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July 31, 2005

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Jeff

I think you've got your African-American Secretaries of State mixed up. TIME says Powell saw the memo mid-June, not Rice. And it's true, Powell and Armitage do appear to have kept a secret for a long time.

We now also appear to have a definitive answer to the question of whether Pincus talked to the CIA. He did. I wonder if what he heard from them made him think that the senior administration official he talked to on July 12 -- Hadley? Tenet? -- was wrong when he said that Wilson's wife authorized the trip, or whatever he said. In light of the issue Podhoretz raises, I wonder whether the CIA would have mentioned anything about Wilson's wife at all. If so, was it in response to specific questions from Pincus, as I imagine it would have had to have been? If so, what led him to pose those questions? The right wing response would probably be, probably Wilson himself. But I am deeply skeptical of that. If someone else, who?

TM

I am running out the door, but.. this TIME story ties in perfectly to Jeff's suggestion that we play "Let's Ask the Media", starting with Cliff May, but with lots of others on the list.

Well, the weekend was never a good time for that, but let's see what Monday brings.

Steven J.

MR. RUSSERT: But when you say that no one in our circles, and it was maybe down in the bowels of the Intelligence Agency, a month after that appearance, you said this, “The CIA cleared the speech in its entirety.”
And then your top deputy, Stephen Hadley, on July 23, said this.
“Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters that he received two memos from the CIA in October that cast doubt on intelligence reports that Iraq had sough to buy uranium from Niger to use in developing nuclear weapons. Both memos were also sent to chief speechwriter Michael Gerson and one was sent to national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Hadley said.”

And George Tenet called Mr. Hadley directly and put—issued a warning on that information. Were you aware of any concerns by the CIA about this incident?
DR. RICE: First of all, the CIA did clear the speech in its entirety and George Tenet has said that. He’s also said that he believes that it should not have been cleared. And we apparently, with the—in October for the Cincinnati speech, not for the State of the Union, but the Cincinnati speech, George Tenet asked that this be taken out of the Cincinnati speech, the reference to yellow cake. It was taken out of the Cincinnati speech because whenever the director of Central Intelligence wants something out, it’s gone.
MR. RUSSERT: How’d it get back in?
DR. RICE: It’s not a matter of getting back in. It’s a matter, Tim, that three-plus months later, people didn’t remember that George Tenet had asked that it be taken out of the Cincinnati speech and then it was cleared by the agency. I didn’t remember. Steve Hadley didn’t remember. We are trying to put now in place methods so you don’t have to be dependent on people’s memories for something like that.

Rider

Nice try, Podhoretz. Wilson was the source for Kristoff and for Pincus, but he damned sure didn't happen to mention that his wife was a CIA operative and that she had arranged for his trip to Niger. What Kristoff and Pincus knew was that Wilson had been to Niger and had found nothing and that the 16 word statement was likely based on bogus intelligence.

There is literally no telling what Judith Miller knows nor how she knows it. She may well be hiding behind the First Amendment to avoid having to invoke the Fifth Amendment.

Toby Petzold

Tom, I'm not sure how responsible or sensible this is, but I ask here whether Joe Wilson might have known more about the yellowcake forgeries at the time of his Nigerien vacation than he should have.

It may be that the swarm of details have blunted my logic, so check me, if you wish.

Basically, the CIA station in Rome seems to have sat on the documents for a while. Somehow, the State Department got them first and never got around to giving them to Langley until February 2003. Shortly thereafter, the IAEA itself declared them forgeries.

But didn't we know they were forgeries before February 2003? Isn't that why Plame said there was a "crazy report" of Iraq trying to obtain yellowcake from Niger when she recommended Wilson in February 2002?

I think I'm starting to melt down!

waldot

Don't you just appreciate how the first sentence of the article describes Ms. Plame as being "covert." It seems like this is being accepted as an article of faith. I didn't think that this was established.

stiffled

TM's posts on the Plame leak always remind me of Inspector Truscott's police-department maxim in Joe Orton's play Loot: "Never search your own backyard; you may find what you're looking for."

The key element of the story isn't the State Dept., the NSC, or the press; it's the former deputy CIA director going on the record -- no anonymous leaker here! -- as saying the White House asked for information about Wilson's trip before July 6th. (McLaughlin doesn't specifically say it happened before that date, but it's implied by the context.)

Even if the CIA response didn't mention Wilson's wife, the State Dept. memo did, and part of the intent of this article is to show that the memo was circulating in mid-June.

Based on the Chinese-water-torture leaking of the contents of the State Dept. memo, we may just have to wait a few days (and a couple more "scoops") to learn exactly what the CIA said in answering the WH request.

