In another case of the reporter making and framing the news instead of reporting on it, Wolf Blitzer takes pains to defend a reporter and a friend whom he worked with a long time ago. During the 26 October 2005 episode of The Situation Room, Blitzer goes head to head with a former CIA agent on the Plame outing.
Thanks to Juan Cole for blogging on this, but he only glances against two very important points. The first issue is Blitzer's active defense of "a far right wing Zionist, [who] has been a hatchet man for the Neocons" (Juan Cole). Larry Johnson, the former CIA agent being interviewed, has an additional challenge when making his case on the show. Far from a neutral observer, Blitzer uses his personal relationship and knowledge with Clifford May to vouch for May's credibility.
The second issue is Blitzer's smart-than-thou attitude when backing May's claim. Again, instead of having a discussion on the issue, Blitzer is not to subtly implying that reporters are pure and true and without besmirched spots. They tell the truth and do not distort or convolute or outright lie. Blitzer offers the suggestion that Plame's outing was not significant because she may have already been compromised by previous spies (the link between Novak and being a spy in this situation being lost on Blitzer). Plamegate, according to Blitzer, is really much ado about nothing since she was already outed before. It is good to know that our man in the know, Blitzer, is on top of intelligence and alliance activities to know that even if the Soviet Union was aware of Plame's identity and function within the Directorate of Operations, that they must have shared this information with the common enemy al-Quada. Thank you, Wolf, for keeping the world safe. Perhaps the American Enterprise Institute has a gig waiting for you when you decide to leave CNN...
Below is an excerpt from the conversation on The Situation Room:
BLITZER: Let me read to you from a Bob Novak column in "The Chicago Sun-Times" and other newspapers October 1, 2003, a couple of months or so after he revealed her name . . . That doesn't make it sound like she was very covert.
JOHNSON: Not only does -- you know, Bob Novak once again demonstrates he doesn't know what he's talking about. And that is a lie.
I defy anybody. I have got $5,000 that says that you can't find a reference to Valerie Plame and the CIA prior to Robert Novak's column. Can't do it. The fact that she's married...
BLITZER: Well, why would Clifford May say that he knew about it?
JOHNSON: Clifford May has been wrong on a whole variety of things.
BLITZER: But he's a respected guy, Clifford May.
JOHNSON: Well, he's respected by some people. I don't respect him, because I...
BLITZER: I have known him for many years... JOHNSON: I...
BLITZER: ... going back to when he was a reporter for "The New York Times."
JOHNSON: His information -- his information -- his information on this issue has been repeatedly wrong.
And, again, I'll bet Clifford May $5,000. Find the reference prior to Robert Novak's column in which that information was out there. It wasn't out there. Not only that. When Valerie wrote that check to Al Gore's campaign as a member of Brewster-Jennings, she was living her cover. Not a single neighbor knew that she worked for the CIA.
She protected that cover. She was in the process of moving from non-official cover to official cover, but, under the law, official cover still protected.
BLITZER: Because there is some suggestion that she had been outed by other -- by Aldrich Ames or others...