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July 14, 2005

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jerry

I'd be very interested to see if Victoria Toensing has a high profile opinion here - regarding her friends in the WH and the media and her view of the law.

gt

From today's WaPo:

A number of legal experts, some of whom are involved in the case, said evidence that has emerged publicly suggests Rove or other administration officials face potential legal threats on at least three fronts.

The first is the unmasking of CIA official Valerie Plame, the original focus of special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's probe. But legal sources say there are indications the prosecutor is looking at two other areas related to the administration's handling of his investigation. One possible legal vulnerability is perjury, if officials did not testify truthfully to a federal grand jury, and another is obstructing justice, if they tried to coordinate cover stories to obscure facts.

Legal experts said the evidence that has emerged in recent days -- including confirmation that Rove and Cooper spoke about Plame's role at the CIA as a way of knocking down a damaging story about the administration's Iraq policy -- does not by itself necessarily indicate a crime was committed. Even so, White House officials acknowledged privately that they are concerned that the investigation will lead to an indictment of someone in the administration later this year.

Al

The link in the second paragraph should be to Crank, not Kleiman.

Jon Henke

Dale Franks wrote what I think is a pretty definitive take-down of the notion that the Espionage Act does or will apply. Quite apart from its applicability, its use would amount to open warfare on the Press.

BumperStickerist

While Rove has a security clearance, issues like a person's covert op status would seem to me to get into a clearance that requires codeword status which starts to deal with issues around sourcing of the intelligence.

I doubt that Rove, or any purely political aides in the White House, have TS-CW type of clearance.

The reason I bring this up is that the problem with the leak about Valerie's status *could not be* Karl Rove.

By definition, the source of the leak would be a person in the intel community who has codeword clearance who gave that information to Karl or a person outside the intel community who had the knowledge through other means (eg. either Plame herself compromised her cover somehow or a third party figured it out.)

btw - former TS-CW holder who worked at Fort Meade, MD in the big shiny black building with all the dishes on top of it for a while.

BenJCarter

My question: Who is Judith Miller still protecting with her jail time?

SteveMG

Drudge reports (8:36 p.m.) that the NY Times will have a big story tomorrow with new information.

My hunch is that elements in the CIA are leaking material to them to get back at Bush, Cheney et al.

Before this is over, parts of the CIA will be in open revolt against the W.H.

That's the big story, not the Rove stuff.

SMG

Leon H

Tom,

Your second link points back to Kleiman again, not to the Baseball Crank.

peapies

Ben--Plame/Wilson

and Wilson added more today on Wolf Blitzer

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0507/14/wbr.01.html

BLITZER: But the other argument that's been made against you is that you've sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife, who was a clandestine officer of the CIA, and that you've tried to enrich yourself writing this book and all of that.

What do you make of those accusations, which are serious accusations, as you know, that have been leveled against you.

WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.

BLITZER: But she hadn't been a clandestine officer for some time before that?

WILSON: That's not anything that I can talk about. And, indeed, I'll go back to what I said earlier, the CIA believed that a possible crime had been committed, and that's why they referred it to the Justice Department.

Crank

Here's the link.

Crank

Hey, I just had a thought. The Left has argued that the existence of this investigation is proof in and of itself that Plame must have been recently covert, since otherwise the IIPA would not apply. But if people had the Espionage Act on their radar screens all along, that syllogism is inoperative.

jerry

Does the Patriot Act apply for Fitzgerald's investigation... of journalist's phone calls or emails for instance?

Sadie

Why wouldn't the EA apply to Joe Wilson? He apparently put out misinformation to hurt the American position in wartime. If his trip was classified, why wasn't what he reported classified?

TM

its use would amount to open warfare on the Press.

Bug, or feature?

I fixed the link - thanks.

Leon H

Crank,

Found it - thanks for posting it over at RedState, as well. Keep up the good work over there, we all love it.

Excuse my doltishness with the whole email fiasco.

Leon

jukeboxgrad

"If his trip was classified, why wasn't what he reported classified?"

His trip wasn't classified. Read his famous NYT article.

peapies

jerry--

that is a good question...please, please crank?

Sadie--

I don't think his trip was classified, or at least that is what Wilson said...but then a again Wilson said it


Today Wilson says his wife was not Clandastine the day Novak blew her identity...day could be operative...but he also said this in 2004 (via bumperstickerist)

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4907409/


WILSON: My understanding from a number of different people who have come to speak to me as I have been at the intersection of the information highway on this is that shortly after I appeared on CNN commenting that I thought the U.S. government knew more about this Niger business than the State Department spokesman was letting on.

