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I’m proud to announce that Murray Waas has been added to the Yearly Kos panel on the CIA leak investigation that will be held in Las Vegas on Friday, June 9.  I’ll be moderating the panel that already includes Ambassador Joe Wilson, Emptywheel of The Next Hurrah, Larry Johnson, Dan Froomkin of the washingtonposst.com and our own Christy Hardin-Smith.

As a journalist for the National Journal and blogger at his blog Whatever, Already!, Murray Waas has owned the Plame story from the start.  As emptywheel has written before, he is the "gold standard" by which all other journalists covering the story are judged.  Typically Murray will make some bold new revelation about the story (see Exhibit A), then someone like Michael Isikoff will go crawling to some administration-friendly attorney to print the official spin (see Exhibit B).  When they see what does and doesn’t fly, they’ll turn up on Jim VandeHei’s doorstep putting bandaids on the initial spin (see Exhibit C), but without Murray’s original reporting — which does not depend on White House spinners for information — damn little of this story would have made its way into the public eye.  

Murray will also be joining us at our Firedoglake Plame Breakfast on Saturday, June 10. 

I’ll let NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen speak to Murray’s importance to this story, from an article entitled Is Murray Waas is Our Woodward Now?

By Woodward Now I mean the reporter who is actually doing what Woodward has a reputation for doing: finding, tracking, breaking into reportable parts—and then publishing—the biggest story in town. He’s also putting those parts together for us.

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Dan Froomkin reads all the coverage (it’s his job) and wrote this on March 31:

Slowly but surely, investigative reporter Murray Waas has been putting together a compelling narrative about how President Bush and his top aides contrived their bogus case for war in Iraq; how they succeeded in keeping charges of deception from becoming a major issue in the 2004 election; and how they continue to keep most of the press off the trail to this day.

Key point: The biggest story in town is partly a story about the ways of the Washington press. On March 31 Waas emerged from his workshop and added a critical piece (“Insulating Bush”) to which other big pieces attach:

Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush’s 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration.

This story said that “Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address — that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon — might not be true.” But then he went ahead anyway.

Froomkin says the rest of the Washington press corps should wake up to what Waas is uncovering. “Waas’s fellow reporters at major news operations should either acknowledge and try to follow up his stories — or debunk them. It’s not okay to just leave them hanging out there. They’re too important.”

Ann Marie Squeo has a rather embarassing piece in the Opinion Journal full of the usual canards regarding bloggers and online journalists and their "one-sided analysis" of stories.  Before she steps out and makes a public display of such ignorance again, she might want to familiarize herself with Murray’s work on the Plame case:

  • February 12, 2004Plame Gate:  Did Robert Novak willfully disregard warnings that his column would endanger Valerie Plame? Our sources say "yes." (From The American Prospect Online)
  • March 8, 2004Plugging Leaks:  More details emerge on the Plame investigation, as Karl Rove’s testimony is revealed for the first time. (From The American Prospect Online)
  • July 8 2004 –  Ashcroft’s Interest  The attorney general received numerous briefings last year on the Plame case: "Whatever the FBI knew, [he] was able to know within days if he wanted to."  (From The American Prospect Online)
  • July 16 2004 –  Curveballs to Congress:  The Senate Intelligence Committee has spoken on the intelligence that led us to war. If only we had known … (From The American Prospect Online)
  • April 6, 2005 Exclusive: Plame Game Over?  The special prosecutor says his investigation was “for all practical purposes complete” six months ago.  (From The American Prospect Online)
  • April 22 2005 –  Plame Game Redux:  The grand jury finds evidence of an aggressive administration campaign to discredit Joe Wilson. But charging someone with a crime has proven to be far more difficult.  (From The American Prospect Online)
  • July 15, 2005 –  Front-Page Fronts:  The Times and the Post are publicizing Rove’s version of events. But is his story true?  (From The American Prospect Online)
  • July 19 2005 –  An Unlikely Story:  Karl Rove’s alibi would be easier to believe if he hadn’t hidden it from FBI investigators in 2003. (From The American Prospect Online)
  • August 8, 2005 –  House Democrats ask that Libby grant Judith Miller a specific waiver to testify (from Waas’ blog Whatever, Already!)
  • August 13, 2005What Now, Karl?   Rove and Ashcroft face new allegations in the Valerie Plame affair (revealed how James Comey had pressured Ashcroft to recuse himself from the Plame case) (From the Village Voice)
  • August 6, 2005 –  The Meeting:  Scooter Libby and Judy Miller met on July 8, 2003, two days after Joe Wilson published his column. And Patrick Fitzgerald is very interested.  (From The American Prospect Online)
  • October 18, 2005 –  CIA Leak Prosecutor Focuses On Libby (From The National Journal Online)
  • October 20, 2005Secret Service Records Prompted Key Miller Testimony  (From The National Journal Online)
  • November 12, 2005Libby Testimony is Key to Rove Inquiry  (From The National Journal Online)
  • March 30, 2006 –  Insulating Bush:  How the plan to discredit Joe Wilson was part of a strategy to delay information that the Niger Uranium claims were bogus until after the 2004 election (From The National Journal Online)
  • April 6, 2006Libby Says Bush Authorized Leaks  (From The National Journal Online)
  • April 14, 2006Cheney Authorized Leak of CIA Report, Libby Says  (From The National Journal Online)

Murray’s August 6, 2005 story which revealed that Judy Miller had never asked Lewis Libby for a waiver was cited in Patrick Fitzgerald’s September 12, 2005 letter to Joseph Tate, and it was this reporting that finally helped Fitz break the log jam and caused Judy Miller to testify.  When she got out of jail she called Murray to thank him for his work. Because of Murray we know what we know about Karl Rove’s various testimonies before the grand jury, the fact that Robert Novak cooperated with Fitzgerald early on, and that Dick Cheney instructed Scooter Libby to leak classified information for political gain.  

I challenge Ms. Squeo to go back and find one piece of reporting on this story done by the Journal in any of its mouldering forms that can touch the hem of anything Murray has done.  

Peter Daou, Tim Greive and Dan Froomkin have all provided valuable and appropriate context for much of the online reporting being done in this case — would Ms. Squeo like to provide the same on the reporting of the Opinion Journal’s newest addition, Judith Miller? What incredible ironiy that Squeo’s piece about bloggers getting things wrong appears on the same day the Queen of All Iraq makes her debut on those same pages.  I searched Squeo’s piece for any acknowledgement of the woman who brought you "Curveball," WMDs and mobile weapons labs, but alas, could find none.   The traditional media smugness her piece exhibits is entirely misplaced.  In the future Squeo might want to fact check a bit more closely before engaging in broad generalizations and breathless hyperbole. It’s rather unbecoming.

The rest of you are cordially invited to join me, Murray Waas and the rest of the Plame panel at the FDL breakfast we’ll be having on Saturday, June 10 in Las Vegas, for which you can register here.