The Associated Press totally botched a rather significant part of the Rove-Plame story today.
Basically, AP is now supposedly quoting Wilson as saying his wife was NOT an undercover agent when Rove outed her. Here’s what AP wrote today:
But at the same time, Wilson acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak’s column first identified her. “My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity,” he said.
NO, AP, that’s not what Wilson said – I watched the interview live. What he said was that the day Bob Novak outed his wife she ceased to be an undercover operative. Not that she wasn’t an undercover operative on that day, but rather that she sure wasn’t undercover anymore once Rove and Novak outed here. Big difference there.
At the very most, one can argue that Wilson’s comments were confusing – that it wasn’t clear which interpretation he meant. But AP simply quoting this as fact, that’s simply factually wrong on its face. (It sounds to me like the GOP fed that quote to AP and no one thought twice about what it really meant – haven’t you guys learned yet about trusting this administration on this stuff?) And you know that AP line is going to be used by the wingnuts to “prove” that Plame wasn’t an undercover agent.
And as Atrios notes, Wilson can’t come right out and say his wife was an undercover operative, because legally he probably can’t. That’s why he wasn’t clear. But for AP to just presume that Wilson meant his wife wasn’t undercover at the time, there is simply no basis in fact – that’s a rather big screw-up.