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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Simmons gives challenger Joe Courtney a gift

You have to wonder what Rob Simmons was thinking when he made his outrageous remarks concerning Karl Rove and the Valerie Wilson (Plame) scandal.


He keep giving his challenger Joe Courtney slow balls and Courtney will keep hitting them out of the park.

Here are key points from Joe Courtney's op-ed from today's New London Day

Recent revelations that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove was deeply involved in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity has set off a fierce counterattack by defenders of both Rove and President George W. Bush.

Their thin claim? Even if it's true Rove told reporters about Plame, through tedious parsing of the law it cannot be proved that a crime was committed. The crux of the Bush team's argument is that Ms Plame (or Mrs. Joseph Wilson) is not a protected person under the CIA secrecy law, since she was not a covert agent. She has been mischaracterized as a “desk officer,” or a “9-to-5 administrator.”

This volley of Republican National Committee talking points has backfired. On July 19 the Wall Street Journal unearthed a 2003 White House memo that Rove had access to, which clearly stated that Plame's identity was classified. The very next day, the Washington Post confirmed that the memo was transmitted to the president with a notation that her identity was protected. The initials “SNF” were put next to her name, which stands for “Secret no Foreign,” a clear indication that her identity was classified. These events transpired before the leak of Plame's identity.

[...]

On July 15, Simmons' stunningly dismissive comment to the Hartford Courant was that the Rove affair is “much ado about nothing.” Simmons remark was jaw dropping. First, because he is ex-CIA and should be highly sensitive to the harm disclosures create, Second because in 2003 when the leak occurred, an outraged Simmons denounced this behavior in the Courant as threatening the lives of innocent people — “a matter of life and death.”

Why Rob Simmons' stark reversal?

In his follow up comments to the Courant (July 18) and the Manchester Journal Inquirer (July 19), Simmons parroted the Republican National Committee talking points to a T: “Mrs. Wilson had a desk job”...it appears that the government was not taking affirmative measures to protect her identity.”

Apparently, Simmons was content with the partisan talking points his 11 former CIA colleagues condemned. Of course, those 11 are not partisan politicians.

Now that the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Valerie Plame's identity was indeed classified, it is clear that Mr. Simmons nonchalance about Rove's actions was premature to say the least.

Like I said, Courtney hits it out of the park. Whether this will work against Simmons remains to be seen but if I was in his camp, I would advise him to tone down the GOP talking points because people don't have alot of trust in anything coming out of the White House now (Bush has a below 50 percent approval rating since the White House was caught lying about Rove's involvement in the scandal).

With a base in Groton on the chopping block, Simmons should have other things to worry about because if that base closes, he can kiss his reeceltion good bye.