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TheDC interviews ‘Fair Game’ director Doug Liman, who reveals himself to be ignorant and likely dishonest

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

Interview with “Fair Game” director Doug Liman

In an interview with The Daily Caller, “Fair Game” director Doug Liman showed a stunning ignorance about the Valerie Plame affair for a man who claims to have thoroughly fact-checked the film. After pressing Liman about several scenes depicted in the film, using the bipartisan Robb-Silberman Commission report as my guide, TheDC got the impression he was completely unfamiliar with the report.

“Did you read the Robb-Silberman report before making the film?” TheDC asked.

“My writers did,” he said.

Which is another way to say “no.”

(It should be noted that the most relevant portion of the report as it pertains to the events depicted in “Fair Game” is less than 100 pages long. I suppose it is understandable that Liman didn’t take the hour or two necessary to read it — it is, after all, only the most comprehensive and authoritative report ever produced on the subject the movie covers.)

Liman kept trying to prove his interpretation of events by referencing the declassified 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq.

“I’ve actually seen the NIE,” Liman said. “The beauty of making this film years after the fact is that so many documents have been declassified. And so you can actually read the actual documents the president and vice president were presented.”

The NIE was declassified in 2003, at least parts of it. And, as should be obvious, it was read and incorporated into both the Senate report and the Robb-Silberman Commission report. It also doesn’t do anything to bolster Liman’s case. Indeed, beyond uranium acquisition, the NIE supports more generally that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

“Iraq does not yet have a nuclear weapon or sufficient material to make one but is likely to have a weapon by 2007 to 2009,” the NIE reads in one section.

“Most agencies believe that Saddam’s personal interest in and Iraq’s aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotor — as well as Iraq’s attempts to acquire magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools — provide compelling evidence that Saddam is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad’s nuclear weapons program. (DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.),” the NIE reads in another section.

The NIE does contain a reservation from one intelligence agency, but it makes clear that the intelligence community as a whole estimated with “moderate confidence” that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program and that the country could have a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade.

Liman is left to argue that the Bush administration should have listened to the DOE.

“When you have the Department of Energy telling you the tubes are poor choices, that they are poorly suited, those were their words, for weapons production and the DOE is the expert when it comes to gas centrifuges, I would listen. You can’t get any more forceful than that,” he said.

It is true the DOE was in the minority of the intelligence community in dissenting from the aluminum tubes aspect of the nuclear case against Iraq. But it also joined with the intelligence community to assess that Iraq had a nuclear program that could produce a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade. If you are wondering what Liman’s point here is by pointing out one intelligence agency dissenting from the aluminum tubes analysis or how this piece of information provides any evidence that the Bush administration intentionally promoted false claims to push the country into war, you are not alone.

  • HenryHO

    Why should I spend $11.00 to puke in my popcorn? If I want fantasy, I’ll wait for Harry Potter.

  • barnone

    Question: What about the 550 tons of Yellow cake found in Iraq? Where did it come from?
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/07/the_550_tons_of_yellowcake.html

  • mountainaires

    Actually, the DOE is irrelevant and this argument is pointless. The facts are clear; the WH was warned 3 times not to use the “yellowcake” argument in Bush’s speech, but chose to ignore it. When Bush rewarded George Tenet with a medal and hustled him into retirement to keep him silent about what he knows, to protect POTUS, the deal was sealed in full view of the public. Cheney and Libby deliberately smeared the Ambassador who served the US so heroically when Hussein invaded Kuwait; Scooter Libby and Karl Rove conspired to intentionally out an undercover CIA agent with years of service to country and endangered a network of informants on the nuclear capabilities of Iran, thereby undercutting our own intelligence on that country. That’s the definition of treason. There is ample evidence that the break-in of the Italian embassy to steal the forged documents, which were then used by Cheney, Libby and Addington was exposed the moment Ambassador Wilson wrote his op-ed. Why, after all, did they go to such lengths to smear him, if it was about the DOE report on the Aluminum tubes? What is so dishonest is that conservatives continue to obstruct the truth about this appalling episode in order to protect and defend men at the highest levels of our government who committed treason.

    • Wasp35

      “Scooter Libby and Karl Rove conspired to intentionally out an undercover CIA agent with years of service to country and endangered a network of informants on the nuclear capabilities of Iran, thereby undercutting our own intelligence on that country.”

      No, mountainaires. That is nothing but a left-wing fantasy of what occurred, based solely on speculation and conjecture (so, naturally it appears as fact in the film). There is no evidence to support the accusation above which is why Fitzgerald didn’t indict Rove or Libby for “outing” Plame following an exhaustive investigation that dragged on for almost two years. Plame and Wilson’s inability to produce any evidence to support their conspiracy claims is also the reason their civil suit was summarily tossed out of court and subsequent appeals all the way up to the Supreme Court were rejected.

      It’s also hilarious to watch liberals throw around the term “treason” in this scenario, while they praise Bradley Manning as a hero for releasing 1000s of classified US military documents to Wikileaks.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chuck-Hilton/1072351136 Chuck Hilton

    Like most liberals, progressives or socialist, whatever they are calling themselves these days, truth and facts never get in the way of their point of view. As with the warning labels on tobacco products, this film should bear a warning label, “This is purely a distortion of the facts”.