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July 27, 2005

Comments

Martin

And Cooper says Rove told him certain information would soon be declassified.
Just what information was that?

Joe Jackson

You people are chasing way too many red herrings.

Here's the first rule of thumb for life: 99% of the time its the obvious answer.

1) Ari read the memo on Air Force 1
2) Ari called Rove
3) Rove told Libby
4) Either one or all three spoke to Novak
5) Novak then confirmed with the CIA

This means:
1) Ari will be indicted
2) Rove will be indicted
3) Libby will be indicted

Novak? Don't know if Fitz has the kahunas to do that.

Martin

From Pincus' story:

". . Behind the scenes, the White House responded with twin attacks: one on Wilson and the other on the CIA, which it wanted to take the blame for allowing the 16 words to have remained in Bush's speech. As part of this effort, then-national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley spoke with Tenet during the week about clearing up CIA responsibility for the 16 words, even though both knew the agency did not believe Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, according to a person familiar with the conversation."

Seven Machos

Clueless Joe: What about Bush? Shouldn't he be indicted, too? After all, he is the guy who is always flying around on Air Force One. Plus, he's evil and dumb.

Marcel

Seven. It is interesting to read your comments even though you know so little about the CIA. I suggest the library. There are many authorized accounts from former CIA agents, and many unauthorized books as well. You could get a good overall understanding of the type of work CIA agents do, how their careers progress, how they hide in plain sight. It would be enlightening.

Seven Machos

It's CIA officers, Marcel. Agents are (usually) foreign nationals who give information to CIA officers.

Perhaps you know less than you think you do and I know more than you think I do.

Joe Jackson

Seven,

Look, if 'dumb' were a crime, Bush would be serving triple-life. No, Bush is innocent in this one. You don't think he really knows what his underlings are doing, do you?

Mac

This is likely of absolutely no consequence, but in the WaPo article why does it say that Harlow spoke to "a Grand Jury" rather than "the Grand Jury"?

Jeff

TM - Thanks again for the reply. Funny, I was just thinking that the CIA probably has those tapes, don't they?

I will add this about Novak -- having already noted that he lied to Wilson in a relevant way -- he dramatically changed his story in Sept-Oct 2003 once his original column became a really big deal, which is quite suspicious.

Also, in light of the emphasis even in the WaPo story on Plame's name, which Harlow asked Novak not to use, there remains the question of why Novak used Plame's maiden name. Note, this is different from the question of how Novak learned her maiden name, which could have happened any number of ways. The question is, why did Novak in his column refer to her as "Valerie Plame," which was not, after all, her name -- as Wilson's online bio made clear, referring to her, if I remember correctly, as the former Valerie Plame, or something like that. When Novak talked to Harlow, what name (if any) was Novak using, that Harlow asked him not to use? Did Novak know that name before he spoke with Harlow? If so, how? Did he learn it from Harlow? Or did Harlow just say, "Don't use her name" -- without it ever being specified by either party?

Syl

Jeff, re the name 'Plame'..I was just going to ask that too.

The hollywood answer would be that man on the street. Kinda like deep throat and the flower pot. :)

Wouldn't that be a kicker? And he supposedly brought up the subject.

Sounds like a sting to me. Sigh. Except he told Wilson. Maybe he wanted to scare Wilson into calling his handler, Chirac?

Sorry for the stupid post. Sleepy. But havin' fun.

Trelaney

Novak already said of the name, referring to senior administration officials: "They gave it to me". Presumably "they" gave him the name "Plame".

Florence Schmieg

Sigh:: The venom from those who hate the Bush administration blinds them to facts nd critical thinking. Bush promoted Karl Rove after the election. If he "knew" all about the plot to defame Plame and that the investigation might uncover the culprit, why PROMOTE him?? Also, all of the latest publications suggest the leaker was NOT Karl Rove!! Either this is a CIA/State dept hit job or it is just a game of gossip and telephone tag blown out of proportion by Joe Wilson. Let's be Americans first here-even if you hate Bush, he is gone in Jan. 2009. Terrorism thrives on weakening the executive. Please knock this off. You do not know anything with any certainty, but give food to the enemy.

Greenwood

The right accuses those who criticize the Pentagon as being un-American, friends of the terrorists, unsupportive of our 'men and women in uniform". Yet CIA men and women fighting the same war but not in uniform are portrayed negatively by most conservatives posting here. They seem to be so worthless that columnists can identify who they are and where they work, which seems to be mainly at desk jobs at Langley where they spend their days doing no secret work except plotting to embarrass the President. Does being conservative now require an anti-CIA attitude?

