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October 13, 2005

Comments

Jon H

Sue writes: "I don't think Rove, et al, knew they were outing a NOC. They would have had to be stupid to have leaked knowing that. And you can't tell me you think they were stupid, not if they were able to get the Clinton administration to set up the Iraq WMD story for them, years in advance."

It was their responsibility, as people with high-level clearances, to CHECK before talking about a CIA person.

However, they certainly knew, given the State Department memo with the passage discussing Plame specifically marked "SECRET".

They're not stupid, but perhaps they thought they'd never get caught. Same reason why Clinton, another smart guy, fooled around in the White House and lied under oath.

Just plain hubris. Thinking you're invincible makes smart people do stupid things.

Jon H

"I also think Wilson is as much to blame for outing his wife as anyone else is. If you know your wife is NOC, and surely he knew, if she was, why would you draw attention to yourself and her, vicariously, by writing an op-ed in the NYTs?"

The thing is, he's ex-State Department, which would be sufficient for him to have his own connections to the CIA, independent of his spouse.

When you read an op-ed, people certainly aren't likely to jump to the conclusion that the author's wife is CIA.

On the other hand, people who knew Plame through her cover, as an 'energy analyst', would probably not think anything terribly odd about her being married to an ex-diplomat consulting on business in the Middle East. She's just the kind of person he'd be likely to meet in the course of his travels.

So, no, I don't see this as an issue.

millco88

Sue,

That's why I've always thought the CIA is somehow involved and what we're seeing is just an internal CIA food fight over who's to blame about the lack of WMDs.

Assume you're Valerie Plame. Wouldn't you at least be questioned if your husband submitted a potential op-ed that's going to cause a big firestorm in Washington? Especially if the main takeaway is that Cheney ignored the guy the CIA sent to investigate the uranium claims?? And most especially if you had something to do with getting him the gig??

I know we've been playing three-dimensional chess with this stuff for a while, but all roads seem to lead back to the CIA. They initiated the complaint even though they SHOULD have known that the WH was going to push back on Wilson. Why??

Jerkweed

Worse than a crime, a mistake.

millco88

Jon,

What if Libby got the information that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA from someone in the CIA?? Does that change your opinion at all??

Jon H

"What if Libby got the information that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA from someone in the CIA?? Does that change your opinion at all??"

Er, no. He has clearance. It's okay for him to know. It's not okay for him to be telling reporters. It's not the CIA's fault if Libby acts irresponsibly.

Sue

John H,

I guess that means you don't think they manipulated Clinton into lying for them about WMDs?

I haven't seen anything leaked saying they saw the memo. Are you assuming that or did I miss something?

You still have the Wilson lied to deal with. Did he lie, thinking the WH wouldn't or couldn't come after him? And did he lie in order to affect the outcome of an election? Pretty serious stuff, that. Of course, he could have just been lying in order to sell his books.

Valerie Plame was not NOC. Aldrich Ames outed her and she "outed" herself by marrying a government official. What CIA agent can be covert when anyone can look in the Who's Who under her husband's name and find her?

Jon H

"They initiated the complaint even though they SHOULD have known that the WH was going to push back on Wilson."

So they should have *expected* that the White House would stoop to damn-near freakin' TREASON to slap down a political critic?

Instead of coming up with an excuse for being wrong about Niger, or arguing on the merits of Wilson's claims, they went for the cheap hit.

That's inexcusable. There's no "He started it" exemption from the laws against outing an agent.

They could have just admitted a mistake and avoided all this. It would have quickly blown over.

millco88

Jon,

So you're saying that someone at the CIA can tell Libby that Plame works at the CIA as something other than a NOC, presumably because Libby's source didn't know, and that Libby is on the hook, but the CIA source isn't? How does that work? Doesn't the CIA have an obligation to pass on caveats about information?? Or do they not apply because then it wouldn't implicate Libby or Rove??

Have you forgotten that Novak actually called the CIA prior to publishing looking for the wink-wink that veteran journalists are attuned to?? If the CIA wasn't doing a great job of protecting her identity to Novak, what makes you think Libby received any more guidance??

Sue

millco88,

I don't know how they operate. If Wilson had to have clearance from the CIA to write the op-ed, then possibly.

The whole sending him to Niger is ridiculous. His op-ed was ridiculous. It read more like a script from a movie. I have seen him being interviewed. I'm not sure he even wrote his own op-ed. The flowery descriptions don't seem to fit him.

But, regardless, I think indictments are coming against at least Libby and Rove. Possibly Fleischer. After that, the race is on. A defense will surely put forth all of the arguments we have made in their defense and against Wilson. I wonder if Wilson is up for that? If he isn't a target now, he could be then. Which lie will catch him? He has told so many. :)

Jerkweed

Are some of you people just tuning into this? Your objections are so rudimentary as to be embarassing.

For those a little more advanced-here's a great article by former prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega on how to go after Rove and Libby: How to Prosecute under the IIPA.

CaseyL

Here's an answer to the question of why Fitzgerald called Wilson on Sept 29.

The RW theory is that the call was to inform Wilson he's a target of the investigation. I doubted that, but I don't know enough about GJ procedure to know if a SP would or could contact someone informally, or what could be discussed. I checked with people who do know GJ procedure, and here's the word:

Fitz contacted Wilson for a clarification or confirmation on evidence presented and recorded in the GJ investigation. Wilson is _not_ a target, he has been assisting the prosecution of this case since day 1.

Now, y'all can go on dreaming of a Wilson indictment. But there is no objective reason to think it will happen, as nothing in the testimony, nothing in the evidence, and nothing in Fitzgerald's conduct, supports that idea.

Jon H

Sue writes: "You still have the Wilson lied to deal with."

Irrelevant.

"Did he lie, thinking the WH wouldn't or couldn't come after him?"

So you're saying that the WH is a bunch of suckers who fell into his trap?

They do that a lot. They fell into Wilson's trap, they fell into Reid's trap by appointing Miers, they fell into Osama bin Laden's trap by invading Iraq.

"Valerie Plame was not NOC."

Yes, she was. The State Department memo was marked such that her identity was secret. This case wouldn't exist if she wasn't NOC.

"Aldrich Ames outed her and she "outed" herself by marrying a government official."

Irrelevant.

"What CIA agent can be covert when anyone can look in the Who's Who under her husband's name and find her?""

Her connection to the CIA was secret. Her cover job was still that she worked for an energy company. It would be bloody stupid if she had multiple identities. What if someone she went to college with greeted her with her real name, in front of a contact who knows her by the fake identity? No such problem if she goes by Valerie Plame, Energy Analyst.

Yes, she worked at CIA headquarters, but that doesn't mean she wasn't covert. If you go to the CIA's website, and check the "about the CIA" page, it describes the leadership of the CIA. A couple of the positions are described, but the person is not identified, because they are under cover. These are people who work at headquarters.

millco88

Jon,

Since when is pushback on a source's credibility treasonous? That's what the WH thought they were doing, trying to get away from the impression that Wilson was doing Cheney's bidding and then was ignored. That was the obvious implication of Wilson's op-ed and the CIA knew that prior to it being published.

If Plame was a NOC, shouldn't that have been known by the CIA before the op-ed is ever published? Heck, shouldn't Plame know whether or not she's a NOC?? I certainly hope that protecting agents' identities would be a prime consideration of the CIA. And if that's the case, why do you even allow this whole episode to start if there's a chance that a NOC is involved in what is obviously going to be a political fight??

What you seem to be saying is that Wilson/Plame bear no responsibility for wading into a political fight where motives are ALWAYS questioned when her working at the CIA is a central reason he got the gig and was able to write the op-ed because her employment is supposedly off limits. Isn't that heads I win, tails you lose??

topsecretk9

you think "the names were wrong, the dates were wrong" prompted WH to make an inquiry call to CIA?

millco88

Sue,

I certainly hope that someone on a mission for the CIA isn't free to write about it without getting some sort of approval or at least a heads-up. To protect sources and methods for no other reason.

That's the only thing that makes sense, but we are dealing with an agency that hasn't exactly been stellar in recent memory.

Jon H

"Since when is pushback on a source's credibility treasonous? "

When the pushback carelessly harms the national defense, it is.

Are you saying ANYTHING is in bounds for the GOP's political operations? ANYTHING? At no point is the White House required to step back and consider if their plan is safe, legal, and won't damage national security?

Are you saying that the White House can just blindly lash out in animal rage, no matter what the consequences? And that's okay?

Would it be permissible for the White House to publicize troop movements in order to get a critical embedded journalist killed by enemy fire?

What's out of bounds? Would it have been okay for the White House to just have Wilson killed?

topsecretk9

Millco--

thats an excellent point, non-disclosure agreement or not, there must be some consultation obligation on some level to ensure that, at least, it didn't reveal sources and methods


windansea

I keep going back to what I heard happened when Novak called the CIA before writing his column outing Plame...seems to me they told him that they would prefer he not name her...but nothing mandatory....how does this fit with this whole mess?

CIA basically gave Novak a pass to out her...then they request a SP to investigate the leak of a NOC

what am I missing?

Sue

Jon,

Are you saying Wilson was off limits to the Bush WH? Or just his wife?

Syl

Jon H

Be satisfied you'll probably get an indictment for purgery, obstruction, or conspiracy.

You're going to get squat on 'outing an agent for revenge in a time of war'.

Valery was officially NOC, but just a couple months earler the CIA had started the process of moving her OFF NOC. The paperwork had not been completed yet. Yes, she was already outed by Ames, AND outed in Cuba. She was only officially NOC because the CIA is a bureaucracy just like every other agency.

That's what this quote means: "The judge in the miller/cooper appeal said "considering the gravity of the suspected crime and the low value of the leaked information….”"

Valery was NOC on paper only.

-----------

"they fell into Osama bin Laden's trap by invading Iraq."

You've got that backwards.

bin laden fell into Bush's trap in Iraq.

Al Qaeda has failed in Iraq. In the heart of the Arab world. They'll never get their caliphate now.


Seven Machos

Casey

"If Wilson was a target, he'd know about it, and he would have volunteered to testify on his own behalf." WHY?

"If Wilson has testified, Fitzgerald would have called him back to clarify if his testimony was contradicted by others' testimony." WHY?

"Apprising Wilson of his status as target would not put the investigation in jeopardy." HOW DO YOU KNOW? "Wilson is not in possession of any documents that he might destroy (what documents could he possibly have?), nor is he a flight risk (he could never come back, and he knows it)." HOW DO YOU KNOW?

YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED NOTHING. Try harder.

Sue

Syl,

bin laden fell into Bush's trap in Iraq.

Al Qaeda has failed in Iraq. In the heart of the Arab world. They'll never get their caliphate now.

Excellent point.

Jerkweed

Syl-what page of the opinion is that quote on. I doubt seriously it is in there. If it is-I will eat crow.

Jon H

"thats an excellent point, non-disclosure agreement or not, there must be some consultation obligation on some level to ensure that, at least, it didn't reveal sources and methods"

I don't think he talked to anyone who would require that kind of protection. ie, I don't think he talked to anyone who wasn't supposed to talk to him, or anyone whose exposing would be a risk. It doesn't seem to have been that kind of talking-to-secret-sources mission.

It seems to have been a step above 'open source' intelligence (published news reports, for example), but not at the level of secret meetings with sources who would get in trouble if discovered. It was mostly shmoozing with people to get information that isn't necessarily published, but isn't necessarily sensitive.

If I'm not mistaken, Wilson was one of several investigations. I'd guess someone else did the really covert stuff.

Niger didn't complain about being spied on after Wilson's op/ed ran. When a spy operation is revealed, there is usually some kind of official complaint filed, at the very least.

windansea

syl wrote

"they fell into Osama bin Laden's trap by invading Iraq."

You've got that backwards.

bin laden fell into Bush's trap in Iraq.

Al Qaeda has failed in Iraq. In the heart of the Arab world. They'll never get their caliphate now.


yep...well said....methinks Jonh and others here are just playing gotcha...in the long run it won't matter

Sue

Then what was the purpose of Wilson's trip? The whole thing stinks to high heaven. Starting with sending Wilson to Niger.

Jon H

Sue writes: " Or just his wife?"

That's it exactly. There were plenty of strategies open for responding to Wilson. They chose the illegal one, and burnt a patriot.

And suggesting his wife got him the trip isn't even very effective, because he was eminently qualified for it on his own merits. For that they burned a covert agent?

Jon H


Al Qaeda has failed in Iraq? Funny, seems to me they've gotten their wish of having Saddam deposed, and replaced with a weak, corrupt, strife-ridden government.

And it doesn't hurt that Baghdad was the capital of the Caliphate Al Qaeda wants to restore.

Today's election doesn't really mean much, in terms of stopping Al Qaeda's activity in Iraq. Pakistan has elections, too, but there's plenty of Al Qaeda there.

Jerkweed

Ah Syl-you're worse than mistaken. You're actively spinning BS.

The Judge wasn't commenting that Plame's status lacked value because she was no longer NOC-rather Judge Sentelle (ahem-tres conservative) says:

"Indeed, Cooper’s own Time.com article illustrates this point. True, his story revealed a suspicious confluence of leaks, contributing to the outcry that led to this investigation. Yet the article had that effect precisely because the leaked information -- Plame’s covert status -- lacked significant news value. In essence, seeking protection for sources whose nefariousness he himself exposed, Cooper asks us to protect criminal leaks so that he can write about the crime."

Criminal leaks! Man you people are full of crap.

Sue

Well, I will have to agree he was qualified to sip mint tea and discuss the scarves being worn by the women.

The whole thing stinks. If Fitzgerald does not indict on the original charges, outing a covert operative, if he gets them on obstruction, perjury, etc., then the whole thing stinks even more.

Syl

Jerkweed

I don't know which page. I think

millco88

Jon H,

So you think anyone who goes on a CIA mission can write about it without ANY feedback from the CIA?? Come on, what if he gave away something he felt was innocuous but revealed the way they did something, i.e., sources and methods?? They'd probably just tell him to reword or leave out any discussion of X.

The point is they knew what was going to happen. Heck, anyone who's followed politics would know HOW he got the assignment would be an issue.

But regarding WH pushback, what you seem to be saying is that if a critic of the Administration got a mission because of his wife's contacts but claimed he was sent because of the VP and then the VP ignored his advice, he is immune to have the fact publicized that his wife got him the job?? Is that really your position?

Jerkweed

In fact Syl-that was such a pitiful effort on your part I have to ask-

Did you consciously create that spin on your own or were just ignorantly cutting and pasting some bs you found elsewhere.

I'm truly curious.

Jon H

"Valery was NOC on paper only"

Doesn't matter. DUI is a crime even if you don't hit anyone.

It just means that, as bad as this is going for the GOP, their reckless disregard of national security could have turned out far, far worse.

CaseyL

Seven Machos, I have answered all of those questions in my posts, above. Most pertinently, with the quoted cite from the USAM that sets forth procedures for GJ investigations.

The USAM is not something I made up. It exists in the real world, and real SPs and GJs have to follow its rules. Targets are to be told they're targets, unless telling them would put the investigation in jeopardy. Period.

Wilson has no documents that he could destroy to save his own skin. What documents could he possibly have that are not available elsewere? He doesn't have custody of the original reports he submitted about the Niger yellowcake; he doesn't have the power to destroy articles that have been published in newspapers and journals; he can't unleash a mighty computer virus that will magically erase transcripts of his testimony to assorted committees, panels, etc. Get real.

Wilson is not a flight risk. I know you don't think he loves this country, but there is no evidence of that outside your fevered imaginings, and plenty of evidence to the contrary from his 20+ years as a career diplomat. Wilson would not flee the country he loves, to live as a fugitive expat for the rest of his life, never seeing his friends and family and children ever again. You persist in thinking of him as a cartoon villain with no interior life, no loyalties, no emotional entanglements. Fine, but that's your fantasy, not reality.

He can't jeopardize the investigation. There's just no way he can do that. Therefore, Fitzgerald has no reason not to abide by USAM guidelines. Therefore, Wilson is not a target of the investigation.

QED. Again.

millco88

Jon H,

Emininently qualified? That's not what the issue is. It's that the VP's office sent HIM to investigate the claim. That was the inference from Wilson's op-ed -- Cheney sent me and then ignored my findings. That's the charge that was being refuted.

They never would have sent Joe Wilson unless his wife recommended him. Why? Because Wilson, I think we can agree, is not the guy Cheney would trust on the issue.

Seven Machos

Jonny Intellectual:

1. Plame wasn't covert.

2. Wilson was a poor choice. He was not eminently qualified, or even qualified. He was also a poor choice precisely because he was married to a CIA officer, if in fact the CIA wished to keep that relationship discreet.

3. Wilson shouldn't have written his op-ed, for security reasons. If Plame was covert when he wrote it, then HE outed her. I don't see how this fact is diputable.

4. Nothing anyone in the White House or the OEB did was illegal. Why does the goofy left see every action the White House takes as an ILLEGAL SCANDAL? The war in Iraq: an ILLEGAL SCANDAL! BUSH LIED!!! Plamegate: an ILLEGAL SCANDAL! Enron: an an ILLEGAL SCANDAL!!! that happened under Clinton. Nevertheless, BUSH LIED!!! Tax cuts? ILLEGAL SCANDAL!!!

CaseyL

Jeez - did I do that? I swear I closed the tag!

topsecretk9

Ignoring the fact, that Valerie Plame was and is, part of the story from any of the players in this -- is just not sincere

Tell me an honest explanation of Wilson being chosen for the trip without referring to her wife?

Did Valerie's superiors pick Joe's name out of a hat?

No. And it was Joe and no one else asserting that the VP initiated the trip into the media's mind. That the WH explained when asked 1- did the VP initiate the trip? And 2-why this Wilson guy was sent? --His wife works at the agency and set up the trip, is hardly even close to animal rage retaliation.

The funny thing is, which really hasn't been explained is why Wilson would not appeal to Novak, off the record and as personal plea, to avoid printing Valerie by name?

You can’t get into someone’s mind, but I know that if Novak called me, even if I couldn’t respond directly to questions about my spouse, I would ask as a personal courtesy to not print my spouse name.

I am going with Kim on this, Wilson through Val under the train. The question is why?

Syl

Jerkweed

(My previous message got cut off for some reason.)

Okay, maybe my take on the judge is wrong. (I can't reach the document.) But that doesn't mean that serious damage was done by the leaking of Plame's name...no matter the protestations of Wilson. Because the CIA was in the process of moving her off NOC anyway. It's no excuse, but it does mitigate against the serious consequences of the revelation.

Jon H

If you continue moving the goalposts in Iraq, you'll never understand what's happening.

There were 347 attacks against polling stations in the January elections.

There were only 13 Saturday! The Sunni's decided to vote instead!

That is a HUGE loss for al Qaeda.

And, in case you haven't looked at a map lately, Pakistan is not Arab.

CaseyL

Seven Machos, you have no factual backing, none whatsoever, for any of the claims you're making.

Syl

"Wilson is not a flight risk."

Well, he does have a place in Paris.

Jerkweed

Ah I see Syl. That's why the penalties for murder are less if the victim had terminal cancer.

Jon H

"But regarding WH pushback, what you seem to be saying is that if a critic of the Administration got a mission because of his wife's contacts but claimed he was sent because of the VP and then the VP ignored his advice, he is immune to have the fact publicized that his wife got him the job?? Is that really your position?"

Wilson was right, he didn't claim he was specifically directed by Cheney. Cheney asked the CIA for information. ie, delegation. The CIA responded to Cheney's request by delegating to someone who would make the trip. That was Wilson, who worked in the region at State.

Cheney's request *indirectly* resulted in Wilson's trip. That was Wilson's claim, and it's correct. There's no way Cheny would directly request that any individual be sent to Niger (except maybe Libby, or Judy Miller). Wilson never claimed that. He only claimed that Cheney's desire for more information led the CIA to set up a trip, for which they chose Wilson.

Realistically, given his background, Wilson would have his own contacts at the CIA. He worked at the Baghdad embassy prior to GW1, he worked on defense issues in Europe in some capacity during Clinton's administration. These and other roles almost certainly brought him to the attention of high-level CIA personnel.

