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July 20, 2005

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jukeboxgrad

APPALLED: "Rove sys it's a reporter..."

It doesn't really matter that much where Rove heard it. Either way, he was obligated to not pass it along, unless he was certain it was not classified information. If he was uncertain (and he will have a hard time claiming otherwise), he was obligated to check it out. But there's no reason to think he did.

Note this: "I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it."

"I'll give Rove a presumption of truth until someone comes up with a provable story."

Are you still having a hard time accepting what seems to be an undisputed fact, that Rove told Cooper that Plame worked at the CIA, regarding WMD? Are you still having a hard time noticing that the White House has been lying about this for a couple of years?

"someone is innocent until proven guilty"

Quite an endorsement for Bush's staff: "not yet proven guilty in a court of law!" Your standards are too low.

Just because Rove is not yet a convicted felon doesn't mean he deserves to keep his job. We already have enough information to conclude that he doesn't deserve to keep his job.

jukeboxgrad

JIM: "Damn guy was working so hard to protect America he showed up late to his vacation"

Not just working hard "to protect America." Working hard to make sure journalists only write the truth. After all, folks like Mehlman are suggesting that Rove did nothing wrong because he was only "discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise." Trouble is, I haven't seen anyone explain why Rove wasn't able to accomplish this noble goal without mentioning Plame.

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

GEEK mentioned RICO.

I've heard it said (I don't remember where) that Fitz has RICO experience.

Robin Roberts

The main way that Joe Wilson seems to have given himself an out for any of his own potential liability for his own release of classified information seems covered by the fact that he appears to have lied rather completely about the contents of his report.

Someone above made a comment about CIA employees probably being outraged that the White House would "out" a CIA employee. There is no reason to be sympathetic when the CIA employee got caught playing big league politics by proxy ( hubby ) and burned. Only the naive would think Plame and Wilson entitled to hide behind her CIA badge.

jukeboxgrad

TM: "Defending Rove on the Cooper leak is possible, I guess - as Cooper noted, he didn't use the info until Novak published, so (one might argue) Rove judged correctly that he would use it responsibly."

You really insist on stretching logic past the breaking point. It was wrong for Rove to say to Cooper what Rove said to Cooper. Period. Even if Cooper had never written about it, it was still wrong. Cooper does not have a security clearance.

By the way, there is every reason to believe that Rove expected and wanted Cooper to rush to the pressroom. The fact that Cooper was slightly more circumspect reflects well on Cooper, but your attempt to try to give Rove some of this credit is lame.

CECIL: "it's unconvincing that a tangential paragraph is supposed to indicate that a logical inference (Plame's status) is a closely-held secret."

As I've said a number of times, the burden is on Rove to show that he was certain the information he was passing was not classified (I am referring to Rove's obligations under SF312, not IIPA). The marking in the memo may not, in itself, positively indicate that Plame=CIA is classified. But it's a clue pointing in that direction. To the extent Rove knew (directly or indirectyl) about that marking, it should have reminded him that it was at least a possibility that he was messing with classified information.

"she certainly doesn't appear to meet Toensing and Sanford's interpretation of 'covert'"

Let's remember that "Toensing and Sanford's interpretation of 'covert'" didn't impress the judges very much. The amicus brief expressing this interpretation failed to keep Miller out of jail.

"There are at least four technical issues here"

I think like lots of your ideological pals, you're suffering (conveniently) from a case of IIPA tunnel vision. There is a long list of other issues, potentially: SF312, the Espionage Act, perjury, obstruction of justice et al. Geek said it better than me: "think outside the IIPA box." Although it's easy for me to imagine why you don't want to, and why you want to convey the impression that there is nothing of interest outside that box.

Then again, I have to acknowledge and respect your belated concurrence: "it's unlikely the focus is now on the IIPA at all."

Robin Roberts

Jukeboxgrad apparently wishes to ignore the Senate Intelligence committee report.

jukeboxgrad

SEVEN: "I have tried to explain the working-at-Langley-for-five-years means can't-be-covert concept on several occasions here. Certain people, because they simply wish to embarrass the Bush administration under any pretext, refuse to understand."

Your "certain people" includes the judges who rejected the aforementioned brief. Obviously "they simply wish to embarrass the Bush administration under any pretext." Likewise for the Republican special counsel who was appointed by the Republican John Ashcroft, subsequent to a complaint referred by the Republican George Tenet.

"Fixing' in British English does not mean what 'fixing' means in American English."

I guess that's why this British dictionary includes "cheat" as one of the definitions of "fix."

By the way, it's pathetic how you're still flogging that Rustmann article as if you don't notice that the same article quotes a neighbor saying they "absolutely didn't know" she was an agent.

jukeboxgrad

JIM K: "an exchange like that implies no transfer of information from the second party to the first other than about the second party's own state of knowledge"

I think you're wrong. I explain why here.

Even "only" confirming the information is still a leak.

"The press still referred to that exchange [Rove-Cooper] as Rove 'confirming' something"

I also saw such press reports, which only goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you read.

Here's what Cooper said recently: "Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the C.I.A. and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'W.M.D.'? Yes." (link)

Here it is, plain and simple: Rove told Cooper that Plame worked for the CIA. So to apply the word "confirming" to this conversation is simply an error. Or a lie, take your pick.

"if Rove did originally hear it from a reporter, then it seems likely that he didn't think he wasn't 'revealing' anything to Cooper"

It doesn't matter where he heard it. "Classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information" (link).