Paul A. Miller

As I wrote a little while back (http://pamillerblog.blogspot.com/2005/07/column-for-week-of-717-well-we-asked.html), when all the strings are run to the end, Fitzgerald is going to find Joe Wilson himself. The Washington Post story adds one more piece of evidence that Wilson was feeding reporters behind the scenes. Mark my words: On at least one occasion, maybe more, Wilson told a reporter his wife was a weapons expert with the CIA, to polish his own credentials.

The man outed his own wife.

Greg R

Actually, it's kind of nice to see the press and the left taking leaks related to national security so seriously. If there's so much front page interest in the naming of a covert (or formerly covert) CIA officer, I'm sure they will not drop the Sandy Berger story until we know everything.

You know, the story where Sandy was caught in a sting (set up because of all of his previous top secret document smuggling) removing EVERY copy of certain terrorism-related documents from the National Archives... You know, the one where one of the former top security experts in the U.S., who certainly knows the SERIOUS consequences for even unintentionally mishandling classified material, didn't think there was a problem stuffing papers in his suit... You know, the one where Berger says that he doesn't even KNOW what happened to those documents.

Oh wait, the press and the left actually did bury that story. I wonder if that means all of this concern about the Plame affair is just Bush-hatred. Nah... couldn't be.

Appalled Moderate

Joe:

Simplest explanation is this.

Libby knows the name -- he's bumped into this Wilson/Plame woman before. He may or may not remember she's covert, though he certainly knows he's CIA.

Libby blabs to a number of people after the Wilson op-ed. This includes Rove. When Rove asks where he heard that, he says a reporter. Since Rove is having a busy day and probably is multi-tasking while yakking with Libby, it slips his mind about where he got the info.

Rove gets the word from Novak he's working this storyand confirms Libby's id of Valerie Plame.

That's simple and on the surface plausible. The real problem with this is indications that Libby and Rove's interest in the matter was not casual or accidental. If Libby and Rove are working together on a project related to the Wilson matter, it is hard to believe someone would not have clued them in to what their wife does.

My guess is that Ari did see the memo, but he did not pass it on. (He was in the process of resigning -- why take it upon himself to communicate this info to Rove and Libby?)

Trelaney

Are those in our country concerned about leaked information about the CIA all Bush-haters? And conversely, do all Bush-lovers think it is OK for senior White House staff to leak information to the Press?

Martin

AM-so where did Novhack get the info in your scenario-and who's the "they" in Novhack's "they gave it to me. They thought it was significant and I used it."?

Martin

Meanwhile-Repubs have scheduled a vote on CAFTA for tonight between midnight and 2 a.m.

So pathetic. It's past time for an integrity check.

Slartibartfast

All votes should be scheduled for then. The result might be a great deal less foolishness on all sides.

ArminTamzarian

CIA employees like Michael Scheuer and Larry Johnson ARE worthless. In fact, they're worse than useless, because they provide WRONG analyses.

The definition of "covert" under the IIPA does not depend at all on whether the CIA phone directory lists "undercover" next to someone's name.

Marf***tardtin apparently doesn't know what a "casus belli" is, either.

Just another day.

James H

Being conservative certainly doesn't require being anti-CIA. It does seem however that there are elements in the CIA that are publicly anti-administration. Who gave Wilson permission to publish his NYT Op-Ed? How was a publicly anti-Bush Wilson chosen for the mission?

Regarding the question of whether or not Plame was covert, the CIA says yes but Wilson and some of her neighbors say no.

Martin

Hey Armin want to up the bet to $40?

Martin

Hey Slarti-should House leaders be able to insert $1.5 billion giveaways to their constituents into bills AFTER the conference committee?

Trelaney

Was Wilson anti-Bush in Feb '02 when he made his trip? Or did that happen later when he concluded that the WMD intelligence was being "twisted"? And you must mean anti-G.W. Bush because Wilson worked for the G.H.W. Bush adminstration.

It doesn't seem likely that 4 or 5 months after 9/11, Wilson would have had a political agenda.

Martin

Anti-Bush is just another way to say Pro-Truth and Justice.

TexasToast

Greg R

Sandy Burger was punished for his transgression. He pled to a misdemeanor and had his security clearance pulled, among other things. He also doesn't have a job at the White House.

Which is what should have happened.

Sandy Burger has lost his access and his professional career is very likely over. The “leaker”, whoever he may be, is still hard at work. Rove, who has admitted revealing Plame’s identity to Cooper, is also still hard at work. Apparently, they will remain so for the foreseeable future as the administration’s current “goal post” for getting the boot appears to be a criminal conviction.

Now, just how does the fact that Sandy Burger was caught in wrongdoing and has paid for his transgression absolve the leaker or Rove? Have we added “Democrats do it too!” as an additional element to the Republican “goal post"? We have already added “no duty to inquire” and a post hoc second guess of the CIA’s definition of “covert”.

What’s next? That darn goal just keeps on movin!!

Will Franklin

So many of you are going to look so foolish when the Grand Jury reports back. And what a waste of time to follow all of these details so obsessedly.

boris

It seems like simple logic that a person might be an undercover operative without being undercover at the moment.

If the CIA could not give Novak a valid reason for not publishing V.P.'s name because that would be revealing classified information, then they are pretty stupid for an intelligence agency.

The fact that someone works for the CIA is not illegal to reveal. Blowing someones cover who is covertly working in the field might be under certain circumstances. V.P. wasn't.

So forget the blown cover crap.

If anybody did bad it was revealing her status as an undercover opertative because that in itself was classified, not that she worked at the CIA but what her status there was.

Who did that?

Wilson and Corn.

Marianne

James H .. Which of Valerie Wilson's neighbors knew she was CIA? Her nearest neighbors (including their now-lawyer living next door) did not know. The whole story about her identity being well-known looks like an urban myth. Fred Barnes and Cliff May say they knew she was CIA, but when did they know? Andrea Mitchell has stated that she did not know in spite of rumors that she had. So who knew? That whole story strand is weak.

Charlie (Colorado)

Martin, it happens that I have worked "under cover" in the sense you're using. (No, I won't tell you the details, and no, it's not near as interesting as it sounds.) When I was, I had a CIA contact. The one place we were never seen together was at his office.

Wilson (nee plame) works in Langley, driving to the office every day and parking in the employee parking lot, and has done so since, as I understand it, 1997. Were she "under cover", she wouldn't do that.

Ergo, she's not under cover.

Jim Rockford

NO ONE is coming out of this smelling like Roses.

Cooper, married to Mandy Grunwald, former Bill staffer and current Hillary staffer, said one thing in his Time piece (Rove called him about Plame) and another under oath (he called Rove about Plame).

Russert, Novak, Rove, Libby, and others have said the Special Prosecutor has asked them not to talk about their testimony. Russert won't look good witholding info on a big story, putting perhaps threats from Fitzgerald (contempt, perhaps) over his journalist duty. Remember the mantra, journalist first (ala Mike Wallace not warning US troops of ambush) and citizen second. Russert and others sitting on a story will be mud in the Press at least.

Finally, the whole leak-a-palooza that's been going on for decades, long before this incident. Most likely the simplest explanation is that accidentally or on purpose that INR memo was floated around to friendly reporters on Air Force One by Powell and/or his staff. Mission: make Colin look good and his attacker Joe Wilson the wife-dependent chump.

CIA and State look like political chumps at war with the President over policy, warning to Dems the same can be repeated for say, President Tom Vilsack. Bush looks like he just doesn't care one way or another what's going on (probably accurate too btw); and various officials and ex-officials (Powell, Grunwald, Wilson, Plame, Cooper, Mitchell, Russert, Rove, Libby, etc) look like backbiting idiots squabbling over triviliaties when the nation's security is at stake.

Sandy Burglar? Tip of the Iceberg.

Martin

Ok Charlie-I'll throw it on the scales:

Scale A: Internet commenter says he's ex-undercover, assures me Plame's not.

Scale B: CIA dude who talked to Novak says he confirmed she was undercover and has so testified under oath to the grand jury.

Weighing...

Scale's swaying.....

Oh looky-B side is heavier.

Conclusion: Go home you freak.

Carol Hogan

Maybe the "source" comment about Judith Miller was an unintentional slip from the New York Times. Maybe her source is not Rove or any White House employee. Maybe her souce is Joe Wilson himself!

Lesley

Texas - I'm not sure Berger's career has suffered. I recently read that he and Brent Scowcroft are on some governmental investigative committee together. (Sorry, can't find the story - maybe someone read the same thing and can chime in).

Greg R

Texas Toast... First, I'm not a Republican, so don't give me the goalpost spiel. If Rove is found to have committed a crime, I'll be happy to see him fired and prosecuted. I don't own any allegiance to the guy. I don't like government corruption at all.

Second, do you think deliberately stealing every copy of certain top-secret terrorism related docs from the National Archives and then saying you don't know what happened to them is on the same level of the Plame case? If I even unintentionally mishandle classified info that I work with (that are not nearly as important as terrorism-related docs), I get a much worse penalty than Burger. I'm just curious why the press and the left is so interested in jumping to conclusions about Rove, while they totally buried the story about Burger. And jeez, wouldn't it make a good story for the press to look into what actually happened to the documents the guy stole? Nah, Clinton laughed about it, so they should too.

The Burger story infuriated me because I know what the consequences are for mishandling classified information, and this guy intentionally stole them and got off with a misdemeanor plea. Yeah, that's fair. But Big Media didn't care about hounding a Democrat despite it being an incredibly serious transgression on a terribly serious subject by one of the country's most powerful Democrats.

What if it was Rice instead of Burger? Would the story have been buried? Yeah, right.

If Rove broke a law, fire him and prosecute him. Fine. I don't care. But I'm happy to wait for the facts to actually come out before the guy is hung.

John

Am I alone in not giving a rat's patootie about this issue?

SPQR

Martin, why is it that you keep making up facts? As has been said before, you are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts. The statute has specific requirements for criminal liability and Plame clearly doesn't meet them. That the CIA might want to claim she does is an assertion not a fact. Do learn the difference.

M. Simon

It is my opinion the the VP is responsible for this whole mess.

That would be Valerie Plame.

Martin

No John-49% of Americans are not following this issue according to the latest USA Today poll, otoh 51% report they are following it closely. So you're hardly alone in your obtuseness.

Martin

SPQR-what facts am I making up? Read the Post story, moron.

btw the fact that this inquiry is restricted to the IIPA is itself a press invention.

boris

Scale B: CIA dude who talked to Novak says he confirmed she was undercover and has so testified under oath to the grand jury.

Twofer!

He couldn't tell Novak she was an undercover operative because that would have revealed classified information.

That she was an undercover operative was classified, not that she was undercover, because at the time she was not.

Neo

Just for the record, there has been a state of war between the forces of the United States et al and Sadaam's Iraqi government since 1991. The only seeming interruption was a truce, which was interrupted by periodic ground-to-air missiles, which ended in 2003.

On to this actual post .. Unless Joe Wilson is a flaming idiot (a good possibility), he should have known that going on the Op-Ed pages of the NY Times and calling anyone in Washington anything that is less than gentlemanly is now a cause to have your entire life and family examined from top to bottom by the press and the blogs.
Joe started this food fight and at the end of the day he and his family will be the only ones who will suffer.

John

I apologize to all commentors for the poor way I asked my question. I don't disparage the seriousness expressed here, I just wanted some new people with less intense feelings to join in. By the way, Martin, it is possible to have an honest disagreement about the significance of an issue without being obtuse.

Martin

Do you know 8 guys were killed in Iraq on Sunday, July 24:

US Private 1st Class Ramon Villatoro Baghdad (near) Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Staff Sergeant Jason Montefering Not reported yet Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Ernest Dallas Jr. Baghdad (near) Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Staff Sergeant Carl Ray Fuller Baghdad (southwest part) Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Sergeant John Frank Thomas Baghdad (southwest part) Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Sergeant James Ondra Kinlow Baghdad (southwest part) Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Specialist Jacques Earl "Gus" Brunson Baghdad (southwest part) Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Sergeant Christopher J. Taylor Balad (near) - Salah ad-Din Hostile - hostile fire - mortar attack

jukeboxgrad

TOMMY: "I can't imagine why he [Novak] would put the name in print."

Highly parsimonious speculation: because he understood that's exactly what his pal Karl wanted him to do.

"If Rove was told by a reporter, as he says, there was certainly no reason to believe Plame's status was somehow classified or in any way a tightly held secret."

If doesn't matter how Rove heard. A reasonable person knows that if someone works at the CIA, there is a significant chance that person might be a covert agent: "as many as one-third of the CIA's approximately 20,000 employees are undercover or have worked in that capacity at some point in their careers" (link).

SCOTT: "The WaPo article does refute Novak's claim that CIA did not try and stop him from outing Plame."

Not exactly. Novak admitted a long time ago that "He [CIA guy] asked me [Novak] not to use her [Plame's] name." Harlow's recent words just underline this.

jukeboxgrad

CRANK: "Fitzgerald has interviewed a lot of people; just means he's careful."

As far as I can tell, the names Wilson and Plame are very noticeably absent from all the lists of people who have been interviewed by Fitz, FBI, and/or grand jury. Such as this list, for example: the president, the vice president, Secy. Powell, "Bush White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, political adviser Karl Rove, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis I. Libby, Republican National Committee consultant Mary Matalin, former Cheney press aide Catherine Martin, White House press secretary Scott McClellan, communications director Dan Bartlett, deputy press secretary Claire Buchan, and former assistant press secretary Adam Levine" (link).

I wonder if anyone has seen a credible report contrary to this (i.e., a report indicating that Plame and/or Wilson have been called).

SLART: "The person who's going to be left holding the bag is, hopefully, that person who knew Plame was covert and leaked."

It doesn't matter that much who the "seminal" leaker is. "Classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information" (link). What matters most is the story of how the information left Rove's (and Libby et al) mouth, not how it reached his ears.

jukeboxgrad

MARCEL: "we have undercover CIA agents stationed in some embassies ... Many have official cover ... I assume there is no reason that Bob Novak could not publish their names and their spouses names in his Thursday column."

The problem is not that he published her name. The problem is that he published her name in the context of identifying her as a CIA "operative."

