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March 12, 2006

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» The Fame of Valerie Plame from The Strata-Sphere
I wrote a post back in June, the first month of the Strata-Sphere, which predicted the outcome of the Plame Game. I had expressed the same prediction for years on my favorite political forum, The Opinion Forum at Delphi (this should be a guest&#... [Read More]

» Outing the Outed from Decision '08
The more we find out about the underlying crime behind Fitzmas, the more apparent it is that there is no there there. Valerie Plames covert identity was surely the worst-kept secret in Washington (and lets fa... [Read More]

» Outing CIA Agents OK -- If You Are A Republican from Seeing the Forest
The latest claim that Vakerie Plame was not really a covert agent comes from Plame's identity, if truly a secret, was thinly veiled. The evidence? She said she was employed by "Brewster-Jennings & Associates." And just how does this indicate... [Read More]

» The latest in la affaire de Plame (SUN PM UPDATE) from Sister Toldjah
This piece puts one more nail in the coffin of the theories of those who claim Rove and Co. are guilty of outting a covert CIA agent: WASHINGTON - The question of whether Valerie Plames employment by the Central In... [Read More]

» How Covert was Valerie Plame? from protein wisdom
Beats me. But in light of Saturdays Chicago Tribune story (one of several, incidentally), Tom Maguire has some ideas. Meanwhile, according to the WaPos famed Watergate editor Ben Bradlee, the Plame leaker (are we sure Google ... [Read More]

» People Who Live in Glass Houses: The CIA in an Int from Kobayashi Maru
To the extent that L'affaire de la Plame was not already a partisan joke, this set of revelations makes it a particularly bad and stupid partisan joke. If a major newspaper can turn up a few thousand truly covert Valerie Plames by applying a little c... [Read More]

Comments

clarice

The Crewden story is most interesting to me, TM. Do you recall another story where there were CIA agents (present or ex) poohpoohing the "covert" claim? I don't. Indeed, all I recall from the time David Corn penned the storyline is a succession of VIPs (open or anon) peddling it.

If so, what's changed?

TM

Well, the Gerecht story poo-poohs covert status generically, but not specifically to Ms. Plame.

Otherwise, no, I don't recall other reporters having dug up sources who said, yeah, I knew her when (other than the ubiquitous Larry Johnson).

larwyn

Is the Trib story the foreshadowing for what Clarice has already reasoned out - that Plame was kept at NOC designation to not penalize her pay grade?

They report "in early 90's" her address was Embassy P.O. - so when did Cubans see her dossier?

There is a certain beauty in getting this story out in this way, as most Americans would agree that an employee shouldn't be punished with lower renumeration when fault lies with the employer.

It begins with a mistake, very similar to the mistake of Fitz's team in providing documents that should not have been released in another case.

There is definitely egg on faces, but long ago faceless faces.
And if this is the case, that this will be the denoument, can we then be certain that it is Goss's CIA talking with the reporters?

There must also be several other ways to look at this development.

topsecretk9

"covert" claim? I don't. Indeed,

Not directly, but windandsea would attest...sneakily

topsecretk9

"If you were in an embassy," said a former CIA officer who posed as a U.S. diplomat in several countries, "you could count 100 percent on the Soviets knowing."

Um, ---POSE---???????

topsecretk9

Full reading. Gee, TM. THANKS, If you'd like me to stop commenting, directness would be appreciated.

E.D.

Alot of people were angry that Plame was not acknowledged as a psychologially diasabled federal employee at the awards, but its standard for operations officers to use this way out of covert operations(keep the pay grade-GSG) .

As far as the mystery person; Sarah Shayes-sicChayes?

topsecretk9

E. B.

Umm, did you think your (SIC) would be that sneaky? Tom Christianson uses UV Florescent Marker dye.

But heck, Sarah Chayes, comes up quite quick, I am thinking "DougJ" gets full TM credit.

topsecretk9

MJW
As a "Home Grown" expert, and since you didn't get it... you deserve a PERSONAL shout out for all the work you put in. MJ ----you did a great job. On behalf of JOM commenters, you the man!

ordi

Here is a reference about her status from July 15, 05

A former CIA covert agent who supervised Mrs. Plame early in her career yesterday took issue with her identification as an "undercover agent," saying that she worked for more than five years at the agency's headquarters in Langley and that most of her neighbors and friends knew that she was a CIA employee.

"She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat," Fred Rustmann, a covert agent from 1966 to 1990, told The Washington Times.

"Her neighbors knew this, her friends knew this, his friends knew this. A lot of blame could be put on to central cover staff and the agency because they weren't minding the store here. ... The agency never changed her cover status."

Mr. Rustmann, who spent 20 of his 24 years in the agency under "nonofficial cover" -- also known as a NOC, the same status as the wife of Mr. Wilson -- also said that she worked under extremely light cover.

http://www.washtimes.com/national/20050715-121257-9887r.htm>Maybe this is the reference you seek

MayBee
Full reading. Gee, TM. THANKS, If you'd like me to stop commenting, directness would be appreciated.

Are you kidding, missy? You found us the Indymedia article! What would the rest of us do without you??

MayBee

about what e.d. said though- I do have to say that the postpartum has to be the 500-lb gorilla in the room. I can't imagine the CIA would put someone suffering from depression out in the field, but you can't take her job from her either.

Kate

Could this represent the beginning of the pullback of the media from this story. The enthusiastic coverage of this was always a little strange to me. Indictment Day was covered 24 hours as breaking news.

