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July 22, 2005



Dueling anonymous sources. What a farce.




If you see the name Hunt attatched to the piece, you know how much stock you can put in it.

I get calls from Bloomberg reporters and I give them fuck-all these days. And I tell them why, too. They're no longer business media but part and parcel of the problem.

I've caught them in gross inaccuracies, appalling bias and misleading headlines and they have never responded to my complaints.

Bloomberg is not a serious news organization.


Who cares if you trust Bloomberg. The reporters report. Do you trust their sources?

It's abundantly clear that people inside the administration (some former) and/or government agencies are pushing this story. So the left and their reporters are secondary. You've got an inside faction looking for payback. Awesome.


You know, if the media was just more responsible when it came to anonymous sources we wouldn't be here... Just saying.


Yes if Rove hadn't told Cooper he was to be anonymous, this would be much further along.


Apart from the MSM faced with the need to get through a dull summer, the Kos left, and certain bloggers who I guess used to pass the time with pornography, the interest in the rest of the country in what Rove did or did not know or do is approximately nil.


We are getting a lot from Bloomberg - do we have confidence in these reporters?

Why not? Considering your last post, they seem to be among the few in Washington who arn't a part of the story they are covering.


Tom, you might want to add the July 9, 2003 Press Briefing, held in Pretoria and found here: http://www.usembassy-israel.org.il/publish/press/2003/july/071002.html


This is from the July 9 press briefing, 3 days after Wilson's op-ed and 2 days before Cooper spoke with Rove. No mention of Plame, but much criticism of Wilson...

Q: Ambassador Wilson said he made a case months before that there was no basis to the belief --

MR. FLEISCHER: No, he reported that Niger denied the allegation. That's what Ambassador Wilson reported.

Q: Was that report weighed against other --

MR. FLEISCHER: And of course they would deny the allegation. That doesn't make it untrue. It was only later -- you can ask Ambassador
Wilson if he reported that the yellow cake documents were forged. He did not. His report did not address whether the documents were forged or not. His report stated that Niger denied the accusation. He spent eight days in Niger and concluded that Niger denied the allegation. Well, typically, nations don't admit to going around nuclear

Q: But he said there was a basis to believe their denials.

MR. FLEISCHER: That's different from what he reported. The issue here is whether the documents on yellow cake were forged. He didn't address that issue. That's the information that subsequently came to light,
not prior to the speech.


One final snippet from the July 9, 2003 press briefing. This is 2 days after Fleischer first backed away from the "16 words" and 2 days before Rice and Tenet did likewise:

Q: What's the final language, Ari, your final position on the State of the Union speech and the uranium -- I know they were working on stuff last night, but I never got a chance to read it.

Q: Is this on the record?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, we're back on the record. After the speech, information was learned about the forged documents. With the advantage of hindsight, it's known now what was not known by the White House prior to the speech. This information should not have risen to the level of a presidential speech. There was reporting, although it wasn't very specific, about Iraq's seeking to obtain uranium from Africa. It's a classic issue of how hindsight is 20-20. The process was followed that led to the information going into the State of the Union; information about the yellow cake was only brought to the White House's attention later.

Jim E.

Regarding the "MORE: Can we trust these reporters?"

In the previous post you bemoaned the fact that reporters were sitting on their involvement in this story. Now we have a story that breaks new news with regards to a reporter's involvement (Russert's). Instead of welcoming the story, you darkly question Bloomberg's trustworthiness. WTF?

Geek, Esq.

I've been wondering when Darth Bolton's name would pop up?


Ruh roh, Shaggy.

Appalled Moderate

Has the Bloomberg article been changed? All I see when I follow your link is a brief comment that "Fleisher had seen the July 7 memo" that isn't attributed to anybody.

Appalled Moderate

Strike last comment, I multitasked my way right past the paragraph....

Geek, Esq.

Here's that Bolton Link:

Darth Bolton gets busted.

DW West

Circling back to Ari Fleischer... Taken together, the 4 press briefings show an increasing level of aggressiveness towards Wilson. Already they are blaming Wilson for things not in his report inspite of the narrow focus of his assignment, and that fact that he had never seen the disputed report that was later shown to be based on forgeries.

Maybe that is a result of the process described in the Times today, with Rove and Libby working together to develop a rationale for the '16 words' having been first included in the SOTU and later found to have been based on forged documents.

Appalled Moderate


I'm not sure how that NYT story helps your case. It's another one where Libby and Rove are tied together on a common mission to deal with Wilson's op-ed. If these two are engaged in that task, it seems a lot more likely that someone would have told this dynamic duo the background behind the assignment to Wilson. Thus, the "I heard from reporters" excuse rings far less true. If the powers that be let Ari know, they surely are going to let the people tasked to handle the political fallout know.

