Reports [MSNBC correspondent David] Shuster [via his cellphone, apparently] in this rush transcript: "INTELLIGENCE SOURCES SAY VALERIE WILSON WAS PART OF AN OPERATION THREE YEARS AGO TRACKING THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS MATERIAL INTO IRAN. AND THE SOURCES ALLEGE THAT WHEN MRS. WILSON'S COVER WAS BLOWN, THE ADMINISTRATION'S ABILITY TO TRACK IRAN'S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS WAS DAMAGED AS WELL."Not that this is really a huge surprise. We already knew her focus was nuclear proliferation, so there was a pretty good chance that her beat would be one of the "Axis Of Evil" countries. And, of course, as multiple people have pointed out, taking her and Brewster Jennings out of action is kinda of a nice two-fer if you want to increase uncertainty about Iran's nuclear capabilities. Especially if you happen know that they're nowhere near having any.
But imagine if this little nugget had come out in late 2004. Anyone who wasn't mainlining Republican Kool-Aid had to know that Bush was at the very least indirectly responsible for leaking Plame's name. Any doubts about this truth were laid to rest when Bush made no effort to personally find the leaker, and even backpedaled on his criteria for fireage: from mere involvement, to criminal wrongdoing (presumably conviction or at least indictment). And if memory serves, there was already quite a bit of rumbling and chest-thumping about Iran's nuclear aspirations and involvement in Iraq. In any kind of sane, rational world, the revelation that the president blew up an entire CIA operation monitoring Nukular Enemy #2, just to settle a political score would be pretty damaging. It would have completely undermined Candidate Bush's meticulous and fact-free packaging as The Only Man Who Can Keep Us Safe From Nuclear Terror.
Since we missed the opportunity in 2004, maybe we can take advantage this year. If Bush and the Republicans decide to re-use the 2002 force-the-Democrats-to-go-along-with-a-phony-war-and-then-
call-them-weak-anyway playbook, the Democrats should ask why, if Iran is such a threat, the president would be so cavalier about burning Brewster-Jennings. And while they're at it, they should be asking voters how they feel about $4 or $5 gasoline...