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October 10, 2004

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» The Free Press in Brussels from Stromata Blog
The American press has been quite upset lately by subpoenas demanding information about reporters’ sources for the possibly (though not probably) illegal revelation that the glamorous Valerie Plame-Wilson works for the Central Intelligence Agency. (J... [Read More]

Comments

The Kid

Tom, Tom, Tom – you are much too detached from this to see the importance of this investigation. Today’s lesson comes from the editorial and opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times via the “Outlook” section in today’s WaPo.

Michael Kingsley asks: if it’s not in the public interest for journalists to learn and publish the names of covert intelligence agents, why should journalists be exempt from the duty of every citizen to testify in a criminal investigation?

He makes clear that he believes the Bush administration is responsible in a criminal way for the leak to Novak, ergo Novak should be whacked and the others reporters left alone. He’s concluded not only that Novak’s source knew that Plame was an undercover CIA agent, but that Novak has been ignoring a subpoena to testify.

Now you might respond, as might I, that Kingsley is full of it – were his hypothesis true, despite the slow march of the legal process Novak would by now be behind bars or singing like a canary, and Bush’s brain, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Mary Matalin, and half the GOP would be all lawyered up, out of work, and on the docket. There’d be a whole lotta frog-marching going on.

But there ain’t, and NYT reporter Liptak wonders why too. It doesn’t look like Fitzgerald is delaying a bombshell until after the election, the NY Times itself is holding things up by fighting the subpoena of at least one reporter, Judith Miller, who published no report about Wilson / Plame, but did do some research. Why would the Times do that?

It is too bad that Ms, Miller never published the results of her research, I so would have liked to have gotten the feminine perspective of this mess. I wonder if she was able to get to any female sources – wouldn’t it be ironic if she’d spoken to Wilson’s wife? From where I sit , so far it looks like only Walter Pincus of the WaPo was able to talk to Ms. Plame in June, 2003.

Festus

Who gives a rat's ass?

Neo

I notice (from the link to the law) that the statue talks much about a "pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents". Could be that Mr. Fitzgerald feels that his case would have to include much more that Mr. Novak to be swallowed by a jury as violating the statue.
I seem to remember that the original "outing" in Athens that generated this statue revealed more than one name. It could be argued that just telling Mr. Novak might not be considered a pattern. As many reporters were later directed to Mr. Novak's article, it would be significant to know that each reporter knew and when, relative to Mr. Novak's column, they knew it.
Can being directed to an article in the public domain be considered part of the pattern outlined by the statue ? If so, this would be worse than anything the wildeyed have mentioned as part the Patriot Act.

MEC2
Who gives a rat's ass?

Word. The most overhyped, underwhelming bit of political intrigue since MTV uncovered Bill Clinton's underwear preference...

Killer Dog

Sorry but Plame moved from NY to DC because ( the Vanity Fair puff piece ) because it was suspected that Aldrich Ames had exposed her not too terribly dangerous green eyeshade desk jockey job. Rat's ass.. right ..no one gives one about this tempest in a teapot.

dick

I think the whole reason this is going to die out is that Ms Plame was not, at the time, a covert agent and therefore naming her would not have been a crime. I think that this whole thing is just going to die down.

In the mean time, whatever happened to Sandy Berger. What he did, in my opinion as one who did a lot of work with very highly classified documents during the Kennedy and Johnson era, is far more worth prosecuting than this little kerfluffle. For someone who held his job and had to be aware of all the security legal requirements and then to do what he did should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I am sure that there are people in jail right now for doing far less than he did. Has anything been published on this matter in months?

Thad Anderson

Thanks for the recap on this case.

In response to the "Who gives a rat's ass" comments, though, I think it's fair to say that if a Democratic President was ever under a similar investigation, it would be a centerpiece of GOP attack ads.

The Kid

Some guy by the name of Sulzberger gives a rat’s rear too.

lyle

Is it possible that Fitzgerald has moved past the Plame outing into something more serious?

Everyone assumes that Plame nominated her husband for the non-paying Niger trip out of dull domestic motives. It is further assumed that he misrepresented his findings because he's a politically motivated horse's ass. What if those assumptions are wrong?

The Niger documents found in Italy were forgeries. The forger says he created them for French Intelligence, with the expectation that they would be exposed and thus damage the Saddam/yellowcake link. In other words, the French - possibly with the connivance of others - ran a counterintelligence operation against the United States.

Joe Wilson's credentials for the Niger trip were weak. He was not an investigator. But because he was sent, a professional investigator was not. When his findings were ignored, he went public via the New York Times - with a claim that is now known to be false. Just as false as those Italian forgeries, in a distinctly similar way, with distinctly similar intent.

Wilson was not paid for the Niger trip but he does receive a paycheck from Arab sources. It would be easy to hide a payoff in plain sight. Has Fitzgerald found something suspicious? Is it possible that Wilson and his wife were part of the same operation that created the Italian forgeries?

The Kid

The head rats have weighed in.

Jerry

Speaking of investigations that have fallen off the radar screen, what about the neocon(s) who supposedly were leaking secrets to the Israeli government?

leaddog2

Jerry,

The subject was dropped because it was discovered that the "so called secrets leak" was false. It was discovered that the leak was one lower level flunky who WAS NOT passing secret information. What he gave out was readily available Non-secret information.

The Terrorist supporting, Jew hating Demoncratic press struck out. They are still foaming at the mouth, as usual.

Retrograde

These are the questions I have yet to see asked:

1. What, if any, the connection is there between Saddam's bribing of diplomats and Joe Wilson, a UN diplomat?

2. Was Joe Wilson mentioned in the list of officials bribed by Iraqi intelligence?

3. What connection, if any, is there between, Saddam's mention of a "susceptible" weapons inspector and Plame? Everyone suspects Scott Ritter, an outspoken critic of the war. Could Plame also have been passing counter-intelligence using her status as a WMD "expert"?

4. Was Plame "outed" rather than simply "taken care of" due to her diplomatic husband? Outing her effectively terminated her access to confidential materials and end her CIA career.

5. What is Ms. Miller's connection to Chalabi (http://slate.msn.com/id/2083736/) and how does Chalabi's connection to Iran (outed by Tenet) imapact this story? Was Miller a conduit feeding CIA inside information to Chalabi via Plame?

Interesting indeed.....

Rich

Retrograde's number 4 has been swirling as a rumor inside the CIA. Many people inside the CIA are furious how Kerry supporters, including Plame, have been politicizing intelligence. That was the alleged motivation of the outing. Some forms of the rumors have Tenet as the person who outed Plame.

We shall see if the rumors are true.

tipton cole

Read Novak's original column. Nowhere does he say that the administration sources gave him Wilson's wife's name or identified her as a CIA agent. Novak gets some info from the admin sources. Novak names Plame. He does not say that the name came from the admin sources.

The Kid

So I was chuckling at Retrograde’s speculations, figgerin’ that the answer to #1. was “probably none” because Wilson was a US, not a UN diplomat. The answer to #2 will take some time because US law prevents the naming of US citizens in this case. But then I got to #3 and vaguely remembered that Ritter had Iraqi-linked financing for his movie, did a Google, and got this:

Mr Ritter formed a partnership with Mr al-Khafaji to finance the film, Shifting Sands which, according to Mr Ritter, "proved" that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. In an interview with the New York Times in 2001, Mr Ritter stated that none of Mr al-Khafaji's funding came from Saddam's regime. Of the £250,000 spent on the film, he said that only £26,250 went into his own pocket.

While he confirmed that he had received money from Mr al-Khafaji, Mr Ritter said that he had had his business associate checked by CIA "sources" via a friend who was a reporter, and was reassured.


(Further on the article does mention Iraq’s thoughts of funding Mr al-Khafaji through an oil deal.)

So I’m going to go wrap my head in duct tape – after I apply a double layer of tin foil – right after I note that:

For #4, per the NYT’s Kristof, the CIA brought Plame and others back to Washington for safety reasons out of concern that Aldrich Aimes had disclosed their identities to the Russian’s before his arrest in 1994.

For #5, Miller and Chalabi were an item, and Fitzgerald has subpoenaed Miller’s phone records.

BTW, I recommend Nashua 398 as the very best duct tape for home or business use - it'll stick when others won't - and ditto for Reynolds heavy duty - it really keeps those mind rays out. I think. I hope.

TM

Kid, even paranoids have real leads. I am cutting and pasting a comment left by a "Don Williams" from a July 22 post:

BEGIN EXCERPT

...Actually , the real target of New Republic is probably the money man behind Joe Wilson --
Elias Aburdene.