There was a meeting in the suite of offices of the Vice President chaired perhaps by the Vice President but more likely by Mr. Libby at which it was decided to do a quote “workup” on me.

In other words run an intelligence operation on me to find out everything that they could about me and my family. That would explain how, within two days of my article appearing in the “New York Times” Mr. Novak would have the name of my wife and her employment

who leaked to Wilson get the quote "workup" --that of course was sarcastic...and an FBI operation to find out everything they could about him took a whopping 2 days. Let me guess, they used the phone book! Whatever...but perhaps the "workup" meeting was really a "how does Judith Miller know so many classified details" and by this timeline...Out of Africa by JW is 9-6, two days later Novak (as is indicated) calls Joe Wilson before he calls Rove (which is what I seen) then calls Rove and says something like...Just talked to Wilson, he confirmed his wife's works at CIA, is that why he was sent? or some variation...

Boronx

If a piece of classified information isn't worth your freedom to release it, I don't want you to release it.


There's a lot of stuff that's classified for a good reason.

peapies

just read the NYT "exclusive"

that was utterly anti-climactic...Novak spilled the story...to Rove...and? print is deadly slow or slowly dying

Boronx

You want open government? Legislate stricture regulations about what gets classified. We don't need to weaken our classification protections.

BumperStickerist

one more thing -

There's an NYT piece in which their reporters mention talking to Valerie Plame's neighbors.

The neighbors express an awareness of Valerie's working at the CIA and her volunteer effort doing post-partum depression pre-Bob Novak column.

I didn't save the link but a search of NYT that includes: Plame, Central Intelligence, and Post Partum Depression should turn up the article.

The article just sort of hums along and then it turns out that it was known that Valerie worked at the CIA.

Her prior work as an undercover asset is not relevant legally or, for that matter, morally or ethically - Novak 'broke' her cover, actually, he just put forward the notion, by looking at public records.

Slartibartfast

I wouldn't be surprised if Rove had some high level of clearance, but I'd be very surprised if he had need-to-know and had been granted access to Plame's status as a NOC agent. I could be wrong, but I just don't see that as something the Chief of Staff would be involved in.

So I'm forced to imagine Judith Miller suspended upside-down by wires, extracting a disk containing the NOC list from a highly classified CIA computer. It makes just about as much sense as anything else in this case, and is supported by just as many facts.

jukeboxgrad

BUMPER

"a search of NYT that includes: Plame, Central Intelligence, and Post Partum Depression should turn up the article."

Didn't work. If you can find it, please do.

By the way, this sheds some light on the claim that her status was common knowledge: "I've worked in Washington for the past 38 years, including 24 years at the CIA...and I know Ambassador Wilson....and I did not know that his wife was an agency employee. Let's face it....this was targeted information as part of a political vendetta....a pure act of revenge...again, no more and no less." (link)

"he just put forward the notion, by looking at public records."

Please let us know which public records indicated she worked for the CIA.

"Her prior work as an undercover asset is not relevant legally"

You should let Fitz and FBI know that. You could help them figure out that they're just wasting their time.

TM

Well, this Times abstract from last week is not encouraging:

Valerie Wilson, known to country by her maiden name Valerie Plame, returns to CIA in new job after being identified as covert officer; startled neighbors say they thought of her as 'working soccer mom' before her true job was revealed by syndicated columnist Robert Novak in 2003;...

And this one, from Oct 2003, is not promising.

jukeboxgrad

Tom, thanks for those helpful citations. If you're looking for other decisive proof she was actually covert, I suggest this.

BumperStickerist


here's the NYT article with the neighbors angle - I don't know why it didn't show up in the search.

The article takes a turn for the 'h'uh?' towards the end when Valerie's work as a post-partum counsellor and job at the CIA come up.

Here's the nut graf, as some say:

In recent years, her life has been divided. Friends said she had worked as a volunteer counselor for postpartum depression while seeing to her "regular" job at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va.

note the plural - year-zuh.

Also, it's generally instructive to vet the source a bit. Take a quick look for Mel Goodman and CIA shows some rather odd, though intriguing, views on Iraq and the role of the CIA. Not saying *he* didn't know that Valerie was undercover. Just sayin' that Mel might not be the gold standard here.

