The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Senate Intelligence Committee: Dem Rockefeller strikes back

After a fashion.

As I said on November 13, neither side will be looking to pull the trigger - to use the phrase of the Dem memo that kicked the game off - any time soon.

But Vice Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV's WaPo piece today - by way of a reply to Chairman Pat Roberts' sanctimonious guff-fest of November 13 - hardly shows him as the man to rip out GOP throats when the electoral calendar has reached trigger-pulling time. He's husbanding his energies, no doubt.

The War Party - well, noted USG leakee Robert Novak, at least - has been waxing lyrical about the fall from supposed Adamite bipartisan grace for which the Dems are responsible - and the moral responsibility of the guy who stole the memo? That, I think we're meant to conclude, was larceny for a Higher Purpose, of course!

In passing, we get a nice line [1] from Novak on the pre-memo Roberts-Rockefeller relationship:
On a personal basis, Roberts gets along well with Rockefeller...He likes the multi-millionaire scion of the famous Republican family, describing Rockefeller's high-flown pronouncements as "ethereal."...

I suspect that's Kansan for the guy is a fruit-cake. But it's better than Tony Blair's spin-doctor's crack about David Kelly (the WMD man whose death prompted the Hutton Inquiry) being
a Walter Mitty character
Isn't it?

Meanwhile, the spat in the SIC means that USG is off the hook for the piles of documents the Committee has requested, and it has failed to supply.

The tone of the (pre-memo) letters [2], sent jointly by Chair and Vice, of George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, demanding compliance with earlier demands for cooperation is exasperated and peremptory.

One question to be explored is the timing: was the Dem memo produced, and when did the GOP side become aware of it? Did Roberts know the memo existed when he sent the letters to Tenet and Co? I've not researched the points, and am quite prepared to believe they've been resolved to the satisfaction of neutral observers. On the other hand, I can't remember timing actually being raised as an issue anywhere. The townhall copy of the memo is undated.

There's been no actual claim of executive privilege, so far as I know [3]. But then, so long as the SIC refuses to litigate, there doesn't need to be any.

(And let's not forget, the site launched by Free Republic as a resort for GOP-ers who are mad as hell - and, perhaps, those who aren't and are worried about the fact.)

  1. Which may even be original - searches have come up empty.

  2. Texts here and here.

  3. As exercised in the case of 41's archives and threatened over Vice President Dick Cheney's Enron involvement - I can't trace the resolution of the issue.


The memo was revealed on the Sean Hannity programme on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 4. The letters to Rice, Powell and Rumsfeld were sent on Thursday, October 30. On timescale, not wholly implausible that Roberts could have had infomation about the memo when he sent the letters.

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