By the way, the unintentional double negative in your statement strikes me as highly Freudian.

jukeboxgrad

COUSIN: "she told all of her friends and neighbors."

I guess that's why her neighbor said "no one would ever have thought of her as an undercover agent" (here or here).

Do you have any proof for your idiotic statement?

BEAM: "when we can expect a decision"

I'm sure lots of people here know better than me, and I'm too lazy to check this. However, what I recall is that the grand jury term expires in October, but that it could be renewed.

jukeboxgrad

STOLEN: "From the get-go CIA knows the covert agent law. Knows that Plame does not qualify per the law. Asks for prosecutor anyway. Why? Must be to investigate some other violation. My guess, classified information disclosure [goes on to speculate that this is all about Wilson allegedly leaking his classified report]"

Maybe you should consider 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."

This is highly at odds with your assertion that "Plame does not qualify per the law."

Also, you might be disappointed to notice that Wilson and Plame are noticeably absent from this list (of people Fitz and the FBI have shown an interest in): 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 notice suddenly that link fails, but it's in the 11/25/04 WaPo.)

Consider if that list looks like the people you'd call if you were trying to prove that Wilson is a criminal for leaking his report. Aside from Wilson and Plame being oddly missing, I would also expect to see Kristof (who helped Wilson start to get his story out, with this piece). Funny how Kristof's name is almost never mentioned, in this episode, and never mentioned at all in your lame speculation. Sort of blows a hole in your theory.

"Miller never writes story because Wilson Op-Ed is the story"

Miller never wrote a story, but Kristof did, well before Wilson's oped. Your elaborate conspiracy theory seems to be written by someone who doesn't even realize that Kristof wrote this important story. Keep trying.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Fred Rustmann was out of the agency before she went undercover.'

But still in the espionage business even today. He'd keep his CIA contacts up.

jukeboxgrad

ROBIN: "Jukeboxgrad apparently wishes to ignore the Senate Intelligence committee report."

Robin Roberts apparently wishes to ignore the fact that the Senate Intelligence committee report doesn't disprove any claims I've made. Likewise for the much-mentioned but somewhat hollow Butler report.

If you have any specifics to offer, that would be helpful. Maybe you have access to a special version which includes pages I haven't seen yet.

"[Wilson] appears to have lied rather completely about the contents of his report."

Maybe you'd like to show proof of that. While you're at it, let us know where Bush got "recently" and "significant quantities."

You might also want to defend this outright lie: "Wilson Falsely Claimed That It Was Vice President Cheney Who Sent Him To Niger."

TCO: "Bergler"

The always impressive "maybe we're not any worse than Clinton" argument (and of course whether that's even true doesn't seem to matter much). I seem to recall some kind of campaign promise about how Bush would "restore honor and dignity to the White House" (link). I guess that commitement is no longer operative, along with "If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration" (link).

Geek, Esq.

Lesley: This is all speculation. But what if a foreign intelligence service didn't forge those Niger memos--what if it was some war enthusiast with ties to the administration who then funneled through foreign persons?

Jukeboxgrad: I'd be stunned if Fitzgerald didn't break out the RICO stick when investigating the corruption in Illinois government.

jukeboxgrad

PATRICK: "He'd [Rustmann] keep his CIA contacts up."

Then I wonder if his "CIA contacts" included the considerable collection of CIA sources cited here, who all have a view quite contrary to his.

This comment from our host is also helpful.

I've also mentioned this: "no one would ever have thought of her as an undercover agent" (here or here).

BR

WP already in Dec 03 discredited the INR memo as fake, as in doctored up, created as bait to entrap conservative news outlets – e.g., Talon News (and further research shows on through to Gannon/Guckert and other reporters to wittingly and unwittingly entrap Rove). Excerpt from

12/26/03 WP article:

"Sources said the CIA is angry [depends which faction in the CIA – the anti-Bush or pro-Bush ones] about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets suggesting Plame had a role in arranging her husband's trip to Africa for the CIA. The document, written by a State Department official who works for its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), describes a meeting at the CIA where the Niger trip by Wilson was discussed, said a senior administration official who has seen it."

"CIA officials have challenged the accuracy of the INR document, the official said, because the agency officer identified as talking about Plame's alleged role in arranging Wilson's trip could not have attended the meeting."


I described the INR memo as "SET 3" in a comments thread at wizbang here - Forged State Dept. INR memo allegedly outing Plame, planted with several conservative news organizations.


Lesley

"After being exposed in the international press, French intelligence can hardly be amused or happy with him," one western diplomat said. "Martino may have thought the safest thing was to hand himself over to the Italians." Investigators in Rome suspect that Mr Martino was first engaged by the French secret services five years ago, when he was asked to investigate rumours of illicit trafficking in uranium from Niger. He is thought to have then been retained the following year to collect more information. It was then that he is suspected of having assembled a dossier containing both real and bogus documents from Niger, the latter apparently forged by a diplomat."

Geek, the above is a quote from the TelegraphUK. I posted the link earlier.

Let me turn this on its head: This is all speculation. But what if a foreign intelligence service didn't forge those Niger memos--what if it was some anti-war cabal with ties to US intelligence who then funneled through foreign persons, documents "apparently forged by a DIPLOMAT." Heh.


Thanks for your response, I was so curious as to your thoughts.

kim

I've asked several times why the IAEA took minutes to expose the forgery and the CIA didn't figure it out for months. Did elements in the CIA know it was forged but not reveal it. Did the IAEA gain access to it at the last minute and trumpet the forgery because that was what they were supposed to do? Was it's source the IAEA or, as she wonders, within the CIA. All plausible. All have scenarios to play out. All imaginary; little facts. JBG sneers at my guessing. He shouldn't. The FBI has been investigating those forgeries just longer than Fitzgerald has been at work. It would almost be prosecutorial neglect for the Grand Jury to not find out what is known about the letters' provenance and meanings.
=================================================

BR

My oh my - is this the mysterious "Giacomo" ? In the UK Telegraph article I have linked at wizbang, they didn't have his name yet in Sept. 04 (the "French Connection" broke concurrently with CBSgate going on in the US). Lesley, what date is your UK Telegraph article? Sorry, haven't found the search function at this site yet.

Cecil Turner

"As I've said a number of times, the burden is on Rove to show that he was certain the information he was passing was not classified (I am referring to Rove's obligations under SF312, not IIPA)."

You've said it a number of times, but it's not correct. The standard for unauthorized disclosure is "knowingly" or "wilfully" (usually given as: "he or she knows or reasonably should know"--the requirement is not to be: "certain that what he was passing was not classified"). Or do you have a source for your contention?

And do you think you could manage the next post without the ad hominem?

kim

Was the CIA trying to rope-a-dope Bush about the war? Set up a tarbaby for him to tie into.

Why don't they call it a tarmire, I mean the hopeless case in Iraq, instead of quagmire.
==================================================

BR

SET 1 and SET 2 may be the same (fake Niger uranium sale docs, created around Feb 02, then resurfaced in Italy Sept. 02 to hide its earlier creation and source), then from there circling back into the US administration - State, CIA, etc.). Then in May 03, have ElBaradei shout to all the world, they're fakes.

How frustrating, seemingly only the left noticed, and various Counter Dossiers stressing the Niger bait were written and presented to both US and UK politicians to use to stop the war from starting by attempting to discredit the "driver's license" as SevenSamurai so aptly put it :)

When that bait wasn't taken, Wilson "had to" tortuously connect the Jan 03 State of the Union speech, six months later in his 7/6/03 op-ed, even though Bush never mentioned the country "Niger" by name. Then SET 3 comes into play - gotta somehow get the fish to bite on this Niger bait.

BR

SET 3: This INR memo may be where "Fresh Air"s comment in 7/6/05 thread at JustOneMinte site about Greg Thielmann applies.


Further info on Thielmann in 10/27/03 New Yorker article:


" A few months after George Bush took office, Greg Thielmann, an expert on disarmament with the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, or INR, was assigned to be the daily intelligence liaison to John Bolton, the Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control…."

The article goes on to describe Thielmann's upset with Bolton for being barred from certain meetings.

Slartibartfast
Classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information

If Rove didn't know it was classified, he could hardly declassify it, now, could he? And if he's not the head of the originating agency, he can't declassify it in any case. I rather doubt if Karl Rove, White House Chief of Staff, was the classifying authority on Plame's undercover status.

Slartibartfast
The important point is that lots of people have TS clearances, and the more sensitive information is limited by access. In cases like this one, dealing with hypersensitive information (i.e., identities of covert agents), it'd almost certainly be codeword . . . and not included in a casual paragraph about a related topic.

ALL classified information is governed by both need-to-know and classification level. Codeword associations are simply tighter restrictions on need-to-know, as far as I know. TS material may be classified simply TS, but need-to-know still governs. If I, for example, had a TS clearance, I'd be constrained from looking at all TS materials except for those that had been deemed applicable to my current project.

FOUO, on the other hand, is simply used to restrict information that may not be classified. There are variations on this, such as Distribution Statement F (for example) which constrains distribution of information to only those authorized recipients that the controlling authority has released it to. In this case, need-to-know isn't a guarantee that you'll get access. I deal in FOUO materials all the time. If something is marked FOUO and not otherwise marked as classified, it's UNCLASSIFIED, just restricted from release to the general public.

Alles klar?

Jeff

TM - You mean it's possible to become yet more obsessive? Uh oh. Thanks for the props. And for what it's worth, I'm hoping this moves in the direction of the Niger forgeries themselves, though I'm quite skeptical of the "the French-CIA-State-Leftists" did it line. There's a lot of material out there on the forgeries waiting to be dealt with, I think, though also a lot of obfuscating bs promoted by intelligence services to various news outlets.

Gregg

I joined this late, so I ask pardon for referencing a subject discussed much earlier.

Am I mistaken that I heard that either someone familiar with Rove's testimony and/or one of Rove's lawyers backtracked on Rove's assertion that he heard about Wilson's wife from a reporter? Did he not say that it might rather have been an aide who passed on this tidbit?

Was Ari an "aide"? He was reportedly aboard AF1 with the State Department memo, and might have called Rove with the Plame-Wilson connection?

Seven Machos

JUKEBOXGRAD

You say a lot of ridiculous things. Above, you say that "fix" means "cheat" in British English. You are thus suggesting that a British Foreign Office official would write in an official document (which she knew could become public) that her country and her country's most trusted ally are about to enter into a war fraulently.

This strains credulity. Think, man. BEFORE you type.

Cecil Turner

"Codeword associations are simply tighter restrictions on need-to-know, as far as I know."

Yep. ("Access" is a better term than "need-to-know"--but for practical purposes that's just semantics.)

"If I, for example, had a TS clearance, I'd be constrained from looking at all TS materials except for those that had been deemed applicable to my current project."