I posted the following over on Roger L Simon's blog back in Oct 2003 (See http://rogerlsimon.com/archives/00000404.htm
and scan for my name )
---------------------
"
1) If I understand him correctly, Roger has indicated that he thinks this is a war between the CIA and White House. I think it is a war between the Saudi advocates and the Neocon Likud advocates....
...
On the other side:

1) The news media keeps listing Joseph C
Wilson as "CEO of JC Wilson International Ventures"

Their ignorance is hilarious. As of May 2003, Joseph Wilson's email address was
joewilson@rockcreekcorp.com
(See the May 2003 symposium on Africa at www.sahel-club.org/doc/conflict_sem0305_en.doc )

2) Mr Wilson's affiliation at several recent foreign policy conferences was listed as Rock Creek Corp. See ,e.g.,
http://www.mepc.org/public_asp/forums_chcs/30.asp
and
http://www.mepc.org/public_asp/forums_chcs/30.asp
(Search for "Wilson" --e.g Iraqi Town Hall seminar on April 2003

3) If you look at Saudi Net's list of firms doing business in Saudi Arabia, you see Rock Creek Corporation--
see http://www.the-saudi.net/business-center/links-usa.htm

4) According to the Center for Contempory Arab Studies, a member of their Board is the President of Rock Creek Corporation --Mr Elias Aburdene . see
http://www.ccasonline.org/events/Board.htm

5) Rock Creek Corporation is what is tactfully called a "private equity firm" See
http://www.cohengroup.net/team-amb.html

6) An October 1996 article in the Washington Business Journal notes re Mr Elias Aburdene:
"Franklin National Bank in Washington has hired the former head of Palmer National Bank's international private banking unit, in an effort to attract deposits from well-heeled foreign investors.

Since opening Sept. 1, Franklin's new international private banking division has garnered about 50 customers and $15 million in deposits. Elias Aburdene, advisor to the division, headed a similar department for five years at Palmer, which became a subsidiary of George Mason Bankshares in May.

Franklin, with $450 million in assets, has started a foreign exchange operation to accommodate the new business. But mostly, Aburdene said, international private banking means plain-vanilla services like checking, delivered with personal service.

"They [international clients] are looking for intangibles -- discretion, confidentiality, competence," Aburdene said. Clients also like to have access to top executives at the bank, giving smaller institutions like Franklin an edge, he added. "

Who the "well-heeled foreign investors" are and the nature of the "intangibles" they want is left as an exercise for the reader.

7) However, the name "Palmer National Bank" of Washington DC should make any spooks out there grin knowingly.
See http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/CIA/S&L_Scandal_CIA.html
and search for "Palmer".

It certainly seems as if
Mr Wilson's boss has ..er.. been around the track a few times. Certainly enough times to know how to poke the Likud Neocons in the butt with a very sharp stick.

Posted by Don Williams @ 10/01/2003 11:20 AM PST


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lest some of you don't get the point re Elias Abur

consider this blurb at the bottom of
an October 1997 article by
the "Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs" :
"National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA) President Khalil Jahshan and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) co-chaired a fact-finding visit to the Middle East between March 22 and April 5. The group, which also consisted of NAAA Board Chairman George Gorayeb

and Executive Vice-Chairman Elias Aburdene,

visited Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Lebanon and Syria, after which Jahshan went on his own to Jordan, Israel and Palestine....."
Ref: Bottom of page at
http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0697/9706014.htm

Those wanting to find out more about the National Association of Arab Americans are invited to Google. "

END EXCERPT

I have never followed up on that, but...

I would think finding a connection between Wilson's group and the voucher recipients would be nightmarishly complex. And it is odd to think of Wilson being on Saddam's payroll, given their antagonistic history. But both were opposed to the war.

The Kid

A “Don Williams” left a similar trail at Roger Simon’s 10/1/03 and anotherat Calpundit 10/4/04.

Regarding the last link in the Williams’ posts, there’s a connection between West-by-God-Virginny’s Congressman Rahal (of Lebanese descent, more info here) and Wilson – a $250 campaign contribution on 9/25/2002, five days after he kicked in $500 for Blinken for Senate campaign. Alan Blinken, a businessman and US Ambassador to Belgium (1993 to 1998), tried to unseat Republican Larry Craig in Idaho in the most expensive Senate race that state had seen to date. I guess it was the ambassador tie and Democrat politics that prompted Wilson to contribute. But isn’t Brussels where Rocco Martino, a/k/a “Giacomo,” the Italian businessman behind the forged Iraq-Niger-Uranium papers, reportedly held regular meetings with French intelligence? The forged documents were produced in 2000, before Blinken left. But this has to be mere coincidence.