It's entirely realistic that CIA staff asked Plame to ask her husband to go on the trip, based on his own background, and she only acted as a coincidentally convenient go-between.

You're trying to make it sound like Wilson's prior work experience had been, say, at an Arabian Horse association, rather than as a diplomat with experience in the region.

Seven Machos

1. Someone turn off the italics, please.

2. Casey: The following statements are assumptions:

a. "Wilson...would have volunteered to testify on his own behalf."

b. "If Wilson has testified, Fitzgerald would have called him back to clarify if his testimony was contradicted by others' testimony."

c. "Apprising Wilson of his status as target would not put the investigation in jeopardy."=

d. "Wilson is not in possession of any documents that he might destroy.

Those aren't facts. You can't demonstrate them. Yet they are central to what you are trying to say. Therefore, to try to say QED is laughable.

Seven Machos

Casey: which ones? What do you dispute? That Plame was covert? Demonstrate it. Use your "QED." Impress me.

Seven Machos

Italics.

Seven Machos

This is why I always avoid the tags.

Syl

"Ah I see Syl. That's why the penalties for murder are less if the victim had terminal cancer."

No. It means lighten up for pete's sake. This is not a national emergency and never was. It wasn't even about revenge. Your fake outrage of 'outing an agent for revenge in time of war' is just hot air.

And don't try to explain what Wilson said re Cheney. We KNOW how the process worked. But only after the fact. Wilson, in his op-ed, implied he was sent by Cheney. In fact ABC read it as exactly that.

It's the impression Wilson gave his readers...and it was not uninintentional...that Cheney sent him. He played everyone for suckers.

millco88

Jon H,

Come on, you're mischaracterizing what Wilson wrote. If he didn't imply that Cheney sent him, got his report and then disregarded it because it didn't tell the story that Cheney wanted to hear, his op-ed doesn't get published in the NYTimes.

If he had written he had gone on a mission for the CIA and found nothing, but didn't mention Cheney, there's no story. Why? Because then it's just one of many missions that the CIA undertakes to get information. It was only by including Cheney that the story had meat.

topsecretk9

Jon H

thanks for the civility

I don't think he talked to anyone who would require that kind of protection.

--He said he had a meeting with the Former Prime Minister and that information ended up in the report of his trip.

but I will defer to your explanation

Jon H

" Casey: which ones? What do you dispute? That Plame was covert? Demonstrate it. Use your "QED." Impress me."

1. The State Department memo on the plane had a paragraph, marked SECRET, which discussed Plame. Unless State Department writers are especially bad when writing for the Secretary of State, paragraphs address a single topic. Ergo, Plame's identity was secret, which is consistent with her being a NOC, and not otherwise explicable.

2. Fitzgerald is still prosecuting the case. Being that Louis Freeh considered him the best prosecutor in the USA, it is unlikely he would have even started without checking that she was covert.

3. If she wasn't covert, her identity wasn't classified. There would then be no need for the Grand Jury, no need to interview White House personnel, no chance for perjury to occur, or for conspiracy to be considered.

Ergo, she was an NOC, covert.

QED.

The charges Fitzgerald will pursue (if any) may or may not hinge on her being an NOC. That'll depend on the evidence he has to support any such charges. WH personnel may escape the IIPA on a technicality.

Keith

This should fix the broken tag.

Keith

Or not

Syl

Jon H

It is not apparent that Wilson would be the best man for the trip. He was only an ambassador for pete's sake. Who do ambassadors talk to? People that can be trusted to tell the truth? No. He spoke with government politcal appointees!

Does Wilson have the type of experience needed to discern whether someone is fudging? Does he have the expertise to check details? Get verifications for statements?

Nope. He spent his time sipping tea.

That's something that is soooo fishy about this whole deal. If the CIA really and truly wanted to dig into the matter they would have sent a spook, called in some favors.

But there goes Wilson to check on some crazy document. It was too superficial to be believable. The conclusion was reached before his plane left the ground.

Jerkweed

the best news is this-Fitzgerald (apparently) told Miller she's not a target.

Now Miller is such a lying scumbag (e.g. she can't remeber who mentioned Valerie Flame to her even though she wrote it down) that the fact Fitzgerald told her-get away from me you skank- is great.

It's like sending the crack whore packing cause your going after the cartel.
To quote the President: Bring it on!

topsecretk9

Millco

--It was only by including Cheney that the story had meat.

that and his ESP that the names and dates were wrong

CaseyL

Thanks, Jon.

I'm absolutely amazed that Plame's status is even still an issue.

Why would the CIA have requsted an investigation into the disclosure of her identity if she wasn't an NOC?

As for the rest... holy god, Seven Machos, have you never in your life had to make a logical conclusion based on proportionality of likelihood? How in the world do you decide what job to take, which person to ask out, or when it's safe to change lanes in high-speed traffic?

Syl

Jon H

"Being that Louis Freeh considered him the best prosecutor in the USA"

Wow!! Can I quote you in the future as a character reference for Freeh?

It'll sure come in handy when some people find out about Freeh's tell-all book on Clinton.

Syl

You know, gang, if this thread gets much longer

and

we can't get rid of the italics,

and

Tom is still away

Maybe we should move the discussion one thread down (and mess up tom's archives) where it's clean and uncluttered.

