The Valerie Plame Affair:

[If you’re just coming in to the Valerie Plame story, you might want to start with this review of the bidding. The thread starts here. ]

Ambassador Joseph Wilson dropped a bombshell at a forum organized by Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington. [*]

[You’ll need to click on “video of the event,” and if your machine has pop-up protection, you’ll have to hold down the “control” key while doing so.

[The key exchange is about 80% of the way through; in Windows Media, it comes on when the cursor is just above and to the right of the “mute” button. Idaho EV, one of CalPundit’s commenters, timed it as coming between 1:17:53 and 1:20:39 of the tape.]

Wilson was asked whether he trusted the FBI to investigate the case. He started by saying that he had to speak hypothetically, since whether a crime was committed or not depended on his wife’s status, about which he will not comment. He then explained the process, and expressed confidence that the career-service folks would play it straight, especially since a number of Members of Congress, including not only Schumer and Durbin but also Henry Waxman and Hillary Clinton, were actively interested in the case and had promised him to keep the pressure on.

“I have confidence at the professional level that whatever they think is doable will be done.” He acknowledged some uncertainty about whether public discussion might inhibit the investigation rather than forwarding it.

Then he opened up:

At the end of the day, it’s of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words.

Josh Marshall had already noted his belief that Wilson had a suspect in mind. But having someone in mind is one thing, and making what is virtually a public accusation of a an aggravated felony is something else. If Wilson doesn’t have the goods, he risks being personally discredited in a way that’s very hard to recover from.

Now that Rove has been accused, it’s for him to respond. It’s a simple yes or no: Did he talk to Novak about Plame, or instruct anyone else to do so? I hope that some credentialed journalists will be asking him that question.

(Thanks to Pacific Views [*] for the link, and to an alert reader for the tip. Oddly, none of the coverage of the Inslee meeting seemed to have picked up on what seemed to me like the big news. A Google for “Joseph Wilson Rove handcuffs” yields six blogs and no real media.)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: