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July 27, 2005

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M. Simon

I don't know where some of you fellers leard your trade craft.

Undercover agents do not go to spy headquarters every day. They try to avoid such contact like the plague. Enemy agents ARE watching.

What is wanted is as little official contact between the agents and the agency as possible.

So what you try for is that the agent either operates or works in a position with a lot of public contact. Retail stores, resturants, etc. If that is not possible a system of dead drops is worked out. Or secret writing. Or wireless (amateur radio is a good cover).

Again a real covert operative trys to make as little contact with headquarters as possible. Every contact increases the danger.

Plame may have once been in a covert position. She has not been in that position for quite some time.

If it was desired to keep some semblance of cover the agency might say that the person in question was an analyst or scrubbed the floors at headquarters. "No comment" or "I can't talk about it" is not a very good cover story. For real agents there is always a cover story.

Of course the unfolding of this story is just another sign of the incompetence of he CIA.

BTW for all you pro Wilson guys. His real report (as opposed to what he said in the papers) was that it was likely that Iraq was looking for uranium in Niger. When this fact came out Kerry dropped him like a hot potato.

I wouldn't trust anything Wilson says. If Kerry didn't trust him when some facts came out who am I to argue?

==================

"was an undercover operative" at the time or some time in the past. According to the law it makes a difference.

Steven J.

TCO - "But IMHO, we still had causus belli. And that was because Saddam had ejected the inspectors."

Bush ejected the inspectors.

Steven J.

M. SIMON - "His real report (as opposed to what he said in the papers) was that it was likely that Iraq was looking for uranium in Niger."

That is not true. This is the write-up of the Wilson trip:

(U) On March 1, 2002, INR published an intelligence assessment, Niger: Sale of Uranium is Unlikely. The INR analyst who drafted the assessment told the Committee staff that he had been told that the piece was in response to interest from the Vice President’s office in the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal.

PAGE 42, SSCI report

TM

And what a waste of time to follow all of these details so obsessedly.

Now ask me about Harry Potter and Severus Snape...

Steven J.

MARTIN - "Wolfovitz couldnt come close to naming the number of Americans kia when asked."

Correct:

"It's approximately 500, of which - I can get the exact numbers - approximately 350 are combat deaths," Wolfowitz said. (Actual numbers: 722, 521) AP, 4/29/04

Seven Machos

M. Simon: a calming and serene voice of reason in the night-time wilderness of guys who like to cut and paste and write nine-page treatises referencing themselves.

TM:

1. I love your blog. I really feel that you are providing a very valuable public service, not to mention an outlet for us political junkies of all stripes.

2. I respectfully suggest that you highlight M. Simon's post above on your main page. It's very, very informative -- certainly as informative as anything the New York Times has been publishing these days with regard to Tempest-in-a-Teapot Dome.

M. Simon

Martin,

Its Volfovitz

Martin

Thanks for citing that Steven J-one of the architects of the war can't be bothered to keep up to date as to who's dying in it and when you stop to point out the basic facts some sniveling little snotstain jumps your throat for trashing the president.

And noone can tell how many iraqis died b/c no one is keeping records. What moral cowards we dwell amongst.

Seven Machos

Marty -- Yes. No one keeps records. No one at all. This is because the Iraqis are stupid sand people who deserve to be ruled over by a crazy thug.

I often feel like I also deserve such a fate also, especially after you use your highfalutin logic on me and make me feel foolish.

Markus

Cover and covert are different. The difference is semantic, but it is important when dealing with an intel agent's status. Covert would usually be a much more sensitive status than just cover.

Most CIA employess have some kind of cover to protect their ID from disclosure. One reason the CIA attempts to keep their ID under wraps is so that they are clean enough to go under deep cover or under a covert status.

Even if VP's status was under cover the question still remains whether it was deep enough cover to trigger the super secret double nought agent protection act. If the state dept memo is accurate then VPs cover is at best Secret, which makes it doubtful she would fall under said act.

Revealing Secret info is a crime, but the guilty party won't be thrown in a cell with Aldritch Ames. We may see someone lose their clearance and a nasty fine, but I suspect jail times would be of the Martha Stewart type if any at all.

That said. Some folks seem to have a little problem with the concept of innocent until proven guilty. A few press releases and blog discussions haven't replaced a court of law last I heard so we'll just have to wait and see if Fitz even produces any indictments, much less convictions. "I heard that too" and " apparently she works at the CIA" don't sound to me like the hard statements a prosecutor needs to hang a criminal case on, but what do I know.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

tm

Jeff - Cliff May is an excellent idea.

Jukebox - you misoverestimate my powers of psychic blogging with this:

...you complained about a NYT story regarding the CIA. You suggested "the damage done by the Times" might possibly "represent a huge setback in our war on terror." Never mind that prepublication, the NYT checked with the CIA and received tacit approval (link). Of course that fact is nowhere to be found in your article.

Folks following the links may have noticed that my post was on May 31; the Times defense of CIA clearance was on June 19.

Yes, even three weeks later I suppose I should have gone and put in an update. On the other hand, you could have noted that time sequence in half a sentence in your post. Pretty lame.

And folks following the link will notice that, unlike many who complained about the article, I noted that a lot of the info in the Times was already public. Perhaps that subtlety also eluded you.