BLACK JACK: "verrry little about Matt Cooper and his wife, Mandy Grunwald. Remember her? She, Paul Begala, and James Carville ran the Clinton War Room and specialized in smears and dirty tricks."

Yes. You nailed it. Mandy conspired to convince Matt to cover for Rove all through the pre-election period.

PEAPIES: "This is slightly different than the narrative in his book in which Wilson asserts Novak brought up his wife"

I don't see any material difference between the Wilson and WaPo accounts of this anecdote. In both accounts, "Novak brought up his wife." So I wonder what you mean.

jukeboxgrad

GREG: "Sandy Berger"

Let me know how many CIA officers were outed by Berger. Also, let me know when Bush's campaign slogan became "possibly not much worse than Clinton regarding national security."

ARMIN: "The definition of 'covert' under the IIPA does not depend at all on whether the CIA phone directory lists 'undercover' next to someone's name."

You're saying what the definition isn't, but you're not saying what the definition is. My guess: whatever folks like Rove, Novak and Armin decide it to be, depending on the political exigencies of the moment.

BORIS: "The fact that someone works for the CIA is not illegal to reveal."

The CIA makes an effort to keep the names of its employees secret (for most of its employees).

"If anybody did bad it was revealing her status as an undercover opertative because that in itself was classified, not that she worked at the CIA but what her status there was."

Plame's cover was blown the instant Novak identified her as a CIA "operative," which is commonly defined as "a secret agent; a spy."

jukeboxgrad

JAMES: "Who gave Wilson permission to publish his NYT Op-Ed?"

Many people overlook the efforts Wilson made before he went public. This included getting a backhanded blessing from Rice, first. Before writing the oped, Wilson tried to communicate his concerns to Rice, privately. The message he got back was that "Rice was not interested and he should publish his story in his own name if he wanted to attract attention" (link). As far as I know, Rice has never denied this.

"How was a publicly anti-Bush Wilson chosen for the mission?"

Wilson didn't become "publicly anti-Bush" until long after he was "chosen for the mission"

"Wilson and some of her neighbors say no [that Plame was not covert]"

Wilson did not say no. This is a misquote of something he said recently. This is explained clearly here.

With regard to "some of her neighbors:" no. This is another unsupported allegation. This is fully discussed here.

JIM ROCKFORD: "Cooper, married to Mandy Grunwald, former Bill staffer and current Hillary staffer"

You and Black Jack should get together and explain why Mandy's husband covered for Rove all through the pre-election period.

"said one thing in his Time piece (Rove called him about Plame) and another under oath (he called Rove about Plame)."

Wrong. Cooper never stated that Rove made the call. And Cooper never stated that he called Rove to talk about Plame. Cooper called Rove to talk about Wilson. Rove brought up Plame. Try getting your facts straight.

SPQR: "The statute has specific requirements for criminal liability and Plame clearly doesn't meet them. That the CIA might want to claim she does is an assertion not a fact."

Tell it to the judge: "the information she [Miller] was given and her potential use of it was a crime" (link).

NickM

Rove's motives for revealing Plame's identity are not relevant to ethical questions about whether he did anything wrong (as opposed to illegal), because knowingly outing a domestic covert CIA employee's cover cannot be reasonably be justified by anything gained from "correcting the record" or "setting a reporter straight", but the state of and sources of Rove's knowledge are highly relevant. If Rove learned from a reporter (as he says he did), as opposed to from a government official, that Valerie Plame was CIA, that would make it likely that he would reasonably believe that she was not under cover. [It would also mean that most people would not consider what he did to be a leak.] After all, someone as high profile as Ambassador Wilson's wife would have to be open, wouldn't she? Judith Miller's testimony could come in handy right about now.

As for how much damage was done by the exposure of Brewster-Jennings, I doubt much at all. Any cover this firm afforded was likely blown no later than 1999, when Valerie Wilson listed it as her employer for a FEC disclosure. Foreign intelligence agencies are not made of incurious and trusting types. A former Ambassador (to a uranium-producing country, no less) who later worked for the NSC will be assumed by foreign intelligence agencies to be CIA, and they are not so silly as to then assume his wife has no connection to U.S. intelligence. When she lists Brewster-Jennings as her employer, it will be checked out to determine whether it is a front company or just a nice base for her operatons. Considering how easily the Boston Globe demolished the cover (sending someone to the building listed as B-J's office address reveals that it cannot be found there), Brewster-Jennings was forever blown as cover for all purposes within a few days of the publication of her name with it listed as her employer in 1999. For the next 4 years, foreign governments probably took advantage of our stupidity to feed the CIA disinformation by letting B-J people "discover" it. If this was our big source into ARAMCO, we basically should start from scratch and assume nothing we "know" about ARAMCO's business is true.