Either way, the notion that a White House which wanted to know how Wilson was sent to Niger remained in the dark for nearly a month until reporters miraculously began calling them with an explanation seems increasingly far-fetched.

narciso

iRONICALLY, The most interesting leak, was that done by Pakistani intelligence, back
in August 4th, to the New York Times, here, this ironically traces back
to an earlier thread on this site, which came from a New Republichttps://justone
minute.typepad.com/main/2004/07/lookin_good_in_.html

exmaple

"After Pincus," a former intelligence officer says, "there was general discussion with the National Security Council and the White House and State Department and others" about Wilson's trip and its origins."

Naturally. What Wilson leaked to Mr. Pincus and Cristoff was shocking. Not the existence of his early 2002 excursion, but his claim he found information disproving the forgeries back at that time. If that were true, it would destroy the Niger docs timeline. Naturally the government would be quite interested.

Jeff

TM - I'm happy to take credit for it, but I think the "Let's ask the media" thing was yours originally. In any case, distinctions have to be made. The general point that members of the media are players and not mere reporters in this story is very important. i do think that Jehl's article in the Times made this clear and pursued the thought, however enigmatically for us right now. I also think it would be great for relevant reporters to be candid about their own roles. However, at least for those who have participated in the investigation itself, they are under no more or less obligation to come forward with their role as everyone else, crucially including members of the Bush administration. Fitzgerald has evidently requested that those whom his people question in one way or another not talk about it. If you are going to demand that all those press people come forward and talk, you have to demand that Rove, Libby, Hadley, Rice, Bush, Cheney and the others come forward as well. I am more than willing to get on that bandwagon of demands.

Tim Russert does and Cliff May may fall into a distinct category or categories, as may a few others you come up with. Russert (or NBC on his behalf) has volunteered statements about his participation in the investigation that, to put it mildly, demand clarification. They sound for all the world like weasel words, and it's our right to demand he clarify -- though no more than any number of things we've gotten from the Bush administration and Rove's lawyer. My initial thought on Cliff May was that he had info that he claimed by its nature was not confidential, plus it was exonerating of the Bush administration, so there was no reason he shouldn't race forward to share it with the rest of us in all its juicy factuality. But having now heard that he too has been a part of the investigation, he probably falls into the same camp as the rest -- although, again, the fact that he has already told us a lot, and that he alleges it was in its very nature not confidential, may mean he's in a category of his own.

On the substance of the TIME piece, I do think it's important not to assume Pincus had any interest in or knowledge of Wilson's wife's state and role either before or after he talked to the CIA. Do we have any reason, including possibly any evidence, to think he did, other than general distaste for Joe Wilson's personality? It's of course possible, and then we want to know how it was revealed.

Seven Machos

Rider: How could Judith Miller possibly be tried for any crime remotely related to this non-scandal? Were she tried, how could she possibly be convicted?

SamAm

Cliff May has been so often wrong about the details of the case (especially that bit about David Corn) and Podhoretz closes his piece by stating falsely that Plame got Wilson the Niger assignment, which isn't true, that it's pretty foolish to rely on their interpretations.

My problems with the Rove and Libby learned about Plame from the media, not the entity that employed them argument still stand in light of these revelations, and are strenghtened. First of all, the reporters enter the scene too late, Miller especially, but Pincus and Mitchell as well. Why they would know this sort of information before a guy like Libby, who's chief of staff to the VP...it's just not the simple explanation. It's not the rational explanation. And here we have the former Acting Director of the CIA saying the WH was rummaging around for info on Wilson.

And neither Rove nor Libby can say where they heard the info. Novak, Cooper, and Russert all disagree with their characterizations. And no reporters back them up. Fitzgerald, who's been a very "wide net" prosecutor hasn't seen the need to call Mitchell or any other reporters. If he had cause to he would.

The White House didn't need reporters to tell it information it expressly asked for from government agencies and government channels. The phantom reporter theory didn't make sense yesterday, but it makes even less sense today.

Tony Foresta

"I didn't think that this was established". That's the point waldot, - she was covert, under cover, her mission was designated "S" as in secret. The RNC Rove concocted fictions and myths disparaging her covert status, conflict with the facts, and the key fact being the CIA formally requested that the Justice Department open an investigation into the outing of a WMD proliferations operative - whose standing and operations were covert, or secret.

Why is Novak recused from this case? Is there not some inherant inconsistancy and obvious retardation in failing to demand that Novak reveal his sources?

In the end, there is only the disturbing fact that someone in the WH revenge outed Joseph Wilson's wife in an act of vengeance maliciously intending to discredit and injure Mr. Wilson for publically debunking the Niger cliam (one of many neocrusader Bush government OSP/Chalabi conctocted deceptions and information warfare operations)manipulating and twisting the intelligence to falsely justify the bloody, costly, plunder, profiteering, and wayward misadventure in Iraq.

The people have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Some in the WH revenge outed Joseph Wilsons' wife and the people have the right to know is capable of, and culpable for this act of treachery and treason.