Now the media sees that a trial may be far more harmful to them than the Bush Administration. Or they believe that the Bush Adminsitration is damaged enough on other stories (Katrina, the Ports) and they don't have to risk having their journalists on the stand looking, at best, foolish.

Bill


For XYZ Inc to remain a cover organization it has to be shown on the resume. However, XYZ Inc has to be a real company and not a tissue thin cover.

Here is the catch 22:
A is known to have worked at XYZ Inc from 1990 to 1995 and for the CIA from 1995 to 2003 to have the resume show that A worked for the CIA from 1990 to 2003 is to blow the cover for XYX Inc.

Beto Ochoa

Well I guess we can bury the "Outed Spy" hyperbole along with the "Bush warned levees would break" BS and the Arabs will own the ports crap.

boris

I guess we can bury the ...

Mox nix, why do you think they call it Democratic Underground ???

E.D.

I thought they all came from Morrocco; one on the Intelligence Committee and one running a heavily A.I.D. funded 'charity' group in Afghanistan. The assisinations kinda follow that route, unless you go with Plame in Iraq.

windansea

Not directly, but windandsea would attest...sneakily

the aspens at Cottons are turning

Lew Clark

I'm not so sure the Tribune story so much proved that the CIA does not protect the identity of it's true covert agents as it puts a lie to the Corn/VIPs/Larry Johnson scenario about Plame. Remember, this all started when Corn did his "She works for the CIA? Well she must be a super duper undercover 00 spy, because everyone that works for CIA is obviously a 00 spy". What the internet search service is picking up is public records on CIA employees that are not covert. They use mortgage records, tax filings, credit card applications, etc. If a non-covert CIA employee put down CIA as their employer on any of these records, it would show up in a search.
The whole Brewster Jennings thing. It may have once been a CIA cover company, but it isn't anymore, or, it was a phony cover company from day one. The CIA will establish phony cover companies to distract enemy agents. If your watching Brewster Jennings like a hawk, you aren't watching XYZ Company, the real cover company.
This whole Plame thing, with the help of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson was created in the bowels of "Get Bush INC." And a lot of VIPs belong to that organization. They played on the ignorance of the general public as to how CIA is actually organized and how they work. The "get Bush" crowd helped and MSM did their part to promote the lie. The real intelligence community didn't want to get involved because they do have "covers" to protect. But it does appear that push back is starting. I had wondered how long the real intelligence community would sit back and let this bunch of "traitors" own the dialog.
One thought I had way back. With Niger being a prime producer of "yellowcake" we had to have real covert agents in there. We would not let that link to nuclear proliferation go unwatched. So I've always wondered how pissed the real agents were when Joe Wilson went on his little junket(s) to Niger.

Beto Ochoa

If you took all the false ledes and headlines from the NYT, WaPo and LAT and laid them end to end (With proper grammatical form of course. Which means you would need to repair most of them.)
Ahem,
If you took all the false ledes and headlines from the NYT, WaPo and LAT and laid them end to end the line of bull***t would circle the planet at least four times, take a spin around the moon(bats) and back and contain more secret code than every genome sequence in the universe.

Beto Ochoa

Que pasa windansea. Cottons? ¿Dónde?
You must be in Arizona then?

windansea

beto...estoy en Vallarta Mx

Cottons is a surf break below Nixon's old western White House....Val and Joe may retire there...can't say more as I might blow Tsk9's cover!!

clarice

E.D. I haven't a clue what you are talking about.

Here's what the Wilson Gambit relied upon:
(a) A press corps willing to play their game;
(b) A mobilizing corps of liars with seemingly reliable credentials (the VIPs) to spread the tale;
(c) A public utterly unsophisticated in intelligence matters and easily led to believe the Corn/Wilson?VIPs lies;
(d) A candidate who clearly had the motive to press this;
(e) book publishers working with him and one network (CBS) tied to those publishers by common interest if not ownership;
(f)The utter lack of a written record in the Agency which would have permitted a fast response (not on the payroll;no written report;)
(g) charges that could not , moreover, be responded fullt to without disclosing classified information at a critical moment in the invasion.

All together a filthy black op.

richard mcenroe

Whatever happened to solid, effective covers like "Global Import and Export?"

Beto Ochoa

Clarice,
Succinct be thy name.

clarice

Thank you, B O.

Patton

On top of that Clarice..it appears Wilsons trip was never designed to get to the bottom of the story...it was just designed to give him credibility to talk about the issue.

When he went to Niger, he wasn't briefed on any of the available intelligence by the agency.

When he went to Niger, he first met with the Ambassador and AGREED that he wouldn't meet with anyone CURRENTLY in the government or CURRENTLY in charge of the
Yellowcake operations.

The ONLY provable fact he brought back was that Iraq HAD INDEED sent a delegation to Niger in 1999 and that the man he talked to believed that delegation was interested in pursuing yellowcake. Or maybe Niger makes some killer IPODs we are all not aware of.

So Wilson couldn't possibly have 'blown the whistle' on anything of substance, all he needed was credibility with the press and the freedom to speak.

Cecil Turner

The whole Brewster Jennings thing. It may have once been a CIA cover company, but it isn't anymore, or, it was a phony cover company from day one.

Unfortunately, the difference is significant, and from the available data, it's impossible to tell which is true. It certainly doesn't appear to've been a very good cover, but unless some of those resumes with B-J/CIA were out there prior to July '03, it's not dispositive. Absent any such showing, I think Polly's point remains valid.

Patton

I think due to Valeries ties with the State Dept, and States view on the issue, Wilson was simply a push back by State.

The CIA would have already had:

Its own assets in country, in the embassy and most likely in the yellowcake operations they would be paying someone for information.

