Greg Sargent

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ROBERT SHRUM DISPUTES...

ROBERT SHRUM DISPUTES JOE KLEIN'S ACCOUNT OF KERRY CAMPAIGN. Robert Shrum , the chief strategist for John Kerry 's presidential campaign, is disputing some aspects of a forthcoming account by Joe Klein of the 2004 campaign, saying Klein's version is "inaccurate" and "misleading." In his latest Time magazine column, Klein published an excerpt of the book, one which offers a scathing look at the inner dynamics of Kerry's campaign. In the piece, Klein asserts that Kerry allowed himself "to be smothered by his consultants," and cites as a key example the campaign's handling of the Abu Gharib scandal: Perhaps the worst moment came with the Bush Administration torture scandal: How to respond to Abu Ghraib? Hold a focus group. But the civilians who volunteered for an Arkansas focus group were conflicted; ultimately, they believed the Bush Administration should do whatever was necessary to extract information from the "terrorists." The consultants were unanimous in their recommendation to the...

THE BIG STORY:...

THE BIG STORY: STILL WAITING TO BE TOLD. Before this point gets lost in the din of the latest leak disclosures, it needs to be said, as loudly as possible, that the big story has yet to be told, and in that regard, Murray Waas 's previous scoop about Karl Rove is even more important -- and more deserving of mainstream media attention -- in light of the new revelations. In that piece, Waas reported that a classified one-page summary of the now-notorious National Intelligence Estimate was given to Bush , which says that some intelligence officials had serious doubts about the claim that Saddam wanted aluminum tubes for nukes -- and that Bush was given this summary before repeating the tubes claim in his speech. Let's state this as clearly as we can: Wass says there is a piece of paper out there which constitutes hard evidence that Bush withheld critical info from the American public as he made the most critical decision a president can make -- the decision whether to go to war. Jaded DC...

PODHORETZ FLOATS FLIMSY...

PODHORETZ FLOATS FLIMSY RIGHT-WING PUSHBACK ON LEAK STORY -- AND PUNTS. The emerging right-wing spin about the leak revelations was perfectly captured in John Podhoretz 's column today in the New York Post . Since these arguments are certain to be aired again and again in coming days, they need to be debunked, and quickly. And it's remarkably easy to do. The Pod makes three points, all of which are soon to be chanted in unison by countless winger commentators. He says : 1) The leak wasn't really a leak because it was authorized by the president, and a "leak" is the "unauthorized release of government information." This one's easy to knock down. First, a leak doesn't suddenly become a non-leak because it was secretly "authorized" by a higher-up. Plenty of info is leaked with tacit authorization from above, and we all agree to call that "leaking." This info certainly was leaked, in the sense that it was passed on confidentially by Libby to a reporter who wasn't supposed to reveal the...

A LEAK ISN'T...

A LEAK ISN'T REALLY A LEAK. GOT THAT? The White House appears to have adopted a novel approach to spinning their way out of yesterday's explosive revelations about Scooter Libby 's testimony that President Bush authorized the leaking of classified intelligence. From today's Washington Post : A senior administration official, speaking on background because White House policy prohibits comment on an active investigation, said Bush sees a distinction between leaks and what he is alleged to have done . The official said Bush authorized the release of the classified information to assure the public of his rationale for war as it was coming under increasing scrutiny. (Emphasis added.) In other words, a leak isn't really a leak. Or it isn't really a leak when President Bush authorizes it. Or it isn't really a leak when President Bush is caught authorizing it. Or something. --Greg Sargent

CNN VS. TPM....

CNN VS. TPM. This is really something. First Josh Marshall catches CNN swiping the photo TPM Muckraker posted of Brian Doyle 's mugshot. Seems CNN accidentally left the "TPM" logo in the picture. Then, when TPM called out CNN on it, CNN posted a new version of the picture on their home-page-- apparently scrubbed clean of the logo. But there was just one problem: CNN forgot to clean up the photo on the story's site. TPM called CNN out on that, too. Well now, guess what? CNN has gone back in again and cleaned up the version on the story's site, too. You gotta ask -- wouldn't it have been easier for CNN to just credit the source, rather than keep scrubbing away any and all evidence of where the picture came from? I mean, wouldn't it have taken less effort? This type of thing seems niggling, but it's a big deal for bloggers who are trying to inject reporting into the opinion-dominated medium of blogging. Getting credited by the big news orgs for breaking a story gives bloggers credibility...

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