Ari, to me, sounds like a useful cover story. "Ari blabbed to all the reporters on air force one, and then they all went to Rove and Libby with it." It helps that he's conveniently resigned.

Fianlly, I am at the point where I just have too much difficulty with the "reporter told me" thing. Libby's "Tim Russert told me" defense is a joke. Where is Tim Russert going to get information that thus and so is a CIA person? He's an interviewer, for heavens sake, not a beat reporter. Rove's "can't remember" becomes harder to support. The Wislon business was a central concern during the time, not a "one of the many things I have to do today" situation. I can buy that he does not remember the specifics about a converstion with a specific reporter. The rest, I can't buy.

PS, after talking to Rove, why did Cooper know to try to get his confirmation from Libby? has he said?

Challenge to TM's readers and supporters. How is this analysis wrong?


Ari Fleischer? Someone is going to have to take the fall; better for the White House that it be someone who left 2 years ago. Look where those leaks about Fleischer are coming from - obviously from the inside.

Jon H

"Where is Tim Russert going to get information that thus and so is a CIA person? He's an interviewer, for heavens sake, not a beat reporter"

And if Russert knew, then Novak certainly ought to have known. So why bother calling around to spread the information?

Further, if everyone in Washington knew Plame was CIA, why didn't someone come out with that on their own? At the very least, it could have run in Lloyd Grove's gossip column. But it didn't. I'd think such a juicy tidbit about Wilson would have been run if it were really common knowledge.


Would Fleischer be willing to go down alone, or would he take others with him? maybe he wouldn't have much choice if Fitzgerald threatens conspiracy charges.

DW West

Appalled Moderate:

- Libby and Rove didn't normally work so closely together but this was an extraordinary circumstance. Libby was Cheney's top aide, helping him direct the key foreign policy and intelligence priorities while pursuing Cheney's longtime objective of taking out Saddam. In the first term Rove was Bush's top political aide. For Rove and Bush the priorities were: win the 2002 mid-terms, build up Bush's security credentials via a quick war, then coast to victory in 2004. Their respective interests coincided because Wilson exposed a flaw Cheney's WMD propaganda. Full disclosure would impact the chances of the ticket being reelected, and maybe even force Cheney off the ticket.

- Yes, the "reporter told me" defense doesn't stand up to scrutiny but helps blur the issues.

- It was logical for Cooper to go to Libby because the Vice President's office had been tied to the Wilson trip. Maybe Rove referred him there. Maybe Cooper called Libby first and was told to go to Rove and then come back. All speculation.

Mark Coffey

Tom, regarding the Bloomberg question (do we trust 'em?), Stephen Spruiell at National Review in the negative.

Mark Coffey

Pardon me, that should have read "answers in the negative"...


John H asks why Plame's name didn't show up in Lloyd Grove's column in the WaPo. Grove left the Post for the NY Daily News in July 2003, smack in the middle of L'affaire Plame!

Coincidence? Doubtful. Odds are high that either Rove or Pincus had him sent out of town and had Zuckerman instructed suitably in advance. Probably also no coincidence that Katherine Graham was not there to protect Grove the way she did Woodward & Bernstein. She died almost exactly two years before Mt. Wilson erupted, in July (!) 2001 (!), from 'head trauma' (!) after a fall (!) at big media (!) conference in Sun Valley. Move on, folks, nothing to see here!

Also note that Graham's NYT obituary was written by Gloria Steinem, who started Ms. Magazine with money from Mort Zuckerman's seed. When Zuckerman hired Grove away from the WaPo, the circle was complete.

All true facts. Scared yet? Mrs. Wilson should be. (Valerie, Watch out for Steinem with a shiv in the sunroom!)

On a slightly more serious note, Mickey Kaus could just ask his friend Lloyd Grove. We'll see if Marty Peretz and his friend Mort will let that question be asked and answered.


The purpose of today's NYT story is obvious. Either Rove or Libby is trying to pull away from the other, and one of the camps leaked this to keep them roped together.


I just have too much difficulty with the "reporter told me" thing. Libby's "Tim Russert told me" defense is a joke. Where is Tim Russert going to get information that thus and so is a CIA person? He's an interviewer, for heavens sake, not a beat reporter.

Russert or any celebrity reporter knowing that 'Plame was working for the CIA' is the least of the stretches involved. Since 1999 Valerie Plame commuted to Langley.