The CIA would have had ties in France to monitor the yellowcake distribution.

The CIA would not have any good reason to find some retired ambassador who couldn't talk to anyone in the current government.

SteveMG

What a timely story by the Tribune (oy).

You gotta' give enormous credit to Wilson and Corn for peddling this. Granted, a compliant press helped along the way (go back and read the New Republic cover piece by Judis and Ackerman - The First Casualty: The Selling of the Iraq War - it's a howler, but Fitzgerald actually references it in the Libby indictment). One would think that among the first things a reporter would do is find out exactly what Plame's status was.

But Corn and Wilson were very sharp in presenting things to a gullible press.

Here's a link to the role the TNR piece played in the Libby indictment. Interesting read, although we now know most of the details.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0RMQ/is_8_11/ai_n15897811

SMG


clarice

Funny isn't is to see when the press is "gullible" and when (Cheney's hunting accident, i.e.) they are "hard hitting"? Clowns.

clarice

That, too, Patton. I don't think this was a DoS op though some of her pals there may have played a role.

I wonder if in the investigation of the NSA leaks, the FBI isn't picking up some details about this operation as well.

clarice

Everytime I look at this stuff something else pops out. Look at para 8 of the indictment . It indicates that Libby didn't ask about Wilson until AFTER Pincus started asking questions. Doesn't this underscore his belief that it was reporters calling and asking that triggered his interest in this issue?

boris

I wonder if in the investigation of the NSA leaks, the FBI isn't picking up some details about this operation as well.

If so one might expect to see some CYA in the MSM. Is that happening?

clarice

Last night Larwyn indicated she saw signs in Russert's treatment of a guest supportive of the Administration.

I'd expect if the FBI is picking up some details the biggest CYA might come from the agency itself..Does that explain the sudden truth tsunami in the Chicago Tribune?

boris

Works for me ...

Cecil Turner

A mobilizing corps of liars with seemingly reliable credentials (the VIPs) to spread the tale;

The only winge I have with that is that I think the VIPS bubbas came first, and specifically requested the leak (from March '03):

VIPS say their appeals to CIA staff are an attempt to evoke another Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
This assumes the Wilsons didn't plan his disclosure from before his trip--which admittedly isn't a certainty.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

If one were looking at a coconspirator charge under 798 one might look around for something to trade to the investigators or prosecutors. 798 has some real teeth (and a recent conviction plus a current prosecution). DoJ may be able to assemble a nice canary choir - who knows what songs will be sung?

If I were a prosecutor I would much prefer to have 798 to work with, rather than IIPA.

clarice

Cecil, I think the VIPs were working their black magic all along, but until May of 2003 Joe was publicly simply toeing the Scowcroft line as far as I can see. The utterly magical confluence of Clarke and Beers' defection and Wilson's volte face seems to have occurred then.

That doesn't mean that Joe was not a sleeper, but it may well have been that his trip was really a boondoggle or cover for something else that was reworked into a Mission. I just haven't enough evidence to say it was a set up from the first.

clarice

I would, too, Rick.

And don't foget the Senate Intel staff and Rocky and Durbin's staffs..Go back and read the Rocky ememo where Wilson was clearlypart of his plan. And then read the majority SSCI report on Wilson and the Roberts' report where he notes how odd it is that Rocky refused to endorse the much tougher--warranted by the facts--excoriation of Wilson in his report.

Wilson was part and parcel of the Rocky operation and his staff knows it. Moreover, they know that Rocky is a betrayer and I doubt they'll risk jail for a rich Fifth Columnist who'd do nothing to help them. Not if they've a brain in their heads.

clarice

Roberts and Bond (eat our shorts, Rocky) statement(excerpt):

Despite our hard and successful work to deliver a unanimous report, however, there were two issues on which the Republicans and Democrats could not agree: 1) whether the Committee should conclude that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's public statements were not based on knowledge he actually possessed, and 2) whether the Committee should conclude that it was the former ambassador's wife who recommended him for his trip to Niger.

Niger

The Committee began its review of prewar intelligence on Iraq by examining the Intelligence Community's sharing of intelligence information with the UNMOVIC inspection teams. (The Committee's findings on that topic can be found in the section of the report titled, "The Intelligence Community's Sharing of Intelligence on Iraqi Suspect WMD Sites with UN Inspectors.") Shortly thereafter, we expanded the review when former Ambassador Joseph Wilson began speaking publicly about his role in exploring the possibility that Iraq was seeking or may have acquired uranium yellowcake from Africa. Ambassador Wilson's emergence was precipitated by a passage in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address which is now referred to as "the sixteen words." President Bush stated, " . . . the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The details of the Committee's findings and conclusions on this issue can be found in the Niger section of the report. What cannot be found, however, are two conclusions upon which the Committee's Democrats would not agree. While there was no dispute with the underlying facts, my Democrat colleagues refused to allow the following conclusions to appear in the report:


Conclusion: The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee.
The former ambassador's wife suggested her husband for the trip to Niger in February 2002. The former ambassador had traveled previously to Niger on behalf of the CIA, also at the suggestion of his wife, to look into another matter not related to Iraq. On February 12, 2002, the former ambassador's wife sent a memorandum to a Deputy Chief of a division in the CIA's Directorate of Operations which said, "[m]y husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." This was just one day before the same Directorate of Operations division sent a cable to one of its overseas stations requesting concurrence with the division's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger.

Conclusion: Rather than speaking publicly about his actual experiences during his inquiry of the Niger issue, the former ambassador seems to have included information he learned from press accounts and from his beliefs about how the Intelligence Community would have or should have handled the information he provided.

