itself with the administration. (No talk of planted stories here!)
Michael Getler, WaPo's departing ombudsman, blames the institutional breakdown on the editors:
[T]he period before the Iraq war is so important because it was one of those historic, chips-are-down moments when a newspaper, especially one as important as The Post, must commit to using its resources and exercising its responsibilities to probe fully what the government is saying and doing.
[S]tories that challenged the official wisdom and unfolded in public were either missed or played down. I have attributed this mostly to what seemed to me to be a lack of alertness on the part of editors who at the time were also undoubtedly focused on preparing for the coming war.
Editors up and down the line are the key to this...
However, Getler, curiously, seems unwilling to examine the cause of this "lack of alertness"; could it be, as Krugman says, simple careerism? Mencken did say: "Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced"--or whose kids are in private schools. (Again, no mention of planted stories here. And when you think about it, editors would be very useful gatekeepers to get the planted stories in, and keep the real story out.)
But we've said what the problem is, at the Times and in the press as a whole, quite directly in plain language:
7. I suggest that Times managementâ€”Keller, Sulzbergerâ€”was embedded in the disinformation campaign run by the White House Iraq Group, that Miller was their operative, and Libby was their handler. Of course, their White House handler wouldnâ€™t have been crass enough to offer them money; the access to power, and the promise of scoops, would have been enough. The scoops were to come from Chalabi. (It doesnâ€™t matter whether the White House still had faith in Chalabi; what matters is that the Times did).
Long story short:
The Times hasn't mentioned the W.H.I.G. because they were part of the W.H.I.G. disinformation campaign. In Traitorgate, Valerie Plame was outed to protect that operation, because the Niger uranium story was one of the stories that W.H.I.G. planted. (Remember the crude forgery of mysterious provenance that the yellowcake story was based on?)
And the reason it seems like they were all in on it, is that they were all in on it. All the Kewl Kidz, and all the media whores. The Beltway 500 crowd is dirty--Not all of them, but a percentage at the top of the dominance heirarchy (Not you, Dan Froomkin, and not you, Walter Pincus.)
So, it will be interesting to see if the Times can—snigger—cover itself in its still forthcoming story on Miller, or whether they'll go into modified limited hangout mode to protect Keller and Sulzberger—and, incidentally, not blow the cover of the W.H.I.G. disinformation campaign. Maybe this post can be your magic decoder ring to help you read between the lines of what they are allowed to write.
NOTE Please refer all comments containing the words "tinfoil hat" to the Department of No! They Would Never Do That!
UPDATE From comments at Kos, SourceWatch on WHIG. Also, firedoglake has an excellent summary of the record.
UPDATE Frank Rich does a modified limited hangout on WHIG in Sunday's Times.
UPDATE Treasongate: The Crime, The Means, The Opportunity, and Now The Motive (Hint: It comes from the PNAC).
UPDATE I've organized this series of posts into a book. Click on the "Previous" and "Next" buttons to follow the story as it unfolds for us.
"It's Scooter Libby."
I bet Keller, Sulzberger, and the WHIG are praying that throwing Scooter to the wolves stops the bleeding. Nixon tried that with the modified, limited hangout strategy. Let's see if it works.
NOTE For more on the WHIG, The Times, and Miller, Sulzberger, and Keller, see Outing Valerie Plame is the tape on the Watergate doors, and The Grey Lady that did not bark in the night.
Well! Today, for the first time, America's Greatest Newspaper (not!) mentions the WHIG. Curiously, the Grey Lady chooses to lose her cherry on this story with Frank Rich behind the green door of Times Select, and not in the news section. Gosh, the news section is where the "Flame"-broiling of what remains of the Time's reputation for journalism is taking place, isn't it? It's almost like they want to build a Chinese wall between Miller and WHIG, isn't it?
Anyhow, Frank Rich does do a modified limited hangout.And the fact that this is a modified limited hangout shows just how bad things are. But, as in all coverups, watch for what is not said. Do a gap analysis!
What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that is not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick ["Dick"] Cheney.
Mr. Wilson and his wife were trashed to protect that larger plot. ... Deep in a Wall Street Journal account [Low blow, there, Frank] was this crucial sentence: "Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Very little has been written about the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG.... It's eight members included Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby, Condaleezza Ric and the spinmeisters Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin. It's mission: To market the war in Iraq.
