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July 15, 2005



Hold on dude-I got preoccupied for a second.
The other website I'm on charges by the minute if you know what I mean.



You must be working awful hard on your answer to those questions. Didn't mean to tax you too much.

"For example, what did this little nugget add to Novak's original column?"

Why don't you ask Novak? Or Cooper? Or Corn? These are the people who actually splashed all this in the public eye, if you recall.

Question; do "journalists" bear any responsibility for their actions, in your mind?

How has the public good been served by outing the CIA airline? "Journalists" are not motivated by such concerns. Pick up the NYT for any day you care to, and see how many stories have "sources say", or officials revealed", or some such. It's an ego trip for these people.


It's ok, I understand.

You have to get your friends to help you on this. No problem, nothing to be ashamed about.


Ok Flenser. I'm done with Magnolia Thunderpussy. Now I can deal with you.

1. The Whistleblowing: The beginning of Wilson's original NYT editorial:

"Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq?

Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

2. The retaliation. Out his wife/destroy his reputation. Of course, the retaliation was hardly effective-but look who was doing it. I mean how effective was Bush's months long Social Security tour. Same guys dreamed that up. Bumbling scumbags.


"Why don't you ask Novak (why he outed Plame)"

Novak's been asked that. Answer=he was doing the master's bidding:

"I didn't dig it out, it was given to me. They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."


Remember Flenser-the ex White House guy called them "Mayberry Machiavellis" long before Plamegate, but it capyures this thing beautifully.


btw this is truly classic:

"2) The "potential retaliation" to use FitzGeralds term, is the attempt to convict Rove of various crimes, up to and including treason."

I see a pattern. Armin thinks Miller voluntarily went to jail to protect herself from being prosecuted and jailed. And you think Fitzgerald is attempting to prosecute himself for prosecuting Rove...

So crazy it might work!

Seven Machos

And another thing, Marty: have you any idea how gauche and incautious it is for a former ambassador (with a wife still working for the CIA) to write a New York Times op-ed criticizing a sitting administration for actions in an ongoing war with his own name on it?

I know a thing or two about being a diplomat. In public, your job is to support U.S. policy. Period. What Wilson chose to do was irresponsible. If his wife has ever done 1/1000 of the heroic clandestine work with which she is now credited by the Left, what he did was grossly negligent.

Of course, I'm sure you know a lot more than me when it comes to matters of statecraft, Marty. Statecraft and Internet pornography.


Ah, for christs sake!

1) Wilsons original NYT oped was a lie. That is what Rove was pointing out to the "journalists". Telling lies is not whistleblowing.

2) "Out his wife/destroy his reputation. Of course, the retaliation was hardly effective-but look who was doing it." -- So you are completely unable to explain how "outing" Plame harms Wilson? But you still think it was an attempt at "retaliation" against him? And since you cannot figure out how it constitutes retaliation, you decide to suggest that Karl Rove, the arch bogyman of the left, who somehow manages to steal elections left and right, is so stupid and incomptent that he tries to screw Wilson and ends up shooting himself?

Well, thanks for that interesting insight into what passes for a mind among the Democrat faithful. Glad to see we have nothing to fear from you people. (Unless they let you operate large machines.) And from what I hear, you don't reproduce and sully the gene pool.


Wow, they sure are IngSoc Minitrue types over at tpmcafe. They have Larry Johnson in there again getting misty-eyed and begging Bush to restore honesty to the intelligence community, or something. I ask a simple, politely-phrased question, backed by a transcript, about why Mr. Johnson said he had worked with Ms. Plame "for three decades" when it obviously was not. They just delete posts like that.



"And you think Fitzgerald is attempting to prosecute himself for prosecuting Rove..."

Are you drunk? Stoned? Where do you come up with this?



The liberals relentless quest for Truth cannot be allowed to be sidetracked by mere facts.

They are on a Mission From God.


Since Martin swung and missed (and hit himself in the head with the bat) on those two questions, I'll throw it open to anyone else who wants to take a stab. Anyone?

Jim Rockford

I still like Colin Powell rather than Tenet as Judy Miller's source and the guy she's protecting.

Powell can give gold info for years, so yeah I can see Miller taking jail time for that. Plus, someone had to leak lots of inside Admin info on Iraq, straight out of the James Baker playbook. That's Powell.

Wilson's op-ed comes out; Powell by implication looks like a chump. Colin does not like looking like a chump (over Niger). Colin gets payback, starts a buzz campaign on "hey Wilson's a hack whose Wife sent him." The rest is history.


Well, no Martin, I was just tossing around ideas. What I am sure of is that Miller isn't in jail to protect Rove, or any partisan gunslinger, or for any other altruistic reason.


Martin, you ignorant slut. I was speculating, not saying Maj. Miller did it in the conservatory with the lead pipe.

What I am sure of is that Miller is not protecting Rove or any other partisan gunslinger, or indulging any altruistic fancies.


"I know a thing or two about being a diplomat"

How long were you stationed in Dumbassiana?



"Rove did not call up reporters and tell them. They called up him and told him."

I realize you'd like to claim that it matters who put the dime in the phone. It doesn't (just like it doesn't matter that Rove was in a rush to start his vacation; lame excuses like this are a sure sign of desperation). What matters is what was said.

Also, if Rove had only listened, this would be a very different story. Trouble is, he didn't only listen. With Novak, he confirmed what Novak inquired about. This was a disclosure of information by Rove. What Novak may or may not have already known doesn't matter. It was still a disclosure of information by Rove.

With Cooper, Rove told Cooper that Plame works for the CIA. At the beginning of that conversation, Cooper did not know this. At the end of the conversation, Cooper did.

By the way, according to Raw Story, this is "an agreement on confidentiality every federal employee with access to classified information is required to sign." The agreement includes this: "I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information, I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it."

Is Rove going to claim he was certain Plame was not covert? Because if he wasn't certain, then he was uncertain. If he was uncertain, did he adhere to the terms of this agreement and "confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before" he disclosed it? Somehow I doubt it.

I said: "It would be a bad thing even if it was 'only' accidental and negligent, not deliberate."

You said: "That is your opinion, of course. I don't buy it."

Uh, no, it's not just my opinion. It's the law (pdf): "Under the nondisclosure agreement and the executive order, Mr. Rove would be subject to the loss of his security clearance or dismissal even for 'negligently' disclosing Ms. Wilson’s identity."

"you have no idea what they are investigating"

This is a bit of a clue: "At CIA Director George J. Tenet's request, the Justice Department is looking into an allegation that administration officials leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer to a journalist." Every now and then I do decide to actually believe what I read in the papers.

I said: "Cooper says he knows Plame worked for the CIA because Rove told him."

You said: "That is not information in Coopers leaked email."

This is from the email: "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip."

Are you claiming Cooper already knew that Plame worked for the CIA, before Cooper had his conversation with Rove? If you are making this claim, please show your source. If you aren't making this claim, I have no idea what you're talking about.

I said: "we know that Rove also leaked to Novak (in the form of confirming something for Novak)"

You said: "More speculation on your part"

No. I showed my source, as I am about to do again. Maybe you have to read things twice before they start to sink in.

"Did Novak confirm it to Rove ... "

That's a little hazy: "Rove told the grand jury that by the time Novak had called him, he believes he had similar information about Wilson's wife from another reporter." That sentence conveys the impression that Rove got nothing from Novak; Rove already knew (via another reporter whose name Rove conveniently cannot remember).

"... or Rove to Novak?"

Yes: "When Novak inquired about Wilson's wife working for the CIA, Rove indicated he had heard something like that." That indeed is a confirmation being conveyed from "Rove to Novak." This is notwithstanding the fact that some slippery language ("he had heard something like that") is used.

"nothing makes me happier than to see the frothing moonbats investing time and energy in this."

You completely missed the point (why am I not surprised). I challenged you to show me that folks on the right were all worked up (until about 10 minutes ago) about your grievous "other instances" of security breaches. Nice job sidestepping the challenge.

"What we have seen is selectivly leaked testimony. Whether it is accurate and what it means in the context of the other testimony is unknown."

Please explain the "other testimony" that in your wildest dreams will change the meaning of Cooper's email. As I suggested, feel free to consult with Power Line about the potential superscript gambit.

"Exactly what Coopers email means is unclear"

Only as long as you have your head firmly buried in the sand, which I realize is a position your find familiar and comforting. As I said, perhaps you'd like to offer a suggestion of an alternate way to interpret its plain meaning. Maybe you'd like to get into the meaning of "is," perhaps. As I've said elsewhere, I realize we're now well into the "I did not inhale" phase of the Dubya presidency.

"Did Rove or Cooper make it 'double super secret backgound'?"

It's entirely possible that you're actually that naive, and not just pretending. A good place to start is here.

"On background" is a term sources use (does that answer your stunningly naive question?). It basically means "feel free to publish what I tell you, but don't let anyone know it was me who told you." Some desperate righty spinners are slyly trying to create confusion by acting as if Rove said "off the record" (which means "you might find it useful to know this, but don't write it"). Trouble is, he didn't.

