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October 11, 2003

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Swopa

There is a growing Clouseau-like quality to your analysis.

So Ms. Wilson's covert status was just no big deal, huh? I guess the FBI criminal investigation the CIA pushed for is just some kind of make-work scheme.

And those Republican ex-CIA officers going on TV to voice their outrage? Just a bunch of kidders!

Michael

The CIA suspected that Ames may have burned her. Isn't there an important difference between the Russians maybe knowing about her, and all countries' intelligence services certainly knowing? The notion that the CIA didn't try hard to dissuade Novak rests only on Novak's word. I find it incredible.

Alex Parker

I have a post about this over at my site written at, you guessed it, 3AM last night. (I don't normally admit to having no social life---just when it gives me a chance to brag.) Unfortunately, I don't have any really good scoops. I just make the point that according to that WaPo background story, she did make lots of business trips, probably within the last five years.

I didn't make the connection, though, that she might have been moving back to D.C. because of the Aldrich Ames thing. But here's a thought that I had this morning---wouldn't the fact that she was moving to a State Department cover be an indicator that she was continuing to work abroad? Isn't that the whole point of having s State Department cover, so you can work abroad with some U.S. protection? Someone who knows more about U.S. intelligence could answer that.

Plus, why does Kristof give us one clue about his sources on this story, besides the fact that they weren't Plame?

Chun the Unavoidable

There's a widely circulated picture of her back at a black-tie event, and she looks (with heels, I presume) about six-eight inches shorter than Clinton, so I'm not sure that she would qualify as "tall."

There's a lot to be said for the emerging theory that this is all an elaborate scheme to preserver Novak's covert identity.

Cecil Turner

Well, I got inspired by Josh Marshall’s lexis-nexis and decided to do a little googling on how much public information was available before the Wilson and Novak stories. Here are some highlights:

“The recent disclosure that reports claiming Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger were based partly on forged documents has renewed complaints among analysts at the C.I.A. about the way intelligence related to Iraq has been handled, several intelligence officials said.” James Risen, New York Times, March 22

“I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S.ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.” Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, May 6

“. . .the CIA, at the behest of Vice President Dick Cheney, had sent to Niger a knowledgeable retired ambassador (whose name was withheld) to investigate reports that Iraq was trying to buy uranium there.

“The diplomat brought back word that the government of Niger denied any such dealings with Iraq, and the documents on which the allegation was based were patent forgeries. How, under the circumstances, the president could give credence to the uranium canard in a speech almost a year later is hard to imagine.” Daniel Schorr, The Christian Science monitor, June 20

Immediately upon his return, in early March 2002, this senior envoy briefed the C.I.A. and State Department and reported that the documents were bogus, for two main reasons. First, the documents seemed phony on their face — for example, the Niger minister of energy and mines who had signed them had left that position years earlier. . .

I hear something different. My understanding is that while Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet may not have told Mr. Bush that the Niger documents were forged, lower C.I.A. officials did tell both the vice president's office and National Security Council staff members. Moreover, I hear from another source that the C.I.A.'s operations side and its counterterrorism center undertook their own investigations of the documents, poking around in Italy and Africa, and also concluded that they were false — a judgment that filtered to the top of the C.I.A. Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, June 13

From the leaking going on before Bob got into the act, you could reasonably assume CIA operations, counterterrorism, and WMD analysts were unhappy . . . and talking to a retired ambassador who was sent to Africa. And they were all leaking for several months. It’s clear that operational security was something of a joke—and that it was at least partially Wilson’s fault. My sympathy for Wilson/Plame, already low, has now completely evaporated.

I also note the stories insist Wilson told the CIA leadership the Niger documents were forgeries—which is not quite the same as having never seen them. That twist destroys the leakers’ credibility, and makes protestations of political impartiality hard to swallow.
And if anybody knows more about this than Novak, it's gotta be Kristof.

The Kid

1. Given some of the details, the source looks like CIA, maybe Mrs. Wilson.

2. This sentence is interesting:
“The leak risked the security of all operatives who had used Brewster-Jennings as cover, as well as of all assets ever seen with Mrs. Wilson.”