SamAm

I think it's also point out that, seeing as how no indictments of administration officials have been issued there's still some mathematical probability they all will escape without being prosecuted. But the entire trajectory of the story, ever since Cooper testified, has been pushing the WH and its defenders further and further out on a limb. Is there an exculpatory scenario for the administration? It's very, very doubtful. And it becomes more doubtful with each leak. Even Luskin's leaks didn't help Rove at all.

The trajectory is important. A simple, innocent explanation for the leak does not exist. A convoluted, innocent explanation for the leak doesn't even exist. Pincus and Mitchell are just 2 people; their involvement or non-involvement could have been easily established, and Pincus's at least probably has been. Were Mitchell involved in any meaningful way, she would have testified. And again, even if they called Rove together the second after they heard of Plame's identity, they still had a source, and Rove still had a responsibility to protect secret and top secret information.

Tommy V

"Don't you just appreciate how the first sentence of the article describes Ms. Plame as being "covert." It seems like this is being accepted as an article of faith. I didn't think that this was established."

It hasn't. Her official status was one of covered, but there seems to be a lot of evidence to indicate that she was not behaving as such, and that this status was a holdover from her days overseas.

Fitzgerald knows this better than we do.

I'm more confused than I was ever was before, and frankly that leads me to believe that hee employment was an open secret within Wahington. It would be a lot easier to determine the starting point of this info otherwise.

Sam and Tony, your langauge is becoming more and more like the gloom and doom of the witches in MacBeth. Sorry, I just don't see it.

I think if the Dems were confident of the outcome of this thing they wouldn't be so anxious to try this in the media immediately. They would be perfectly happy waiting until the Fall when they will need it more.

My favorite line: "Rove still had a responsibility to protect secret and top secret information."

If you really believe every word of that, aren't you as upset with Wilson for exposing himself and his wife like this? No? I didn't think so.

MJW

SamAm says: "Podhoretz closes his piece by stating falsely that Plame got Wilson the Niger assignment, which isn't true. . ."

I've heard the same assertion from others, including the recently quoted ex-CIA flack. I don't see how this squares with the Select Committee on Intelligence report which claims that Wilson was first suggested for the assignment by his wife, who followed up by writing a supporting memo. Do those who deny that Wilson's wife got him the job dispute the validity of this evidence, or do they claim that the actions his wife took aren't sufficient to constitute "getting him the job." If it's the former, I'd be interested in hearing why the committee's evidence shouldn't be believed. If it's the latter, I simply ask: How likely is it that Wilson would have been selected had not his wife recommended him?

Syl

The first paragraph can be ignored, it is simply the writer's speculation on what the following info may mean.

And the information making the earlier rounds isn't specific beyond "which disclosed Plame's relationship to Wilson". As far as we know from this AND from the INR memo, the name 'Plame' has yet to appear nor is there any indication that anyone in the CIA indicated any covert status involved, nor what classification the Carl Ford memo had, if any.

In an atmosphere where the State Dept was protecting its turf, as assigned by Clinton, as the main counterterrorism body in our government, the hostility to the Executive Branch was quite open.

Now add the elements in the CIA who were under pressure to hand over to the Executive Branch their findings in support of a war that many, in agreement with the State Department folks, disagreed with.

So you have a hostile State Department and a hostile element within the CIA.

The Executive Branch learns, oh my, that a CIA employee had a major role in sending a State Department type to investigate possible yellowcake dealings in Niger. Collusion! Setup! Gotcha! and the last thing the Executive Branch is thinking about is the official status of this woman.

So the Executive Branch has proof to discredit Wilson's trip and incendiary statements and leaks the connection between Amb Wilson and his CIA wife.

Oooops!

This was my, and many others, first reaction when the whole thing broke and I maintain to this day that the motive was not outing an agent in revenge.

Dwilkers

Novek is pushing back on Harlow today. Shrug.

Link Here

Steven J.

WALDOT - "Don't you just appreciate how the first sentence of the article describes Ms. Plame as being "covert." It seems like this is being accepted as an article of faith. I didn't think that this was established."

Yes it has been established:

"Aboard the president's plane was a copy of a State Department memorandum on the Wilson matter faxed in-flight to Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state. Officials who have seen the memorandum say that in a passage marked "S" for "secret," it included a crucial revelation: that Valerie Wilson was a C.I.A. officer who played a role in the agency's decision to send her husband to Africa."

https://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/politics/politicsspecial1/24leak.html?


"A key department memo discussing Joseph Wilson's Niger trip was classified "Top Secret," and the passage about his wife's CIA role was specially marked "S/NF" -- not to be shared with any foreign intelligence agencies."