Cheers -

Full NYT article:

--------------------------
New York Times, October 2, 2003

Cover Story Kept Work for C.I.A. a Secret
By DOUGLAS JEHL and DAVID STOUT

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — Valerie Plame was among the small subset of Central Intelligence Agency officers who could not disguise their profession by telling friends that they worked for the United States government.

That cover story, standard for American operatives who pretend to be diplomats or other federal employees, was not an option for Ms. Plame, people who knew her said on Wednesday. As a covert operative who specialized in nonconventional weapons and sometimes worked abroad, she passed herself off as a private energy expert, what the agency calls nonofficial cover.

But that changed over the summer, when her identity as a C.I.A. officer was reported in a syndicated column by Robert Novak.

Ms. Plame's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a retired ambassador, has accused the White House of releasing her name as a way of discrediting Mr. Wilson after he had questioned intelligence reports that Iraq was buying uranium from Niger.

Mr. Wilson, who is 53 and was married twice before, met Ms. Plame, 40, in early 1997 at a party in Washington, he said on Wednesday in an interview in his office. A telephone message left at their house here was unanswered, and Mr. Wilson said his wife had instructed him to say that she would "chew off her right arm off before she talked to anybody from the press."

Mr. Wilson proudly showed off photographs of Ms. Plame, calling her a real-life Jennifer Garner, the actress who plays a spy on "Alias" on ABC-TV and whom the C.I.A. has enlisted as a spokeswoman to appeal to recruits.

Mr. Wilson would not allow publication of the photographs and asked visitors to protect the privacy of their 3-year-old twins.

"In her business, people get very good about sticking to their story," said Mr. Wilson, who has told friends that when they were dating Ms. Plame told him about her true vocation only because he, too, had a high-level secrecy clearance, as a political adviser to the American general who was commanding United States forces in Europe.

With that story in tatters, Mr. Wilson said, "we were at a reception the other night, and all people wanted to talk about was her clandestine career."

"Basically," he said, "her comment was, 'That's not something I discuss, even at work.' But it's been difficult. You have to go back and say to people that, 'Well, all those years that you thought of me as an energy analyst, I was really something else.' You have to build back the trust."

A neighbor of the couple, David Tillotson said on Wednesday that the news about Ms. Plame, although "an absolute shock," did not change his feelings about her and Mr. Wilson.
"They are the salt of the earth," Mr. Tillotson, a lawyer, said. "They're some of the finest people I've ever known in my life."

For the six years that they have been neighbors, Mr. Tillotson and his wife, Victoria, knew Mr. Wilson and Ms. Plame from pleasant dinners in each other's houses.

The talk was occasionally about politics, but far more often about "kids and life and gardens," as Mr. Tillotson put it.

People close to Ms. Plame said on Wednesday that she was born in Anchorage while her father, Lt. Col. Sam Plame of the Air Force, was stationed there.

Colonel Plame and his wife, Diane, also had a son, Robert, who is older than Valerie Plame and lives in Oregon.

Colonel Plame and his family moved to the lower 48 in time for Ms. Plame to graduate from Lower Moreland High School in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., near Philadelphia. She studied foreign relations at the University of Pennsylvania and then received master's degrees, one from the London School of Economics and another in international relations in the Netherlands, people close to her said.

Ms. Plame was married just after finishing her studies, but that ended in a year. She then worked in a department store before going into government work and what would be, until recently, a life under cover.

In recent years, her life has been divided. Friends said she had worked as a volunteer counselor for postpartum depression while seeing to her "regular" job at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va.

Mr. Wilson said on Wednesday, "Her career as a clandestine officer is over."
---------------------------


jukeboxgrad

BUMPER

Thanks for the article. It can also be found here.

"Friends said she had worked as a volunteer counselor for postpartum depression while seeing to her 'regular' job at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va."

Sorry, but I think that's weak. First of all, it could be read as "friends said she worked as a counselor and also had some kind of a regular job; I, the reporter, am telling you that her regular job was at the CIA."

Also, it's no surprise if a few of her friends knew she worked at the CIA. That is not the same thing as saying she is not a covert op, and it's not the same thing as having the same information plastered across major publications.

I think her status as a covert op is pretty decisively documented here and here.

TM

I don't know how you resolve the five year issue, but I thre in the towel on her status in Oct 2003. With links!