All true, but somebody has to determine what you have access to. Typically for civilians/contractors, it's by project. For military/government types, due to size of organizations and more general information requirements, it's a lot harder to limit access by subject. The usual arrangement is for individuals to be allowed to see all available information up to their clearance level. (Available information varies by command--and those with special information requirements have to be in secure facilities.) More sensitive information is limited in dissemination, either informally (usually called "close-hold") or by codeword.

The point in this case is that a NOC's identity is extremely sensitive information. It does not belong in State Department memos, and in the unlikely event it needed to be discussed at the White House, would rate its own CIA folder with a dedicated paragraph with lots of warnings and very limited dissemination. That appears not to've happened here. The logical conclusion is that the guy writing the memo didn't know it was sensitive--most likely because Plame just showed up at the meeting for a minute or two to introduce her hubby--and he wasn't told, or forgot, that she wasn't supposed to be mentioned.

Gregg

I found some sources.

"A lawyer familiar with Rove's grand jury testimony said Sunday that Rove learned about the CIA officer either from the media or from someone in government who said the information came from a journalist. The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity because the federal investigation is continuing."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/07/15/politics/main709298.shtml

"Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said he can say 'categorically' that Rove did not obtain any information about Plame from any confidential source, such as a classified document. A lawyer familiar with Rove's testimony hedged a bit on who precisely told Rove about Plame, saying it may have come secondhand from another aide, as well as from Novak."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/16/AR2005071601364_pf.html

Martin

Why doesn't Rove just do what Matt Cooper did and go on MTP and relay everything he told the grand jury?

Gregg

Now, if a journalist told Rove about Wilson's wife, that journalist might be afraid that he or she would then find themselves in Judith Miller's predicament, presuming of course that that journalist was not Miller. So I guess we can't expect that journalist to come forward to confirm Rove's story.

But why was this possible "aide" backslide leaked? Did that aide perhaps testify to the Grand Jury? Who would it have been? Would that aide have security clearance and, if so, would that contradict Ruskin's claim that "he can say 'categorically' that Rove did not obtain any information about Plame from any confidential source?"

Gregg

Rove apparently can't remember if he found out about Wilson's wife from a journalist or an aide, but his lawyer can state "categorically" that the information was not obtained from a confidential source.

If he can't remember which aide he might have heard the information from, how can we be sure that this aide did not have a security clearance?

Is it not a darker situation for Rove if heard the information from a source who had the clearance to know it?

jukeboxgrad

Earlier I referred to a list of people who Fitz has been interested in: 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." I gave a broken link.

Here's one that works.

Geek, Esq.

Oh lordy, this is not looking good for the Bushies:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/20/AR2005072002517_pf.html

"A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials. . . .

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials."

From the WSJ story, it appears that "Secret" is actually one category above "confidential" and one below "top secret."

Seven Machos

Geek -- Well, this is RICO for sure, Big Guy.

Martin

Oh-so that's why can't go tell-all on Meet The Press. Thanks, geek.

Jeff

Hey Cecil Turner, what do you make of the WaPo story cited by Geek, esq. above, or here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/20/AR2005072002517.html

Gregg

Geek, I think the State Department memo gives us an Administration source for the "Secret" information.

How do we get that information from Air Force One to Rove? Is it open knowledge that there were phone calls between AF1 and Rove during the African visit? I would imagine there were at least a few calls, and that Fitz has some idea who talked to who.

There's some interesting speculation about Condi's role here:

http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/7/20/16340/8649

Cecil Turner

"Hey Cecil Turner, what do you make of the WaPo story cited by Geek, esq. above, or here:"

It's nonsense. (Not the Secret classification, that is perfectly reasonable to describe the meeting.) The contention that was supposed to cover NOC status for Plame, however, is not credible. Secret is the standard classification level for things like troop dispositions. Spook status is well into codeword territory, or the CIA is totally incompetent. (Okay, maybe not a good way to put it.) Odds of it being properly classified (if it's as described): zero.

Geek, Esq.

Let's think about it this way:

Is it at all plausible that when Rove sat down with Bush and the other folks who had read the memo to strategize a political response to Wilson that the information WOULDN'T be brought up in his presence? Can you see Cheney and Fleischer and Libby and Card and Bush and Rove sitting there (or being conferenced in by phone) talking about Wilson's op-ed piece and not having anyone mention his wife's role?

The idea that Rove got this information from a reporter instead of other members of the inner circle is a load of pig crap.

Jeff

Cecil Turner - Thanks for the response. So, just to be clear, this from the WaPo story-- The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials. -- is just flat wrong?

Geek, Esq.

Cecil:

It does raise the issue of intent--they had to know that they weren't supposed to discuss his wife's role. They were on formal notice that her status and role in the whole affair was legally off-limits for public disclosure.

Also, and this is going to be "it" I think--this is the potential basis for a perjury charge.

Fitzgerald: Mr. Libby, at the time you discussed Ms. Plame's role in her husband's mission, did you know that discussing her status as a CIA employee or her role in the Niger visit was considered to be confidential or secret information, forbidden by law from being disclosed?

Libby: No, your honor. I wouldn't leak such information knowing that it was a violation of our laws governing state secrets and confidential information.

The thing is--that's almost certainly how it went down before the grand jury. Libby very well couldn't just concede the intent issue--that's often the toughest one to prove.


Martin

So are you saying Cecil Turner that this sentence in the WAPO is bs: "The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials."?

Markus

The Identity of all employees of Intel agencies receives some level of protection, even overt ones who conduct agency business openly. You don't just call an Intel agency and confirm that Jane Smith works at NSA. That said revealing the identity of an employee is not necessarily a crime.