At the time the former ambassador traveled to Niger, the Intelligence Community did not have in its possession any actual documents on the alleged Niger-Iraq uranium deal, only second hand reporting of the deal. The former ambassador's comments to reporters that the Niger-Iraq uranium documents "may have been forged because 'the dates were wrong and the names were wrong,'" could not have been based on the former ambassador's actual experiences because the Intelligence Community did not have the documents at the time of the ambassador's trip. In addition, nothing in the report from the former ambassador's trip said anything about documents having been forged or the names or dates in the reports having been incorrect. The former ambassador told Committee staff that he, in fact, did not have access to any of the names and dates in the CIA's reports and said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct. Of note, the names and dates in the documents that the IAEA found to be incorrect were not names or dates included in the CIA reports.

Following the Vice President's review of an intelligence report regarding a possible uranium deal, he asked his briefer for the CIA's analysis of the issue. It was this request which generated Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger. The former ambassador's public comments suggesting that the Vice President had been briefed on the information gathered during his trip is not correct, however. While the CIA responded to the Vice President's request for the Agency's analysis, they never provided the information gathered by the former Ambassador. The former ambassador, in an NBC Meet the Press interview on July 6, 2003, said, "The office of the Vice President, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked and that response was based upon my trip out there." The former ambassador was speaking on the basis of what he believed should have happened based on his former government experience, but he had no knowledge that this did happen. These and other public comments from the former ambassador, such as comments that his report "debunked" the Niger-Iraq uranium story, were incorrect and have led to a distortion in the press and in the public's understanding of the facts surrounding the Niger-Iraq uranium story. The Committee found that, for most analysts, the former ambassador's report lent more credibility, not less, to the reported Niger- Iraq uranium deal.

During Mr. Wilson's media blitz, he appeared on more than thirty television shows including entertainment venues. Time and again, Joe Wilson told anyone who would listen that the President had lied to the American people, that the Vice President had lied, and that he had "debunked" the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. As discussed in the Niger section of the report, not only did he NOT "debunk" the claim, he actually gave some intelligence analysts even more reason to believe that it may be true. I believed very strongly that it was important for the Committee to conclude publicly that many of the statements made by Ambassador Wilson were not only incorrect, but had no basis in fact.

In an interview with Committee staff, Mr. Wilson was asked how he knew some of the things he was stating publicly with such confidence. On at least two occasions he admitted that he had no direct knowledge to support some of his claims and that he was drawing on either unrelated past experiences or no information at all. For example, when asked how he "knew" that the Intelligence Community had rejected the possibility of a Niger-Iraq uranium deal, as he wrote in his book, he told Committee staff that his assertion may have involved "a little literary flair."

The former Ambassador, either by design or through ignorance, gave the American people and, for that matter, the world a version of events that was inaccurate, unsubstantiated, and misleading. Surely, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has unique access to all of the facts, should have been able to agree on a conclusion that would correct the public record. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/congress/2004_rpt/iraq-wmd-intell_pat-roberts.htm

Rick Ballard

Feom where I sit, it appears that Wilson's hope of parlaying his successful planning of Bubba's African Adventure vanished with Gore's defeat. Without a Dem in the WH he was finished at DoS, he quits and sets up a consulting effort with meager success. His only real links with a power player were with COGEMA. The Niger gig was an effort to establish some "current" credence with COGEMA - which undoubtedly appreciated his careful sweep under the rug of any ties they might have had to clandestine trade in yellowcake but didn't turn their appreciation into remuneration (cheap French).

Then the VIPS appeared and Wilson saw an opportunity and leapt for it like a cat on a June bug. He wasn't doing anything anyway and a Dem victory might result in a handsome payoff. Just a small man with small ambition trapped by his own limitations. Easy prey and easy to play.

maryrose

"Altogether a filthy black op"
Agreed and one that immediately got out of hand. What started as a Bush bash and Kerry promo quickly degenerated into this morass we find ourselves in now. The msm clearly never dreamed it would go this far and as of this date no one has been held accountable for the false stories or the tangled web they were weaving. A disgraceful travesty and manipulation of the CIA and questionable activities at State. Where was Powell in all this and why didn't he step up and put a halt to this?

MTT

Clarice,

Black-ops, indeed.

I think you hit on the real story here, a confluence of enemies of Bush (DoS, CIA, NYT, CBS, AP, Kerry) who used Joseph Charles Wilson IV (himself part of the Kerry camp) to injure the POTUS.

In this case, not only did JCW4 get on base, he hit the home run "heard around the world."

But as you say, in order for their plan to succeed they needed a pliant press and an angry and susceptible public, and boy did they have those!

What is curious about such a scenario is in the weakness of the so-called "push-back." Libby is indicted and the White House ducks and covers. Where was the fight?

Able Danger

Wow, it's almost like piecing together bits of publicly available information can give you valuable, actionable intelligence about organizations which wish to remain secret.

I wonder if there were any attempts made to exploit this public data gathering technique within our own government? Who knows?

clarice

Rick, that's pretty much my take on it.

(Will someone send Rick and my comments to the SSCI and Rocky and Durbin staffs,please? Come clean, kiddies. The CIA is and you'll be left holding money bags empty bags.)

clarice

MTT, I keep asking myself that. On the occasion when I had to headhunt for an organization, I forced them to first assess their strengths and weaknesses and hire a head who was strong where they were weak. The weakest point of this administration is that the President is not a good communicator.Unfortunately neither is the WH press office.