I don't have the links to any guest lists or press write-ups from a DC paper's Society Pages, but I don't find it implausible that Ambassador Wilson and Spouse attended get togethers with non-beat reporters like Russert or Mithcell and word got around that she 'worked at the CIA' -- up until the Wilson published his article, that Ambassador Wilson's wife 'works at the CIA could just as easily been 'works at DOJ' or 'works at NASA' or 'works at Johns Hopkins'.

Not the 'undercover agent' NOC stuff from pre-1997, or the WMD portion of her work at the Agency - just an "Ambassador Wilson's wife just had twins and 'works, I think, at the CIA" level of awareness.

That's certainly as plausbile as Evil Rove rubbing his palms, putting down the INR memo talking over with Cheney and Fleischer how they're going to get Wilson. And then waxing the fake Snidely Whiplash mustache Karl puts on when he's feeling Extra Evil.

J Mann

a person familiar with the testimony said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the prosecutor's admonitions about not disclosing what is said to the grand jury

It is somewhat hilarious that the press is clutching its pearls about this leak while running roughshod over grand jury secrecy.

Maybe for Plamegate II: Now It's Personal, Fitzgerald can expand his mandate and search for the grand jury leakers.


J Mann-those leaks aren't illegal.

Bumperstickerist et al.-did you catch Larry Johnson's statement today?

Somebody else for you to destroy-have fun.


Here's a snippet:

"As noted in the joint letter submitted to Congressional leaders earlier this week, the RNC is repeating the lie that Valerie was nothing more than a glorified desk jockey and could not possibly have any cover worth protecting. To those such as Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, P. J. O'Rourke, and Representative Roy Blunt [and Bumperstickerist-ed.] I can only say one thing--you are wrong. I am stunned that some political leaders have such ignorance about a matter so basic to the national security structure of this nation."

I myself am not stunned, but, anyway, have at it.


Oh, Larry "Declining Terrorist Threat" Johnson is yapping? Cry me a river.



J Mann-those leaks aren't illegal.

They might be. It depends on who leaked them. If they are covered under FRCP 6e, the leaker could (and most likely would) be jailed for contempt, at the very least.

Jim E.

Just when I was trying to wrap my head around the Republicans denigrating a decorated military veteran at their convention (and not just the veteran, but the specific award, an award lots and lots of people proudly receive), now they mock and denigrate CIA operatives. Nice.

Too bad everyone else is so partisan, right?


I'm not mocking anyone. I'm pointing out that he has little credibility.


Sorry Truz-all the grand jury testimony is well known on the washington cocktail circuit-so it actually can't be leaked. Precedent, you know.

Armin-a completely irrelevant line of attack, but what's new? Too bad Bush apparently agreed with Johnson, or else how could he get a memo in August 2001 titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." and go on vacation the next day?

Jim E.

"I'm pointing out that he has little credibility."

Because you disagree with him on the seriousness of the Plame matter?


Well, that, and the whole "undercover for three decades" bit.



Sorry Truz-all the grand jury testimony is well known on the washington cocktail circuit-so it actually can't be leaked. Precedent, you know.

To quote The Blogfather: Heh.


If Fleischer had the information and knew it was secret and told others, then doesn't the buck stop with him?

If, theoretically speaking, Rove heard about Wilson/Plame second-hand, then he's not the leaker, right? Especially if whoever told him didn't also tell him this was secret stuff.

Why are people like Marshall ignoring Fleischer's much clearer potential culpability and trying instead to draw a circuitous and unsubstantiated roadmap back to Karl Rove?

Jim E.

I don't know what the "three decades" quote refers to. But it's pretty close-minded of you to consider those you disagree with to have little credibility merely for disagreeing with you, especially someone who has relevant experience in the area under discussion.

But thanks for being so honest about your hackishness. I don't mean that as an ad hominem, since I think you'll agree that you've basically admitted to being a hack.

J Mann

J Mann-those leaks aren't illegal.

Martin, you can't seriously tell us that you will lose interest in the Plame leak if it turns out to have been legal, will you? (Let's make it a little tougher - what if we learn that the leaks were (1) not against the law and (2) didn't endanger anyone).

Anyway, the grand jury leaks are illegal if they come from almost anyone working for the government or the courts, so we don't know if they're illegal or not, and we won't know until Fitzgerald begins his second leak probe.


Got you J Mann-I was specifically to people leaking their own testimony, e.g. Rove, through Luskin, telling us what Rove said to the grand jury.

What specific leaks have you seen that seem to be other than by witnesses?

I myself am not stunned, but, anyway, have at it.

