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How Do Conservatives Lie About The CIA Leak Investigation? Let Me Count The Ways.

Reported by Ellen - October 27, 2005

Last night's Hannity & Colmes panel discussion about the CIA leak investigation was little more than a panoply of GOP falsehoods with extra Clinton-bashing and Ann Coulter's giggling invective thrown in for good measure. The only Democrat on the panel, Kirsten Powers, seemed unprepared to debunk the lies despite the fact that these talking points are not new.

Would somebody please do a Saturday Night Live or Daily Show routine about Ann Coulter? This phoney baloney cries out to be ridiculed but leave it to FOX News to hoist her as a serious analyst. On what other TV network would someone open a discussion, as Sean Hannity did, by saying to Coulter, "You are a great lawyer and you have a great legal mind."

From there the lies began in a near-textbook case of GOP talking points, all of which have been refuted by Media Matters.

Ann Coulter Lie #1: "Everyone in Washington knew (Plame) was a CIA agent." Coulter didn't provide any source for that claim. I guess we were supposed to be so dazzled by her wit - she kept calling Plame "Flame" - that we wouldn't care about something as dry as the facts. Then she reported that Plame's neighbors told the investigators that they didn't know she was a CIA agent. "That's a lie and it's a crime to lie," she said jubilantly, again without any corroboration. She wore an ostentatious cross that stood out against her black (tight, of course) sweater all the while she repeatedly demonstrated such un-Christianlike behavior. (See Media Matters' excellent post which details the evidence pointing away from Coulter's claim that Plame was not under cover.)

Coulter and co-panelist, Chuck Colson (convicted for his part in the Watergate scandal - another Republican Rehab on FNC) and, of course, Hannity tried to make the case that, unlike Bill Clinton, it was quite likely Rove and Libby truly misremembered what they had testified about, so therefore it wasn't perjury.

Coulter lie #2: Coulter who has to be the world's giddiest "pundit" (which I'd say grossly overstates her knack for anything other than self-aggrandisement) gigglingly said, "If... what happened was Rove or Scooter Libby - whom I didn't even know existed until 10 minutes ago - it's as if the Bush Administration would come crumbling down when some functionary at the White House no one had heard of is indicted - No, I don't think so." She paused to allow the audience to admire her wit.

Comment: Surely Coulter knows that neither Rove nor LIbby is just "some functionary" at the White House but key members of the Bush Administration.

Next came the attack against the prosecutor for being "overzealous:" Colson said "Probably what's going to happen is - and prosecutors are famous for doing this - is you put the person through the meat grinder of the investigation, the grand jury will do anything the prosecutor wants, and then you get 'em on spitting on the sidewalk or some lesser charge." Later, he said, "If you drag an investigation out over two years, you can always get somebody on a conflict of testimony."

Unfortunately, Kirsten Powers did not directly rebut the entirely predictable (and if nothing else, that crowd is predictable) talking points. Why didn't she say, for example, that if Rove and/or LIbby outed a CIA agent, it's a serious crime, about which Bush 41 stated, "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors?" I can only conclude Powers was not adequately prepared.

When it was Alan Colmes' turn, Coulter started in with her cutesy-flirtsy behavior that she always exhibits around him. Thank goodness, he didn't play along last night. Colmes began a sentence by saying that we don't know if a crime was committed or not.

Coulter interrupted. "But we did go to war with Iraq and you guys are ticked off about it. Ahahaha" (Comment: So are the majority of Americans, hahaha.)

Colmes, who was prepared, continued by saying that the issue is whether the administration outed Plame as retribution for Wilson's editorial debunking the Bush Administration's case for going to war.

Coulter lies #3-5 plus a bonus of ethnic and other insults: "The reason Valerie Flame's (sic) name was mentioned was because Wilson was going around pumping himself up as a White House insider sent by Dick Cheney. ...The point was, you know, Cheney said, 'Who is this Chinaman? I've never heard of this guy' and they find out. Who sent him? Oh, his wife sent him. She wanted to get him out of the house. Hahahaha." (Colmes didn't laugh.)

Comment: In fact, Wilson said "agency officials" sent him to Niger and it is a matter of dispute whether or not his wife suggested him for the trip. (See the Media Matters report for more info.) Once again, this is information that Powers should have had ready but never mentioned.

Coulter, showing even more Christian spirit, added, "Everyone knows Joe Wilson is a clown,"

Colmes complained that all she does is "namecalling."

Coulter in her cutesy/pouty/aren't-I-clever voice said, "No, I'm not, I'm stating facts."

Sean Hannity's Lies #1-4: "Was it unethical for somebody that has such a left-wing agenda and no credentials lke Joe Wilson... who had no credentials, no background, no business - to lie about the influence of his wife in getting him in this particular case?" As Media Matters wrote: "Wilson possessed extensive diplomatic experience, had specialized in Africa during most of his career, and had taken a similar trip to Niger in 1999 to investigate possible purchases by Iran." The links in that post detail Wilson's long and distinguished diplomatic career serving both Republican and Democrat administrations.

Comment: Hannity's question implies that it would have been ethical for Wilson to lie if had better credentials and wasn't a left-winger. Freudian slip?

Sean Hannity then turned to his security-blanket defense - Bill Clinton. "If all these liberal reports are correct about this being about omission or a lack of recollection (Comment: Aren't the conservatives the ones saying that?), if that's all true, let me go through the list just quickly. Bill Clinton said the following in his deposition..."

Once again, FOX News regular Powers should have expected this but she fell for the bait and switched her focus to Clinton.

Colson, a born-again Christian ended the segment with another lie: "Every administration as far back as anybody can remember in history has tried to stop its opponents. This administration had every reason to try to stop Joe Wilson. He was holding himself out to be something he wasn't. What they did was absolutely correct."

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