If an undercover agents identity is only classified secret at the CIA they really are a FUBAR bunch of incompetents. Secret is an extremely wimpy classification for an undercover agent who's revealed identity would endanger lives and missions. Most information classified TS and below is stuff you can easily obtain in the media or things that would make you go "like I really care about whats being shipped to San Diego on the latest MAC flight, big woopty do" but its still usually best if the government keeps its mouth shut about it. Any thing that is really, really, really sensitive is almost always classified above the TS level as compartmented information with very limited dissemination.

If the paragraph or document was classfied secret it could have been anything in that paragraph or document requiring that level of classification. It does not mean that Plame's employment was classified, although it could mean that. The classification could have been a CYA classification meant to keep the document in a controlled environment. When in doubt people tend to classify, often needlessly.


I doubt Rove has the "need to know" when it comes to CIA employment roles. His clearance is most likely just there to give him access to those areas of the white house required for his position.

FOUO, Sensitive, and Sensitive but Unclassified, as well as the term Unclassified are all used or have been used officially by various branches of the government.

What we are hearing in the press is at best cherry picked leaks from the special prosecuters efforts intended to push view points one way or another, at worst they may be out right forgeries.

Our lefty friends have some good points, but a some are way too eager IMHO to have someone fired or thrown in jail without any due process. No ones been indicted here, much less convicted, but they sure are ready to get a rope and find a tree for Mr Rove.

Special Prosocuters have a long history of being little more than a waste of tax payers money.

So was Clinton lying too when he spent eight years talking up the danger of Saddam's WMD and terrorist ties? I doubt Clinton would have left Saddam alone if 9/11 had happened on his watch, at least I sure hope not.

Seven Machos

So, the theory on the Left is now that Karl Rove has a super-duper top secret security clearance and sits around all day reading super-duper top secret information. Brilliant!

Folks, Rove is a political consultant. He is not black-ops.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "The standard for unauthorized disclosure is 'knowingly' or 'wilfully' (usually given as: 'he or she knows or reasonably should know'--the requirement is not to be: 'certain that what he was passing was not classified'). Or do you have a source for your contention?"

Yes.

With regard to the question of 'knowingly' or 'wilfully,' note the word "negligently" in the following passage: "Officers and employees of the United States Government ... shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified under this order or predecessor orders" (link).

Also, with regard to the question of 'certain that what he was passing was not classified:' "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" (same link).

Is Rove going to claim he was certain Plame was not covert? Because if he wasn't certain, then he was uncertain. If he was uncertain, did he adhere to the terms of this agreement and "confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before" he disclosed it? Somehow I doubt it. In other words, the burden is on Rove to show that he checked on her covert (or not) status before he blabbed about her.

By the way, just the fact that she was CIA should have been enough to raise the question. Obviously not every CIA employee is covert. But many are: "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).

The fresh leaks about the INR memo make it harder and harder to believe a defense of ignorance, as if the folks in the White House were shocked, shocked, to ultimately learn that Plame had some kind of secret status. My point about SF312 is that even if you believe that Rove was not explicitly aware of her status, even that is not enough to save his butt. If there was any uncertainty, he had a duty to ask.

"without the ad hominem"

Given that I followed my sharp remark with a balancing remark ("then again..."), I think you're being oversensitive.

jukeboxgrad

KIM: "JBG sneers at my guessing."

There's nothing wrong with guessing. My observation about your posts was that you make lots of guesses and present very few facts. You also ask lots of questions while you duck questions coming from others.

SLART: "If Rove didn't know it was classified, he could hardly declassify it, now, could he?"

I had cited "classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information." You're entirely missing the point. The reason anyone ever wrote that passage to begin with is to deal with the people who are suggesting it matters where Rove got it (paraphrase): "Rove heard it all from another reporter, and that means I think he's off the hook, because I'm foolish enough to think that this classified information became declassified automatically by virtue of the process of being laundered through a variety of other irrelevant unauthorized disclosures; even though it was and still is classified information, the fact that Rove heard it from a reporter means that Rove now has a free pass to shout it from the rooftops."

"I rather doubt if Karl Rove, White House Chief of Staff, was the classifying authority on Plame's undercover status."

Of course he wasn't. As I've explained, that's not my point at all.

jukeboxgrad

SEVEN: "This strains credulity"

Your statement is highly revealing. The idea that the war was a fraud is something you take in stride. Ho hum, what else is new. What knocks your socks off, though, is the idea that some people at the top of the British government would actually be discussing their concerns about this in an honest manner. This is the part you can't grasp.

"which she knew could become public"

You're suggesting that when this memo was written on 7/23/02, that the author had some reason to imagine that 3 years later this top-secret document would leak. Question: prior to this leak, when was the last time there was a leak of such a sensitive and top-level British document? Ever?

By the way, I think Dearlove (who said "fixed") was perhaps hoping that he could help Blair wake up. Recall that Dearlove was describing a US attitude, not a UK attitude. So there is nothing in that memo that reflects poorly on the group in that room, or on the UK in general, and therefore no reason to be coy about recording what was said in the meeting. It's what happened subsequently that reflects poorly on that group.

(Matthew Rycroft, the person who wrote the memo, is a "he," by the way.)

GEEK, thanks for pointing out the WaPo piece. Here's the part I like: "the INR analyst at the meeting opposed Wilson's trip to Niger because the State Department, through other inquiries, already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger."