If Larry Johnson indeed retired from the CIA prior to 1990 as his bio says, he's also not authorized to know anything classified about Plame. So, either Johnson is fibbing, or Johnson has effectively outed himself.


Maybe retiring in 1990 was part of his cover?

Has anyone from the CIA-I mean any one-stepped forward to say Plame was not undercover?


Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy:

Johnson said twice that Plame was "undercover for three decades," which was an outright lie since she was 40 years old at the time. That shows me he's a hack for needing to lie to make his point (or, to be more charitable, exaggerating so grossly and knowingly as to be equivalent to a lie).

And yes, a guy who writes a New York Times op-ed article that turns out to be entirely wrong and then tosses it down the memory hole when he goes around being an "intelligence expert" is a hack. The simple remedy for such hackery is to say, "Whoops, I was wrong."

Has anyone from the CIA-I mean any one-stepped forward to say Plame was not undercover?

Has anyone from the CIA stepped forward to say that she was undercover? Anyone with a name, that is?

Maybe retiring in 1990 was part of his cover?

Some cover: counterterrorism consultant. I know I'd be fooled.


Ah yes-her old supervisor. Per Johnson:

"Some reports, such as one in the Washington Times that Valerie Plame's supervisor at the CIA, Fred Rustman, said she told friends and family she worked at the CIA and that her cover was light. These claims are not true. Rustman, who supervised Val in one of her earliest assignments, left the CIA in 1990 and did not stay in social contact with Valerie. His knowledge of Val's cover is dated. He does not know what she has done during the past 15 years."

Slarti-where did you see it was Johnson who retired in 1990-he says he only started in 1985.?

Seven Machos

1. The Bush-Rove-evil-bad faction here clearly feels obligated to make Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame into something more than they are. It's out of necessity. Otherwise, this is a technicality at best, not any HUGE SCANDAL proving that BUSH LIED!!!.

2. Just for the record, Wilson did not expose "a flaw in Cheney's WMD propaganda." Despite the vociferous protestations of the Bush-Rove-evil-bad faction, Dick Cheney is Vice President of the United States, not Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda.

3. Am I the only person here who has even so much as skimmed the Senate Intelligence Report? It concludes that Wilson was wrong about virtually everything and that the CIA did a woeful job of actually everything before September 11. I think we can all agree that the Senate's credibility remains high.


Slarti-these people:

Larry C. Johnson, former Analyst, CIA


Mr. Brent Cavan, former Analyst, CIA

Mr. Vince Cannistraro, former Case Officer, CIA

Mr. Michael Grimaldi, former Analyst, CIA

Mr. Mel Goodman, former senior Analyst, CIA

Col. W. Patrick Lang (US Army retired), former Director, Defense Humint Services, DIA

Mr. David MacMichael, former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence Council, CIA

Mr. James Marcinkowski, former Case Officer, CIA

Mr. Ray McGovern, former senior Analyst and PDB Briefer, CIA

Mr. Jim Smith, former Case Officer, CIA

Mr. William C. Wagner, former Case Officer, CIA

wrote an open letter to Congress on July 18 stating:

We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status and that our nation’s leaders, regardless of political party, have a duty to protect all intelligence officers."


One five-second Google later:

From 1985 through September 1989 Mr. Johnson worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. During his distinguished career, he received training in paramilitary operations, worked in the Directorate of Operations, served in the CIA’s Operation’s Center, and established himself as a prolific analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence. In his final year with the CIA he received two Exceptional Performance Awards.

You're right Slarti-the guy has no credibility.


Didn't say that, Martin, just that...how would he know? How come we're hearing Larry Johnson, a guy who hasn't worked at the CIA in over 15 years, as the authority that Plame's ID was classified, and not from anyone currently in a position to speak authoritatively to that effect?


Well-I just quoted you the open letter from former CIA ops.

The present CIA referred it to the DOJ as a crime to be investigated.

Meanwhile, all I've ever seen that she was not undercover was a Cliff May post, a Powerlie lie that Andrea Mitchell said it, and nothing else.

To thus believe she wasn't undercover, you have to want to believe it.

Seven Machos

"Maybe retiring in 1990 was part of his cover?"

"Hi, I'm Seven Machos. I used to work for the CIA utnil 1990 but then I quit. So, anyway, I was hoping to ask you, Mr. Foreigm Government Official, some questions about your government. You know, secret stuff."

That's some AWESOME cover, Dude. And people say Bush is dumb (and now Rove, too, though he used to be an evil genius).

tommy V


You are not the only one you read the report. Joe Wilson's credibility was dicimated by the senate report.