On July 23, 2002 -- a weeek before WHIG first convened in earnest -- a British official told his peers, as now recorded in the famous Downing Street memo, that the Bush administration was ensuring that the "intelligence and facts" about Iraq's WMDs "were being fixed around the policy" of going to war.
Throughout those crucial seven months between the creation of WHIG and the start of the American invasion of Iraw there were indications that evidence of a Saddam nuclear program was fraudulent or non-existent. ...
It was not until after the war was supposedly over -- with "Mission Accomplished" in 2003 -- that Mr. Wilson started to add his voice to those who were disputing the administration's uranium hype. Members of WHIG had a compelling motive to shut him down. [In contrast to other critics, Mr. Wilson was an American diplomat; he had reported his findings in Niger to our own government. He was a dagger aimed straight at the heart of the WHIG and its disinformation campaign. Exactly who tried to silence him and how is what Mr. Fitzgerald will presumably tell us.
[Mr. Rove is less his boss's brain than another alliterative organ (or organs), that which provides testesterone. As we learn in "Bush's Brain," bad things (usually character assassination) often happen to Bush foes... On such occasions, Mr. Bush stats compassionately above the fray while the ruthless Mr. Rove operates below the radar, always separated by "a layer of operatives" from any ill behavior that might implicate him.
This modus operandi was foolproof, shielding the president as well as Mr. Rove from culpability, as long as it was about winning an election. The attack on Mr Wilson left them and the Cheney-Libby tag team vulnerable because its about something far bigger: protecting the lies that took the country into [Iraq].
(from Izvestia on the Hudson's print version)
All well and good, so far as it goes.
Here are the gaps:
Curiously, Rich mentions nothing to do with planted stories--and what would a disinformation campaign be without them?
In summary, if you believe the following:
Times management--Keller, Sulzberger--was embedded in the disinformation campaign run by the White House Iraq Group, that Miller was their operative, and Libby was their handler. Of course, their White House handler wouldn't have been crass enough to offer them money; the access to power, and the promise of scoops, would have been enough. The scoops were to come from Chalabi. (It doesn't matter whether the White House still had faith in Chalabi; what matters is that the Times did).
Rich does nothing to disprove it. Just like Miller (The Shorter Judy), he points the finger at someone else.
It's a modified, limited hangout. For this, I spend $4.50?
Or would Cheney, without checking with his?
Well, now that you put it like that...
For Plame junkies, here's an essential read about from Stratfor via Kos of the mutual obligations between NOCs (Non-Official Cover operatives) like Plame, and their country (as represented by the administration:
What we do know is this. In the course of events, reporters contacted two senior officials in the White House -- Rove and Libby. Under the least-damaging scenario we have heard, the reporters already knew that Plame had worked as a NOC. Rove and Libby, at this point, were obligated to say, at the very least, that they could neither confirm nor deny the report. In fact, their duty would have been quite a bit more: Their job was to lie like crazy to mislead the reporters.
Nothing like that in Miller's apologia, eh?
Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a "bodyguard of lies" -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities.
If Rove and Libby even mentioned the name of Valerie Plame in the context of being a CIA employee -- NOC or not -- on an unsecured line to a person without a security clearance or need to know, while the nation was waging war, that is the end of the story. It really doesn't matter why or whether there was a plan or anything. The minimal story -- that they talked about Plame with a reporter -- is the end of the matter.
We can think of only one possible justification for this action: That it was done on the order of the president. The president has the authority to suspend or change security regulations if required by the national interest. The Plame affair would be cleared up if it turns out Rove and Libby were ordered to act as they did by the president. Perhaps the president is prevented by circumstances from coming forward and lifting the burden from Rove and Libby. If that is the case, it could cost him his right-hand man. But absent that explanation, it is difficult to justify the actions that were taken.
Yeah, we're not calling it TreasonGate for nothing.
NOTE I wonder why Bush would have suspended the security regulations to out Plame? Could it have been to safegard an ongoing domestic disinformation campaign run by the WHIG?
Jeebus, it looks like the entire SCLM has been co-opted by Fitzgerald's targets and subjects so they can leak messages to each other, and influence each other's testimony, all with plausible deniability .. For this, we have the First Amendment?