From the point of view of the White House, Wilson was really a poor choice for the job. Why send an honest man who's just going to report the truth we already know? What was needed was a Bolton-esque team player who understood the importance of fixing the facts around the policy.

Seven Machos

Ahh, the Left. No conspiracy can be too grand or too sinister for the Bush administration. But, Bush: he's a moron. Knows nothing. A puppet for the brilliant Rove.

The Downing Street Memo proves that nobody thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. And he was never looking for uranimu. And now super-duper-top-secret spy Valerie Plame has been outed thanks to Karl Rove. Bring on RICO! They're all going to prison!

This is great fun.

Seven Machos

Wilson lied.

http://intelligence.senate.gov/iraqreport2.pdf

BR

Ah, Lesley - I found your reference now re the 9/19/04 UK Telegraph and the "French" forged Niger docs. (Could have sworn I read the whole thread when I posted around 6:30 PM, but didn't see it then.) Thanks for the info.

Cecil Turner

Geek,

"It does raise the issue of intent--they had to know that they weren't supposed to discuss his wife's role. They were on formal notice that her status and role in the whole affair was legally off-limits for public disclosure."

If the paragraph mentioned her status, you'd have a point . . . but apparently it doesn't. If it discusses a meeting at CIA HQ, what's the logical thing that appears to be classified, the meeting or Plame? I'd really like to see the paragraph in question, but if this is an accurate description, I'd have to echo Markus's "FUBAR" comment above:

The description of Wilson's wife and her role in the Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA was considered "a footnote" in a background paragraph in the memo, according to an official who was aware of the process.
And do you still think "status" is a "red herring"?

jbg,
"With regard to the question of 'knowingly' or 'wilfully,' note the word "negligently" in the following passage: "Officers and employees of the United States Government ..."

Check the actual codes, from the same link. The legal standard is laid out several times, and require "wilful," "Knowingly," or "intent." The only references in the law to being "negligent" refers to losing an entire classified [document] "through gross negligence."

"In other words, the burden is on Rove to show that he checked on her covert (or not) status before he blabbed about her."

That's obviously not the legal standard, nor is it practical: anything could be classified, and it's impossible to check everything. If he was reading the information directly from the memo, or had some other reason to believe it was classified, it'd be a much closer call. If he got it second-hand, as he claims, it's clearly not a violation.

"Given that I followed my sharp remark with a balancing remark ("then again..."), I think you're being oversensitive."

Given your reliance on dishonest tricks of argument (particularly number 35), whilst pretending to find misdirection in others, I think you're being hypocritical. But mainly it just adds to the noise level.

BR

Hee, SevenMachos, I know - it's delicious, isn't it? I've been thinking RICO since CBSgate. Now its scope can be broadened to include the culprits in the CIA, State Dept., MSM, Dem party, UN's Elbaradei and any French govt operative involved... oh no, they can hide behind French extradition laws. I hope somebody has remembered to confiscate Plame, Wilson et al's passports before they can flee the country and take up French citizenship :)

CBSgate was interference with an election; Plamegate is much worse - a cabal to interfere with the proper functioning of the govt's intelligence gathering, it's sabotage really. Also an attempt to bring down a president with fake docs, in both cases.

Slartibartfast
You're entirely missing the point. The reason anyone ever wrote that passage to begin with is to deal with the people who are suggesting it matters where Rove got it

Cite? Other than wishful thinking? No, the reason that passage was written was to prevent unauthorized declassification of information by anyone rightfully possessing it. If you want to avoid reading the portion I pointed out to you, fine, but unless you can find some counter to that, your argument is invalid.

Of course he wasn't. As I've explained, that's not my point at all.

I can only conclude that your point is that Rove decided he, a person with no authority to declassify, could go ahead and do it anyway. Well, if that's your point, feel free to substantiate it. I'm not telling you what Rove did, I'm telling you that in order to conclude guilt you've got to assume facts not currently in evidence.

BR

The Wilson contradictions in first describing the Niger fakes in detail and then later denying that he ever saw them, was the fatal mistake that brought Humpty Dumpty down, and no one can put him back together again.

Besides the Senate report, there's a whole list of links here, starting with July 17, 2005 comments. Wilson insisted to various reporters that he knew of fake docs at the time of his Niger trip because "the dates and names were all wrong" - then he denies it later to the Senate and in the 9/18/03 Josh Marshall interview. The most hilarious example of this describe/deny blooper is in Cooper's very own 7/17/03 article where Wilson denies and describes all in one breath.

kim

Better guesses than bias reasoned arguments from selected facts. And you've not done a great job of answering my questions. JBG, the beam in your eye provokes such myopia that you percieve motes in those of others.
===============================================

Geek, Esq.

Cecil:

"If the paragraph mentioned her status, you'd have a point . . . but apparently it doesn't. If it discusses a meeting at CIA HQ, what's the logical thing that appears to be classified, the meeting or Plame?"

Both. Plame is part of that paragraph. And recipients of classified or "secret" information don't have the discretion to determine which parts the author meant to designate.

Moreover, ID'ing someone as having attended a meeting of CIA-decisionmakers is pretty much the same thing as ID'ing her as a CIA employee/officer.

Btw, wouldn't the Bush administration's leaking of what happened at that meeting also constitute a crime under the Espionage Act?

Jim K.

Ed:

How can people still use this line after a two year investigation into her outing and every single statement coming out of the CIA confirming her undercover status?

As Forbes points out earlier, the law's definition of "undercover" requires the person to have served outside the country within the previous five years. The possibility that she had not done so only came to light fairly recently.