Jeff

TM - One quick question: where does Pincus say he never talked to the CIA. I'm not skeptical, I'd just like to see, because evidently it's Pincus who says he didn't think it was true that Plame had authorized Wilson's trip, so it would be interesting to know where he got that, beyond Wilson, if anywhere.

jukeboxgrad

BORIS: "I'm not here at your beck and call."

I didn't say you were. It's just that here you seem to be responding to something I said here. Likewise, here you seem to be responding to something I said here. Emphasis on "seem," since anyone paying attention can see your non-answers for what they are: nonsense.

PAMELA: "So your appeal to Occam's Razor is 'EVILROVE'?!"

I object to your use of quotes (single or otherwise), since I haven't used that word (in this thread or anywhere else). And no one has used that word in this thread, for that matter (except you).

So maybe you should let us in on the joke and tell us what you're talking about.

CLAUDIA: "How can this possibly interpreted as permission to publish?"

I didn't call it "permission to publish." I called it a "backhanded blessing." If you don't like that characterization, that's your problem.

"why didn't he approach Rice before he started feeding tidbits to the press"

Because he was specifically responding to something she said on 6/8. By the way, if you think he was obliged to sit on his hands while he watched his country be misled into war, that's also your problem.

jukeboxgrad

ARMIN: "Obiter dicta"

I wonder if that's what you think of this remark: "the information she [Miller] was given and her potential use of it was a crime" (link).

TCO: "that was because Saddam had ejected the inspectors."

Really? Where did you get that nonsense? Read any Blix lately? "Access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect" (link).

M SIMON: "His real report (as opposed to what he said in the papers) was that it was likely that Iraq was looking for uranium in Niger."

The 1999 matter that you're so excited about is in his book (p.28, p. 424), so you shouldn't try to create the impression he was attempting to hide it.

By the way, "was looking for" sounds like present tense. It's not the same as "had once possibly been looking for, some time ago." The former (your formulation) is false. The latter is true.

By the way, Bush didn't just say "looking." He said "recently" and "significant quantities." I guess I should add you to the long list of people who have failed to show where Bush got that from.

jukeboxgrad

SEVEN: "guys who like to cut and paste and write nine-page treatises referencing themselves"

Sorry to confuse you with the facts. I realize you prefer your approach, which is to make decisive pronouncements backed up by nothing.

MARKUS: "Some folks seem to have a little problem with the concept of innocent until proven guilty"

Some folks seem to have a little problem with the concept of demanding integrity from our leaders. The White House said Rove wasn't involved. He was. If you think Rove deserves to keep his job until he's wearing an orange jumpsuit, your standards are too low.

jukeboxgrad

TM: "Yes, even three weeks later I suppose I should have gone and put in an update."

Yes, exactly. It's never too late to become slightly less of a hack.

"you could have noted that time sequence in half a sentence in your post."

By "that time sequence," do you mean the fact that more than a month has elapsed since the fuller story became available, and you still haven't posted an update? You're right, I could have noted that in my post, and I didn't.

Or are you referring to the fact that you suggested guilt ("the damage done by the Times" could "represent a huge setback in our war on terror") without even devoting "half a sentence" to the possibility that the NYT might have behaved responsibly? True, I could have said more about that, and about how you bend over in the opposite direction to assume, against all odds, that Rove is blameless.

"Pretty lame."

If the "Times defense of CIA clearance" had appeared yesterday, you'd have a point. Trouble is, it didn't, so there's no excuse for your failure to post an update. There's nothing lame about the way I described what you did. What's lame is the fact that you still haven't updated your article, even now.

"unlike many who complained about the article, I noted that a lot of the info in the Times was already public"

Yes, I did notice that, which means you were slightly less of a hack than your ideological pals, in this instance. Not exactly something to write home about.

M. Simon

Since no deal was made quantities can't be ascertained.

Recent for me would be at any time post 1991. You know when he was supposed to give all that stuff up.

Slartibartfast
Slarti-seriously f you-I'm not trying to score political points.

When you whip out the war dead in a way that couldn't be more off-topic, one has to wonder. If you had no other agenda than to inform, though, I retract. If you seek to inform, I suggest you get a weblog and begin doing so. Hey, I'll even come over and visit if you get lonely.

M. Simon

Steven J.,

You are confusing "can we make a deal" with "they made a deal".

Wilson in his report said that the Iraqis were probably trying to make a deal. Niger turned them down. Entirely consistient with my point and consistient with what the President said.

Now Saddam shouldn't have even been trying to make a deal. It shows intent. Even if unsuccessful.

boris
"(Undercover operatives do not work 5 days a week at Langley. etc...)"

Yes they do.

But they're not under cover unless they're Russian double agents.

One can be an undercover operative without being operationally undercover. Working a desk job at Langley is not under cover.

Forget the blown cover crap. Her status as an undercover operative was classified info and thus illegal to reveal. The spilling of those beans is the likely focus of the investigation.

kim

Gather yourself, JBG, bile is drooling out on the ground. I can't stand it. You have little standing to criticize T's journalistic habits. A little less sophistry and more evidence of pursuit of the truth is what is required from you, right now.
===============================================

M. Simon

I said Saddam was looking. Which is what Wilson reported.

Steven J. counters with no sale was made.

The issue was re:the 16 words - was Saddam looking?

Nice try at finnessing the issue though.

=============

As I said. Once the report came out that Wilson said Saddam was probably looking in Niger (and who knows where else), Kerry dropped Wilson like a hot potato.

I'm going with Kerry's judgement on the matter.

==============

At this point in time doctors have no cure for BDS. Sorry 'bout that.