And while I appreciate the former CIA analyst sticking up for their own, Valerie Plame was not undercover by any stretch. They're just flat wrong. No one has provided any evidence that the CIA took any moeasures to protect the knowledge of her employment at the CIA.

People have opinions, but the only actual facts that I can gether idicate that her employment was at best an "open secret".

The fact of the matter is that if Joe Wilson had not lied in The New York Times about who sent him to Africa, no one would have been forced to correct the record about who really did.

This story will be a continual dead-end until we learn Miller's source. It is clearly not Rove, or she would have revealed that by now.

So who is Miller's source? Isn't that the question? I think the media is being awfully generous about her lack of cooperation when she could put a lot of thi to rest quite easily.

Frankly, off the top of my head the only person I can think she would go this far to protect, and who would be this slimey to let her sit in jail is Joe Wilson himself. But that's just my opinion and nothing more.

Seven Machos

martin -- I am a lawyer. I am qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

Plame wasn't undercover. No one in the administration knew she was undercover because she was not. No one in the administration told anyone in the press that Valerie Plame was an undercover officer. Therefore, no one in the administration violated the law.

Tommy V

"To thus believe she wasn't undercover, you have to want to believe it."

Like the media's lawyers representing ABC, CNN, CBS, Fox, Gannett, NBC, Reuters, AP, Hearst, Knight-Ridder, the Tribune Company, the Washington Post, and about two dozen other news organizations.

They wrote in the bried to the court:

"At the threshold, an agent whose identity has been revealed must truly be "covert" for there to be a violation of the Act. To the average observer, much less to the professional intelligence operative, Plame was not given the "deep cover" required of a covert agent. ... She worked at a desk job at CIA headquarters, where she could be seen traveling to and from, and active, at Langley. She had been residing in Washington -- not stationed abroad for a number of years. ... [T]he CIA failed to take even its usual steps to prevent publication of her name."

No one in Washington considered her covert. This is an extremely cynical exercise in political assasination.


Just a bit of an interesting aside here. This is part of a post from the kiddies over at DailyKos:

It's interesting to note the difference between the Starr grand jury, which leaked like sieves, and this one. It's the mark between a prrofessional [sic] operation, and one conducted by political hacks for political gain.

Hmm. We have been discussing all these recent leaks, yet the whole process is getting praise over there for being "professional". Then, two stories up under the title "The Plame Floodgates Open" they go on to discuss, you guessed it, all the leaks!

I am wondering what will happen if Fitzgerald doesn't indict Rove or Libby or any of the other bigwigs in the administration. Will we still be hearing the left sing Fitzgerald's praises?

I'll consult my magic 8-ball, but I think I can guess what it'll say...


"No one has provided any evidence that the CIA took any moeasures to protect the knowledge of her employment at the CIA."

They referred it DOJ and started this whole thing. The entire Fitzgerald investigation was commenced by the CIA!


It remains to be explained why Larry Johnson needed to sex up his editorial?

Over three decades to a casual reader, and I've heard this particular bit repeated all over the internet, means 30 years. She was undercover for what exactly 10 years? 87-97?

He's just another partisan gunslinger with a useful at this point.

"4 years at the CIA? He's an expert!"


Hey Tommy V-what was the Court's response to the brief you just quoted?


There's lots of talk today about Bolton. See the odd line about him in the NYT, and then last night's Hardball, and then you might check out the scoop at thewashingtonnote.com, as well as thenexthurrah.typepad.com.

Tommy V

"They referred it DOJ and started this whole thing. The entire Fitzgerald investigation was commenced by the CIA!"

This was after the fact, Martin. I'm afraid that won't cut it.

What were they doing before hand to protect her identity as a CIA operative? They were doing effectively nothing. Why? Because until they were embarrassed by the whole affair they did not consider Plame covert. At the very least they did not feel it necessary to actively hide her employment there.

I find it odd that suddenly so many have this new found respect for the efficiency and professonalism of the CIA.

Appalled Moderate


lawyer or not, you trying to make a judgment on whether Bush officials violated the law based on the available facts (and with no knowledge of the unavailable facts) is like Frist diagnosing Terri Schiavo by watching a tape on his VCR. And we know how accurate that assessment proved to be.

Seven Machos

Hey Marty -- The Court's response was that Judith Miller can cooperate or go to jail. The Court manifestly did not rule on the merits of that issue in the brief.

Here's a free tip: if you are going to ask a rhetorical question in an argument in order to make a point, make sure that the answer to the question is something that helps your argument. If, as in this case, the answer hurts your case, you only end up looking like a foolish amateur.