Just a thought.

Jon H

"He said he had a meeting with the Former Prime Minister and that information ended up in the report of his trip."

Sure. But the former Prime Minister probably meets with foreigners all the time, for business or lobbying, or whatever. And Wilson wasn't asking about anything all that terribly sensitive.

Wilson might have personal connections of his own with the man.

It's quite likely that, when he spoke to people, he was open about being sent by the US government. He may not have said he was working for the CIA, but he could probably be credible if he said he was working for State, or Energy, or whatever.

Seven Machos

Jonny Intellectual: INR is an independent intelligence agency that is part of the State Department.

Suppose INR puts a paragraph in a report abut you, Jonny Intellectual. Are you, therefore, QED, a intelligence officer under non-official cover with a completely different intelligence agency? Also, if the report was secret, HOW DO YOU HAVE ANY INKLING WHAT IT SAID?

You've come late to the conversation, Jonny Intellectual, and I am not interested in rehashing all the reasons why I think Plame is not covert, or suggesting why I might have reason to be have any authority in these matters.

Suffice it to say, your argument that a wholly different intel agency classified something as SECRET is grossly ineffective. (How high of a classification is that, by the way, Jonny, any idea? How long does it last before the FOIA may be invoked? Five years? 10? 45,000? Would Plame still be an officer then? Are there higher classifications?)

Seven Machos

I'm moving to the thread below with Syl. I especially want to hear Jonny Intellectual's musings about SECRET documents, and how being mentioned in one makes you a glamorous spy.

See you there!

Syl

Jerkweed

"Did you consciously create that spin on your own or were just ignorantly cutting and pasting some bs you found elsewhere."

I plead guilty. I learned my lesson. I think. However, I still can't reach the document. Server down/busy is all I get.

millco88

Topsecret,

There is that minor detail. But I think it's pretty safe to say that an op-ed written by Wilson that didn't accuse the Administration of ignoring its own intelligence wouldn't have seen the light of day in the NYTimes. Claiming to be Cheney's man in Niger got Wilson into the paper.

Jon H

Machos: "I'm moving to the thread below with Syl. I especially want to hear Jonny Intellectual's musings about SECRET documents, and how being mentioned in one makes you a glamorous spy."

The Document wasn't just marked secret, the *paragraph about secret CIA employee Valerie Plame* was marked secret (as it should be, given her status).

Jon H

"There is that minor detail. But I think it's pretty safe to say that an op-ed written by Wilson that didn't accuse the Administration of ignoring its own intelligence wouldn't have seen the light of day in the NYTimes. Claiming to be Cheney's man in Niger got Wilson into the paper."

Remember, this is the Times that ran all of Judy Miller's bogus WMD stories which supported the drive for war.

And this was the op/ed page which ran Bill Safires support for the 'Atta met with Iraqi in Prague' story in several columns.

topsecretk9

And Wilson wasn't asking about anything all that terribly sensitive.

---I'll take your word for it, bit something just doesn't jive with this statement

Seven Machos

Jonny Intellectual: I guess you don't care to move, huh? Too smart?

Jerkweed

Syl-no problem. I can't get it either-I pulled that quote upthread from a site with major excerpts.

But when its back-reread it. The innuendos of the judges are amazing. I don't see how anyone can read it and not conclude "someone's* going to jail"*

*even if it's Wilson.

millco88

Jon H,

You do realize there's a difference between printing an op-ed or a story by a NYTimes employee and an op-ed from an outside source, right? How many people other than Times' employees would love to be published on the NYTimes op-ed page? How do they decide who runs?

Let's just say that I think an op-ed by Joe Wilson telling how the CIA sent him on a fact-finding mission that found no facts is a little less compelling than that same mission presented in a context that this was undertaken for Cheney, the info was given to Cheney and then disregarded by the Administration.

Syl

Jerkweed

Well, the charges ARE serious and I don't doubt that on the basis of the charges, the judges wouldn't want the investigation to be thwarted by reporters.

What the investigation actually finds is another matter.

Sometimes I think if I really a fly on the wall where Fitz and the GJ are sitting, I still would be in the dark though.

Jon H

"I'll take your word for it, bit something just doesn't jive with this statement"

Remember, Wilson wasn't the only investigation. There was the military guy, for one. I think there was at least one other.

My guess is that they investigated from several angles. The military guy probably investigated from the military angle (talking to military types), Wilson probably investigated from a business or international trade angle (talking to trade-oriented people in government and business), and others probably took other angles.

So Wilson would approach someone like the ex-minister, and ask questions that would be typical for a nation or business doing some preliminary due diligence as part of a feasibility study. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the information would be things that might be kept kinda close to the vest. It wouldn't show up in a newspaper, but it might be conveyed to a potential business partner or investor.

I don't think Wilson was on a sekrit spy mission, meeting with Niger citizens who've been turned by the CIA. I don't think it was like that, I think it was more a case of relatively open 'informational interviews' with Niger officials.

Seven Machos

So that's what the CIA does, Jonny Intellectual, sends ex-ambassadors for "relatively open informational interviews with Niger officials"? That's what our huge, super-secret, trillion-dollar apparatus is for? "Relatively open informational interviews"?