Of course Clinton had the same problem re: the Republicans. And I kinda liked Clinton. He was the perfect President for the time. He strengthened our economy and warned about Osama. Of course the Rs were so obsessed with wag the dick that they did not heed the Osama warnings. And at the time I thought - Osama? - is that some kind of wag the dog trick?

Of course I may be biased about Clinton. I thought Monica was kind of cute. And getting a BJ while talking to Arafat? Perfect! Monica said in her diary that she came to Washington with her knee pads on. My kind of girl.

We get the government we deserve.

kim

Take a look at the X-ray box, Grad. It's an abdominal film, taken in the upright position. See the dark layered clouds of Rovian Conspiracy gas scattered here and there. See the curves and billows of stacked shovelfuls of fibrous quotes. Diagnosis: FOS, full of shit.

You don't see it on this view but down in the corner is a festering pocket of pus in the Fitz Appendix. A CT would show it nicely. A Congressional Tearing.
===========================================

kim

Oh darn, I should have said "See the curves and billows of fibrous quotes stretching the walls of thin argumentum".
==================================================

Syl

JBG

to Tom re NYTimes article on CIA airlines n stuff: "Never mind that prepublication, the NYT checked with the CIA and received tacit approval "

Besides your omission of the timeline involved between Tom's article and the NYTimes stating it had cleared the article through the CIA and your subsequent belittling of that fact (and your hackery in doing so)...

Hey, the CIA did not tell Novak not to publish either. We do not know the back and forth between the CIA and the New York Times regarding that matter. All we have is the NYTimes word.

The mere fact that the CIA did not file a complaint in that case but did in the Plame case is meaningless if the CIA's complaint re Plame is politically based.

-----------

One thing we do have to consider in this covert/not convert business is the fact, as revealed in the Vanity Fair piece, that the CIA didn't start the process of changing Plame's status from NOC to Official Cover until the spring of 2003. She may still have been technically NOC at the time of the leak only because of bureaucratic inertia.

When Harlow 'checked Plames status' he found she was NOC. Well, doh.

--------
somebody: "The CIA believed in Iraq's wmds. So did other intelligence agencies in Europe."

I think we have to make a distinction between 'The CIA' and specific people working for the CIA in that the Official Position of the CIA may not have been held by everyone inside the CIA itself. And it's possible these 'rogue' elements did not support 'the party line' and made efforts to undermine/whistleblow (whichever term fits your political stance)

-------

Martin: "I'll bet you a $1000 dollars you didn't know 8 guys were killed in Iraq last Sunday."

At the risk of lowering the discourse, I'll bet YOU don't know how many terrorists were killed yesterday. I'll bet YOU don't know how many and what operations the Iraqi forces are involved in, what explosives caches they've found and destroyed, how many kidnapees they've rescued, how many terrorists they've killed.

IFAIC, you can go troll elsewhere with your selective information dissemination.

------------
SHEESH. Some people can't read:

"His real report (as opposed to what he said in the papers) was that it was likely that Iraq was looking for uranium in Niger."

Is NOT refuted by:

"Sale of Uranium is Unlikely."

SEEKING != OBTAINING

Wilson, in fact, refuted OBTAINING as if THAT was the issue at hand and obfuscated the entire matter in his op-ed.

And ever since then the MSM and every two bit Dem political hack has confused the two which brings us to this:

JBG

You continue to have timeline problems.

"The 1999 matter that you're so excited about is in his book (p.28, p. 424), so you shouldn't try to create the impression he was attempting to hide it."

Joe Wilson's op-ed came out BEFORE his book. Enough before that the damage was done and little political hacks like you got your panties in such a knot that Wilson reporting the opposite in his book could not untwist your jockey shorts.

-----------------

TM

TM - One quick question: where does Pincus say he never talked to the CIA. I'm not skeptical, I'd just like to see...

The Times has caught up to us, and jogged my memory - the Nieman Watchdog is one place Pincus talks about it:

On July 12, 2003, an administration official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction.

I didn’t write about that information at that time because I did not believe it true that she had arranged his Niger trip. But I did disclose it in an October 12, 2003 story in The Washington Post.

Pretty cryptic - he does not explain *why* he does not believe it, but I extrapolated that he didn't check with his CIA press rep, or he would have said so.

Now, I keep coming back to this, even though it's weird - suppose his source was Tenet. Then the "veered off" from the passage above makes more sense, as does his not believing it - Tenet might have been explaining to Pincus what *they* believed at the White House, rather than what Tenet thought was the truth.

And it would surely explain why Pincus was not worried about a criminal disclosure - the head of the CIA illegaly disclosing covert agents?

Of course, Pincus is going to disguise it, but as he describes it, there is a certain "the source told me what they believed..." rather than "the source told me what he believed...".

Slartibartfast

Here's something that has me wondering. Suppose you're Harlow and Novak makes the call to you. You're constrained from telling Novak anything because Novak's not cleared to know, but if you don't, an agent may get exposed if Novak goes to press. What do you do?

Do you let trust that your advise to the effect that the story is incorrect is going to deter Novak?