I guess this means that Novak’s identification of Plame as Wilson’s wife and as a CIA operative allows the connection to Brewster-Jennings & Associates via the FEC record showing a 4/22/1999 $1,000.00 to Gore 2000 by Valerie E. Wilson.

I don’t want to excuse Novak’s role, but the contribution is stinky. Mrs. Wilson’s contribution – her only contribution to any campaign recorded in FEC records – happened on the same date that Mr. Wilson was credited with a refund of $1,000 from Gore 2000; his original 3/26/1999 $2,000 contribution was $1,000 over the limit in place at the time. How did the refund / spousal contribution take place on the same date? Coincidence? Was it a phone call from a Gore 2000 operative to Mr. Wilson? Did Mrs. Wilson sign a check or money order, or was it all her old man's doings.

deport pedro

Perhaps she was being transitioned to the State Department to allow for any future overseas postings. It is conceivable Mr. Wilson would one day return to the State Department on an ambassadorial level, as a political appointee in the Dean/Clark administration.

Alex Parker

Way to go Cecil!!!

Unless you managed to read this WaPo story before writing your post, your powers of intuition are amazing. Click to the story---it reports a lot of what you found out on your own, that Wilson was a an anonymous source on a lot of stories before going public.

I'm trying to slap together an analysis on my site, but not doing very well...there are quite a few surprise revelations in the piece. Be sure to read it.

Debra

I don't get what Cecil says in his last two paragraphs. Who are the leakers? The White House officials who gave out her identity or the person(s) who provided the basis for his Lexis quotes.?
He says Wilson is the source of many of the stories he quotes in his Lexis/Nexis search. Yes that would be obvious and no proof of guilt or complicity in blowing her cover and others. It is known that Kristof met Wilson at a confernece and that he was the source in Kristof's initial columns. Wilson tried to get the Niger info out to the public and was finally convinced that he had to identify himself ( he had not initially allowed Kristof or the earlier WaPo reporters to do so) thru his Op Ed piece in the NY Times.
But it makes no sense ,if I read his last two graphs correctly, to confuse Mr. Wilson's attempts to get the press to cover the Niger uranium story as destroying "operational security". What is operational security? Whatever unique meaning it has to Cecil it is not the same as keeping secret the security of a CIA operative. So it makes no sense that he has no sympathy for Wilson/Plame .Thru some twist of logic and rhetoric he seems to be saying that that Wilson in essence outed his wife because he kept trying to get to the press and the general public that one of the major rationales for the war was based on false information. Could it be that he thinks they deserved it?

PS to the Kid. Every campaign Republican or Democrat, Bush or Gore would try to legitimately get the spouse to recontribute the money if such an over contribution occurred. Happens hundreds of times a day at the RNC and only dozens at the DNC

Cecil Turner

Alex,
Cool. Musta channeled Bob Mueller (better twiddle with the fine tuning—I was trying to get Bob Novak).

Debra,
Plame’s cover depends on people not looking at it too closely. (Even a half-competent PI could tail her to work for a few days—which is apparently a desk at Langley—and conclude she’s some sort of spook.) If the cover is important, you don’t draw attention to her. (That’s operational security—I use the standard USMC definition because I’m a retired jarhead—YMMV.) Once Wilson writes a NYT op-ed, he has nobody to blame but himself. Of course people are going to talk about it, and eventually look into the connections between himself and CIA. The WaPo article seems to confirm TM’s theory that the motive was news management—and strongly suggests Novak is telling the truth about the way it came out.

As to who leaked, it would be better to ask “who didn’t?” Novak’s administration source leaked Plame’s name in July. The disgruntled CIA analysts—including Wilson—had been leaking since March. Wilson never mentioned those—apparently claiming those leaks are unimportant compared to his wife’s cover. But despite protestations, she obviously isn’t in the same category as overseas CIA station chiefs, as were outed by Agee, which spawned the current law on disclosing agents’ identities. And those earlier leaks are also very damaging to US national security. I suspect the reason the White House keeps harping on “classified information,” and the President keeps talking about “leaks” in toto, is because they intend to go after the original CIA leakers as well. Which suits me perfectly.