Nick

boris

Plame's cover was blown

She had no cover. She was at one time an undercover operative who had not been operationally undercover for several years.

Her status as a one time undercover operative was classified and that's why her [Miller] potential use of it was a crime.

The release of classified information could be a crime. Revealing that someone works at the CIA is not. Blowing someone's cover requires a cover to be blown.

pamela

jukeboxgrad--

Why the use of the word 'parsimonious'?

I don't think it means what you think it means.

Jeff

I'm on board with TM's push to get the journalists involved in this case to be more frank and open about their own roles. I've got a proposal. Let's start with Cliff May, who by his own admission was told by someone in what he took to be a very casual and open way about Wilson's wife working at the CIA. Since May can by no one be accused of being a part of the liberal MSM conspiracy, he would probably listen to what seem to be the majority of commenters at this site, to say nothing of its proprietor. I'd really like to know who told him about Wilson's wife, and, as important, when they told him. And again, there can be no claim of journalistic privilege here, since by his own account this was no piece of confidence. I would really love to know who and when told May this. As I've said before, it would be hilarious if it were Tim Russert. Any other guesses? Safire?

Slartibartfast
Do you know 8 guys were killed in Iraq on Sunday, July 24:

I'm sure their families would be comforted to know that you share their grief. As opposed to using the deaths of others to score political points, which would be, to make an understatement, profoundly impolite.

ArminTamzarian

He couldn't tell Novak she was an undercover operative because that would have revealed classified information.

That she was an undercover operative was classified, not that she was undercover, because at the time she was not.

Do I have to work in government to understand the logic of this?

Slartibartfast
Why the use of the word 'parsimonious'?

I'm guessing he's riffing on Ockham's Razor, which is also known as the Principle of Parsimony (could have the exact phrasing wrong, but you get the point).

Aaron

Has anyone ever considered that the CIA might be playing CYA with their claims that Plame is "undercover?"

That's what bureaucrats do best.

Because if she was undercover, I wouldn't be sending her husband on missions that would be easily found out by other agencies. Jeez, I wouldn't have her work at the CIA headquarters either or let her tell her neighbors.

I sure as hell would have told her not to pose for Vanity Fair even if she had already been "outed" I'd want this to be hush hush.

ArminTamzarian

Aaron:

I think Harlow by now is well aware that "covert" has a particular legal meaning, while "undercover" does not.

So yes, I agree.

Clyde

There are certainly a large number of misinformed people in this commentary.

I'd suggest to them that a reading of the amicus brief by the various press organizations in the Cooper/Miller contempt of court case would disabuse them of some of their misconceptions. Then again, some of them seem to have craniums made of solid bone, so even evidence in black and white probably will not convince them. Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online wrote about this on July 18, 2005:

http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200507180801.asp

Here's the link to the brief:

http://www.bakerlaw.com/files/tbl_s10News/FileUpload44/10159/Amici Brief 032305 (Final).PDF

On the bottom of page 8, Footnote 7, the various press organizations note that Plame's cover was apparently blown by traitor Aldrich Ames prior to his espionage arrest in 1994, and AGAIN by CIA bungling in Cuba when the agency failed to protect classified documents being routed through the Swiss embassy in Havana.

Valerie Plame has been a desk jockey at Langley since 1997. That's hardly NOC material. And without that, this case is a whole lot of nothing, except for partisan hackery by Democrats.

Slartibartfast
I think Harlow by now is well aware that "covert" has a particular legal meaning, while "undercover" does not.

On the other hand, I imagine that Harlow is also perfectly aware of what "perjury" means, and would seek to avoid even the appearance of it.

ArminTamzarian

Indeed, fjord man, but I'm not sure that weakens the CYA argument.

Slartibartfast

Old news, Clyde. The amicus brief claiming something doesn't make it so. In particular, the amicus brief claiming that Plame's identity is no longer classified doesn't constitute a de facto declassification of her identity.

boris
That she was an undercover operative was classified, not that she was undercover, because at the time she was not.

Do I have to work in government to understand the logic of this?

Felix the Magnificent is a circus performer, although at the moment he's neither on the road with any circus nor performing his act.

You don't need to work for the government to undrstand the logic, but you do need a brain.

jukeboxgrad

NICK: "If Rove learned from a reporter ... he would reasonably believe that she was not under cover."

Sorry, this doesn't add up. This is like "teacher, Billy figured out the secret combination to your locker, and he told me, so I figured it would be OK to write it on the blackboard."

Unless Rove was certain Plame was not covert (and it's hard to imagine that he was in a position to be certain of that, since the CIA is claiming and did claim otherwise), he had an obligation to ask. He signed a form that said: "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" (link).

"As for how much damage was done"

This is probably not the message we want to send government employees who handle classified information, or whose safety depends on the protection of classified information: "big shots can feel free to leak classified information for political purposes, as long as some folks on the internet are able to argue that maybe not a lot of damage was done."