Or do you hang up with Novak and immediately pass this tidbit upstairs? I mean, this is highly sensitive information that's somehow found its way into the hands of a widely-read reporter; what you as a CIA officer are obliged to do is determine how they got it and, to the best of your ability to do so, take all legal measures to make sure that this information doesn't get exposed. What measures do you take to do damage control? I have some ideas, but not being a CIA employee, I have no idea if they're reasonable.

kim

A medal instead of a watch. We appreciate your years of dedicated service. Didn't you get a perfect attendance award one time? Blah, blah, blahhhh.
===============================================

kim

Lest we forget: The medal was for not being a partisan gunslinger.
===============================================

Clyde

Jukeboxgrad, why are did the media in the amicus brief try to convince the judge that no crime had been committed while many of those same entities have been trying to lynch Karl Rove for the same non-crime?

Most importantly, as I said before, Plame has been a desk jockey at Langley since 1997. The alleged leak occured in 2003, some six (6) years after her last overseas NOC assignment. The statute plainly states that it is a criminal offense to out a NOC agent within five (5) years of being overseas. Working at Langley is not a NOC assignment, no way, no how.

The biggest question is the one the media don't ask: Why did this rogue CIA unit try to sabotage the Bush administration's foreign policy in the leadup to a potential war?

Slartibartfast

Again, I'm going to state that if Rove deliberately outed Plame and it turns out that doesn't incur any sort of legal penalty, he still ought to go. In fact, he ought to have the decency to submit his resignation without being asked.

If not, though: not.

jukeboxgrad

M SIMON: "Since no deal was made quantities can't be ascertained"

It's not just that "no deal was made." It's that no discussion, as far as we know, even got to the point of talking about quantities. Anyway, thanks for acknowledging that Bush's statement regarding "significant quantities" was something he pulled out of his hat.

"Recent for me would be at any time post 1991."

I'm not that interested in your own peculiar definition of "recent." This question interests me more: do you think most people hearing Bush speak in 2003 were realizing that his idea of "recently" meant (at best) 1999?

By the way, speaking of 1991, recall what Duelfer said: "ISG has not found evidence to show that Iraq sought uranium from abroad after 1991 or renewed indigenous production of such material—activities that we believe would have constituted an Iraqi effort to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program" (link). (Thanks to Steven J. for pointing this out recently on a nearby thread.)

"[Wilson's report is] Entirely ... consistient with what the President said."

No. The president said "recently" and "significant quantities." He had no basis for that. No meaningful basis for those words can be found in SSCI or Butler. Also, the president didn't bother telling us that even if Saddam tried (to get uranium from Africa), there were many reasons why he would be unlikely to succeed. Also, Duelfer couldn't find evidence that Saddam even tried (after 1991).

"It shows intent."

Bush didn't hype the war by telling us that Saddam had "intent." Bush hyped the war by telling us Saddam had massive stockpiles tucked under his arm, ready to go at a moment's notice. Important difference.

jukeboxgrad

SYL: "the CIA did not tell Novak not to publish either"

Even if you completely ignore the CIA side of the story, Novak admitted himself that he did exactly what the CIA asked him not to do: "He [CIA guy] asked me [Novak] not to use her [Plame's] name."

The CIA did indeed tell Novak "not to publish" her name, and he did, despite that. Or is it your claim that Novak is lying about this, and you actually know more about the CIA-Novak conversation than Novak does?

Your insistence that "the CIA did not tell Novak not to publish" is a pretty dramatic example of outright denial of reality.

"The mere fact that the CIA did not file a complaint in that case but did in the Plame case"

It's not just a question of whether or not the CIA filed a complaint after-the-fact. It's also a question of the CIA protesting ahead of time in one case, and not the other.

"the CIA's complaint re Plame is politically based."

We're all fascinated to hear your unsupported speculation, but this has nothing to do with Tom's hackery for failing to update his article.

"She may still have been technically NOC at the time of the leak only because of bureaucratic inertia."

Welcome to the new rules: the CIA is no longer in charge of making determinations regarding its own classified information. That determination is now in the hands of folks like Rove, Novak and Syl. If those folks think the CIA classification is wrong or unnecessary, then their opinion is what counts.

"I'll bet YOU don't know how many ... terrorists they've killed."

We don't really know either, because a whole lot of the people we kill aren't "terrorists," because we don't really have a good way to tell them apart from innocent civilians.

"Wilson, in fact, refuted OBTAINING"

He didn't just refute "OBTAINING." He also refuted "recently" and "significant quantities." This is exactly the same finding later reached by Duelfer.

And by the way, the "seeking" and "obtaining" issues are closely related. The former means nothing if the latter is nearly impossible. Wilson provided an important service by pointing out that even if Saddam wanted to get uranium, there were significant obstacles in his way. Bush didn't bother to tell us this. To not present this is a form of distortion by omission. Let's say I "sought" to get a date with Cameron Diaz. So what? I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting what I "sought."

When Bush said Saddam "sought" uranium, without doing anything to inform people of the significant obstacles in Saddam's way, this was one of many forms of distortion in which Bush indulged. Many listeners undoubtedly made a reasonable but incorrect assumption, as follows: "surely Bush wouldn't even mention this unless there was a significant chance that Saddam can achieve, or has achieved, what he 'sought.'"

"Joe Wilson's op-ed came out BEFORE his book. Enough before that the damage was done"

It's not a good sign for the quality of proof behind Bush's words that they could be completely swept aside by one measly oped by someone most people had never heard of. If Bush's assertion was that fragile then he should never had made it to begin with.

jukeboxgrad

TM: "Tenet might have been explaining to Pincus what *they* believed at the White House, rather than what Tenet thought was the truth."