"do you have inside info? [regarding the question of who authorized Wilson's trip]"

I've already provided my sources. Since you obviously have a short attention span, I'll repeat them below.

"Do you know who authorized Wilsons trip?"

Not exactly, but I know who didn't: "A senior intelligence official confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked 'alongside' the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger. But he said she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. 'They [the officers who did ask Wilson to check the uranium story] were aware of who she was married to, which is not surprising,' he said. 'There are people elsewhere in government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason,' he said. 'I can't figure out what it could be.'"

"why do you say it is false? [Rove's claim that Plame authorized Wilson's trip]"

Because outside of Rove's imagination, there isn't a shred of proof to indicate she did. Feel free to demonstrate otherwise. Oh, I forgot, it's not your practice to cite sources.

By the way, even the highly partisan Republican addendum to the SCCI report (pdf) only goes as far as saying "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife."

"Suggested by" is still a good distance away from "authorized" (and the anonymous sources behind
the SCCI report are no more credible than the source I cited above indicating that Plame didn't even "recommend" Wilson for the trip). So you're out on a limb with Rove (by implying you support his claim of "authorized"). Let me know what kind of proof you can find out there.

"How does knowlege that Wilsons wife works for the CIA discredit him?"

Good question. I've quoted a WSJ writer who pointed out that it doesn't. However, I think you need to ask Rove why he felt a need to mention Plame. I think he was grasping at straws, because he didn't have much to work with as far as factual material is concerned. Kind of like you.

I think perhaps Rove was trying to say "Wilson's trip was small potatos; he only went because it was a boondoggle authorized by his wife."

Personally I think that for Rove the "discredit" motivation was kind of bound up together with the "revenge" motivation.

Your turn: why do you think Rove mentioned Plame? Or are you still counting on Hinderaker to ride in on a golden chariot and sweep aside the Cooper email in a flourish of typographical mumbo-jumbo?

"If Wilson is the whistleblower ... What whistle did he blow"

Wilson pointed out that Bush was full of shit to be making such a big fuss about uranium from Niger. Funny how Wilson sort of helped Tenet figure this out.

"If Wilson was 'retaliated' against, what form did that retaliation take"

Ruining his wife's career, and endangering the lives of people she worked with.

"what has happened to him in the last few years?"

After a career that included Dubya's father complimenting Wilson for his "courageous leadership," he is now the target of highly organized personal smears like this, which feature outright lies such as "Wilson Falsely Claimed That It Was Vice President Cheney Who Sent Him To Niger."

By the way, I realize you find it easier to ask questions than to answer them, but you are quickly revealing yourself to be a useless waste of time if you are all questions and no answers.

"see how many stories have 'sources say', or officials revealed', or some such"

How ironic you should bring this up, since when Rove stipulated "double super secret backgound," this is exactly the game he was playing (encouraging Cooper to use him as an anonymous source). This is an agreement between two consenting adults, but somehow you're acting like one party is innocent and one is guilty. How peculiar.

"Wilsons original NYT oped was a lie"

I realize asking you to show proof is a waste of time, because the word is only part of your vocabulary when you're applying it to the other guy. But I will anyway: show proof.

"you are completely unable to explain how 'outing' Plame harms Wilson"

Most people understand, as a matter of common sense, that hurting one's spouse is tantamount to hurting them. Also, I've explained how Wilson has been (and is) being harmed directly.

"you still think it was an attempt at 'retaliation' against him"

It seems to be not that hard to find knowledgeable people who share that view.

"[Rove] is so stupid and incomptent that he tries to screw Wilson and ends up shooting himself"

Nobody's perfect. Hubris usually catches up sooner or later. Rove never imagined the CIA would push back the way it did, or that a prosecutor would be appointed, or that Fitz would hammer the journalists until they cracked open, the way Cooper just did.

As I've pointed out elsewhere, some important institutions (like the CIA, the press and pssibly also DOJ and FBI) have been getting screwed by Bush for years, and they're finally getting wise about it. Not to mention the American public ("Bush honesty rating drops to lowest point," link; of course the interesting thing about that poll is that it was mostly done before the news about the Cooper email had a chance to sink in).


"send your spouse"

Unfortunately there's no proof, outside of Rove's imagination, that Plame "authorized" the trip, although that is apparently what Rove said to Cooper. There is proof contrary to this, which I've already cited.

"I think our spies ought to have work a little harder to protect their identities."