Sadists will dig up the earlier post where I held the line that maybe she wasn't - I haven't looked too hard for it, but every new story had me backpedaling like Johnny Damon chasing an A Rod rocket...

BumperStickerist

There are a couple of comingled points - surprise! - with this.

1) The issue with covert and classified in general is either 'yes/no' not 'kind of / sort of' -

so the standard isn't "Well, not everybody knew of Valerie's employment with the CIA' the question is this:

'Did anybody outside of the CIA and Joe Wilson know that Valerie worked at the CIA?'

If the answer is 'yes' - and there are enough non-Republican operative quotes in the mix to make that a warranted assumption - then Plame was not burned by Novak.

{In fact, were I an Evil Republican Operative I would point out that Plame's cover was so flimsy that one Novak column burned her then Novak did the country a favor by burning her now, not once she went overseas. For starters, foreign governments aren't going to tell you they know that Brewster Jennings was a paper company and probable CIA - or other intelligence agency - Front Company. The foreign intel agency just see which people have Brewster Jennings on their CV.

As for the friends thinking that that she was an energy analyst - well, friends don't run detailed background checks.

So, score 'one' for Bob Novak - Super Patriot, preventing the loss of assets due to crappy cover ... I might posit that line of argument, were I an evil Republican operative }

The second issue is the discretion shown by Novak in reporting that detail of the story.

I think if Novak had left out the name and relationship, he'd've been crucified by the Wilson-ites. Ironically, Wilson may have been banking on his wife's status with the CIA in making his charges.

The questions about how Wilson came to know certain details that were classified indicate pillow-talk as a possible source.

Tom's got a quasi-probable "Factions within the CIA" line of reasoning going. The counter argument seems to be 'Bush squashed all intel contrary to his preconceived notion'.

That does not explain the scope of Wilson's editorial - he went to Niger, which is in, but not the entirety of, Africa. Nor does Wilson's editorial include the deliberate misrepresentation of Bush's SotU remarks in a way that happened to accord perfectly with Kerry's campaign themes - which at the time had not completely clusterfucked itself. {no link provided}

So, I'll hold off on calling him "Joe Wilson - Truth Teller' even if he's got a plaque on the wall.

As

Martin

Hey Mr. Maguire. I saw Andrea Mitchell on Hardball Thursday Night, and here's the transcript you've been looking for:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8551790/

Ms. Mitchell says:

"The other thing is a lot of misreporting, including in some of the papers today about what her role was. She was back in the States, had been back in the States since 1997. But she was still covert. She was considered a CIA officer, and a covert officer at Langley. Now she had previously been what was considered under non-official cover, which meant that she was of the deepest type of undercover spy overseas, meaning she had a job in a CIA front organization, a company that took years and years to establish. And that revealing her name was serious because anyone who ever dealt with that company or with her, any foreign national CIA agent, agent that is a term used for foreigners, that person or persons could then be suspect and could then be under life-threatening conditions."

Oops. Isn't that diametrically opposite to Powerline's comment (repeated all over your threads here) that A.M. said her status was common knowledge?

Yes it is. I only point it out since you have a plaintive cry for a transcript on your other fpp.

Powerlies and gullible rightwings nuts-a treacherous combo.


jukeboxgrad

TM

"I don't know how you resolve the five year issue"

I don't think it matters much. The bottom line is that Rove had a duty to err on the side of caution, and protecting national security, especially during wartime, and especially with regard to a WMD operative. Instead, he didn't give a shit.

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?"

He just never imagined the CIA would push back, and that there would be a prosecutor tough enough and honest enough to hammer this hard on the reporters.

It's no accident that he put his trust in folks like Novak and Cooper. The former, because he is an insider and true believer since way back. The latter, because (I have heard) he is a straight-arrow honest Christian who could be expected to protect a source even under great pressure. And of course Miller has an impressive track record of shilling for this White House.

I think the bigger picture is that two powerful institutions (the press and the CIA) are finally waking up to the fact that Bush has been screwing them for years. Ditto maybe for DOJ and FBI.

"With links!"

Those are helpful, thanks.

BUMPER

"'Did anybody outside of the CIA and Joe Wilson know that Valerie worked at the CIA?' ... If the answer is 'yes' - and there are enough non-Republican operative quotes in the mix to make that a warranted assumption - then Plame was not burned by Novak."