The Kid

Debra –

I understand that “Every campaign Republican or Democrat, Bush or Gore would try to legitimately get the spouse to recontribute the money if such an over contribution occurred. Happens hundreds of times a day at the RNC and only dozens at the DNC.”

I’m simply connecting the dots linking Plame to her employer, exposing Brewster-Jennings & Associates as a CIA-front company. This connection is made by the $1K 4/22/1999 contribution in her married name to Gore 2000 on the very same date that her husband was credited with a $1K refund. I’m speculating that she knew nothing about it, that he did it on his own, one link to the exposure of Brewster-Jennings & Associates.

Swopa

Cecil, do you realize that you're spinning yourself in circles?

Your message is that leaking Ms. Wilson's CIA status -- which is sufficiently secret that it's specifically protected by law -- is no big deal. But Joe Wilson talking about a clearly non-secret visit to Niger (anonymously or not) is somehow leaking classified information.

Maybe in your world, that's how things are. But I'd suggest that it doesn't match up with reality, nor will it match up well with how events transpire in this investigation.

Once Wilson writes a NYT op-ed, he has nobody to blame but himself. Of course people are going to talk about it, and eventually look into the connections between himself and CIA.

Well, good luck finding the clause in the law that covers that. When you do, I'm sure the FBI will be on top of it. :-)

In the meantime, I think Karl Rove's a lot more worried right now than Joseph Wilson about being charged with leaking classified information. And rightly so.

Cecil Turner

Swopa,
Ms Plame's status is not protected by law if the CIA wasn't taking active measures to conceal it, or if the leaker didn't know it, or if she hadn't been posted overseas in the last five years, or if it had already leaked out. None of those has been proven, and at least one (overseas) looks dubious.

Similarly, the only person claiming Wilson's trip wasn't secret is Wilson. His report was apparently classified. At the least it's bad judgment. And I have a hard time understanding why he wouldn't have signed a non-disclosure agreements prior to the trip.

As to whether Wilson's blameworthy, the concept of contributory negligence comes to mind. It's hard to have a lot of moral outrage over the second leaker while lionizing the first . . . unless it serves your politics. I don't find it convincing,

Debra

Thanks Swopa. Many good points.

Cecil,

So I guess I did not misunderstand you. Wilson himself is to blame for the outing of an undercover CIA operative. They only have themselves to blame and they deserve what they got.
That is sublimely ridiculous on its face in terms of the basic rules of reasoning. You can use that argument to say that rape vitims got what they deserved because they went out late and wore short skirts ,or if the batttered wife hadn't made her husband mad he wouldn't hit her or a whistleblower exposing an injustice whose family is destroyed is to blame for the immoral and in this case the potentially criminal action of others.
The people in the White House chose, I underline chose, to do something wrong for lots of purposes from revenge to intimdation to undermining Wilson so they could hide their own lies to the American peole about the reasons for the war.These people are culpable on any plane you want to talk about.

PS Kid .. It is against FEC rules for anyone but the donor to sign a new check.While I have not double checked,that Gore donation must have been 2000 because they decided to donate after the 2000 SC Republican primary.

Debra

Cecil,

In the prior post I had deleted the sentence that your argument is pure sophistry, I now reinstate it.

The Wilsons have lived in their house for at least 5 years and the neighbors said she took many foreign trips, so she was still working her job.

Read some other blogs and it looks dubious that they didn't know, maybe they did't know it was against a specific statute and maybe they didn't know it was unethical or immoral but that just speaks to the character of those staffing this administration.

Cecil Turner

Debra,

Valerie Plame Wilson is a CIA officer (apparently specializing in WMDs and counterproliferation—whether analyst or operative is still under debate). Her husband has been leaking—and lying—about insider CIA information having to do with CIA operations and disgruntled analysts. When he writes a NYTimes op-ed about CIA and states their WMD section sent him on a trip, yes, he endangers his wife’s cover. It’s also extremely likely, IMHO, that she’s been part of the disgruntled analyst group who’ve been leaking since March. I think it entirely reasonable to conclude he and she have some responsibility for the loss of her cover and subsequent damage. They have also likely run afoul of CIA non-disclosure requirements, though it’s impossible to prove it without information that’s probably only available to CIA management.