I realize you're on a desperate quest to find someone else to blame. Trouble is, even if one accepts the idea that both Wilson and Plame are creeps, liars and traitors, none of that gives Rove a free pass to out an agent.

"it is, apparently, up to everyone else to hide pertinent facts about you"

It is indeed up to Rove to fulfill his responsibility as a citizen and as a high official to protect national security, especially during wartime, regardless of whatever real or imagined faults you might want to attibute to Wilson, Plame, or Bill Clinton.

"Valerie Plame was not a clandestine officer."

Talk is cheap, especially yours. I realize that typing those words is easy for you. What's not easy is lifting a finger to even begin to dispute the proof presented here.

"Under your standards, Joe Wilson can lie about the administration but no one in the administration can tell the truth about Joe Wilson."

Nice job ignoring what I've already said. If you ignore what I say, I will ignore you.

Here it is again for you, since you obviously have trouble concentrating. Please explain why "tell[ing] the truth about Joe Wilson" required "double super secret background," and required outing an agent.

If the message Rove wanted to deliver was "Wilson was not sent by Cheney; rather, he was sent by slimy traitorous insignificant low-level operatives," let me suggest the following way he could have said that, which would not have posed any threat to our national security: "Wilson was not sent by Cheney; rather, he was sent by slimy traitorous insignificant low-level operatives." Please explain the critical importance of Rove using words such as "Wilson's wife" as part of that sentence.

By the way, to the extent that Rove had to make a choice between the political imperative of "tell[ing] the truth about Joe Wilson," as compared with the national security imperative of erring on the side of caution with regard to classified information, he had an obligation to place priority on the latter, not the former. He made the wrong decision.

"Karl Rove told a reporter that a high-profile, non-elected government official was making false accusations in an attempt to undercut the Iraq war effort, and for partisan advantage domestically"

Nice job ignoring the question I've asked: please explain why Rove found it hard to do that without using words such as "Wilson's wife." Also explain why Rove had to do this on "double super secret background," and then cover it up for a couple of years.

After you tackle that, we can get into the "false accusations" part of your statement.

By the way, if it's your claim that by disputing the famouse 16 words Wilson was conducting "an attempt to undercut the Iraq war effort," how do you feel about Tenet's statement at about exactly the same time: "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President."

"We have one guy with some brains"

Something most of us learned in kindergarten is that honesty is more important than brains. Judging from the heat on Rove right now, we may end up realizing he has a problem in both areas.

"how gauche and incautious it is for a former ambassador"

Nice job trying to change the subject. Trouble is, even if one accepts the idea that both Wilson and Plame are creeps, liars and traitors, none of that gives Rove a free pass to out an agent.


"He is arguing that providing the name of a CIA employee – or operative -- is the same as exposing the identity of a CIA covert agent."

Exactly: "A former diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said yesterday that every foreign intelligence service would run Plame's name through its databases within hours of its publication to determine if she had visited their country and to reconstruct her activities. 'That's why the agency is so sensitive about _just publishing her name_,' the former diplomat said." (emphasis added)

By the way, this is especially true since (as Novak generously revealed) her area is WMD, which is especially sensitive and secret.

"we don’t know who Bob’s sources were"

Via (apparently) Luskin, we now know that Rove confirmed something for Novak. In other words, it is no longer fully correct to say "we don’t know who Bob’s sources were."


"nowhere do I see that you point to specific evidence that the mere fact that a person named Valerie Plame, the wife of Joseph Wilson, was employed by the CIA was 'classified information'."

This is a bit of a clue: "At CIA Director George J. Tenet's request, the Justice Department is looking into an allegation that administration officials leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer to a journalist."

So is this: "That's why the agency is so sensitive about just publishing her name."

"None of that in my opinion rises to the level of admissible evidence in a court of law"

You should let Fitz know he's just been wasting a lot of time, since you know more about the law and facts than he does.

By the way, I've pointed out many times that I'm more interested in the moral and political aspects, not just the criminal aspects. You may be able to argue that according to some particular statute the burden is on the prosecutor to prove that Rove knew she was covert. My point is that from the point of view of morality, common sense, and the overall political impact, the burden is on Rove to show that he took affirmative steps to know he was not being careless with classified information.

Actually, I'm understating the point. As I point out above, Rove apparently signed an employment agreement stipulating his responsibility to ask first, if he was uncertain about the classification status of information he was about to share. So even from a narrow legal perspective (and putting aside morality, politics and PR), the burden is on Rove to show that he checked on her covert (or not) status before he blabbed about her.