OTOH, I think he has a sort of religious belief that the truth will out and that it is unnecessary and unseemly for the WH to fight back on all these things. Maybe he's right.But it isn't what I would have done.

Frankly, I'd have hauled Tenet in my office the moment the Kristof story broke and demand an on the record reply to the first lies.

boris

never dreamed it would go this far and as of this date no one has been held accountable

History may attribute the tendency of "objective" MSM and government professionals to fly off the rails and go haywire as widespread BDS.

I am not close enough to the action to see the details but from here it looks like even small time sneaky scams "catch fire" and blow up. Don't quite know whether to categorize BDS as malice or stupidity but it makes it difficult to apply the maxim about not attributing one to the other.

Kate

Not only did the White House not fight back, but President Bush praised prosecutor Fitzgerald for running a "dignified" investigation.

I believe the President thinks that if he labels someone with a positive quality, that person will try to live up to that praise.

"Dignified" Fitzgerald...hmm...

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

Are you using memories of Clinton's spin machine to assess the Bush WH response? If so, what was the electoral net result of Clinton's skunks stinking up the airwaves? All that I ever saw was a cheap Arkansas county courthouse pol using tricks that William Faulkner would have recognized - and laughed at. The Snopes family residing in the WH didn't do the Dems much good - and Bubba Snopes current activities simply confirm previous suspicions.

The MSM's purchase of polls (and their results) isn't a very good measure of success or failure either of electoral politics or the politics of governance. Clinton dragged the major departments of the government through the mud for his own benefit. It would be nice if some of that mud were allowed to be washed off by simply allowing process to proceed without the WH stepping in and dictating both process and result.

maryrose

I have an optimistic view here of how the WH is handling this. I think they are going to give Fitz enough rope to hang himself and then pull the rug out from under him. That way no one can claim prosecutor bashing and hopefully this plot hatched against Bush will be revealed for what it has been all along. All the players open for scrutiny and a new wariness established regarding the media.

clarice

Rick, I think that's exactly how Bush thinks.
BTW it is my experience that sooner or later the truth does get out. I just hate seeing how much damage is done until that happens. (See the genoicide in the Ukraine.)

OTOH the IT helps get it out faster. Imagine if Duranty's lies were being offset in real time by posts from there with cell phone pics like Publius Pundit now does.

Of course, Duranty would still have won the Pulitzer.*sigh*

JM Hanes

The CIA's CYA operation predates Wilson/Plame; it was up and running the day after 9/11. The VIPs are just its most visible, active, manifestation. Tenet told a different story every time he testified about terrorist threat assessments in Congress. Was he running the CIA or were they running him? A pol like Tenet does not retire to spend more time with his family.

Years ago, I heard Griffin Bell describing his early days at DoJ. Staff would tell him he was urgently needed at this meeting or that, or one location or another (often out of town). It took him awhile to figure out that they were mostly trying to keep him busy elsewhere and out of their way. That's one of the reasons I find the Wilson/Plame/Tenet scenario Clarice describes so persuasive.

danking70

Is this the first drip, drip from the media to push Fitzgerald to drop the case?

Something that was painfully obvious after Wilson's testimony in front of the Senate committee and even more so after the WaPo's long belated correction (if you can even call it that).

Dropping the case won't resolve the issue as it will be refered to as a "greymail" reason. Not that the case should have never been brought in the first place and that Wilson and some elements of the CIA should be facing charges.

I was looking forward to seeing the press and CIA on the stand but I don't think we'll make it to that day.

I'm with SMG on that "timely story" comment.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

Roosevelt couldn't have done much about Duranty, the Sulzbergers have been a law unto themselves until very recently. It would be nice to see the end in sight but it takes time to dissipate a patrimony of $4B - Pinch is the man for the job, though.

We are fortunate to live in a time when other versions of the 'truth' can be held up and compared very quickly. I don't believe that particular pardigm shift has been generally acknowledged to date. The internet remains terra incognita for a fair amount of the populace. Perhaps that's not all bad.

topsecretk9

Is this the first drip, drip from the media to push Fitzgerald to drop the case?

Valerie and Joe do not want to testify, especially since Fitz's case is weakening by the second.

Patton

Posted by: clarice | March 12, 2006 at 09:15 AM


Clarice, I don't believe Wilson when he told the SSCI that he had no knowledge and was taking literary flair, etc.

HE CLEARLY WAS GIVEN CLASSIFIED INFORMATION, AND MOST LIKELY FROM HIS WIFE, BUT IT COULD NEVER BE PROVEN BECAUSE YOU CAN'T GET THEM TO TESTIFY AGAINST EACH OTHER.

Clearly Wilson knew things that were not public and then had to repeatedly back-track to protect the Misses.

Wilson had to have had the same problem as Libby, not remebering where he heard the information from - public sources, or pillow talk.

Rick Ballard

"Valerie and Joe do not want to testify"

TS,

Not under penalty of perjury, anyway. I wonder if the Trib disclosures are some sort of "we're big kids too" gesture. I agree that the stories make Fitz's premise look dumb - well, dumber, I suppose, but the Trib isn't in the NYT/WaPo betrayal class quite yet and perhaps they feel left out.

They sure stayed away from 798 in joining the club though - maybe they just want to be junior members.

danking70

TS

"Valerie and Joe do not want to testify, especially since Fitz's case is weakening by the second."

What about my wants? damn it!!!

Patrick R. Sullivan

I think Clarice is correct that the real incompetence of the Bush Admin is its inability to get out the simple truths that would have, so many times, made controversies disappear. In Plamegate, the simple truth being that the Wilsons were lying to gullible reporters, to set Joe up as a whistleblower who'd be given a job in a Kerry Administration.