A Special Weekly Report From The Wall Street Journal's Capital Bureau
John Harwood. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Jul 22, 2005. pg. A.4
Column Name:Washington Wire
Section: Politics & Policy


Rider

The role of Mrs. Wilson vis-a-vis Mr. Wilson's trip is a red herring. Wilson says that his wife submitted his name, which was then presumably considered along with others. That's not in dispute. What the WH and the rightwing claim is that the trip was her idea, something she dreamed up and orchestrated and promoted to smear the President (knowing psychically that he was going to put the 16 words in his speech I guess).

The pushy-wife story was a fabrication that came out of Cheney's office because:

1) They did not want to claim credit for a mission which had showed there was no evidence for the president's claim about Saddam trying to buy uranium in Africa. [They should instead have admitted they asked the CIA for the mission to investigate the alleged attempt to purchase uranium but disagreed with the ambassador's conclusions].

2) They wanted to discredit Wilson himself by disparaging his manhood [typical Rove move btw] by claiming that his wife was the one who sent him on the trip rather than Cheney's office. So, they portrayed her as a CIA insider and both of them as partisans out to make Bush look bad [never mind that they were to that point Republicans who had no idea the WH was going to go forward with the nutty uranium story].

Note that the claims about Mrs. Wilson are in conflict with each other. On the one hand the claim is that she was not covert but merely "had a desk job out at Langley." No one ever says what that job was. On the other hand the claim is made that this ex-ambassador's wife "sent her husband" on a secret trip to Niger having to do with WMD and Iraq. This now assumes that she was extremely influential at the CIA...in a position which had no name. So, which is it?

Steve: if Miller is simply a journalist, she has nothing to worry about.

Steven J.

>I>TOMMY V - "My favorite line: "Rove still had a responsibility to protect secret and top secret information."

If you really believe every word of that, aren't you as upset with Wilson for exposing himself and his wife like this? No? I didn't think so."

Tommy is further proof that Moyer's was correct: the delusilonal is no longer marginal. (I would add the stupid and ignorant)

kim

And the point of that memo being secret was to keep Val's identity secret? That's even more of a stretch than usual for you, SJ. That would have to be true for your reference to be pertinent to your argument.
===================================================

Slartibartfast

I guess I'm obliged to point out yet again that although Plame's identity may in fact be classified Secret, her name being embedded in a passage portion-marked Secret isn't proof positive. What makes her identity classified is the CIA having classified it, and not having since (before the time of publication of Novak's article) declassified it.

TM

From Jeff:
If you are going to demand that all those press people come forward and talk, you have to demand that Rove, Libby, Hadley, Rice, Bush, Cheney and the others come forward as well.

Well, the Admin officials are not routinely blathering about the public's "right to know". Nor, except in weird longshots, do any of the reporters face criminal liability.

OTOH, the meda (collectively) have been promoting this scandal.

Good point about the CIA; this is classic self-parody:

McLaughlin doesn't specifically say it happened before that date, but it's implied by the context.

Well, I hope McLaughlin had better luck with the dates when he gave evidence to Fitzgerald, as reported last week.

And I hope TIME has better luck with their follow-up questions - did they ask McLaughlin about his testimony and get a "No comment", or what? Did the CIA warn people that Ms. Plame was covert?

Meanwhile "the White House asked [the CIA] for information about Wilson's trip before July 6th", beyond being a logical leap, presents the always-amusing image of a talking building. WHO in the WH asked? Rove, whose area was domestic policy? Or Hadley, or some other NSC staffer? Or Libby, who had chatted with the CIA on Iraq intel?

Steven J: We hashed through the significance of Ms. Plame being mentioned in a paragraph labeled "Secret" - not every item in such a paragraph is automatically "Secret", and there may have been someting else that drew that warning - the paragraph might have mentioned spy photos, or the fact of a CIA trip to Niger, for example.

Now, I happen to accept that Ms. Plame's identity was being protected by the CIA, but I doubt that she was covered under the IIPA statute.

Rider

However you construe "S" it did not mean "Spread Around As Needed For Political Purposes."

New definition of "covert": your real identity and the nature of your work is classified, unless of course we need to spread it around to score political points.

Appalled Moderate

Deep Throat says: "Follow the investigator". Where is he concentrating his questions? What are the primary things he is interested in?

This Time story is a red herring. Fitzgerald has clearly interested himself in Rove's story, Libby's story and Fleisher's story. Libby has had to explain how he knew about Plame, as has Rove. Fleisher has had to go on record as denying that he saw the INR. All these guys have told their stories. The remainder of all this investigating is to test whether the "I heard it from reporters" story is plausible. There may be some additional investigating to see if there was a conspiracy to leak Plame's name. This memo does not really get to that issue. If there were copies of it all aover the white house, that might.

On additional note -- it was reported that the memo on Air Force One was simply this prior memo with the dates changed. If the knowledge had been disseminated all over creation, the need to redo and recreate the memo makes no sense. Powell or his administrative assistant would know to print another copy.