The key word there is "anybody," and I think it's absurd. Yes, so Plame's therapist, priest and next-door neighbor were in on her secret. So what? You see that as the equivalent of putting her status in print in major-circulation magazines? What nonsense.

"Plame's cover was so flimsy .. Novak did the country a favor by burning her now"

I guess then Novak is next in line for one of those medals, now. In fact we should assign him to weed out all the other agents who might have flimsy covers. Why leave it up to the CIA to be in control of that process, of deciding what level of cover is appropriate? Obviously Rove and Novak have that important task well in hand.

Your point is sort of like how grateful I should be to the thieves who broke into my house and stole half my stuff. Now I know I need better locks, so I should really take them out to dinner to thank them. And instead of locking them up, I should encourage them to go help my neighbors with the same kind of "favor."

"deliberate misrepresentation of Bush's SotU"

What are you talking about?

Martin

"He just never imagined the CIA would push back, and that there would be a prosecutor"

True Juke, but I think they never thought there would be a prosecutor in the first place. They knew Congress would never touch them, and who have have thought Ashcroft would trip them up.

I'm sure they thought Ashcroft would just bury it. Surprise, surprise. Ashcroft, unlike the hypocritical ("Jesus is my favorite philospher")Bush/Rove actually practices his Christianity.

jukeboxgrad

"I think they never thought there would be a prosecutor in the first place"

Absolutely. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise, although I realize I did just that. And I completely agree about Ashcroft. How frustrating to discover that a few real Christians managed to sneak into the club.

ed

Hmmm.

@ Jon Henke

Dale Franks wrote what I think is a pretty definitive take-down of the notion that the Espionage Act does or will apply. Quite apart from its applicability, its use would amount to open warfare on the Press.

Sorry but Dale Franks is completely off-base. His logic is good, but his reasoning is pure nonsense.

The relevant portion of the Espionage Act does not use the word "classified" at all. Ever. Anywhere.

So Dale Franks bases his defense of Rove on the basis of the information being "classified" and thinks this will work. Absolutely wrong.

The Act is extremely vauge, but yet clear in it's wording. It is demonstrably designed to encompass any and all possible situations and does not allow many loopholes. And the requirement of the information being "classified" is not one of them.

There's at least 3-5 extremely good arguments as to why the Espionage Act couldn't possibly be used against Rove, but "classified" isn't one of them.

And I expect people didn't use the term "classified", or it's meaning, in 1917. I might be wrong, but possibly not.

ed

Hmmmm.

@ BenJCarter

My question: Who is Judith Miller still protecting with her jail time?

My guess? Joe Wilson, Valerie Wilson nee Plame and a few others in the CIA's CPD unit.

ed

Hmmm.

Frankly this whole PlameGate thing is a gift from the liberals and Democrats. Under no other circumstance could the Bush White House unleash a special prosecutor who would then rip through the ranks of journalists all over Washington and rifle through their files.

If Bush had tried something like this on his own, the Press would be screaming bloody murder and the Democrats would be holding hearings on "The NEW McCarthy, President Bush!". Hehe.

But instead the Press wound up screaming for a special prosecutor and wouldn't stop. The Democrats kept on talking about investigations and prosecutions and going to jail and all that other rot. If, as I think will happen, a few journalists and some CIA people get fingered as the culprits, the MSM and the Democrats would be responsible for it.

Lovely. Man Rove really is the Master of the Sith. I think whomever he ends up working for in the 2008 Presidential election is going to be a really tough contender. It's not every day you see a whole group of people bitch-slap themselves, Three Stooges style, over a period of years.

BumperStickerist

jbg-

in short -

The key word there is "anybody," and I think it's absurd. Yes, so Plame's therapist, priest and next-door neighbor were in on her secret. So what?

That, mon frere, is the whole ball game.


You see that as the equivalent of putting her status in print in major-circulation magazines?
Well, Vanity Fair and Wilson would be culpable for that. Novak simply said that Plame worked for the CIA.

What nonsense.
Yours is the completely nonsensical position, but if you accept that it's okay for NOC agents to tell 'just a couple' of people, then I understand your position.

The point about 'Novak did America a favor' - besides being an overreach - goes back to an essential issue of undercover ops:

- first - how do *you* know that Brewster Jennings was not compromised as a CIA front company?

Well, you don't, I don't, Tom might, but the CIA won't tell, regardless.