Interesting theory, but I think it fails for this reason. Pincus didn't write: "the White House had not paid attention to ... Wilson’s ... trip ... because _it believes the trip_ was set up as a boondoggle by his wife." The sentence Pincus actually wrote tends to convey the impression that Pincus's source was personally touting the "boondoggle" perspective. Not something Tenet would be likely to do.

By the way, it's hard to imagine that Tenet would have referred the criminal inquiry to begin with, if the trail led back to him in some way.

M. Simon

juke,

Go back and read Bush's speeches. He said that we can't wait for danger to be immanent when the intent is there.

You must a missed it.

You need to get out more.

jukeboxgrad

TM: "Tenet might have been explaining to Pincus what *they* believed at the White House, rather than what Tenet thought was the truth."

Interesting theory, but I think it fails for this reason. Pincus didn't write: "the White House had not paid attention to ... Wilson’s ... trip ... because _it believes the trip_ was set up as a boondoggle by his wife." The sentence Pincus actually wrote tends to convey the impression that Pincus's source was personally touting the "boondoggle" perspective. Not something Tenet would be likely to do.

By the way, it's hard to imagine that Tenet would have referred the criminal inquiry to begin with, if the trail led back to him in some way.

jukeboxgrad

SLART: "Do you let trust that your advise to the effect that the story is incorrect is going to deter Novak?"

Harlow didn't just say "the story is incorrect." Harlow said (even according to Novak) "don't publish her name." Important difference.

"Or do you hang up with Novak and immediately pass this tidbit upstairs?"

My guess is that Novak shrewdly (and dishonestly) hinted that maybe be was taking Harlow seriously (if not in the first phone call, then maybe in the second). Therefore Harlow would not feel a need to escalate. Novak was highly motivated to not see Harlow escalate, because this could have interfered with Novak's story, and created an embarrassing situation between Tenet and Rove, potentially.

jukeboxgrad

CLYDE: "why are did the media in the amicus brief try to convince the judge that no crime had been committed while many of those same entities have been trying to lynch Karl Rove for the same non-crime?"

The media hired lawyers to try to keep reporters out of jail. Those lawyers do not have a responsibility to tell a story in a balanced and complete way. On the contrary. They have a duty to say whatever they can think of (short of lying) to advocate for their client, even if it's a weak argument, even if it's only a small part of the picture, and even if they don't really believe it themselves. The judges tossed the brief aside. That's all you need to know about the brief.

Reporters have a different set of rules and responsibilities.

By the way, if the media was uniformly after Rove, I think Miller wouldn't be in jail. I think a very big clue Miller is covering for Rove is this: Luskin said "if Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source, it's not Karl he's protecting" (link).

Why has Luskin never made the corresponding remark regarding Miller?

"some six (6) years after her last overseas NOC assignment"

How do you know there have not been overseas trips in the interim? What is your source?

" this rogue CIA unit"

This "rogue CIA unit" was obviously much more in touch with reality than Bush was. What Wilson said was later corroborated by Duelfer. Is he also "rogue?"

Slartibartfast
Therefore Harlow would not feel a need to escalate.

Therefore, you're wrong. Classified information in the hands of Novak means it's probably elsewhere, too, and that someone, somewhere, blabbed. Something like this invites an investigation immediately, not sometime after the damage is done.

jukeboxgrad

M SIMON: "Go back and read Bush's speeches. He said that we can't wait for danger to be immanent when the intent is there."

He said both things. He said Saddam had intent, but he also said Saddam was an imminent threat. This is clearly documented here, here and here.

Bush et al were very specific about what Saddam allegedly had: "500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, several dozen Scud missiles, gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, 18 mobile biological warfare factories, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles to dispense anthrax" (link).

That goes way beyond mere "intent."

Nice job trying to rewrite history.

jukeboxgrad

SLART: "Classified information in the hands of Novak means it's probably elsewhere, too, and that someone, somewhere, blabbed. Something like this invites an investigation immediately, not sometime after the damage is done."

I agree with you. This is a good point, and I didn't mean to suggest otherwise.

All I mean is that Harlow may have been satisfied that Novak was going to comply, and this is why Harlow didn't ask Tenet to call Novak (and this is Novak's complaint: that if only Tenet had asked personally, Novak would not have published).

I agree with you that Harlow should have been interested in other aspects, such as where Novak got it, and who else might know. However, I think we're very much in the dark about other steps Harlow may have taken along those lines. I think it's not necessarily fair to assume that he took no such steps.

By the way, I think your point also very much applies regarding the claim many make that Rove is off the hook if he heard it from a reporter, or if he talked with a reporter who already knew. Given even a small possibility that the information was classified, Rove had a similar obligation to squelch the rumors and invite the CIA to investigate, rather than just casually saying "I heard that too."

Slartibartfast
All I mean is that Harlow may have been satisfied that Novak was going to comply, and this is why Harlow didn't ask Tenet to call Novak (and this is Novak's complaint: that if only Tenet had asked personally, Novak would not have published).

Ah, well, that's speculative, but what else do we have? Still, thanks for clarifying.

However, I think we're very much in the dark about other steps Harlow may have taken along those lines. I think it's not necessarily fair to assume that he took no such steps.

Actually, we were discussing that very thing over here, and it's become clear that the CIA had little to no legal recourse in this matter. Which makes it all the more of a necessity to basically construct a whole new set of statutes to deal with things like this, which when we're done may make it possible to get rid of the old ones.

Syl

Folks, I have PROOF of JBG's spinning and hackery.