Martin

From Novak's new column: "I was told she "suggested" the mission, and that is what I asked Harlow."

Ok Sherlocks-who told him this?


Novhack continues:

"So, what was "wrong" with my column as Harlow claimed? There was nothing incorrect. He told the Post reporters he had "warned" me that if I "did write about it, her name should not be revealed." That is meaningless. Once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission, she could be identified as "Valerie Plame" by reading her husband's entry in "Who's Who in America.""

"That is meaningless"????

Well that's the crux of the matter isn't it.

"Once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission"

Talk about putting the cart before the horse! And now we see Rove's "I never leaked her name" come back.

Why do some of you clowns continue to defend this perfidy?


boris

Nobody who goes to work every day at CIA headquarters is 'covert' or 'undercover' unless they are Russian spies.

A person who works at headquarters might be qualified to go undercover and that status might be classified, but even so their employment by the CIA would not be.

Why not? because it's not hidden. It would be stupid to link information that can be hidden, such as undercover operative status, to information that is not hidden, such as where they go to work every day.

As soon as someone's CIA employment is known to be classified, it would be deduced that their status was undercover operative.

boris

Why do some of you clowns ...

You didn't include enough of Novak's comments to make a coherent point. Thus your entire post looks psycho.

Good work!

boris

boris

Appalled Moderate

I think it may be time to declare this "covert" -- "Non-covert" issue closed. Clearly, the CIA thought she was covert. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this investigation. It may turn out that, under the law, she wasn't covert. That's a question of both fact and law. I submit that nobody commenting here knows all of the facts surrounding Plame's employment, even if they have specialized knowledge of the statute Rove and Libby are alleged to have violated. Rest assured, though, that the prosecutor's office has studied the facts and the law carefully. If indictments come down on something other than simple perjury, it will be pretty clear that Fitzgerald's lawyers believe Plame was covert.

Rider

The story that Valerie's job was not classified or covert is disinformation put out to cover-up a potential crime. It's a lie, so stop defending it.

The CIA was convinced that Novak's column blew her cover and was highly disturbed about that. They referred the case to the FBI. The FBI conducted an investigation which began to implicate associates of the AG. The AG recused himself and appointed a special prosecutor, a Republican. Now you cannot maintain that that entire prosecutorial chain is based on a fictitious story that Mrs. Wilson was a covert officer.

She was a covert American CIA officer. Those who know most about the investigation are apparently convinced that someone in the WH blew her cover. Get over it and move on.

boris

Clearly, the CIA thought she was covert. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this investigation

Non sequitur. Classified information was made public.

Harlow said to the Post that he did not tell [Novak] Mrs. Wilson "was undercover because that was classified."

My point is that the term undercover can be interpreted as status rather than state. IOW V.P. has CIA undercover status and could have gone undervcover sometime in the future if Novak hadn't publicized her employment with the CIA.

Harlow: "she probably never again would be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause 'difficulties.' " .
According to CIA sources, she was brought home from foreign assignments in 1997, when agency officials feared she had been "outed" by the traitor Aldrich Ames.
Appalled Moderate

Boris:

The CIA started this investigation with a referral to the Department of Justice. Obviously, the CIA feels that a crime may have been committed here, and wants that investigated. Harlow's comments are neither here nor there -- he's not a lawyer.

Patrick R. Sullivan

From Nick Kristoff's June 13, 2003 column:

'That was not just a case of hyping intelligence, but of asserting something that had already been flatly discredited by an envoy investigating at the behest of the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.'

That error of fact, given to Kristoff by Joe Wilson, along with other errors of fact about Wilson and the forged documents, guaranteed that Valerie Plame-Wilson's role in her husband's selection for a CIA trip would come to light.

Because it's factual. And only because it's factual.

Another fact; Nick Kristoff had met Valerie Wilson. Walter Pincus's reporting certainly suggests he had too.

Etienne

Once again, the question emerges. WHY do the Republican party faithful, those formerly of the "law and order" party, formerly of the "national security" party, find it SO easy to apologize, obfuscate, minimize and equivocate over unethical behavior when the miscreants are Republicans?

It's enough to make you think there's no integrity or honor in our new system of one party rule.

boris

the CIA feels that a crime may have been committed here,

Fine, have it your way. I'm simply pointing out that the crime being investigated is more likely to be the release of classified information than the blowing of someone's cover.

On the internet it is sometimes tempting to let words take precedence over reality. The reality is:

Nobody who goes to work every day at CIA headquarters is 'covert' or 'undercover' unless they are Russian spies.

Why not? because it's not hidden.


Mike Veeshir

This Novak article is pretty interesting. (via Boortz)
He seems to be a little upset with all the disinformation out there.
I love the ending
I eagerly await the end of this investigation when I may be able to correct other misinformation about me and the case.