But, given the ease with which Brewster Jennings was found out to be a front company, why would you think that foreign intelligence operatives wouldn't have figured it out?

If they did figure it out, why would you think that those same foreign intelligence ops would say anything at all or, for that matter, do anything?

If you needed an analogy, this report could be looked at almost in the same context as the CIA transport aircraft, or 'How to Poison our Milk' or 'The City Reservoir - Ripe for Terrorism' sort of stories.

So, while not lauding Novak for his report, I find Wilson's reponse utterly disturbing - a simple "She's my wife, she works as an energy analyst, I don't know anything about any CIA career, leave us alone" might have gone a long way towards addressing national security concerns.

But, 'eh.

As for the SotU - read Bush's 16 words. If you note the word "CIA" or "Niger" let me know.

Bush might have written them in secret, using lemon juice to conceal those words, and you can only see them if you hold the monitor up to a light bulb.

He's sneaky like that.

ed

Hmmmm.

Bush might have written them in secret, using lemon juice to conceal those words, and you can only see them if you hold the monitor up to a light bulb.

He's sneaky like that.

Harsh. But very very funny.

Two thumbs up.

jukeboxgrad

"Novak simply said that Plame worked for the CIA."

Yes. And also included some small details regarding how she was an "operative" working on "WMD," which of course is widely understood to be a highly sensitive, strategic and secret area. Note that a common definition of "operative" is " a secret agent; a spy." For some strange reason a simple word like "employee" wasn't sufficient for Novak. Anyway, just stating her name, and saying she worked for the CIA, was more than sufficient to blow her cover: "That's why the agency is so sensitive about just publishing her name."

Anyway, nice job not bothering to explain why mentioning Plame was so important to Rove.

"if you accept that it's okay for NOC agents to tell 'just a couple' of people, then I understand your position."

Nice try at misdirection. Even if it's the case that Plame was a creep, a liar, a traitor, a careless sloppy agent, and maybe even (horror of horrors) a Democrat, none of that is reason to give a free pass to Rove for outing her. "OK, all you covert agents out there, here are the new rules. If you're at all sloppy about your cover, your political enemies anywhere in the government now have a free pass to out you, and folks like Bumper will claim it's your own fault."

"given the ease with which Brewster Jennings was found out to be a front company, why would you think that foreign intelligence operatives wouldn't have figured it out?"

If you think the CIA needs to do a better job at setting up their front companies, take it up with the CIA. Maybe your guy shouldn't have handed a medal to Tenet, after all, if this was how Tenet ran that shop. Regardless, this is just more misdirection and in no way justifies or excuses Rove being cavalier with the identity of an agent. Bumper's latest argument: "it really doesn't matter that Brewster Jennings was blown, because that was probably going to happen one way or another anyway."

"why would you think that those same foreign intelligence ops would say anything at all or, for that matter, do anything?"

This is more of your "I really did you a favor when I broke into your house, because sooner or later it was bound to happen, because your locks weren't good enough."

"the CIA transport aircraft"

Let me know which major righty bloggers indicated they were upset about that until about 10 minutes ago.

By the way, journalists don't sign an agreement to protect government secrets (and Rove of course is well aware of that, and therefore knew he could count on Novak et al to pass along the slime Rove was serving). However, Rove did sign such an agreement, as far as we can tell, and broke the agreement, and then lied about it.

"a simple 'She's my wife, she works as an energy analyst, I don't know anything about any CIA career, leave us alone' might have gone a long way towards addressing national security concerns."

Aren't you the same guy who just got done telling us her cover was so flimsy that it was about to fall apart anyway, without any help from Rove and Novak? Now in your next breath you're saying it's all Wilson's fault, because it would have been an easy thing for him to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, just by speaking up the way you suggest. You're changing your positions so quickly you're making my head spin.

"read Bush's 16 words. If you note the word 'CIA' or 'Niger' let me know"

I haven't the foggiest idea what you're trying to say. I have a feeling you don't either.

kim

Say what?
========

BumperStickerist

jbg -

piece of advice, when the walls start spinning, it's almost always the person, not the walls.

This deep in a comments thread, and there are other comment pots a-boilin', the fisk-a-thon isn't hardly worth it.

My central points would be:

1 - You're considering 'sloppy fieldwork' as a political issue - I'm considering it more of a 'you'll get yourself or other people dead there agent.'

