Brad DeLong links to a long, troubling essay by Billmon expading on the theme that the Plame affair represents an all-out assault on the White House by the CIA. I don’t find it fully convincing, because I would have expected the CIA to have been able to penetrate the media wall of silence that kept this issue cloaked for eleven weeks, much to the advantage of Team Bush. For example, if you were the current DCI and wanted to wage war on 1600 PA., woudn’t you call, say, Stansfield Turner and suggest that he go public with a blast of outrage based on the original David Corn story? That would have forced the affair into the newspapers, and given the Bush crew a much harder damage-control problem.
So it seems more plausible to me that Tenet was reacting to outrage being felt at the career level within his agency than that he was (is) attempting a palace coup against Karl Rove.
What’s scary to me is that it isn’t quite inconceivable that this administration might have scared the intelligence community to the point where the folks there would be willing to try to do to Bush what British intelligence apparently did to Harold Wilson. (Update Major Barbara at OSP has a convincing meditiation on the wounds inflicted on George Tenet.] I keep thinking of Richard Neustadt’s comment about Nixon at the height of his power: “He has no sense of limits.”