Appalled Moderate

boris:

As I said above, follow the investigators.

I don't see them talking to Wilson and Plame and dragging them before the grand jury. Everything seems to spring from the stories of Libby and Rove. And it's not like, suddenly, he's going to start talking to them. He said, once he gets the rcalictrant Ms. Miller's testimony, he has completed his investigation.

boris

Once again, the question emerges. WHY do

moonbats project all their major flaws onto Republicans ???

Slartibartfast
find it SO easy to apologize, obfuscate, minimize and equivocate over unethical behavior when the miscreants are Republicans

Well, some of us simply want to have a decent percentage of the available facts before bringing in the firing squad. Compare this with Sandy Berger's case, where there was a paper trail AND a confession, and you'll see that there's more than a little difference.

boris

I don't see them talking to Wilson and Plame

So what's your point ? I don't see how this applies to the logic that the focus is more likely classified release not blown cover.

There was no cover to blow. There was status as an undercover operative that was classified and released. Either way the investegators are going to walk the same path.

boris

Another bit of possibly classified info is that V.P. 'suggested' Joe for the gig. Internal CIA decisions are likely automatically classified.

The 'blown cover' slant is simply part of the Vengence of Rove story the moonbats are in love with. Since there are no facts to support the vengence motive, the moonbats can't let go of the irrelevant yet emotional appeal of soundbite.

Appalled Moderate

boris:

Ok, I put you in the "the investigation is really focused on Plame/Wilson" category, which may be my mistake.

My guess is that Rove is a supporting player in this (Novak's second source), and that the real focus of the investigation is Libby. I have not seen the evidence that the investigation has focused on anyone else.

Tollhouse

Right, you haven't seen any evidence for that because all the "evidence" we have seen so far have been leaks designed to push one agenda or another. Why would the Wilson's leak out any information about their roles when the media is so relentlessly focused on Rove and the White House? There is no evidence on what angle Fitz is working on, none, because none of the leaks so far seem to have originated in his office.

Martin

Except for Fitzgerald's own words that this case is about potential retaliation against a whistleblower.

Slartibartfast

Who's the whistleblower in this scenario, Martin?

Martin

I don't speculate without facts Slarti-what do you say?

Appalled Moderate

Tolhouse:

Ya really think if the investigators had come calling on Wilson, he'd be able to keep his big trap shut? The guy would be hollaring "Rovian Conspiracy" all over town.

The leaks are incomplete, but give the appearance of a thorough, but rather narrow investigation. IMHO, of course.

Etienne

WHY do moonbats project all their major flaws onto Republicans ???

Sounds like the truth hurts you, boris. And thanks for the elevated level of discourse. Moonbats, wingnuts...very constructive.

Slartibartfast
I don't speculate without facts Slarti-what do you say?

Oh, that was good for a chuckle!

Slartibartfast
I don't speculate without facts Slarti-what do you say?

Oh, that was good for a chuckle!

Slartibartfast

Two chuckles, evidently.

Rider

"WHY do moonbats project all their major flaws onto Republicans ???"

LMFAO. Moonbats, moonbats, moonbats. Name-calling: the first sign that you are short on facts. Very sophisticated, too. ;o)

Show some respect. "Moonbats" are the only thing keeping this thread from being an echo chamber. "I agree" - "Oh no I agree with you" - "No but I agree with you even more." etc.

Slartibartfast

I have to say that Etienne has not exactly been the elevator of discourse, here, so his/her outrage rings a little hollow.

Elevated discourse would be a nice change, though; maybe we could all make a concerted effort.

Jeff

TM said

Well, the Admin officials are not routinely blathering about the public's "right to know". Nor, except in weird longshots, do any of the reporters face criminal liability.

OTOH, the meda (collectively) have been promoting this scandal.

This makes it sound like you're hypocrisy hunting, which strikes me as neither that difficult nor that satisfying. It's true that the Bush administration in many regards is quite patent about its efforts to dismantle what I think of as basic values, commitments and insitutions of openness, transparency and publicity in democratic government. To that extent, they don't blather about the public's right to know. But that strikes me as far more problematic than a very imperfect media.

Even so, the Bush administration does also talk about those values of transparency and something very like the public's right to know. Donald Rumsfield was doing so just recently. Furthermore, that is precisely the posture struck by the administration, and Bush himself, at the time of the initial brouhaha over the outing of Plame. Bush wanted people to come forward and so on. And whatever the precise things Bush himself said about the special prosecutor finding out, the Bush administration deliberately gave the impression, to the press and to the public, that Rove and Libby, among a few others, were not involved in the outing in any substantial way. The reality has definitively turned out, at least with regard to Rove, to be otherwise. This is the case even if Rove is not indicted. From what we know already of Rove's actions, he has conducted himself in a dishonorable and undignified manner in the White House. I am quite sure that when Bush promised, over and over in the 2000 campaign, that he was going to restore honor and dignity to the White House, he did not mean he was going to ensure that his closest aide would not be indicted while serving the president. After all, how many members of the Clinton administration were indicted while in office?