Here's how Sauber said it recently: "what is a senior government official doing mentioning CIA individual employee, someone who might be an undercover agent without checking with the agency first to see whether that's appropriate?"

"I take it that your argument that points 2 and 3 are irrelevant means that you have no evidence to support either of those statements."

My point 2 had to do with the question of whether or not Rove knew she was covert. I've explained very clearly (hint: look directly above) why this angle does not save his sorry butt. If you're too thick to comprehend what I've said on this point, that's your problem.

My point 3 had to do with the question of whether or not she was covert. I've repeatedly cited my sources on this point. If you translate that into "you have no evidence" (without lifting a finger to present a substantive challenge regarding the sources I cited), that's your problem.

"Your argument, as I now understand it, is that Rove's confirmation to Novak and Cooper that Ms. Plame worked for the CIA in some capacity violates the Intelligence Identities Protection Act."

You're working so hard to misunderstand me that you have nothing left over to perform useful work. How adorable.

First of all, let me know where I ever indicated I gave a rat's ass about the IIPA (or about the Espionage Act, for that matter). There's a long list of legal charges for Fitz to play with. Aside from those two statutes, there's also perjury and obstruction of justice. There's also Rove's employment agreement. But for the zillionth time, I find the moral and political factors more interesting and important than the legal/criminal factors.

Also, nice job saying "confirmation to Novak and Cooper," as if there's any reason whatsover to believe that Cooper knew that Plame=CIA before he heard it from Rove.



@ Lesley

Quick question for anyone knowledgeable about Grand Jury investigations: if a Grand Jury is tasked with discovering information about one supposed crime and discovers that another has been committed, what happens?

Here are a few links:

American Bar Assoc.

University of Dayton

Basically a once a Grand Jury is empaneled it can investigate anything and anyone. For any reason whatsoever and at any level of detail. They can also hear evidence that would otherwise be tainted or gotten illegally.

Basically it's the all purpose tool of law enforcement.

Note the section on "Runaway Juries" in the second link. Interesting.

But the real meat is in the section, in the second link, named "How does a Grand Jury get evidence". Read it all the way to the bottom. It's interesting.

For those of you too lazy to read it, here's the really very interesting part:

If you simply refuse to do what the subpoena orders you to do, the prosecutor, acting on behalf of the grand jury, will ask the court to hold you in CIVIL contempt. Unless you have a very good reason for not complying, the court will do so.

This happened to Susan McDougal: She was subpoenaed to testify before a Whitewater grand jury, and refused to testify. She was held in civil contempt. Civil contempt is not a crime (unlike CRIMINAL contempt, which is discussed above, in connection with grand jury secrecy). It is, instead, a way the court coerces you into doing what the grand jury wants you to do. Once you're held in civil contempt, you will be locked up until you agree to comply with the subpoena or until the grand jury's term ends, whichever comes first. Susan McDougal was locked up for approximately eighteen months, which is when the grand jury's term ended. Once the grand jury has been dissolved, the subpoena is no longer valid and you can't be held in contempt. Of course, a prosecutor can re-subpoena somebody like Susan McDougal to testify before a new grand jury. If she refuses, she can be held in civil contempt and locked up until that grand jury's term ends, which could be another year and a half or even two.

Which is unlikely to happen to Miller as I'm sure the entire MSM and the Democrats would be screaming if another Grand Jury were empaneled to review the Plame case.

But, if you look at the section on "Runaway Juries", a federal Grand Jury empaneled after the one this special prosecutor empaneled could independently go after Miller.

And there doesn't seem to be anything that anybody could do about it. Which is frankly amusing as hell.

Fresh Air


I just want to let you know I read all of Flenser's posts and scrolled past all of yours. It just saves time.

Also, when the hell do you sleep anyway. Your going through pixels at an alarming rate, man. Give the scissors and paste a rest, will you.


Fresh, I notice you have your own nice little tradition of throwing stuff out and then crawling back into the woodwork somewhere when it's time to back it up. That's a helpful thing to know about someone. And there's a word for it: coward.

"when the hell do you sleep anyway"

It really doesn't take long to do this when you have the facts on your side. You should try it sometime.

Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet)


Good morning. Thanks for the answers.

Let's tackle the legal issues first. I, too, am willing to let Fitzgerald do his job. I also understand that there are other statutes in play in addition to the IIPA, and now thoroughly understand your argument as far as that statute is concerned.