Also, if all you are doing is a few "relatively open informational interviews," how can you possibly draw any definitive conclusions for the CIA, Dick Cheney, or even the New York Times?

My, how low you have sunk, Jonny. And so quickly.

millco88

Jon H,

I think you just made my point for why Wilson's op-ed wouldn't have been published without the Cheney angle. As you say, he was only one of at least three people tasked to find out information in Niger.

It's hard to claim your report was disregarded when it's only one of many. It just may have been less credible than other sources. That probably wouldn't have made the op-ed page either.

Jon H

Stale Nachos: "So that's what the CIA does, Jonny Intellectual, sends ex-ambassadors for "relatively open informational interviews with Niger officials"? That's what our huge, super-secret, trillion-dollar apparatus is for? "Relatively open informational interviews"?"

Yep, that's one of the things they do, if that's how they can get the intelligence they need. Not everything requires a black-bag job.

They may well have used a covert agent as well, or HUMINT obtained by the INR's people.

Like I said, there were multiple avenues of investigation done. If you're looking into a trade deal, one avenue of investigation would be to talk to the people in Niger involved in trade, in the government and in business, to find out their perspective on it. That, I gather, is what Wilson was doing.

You'd want to back that up with other information, like intel from covert ops, or NSA intercepts, or records of financial transactions, or an investigation by a general, or all of the above.

If the CIA were investigating small-arms sales in China, it would be entirely appropriate to have someone go to a weapons market and try to obtain information about prices and where the guns come from. No particular requirement for super-secret covert action for that part of an investigation. It wouldn't do to advertise the fact of being from CIA, but that's about all the secrecy that's needed.

Syl

Jon H

YES! That's why Bush's 16 words weren't a lie. They had other intelligence.

Honestly man. Do you see now?

Seven Machos

"HUMINT obtained by the INR's people." So you are suggesting that the State Department's intelligence unit, INR, has a bunch of spies in Niger? Is that what you are suggesting, Jonny Intellectual?

Truly, you don't have the vaguest idea of what you are talking about.

Say, maybe you get yourself one of those undercover jobs with the INR, Jonny. You should really look into it.

Syl

Seven

But Jon is beginning to understand...he just doesn't realize it yet.

Jon

Now you've got all those people gathering all kinds of intelligence. Not just Americans, but Brits and French as well. That's a lot.

But it doesn't all necessarily say the same thing. The only thing in common, though, and that can be verified, are attempts to purchase uranium from three African countries: Niger, Congo, and Somalia.

Bingo!

Jon H

""HUMINT obtained by the INR's people." So you are suggesting that the State Department's intelligence unit, INR, has a bunch of spies in Niger? Is that what you are suggesting, Jonny Intellectual?"

State has an presence there. I'm pretty sure they'd have some kind of intelligence channel. Maybe not a 'spy', but definitely an intelligence collection system of some sort, which would be feeding data to INR as it comes available.

Jon H

Syl writes: "Now you've got all those people gathering all kinds of intelligence. Not just Americans, but Brits and French as well. That's a lot."

I never mentioned foreign intelligence agencies.

"But it doesn't all necessarily say the same thing"

As far as I know, none of the American investigations into Niger turned anything up.

So it all rests on the British intel, which is of unknown provenance, and they certainly aren't going to say, because if they got snookered it wouldn't do them any good.

Seven Machos

"Maybe not a 'spy', but definitely an intelligence collection system of some sort."

What is a spy, Jonny Intellectual? Isn't a spy EXACTLY a collector of intelligence?

Does INR have a bunch of spies in Niger or does INR not?

You are someone who thinks he knows a lot about a subject but, in fact, knows nothing and is merely engaged in boneheaded, erroneous conjecture. A perfect intellectual.

kim

Since Duelfer and Rossett show that Saddam was preparing for the day when he would restart WMD manufacture, why do you think he made no inquiries in Africa, or Niger?

Let's not forget the probable 1999 incident. Damning enough for me, that one.

Enough, provided I'm responsible for my own safety.
=================================================

kim

Remember, Jon H, kites flew; the UN was around ensuring peace and justice.
============================================

ed

Hmmm.

This is turning out to be the longest and most boring "scandal" ever. Frankly this is an American political equivalent of a Russian novel.

And "Posted by: Sue | October 16, 2005 at 05:18 AM", if you're going to use HTML tags, please make sure you use the closing end tag.

Syl

Jon H

"As far as I know, none of the American investigations into Niger turned anything up."

Ah. Such little faith in Joe.

JOE WILSON himself turned up information on an Iraqi delegation sent to Niger to open trade. It was deemed for uranium.

In fact, that was the only intelligence the CIA felt was of any significance because it added to their body of knowledge.

On the other hand, Nigerian government officials denying they did anything illegal was not news.

TexasToast

off

TexasToast

try again

JayDee

Here's what's irrelevant:
- Wilson is a lying scumbag.
-Plame wasn't/shouldn't have been NOC.
-Wilson's trip proved/disproved anything.
-Who sent Wilson on the trip.