JBG quoted me as stating:

"the CIA's complaint re Plame is politically based"

whereas my statement was:

"if the CIA's complaint re Plame is politically based.

(bolding mine)

Pfeh.

JBG, your reading comprehension is as twisted as your shorts.

Slartibartfast

I'm not even gonna ask how you came in possession of that information, Syl.

M. Simon

For me the intent was enough. YMMV.

Of course Saddam never accounted for all the chemical weapons he was known to have and the troops went to war in chem suits - highly disadvantageous when not necessary.

So Juke for you intent was not enough. Fair enough. You want to wait for an attack to be sure.

I'd rather we didn't wait.

==============================

If you want my opinion, I think the decision was to get into the heart of indian country and the reasons - some of which were valid some not - were ancillary to the strategic question.

===============================

It is kind of like the question: why invade North Africa when the heart of the German problem was in Germany.

Strategic considerations.

===============================

From Iraq we can pressure Iran, Syria, Saudi, etc. Those boys need to feel the heat.

India has come on board squeezing the Pakis.

Syria has given up Lebanon at least nominally.

The democracy movement in Egypt says they are heartened by an American presence in Iraq despite being initially unfavorable. Kadaffy has stated that he wants off the immediate target list.

So our presence though costly is having a wide effect.

===========================

I'm still of the opinion that Wilson outed his wife in order to stick it to Bush. Looks to me like what is going on is a typical intel campaign.

You might want to read "Bodyguard of Lies" by Brown to see how the Brits did that sort of thing in WW2.

You start with a little truth and muddy the waters. Provide alternate meanings to facts. Change the words for spin, etc.

======================

It will be 30 to 50 years until the truth comes out. In the mean time as in all wars expect that tactical considerations will color or control what you are told.

This is true in all wars. Read yer Sun Tzu.

If your government is not lying to you and shading the truth for its advantage then it is not trying to win.

========================

The only thing you can count on is our grand strategic goals. The extension of self government.

Which is a pretty good goal. For me. YMMV.

Syl

JBG

My point in comparing this issue with the CIA Plane one is that in this case we have words from both parties. In the CIA Plane one we have the words from only ONE party. Which is the equivalent to our only have the word of Novak before we learned the other side.

Reading comprehension. Get some.

I said:

"She may still have been technically NOC at the time of the leak only because of bureaucratic inertia."

JBG said:

Welcome to the new rules: the CIA is no longer in charge of making determinations regarding its own classified information. That determination is now in the hands of folks like Rove, Novak and Syl. If those folks think the CIA classification is wrong or unnecessary, then their opinion is what counts.

My statement gives no opinion as to the legality of Plame's status at the time. I give an explanation as to how she could be legally covert while it appeared that she wasn't.

Reading comprehension. Buy some.

JBG:

We don't really know either, because a whole lot of the people we kill aren't "terrorists," because we don't really have a good way to tell them apart from innocent civilians.

That has the appearance of a racist remark. After all, they all look alike? And it accuses our soldiers of being stupid and indiscriminate.

JBG:

And by the way, the "seeking" and "obtaining" issues are closely related. The former means nothing if the latter is nearly impossible.

(1)Intent is important when it comes to Saddam
(2)It was NOT impossible. Just not easy to do directly. There are obstacles to corruption yet many indulge in it anyway. After all there were obstacles built in to the OFF program too. We all know how THAT worked out.

And I don't know what your hang up on 'recently' is. Wouldn't that depend on the patience of Saddam and the shelf life of yellowcake? It's not as if he wanted to buy gallons of milk that would spoil.

And your dependence on Duelfer is cute. He was dealing with evidence IN Iraq. Not Niger. There are still thousands and thousands of Iraqi documents being translated and thousands more destroyed during the invasion.


jukeboxgrad

SLART: "that's speculative"

True.

"but what else do we have?"

We have some facts, and we have some speculation. There's a place for both, but it's important to be able to tell them apart.

And just to clarify, the part about "if only Tenet had asked personally, Novak would not have published" is not speculation, it's something Novak said.

jukeboxgrad

M SIMON: "For me the intent was enough"

You're obviously entitled to that opinion, but that's not the point. The point is that in a democracy it's essential that we hold our leaders accountable for telling us the whole plain truth, especially when the subject matter is war. These leaders didn't tell us the whole plain truth, and they didn't argue for war merely on the basis of "intent."

"So Juke for you intent was not enough"

That's not the point. The point is the difference between what we were told and what was true, and why there was such a difference.

By the way, our precedent of preemptive war is going to come back to haunt us in the future, when all sorts of countries use it as the basis for all sorts of aggression, because they claim the other party had "intent," whatever that means. And if the USA did it, why shouldn't they?

"From Iraq we can pressure Iran, Syria, Saudi, etc. Those boys need to feel the heat."

When you say "Saudi ... need to feel the heat," is this the kind of heat you had in mind?

"So our presence though costly is having a wide effect."

Yes, "wide effect" indeed.

"If your government is not lying to you and shading the truth for its advantage then it is not trying to win."

This is a novel response to the charge of "Bush lies." I guess you're acknowledging that he does, and you're glad. Thanks for being so up-front about it.

Sorry, but I don't think most Americans are as cynical about democracy as you are.

By the way, what a shame that Karen Hughes is in charge of our international PR, instead of you. You could deliver a simple message: "America: spreading democracy so other people can have the privilege of being expertly lied to by their leaders, the same privilege we enjoy at home."