The “rape victim” or “wife beating” defense is inappropriate and offensive. Neither offense is alleged, and the analogy only serves to paint the opposition in an unfavorable light. The offense here is against national security, and leaking classified information. Novak’s source is probably guilty (though probably not of the specific charge pertaining to covert agents). So are the Wilsons.

Swopa

Cecil,

If Joe Wilson's trip represents classified information, how come he hasn't been been charged for his NYT op-ed three months ago? It's not even a matter of tracking down an anonymous source; he's spilled the beans in broad daylight under his own name.

Perhaps you should make a citizen's arrest, since our law enforcement agencies seem so lax on this issue! :-)

JadeGold

Ultimately, Cecil's twisted and erroneous strawman fails because the reality of the situation is that the Wilsons aren't the subjects of this investigation.

But the WH is.

No matter how Cecil tweaks the equation, he isn't getting the known answer.

The CR

Re: Ames

As far as I know Ames turned over the names of Soviet agents (ie Soviets working for us). I guess the suspicion is that some of them were recruitied by Plame and would reveal that information under interrogation.

Re:

Brewster-Jennings & Associates cannot be an active front company since according to news reports it has no office or phone number. Any enemy intel service suspicious of Plame would call the number and if no one answered...

Perhaps Brewster-Jennings was an active fron in pre Ames days, but was wrapped up along with everything else.

Millie Woods

May I inject a dose of reality into the details of Mrs. Wilson's career of late. She has three year old twins. That means she was pregnant in 1999/2000 and given her age and the fact that she was carrying twins, she would be considered a high risk pregnancy who probably had the twins delivered by C-section. In any case she would have been strictly monitored through most of her pregnancy which indicates to any sentient being that she was not bopping about the world on spook assignments. Next she suffered a bad case of ppd and now lectures support groups on coping with ppd. If the CIA is so out of it that they would send someone with this kind of medical history abroad on noc operations, the whole organization is worse than anyone could imagine. Given the facts of her life during the past four years, it is difficult to suppose that she was allowed to do anything of importance but being married to a self-aggrandizing pig through the python boomer, a lot of effort is being made to pretend that she was involved in high level strategic assignments.

Debra

Last post

Cecil,

I was making a simple analogy that your logic is the same as blaming the victim of a crime for the crime. The law holds only the perpetrator of the crime guilty and not the victim. If a man has his windows smashed and his merchandise stolen the police arrest the thief and don't hold the owner responsible because he didn't have shatterproof or bulletproof glass.

Debra

The Kid

Debra –

The Wilsons that live in Zip Code 20007 made the following contributions (among others) according to FEC records:

Contributor: Wilson, Joseph C. Mr. IV
Date/Amount: 3/26/1999 $2,000.00
Residence: Washington, DC 20007
Employer: J. C. Wilson Intl. Ventures/Strateg
Campaign: GORE 2000 INC

Contributor: Wilson, Joseph C. Mr. IV
Date/Amount: 4/22/1999 -$1,000.00
Residence: Washington, DC 20007
Employer: J. C. Wilson Intl. Ventures/Strateg
Campaign: GORE 2000 INC

Contributor: Wilson, Valerie E. Ms.
Date/Amount: 4/22/1999 $1,000.00
Residence: Washington, DC 20007
Employer: Brewster-Jennings & Assoc.
Campaign: GORE 2000 INC

That the last two entries with the same date – the refund to Mr. W and the contribution from Mrs. W – make me wonder if Mr. Wilson orchestrated his wife’s contribution without her knowledge. It’s significant because it’s the only link, as far as I know, between his wife and Brewster-Jennings, and is what enabled the identification of BJ as a CIA front company. That’s all, but that’s a lot.

Swopa –

We don’t know who is being investigated now. It could well be that Joe has attracted some attention.

scott h.

Re:Ames
He worked in the counterintelligence section of the Soviet division. (IIRC, he was the head.) So it would have been Soviet and/or East Bloc agents.

JK

I pity Ms. Plame's dreadful fate, by which I mean the nutball she appears to be married to.

Swopa

Kid, by the same logic, the FBI investigation "could well be" looking at you or me.