Anyhow, that kind of behavior gets professional prosecutors very interested. Murray Waas (you know, David and Don's brother...) reports:
Four former federal prosecutors said in interviews that if Libby did anything to discourage Miller from testifying in the case, it might be construed as possible obstruction of justice
or witness-tampering, and that a thorough prosecutor, such as Fitzgerald, would logically make an extensive inquiry as to what occurred.
Dan Richman, a professor at Fordham Law School and a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, said in an interview that while he could not speak specifically about what occurred between Tate and Abrams, an "attorney encouraging a witness to withhold information from a grand jury when the witness had no right to withhold is engaging in obstructive behavior."
It's the coverup that kills you, isn't it?
A lesson each generation of Republicans has to learn all over again....
Bush is getting ready to heave Karl over the side:
An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.
"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."
sked if he believed indictments were forthcoming, a key Bush official said he did not know, then added: "I'm very concerned it could go very, very badly."
"Karl is fighting for his life," the official added, "but anything he did was done to help George W. Bush. The President knows that and appreciates that."
Other sources confirmed, however, that Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.
Bush has always known that Rove often talks with reporters anonymously and he generally approved of such contacts, one source said.
But the President felt Rove and other members of the White House damage-control team did a clumsy job in their campaign to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, the ex-diplomat who criticized Bush's claim that Saddam Hussen tried to buy weapons-grade uranium in Niger.
A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.
"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way," the source said.
None of these sources offered additional specifics of what Bush and Rove discussed in conversations...
(via NY Daily News)
What a shame. But apparently someone was listening in. I wonder if there are tapes?
Then again, Bush had every right to be mad; after all, Unka Karl blew the cover on the WHIGs ongoing domestic disinformation operation. Gosh, I'd be mad, too!
NOTE Sourcing on this story: A "Presidential counsellor," other sources, a "second well-placed source." Looks like the good ship Bush has sprung some leaks...
Corrente was right on the money. Yesterday's conspiracy theory is today's news. Read on:
7. I suggest that Times management--Keller, Sulzberger--was embedded in the disinformation campaign run by the White House Iraq Group, that Miller was their operative, and Libby was their handler.
Of course, their White House handler wouldn't have been crass enough to offer them money; the access to power, and the promise of scoops, would have been enough. The scoops were to come from Chalabi. (It doesn't matter whether the White House still had faith in Chalabi; what matters is that the Times did).
WASHINGTON - It was called the White House Iraq Group and its job was to make the case that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and biochemical weapons.
Besides Rove and Libby, the group included senior White House aides Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James Wilkinson, Nicholas Calio, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley. WHIG also was doing more than just public relations, said a second former intel officer.
"They were funneling information to [New York Times reporter] Judy Miller. Judy was a charter member", the source said.
So, among the 50 stories that WHIG planted in the runup to the war, some were from Judy "Kneepads" Miller.
One dot connected.
Our remaining dots at the Times are Keller and Sulzberger. And doesn't this story put all Judy's claims that "I can do whatever I want," and "running amok," and being in the "driver's seat" in a new light, doesn't it?
Surely it's obvious that when she says that, she's protecting Keller and Sulzberger? As well as her ability to "eat lunch in this town" and travel to conferences and pontificate on freedom of the press?
The Plame story is a sideshow; it's the tape on the Watergate doors.
The real story is the WHIG: A massive domestic covert operation, a disinformation campaign run directl from the White House, to "fix the facts and the intelligence around the policy" by planting stories in the press to lead the country into war.
Hint: The motive is supplied by the PNAC.
The crime: A covert domestic disinformation campaign to support invading Iraq with planted stories in the press. When Joseph Wilson wrote his editorial about yellowcake, one such planted story, his wife, Valerie Plame was outed to retaliate against Wilson.
The means: The White House Iraq Group, which fixed the intelligence and facts around the policy, by planting the stories, at least through Judy Miller (here) and almost certainly through others. (Note that Fitzgerland subpoenaed the WHIG's records.)
The opportunity: 9/11, which was hijacked into planning to attack Iraq within two days.
To which Froomkin adds this:
The motive: The PNAC's plans for a New American Century, which included invading Iraq. Let's set the context:
Yesterday, we drew your attention ("When in the course of human events") to a speech by Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's deputy, who said—among other things that it's amazing this insider's insider would say—that the Bush administration was performing so badly that if they kept it up, a second American Revolution was likely. No kidding.