As you can tell, I do not agree with your creative legal analysis, but I give you high marks for zeal. I do not believe that Fitzgerald will indict Mr. Rove for violation of the IIPA based on the facts available so far. I also believe that Fitzgerald will not charge Mr. Rove for any of the other possibilities based on those same facts. There may be further facts developed which change this, but I doubt it. Too much leaking from both sides for anything suprising to come out.

Now on to your arguments on the political and national security aspects of this affair.

Politically, this matter will likely go nowhere because of the current Republican control of the House and the Senate. While there has been some interest from some of the Democrats from safe seats (all of whom to the left of center)short of an indictment of Rove or maybe Libby, nothing will happen there. There is some possibility this will have legs for the next Congressional election cycle, but that will depend on the effectiveness of committed people like you and Martin.

As for the National Security implications, the problem is that at bottom this is about a past internicene struggle among the national security factions. Tenent's resignation and the 2004 election pretty much settled that. Both sides fought the good fight and it went as most of these things have gone in the past. Not pretty, but not fatal either.

As for ethics, I have been studying political science for nearly fifty years (since my junior year in high school). One of the main topics is repeatedly studied is the ethics of political practitioners over the years. From that perspective, I am afraid, the ethics displayed in this matter are about par for the course. The problem is there are enforceable standards of ethics for these things. Power politics are still all that matter at this level. For the results there, see above.

I think next summer this time this matter will not be at the top of the list.

In the meantime, I enjoy your persistence and the level of detailed analysis you provide. I can put up with the occasional snarkiness because I get a kick out of it. I won't be commenting anymore on this thread, as it is far too long now, but I am sure we will cross paths again.


Jim, thanks for the thoughtful answer and for the kind words.


TM - Thanks for the response. Here's a further question. The Sept. 28, 2003 article in the WaPo that revealed that the CIA had initiated an Justice Dept. investigation, there's this:

Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. Wilson had just revealed that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account touched off a political fracas over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.

"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.


The conventional wisdom seems to be that this was Tenet. But that doesn't seem to jibe with your current take on Tenet, or does it? Any sense of who that might be?


ED: You sweetheart! Thank you. Oh, by the way, I am a woman so you don't have to feel goofy about being called a sweetheart by another man (not that there is anything wrong with that...hee).

I learned ALOT about Grand Juries thanks to you. The part about "returning a bill of ignoramus" just cracked me but then I am easily amused.

Again, sincere thanks, sir.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Rove apparently signed an employment agreement stipulating his responsibility to ask first, if he was uncertain about the classification status of information he was about to share.'

Information given to Rove by a reporter is not classified information.


Sullivan-classified info is classified until its declassified. Intelligence professionals cannot confirm information that is classified even they receive that information from a non-classified source.


Agreed. You may not confirm classified information. Saying that you saw the same media report is not confirming something. Saying, "yeah, I checked the roster and those news reports are true" is confirming. That said, I still think, he should not have said anything.


BTW, by analogy, you could also say that Plame et al should not have reacted to her outing (to protest it). If she were really in very deep cover or running an actual network in-country somewhere, I'm sure she would not have commented, since keeping any doubt would still be valuable. Her Vanity Fair picture and husband posting in the NYT and all that sure gives the impression that she was not in any deep cover, nor is she interested in it.


Patrick said: "Information given to Rove by a reporter is not classified information."

No. As Martin said, classified information does not become magically declassified because it is "laundered" through a reporter. What matters is the nature of the information, not where you happened to hear it. I gave you a very simple common-sense example, which I guess you couldn't comprehend.

Maybe you can comprehend this: "Classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information" (link).

More: "Information remains classified until it has been officially declassified ... before disseminating the information elsewhere or confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, further dissemination of the information or confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure" (pdf).">http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/52001ph1_0500/p5200ph1.pdf">pdf).

In other words, Rove "merely" confirming what Novak had already heard elsewhere is "also an unauthorized disclosure."

TCO said: "he should not have said anything."

I would go a little further. Rove should have said to Novak that Novak had no business disseminating information that might be classified. Then Rove should have called the Agency to find out whether or not the information was classified. If it was, Rove should then have reported to the Agency that Novak was somehow in possession of classified information, so the Agency could investigate, perhaps notify the agent, and limit the damage.

Rove should have done all this promptly, so the Agency could have requested or required Novak to leave this information out of his article.

Of course all this is pretty much the opposite of what Rove did.

"Her Vanity Fair picture"

Wilson's explanation is (paraphrase) "once the toothpaste was out of the tube, it wasn't going back in."

M. Simon

Suppose Rove said to the Grand Jury: I talked with reporters X, Y, and Z about the matter. Possibly Q, and R as well, but I don't recall which one was first.