Tommy V

"Hey Tommy V-what was the Court's response to the brief you just quoted?"

I believe the response was that the investigation was itself to see if an underlying crime actually occured so arguments of such were premature and reporters could be subpoeaned.

The point, however, is that this brief is a very different story than what the press is reporting. They used that Plame was not covert as a defense as to why they should not testify, but clearly their reporting on air is that Plame was very covert and that she was "outed".

The information in the brief, to the best of my knowledge, has never been reported on air by the people the brief claims to represent. At the very least it call into question as just how "covert" Plame was.

Seven Machos

Appalled: So now Bush violated the law? Is that the position that "moderates" are taking these days?

Appalled Moderate


Actually, I fully admit I don't know what the story is. (I think that puts me in the same category as our host here.) But speculation is fun. As is reading Sherlock Holmes stories...

Seven Machos

So much of what has gone on here is not speculation. It's character assassination.

It seems to me that some of the Bush-Rove-bad-evil people here are the same people who wanted to impeach Bush because he held up a fake turkey at Thanksgiving in Iraq. It doesn't matter what the crime is or who is guilty, or even if a crime has been committed, or even if what is committed is a crime, just as long as the end result is a poltical loss for the Bush administration.

This sucks, because we are in the middle of an important war.

Jeff Z

If the pro-Wilson faction cannot explain why the NYT, Time, Newsweek, etc., were lying or just plain wrong in their friend-of-the-court brief, then this is all a moot point. Rove did not commit a crime and neither did anyone else. That's all the public will care about, and the Democrats demands to fire innocent people defneding themselves against an unprincipled liar will not further their interests.Why are so many of you hitching your stars to this man? I don't get it.

One (not relevant) thing to Jim E: I suppose if Kerry, the Dems, and the Press had responded to the bemedalled, heroic, combat veteran Swifties with the respect that you say Kerry deserved (another mystery...JFK could have defused that problem so easily...why did he do what he did?), you might have a point.


Larry Johnson, Ray McGovern et al rub me the wrong way. Source Watch has listed the members of VIPS and their publications since Feb. 2003. Mucking around, I found this quote from 09/29/2003: Ray McGovern, who was for 27-years a senior analyst for the CIA, further confirms the status of Plame within the CIA. “I know Joseph Wilson well enough to know,” said McGovern in a telephone conversation we had today, “that his wife was in fact a deep cover operative running a network of informants on what is supposedly this administration’s first-priority issue: Weapons of mass destruction.”

Has Ray McGovern or Larry Johnson ever been called to testify before the Grand Jury? (Ray McGovern also retired from the CIA in early 90s.) When did Ray McGovern learn from Joseph Wilson that she was a deep cover operative?

Appalled Moderate


I don't think that information you put out there was especially well-known. It explains a lot about why this is being treated seriously by Fitzgerald.

I have always wondered why Ms. Plame allowed her husband to publish his article, rather than told him to stfu, and confine himself to leaks to Kristoff. His decision to go not just public, but noisily flamboyantly public put her covert position at risk. That doesn't excuse any leakers, but it makes me real disinclined to listen to Ambassador Wilson whine about the damage done to his wife.


Seven and others continually claim that, since Valerie Plame drove to work every day at Langley, she could not have been covert or undercover.

Does that mean that the identity of everyone who works directly or indirectly for the CIA at Langley can be publicly identified without breaking any laws?

Jon H

Jeff Z. writes: "If the pro-Wilson faction cannot explain why the NYT, Time, Newsweek, etc., were lying or just plain wrong in their friend-of-the-court brief, then this is all a moot point."

Simple. They don't have all the facts. The prosecutor knows more than they do.

Further, it was just their opinion. Most anyone can submit a friend-of-the-court brief. It doesn't mean they have any standing. The media does not determine law.

The media filing was just a desperate ploy to avoid a court case which could set precedent in first amendment issues. That's all it was. It's about as substantive as a mother's filing in defense of her son who's accused of beating his baby to death, in which it is claimed that the man could never have done that because he goes to church every Sunday.

Jon H

Slarti writes: "and not from anyone currently in a position to speak authoritatively to that effect?"

Perhaps because anyone who worked with her is also under cover.

Seven Machos

Walt: "everyone who works directly or indirectly for the CIA at Langley"...

That's a pretty big chunk of people. Does everyone who works for the CIA work at Langley? Does everyone who works at Langley work for the CIA? I think that a pretty good rule of thumb would be, the longer you have an office job at Langley, the less likely you are to be under deep-deep-deep-super-deep cover.