Another example being that Bush could have explained to Tim Russert that as a 21 year old he signed up to be trained as a fighter pilot at the peak of the fighting in Vietnam, but didn't see combat because, by the time he was qualified, the war was over for American pilots, thanks to Nixon's Vietnamization policy.

That he gave up flying--and thus missed his 1972 flight physical--because that policy created a glut of stateside pilots with nothing to fly but boring T-33 trainers. So, he, like tens of thousands of others got an early out of his commitment by signing up for Harvard Business School.

Others being that Army Sec'y Thomas White was a logistics guy at Enron. Not an accounting or finance pro. That Bush was the Managing General Partner with unlimited liability of the Texas Rangers and his role was spelled out in his contract with the Limited Partnership. As is commonplace in such structures. That Brownie really did a terrific job getting resources, including a navy ships with hospital into place behind Katrina, and saved thousands of lives.

That the Dubai terminal deal was in fact reviewed for national security implications and found to be no more threatening than the current operation. Which is in fact just a question of whose name goes on the checks that pay for the rent of the terminals and the stevedoring services.

And on and on.

pollyusa

I think Mr Rustmann is a probable source for the Tribune article. Mr Rustmann was Plame's supervisor during her first year at the CIA and his last.

That Plame worked at an embassy at the beginning of her emplyment at the CIA is not the big scoop the author of the Tribune article seems to think it is.

Meanwhile, Plame learned Greek-she can also speak French and German-and was sent to Athens. There she had what is known as "State Department cover." The only lie Plame had to tell her friends then was that the State Department was her only boss.

After the Gulf War she was sent to the London School of Economics, and from there to the College of Europe, an international-relations school in Bruges. She stayed on in Brussels, telling friends she was working for an energy consulting firm, Brewster-Jennings (now defunct).
Vanity Fair 1/172004


Mr Rustmann verified that Plame originally worked as a U.S. embassy attache. He then stated that Plame switched to nonofficial cover a few years later.

Plame worked as a spy internationally in more than one role. Fred Rustmann, a former CIA official who put in 24 years as a spymaster and was Plame's boss for a few years, says Plame worked under official cover in Europe in the early 1990s — say, as a U.S. embassy attache — before switching to nonofficial cover a few years later.
TIME 10/27/03



Mr. Rustmann who left the CIA in 1990, was also interviewed on Fox.


HANNITY: How long have you known her, and for how many years were you her supervisor/colleague?

RUSTMANN: Well, Valerie went through the — came in as a career trainee into the agency and then went through the training program down at the Farm. And I was her first supervisor when she actually had a real job at headquarters. And she worked for me there for about a year. She was super. She was great.

HANNITY: Was she an undercover agent, sir?

RUSTMANN: Well, she came in and she was undercover, yes, as all of the new CTs do when they come into the agency. And it was probably — well, it was definitely an official cover status which she retained and then worked at the headquarters under that official cover status. And then went overseas with that same status.
Fox 7/18/05



FWIW I think that information in the Indymedia article about Brewster Jennings appearing on Edwards biography and Ellmanns resume was probably leaked to both Carolyn Kuhn, whoever she is, and the Tribune.

Kuhn publishes on Tuesday 3/7/06 at 11:11PM and the Tribune is already calling Edwards on Wednesday.

Kuhn also makes this assertion

Although this information has been erased from almost all databases, Brewster-Jennings once did share an address and phone number with the accounting firm Burke Dennehy in the same building. (The phone number is not the long-out-of-service number the media have given for Brewster-Jennings, 617-951-2529.)

She doesn't provide the phone number that Brewster Jennings and Burke Dennehy shared, but it's out there.

The only other information I found on Burke Dennehy was about CIA planes used for rendition, also from Indymedia. This also linked Burke Dennehy and Brewster Jennings.

The real cover was not Brewster Jennings but was Burke Dennehy and Paul Jennings
Indymedia 2/06

Kinda getting out there, not quite in UV Fluorescent Marker territory but close.

clarice

I think in the Plame matter he has a better excuse than the others, though. I think the only one who could respond was Tenet and the gang was running him around the track and had cleverly avoided any paper trail so it took him forever to figure it out.

BTW Negroponte seems to be doing the same shit with the release of the captured documents. The President has repeatedly told him to release them and the mandarins seem to have persuaded him not to or at least not to in any timeframe that makes sense to non-historians.

JM Hanes

Rick & Clarice

We have an inarticulate President who refuses to allow anyone else to speak on his behalf. Even his own Press Secretary appears to believe his job is to protect information, not disseminate it. Every sorry exercise with Ari Fleischer and now with Scott McClellan respresents a lost -- nay, spurned -- opportunity to sell, explain and defend White House policy and initiatives. Yet McClellan, himself, is apparently excluded from the "need to know" loop.

I've been working up to a piece on this topic, because I believe the refusal to delegate such authority is this Administration's greatest failure, with enormous implications where both our national interests and the future of the Republican party are concerned. Condi Rice is the singular exception which proves the rule, but more on that another time.

IIRC, it was Tom Friedman who once called the mission in Iraq "the most defensible war ever left undefended." The unfortunate results are finally showing up in the polls. What's also becoming clear is that the President can no longer single-handedly push a derailing train back on track. The real "2nd term curse" is boredom, and that does not bode well for an administration with one, and only one, face.

clarice

Could be. But I think it's more--maybe a too great a reliance on loyalty and familiarity. The personnel office is also utterly incompetent and over its head..

