Debra J. Saunders

And there is an element of fiction in both women's stories. Jones' tale about Clinton's retaliation never did hold water. If Plame's job depended on anonymity, her hubby should not have penned an op-ed piece for the New York Times.

The biggest similarity between Plame and Jones, however, is that both the Clinton and Bush administrations could have spared themselves a long legal nightmare if either one had not tried to make itself seem more virtuous than it was. Clinton should have refused to allow Jones' attorneys to depose him. If he had not lied to Jones' attorneys, Ken Starr would have had no cause to question Monica Lewinsky.

If Bush had not promised to fire anyone who illegally leaked Plame's info, or if staffers had told the media, that, yes, they had talked about Plame, but they did not realize her job was classified -- then, as one insider told me, it could have been a one-day story. Well, maybe not a one-day story, but surely not a three-year story.

That said, Bush haters are mistaken in putting Wilson on a pedestal as his lawsuit is clearly misleading. To wit, the suit cited a May 2003 New York Times column written by Nicholas Kristof about Wilson's 2002 trip to Niger to check out allegations that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from Africa: "According to the column, the ambassador reported back to the CIA and State Department in early 2002 that the allegations were unequivocally wrong and based on forged documents."

Yes, that is what Kristof wrote, but the column was off. As the Senate Intelligence Committee reported, the CIA did not find Wilson's oral report to unequivocally come down against Saddam Hussein trying to procure uranium in Niger. And Wilson could not have even known about the forged documents at the time that he made the report.

Like Paula Jones with the anti-Clinton crowd, Joe Wilson always has been happy to mislead Bush haters. From the start, Joe Wilson was Paula Jones. Alas, now Valerie Plame is, too.

Debra J. Saunders

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