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April 13, 2005

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anon

it appears, though, that the two Senators are shielded from any official problems at least according to "the man sans Q".

http://musil.blogspot.com/2005_04_10_musil_archive.html#111333727542114817

kim

Typical Kerryism. What I did isn't wrong because Lugar did it first.

Wilson also wrote an Op-Ed in the February 6, 2003 LATimes saying that the US shouldn't invade because Saddam would use chemical and biological weapons on the troops. Wilson is a weasel. I earnestly desire the object of Fitzgerald's investigation now to be him. It might be. His behaviour has been criminal.
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kim

Typical Kerryism. What I did isn't wrong because Lugar did it first.

Wilson also wrote an Op-Ed in the February 6, 2003 LATimes saying that the US shouldn't invade because Saddam would use chemical and biological weapons on the troops. Wilson is a weasel. I earnestly desire the object of Fitzgerald's investigation now to be him. It might be. His behaviour has been criminal.
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MattJ

Any ideas why the CIA would ask that the name be withheld?

Al

So, does this mean that the debunking has been debunked?

TM

Why withhold the name? My two cents - Armstrong has a new covert status, but all that was ever anounced was that he was simply retiring from his former post.

SO, folks following his career pencilled him in as retired (if they beleive all they hear), when in fact he was still active.

The WSJ theory seems to be "vanity". And it might be that simple - maybe Armstrong would prefer not to be reminded of the old days.

MattJ

Ok, but talking about him in the past tense doesn't reveal that he is still active, right?

The reason you're guessing is that there's nothing in the public record (even with mouth flapping by dimwits Kerry and Lugar) that indicates he is still active, right? If the discussion had started out as being about 'former CIA guy Armstrong' there would have been no need to keep any secrets.

The only reason to suspect that Armstrong might still be active is that the CIA wants to hide his name, right? Don't hide his name - no problem.

Unless there was a chance that "Mr. Smith's" current operations might be discussed as well?

Bostonian

I heard part of this on the radio, and Kerry said something like he would "try to keep the names straight." It did not seem like he took the request for the alias seriously at all.

He inspires confidence, as always.

The Kid

Speaking of Armstrong and Plame, Novak writes in today’s column:
CIA had asked that Armstrong's name be kept secret because he now serves overseas, but his name was inadvertently divulged in the Foreign Relations Committee hearing by both Chairman Richard Lugar and Sen. John Kerry.

Gerry

I think it is pretty clear that Lugar and Kerry screwed up, based on the fact that everyone else (and them most of the time) was making pains to refer to Armstrong as Mr. Smith.

Tollhouse

I get a headache from all this beltway stuff.

Let me get this straight.

Armstrong, a former covert operative, is presumably retired and well known as a former spook. So the CIA apparently tapped him for another covert position? That's why they wanted to conceal his name?
If that's all true, how stupidly incompetent is that? How truly "covert" can he be? Everyone he would have worked with would have known his past affiliation, simply by searching on the web, and assume he's still on the CIA's payroll?

Maybe I'm just being dumb and thinking in James Bond/John Le Carre terms, where covert means like, secret.

richard mcenroe

C'mon, it's not like they're the White House or something. Hell, fine Democratic Senators like Leahy can leak CIA agent names, get them killed, and still keep their jobs...

spencer

The FBI has agents. But no one that is a US government citizen is a CIA "agent". The CIA uses the term agent to refer to foreign nationals that work for the CIA- ie,
the foreigner that is spying for the US. Career CIA spooks are refered to as officers.

If you are going to make wild accusations at least show some evidence that you have some knowledge about the topic under discussion.

Cecil Turner

"The FBI has agents. But no one that is a US government citizen is a CIA "agent". "

Nope. CIA personnel do in fact refer to themselves as "officers." However, "agent" is common usage and perfectly appropriate. More to the point, when discussing "outing," the relevant statute protects "covert agents" (whose definition includes CIA officers).

spencer

And we hear from another barracks lawyer.

TM

Hmm, following the link provided by the barracks lawyer, I see this:

4) The term ''covert agent'' means -

(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency...

As to this misuse of the word "agent", someone better tell Howard Kurtz, David Corn, or self-appointed wordsmith William Safire.

Just for starters.

Thanks for the help with the word usage, Spencer. Lots of work ahead of you, bringing the rest of the world up to speed.

richard mcenroe

Spencer — The guy's still dead:

Witness the example of Vermont Senator Pat Leahy, now the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, who lost patience with the Reagan administration's war on terrorism in the 1980s when he was vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Back then "Leaky Leahy," as he's known to some in his home state, allegedly threatened to sabotage classified strategies he didn't agree with... and, according to some reports, may have actually cost a U.S. intelligence asset his life.

"Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, inadvertantly disclosed a top secret communications intercept during a [1985] television interview," reported the San Diego Union-Tribune in a 1987 editorial criticizing Congress' penchant for partisan leaks.

"The intercept, apparently of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's telephone conversations, made possible the capture of the Arab terrorists who had hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered American citizens," the paper said, adding, "The reports cost the life of at least one Egyptian operative involved in the operation."

narciso

The problem, is two fold, first his name is very well known, and furthermore he has clearly been identified with one viewpoint;
pro castro, pro chavez, et al; not very effective as a covert
player; in fact it's a good way to get killed by the other
side.

Cecil Turner

". . . in fact it's a good way to get killed by the other side."

No worries. They like him.

narciso

I meant the Anti Castro, Anti Chavez, pro Colombian and
paramilitary side.

Cecil Turner

Oops, sorry, thought you meant anti-Americans.

(And it does make you wonder how much of a tragedy it'd be.)

Cecil Turner

There's a new Times article this morning adding fuel to the fire (specifically on Bolton's conversation with then-NIC head Cohen, requesting Armstrong be reassigned--and Cohen's reaction):

Three former and current intelligence officials confirmed Mr. Cohen's reservations about the request. Mr. Cohen, who is still a C.I.A. employee, was not available to comment, the agency said.
Obviously the other "current intelligence official[s]" were available (which I'm sure made the CIA Director very happy). Another standout quote is from the former NIC head John C. Gannon (no relation, I hope):
"If you don't like the results of analysis, then you don't accept it," said Mr. Gannon, who left government recently after serving as the Republican-appointed staff director of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Though why the Times goes to so much effort to highlight a Republican appointment, when the only pertinent one (NIC head) was obviously Democrat, is beyond me.

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Wilson/Plame