Oddly, or not, there's been nothing on this story in our free press from anyone other than The Amazin' Froomkin, who follows up on a (to me, less interesting than a second American Revolution) Wilkerson bombshell:
There's virtually no follow-up whatsoever in today's papers to the assertion by Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, that a secret cabal led by the vice president [that is, WHIG] has hijacked U.S. foreign policy [by invading Iraq], inveigled the president [not so] , condoned torture and crippled the ability of the government to respond to emergencies [Exhibit A: Katrina]. (See yesterday's column.)
Several readers wrote me to ask: What would motivate Cheney et al. to do such a thing?
Crime, means, opportunity and now motive: Froomkin ties it up with a nice bow.
Gosh, it does feel like Christmas, doesn't it?
Oh, the criminals? You can vote for them here.
For a few days now, we've been working the following hypothesis:
I suggest that Times managementâ€”Keller, Sulzbergerâ€”was embedded in the disinformation campaign run by the White House Iraq Group, that Miller was their operative, and Libby was their handler.
Miller proved out (Miller was WHIG operative--CONFIRMED!)
But Bill "Helen" Keller, now...
After reading Keller's pathetic, deeply wussy coulda, woulda, shoulda staff email on why he took a year to look at what Kneepads was doing, and just thought it wouldn't be a good idea to, ya know, actually sneak a look at her famous notebooks, I can almost believe that Keller was a "Good German" who looked the other way, as Miller blew smoke for the WHIG disinformation campaign. How humililated he must be!
But Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger... To connect the Pinch dot, let's parse Pinch's slightly hysterical disavowal--"[T]his car had her hand on the wheel."
Notice anything curious about that sentence? I'll wait. Here it is: "Hand" is singular. How many people do you know that drive a car with one hand? And surely Pinch, who lives in a deeply literate world, would never have written such a sentence.... Unless there were another hand on the wheel, eh? The hand of Times management? Paging Doctor Freud! 'Cause Pinch's slip is showing!
Yes, it would be irresponsbible not to speculate. Which leads us to ask the following question: Like father, like son? No, not George I and George II. Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger and Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, Junior. See the Wikipedia entry on Operation Mockingbird:
By this time Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25
newspapers and wire agencies. These organizations were run by people
with well-known right-wing views such as William Paley (CBS), Henry Luce (Time Magazine and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services) and Joseph Harrison (Christian Science Monitor). 
So, it would have seemed quite natural, indeed, an act of filial piety, for Pinch to have assented to WHIG operative "Scooter" Libby's proposition to help out the country by planting a few stories... And to have pimped Judy "Kneepads" Miller to him.
UPDATE Welcome, Daou Report readers. I've organized this series of posts into a book. Click on the "Previous" and "Next" buttons to follow the story as it unfolds for us.
UPDATE Somebody asked me "Arther than what?" so I corrected the typo. Sorry.
NOTE One of the subtexts of Colonel Wilkerson's old-school polemic ("When in the course of human events") is that the Bushies, the first post-Cold War Republican administration, are like children treating sharp, Cold-War-edged weapons as if they were toys; that they don't even know these weapons had edges. As usual, the Republicans recognized no duty of care. One can imagine Pinch's father feeling the same thing about his son.
Sure, it gives me a warm feeling to watch MoDo grind a stiletto heel deep into Kneepad's private parts (if any). I mean, who wouldn't enjoy that? And the admission? Just a buck for the print version! Well worth the investment!
But let's not succumb to premature schadenfreude and let snark divert us from MoDo's bottom line:
Before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment batlle, [Sulzeberger and Keller] should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.
Am I the only one who's noticing a suspiciously elegant symmetry here? Scooter and Judy being heaved over the side at the same time?
Two loose cannons, one simultaneous splash!
Or could it be... Something a little less coincidental?
I've read my LeCarre—and what I'm seeing is handler (Libby) and operative (Miller) going down together; all to provide plausible deniability for company management (Bush/Cheney, Sulzberger/Keller).
Inspired by ReddHedd, I went and read John Dickerson's articles about how the White House outed Valerie Plame. I thought it would make things simpler if I made a scorecard that shows the players in the story that Dickerson tells, and the nature of their contacts with the press, as Dickerson describes them:
Of course, the mere fact that the only people who talked privately to the press about Joe Wilson's carefully unnamed wife were members of WHIG is not proof that a disinformation campaign was going on... But it certainly is suggestive. Eh?