TM

From Geek:

I do think that the investigation has moved beyond the IIPA issue--there's clearly other stuff in the water here.

Good follow-up cites from the court filings by Fitz to make that point. And there has been what struck me as a lot of similar speculation in the press recently.

From Mr. Turner:

And do you think you could manage the next post without the ad hominem?

An ongoing puzzle - I am resigned to first-timers swinging by with whatever "standards" they learned at Kos, or wherever. But I am mystified by the utter inability of some regulars to figure out some basic rules for civil discourse.

Some hints:

(1) Your opinion is not automatically my fact - try to distinguish!

(2) If you can't say something nice about someone else, feel free to focus on the facts under discussion - lots of us *DON'T* share what we really think of our fellow commenters.

(3) Not every partisan hack is on the other side.

Re the new WaPo story, I will be posting on it soon (I hope). It is troubling, but not insurmountable.

My chalenge to Geek - a real lawyer would be able to argue either side, and the WaPo story is shot with holes. I wonder if you can hit on some that I have missed?

Jim E.

Yeah, nice job using ONLY Kos as an example for a comment bemoaning rude people that think hacks are only on "the other side."

Geek, Esq.

I'll post some comments when you start that new thread, TM.

Preview: Not conclusive on issue of IIPA; pretty good but not overwhelming on Espionage Act; Cuff 'em Danno if they said they didn't know her info was confidential and not appropriate for publication and get chargd with perjury

TM

OK, good job by Gregg on the Condi Connection - it includes a press transcript, July 11, where she tells reporters to go ask the CIA about this Wilson's trip. That ties in noicely to my own theme, that Condi had requested the June 10 memo following her June 8 debacle on Meet The Press.

That keeps Hadley and his TOP SECRET briefing books in the mix, as well as Rove.

Cecil Turner

"Both. Plame is part of that paragraph. And recipients of classified or "secret" information don't have the discretion to determine which parts the author meant to designate."

No. Assuming it's as described, the particular piece of information meant to be protected (her "status") isn't mentioned. It's a background paragraph with several sentences--and some points (e.g., Wilson's trip) are obviously unclassified.

"Btw, wouldn't the Bush administration's leaking of what happened at that meeting also constitute a crime under the Espionage Act?"

Moreso than Wilson's NYT article about the trip? Seems a bit of a stretch.

TexasToast

CT and Tom

That’s a great link to those http://www.246.dk/38tricks.html "> Dishonest Rhetorical Tricks . In defense of JBG, it seems to me that arguments based on prestige (“I’m a doctor, I’m a lawyer, or I have security clearances”), repeated affirmation (“Bush lies or Kerry flip-flops”) or confident manner (“Bwaa ha ha” arguments) are often best refuted by attacking the prestige and the credentials of the speaker. Overdone, it becomes ad hominem, but its difficult to refute such arguments in the context of a comment section where credentials are not verifiable. Thus, we get the personal attacks Tom rightly decrys.

I agree that we ought to give folks (particularly “regulars”) the benefit of the doubt, but I’ll admit to getting chapped by posts asserting that my position on a point like McClellan’s “not a part of this administration” comment must come from a hatred of GWB and all he stands for.

Geek, Esq.

Cecil:

"No. Assuming it's as described, the particular piece of information meant to be protected (her "status") isn't mentioned. It's a background paragraph with several sentences--and some points (e.g., Wilson's trip) are obviously unclassified."

The question isn't just whether a piece of information is included in the paragraph--it's also whether it was available elsewhere. Also, while not stated explicitly, her status as a CIA employee is most definitely raised by implication and inference. Any leak or revelation of that much--that she was a CIA employee--effectively blew her cover even if the leaker didn't mention or even know she was supposed to be undercover. The intent thing gets a bit trickier in such circumstances, of course . . .

I'm spoiling what I'm writing for TM's new thread, but there are at least two scenarios:

1) Plame's identity was already known from other sources and wasn't considered that big of a deal;

2) That memo was how Scooter et al first figured out that Plame was CIA.

Now, Rove et al are spinning like mad trying to convince folks that (1) is the truth. However, all they have is the phantom journalist whose name no one can remember.

Cecil Turner

"Any leak or revelation of that much--that she was a CIA employee--effectively blew her cover even if the leaker didn't mention or even know she was supposed to be undercover."

Yes, but if the leaker didn't know she was undercover, he would have no reason to believe that information was protected.

"Now, Rove et al are spinning like mad trying to convince folks that (1) is the truth. However, all they have is the phantom journalist whose name no one can remember."

However they got it, the timing (and Occam's Razor) suggests the original source was the INR memo, so I'll spot you the (2). But I maintain an "S" is wildly inappropriate classification marking for a NOC's identity, and no reasonably informed reader would believe that was the case. So a casual reader--and those who received it second-hand--would likely believe that point was not classified. (Though again, this is not my area of expertise.) And, as you said, intent matters.

jukeboxgrad

CECIL: "The only references in the law to being 'negligent' refers to losing an entire classified [document] 'through gross negligence.'"

The word "negligent" (in one form or another) appears in a couple of other places: "any situation in which the knowing, willful or _negligent_ action of a party to the agreement results in the unauthorized disclosure of classified information ... I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or _negligent_ handling of classified information by me could cause damage or irreparable injury to the United States."

Anyway, I think the bottom line is this: "I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it."

"That's obviously not the legal standard [that Rove was obliged to check first, if he was uncertain]"

Then please explain the passage I just cited.