Has the media been promoting this scandal? How? Wouldn't you have complained if Matt Cooper had explained his own participation with Rove in it during the campaign? In fact, Matt Cooper told us a lot recently, precisely as you seem to want, in a way very straightforward about his own role in it.

boris

that Rove and Libby, among a few others, were not involved in the outing in any substantial way.

Define substantial.

That V.P. worked at the CIA was not hidden and thus not classified. No "outing" there is there?

That V.P. 'suggested' J.W. for the gig might have been classified but it also was setting the record straight, not a 'revenge outing' which is exactly what was alleged.

TM

From Appalled:
I think it may be time to declare this "covert" -- "Non-covert" issue closed. Clearly, the CIA thought she was covert. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this investigation. It may turn out that, under the law, she wasn't covert. That's a question of both fact and law. I submit that nobody commenting here knows all of the facts surrounding Plame's employment, even if they have specialized knowledge of the statute Rove and Libby are alleged to have violated.

I endorse that notion -we are just not going to know her legal status until Fitz tells us (and maybe not even then - he may tray for an aggressive interpretation of an essentially untested, rarely used statute).

Sam AM:

Novak, Cooper, and Russert all disagree with their [Libby and Rove's] characterizations.

Well, Russert's "denial" was pretty weak:

Russert told Fitzgerald that he did not know Plame’s name or that she was a CIA operative and that he did not provide that information to Libby, it said.

As Ihave asked before, might Russert have said "I heard that Wilson's wife is at the CIA, and helped him get this gig"? That would not conflict with his "denial". Asuuming, of course, that "operative" has special meaning.

boris

not going to know her legal status

Out of all the things we are not going to know until Fitz clues us in, this one is at least subject to reasonable speculation.

Whatever her CIA designated status, that she worked at the CIA was not hidden and thus not undercover or covert.

This is not from what someone said it is simple plain english. I'm no expert but having a top secret clearance when I worked in crypto, I do know what the words mean. They make damn sure you know what the words mean in they give you a clearance.

Rider

boris - the CIA, the FBI, the AG, the prosecutor are all apparently laboring under the delusion that VP's cover was classified and her status compromised, i.e., she was "outed."

You are apparently the last man still clinging to the contrary notion. The prosecution passed that point two years back. It's political disinformation and nobody buying it any more.

boris

delusion that VP's cover was classified

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified.

I have no problem with the logic that V.P. could have CIA designated status of undercover operative, who was not in fact undercover at the time.

I have a big problem with the logic that she was undercover while openly working at CIA headquarters as an analyst.

My take is this is an example of sloppy writing. Her operational status was classified, not her working at the CIA, or Harlow would have just told Novak that. Instead he could not give Novak a valid reason not to identify her because her status as an undercover operative was classified.

Rider

What it comes down to is that the temptation to bash Joe Wilson at the price of revealing Valerie's relationship to the CIA *despite being waved off by Harlow* was simply too great for Novak (and his sources) to resist. It was just too much fun to pass up. They hated the CIA anyway, so what the hell? (Let's start reforming the CIA by blowing the cover of all the covert officers?).

Can you even begin to imagine the firestorm that would have come down on the WH if this perfidy had taken place in the Clinton WH? But as long as the perps are loyal to Bush, it's OK. Instead of digging out the perps, the WH has been attacking Wilson and wife, because they were not loyal to Bush...or to the father, but not the son.

kim

Remember, the villain is Joe Wilson. Is the heroine Judy or Val?
===================================================

Tommy V

Rider,

You're reaching. The primary job of the investigation is to determine if a crime was, in fact, committed. Plame's designated status is a starting point but it is by no means the determining factor.

Fitzgerald will no doubt determine this.

"You are apparently the last man still clinging to the contrary notion. The prosecution passed that point two years back."

Nonsense, there is no prosecution. It doesn't exist. There is an investigator. He may very well turn in indictments, but they will not be determined by political hacks looking for payback for a lost election.

The debates are fine, but the idea that there is no debate is just silly.

jukeboxgrad

BORIS: "I have a big problem with the logic that she was undercover while openly working at CIA headquarters as an analyst."