Slartibartfast
Indeed, fjord man, but I'm not sure that weakens the CYA argument.

I would call it more of a speculation, Armin. But, noted.

And in case anyone's seen fit to explore this line of thought, it'd be foolish in the extreme for anyone to be playing games with verb tense under oath. Saying Plame "was" undercover with the intent to deceive the jury that he meant she was undercover at one time...let's not go there.

jukeboxgrad

BORIS: "Her status as a one time undercover operative was classified"

I think you're making the claim that this is what Miller was told ("her status as a one time undercover operative"), and not simply that Plame worked for the CIA. Simple question: how do you know?

"She had no cover."

I'm curious how you interpret this: "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, government sources said yesterday."

PAMELA:

As Slart said, parsimony means "Adoption of the simplest assumption in the formulation of a theory or in the interpretation of data, especially in accordance with the rule of Ockham's razor."

ArminTamzarian

Hmm, boris, I think it's more like, Valerie is an employed worker, elthough at the moment, she is unemployed.

jukeboxgrad

ARMIN: "'covert' has a particular legal meaning, while 'undercover' does not."

Do I have to work in government to understand the logic of this? (I wish I could remember where I heard that line.)

We are now well-into the "I did not inhale" phase of the Bush presidency.

CLYDE: "a reading of the amicus brief"

A darn shame the judges didn't see it your way (if they had, Miller wouldn't be in jail). Funny thing: they've seen a lot of evidence that is still not public.

ArminTamzarian

Slart:

Too bad we can't have operatives under cover and undercover operatives. That would makes things easier.

Slartibartfast

That said, JBG, those claiming to use Ockham's Razor in the spirit of parsimony and those actually succeeding at doing so aren't always the same set of people. I'd suggest that most people here are bending the Razor to their particular facial contours, so to speak.

jukeboxgrad

CLYDE: "Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online"

There are a number of remarkable problems with McCarthy's article, which I enumerate here.

ArminTamzarian

One thing I think is pretty safe to say about Occam's Razor is that while it may be quite helpful for investigating natural phenomena, I'm not sure it does much for determining the motives of individual human beings.

boris

I'm curious how you interpret

Sloppy.

Cover would be going to a real or fake job and pretending to work or actually working there.

Going to work everyday at the CIA would only be cover if she were a Russian spy.

English isn't partisan people. Word twisting is an ugly trait.


Steven J.

JEFF -

Thanx for the link to the Globe article.

ArminTamzarian

English isn't partisan people.

George Orwell would disagree.

Steven J.

DAVIS - "Bolton appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and answered their questions."

And told at least one lie: Bolton claimed that our S. Korean ambassador cleared and inflammatory speech Bolton made but the ambassador denied that.

jukeboxgrad

Tom, maybe you'd like to explain your double standard. Here 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.

But when the shoe is on the other foot, you seemingly can't bring yourself to condemn Novak even though he 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."

So the Times can't write about the CIA, even when the CIA doesn't mind, but Novak gets a free pass to write exactly what the CIA explicitly asked him not to. What type of reality distortion field are you using?

Please spare me any answer which suggests you're in a better position than the CIA to judge the relative sensitivity of the two stories.

jukeboxgrad

BORIS: "English isn't partisan"

I appreciate the profound insight, but I still don't see your answer to either of the questions I asked you here.

boris

George Orwell illustrated the ugliness of word twisting.

You missed the point. Wow, Am I ever suprised!

boris

I still don't see your answer to either of the questions I asked you

I'm not here at your beck and call. Asshat

ArminTamzarian

I haven't, boris. I rode roughshod over your Achilles' heel and played your swan song into my jackbooted hands like a game of ducks and drakes.

pamela

JBG,
So your appeal to Occam's Razor is 'EVILROVE'?!

ROFL!

boris

a game of ducks and drakes.

Still needing that brain I see.

Claudia

Wilson said those officials told him Rice was not interested and he should publish his story in his own name if he wanted to attract attention.

How can this possibly interpreted as permission to publish? Wilson approached Rice AFTER the New York Times' May 6th article, AFTER he briefed two congressional committees* on Niger and uranium, AFTER a Washington Post article in early June and AFTER a subsequent article on June 12th in which he was first identified. "Wilson said he attempted to increase pressure on the White House the day after the June 12 article."

So now he approaches Rice with his concerns. Idiot. If he wanted his words to carry any weight with the adminisration, why didn't he approach Rice before he started feeding tidbits to the press? If she truly articulated these sentiments (I wouldn't bank on it), she was simply taunting him for leaking to the press and shameless opportunism.

*Who chared the committees?

One more thing, Martin, it saddens me to learn 8 men lost their lives in Iraq on Sunday.