As for research into the disposition of Oil-for-Food to US citizens, the CIA deleted the names of US citizens and corporations to comply with US privacy laws, although a full list was leaked to select media, Newsweek reports. Er, the New York Times was one of those, and good old Judith Miller reported that one of those who got vouchers was Mr. Shakir Al-Khafaji of West Bloomfield, MI, the guy who funded Scott Ritter’s movie, although she is too polite to mention that fact. Nor did she note, as Newsweek did, that Oscar Wyatt Jr. of Houston is a big contributor to the Democrat Party. She probably had a word limit…

I should note this because of my earlier wonderment at a possible Ritter-Miller-Plame connection:

Miller is a genuine expert on weapons of mass destruction or, in Washington parlance, WMD. She has written important books about Saddam Hussein and about germ warfare, and she shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for stories about al Qaeda. She has been a Times foreign correspondent based in Cairo, has traveled extensively on assignments, has covered the United Nations' WMD inspection program, and has experience covering the federal government dating back to the 1970s, when she was Washington bureau chief for The Progressive magazine.

Miller’s now in trouble with the journalistic community because she boosted the pre-Iraq war WMD threat and even got herself embedded with the WMD searchers to get the story. This would argue that her politics and Ritter’s (and Plame’s?) are 180 degrees out of sync But, she used to work for The Progressive and it’s late and I gotta work tomorrow…

The Kid

My point in the last paragraphs was to be that if you are a WMD proliferation expert for a major daily, you probably know some of the government types who work in that area. Miller had interviewed Ritter, did she know Plame?

Brad

Don, why is it that on every single site you post on, you always provide long winded diatribes on the evil "Jooos"? I've been posting on weblogs for a couple of years now, and I've seen you on at least a half dozen of them. Always railing at the evils of the neo-cons, and blaming their support of Israel, for every last bit of radical Islamic hatred directed toward the west. I honestly believe that you really hate people of the Jewish faith, and their country with all of your nasty little socialistic heart. A few points of correction for ya Donny my boy. The United States did not "create" Israel. We abstained from that vote, but we do support them since they are a "DEMOCRACY", in a region plagued with dictatorships. Read up on your history a little, and get your head out from under your Commissars desk for a change. We could pull every last bit of support out from under Israel today, and Bin-Landen et al, would still hate us and wish us dead. They consider us infidels Don. To be converted, or killed. NO other alternatives are in their plans for us Don. Israel is just a easy excuse for everyone without a modicum of common sense, to believe. People like you Don, and the other lotus eaters in liberal land, have a much easier time believing that it's all the "Jooos" fault, than you would if Bin-Laden and the rest just told you the unvarnished truth. Convert or die.

Bob Bender

Plame was fired because of a clonflict of interest. They got greedy when Wilson recieved the WMD contract from CIA it was forced. This set the stage for her firing. They politicized the intelligence because of loyalty issues, we have since found out that the 'Yellowcake' was a wild goose chase from a foreign intelligence source(kinda like Bush's forged record), which set up Plame and Wislon as not being able to find the confirmed WMD and also moving toward a suspect status as they pushed the 'yellowcake' issue.

The same as Keyser, both had CIA wives. Wilson was smarter making it a political issue immediately; compromising our WMD policy (agents educations- i.e. Rice)and weakening our government. This is classic Russian. The folllwing outing of the Tiawanese spy in England(outing gets her spies in China arrested)and the following meetings setting up Keyser(we are for China and Bush took great pains to explain we don't spy with Tiawan). Keyser was the 'Yellowcake' of the Tiawanese agent's outing, thats all; I doubt his wife could run him with a defection, which is usually the goal(Wilson). The continuity between the Tiawanese agents outing(the arrest and execution of the Tiawanese spies) and the Plame firing(the Iraq intelligence murder of seven Spanish operstions officers, etc.) is interesting. Both had very close political connections in their countries(Plame-Hillary / Wilson-Bush WMD and the Tiwanese operations officer to the President of Tiawan. Russian and very effective, WHICH IS WHY THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO STAY AWAY FROM POLITICIANS AND CONGRESS WANTS CIA DISSOLVED.


Retrograde's number 4 has been swirling as a rumor inside the CIA. Many people inside the CIA are furious how Kerry supporters, including Plame, have been politicizing intelligence. That was the alleged motivation of the outing. Some forms of the rumors have Tenet as the person who outed Plame

claudine

what are some related topics to the history day theme called conflict and compromise

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