I think this early and important article is worth reviewing: "CIA Agent's Identity Was Leaked to Media; ... At ... Tenet's request, the Justice Department is looking into an allegation that administration officials leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer to a journalist ... The operative's identity was published ... The intentional disclosure of a covert operative's identity ... The officer's name was disclosed ... Tenet sent a memo to the Justice Department raising a series of questions about whether a leaker had broken federal law by disclosing the identity of an undercover officer ... The CIA occasionally asks news organizations to withhold the names of undercover agents, and news organizations usually comply ... other journalists who received the leak did not use the information because they were uncomfortable with unmasking an undercover agent"

I think this article creates the impression that everyone close to the case accepted as a fact that Plame was "undercover," and that merely indicating her identity as a CIA employee was enough to blow her cover.

Now of course one can claim that the CIA is making a mistake by allowing someone "undercover" to show up repeatedly at Langley. But it seems to me that's a matter for the CIA to decide, and it seems to me that the people close to the case had no doubt about her "undercover" status, regardless of where her desk was located.

"I have no problem with the logic that V.P. could have CIA designated status of undercover operative, who was not in fact undercover at the time ... Her operational status was classified, not her working at the CIA"

I think you're splitting some hairs that end up not meaning very much, for the reasons I just described.

Syl

Actually, splitting hairs is what law is all about.

kim

You know, JBG, your 'early and important' article is so much hooey. You tried to argue to it earlier, and I pointed out that the 'Senior Administration Official' is anonymous. At that time he(who?) called the outing 'clearly revenge'.

Sorry we're past that now. Your 'early and important' article was early and misleading.

Go read the Daily Howler for July 30, 2005. Bob Somerby can be compelling.

By the way, what compells him to Gore?
===========================================

kim

Part of the problem with Joe Wilson is what a poor sport he is. He lobs the ball into their court, then complains that the return was meant to hurt him.

Wah, wah, wah. Mommy, they're being mean.
====================================================

kim

That's one of the reasons I think Joe is the villain. You can tell how he plays the game by the way he thinks others are playing it.
==================================================

boris

I think this article creates the impression that everyone close to the case accepted as a fact that Plame was "undercover,"

1. Working at the CIA
2. Designated status of undercover operative
3. Working undercover

Three different things.

V.P. had no cover and #1 was not hidden, therefore #3 is out.

#2 is where you all get confused, your symbolic reality conflators short out and go into broken record mode.

#2 was classified in part because it could be hidden. That's why most people involved did not know it and Harlow couldn't tell that to Novak.

I DON'T CLAIM this is the truth, only that it makes sense. Unlike all the other "nothing is as it seems" BS floating around in the toilet bowl.

kim

Could the Yellowcake forgery have some source in reality, like a 1989 deal? Was the 400 tns of Yellowcake that Iraq had through the 90's from indigenous sources or was it from Africa?

I've suggested before(to dead silence) that Chalabi might be involved in some of this. Were Wilson's opportunistic lies in May-July from his knowledge of an internal CIA battle that the Chalabistes were losing?

The answers to these questions might help.

Why couldn't the Master of the Bazaar be involved in the forgery? It would fit his plans and modus, and the timeline fits.
===============================================

kim

That's not BS, it's MSM barf floating around and they're gonna wake-up in the AM with a helluva hangover and their arms wrapped around the Porcelain Goddess.
==============================================

kim

Might I dare to suggest that Miller is in jail because it is secure there? Secure from what? Ah, I didn't say, but there are lots of different things we seek security from, including professional and personal demons.

Her situation differs from most inmates; she is there by choice.
==================================================

jukeboxgrad

SYL: "splitting hairs is what law is all about."

Sometimes. Anyway, I wasn't criticizing Boris for splitting hairs per se. I said something slightly different (speaking of splitting hairs): "I think you're splitting some hairs that end up not meaning very much." In other words, I think it's helpful to use some care in deciding which hairs are worth splitting.

KIM: "I pointed out that the 'Senior Administration Official' is anonymous."

If you decided to consistently ignore all anonymous sources, you would be ignoring a large portion of the news that comes out of the Bush White House. Maybe you do.

"Bob Somerby can be compelling."

Yes. Especially this part: "He [Wilson] was perfectly qualified for his mission." And of course there was this: "No, Joe Wilson didn’t really say that Dick Cheney sent him to Africa."

"Why couldn't the Master of the Bazaar be involved in the forgery?"

If you're suggesting that Chalabi might have had a role in the forged documents, you're not the first to hint at that. This New Yorker article points out that Jordan convicted Chalabi of (among other things) forgery, and describes a visit to an INC "forgery shop."

BORIS: "#1 [working at the CIA] was not hidden"

Please indicate who knew, pre-Novak, that Plame was "working at the CIA."

"#3 [working undercover] is out"

I'm interested in your theory about how the word "undercover" got into the following sentence: "Tenet sent a memo to the Justice Department raising a series of questions about whether a leaker had broken federal law by disclosing the identity of an undercover officer" (as well as several other sentences in the same article).

boris

#2 Designated status of undercover operative

Your reading comprehension stinks like ... well #2

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Wilson/Plame