It's theoretically possible, but awfully unlikely.

"Edward"

Swopa,
I think that you've let the terms used in the press coverage warp your understanding of the law at issue. It doesn't matter whether she was an operative, or an analyst or deep undercover. All that matters is whether she was a "covert agent" as defined in 50 U.S.C. § 426. Everything I've read indicates that she doesn't qualify because she wasn't stationed overseas during the last 5 years. It doesn't matter whether her ID is a secret, according to the statute what matters is whether she was secret AND she was stationed overseas.

Thomas

Who couldn't figure out that Brewster Jennings (hyphen or no?) is a CIA front?

Brewster Jennings was a real person--an oil exec way back when, and his name comes up in interesting contexts (contact with Saudis, US government rep, etc). Knowing that, the CIA choice of name is...odd.

Cecil Turner

Debra,

I accept that blaming the victim is bad form. The point is that Mrs Wilson is not the victim here—national security is. And one of the basic principles of working for the CIA is that you don’t talk about the work. If you scroll back through the editorials where Wilson is the source, you’ll see he’s not complaining about diplomat stuff, but the administration use of intelligence and disgruntled CIA analysts. That’s not his expertise talking, it’s hers. The obvious conclusion is that Mrs Wilson is the primary leak—and that makes her part of the story.

Leaking classified information puts other people at risk, including a couple hundred thousand servicemen who were fighting a war in the middle of this leakfest. On the same day Risen’s first NYTimes article cites “several intelligence officials” with complaints about the way intelligence was handled, Coalition troops were assaulting Basra and trying to convince other Iraqi units to give up rather than fight. Public dissension among intelligence officials complicates diplomacy, give heart to our enemies, and is singularly unhelpful. In Wilson’s input to Kristof’s May 6 column, he falsely claims he “reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.” This seems particularly calculated to undermine US credibility in the midst of a conflict—but at least the war was (mostly) over by then.

There seems to be a strange belief that people who work at the CIA can leak classified information with impunity—and it’s gotten so commonplace it’s unremarkable. But no matter how common, it’s still wrong—and illegal. And even though it’s likely to be impossible to get a conviction against the Wilsons, I hope they try. Because they’re not heroes . . . they’re part of the problem.

TM

Debra - we are delighted to have commenters with passion and conviction. However, my experience is that rape analogies inflame rather than illuminate.

You also might want to actually read Cecil's comment, from which I extract:

As to whether Wilson's blameworthy, the concept of contributory negligence comes to mind.

More about "contributory negligence" here, and I excerpt this:

Many states have adopted a comparative or proportional form of contributory negligence whereby negligence of the injured person is not a complete defense, but reduces the defendant's liability according to the degree of the plaintiff's negligence.

So apparently, there are many legal contexts in which we do blame the victim, at least partially.

And, since folks seem to be curious, Rep. Peter King (R, NY) is calling for an investigation into what sort of confidentiality agreement Amb. Wilson signed with thr CIA, and whether he has violated it.

Swopa

Cecil, thanks for coming closer to stating your true underlying thesis -- that dissent against goverment should not be tolerated, no matter how corrupt and dishonest the government.

And I must also say that I'm impressed by the knowledge that inhabits the blogosphere. Why, just in the last few comments, we have people who know the CIA's rules about confidentiality better than the CIA and the people who work for it, and who know the law regarding covert agents better than the CIA and the Justice Department!

Amazing, the kind of "expertise" you find on the Internet . . .

Jon H

Millie writes: "Given the facts of her life during the past four years, it is difficult to suppose that she was allowed to do anything of importance "

That leaves a year in which she could have worked overseas, and still be covered under the law.

Jon h

Thomas writes: "Who couldn't figure out that Brewster Jennings (hyphen or no?) is a CIA front?

Brewster Jennings was a real person--an oil exec way back when, and his name comes up in interesting contexts (contact with Saudis, US government rep, etc). Knowing that, the CIA choice of name is...odd. "

What's odd about an energy-related company being named after an oil company executive?

Hey - Henry Ford was a real person -- an auto exec back when. Maybe Ford Motor Company is a CIA front, too.