Non-Official Cover (NOC) means precisely that you are out on your own, without an official government job. If you are out on your own without an official government job, why do you go to a desk every day at Langley? Isn't that the epitome of an official government job? Valerie Plame cannot have it both ways. She's either NOC, in which case she is out on her own with no cover, or she isn't.

Also, your argument is not cogent because you are attempting to argue from the specific to the general, when the general doesn't matter. We aren't talking about "everyone who works directly or indirectly for the CIA at Langley." We are talking about one person.


Seven the Lawyer: Do you know specifically what Plame was doing at Langley in July 2003? If yes, please just say yes, because neither one of us wants to risk blowing the cover of anyone else.


Every time it looks like you can get a handle on this story, it mutates into something else.

The only logical explanation I can come up with is that there was some type of (unintentional) combination or symbiosis, if you will, between elements of the press and elements of the W.H. in spreading Plame's name and status.

That is, if one rejects the Rove is an evil monster who causes floods, earthquakes and pimples to appear on overly self-conscious teenage girls worldview.

Which, apparently some here hold on to.


DW West

Steve, this has little to do with Rove. he is just the guy who tried to keep the whole story from blowing up in the President's face.


PS: "If Fleischer had the information and knew it was secret and told others, then doesn't the buck stop with him? If, theoretically speaking, Rove heard about Wilson/Plame second-hand, then he's not the leaker, right? Especially if whoever told him didn't also tell him this was secret stuff."

No. You're repeating the information-laundering theory. This is sort of like "I decided it was OK to throw rocks at the school bus because Tommy was already doing it." That's not a defense: "classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information."

It doesn't matter that much how the stuff traveled into Rove's ears. What matters more is the way it came out of his mouth.

TOMMY: "if Joe Wilson had not lied in The New York Times about who sent him to Africa"

Nice job repeating a talking point that is itself a lie, as I've recently told you on another thread. I explain this here and here. If you can provide facts to back up your specious assertion, that would be great. Otherwise, you're full of it.

AM: "His decision to go not just public, but noisily flamboyantly public put her covert position at risk."

I wonder if you're aware of the process he went through. I think he made a reasonable effort to pursue other alternatives. This included getting a backhanded blessing from Rice, first. Before writing the oped, Wilson tried to communicate his concerns to Rice, privately. The message he got back was that "Rice was not interested and he should publish his story in his own name if he wanted to attract attention" (link). As far as I know, Rice has never denied this.

Seven Machos

Walt: It has been reported as fact by credible media sources that she had a desk job at Langley since 1997.

Steel Pulse

Ray McGovern is a partisan hack who along with the rest of the VIPS crew gets his talking points from Alex Cockburn & Counterpunch.

link: http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110003753talking

Steel Pulse

Scratch that link.

Here's the right one:


Jim E.

I would like to see an original cite for the "three decades" quote. I don't doubt it exists, I would just like to read it in context.

I haven't read it, but if Plame were technically undercover from, say, 1989-2001, that would cover three decades. No, not 30 years, but three decades. Laugh all you want, but in sports, players like Ricky Henderson (1979-2003, 23 seasons) are said to have played professionally for over 4 decades even though it doesn't mean 40 years.

tommy V


Thanks for the .pdf. But you left this part out. This would be the substantial difference you were asking for.

"Some CPD officials could not recall how the office decided to contact the former ambassador, however, interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip."

She referred to the report as "there's this crazy report" (also from your .pdf) which clearly implies a specific intent for his mission. You left that part out, too.

You also left this part out "Officials from the CIA's DO Counterproliferation Division (CPD) told Committee staff that in response to questions from the Vice President's Office and the
Departments of State and Defense on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal".

Wilson failed to mention those other parties in the inquires as well, once again, drawing a closer link to Cheney than was necessarily accurate.

Why? Because the closer his mission was to Cheney's office, the more embarressing for the administration. (even though, what he said to have NOT found did not contradict what the administration said in the state of the union address).

You're right that Wilson did not say specifically i say n his op-ed that Cheney sent him. I do stand corrected on that. I will heretofore say that Wilson implied by association that his trip was asked for by Cheney's office, when it clearly was not.

This implication is why the press corps, after reading the op ed, took from it, ike many others did that Cheney had sent Wilson. So much so that they asked Cheney's office about it. Some even inquiring why would Cheney send an ideological opponent on such a mission? (And why Wilson lied that his wife had nothing to do with him getting the assignment.)

You can rest on the fact that he did not say specifically Cheney sent him. I don't. His implication and the conclusion he wanted us to draw was quite clear.

This sounds like another conversation about what the meaning of "is" is.