(As to Rice, I have it on good authority she shares this weakness. She was warned rpeatedly to fire Clarke and Beers and chose not to bump them from the NSC apparently attributing to them character traits they did not have,)

Kate

PRS...Bush also took responsibility for the federal failures in Katrina. That led to only more accusations. There needs to be a change in the communications team in the White House. This is not just a political failure, its a policy fiasco and unacceptable in a time of war.

JM Hanes

Clarice

I wasn't aware that the Prez wanted the captured Iraqi documents released. Are you really sure about that?

clarice

Last week's Weekly Standard..A meeting with Pence who asked that they be released, Bush throwing up his hands at Negorponte insisting again he wants then OUT..Now.

TM

Sorry about the oversight, TS9, which I have corrected - of course you're the tops.

I should note that MJW does get well-deserved credit in the post to which I linked.

JM Hanes

I don't think the unwillingness to fire people like Clarke stems as much from loyalty as from being either unable to come up with more satisfactory replacements or unwilling to spend the time looking for them. You've got the team, and then you've got the raw material you work with. If you're not going to tell them anything or give them any authority, it doesn't much matter who they are.

You only have to look at the abysmal way Bush sliced and diced Christie Whitman to wonder if the CW on Bush "loyalty" isn't seriously misguided. The reliance on familiarity is certainly a serious limitation, but it's nearly as damaging as undercutting your own appointees and destroying the credibility of the very folks who would normally be tasked with defending you & your policies to the public.

JM Hanes

Very interesting, Clarice, thanks. Till now, I had assumed that maybe the Administration thought the Iraqi docs might be more useful if kept under wraps as a basis for intel operations -- although that didn't make much sense if they had, in reality, suspended translation.

clarice

It's easy to say from the outside. I know lots of politicians who have kept on people they should have fired.In many of those case it was fear of what damage they'd try to attempt if they were canned.

I think the President's dad warned him about the mandarinate at DoS and the CIA and so I give him extra points for doing the right thing anyway, but --again--Tenet would have been in my office 5 minutes after the Kristof piece with orders to respond to the lies pronto.

JM Hanes

Oops, above should read "it's not nearly as damaging...."

clarice

JMH..I can't figure it out either. The best malicious speculation I've heard is that is may contain very damaging things to France and Russia and Germany which DoS doesn't want public. Of course, I say who gives a damn. (And we both know the mandarinate are ordering superkalafragalisticexpalidotious classified stamps to keep those things secret if they are absolutely forced to release them.)

hal

"covert"?

I simply cannot believe that if she saw her neighbors several times a year, say at picnics or block parties, that at least some of them didn't figure she was in the intel community. In Northern Virginia, if you don't have a good consistent story of where you work, and don't look like you are malingerng, I'd suspect somewhere in the intel world, as would a lot of others. People with suspicions/guesses don't push it, and life goes on. Maybe they have had clearances and maybe they've been in and out of the intel world. Or even just sold to it, perhaps indirectly through some task order contract. What you don't say in ordinary conversation can have meaning in context.

If you work at the main building, you will be seen by easily 50 people every day as you enter. The stop light that you turn left from gives oncoming traffic a nice clear view, at relatively low apeeds.

clarice

Polly, I do think you have pegged a man source for these reports, one who certainly seems more honest than thte VIPS, but the ChiTribune cites a number of others as well, and may provide a clue that more are now coming forward, I think.

JM Hanes

Shoot, I'd have fired Colin Powell every which way too, myself. I just don't see much evidence that the Prez really concerns himself till public opinion really starts getting in the way, at which point he hits the "campaign" trail for a week or two. That used to be an adequate fix, but it no longer gets him anything but a temporary point or two in the polls which almost immediately subsides. One man cannot successfully compete with a continuous noise machine forever.

maryrose

People in general need more patience. All good things come to those that wait. As far as I'm concerned Katrina is like beating a dead horse. Every person with an ounce of common sense realizes what happened and in a natural disaster, local and state officials are supposed to have a game plan and then execute it. This ports deal is like the Miers nomination it corrects itself and then we move on. These 06 elections are about local election year politics-they are not reverberating nationally-much as the dems wish they would. I read an article today in our liberal newspaper where Dennis kucinich is going to have a bona fide challenger in his re-election bid. He spent too much time campaigning for president and finding a new girlfriend and not enough time representing the folks back home.

Patton

GET FITZ ON THE PHONE!!!

""""The former ambassador told Committee staff that he, in fact, did not have access to any of the names and dates in the CIA's reports and said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct. Of note, the names and dates in the documents that the IAEA found to be incorrect were not names or dates included in the CIA reports. """"

GEE, IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE TO CONFUSE EVENTS BEING SOOO FAR APART?? I HOPE WILSON HAS A 'I WAS VERY BUSY' DEFENSE.

JEFF MUST THINK WILSON IS LYING..RIGHT?

clarice

Rope a dope seems to be his plan, and, in general, he does rope them even if the rest of us are at the edge of our seats screaming "C,mon answer them already!" before he does.

JM Hanes

The ports deal was not a self-correcting mistake. It was a disaster. The Prez could have, and should have defended it. DP agreed to a whole series of additional, unusual, security checks, which included all kinds of information sharing that even American companies don't do. This represented an incredible advance, less in re ports here, but more critically in re major terminals in the big international ports in Asia, for example, where DP has a major presence, and which is where we want cargo checked before it reaches the U.S. The damage to US/Middle East relationships just makes it a double whammy, affecting both domestic security and the progress on the WOT abroad.

clarice

Very funny, Richard.