Jon H

Edward writes: " Everything I've read indicates that she doesn't qualify because she wasn't stationed overseas during the last 5 years. "

The law says nothing about being "stationed" overseas, it just says they must have served overseas.

"Stationed" implies a long-term posting, but there's no minimum time given in the statute. Nor would that make sense, because it's entirely reasonable to believe that CIA agents would occasionally make short trips to foreign countries. For instance, a trip of a few days or weeks to debrief a contact and do some investigation.

Jon h

Cecil Turner writes: "But no matter how common, it’s still wrong—and illegal."

No it isn't illegal.

The US doesn't have an official secrets act covering all classified information. Only certain, specific types of classified information are covered. Like the identities of agents, ciphers, codes, communications intelligence (intercepted messages and the way they were obtained), and military-specific information about weapons systems, facilities, buildings, vehicles, troop movements, etc.

Many things are classified which don't fall under the law. That's why the law was passed in 1982 to make it illegal to out a covert agent. Until that point, it was only illegal if the agent was killed.

An all-encompassing bill making all leaks of classified information illegal was passed in 2000 but vetoed by Clinton.

Imam Psycho Muhammed

Swopa,

That last post sounded frustratingly bitter. Hmmm, got your ass handed to you, huh?

Cecil Turner

Swopa:
Anonymous leaking of intelligence information is not laudable “dissent.” Your position is hypocritical. Wilson’s leaks also damage national security—he just happens to be on your side. Your selective outrage damages your credibility.

You also appear to think a non-disclosure agreement is arcane. They’re quite common in government service. (I’ve signed several, for things far less sensitive than a CIA WMD fact-finding mission.) ">http://www.fas.org/sgp/isoo/sf312.html"> Here’s the standard form 312 and an explanation of how it’s used.

JonH,
The statutes do not, as you say, forbid all disclosure of classified information. But the catch-alls are extensive. For example, the one having to do with wartime movements and plans covers:
“Whoever, in time of war, with intent that the same shall be communicated to the enemy, collects, records, publishes, or communicates, or attempts to elicit any [ . . . ] information relating to the public defense, which might be useful to the enemy, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.”

In this case, there’s no chance of proving the first intent clause, and I snipped out all the parts about troop and ship movements, etc, but even in the absence of a non-disclosure form, disclosure of classified information in wartime is a chancy thing. As it ought to be.

Mark

Let me get this straight...

Wilson has knows his wife is a CIA op (TBD) and exposing her could put her in danger.

He opens his mouth and starts talking about a trip he took to Niger for the State Department.

Doesn't something seem odd there.

I mean... if my wife was a CIA Op, and I was truly worried about her safety... I am pretty certain I could keep my mouth shut or atleast be more discreet.

I know other details will come out, but the one thing I think is already apparent is that he wasn't really worried about his wife's cover being blown.

Had he been he would have done a better job at distancing himself from the information.

Atleast, I think any husband without an agenda would have been.

Mark

I just wrote a piece on Ames on my blog. Ames was primarily associated with Russian counterintelligence (he was a "counterintelligence branch chief in Soviet operations" and had access to, among other things, the names of all of the CIA's "human assets" in the Soviet Union.)



Also of note is that the man who prosecuted Ames, John Dion, is the investigator who has taken up the Plame case. Interesting.

Swopa

Cecil, as I've pointed out before, if Wilson talking about his trip to Niger is either (a) leaking classified information or (b) a violation of a confidentiality agreement, you've discovered something that has eluded the notice of the CIA, the NSC, and the White House, all of whom have commented on Wilson's criticisms without raising this issue.

Either that, or you're being delusional and/or willfully dishonest. In which case I don't see much point in continuing this conversation; good luck in your continued trolling.

Cecil Turner

Swopa,

You know nothing more about Wilson's possible violations than you do about the unnamed leaker who outed his wife. Nor do you have enough information about either case even to be sure a crime has been committed. But both are obviously leaking information about CIA operations.

Yet you seem positive one leaker should go to jail, and the other praised for his "dissent." I believe both are guilty and both should go to jail. (Unfortunately, due to the difficulty in getting convictions in these cases, probably neither will.) Whose belief is internally inconsistent here?