"Three decades" here.

Nobody says Ricky henderson played "for four decades." He played "in" four decades," or "in four different decades." "For three decades" is unambigous.

Tommy V

I think we all have enough information to conclude that Joe Wilson has zero credibility.


That doesn't mean everything he says is untrue. It just means that his words alone are not evidence of the facts. He's quite useless in that regard.

Anyone who says otherwise has their own credibility problem.

Jim E.

Oh, he didn't even WRITE three decades -- he said it in an interview?? I still think my explanation is plausible, but I agree with your parsing on that point. He just said "three decades." But since he said it, and didn't write in down, I think that's a mitigating factor. Might've been an innocent misstatement.

I know I've been ridiculed for believing when Cheney said Iraq had reconstituted their nuclear weapons. I'm told by you all was a misstatement (conveniently for Bush, a misstatement that scared people into war over non-existent WMD). But perhaps little known Larry Johnson is held to a higher standard? Or does Cheney have no credibility for you, too?


Seven, so you don't have specific knowledge except that Plame is said to have a desk job. Porter Goss probably works at a desk too as do most of the people at the Langley location. Maybe from her desk she was in touch with sources that provided vital information, sources who had not known that she was CIA. (That is a reasonable assumption since she publicly worked for a front company.) Maybe from her desk she still had contact with people she had worked with while in the field. Maybe from that desk she coordinated intelligence from active field agents.

You don't know and I don't know. But those who do know what her job was in July 03 seem to think that her position was classified information - the senior officers of the CIA, the Special Prosecutor and District Court Judge Hogan.

This is not one of your stronger arguments.

Tommy V


About the three decades thing... Yeah, I think you could get away with that and not be fibbing. 80's, 90's, 00's. But usually you say "three different decades" to make it clear what you meant. Either way, though... I don't think that's a big deal.

From my understanding, Plame was at one point undercover, but moved to an analyst job when she came back to the states in the late 90's. At that point she was no longer "active cover".

This whole thing started from Joe Wilson being embarressed by the Plame revelation and making a stupid accusation.

Now we're all embarrassed.

My favorite is the tearful "I wish I could give you back anonymity" while receiving some left wing "truth-teller" award. Just unbearable.


He said it twice. Cheney meant "nuclear weapons program." He simply misspoke. Don't you think Chris Matthews would have said something if he though Cheney actually meant "nuclear weapons?"

"For three decades" isn't a simple misstatement. It's deliberate gross exaggeration.


Close, but it is played over 4 decades, not played for over four decades; the first can be 22 years, the second must be greater than 40.

tommy V

"But those who do know what her job was in July 03 seem to think that her position was classified information - the senior officers of the CIA, the Special Prosecutor and District Court Judge Hogan"

Actually, Walter, that's not true. The investigation is one to determine if a crime was, in fact, committed. If so, by who.

And no, you don't have an undercover job if you work at Langley five day a week. The two are incompatible.

A desk job is not a bad thing at all. It's just not undercover.


So now Larry Johnson is a liar, and of course Joe Wilson is a liar. What about the other 10 ex-CIA officers who wrote that letter to that lying Democrat committee?

And of course everyone who posts comments here that are not 100% in agreement with the RNC talking points must be a liar. Even the ones who accurately quote public documents and cite actual transcripts. And especially the ones who throw back the words of the President, the VP, Rove, Rice, Powell, Tenet and Fleischer.

Then there is Valerie Plame whose husband is a liar (and he worked last year for that liar John Kerry).

So many lies. So many liars.

Jim E.

"'For three decades' isn't a simple misstatement. It's deliberate gross exaggeration."

You must have a field day parsing the various Bush adminstration statement from before the Iraq war.

Oh wait, I forgot you're a partisan hack and only question the credibility of those with whom you disagree. Only Republicans, and not the "other side," are allowed to make mistakes.

I asked why Johnson had no credibility with you, and this was a specific point you brought up. Not even tommy v would take it as far as you. "Three decades" is the best you got. Cuz we know what he meant.


Kim, I've been practicing different t's and g's all day long in front of the mirror but I can't seem to effect a modicum of sincerity.....but I'll keep working on it. (grin)


Tommy V (or Seven): Can one's position at Langley be classified information but the person not be working undercover?


No, Jim, "three decades" just tells me he's a bullshitter with an agenda. Being totally wrong in July 2001 and never acknowledging it, and now shilling for Alexander Cockburn, THAT makes him a hack.

Kinda reminds me of that commercial with the Italian guy crying about the environment.


Hey, we tilt and grin as well as tilt and grimace.

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