ArminTamzarian

boris, now you're just being unpleasant.

Gerry

Minuteman,

Intriguing rumor (and we do love rumormongering in all of this, do we not?) that seems to have poked out of the main hole at the HuffPo, but distilled down nicely by ColdHeartedTruth.

Steven J.

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

Nope. The CIA did not think Saddam had nukes. They did think he might be able to make a bomb years in the future unless he obtained weapons-grade material, in which case it might be less than a year.

Other intelligence agencies were of the same opinion:

U.S. Allies Were Not Persuaded By U.S. Assertions on Iraq WMD
June 9, 2003
Institute for Science and International Security
http://www.isis-online.org/publications/iraq/usallieswmd.html

Despite the Bush Administration's assertions, allies of the United States did not fully agree with the Administration's assessment on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

For example, Russia was not convinced by either the September 24, 2002 British dossier or the October 4, 2002 CIA report. Lacking sufficient evidence, Russia dismissed the claims as a part of a "propaganda furor."2 Specifically targeting the CIA report, Putin said, "Fears are one thing, hard facts are another." He goes on to say, "Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners yet. This fact has also been supported by the information sent by the CIA to the US Congress."3 However, Putin was apprehensive about the possibility that Iraq may have WMDs and he therefore supported inspections. The Russian ambassador to London thought that the dossier was a document of concern. "It is impressive, but not always.convincing."4

French intelligence services did not come up with the same alarming assessment of Iraq and WMD as did the Britain and the United States. "According to secret agents at the DGSE, Saddam's Iraq does not represent any kind of nuclear threat at this time.It [the French assessment] contradicts the CIA's analysis."5 French spies said that the Iraqi nuclear threat claimed by the United States was a "phony threat."6

ArminTamzarian

This is why I hate the term "weapons of mass destruction." It is so much less descriptive than the older "chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons," abbreviated as CBN or NBC. You could add an "R" now for "radiological." Ah, the slovenliness.

Steven J.

7M - "When dealing with the statute governing the crime and witha possible criminal conviction, it's not enough to just accept what the CIA says at face value. There has to be evidence."

Correct and one district court judge and 3 appellate court judges believe there is enough evidence.

ArminTamzarian

Obiter dicta, Steven, obiter dicta.

Steven J.

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

Yes they do.

Steven J.

ARMIN -

You are mistaken. The evidence was material to their opinions.

Steven J.

FLORENCE - "Terrorism thrives on weakening the executive. "

No, terrorism thrives on the incompetence of the Executive. An early example of this is Bush's use of the word "crusade" shortly after 9-11. Neither the moron nor his handlers had any idea of what that word means in the Muslim world. Today, terrorist recruitment tapes use Bush's inexcusable blunder.


Steven J.

SPQR - "The statute has specific requirements for criminal liability and Plame clearly doesn't meet them. That the CIA might want to claim she does is an assertion not a fact. Do learn the difference."

It's not clear that Plame doesn't but in any case, there are other laws. For example, Rove signed formed SF-312 and coulb be convicted of violating that agreement.

Martin

Slarti-seriously f you-I'm not trying to score political points. Why are we not allowed to speak of American dead without some jackass conservative spouting we're just trying to lambaste Bush?

I'll bet you a $1000 dollars you didn't know 8 guys were killed in Iraq last Sunday.There's no headline anywhere that says that-it's just dribs and drabs.

Wolfovitz couldnt come close to naming the number of Americans kia when asked. That's your standard of patriotism? keep it.

Lesley

Armin, thanks for linking the Orwell piece. I've realized I've gotta knock it off with my dying methaphors, verbal false limbs, pretentious diction and meaningless words.

Oh dear, I'll never be able to post again.

Jim E.

New NYTimes article posted now. Says WP's Pincus was leaked Wilson-wife info by an admin official that was NEITHER Rove or Libby. Pincus says official brought up Wilson trip up without prompting by Pincus. Pincus will not say who the official is. This is first hard evidence that there is more than two leakers in administration (Cooper alluded to this on Russert show, but didn't confirm).

NYT also confirms that Rove was one of Novak's sources (which we already knew, I think).

TCO

I remember 1991. We went in not knowing how bad Saddam's WMD were...and found they were a lot worse than what Bush 1 had said they were. And I was serving then and supported the president and was worried that he had exaggerated. But he hadn't. In 2003, it was the reverse. But IMHO, we still had causus belli. And that was because Saddam had ejected the inspectors. It was up to him to comply.

Note that in 1991, only 6 Democrat Senators supported the war. Even thought Kuwait had been invaded. They ran for the hills when the war went so well. Now, they (mostly) voted for this one and want to bail out when it get's tough.

Seven Machos

Enough evidence for what, Stevie?

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Wilson/Plame