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Bill Maher And Fox's John Gibson On Being A Registered Independent, The CIA Being At War With The Administration And Joe Wilson Was The One Who Outed Valerie Plame

Reported by Donna - May 18, 2006

This past Friday Bill Maher had his last show for this season. He won't be back on HBO until the end of August for his new season. Though we'll miss his great show until then he did manage to interview one of Fox's hosts, John Gibson.

Maher has a hard time getting conservatives to appear on his show (as O'Reilly would say, they must be cowards) but he usually tries to put them at ease at first with a common ground question.

The following is my transcript between Bill Maher and John Gibson on Maher's Real Time show on HBO.

Bill Maher: I know this must be painful for you if you've been listening to this show.

John Gibson: I can laugh, too, Bill.

BM: Let me ask you about the monitoring program that's been the big story in the news the past few days. A lot of my liberal friends are mad at me cause look, I'm of the mind, look, I would not have fought the war on terror the way that George Bush has but since he's fought it in a bad way and not the tools that I think he should have, maybe since I live 20 miles from the Port of Long Beach where so much cargo comes in, I sort of want people listening. But, aren't Republicans supposed to be for a limited government?

JG: Sure. Republicans have to speak for themselves. I'm a registered Independent. (I love how Fox talking heads use this like it's a badge of honor or that it really means anything) My interest is the same as yours. I don't want to blow up. So, when they're listening to phone calls, for instance, I have to to listen to everyone on the airplane fire up their cell phones and talk to everybody they know when we land.

And when somebody says you can't listen to those calls when we're looking for Al Qaeda, I think it's a little strange. Fine by me if they're listening to those calls if they're looking for Al Qaeda.

BM: But one thing that worries me about the government is basically saying we can't tell you much about this. Trust us, we're good people. But, quite frankly, folks like yourself are a little too ready to bring in our enemies. You know when they say they just want to listen to our enemies, people like you say the New York Times are in league with Zarqawi because they might reveal something? Uh, yeah, I'm not worried that I'm really am one of the enemy. I'm worried that people on the right would lump anybody who disagrees with them as one of the enemy.


JG: Look, this is a very, it's much more narrowly focused than that. If you have newspapers revealing secrets that have to do with our national security and whether or not we're blowing up, I don't think that is good. And what's happening is they're getting Pulitzer Prizes for it. So you've got NSA people, CIA people leaking secrets that have to do with our safety. Nobody's going after them to find them. The reporters are getting Pulitzer Prizes and no one is criticizing these papers for running these things. They're saying 'well the public has a right to know.'

Sure the public has a right to know but does Al Qaeda have a right to know? Do we really want to tell...look, I have not seen Al Qaeda issue a new tape saying it's all over, we don't want to kill you anymore. They keep saying they want to kill us. Why don't we believe them? And why doesn't the New York Times believe them or the Washington Post? Why don't they see....

BM: I don'[t think anuyone doesn't believe they want to kill us. What I'm saying is people differ on the method of fighting terrorism.

JG: Sure (overtalk)

BM: And I think the people on the right say if you disagree with me or how to fight this war, you are part of the enemy and that I don't agree with. But, ok, let me move onto something else that's related. You wrote that Karl Rove, if it turns out he was the one who outed CIA agent Valerie Plame (he) deserves a medal for that, yeah. I don't really get that, John.

JG: Look it's quite clear now that we've seen what's happened with..uh..with..uh..NSA leaks and CIA leaks that there has been a war from the intelligence community against the administration. Uh...the way this leaking stuff works is you've got a secret and you think the administration is doing something wrong. You're supposed to report it to Congress. That makes you a whistleblower. If you tell reporters that makes you a leaker. (Comment: So that would make Rove a leaker?)

My beef with what was going on in the Plame case was, had to do with Joe Wilson going into Niger to investigate the yellow cake thing. I read Joe Wilson's book. He was opposed to regime change against Saddam in 91. (Comment: And that means what?) He certainly was opposed to it in 2003 (Comment: Again, so?) when his wife arranged....

BM: ...But....

JG: to send him there. People had a right to know who it was who sent Joe Wilson. (Comment: Who says or cares?)

BM: Well, it's certainly not a fact that she sent him there. I think....

JG: She arranged the meeting....

BM: ....She didn't have the authority. She did not have the authority to send her husband.

JG: You can read the book and see what he said about it.

BM: Ok, but even if all you say is true..uh...if a CIA operative is a renegade as you seemto imply is the correct method to deal with this problem to out them in public........


BM: .....as opposed to just pull that agent into your office and say you're fired? Why out them in public and therefore compromise a lot of other agents she was working with in her cover agency?

JG: Well, if that is true, bad thing. (Comment: Oh the sympathy is so apparent) What I hear from Novak is she was outed years ago by Alder James (sounded like, not sure of the name) and from what I read from Washington she was outed continually by her husband. (Comment: Fitzgerald said that she had been outed during this Libby episode, he didn't say Libby did it, just that she was outed then)

The question at the moment was who was it that would send Wilson to Niger and then he came back and claimed that the vice president sent him when he hadn't. (Comment: He didn't claim this - the vice president asked the CIA if they had anyone to send and the CIA sent Joe Wilson) Well, who was it who had sent him? (Comment: Who cares?) It turned out his wife had a lot to do with it.

BM: Ok, final question. I know often on Fox News we hear that the elite on the coasts don't really get what's going on in the middle of the country. But now that Bush's approval rating is 29%, ah, it seems like the middle of the country has come over to the dark side (Laughter from audience) here with us elites on the coast. If we didn't get the middle of the country does the middle of the country not get themselves now?

JG: Well, you're not liking, you're disliking him for different reasons. I mean the 3 states on the left and the 3 states on the right dislike him for all the reasons I just heard on this panel. The middle is angry about spending, about an open border and those are legitimate concerns and he's going to have to do something about that to keep his people. (Comment: Like tax cuts for the rich and 6,000 national guard on the border?)

BM: Ok.

Comments: Maher is like a snake, he draws in his prey with a seemingly innocent question. Kind of buddying up to them and then he goes for the jugular. He's making you say things you don't want to say. He's a master at this. The sad thing is this is his last show for this season. He goes on the road for stand up shows the next three months and will return at the end of August. His next season will last until the end of November. He'll be around for midterm elections.

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