That would square with the I don't remember defence and still be honorable. We don't know the whole story.

I love speculative speculation.


The paste is out of the tube alright. Novak told Rove. Now who told Miller?


M. Simon,

"That would square with the I don't remember defence and still be honorable."

What it doesn't square with is the White House telling us repeatedly (in a variety of ways) that it was "totally ridiculous" to suggest Rove was involved in outing Plame.

Also, there was nothing "honorable" about outing Plame. Folks like Mehlman are suggesting that Rove did nothing wrong because he was only "discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise." Trouble is, I haven't seen anyone explain why Rove wasn't able to accomplish this noble goal without mentioning Plame.

Aside from that, I haven't seen anyone explain why the noble goal of "discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise" was a higher priority than being careful with classified information (and if Rove was uncertain about that, he needed to ask first).

Aside from that, I haven't seen anyone explain why Rove needed to hide behind "double super secret background" if all he was doing was pursuing the noble goal of "discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise."

Aside from that, I haven't seen anyone explain why the noble goal of "discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise" was supported by Rove (according to Cooper's email) making the specious claim that Plame "authorized" Wilson's trip, since there is apparently no support for this claim, outside of Rove's imagination (and quite a bit of evidence directly contrary to this claim: e.g., "Officials have said Wilson ... was not chosen because of his wife;" link).


"who told Miller?"

I think the best current speculation on this is that Libby told Miller.

M. Simon


How is repeating gossip outing?

If the gossip is on the street the outing has been done.

Suppose I tell you Bush is the President. Have I outed him? Or am I just repeating something I have heard?

Likewise with ValP. If the gossip was common before Rove mentioned it to Novak then Rove did no outing and his statements remain factual.

The Bush team pulls this bit so often: let its opponents climb out on a limb and then saws it off, that I'd think the Dems would not fall for it so easily.

Esp. considering that even Kerry dropped Wilson like a hot potato when it was found he was not a straight shooter.

The center of your case is a liar. The case may be good (I doubt it), but it does not help having a liar as the chief wittness.

My prediction: a further erosion in American trust of the left.

A 1/2% here a 1/4% there and pretty soon you have trouble winning elections.


A quarter percent here, a half percent there. Pretty soon it adds up to the authority to lead billions.

A few billionths of a % here, a few billionths of a % there, pretty soon we're talkin' real electoral wins.


If Libby told Miller, then also did a few thousand other people tell a few thousand yet others.


M. Simon,

"How is repeating gossip outing?"

Here's how.

"The center of your case is a liar"

If Wilson is the "center" of the case, how odd then that he is one of the few people in Washington in whom Fitz has shown no interest. A pretty long list of names (which prominently does not include Wilson or Plame) can found here.

By the way, as I've pointed out many times, even if one accepts the idea that both Wilson and Plame are creeps, liars and traitors (or even, horror of horrors, Democrats), none of that gives Rove a free pass to out an agent.

"My prediction: a further erosion in American trust of the left."

I guess you must be thinking of something like this: "Bush honesty rating drops to lowest point," link; of course the interesting thing about that poll is that it was mostly done before the news about the Cooper email had a chance to sink in.

M. Simon


No doubt trust in Bush is down. However, you neglect to mention that trust in the left is down further.

Evidently taking Bush down is costing you.

Come election time it will be the lesser of two evils choice again (I'd rather have voted for Lieberman). I don't see how cutting off your nose to spite your face is a good deal. For you.

Does that mean that if I repeat the rumor that Bush is President that I have outed him?

BTW I still like Clinton. I thought the Rs wasted some good years when Clinton was warning us about Osama. Of course now positions are reversed due to the usual: we can't let the other party have any success lest it translate into an electoral victory.

Of course if you read the history of WW2 it was the Rs endlessly criticizing the war policy of FDR.

Nothing new. Just the names of the players and their respective politics has changed.

i.e. politics as usual.


"Does that mean that if I repeat the rumor that Bush is President that I have outed him?"

If it was classified information, it would be wrong for you to repeat it, and the fact that it was already a "rumor" doesn't change that. I've documented this in detail.

And Fitz is certainly acting as if outing Plame amounts to an illegal release of classified information.

me (and TCO)

Grad said: I would go a little further. Rove should have said to Novak that Novak had no business disseminating information that might be classified..... "

Agreed. That is the appropriate response.

Grad said: "toothpaste..."