In other words, considering how feeble the attempts were to conceal her role (from people who, you know, matter) how do you know that Valerie Plame's cover was not already 'blown' by the foreign intelligence agencies?

Would you expect them to announce Ms. Plame's real activities on state television?

Would you expect to see her picture on bulletin boards in state-run organizations?

Just curious.

2 - I worked up a Brewster Jennings / Novak as Hero example as an Evil Republican Talking Point - so, kudos on missing that.

I'll type slower next time.

3 - Though, that said, I do have separate issues with the CIA (and Tenet) regarding the Brewster Jennings cover company *and* the way in which Plame and Wilson handled themselves after the Novak column.

Separate issues - the Globe article on Brewster Jennings made it seem that 'not much effort' went into that endeavor during the - cough - 90s.

4- if you can't think up the 'My God!' outrage on the Righty side of teh Blogosphere over the CIA transport articles, ummmmm ... go look. It occured right after the 'Here - go poison our milk' story. Go ahead, take a look - I'll wait ..

humdee-dum,dee-dummm, dee-dah-dah-, dum-dee, dahhhhh, dum ... okay, didja see it?

Lastly -

5 - Read Bush's 16 words - Compare Wilson's response.

Now ... consider whether Niger is, in fact, Africa and whether the CIA is, in fact, Britain.

Also consider whether a mid-level former diplomat spending 8 days in rooms 'drinking sweet tea' is going to accomplish, you know, much in the way of intel gathering.

Seriously, take a deep breath and consider what uderstanding Ambassador Wilson, by himself, is going to come away with in terms of a comprehensive assessment of the issue of Iraq's attempts to procure Uranium from Africa.

Wilson provided additional information to the Government - the extent of his personal expertise in this issue goes strictly to what he saw or didn't see.

cheers.

jukeboxgrad

"how do you know that Valerie Plame's cover was not already 'blown' by the foreign intelligence agencies?"

I don't. What does that have to do with anything? What if it was? "New rules, everybody. It's OK to out agents indiscriminately, especially if they're Democrats, because what the hell, their cover might be blown already anyway. When in doubt, just assume it's OK to out an agent."

"sloppy fieldwork"

Whether or not Plame was guilty of sloppy fieldwork is a wholly separate matter from the question of whether Rove handled information regarding the identity of a CIA agent in an appropriate way.

"example as an Evil Republican Talking Point ... kudos on missing that"

I didn't miss it. It's just that your "normal" voice and your "evil Republican" voice are pretty indistinguishable.

"I do have separate issues with the CIA (and Tenet) regarding the Brewster Jennings cover company *and* the way in which Plame and Wilson handled themselves after the Novak column."

I realize you think everyone in sight deserves some blame except Bush and Rove.

"CIA transport articles"

The CIA front company was called "Aero Contractors," so I thought searching for "aero" would be a good bet. Nothing (relevant) on Instapundit. One reference on Power Line, but it's in connection with talking about Plame, so obviously I'm not going to count it.

Your turn to play needle-in-a-haystack on this point.

"Now ... consider whether Niger is, in fact, Africa and whether the CIA is, in fact, Britain."

I realize that by referencing "Britain" Bush sort of gave himself a layer of protection ("don't expect me to be responsible for these words; I'm only repeating something some Brit said"). But Tenet more or less admitted that this was lame.

"consider whether a mid-level former diplomat spending 8 days in rooms 'drinking sweet tea' is going to accomplish, you know, much in the way of intel gathering."

If there needed to be more of a serious effort (more people spending more time) to check things out down there, it's not Wilson's fault it didn't happen. Last time I checked, Tenet was running the CIA at that point, not Wilson. Anyway, Wilson was worth every cent he charged us (nothing).

By the way, you have a problem if you claim he couldn't possibly learn anything there, and simultaneously claim (as Tierney just did) that Wilson's report "in some ways ... supported ... the Iraq-Niger link." How could we possibly put any credence in what he brought back, since all he was doing was drinking tea?

"consider what uderstanding Ambassador Wilson, by himself, is going to come away with"

Fair enough. And he expressed himself in a way which acknowledged that: he said "his [Bush's] conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them." He didn't say "I know everything there is to know about Niger, Iraq and uranium." He didn't say "I have positive proof that Bush is lying through his teeth." He merely said (paraphrase) "this is what I saw, for what it's worth, and this is how what I saw compares, in my opinion, with what Bush said."

What's wrong with that?

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Wilson/Plame