JMH I approved the DP deal and was sorry to see this happen. Oddly, the explosion occurred just as the 16 words/Wilson imbroglio did when the President was halfway around the world.

I think the company will adopt the Ledeen plan (a US managing company) owned by them under terms where they have no operational say and the damage will be minimized. OTOH the Dems know how stupid people are, how well the demagoguery was working, and planned to run with it thru the midterms and I think the President cut them off at the knees.

clarice

BTW, I just read that US businesses are trying to get Oprah to do a show from Subai to show the folks how nice a place it is. This is exactly the kind of reasoned debate that works--remember half the voters have IQs under 1oo.

clarice

Dubai, of course..

maryrose

" I think the President cut them off at the knees"
Exactly and in November? Dubai who? Dems say" Drat foiled again.!" The have no message. Even a person with an IQ under 100 knows who's tougher on terrorism. Meanwhile we've got Dow-11000 and up and my retirement savings are growing. Next Prez is whoever can come up with a good health care plan for seniors and keeps us safe.

Cecil Turner

Mr Rustmann verified that Plame originally worked as a U.S. embassy attache. He then stated that Plame switched to nonofficial cover a few years later.

However, there is an obvious problem with that approach, as the Trib points out.

I just read that US businesses are trying to get Oprah to do a show from Dubai to show the folks how nice a place it is.

Dubai is in fact a very nice place if you like the desert (and I do). But we might be overselling the contention that the UAE is all nerfness in the WoT. From the 9/11 Commission report (.pdf):

The United Arab Emirates was becoming both a valued counterterrorism ally of the United States and a persistent counterterrorism problem.

clarice

Sure enough, but China and Saudi port management is probably a worse idea .

danking70

Well, if Congress doesn't address the other 80% foreign ownership of port terminals, then we'll know it was truly a "political stunt".

I know what my monies on but I'm getting awful odds.

Cecil Turner

No argument here (on either of the above points).

maryrose

This just in:
Daschle considering an 08 run... Biden as well according to MTP conversation. Going to give Hil a run for her money Heh!
Pollyusa"
Troy,N>Y> because it's close to Bennington VT. and to Massachusetts. Still reviewing options.

Wacko

Police Academy Six.

pollyusa

maryrose

I lived in Troy when I was an undergrad at Rensselaer. I would recommend a pass on Troy.

I think you would really enjoy New Hampshire or Vermont. Take a look at Waitsfield, VT, nice town and great skiing at Sugarbush and Mad River.

In NH, Jackson is a lovely town looks out at Mt Washington with skiing 10 minutes away at Wildcat, Attitash, or Cranmore.

I think I've skied at nearly every big mountain in the east (my daughter races) and Attitash is my favorite, old time steep, narrow trails on one peak and wide cruisers on the other. Short lift lines and not as cold as some.

JM Hanes

maryrose

Don't move to New England for the skiing unless you like ice. The only reason there's anybody still left on northeastern slopes is because you can't make it to the Rockies and back for the weekend.

pollyusa

JM Hanes is right about the ice, sharpen your edges.

MayBee

BTW, I just read that US businesses are trying to get Oprah to do a show from Subai to show the folks how nice a place it is. This is exactly the kind of reasoned debate that works

True.
It's been interesting to watch how this has been covered on CNNinternational vs. Lou Dobbs. The coverage I get midday is out of London, and Dubai is a frequent travel destination of Britons and shopping-happy French. Its actually been one issue that has had kind of a 'what is everyone going on about?' kind of slant.
Similarly, the India deal. Two Bush issues that have played well internationally, so of course the US media/dems have to ignore or fight louder.

maryrose

Thanks Pollyusa for all your ecellent tips and advice.JMHanes
We have skied Bromley, Sugarbush and my husband has done Killington and Stratton. We are used to ice in the East-have skied Kissing Bridge also.
Out West we skied Park City on our honeymoon-love that powder!
Also Winter Park with the kids and Vail for a long weekend. Best remembered sight -women wearing fur coats and cowboy hats and boots.Out west is great but too far from family-I come from a family of six kids-lots of nieces and nephews.

maryrose

Where is your daughter racing now Pollyusa?
A friend of mine's daughter loves to ski moguls and has gone overseas to ski as well.

TM

JM Hanes is right about the ice, sharpen your edges.

This year excepted, I have not had an ice problem at Okemo in six years.

Of course, this year made up for it - on successive weekends, we had rain on Friday followed by an overnight freeze, resulting in some of the most absurd conditions I have ever encountered.

JM Hanes

Dubai seems to be transitioning out of the terrorist trade -- probably because it can't be good for the tourist trade they're trying to develop. They're even building artifical islands to handle the anticipated traffic.

Charlie (Colorado)

It's a little bit late in the party, but on the "covert plame" thing, I've been saying from the first that I didn't believe it, for two reasons:

(1) If they're trying to preserve a covert NOC cover, the one place they aren't going to give you an office is at Langley. Too easy to give you an office in a SCIF at DARPA, TRW, GTE, GD, any of a thousand beltway bandits, etc etc.

(2) When Novak called CIA to check her ID, they said "yes, but we'd rather you don't publish it." That's the kind of confiirmation they give an analyst (or for that matter a janitor) who has to have employment confirmation for a loan.

If she'd have been currently under cover, they'd have said "who"?

Now, I'll grant that I'm the guy who thinks that NSA has as many competent people as it does (average about 1 in 20) because if they catch you being competent at CIA they transfer you to NSA, but this is the stuff they can generally handle reasonably well.

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