I disagree with this for the same reasons as I disagree that Rove could confirm a rumor. And I'm not sure it's her call to make in terms of having a public persona. Nor do I think Wilson showed appropriate care for security by writing an oped piece about a mission that he performed in secret.


me (and TCO) said: "I disagree with this [the Wilson's appearing in Vanity Fair etc.] for the same reasons as I disagree that Rove could confirm a rumor. And I'm not sure it's her call to make in terms of having a public persona."

I think that's a fair comment. However, here are some additional details that I would have mentioned earlier, except I hadn't yet discovered them. Wilson didn't run right out and put Plame in front of cameras. On the contrary. In the early stages, he seemed to make an effort to not compound the damage that had already been done by Novak et al.

Here's what he said to Blitzer on 8/3/03: "with respect to my wife, I don't answer any questions. And anything that I say with respect to that, the allegations about her are all hypothetical. I would not confirm or deny her place of employment. To do so would be, if she were, a breach of national security; and if she were not, at a minimum, what they have done is they have forced her to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions from neighbors and friends and whatnot."

In other words, Wilson was appropriately stonewalling Blitzer on the question of Plame's identity, in exactly the manner Rove should have stonewalled Novak when Novak raised basically the same question.

By the way, this comment by Wilson helps to put into perspective a variety of absurd comments currently being made suggesting that it was really Wilson that outed Plame, and Wilson who Fitz will ultimately target.

The Vanity Fair profile was dated 1/04. I think once the cat was this far out of the bag, they had a right to tell their story this way.

"And I'm not sure it's her call to make in terms of having a public persona."

In my opinion, you have no reason to assume that, for example, her appearance in Vanity Fair was done without consultation and approval of her CIA superiors.

"Nor do I think Wilson showed appropriate care for security by writing an oped piece about a mission that he performed in secret."

According to Wilson's NYT piece, the mission was "discreet" but not "secret." Also, he was not asked to sign a non-disclusure agreement regarding the trip.

Most importantly (and I think this is widely overlooked), Wilson pursued a variety of alternate channels before finally deciding to write the oped. In particular, 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).">http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A13696-2003Oct11?language=printer">link). As far as I know, Rice has never denied this.

In other words, Rice was apparently given a chance to say "please don't write this" and she passed on the chance. So I think this needs to be taken into account before saying Wilson failed to show "appropriate care for security."

By the way, I don't think there are any details in his article that go further than similar information that is publicly documented in the SSCI report. Therefore, I think it's questionable to treat his article as some kind of security breach, without pointing to something specific in his article that really justifies that charge.

Seven Machos


Plame was working at Langley since 1997. You keep evading this central fact. Moreover, our very own Senate officially concluded that Wilson did not know what he was talking about regarding the underlying issue of Iraq's quest for uranium. That is also a fact.

I know you are a smart guy -- a heck of a lot more brilliant than I'll ever be -- so I wish you could somehow work these facts into your knowledge of the world.


Yeah, I certainly hope she got permission for the Vanity Fair thing. The oped piece still seems a bit wierd. And the failure to have Wilson sign an NDA. I don't think that is good practice of the CIA to use intel gathering assets like that. Also, I would have expected Wilson to not write such a piece. He even says in his comments that he doesn't have all the intel, but seems to hint that he has heard it anyway...I wonder where? ;)


SEVEN: "Plame was working at Langley since 1997."

If your point is that this means IIPA cannot be invoked, here's my answer: who knows. But the fact is that several very serious judges, and a very serious prosecutor, are acting as if they have reason to think a crime has been committed. You should probably bring to their attention this very crucial information ("Plame was working at Langley since 1997") you've managed to uncover.

"You keep evading this central fact"

Uh, no. I've made this point many times before. You, on the other hand, have been consistently evading the very simple issues I raise here.

"our very own Senate officially concluded that Wilson did not know what he was talking about regarding the underlying issue of Iraq's quest for uranium"

If I took you seriously, I would respond to that. But I don't (since you've ignored my questions), so I won't.

Speaking of questions you're good at ignoring, here's one on the subject you just raised. In the famous 16 words, Bush said "significant quantities," and "recently." What was the basis for those claims?

TCO: "the failure to have Wilson sign an NDA. I don't think that is good practice of the CIA to use intel gathering assets like that."

We're all getting an unusual chance to see some inner workings of how the CIA operates, and we're all entitled to play armchair spy and have our opinions about what we see. Please remember though that this was Tenet's shop at the time, and it had been for a while, so for better or worse he should get the credit or blame for how the place operated. And likewise for Bush, since he decided to hand Tenet a medal.


Can I blame it on Clinton? on the rain?














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