Bloggers on Richard Armitage's apology.

Bloggers on Richard Armitage's apology.

Bloggers on Richard Armitage's apology.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Sept. 8 2006 4:35 PM

Not Sorry Enough

Bloggers are unimpressed with Richard Armitage's apology for outing Valerie Plame. They also waste little time dispensing with a poll that bolsters 9/11 conspiracy theorists and with Facebook for its privacy-invading feature.

Not sorry enough: Richard Armitage has offered his mea culpa for outing CIA agent Valerie Plame, the event that sparked a three-year controversy, a lot of breathless speculation, and an investigation that led to the indictment of Scooter Libby. Armitage says he never knew Joseph Wilson's wife was called Plame and that, when he read Robert Novak's tell-all op-ed in 2003, he "almost immediately" phoned boss Colin Powell to fess up. What a waste of three years, conservative bloggers say.

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Responding to Armitage's claim that he was just following prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerld's request to keep quiet for so long, conservative Laura at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings is mystified: "Fitzgerald's request raises questions in and of itself; why did he suppress the truth and carry on with an investigation when the matter was 'solved' from the time he was assigned the case?"

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters knows what Armitage can do with his apology: "No excuses he can make now will wipe away the three years the nation wasted on this witch hunt. The same must be said about Colin Powell, who knew from the first moments that his right-hand man leaked the information. Both men sat closed-mouthed while Fitzgerald ran amok. ... Revealing one's own grand jury testimony is not illegal, nor in the case of this runaway prosecution, would it be unethical."

But liberal Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly's Political Animal thinks it's not quite all-over-but-the-shouting-for-forgiveness: "I know I'm flogging this horse over and over, but where did the name 'Plame' come from? The proposition that Novak looked it up in Who's Who and decided to use her maiden name just for kicks has never struck me as plausible. What's more, we also know that someone gave the name 'Plame' to Judith Miller, though she now pretends not to know who she got it from."

The blogger behind Stupid and Dangerous was disappointed to learn Armitage was Mr. X all along, because James Mann's collective bio of the Bush war Cabinet Rise of the Vulcans portrayed him as a "stand-up guy." Moreover, "When was the last time, if ever, that anyone with any connection to the Bush administration voluntarily admitted error and expressed remorse?"

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Read more about Armitage's my-bad.

Five years dubious: "It is already possible to know beyond a reasonable doubt one very important thing: The destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job, orchestrated by domestic terrorists." So claims David Ray Griffin, one of the prominent "disbelievers" that Sept. 11 went down the way the government says it did. According to this Washington Post story [Note: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.] 36 percent of more than 1,000 Americans polled believe the government intentionally planned the attacks or purposely did nothing to stop them.

Jeff at conservative Kinshasa on the Potomac doesn't so much believe that the government planted explosives at the World Trade Center but writes: "My own thoughts are that there is a conspiracy of a sorts. … I am referring to the conspiracy by senior government officials to protect their own careers for misjudgments, lack of foresight and incompetence, going back at least as far as the first Bush administration."

"Don Q. Blogger" at the strongly anti-Bush Vaguely Logical has seen the kookiest minds of his generation destroyed by variety: "No, they didn't 'make it happen on purpose.' No, British intelligence and Mossad were NOT involved. If you think the Bush administration could keep such a massive plot a secret, you grossly overestimate the ability of the government to keep secrets. … And where, pray tell, are the hundreds of people on the four planes if there were no planes involved?"

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Structural engineer Jason Coleman at Newsvine comments: "It's remarkable to me that some individuals believe that President Bush is so incompetent as to not be able to speak on his own or even read a book, yet he and his administration pulled off what would surely be the greatest conspiracy in the modern world. … I know of some of the smartest structural engineers in the world today, several of them personally, and if you asked each of them what it would take to bring down that building you would get different answers from each."

Read more about the "disbelievers." Historically related: Dwight Macdonald's hilarious "Critique of the Warren Report" in a 1965 issue of Esquire.

About-face: Popular college social-networking site Facebook has come under a heap of scorn for implementing a new feature that monitors users movements by the minute— from the mundane to the friendship-ending. (If you dumped your girlfriend, or think Paris was framed, your "network" knows.) The company has since rejiggered the opt-out mechanism of the "news feed," but that hasn't ended undergrad angst.

"Zephoria" at multipurpose blog apophenia didn't like the Big Brotherish nature of the thing: "Not all 'friends' are friends. Sometimes, you say yes to save face but you count on those people not actually being stalkers. They don't really watch your page with any focus so most of what you put up goes by unnoticed. But not if all of your 'friends' are notified of your every move."

Pete Cashmore at techie Mashable! doesn't see a swift end to the scandal: "Facebook should have simply provided an 'off' switch for the feature, allowing you to disable the feeds completely. Instead, they've just added more confusing privacy controls that you'll need to tweak. Opposition groups like 'Students Against Facebook News Feed' might declare a small victory, but I don't think this battle is over yet."

Read more about the Facebook fracas.