BTW, most people regard claims the other side in a debate is "delusional," or "dishonest," as a pretty good indicator one is losing the argument. If you stick to the subject, you'd be more convincing.

TM

I got this in an e-mail from a skeptical righty, and it is his attempt at a transcript. Anyone who has heard Imus can imagine how this conversation went.

The good Ambassador Wilson appeared on Imus's radio show yesterday.

Imus was a bit befuddled as to why, since he has no book or movie to push, yet.

So after a bit, Imus asks him: You are very upset about the danger that this leak places your wife and her contacts in.

Wilson: Yes, of course.

Imus: So why did you not say anything about it until September? You're saying a lot now but you didn't say anything about it in July or August. Why not?

Wilson. It didn't occur to us at the time.

Imus [incredulous]: How could it not have occurred to you?

Wilson: We were involved in other things.

Imus: Well, how did it occur to you two months later?

Wilson: Somebody explained it to us...


Yes, the super secret CIA sleuth finally realizes that maybe having hubby on national televison twice a week might call attention to herself. Please.

Ratherworried

Swopa wrote:

"And I must also say that I'm impressed by the knowledge that inhabits the blogosphere. Why, just in the last few comments, we have people who know the CIA's rules about confidentiality better than the CIA and the people who work for it, and who know the law regarding covert agents better than the CIA and the Justice Department!

Amazing, the kind of "expertise" you find on the Internet . . ."

After reading through this thread it is pretty clear that some of the posters clearly do have expertise in national security law. It is also clear that some extensive researching is going on. I know it is trendy to say that leakers never get caught, I'm not certain that will be the case in this instance.

The prevalence of information, data and sources (largely the product of the internet) exceed any other time in history or any other leak investigation in history. Based on this...I think the leakers are toast. This will provide an excellent lesson to both leakers and journalists.

HH

Imus is no genius, yet he asks far more obvious questions to Wilson than much of the press, who continues to coddle him...

Mark Amerman

Why did the CIA (or rather some part of the CIA)
make a big deal about Mrs. Wilson being identified
as "Valerie Plame" and working for the CIA, instead
of her simply being identified as working for the
CIA?

I've been puzzled about this all along. Surely if
she'd been named as CIA agent (period), that would
have been enough to compromise her?

Is it possible that Valerie Wilson had already been
named as a CIA agent and that the CIA knew of this?

Is there a reporter out there now sitting on the
information that Joseph Wilson in his efforts to
get his views in the media had claimed his wife
as a CIA agent working on WMD in an effort to
boost his credibility?

Celeste

I just want to add a few points:
1. If you're authorized to access classified information, they make you sign a form explaining that you understand that unauthorized disclosure of any of it is against the law, and punishable by up to a 50k fine or something like 5 years in prison. Not saying, necessarily, that Wilson's trip to Niger was classified, but in my experience, it would have been, or at least the report that came out of it.

2. ALSO, when you get access to classified information, it is explained to you that you not only aren't allowed to discuss it - you aren't allowed to confirm you know anything about it, even if it's been leaked/published. (No twenty questions for you!) Just because something has been leaked to the general public does not mean it stops being classified. There are some folks who aren't following this particular rule at all right now, from the noises being made.

... which is what makes me think that Ms. Plame's cover status being blown can't have been all that big a deal. If it were, the folks close to her would not have been shouting to the rooftops that their wife was a super-secret cia agent, and that her cover had been blown. And former agents would not have been coming out of the woodwork to confirm her status and give out details on her career...

Regardless, if the law has been broken, whoever did it should be in jail. Also regardless of wether it was illegal or not, whichever 'CIA spokesman' spoke to Novak in the first place should receive the harshest punishment possible... which probably means just being transferred to another department.

Tommy

Revealing information about the Niger “operation” isn’t a leak or an illegal act if the information was public knowledge. In fact, it hardly qualifies as an operation. I’ve seen nothing that shows there was any intent to make the trip a classified activity or its findings classified information. Furthermore, there are no efforts underway to find Wilson guilty of anything – indicative of the generally accepted principle that Wilson didn’t commit a crime. If anybody has any information to the contrary, please reveal it.