"nor is it practical: anything could be classified, and it's impossible to check everything"

Rove was not expected to "check everything." He was only expected to check things under certain conditions: if he was about to disclose information to a person with no security clearance, and also if he wasn't sure the information wasn't classified. If Rove was about to disclose that the president lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Rove knows he doesn't have to check that. On the other hand, if he is about to disclose the identity of a CIA operative (to use Novak's word), he has a duty to understand that there is at least a chance that this is classified information. The language he signed is clear: "if I am uncertain." Are you going to argue that he was _certain_ that Plame's identity was not classified? Because if he wasn't "certain," then he was "uncertain."

"if the leaker didn't know she was undercover, he would have no reason to believe that information was protected"

Obviously not every CIA employee is covert, but many are: "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).

Rove knew she was CIA. It's common knowledge that in many cases (although obviously not all), CIA=undercover. You can argue that Rove "didn't know [for sure] she was undercover," but you can't argue that there was no reason for this possibility (that she was undercover) to cross his mind. And this is without even considering the fascinating new developments regarding the famous memo.

In other words, you can't argue that he was certain she was not undercover (unless some important new shoes drop, in this regard). If he was not certain, then this kicks in: "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."

"Given your reliance on dishonest tricks of argument [such as 'Angering an opponent in order that he may argue badly']"

It never would have occurred to me that you needed any further encouragement to "argue badly."

jukeboxgrad

SLART: "the reason that passage was written was to prevent unauthorized declassification of information by anyone rightfully possessing it."

Kind of confusing having the same conversation in two different threads. I answered you here.

"I can only conclude that your point is that Rove decided he, a person with no authority to declassify, could go ahead and do it anyway."

Of course that's not my point. I don't imagine that Rove was engaging in an act of "declassification," which I suppose would mean that he knew the stuff was classified, but that it automatically became "declassified" when he uttered it to Cooper. I don't see it that way at all. The way I see it that Rove leaked classified information. I think you're adding complexity that doesn't help.

I do agree about the part of your statement that says "could go ahead and do it anyway." I think it's clear enough that Rove must have had at least some kind of inkling that what he was doing was wrong ("I've already said too much"), but I guess he figured that since he was Karl Rove he "could go ahead and do it anyway."

"in order to conclude guilt you've got to assume facts not currently in evidence."

I guess you didn't say guilt of _what_, so it's hard to argue with your statement. I think it's sufficiently clear that Rove told Cooper that Plame was CIA/WMD, and this is sufficient for me to conclude that Rove is guilty of doing something very wrong. Not to mention lying about it for the next two years.

jukeboxgrad

BR: "a cabal to interfere with the proper functioning of the govt's intelligence gathering, it's sabotage really. Also an attempt to bring down a president with fake docs"

How interesting that such "sabotage" would arrive in the form of the Republican special counsel who was appointed by the Republican John Ashcroft, subsequent to a complaint referred by the Republican George Tenet.

And don't forget the mind control that was used to get the Republican Rove to tell Cooper that Plame was CIA/WMD.

JIM K: "The possibility that she had not done so [served overseas, recently] only came to light fairly recently."

Perhaps "only came to light fairly recently" as far as folks like us are concerned. Are you truly suggesting that Fitz is now slapping his head because he didn't closely consider this point two years ago, and is only do so just now?

I think it's reasonable to surmise that Fitz long ago decided that, for whatever reason, the 5-year stipulation is not a major obstacle to his case.

jukeboxgrad

TM: "basic rules for civil discourse"

You and I have already been through this, here and here.

GEEK: "the phantom journalist whose name no one can remember."

In my opinion, even this doesn't save Rove's butt, because "classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information."

In other words "I decided it was OK to throw rocks at the school bus because Tommy was already doing it" is not a defense.

Rove is betting, probably correctly, that in the court of public opinion this issue will be over certain people's heads. Some of those people are here.

BR

The INR Memo is a Trojan Horse – a report with a contrived paragraph mentioning Valerie Wilson (sourced to a CIA official who wasn't even at the meeting described in the INR memo), inserted into an innocuous looking "briefing book" meant to be detonated at the opportune moment. So were the forged Niger docs. La grande trappola, the UK Telegraph calls it, as Lesley pointed out.


Schumer was the first to demand an investigation in his letter to the FBI Director. But the culprits have been hoist by their own petard.


I wouldn't be surprised if both Bush and Blair were aware that some Niger docs were forgeries and set a trap for the culprits in the French govt / Plame/Wilson / INR / UN's IAEA / MSM by vaguely referring to uranium and Africa in their speeches. Rove's e-mail to a security official in the WH after a reporter's call (Cooper, I think it was), saying he [Rove] didn't take the bait, is a hint the WH knew of the cabal all along. How wonderful that the screams for investigation came from the left. I hope Fitzgerald goes all the way with his counter-intelligence experts' investigation into the CIA.


Links:
Trojan Horse: Wizbang thread at July 23, 2005 10:35 AM, and the next 4 items below it.


Forged Niger docs – originating from anti-Bush faction of CIA: New Yorker 10/27/03 and VIPS data at JustOneMinute. (Great sleuthing at JustOneMinute - you saw the plot two years ago!)


Forged Niger docs exposed as la grande trappola:
UK Telegraph 9/5/04 and UK Telegraph 9/19/04. (Transposed from the British dates within the links which were day/month/year.)


U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's July 24, 2003 letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller.


Counter-intelligence investigations into CIA: WP 12/26/03.

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Wilson/Plame