"The extension of self government."

Sorry, but my concept of "self government" has no room for tolerating leaders who lie to me. I wouldn't hire anyone who lied to me, and a politician is someone who works for me.

jukeboxgrad

SYL: "whereas my statement was: 'if the CIA's complaint re Plame is politically based.'"

If the best you can do to defend yourself is whine about a missing "if," it's not a good sign for the quality of your argument. With or without the "if," your remark about "politically based" is still unsubstantiated speculation that was beside the point in the context you raised it in.

If I say "what if you're still beating your wife" that's only marginally less offensive than saying "you're still beating your wife," especially if I have no proof for the allegation to begin with. So omitting your "if" did not substantially change your meaning.

If you want to either withdraw the speculation or substantiate it, you're obviously free to do that anytime. But hiding behind "if" is lame.

"In the CIA Plane one we have the words from only ONE party."

The NYT provided a detailed description of their interactions with the CIA regarding the air transport article (including names of one or more CIA people with whom they communicated). It's clear from this report that the CIA didn't bat an eyelash, even though they were given many opportunities to do so.

I think you're saying you simply don't believe this, even though you apparently have no information contrary to what the NYT claimed. By the way, if everything the NYT claimed (in the article I just cited) is stuff they simply made up, why have we heard no complaints from the CIA? If the CIA is not disputing what the NYT claimed, why would you dispute it?

How interesting that you're willing to float completely unsubstantiated speculation ("[what] if the CIA's complaint re Plame is politically based"), but you completely dismiss, with no basis whatsoever, a highly detailed news account, using multiple named sources, that is not disputed by the other party. Interesting standards of evidence you have.

"Which is the equivalent to our only have the word of Novak before we learned the other side"

Even when we only had "the word of Novak" we knew he did what the CIA asked him not to do. He admitted this himself.

You still haven't explained why the NYT should be condemned for publishing a report the CIA seemed to have no problem with, while Novak shouldn't be condemned for publishing information the CIA explicitly asked him to withold.

"My statement gives no opinion as to the legality of Plame's status at the time."

Your statement implied that what Rove et al did was OK because she was only "technically" NOC. Let me know if that's not the impression you were trying to convey.

"racist remark ... it accuses our soldiers of being stupid and indiscriminate."

No. It recognizes that we've put our soldiers in the impossible situation of fighting an urban guerrilla war in a foreigh culture with a foreign language, where it is inherently difficult to distinguish fighters and civilians. That's how we end up with this.

"I don't know what your hang up on 'recently'"

It doesn't matter what the shelf life of yellow cake is. What matters is that Bush said "recently," even though it wasn't backed up by facts. Yes, I have a "hang up" that my president should tell the truth.

"your dependence on Duelfer is cute."

Your arbitrary dismissal of Duelfer is cute. And by the way, my argument does not "depend" on Duelfer. There are numerous sources (Duelfer, SSCI, Butler) showing a noticeable lack of evidence to back up "significant quantities" and "recently."

"He was dealing with evidence IN Iraq. Not Niger."

Nice try. Duelfer didn't say "I really shouldn't make a statement about this because I haven't conducted an investigation in Niger." Duelfer said "ISG has not found evidence to show that Iraq sought uranium from abroad after 1991." And it's clear that he looked hard for such evidence.

"There are still thousands and thousands of Iraqi documents being translated and thousands more destroyed during the invasion."

Nice try. Duelfer didn't say "I really shouldn't make a statement about this because there are still thousands and thousands of Iraqi documents being translated and thousands more destroyed during the invasion." Duelfer said "ISG has not found evidence to show that Iraq sought uranium from abroad after 1991." And it's clear that he looked hard for such evidence.

By the way, Duelfer also said "so far, ISG has found only one offer of uranium to Baghdad since 1991—an approach Iraq appears to have turned down." Please explain how that is consistent with the idea that Saddam "sought" uranium. In "significant quantities." "Recently."

By the way, I notice you still lack the intellectual integrity to take responsibility for your asinine and false remark: "the CIA did not tell Novak not to publish."

M. Simon

Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin says the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into three Democratic senators for having compromised last September a secret CIA satellite program. This has yet to be confirmed by the Justice Department.

Last December, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (WVa) and Ron Wyden (Ore) took to the Senate floor to denounce the program as wasteful and unnecessary. Sen. Dick Durbin chimed in a day later in an interview with ABC News.

Intelligence Leaks

jukeboxgrad

"satellite"

Let us know what law you think was broken by these words: "My decision to take this somewhat unprecedented action is based solely on my strenuous objection -- shared by many in our committee -- to a particular major funding acquisition program that I believe is totally unjustified and very wasteful and dangerous to national security ... Because of the highly classified nature of the programs contained in the national intelligence budget, _I cannot talk about them on the floor_" (emphasis added). IIPA, maybe?

You can also let us know if you think Newsmax is a reliable source.

You can also let us know if anything was said that wasn't already published in Richelson's 2001 book (same link).

You can also let us know if you think 25% of our $40 billion intelligence budget should be spent on a satellite that won't work when it's dark or cloudy.

M. Simon

juke,

Might I commend you to Sun Tzu re:lying in war time?

B.H.L. Hart in his classic (studied by all ranks in our services) states that you must never lie about grand strategy. (bring democracy to the Middle East). However, the strategy and tactics of each battle and the over all war plan must be accompanied by deception.