On the other hand, if the fact Wilson’s wife was an under-cover CIA operative, who may have performed classified operations overseas within the last 5 years, was made public by an administration official who learned the information through classified channels – well, that does constitute as a leak, and should be considered an illegal act. Since the justice department is conducting an investigation into the leak, at the behest of the CIA, it would seem that they’ve already satisfied themselves that Plame was indeed outed.

As to the discussion of contributory negligence – it speaks to liability and the amount of compensatory damages, not guilt/innocence.

mozart



Next question is: if the original leaks came in 1994, was George Tenet, a Clinton appointee, in charge then? An acquaintance told me that many of the Clinton appointees are still in high places in the C.I.A. and state departments. Given the fact that the Clinton administration missed its chance to arrest bin Laden in (1996?) when the Sudanese government gave them specific information as to his location, I don't have alot of confidence in the C.I.A. or state department. Plus the Pentagon and the state department are at odds over the Iraqi situation. Something needs to be done! And lest anyone think I'm a right-winger, no I'm not. I hope I'm a clear thinker and a moderate Democrat, although if truth be told, I lean more and more to an independent state of mind.

Thomas

Just to sling mud from the right and possibly be blamed for being biased toward the current WH administration, I must say that it sounds like a former ambassador and a sometime covert CIA agent are attempting to force policy decisions on the American Government instead of providing information and carrying out policy directives they are given.
Is it coincidental that the former ambassador STRONGLY disagrees with the current administration’s foreign policy, especially with regard to the involvement of Iraq with Africa and possible uranium sale requests or purchases, AND was an active ambassador during the Clinton years, AND contributes the maximum allowable per couple to the Gore 2000 campaign, possibly "outing" his CIA wife's cover company in the process?
What I hear are some public "servants" who have formed their own opinions on how government policy should be directed and have been leaking what information they have access to in order to redirect the current policy.
Is this a case of whistle blowers revealing dastardly administration lies? or is this "we should never fight, but always talk things through" State Department dwellers who think their ideology is supported by the little piece of the intelligence pie they see?
It sounds to me as though a CIA analyst/ operative was gravitating toward conflicts with new policy directives, and rather than follow orders or get out, decided to try and paint as tough a picture against the policy she disagreed with....who suggested that Ambassador Wilson travel to Niger?....to perhaps potentially discover an absence of Iraq uranium purchases and further discredit (previously discredited) false sales documents?
Has Ambassador Wilson or his CIA WMD analyst wife had access to the whole of the information on Iraq's nuclear program? If so, please share the sourcing for the British white paper that was the basis for the SOTU 16 words about Iraq ATTEMPTING to acquire uranium from Africa.
All I see here are employees without access to the "big picture" disagreeing with the direction the new company president is taking things.
And, in more and more vocally airing their disagreements, they have sacrificed their anonymity.
That said, if an administration (or other) source did leak legally punishable secret information about a CIA worker’s identity, especially if there was an attempt "shut them up", I want the Justice Department to dig them out and let the courts throw the book at them.

Ames Tiedeman

Facts are facts: If anyone does not think that the Mexican separatis group, La Raza, holds summer camps where it teaches Mexican/American kids that one day the western part of the United States of America will revert back to Mexican control, then you are simply blinded by truth. Go to the University of Texas. Call on the La Raza chapter there and simply see for yourself what is going on. Go to San Diego State University. Go to that La Raza chapter and see for yourself what is going on. It is not scary, it is TREASON. Even Bill Clinton had the sense to suggest that illegal immigration has the potential to unwind our 50 state union. If you neglect to see a major problem with illegal immigration from Mexico, then you are neglecting the USA. Make no mistake about it. A civil confrontation of sorts a few decades from now is not out of the realm of possibilities. I simply do not see how you can let a people of a different race, culture, and language enter your country and create a country within a country and have eveything work out just fine. The Mexicans want so much more than this. They want the the western part of the USA, plus Texas, back in Mexican control. Keep in mind, to understand the deep seeded hatred of the USA by Mexico you need only read the papers in Mexico City. Their cocktail of hatred against the USA is just as toxic as the hatred from Islam.

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