Assuming you don't care much for military classics let me leave you with a quote from Winston Churchill:

"In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attendedby a bodyguard of lies."

So there you have it.

Deception is a necessary part of the art of war. If Bush is a good deciever he is a good war time leader.

But don't worry your attitude is typical. The Republicans during WW2 had many of the same complaints you have today. (unnecessary war, the president dragged us in, the president lies etc.). It is not a function of the truth or falsity of the claims. It is just the standard position of the party out of power.

Monkey politics.

jukeboxgrad

"you must never lie about grand strategy. (bring democracy to the Middle East)"

Then how odd that this seminal PNAC (neocon) document says exactly nothing about freedom or democracy, and simply talks about the threat of Iraqi WMD.

And how odd that Bush's famous pre-war address focused mostly on WMD, with barely a few words of lip-service regarding the "power of freedom." Also focusing very heavily on WMD fear-mongering, and with only passing mention of "freedom," was the prewar SOTU.

If you look at those very visible and widely-circulated statements (and many other similar statements, such as those documented in this pdf), you see virtually nothing regarding a goal to "bring democracy to the Middle East;" you see a whole lot of focus on WMD.

So let me know if you think this means our leaders are following your latest advice, that "you must never lie about grand strategy."

"the strategy and tactics of each battle and the over all war plan must be accompanied by deception."

I'm not sure whether or not you're backpedaling from your earlier sweeping statement: "If your government is not lying to you and shading the truth for its advantage then it is not trying to win."

"If Bush is a good deciever he is a good war time leader."

Stunning. So I guess maybe the latest alibi for why we're not doing well is that Bush has been too honest.

Simple question: when Cheney said "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction," do you think he was just lying to us, or also lying to himself?

Either way, does this statement represent an example of the kind of "deception" you're glorifying?

By the way, do you see any difference between the way a tyranny goes to war, as compared with the way a democracy should go to war? Since you claim you're happy to have leaders who lie, what separates tyranny from democracy, in this regard?

M. Simon

Was Bush reading the PNAC document on National Television?

Musta missed it.

Got a link?

M. Simon

jukebox,

Sad to say with regards to lies and cover ups during war very little separates tyrranies from democracies. I take it you are not well read on the subject. More is the pity.

Did I mention war sucks?

You might wish to have a word with the Islamic Nazis and get them to engage in surrender negotiations at once. Perhaps Osama could be their representatives at the peace negotiations. Once he establishes a chain of command over all the warring groups.

Any day now, eh?

M. Simon

Re: Cheney,

Can't tell if Cheneey was lying or not. I don't have access to his sources.

I do know Saddam gassed the Kurds and all that poison gas was not accounted for, which Saddam promised to do in '91.

Wars are a series of disasters and screw ups ending in victory or defeat. I prefer victory.

You might like to read the history of Anzio to learn about screw ups in other wars. If that doesn't break your heart try the Dieppe raid. Something like 70% casualties. Or Market Garden and the battle for Arhnem in that operation. And if you prefer German screw ups you might like the Falaise Gap. Or the Torch landings. Hitler said of that operation "We had no idea".

kim

Aren't you glad Saddam is no longer INTENDING to harm us?
=================================================

kim

I think it was L-H who wrote that the French left the roads open in the Ardennes early in the Battle of the Bulge so their cavalry could counter-attack. Felling trees alone may well have rendered unnecessary the 'Nuts" scenario.

So put that in your planning hat, set it on your head, and think on(under) it, Juke.
================================================

jukeboxgrad
kim

The error was not training OBL's pals(I'll let your typical mischaracterization slide, you are too mistaken to try to correct), it was neglecting Afghanistan after the mujahadeen had chased out the Russkies. We're not likely to make that mistake in Iraq.

And a man like ali-Sistani, who can forgive us our mistake after Gulf 1, will not soon forget our contribution to his people.

How can your analysis of Plamegate be trusted when your view of history is so warped?
===============================================

kim

Iraq a hotbed of terrorist training and recruitment?

Fah. It's a model of future Islam energy. Self-determination, maybe even multi-cultural co-operation. Oh yes, it's also a set-piece on the dead end nature of criminal terrorism. Do you suppose the Down's kid, or the bombers chained to steering wheels appreciate the 'hotbed'. Were defiant purple fingers those of recruits? Yep, they sure were, but not recruited to your world view. Go read an Iraqi blog or two.

You're dead wrong on Iraq, and I suspect you are just as wrong on Plamegate. Thanks for stepping out of your forest of irrelevancies into a clearing where your ignorance is exposed.
===============================================

jukeboxgrad
kim

So do you like my 'future Islam energy' better or yours?

Well, I said 'hope you can change' rather than 'pray for you'. Grinning when I typed it. I think my sweeping declarations are both more optimistic, and closer to the truth than your bitter, sour, attitude, and your flagellation of irrelevant facts.

You missed criticizing my point that intuition is a better guide to this affair than the measly stream of leaks dribbled out sparingly to water one theory or another.

You are just obsessively, classlessly, intellectually cluelessly, hammering away on one narrow theory. Get a little better sense of the movement of history than your solipso-linko life allows.
===============================================

kim

You can start by reading some Iraqi blogs. Those purple fingers are reaching out for you.

And the Farsi stuff? Whew, for you, just read the Persian blogs in English.
===============================================

kim

You know, JBG, you're schadenfreude delight, for me.

I know, I'm ashamed.
==================================================

kim

I've been Shawed and Freud.
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Wilson/Plame