Here's what's relevant:
- The highest levels of the US government mishandled classified information in an attempt to cast doubt on a critic. Unneccesarily, I might add.
-These same officials probably conspired together to disseminate this classified information in a highly organized manner, that abused the freedom of the press.
-These same officials in all likelihood LIED to the grand jury and attempted by various means to OBSTRUCT the grand jury. Ding ding ding.

Everyone, on both sides, needs to remember there's much we don't know. This is an honorable prosecutor, not Ken Starr, who was afflicted with terminal anal leakage. One HUGE thing no one knows is who on Air Force One, who saw the mishandled memo that day in July '03, also knows who it was sent to and discussed with? My money is on Powell. No one's career or reputation was more callously trashed during the unethical way this war was sold to us, consciously subverting our democratic process. No one has more of a grudge to bear. Why should he save the skins of these bastards? I'm betting when he was called before the GJ, he did the thing Libby and Rove felt they were above doing - he told the truth.

Libby? Rove? Buh-bye, boys. Couldn't happen to a nicer couple of scumbags.

Cecil Turner

Re: "active measures" element: That would probably be fulfilled by the notation on the State Department memo, where the passage describing Plame was marked secret/NOFORN.

I don't think so. The "Secret" passage describing Plame was reportedly a backgrounder, describing the decision to send Wilson to Africa (in which Ms Wilson was mentioned in 2 of the 7 sentences of the paragraph). I doubt that'd even suffice for proving a reader knew Plame's identity was a secret.

Moreover, the rest of the document apparently describes the INR resistance to the African uranium story, which would presumably parallel the truthful bits of Wilson's story, and is classified Top Secret. Which leads to the questionable logic of going after administration leakers for the less sensitive part of the memo, whilst giving Wilson a pass for writing an op-ed on the more sensitive part.

However, leaking classified information is illegal, and there were some reports of folks shopping the INR memo around:

Sources said the CIA is angry about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets [. . .]
I tend to think it's unlikely anyone was actually given the document (mainly because most sources mislabeled it as a "CIA" memo), but it is certainly pertinent to the case, and Fitz may be trying to prosecute that leak. It'd certainly be easier than proving the IIPA applied.

PatrickFitzgerald

Well, Rove and Libby are in the clear. No surprise there. JayDee and Jon H better start snuggling each other for comfort (don't snuggle too hard though...you both sound very angry).

Another phoney "scandal" blows up in the Libs faces. I love it!

Don

Fine posting - my few impressions after reading them.

1 - The prosecutor is lowering the bar on what "crimes" may have occured so he may be frustrated w/lack of evidence but intent on indictments; his asking whether VP Cheney knew Miller may be mishandling evidence is looking to even prosecute the VP for an administrative level crime at most.

2 - Wilson may be a target due to his big leaking mouth and all the signs of his lack of involvement with GJ but my experience tells me that Prosecutors ignore the crimes of their "victims"

3- Mishandling classified material is such a deminimus issue that you can be guilty of it without even knowing you did it - someone mentioned Fitzerald was reduced to classified material officer. That is correct. Someone forgets to lock the safe? Guilty. Someone forgets to not entering the safe? Guilty.

Is that what this federal prosecutor is reduced to?

4 - This question should be answered. If Miller can testify and write of experience, why cannot Novak? Potentially, Prosecutor wants to keep his testimony secret as part of deal with Novak - apparently, he saw no need to protect his sources or fear of protecting his sources.

JayDee

ishandling classified material is such a deminimus issue that you can be guilty of it without even knowing you did it

So, Don, all Rove & Libby had to do was behave like honorable public servants and tell the truth to the grand jury, no? Just admit they behaved like petty sorority sisters and leaked irrelevant information in order to tarnish someone that dissed them. Since they don't seem to have done that, then I'm sure Repubs will have no problem with them being prosecuted for perjury and/or obstruction. I mean, I know the truth would have been embarassing, but that's no defense, right? Sort of like when a married man gets asked under oath if he had sex with his intern.

What makes this case so important is the underlying issue - that these power mad bastards really thought this war was their decision to make for the American people. And they weren't going to confront a critic head on, with whatever rational rebuttal they may have possessed. They chose instead to engage in a whispering campaign, with their prostitutes in the press, counting on those prostitutes to keep quiet. Oh well, best laid plans of mice and ....rats.

boris

behaved like petty sorority sisters

You should know ...

Kate

If Fitzgerald had a strong case, he would have been issuing indictments all along. The fact that he's asking about classified information looks like he is intent on bringing charges on essentially administrative matters.

If the indictments do indeed turn out to be weak, the WH has to be prepared to fight this in the battle of public opinion, something they have not been doing very well.

A little ruthlessness would be nice. The stronger that Bush can put the prosecutor on the defensive the sooner he can pardon those involved, which I suspect he will do.

boris

Whatever Fitz is really after he has more than enough context at this point. He also has personal experience how the MSM leaks can screw up an operation.

My original theory was that the investigation was never after legal liability and was mostly to us the GJ to gather intel for cleaning up the CIA and establishing formal rules for interacting with the MSM.

Cecil Turner

"And they weren't going to confront a critic head on, with whatever rational rebuttal they may have possessed."

You mean like pointing out Wilson's fibs about the documents, that his trip provided no real information, the VP had never heard of him or his mission, and he'd actually been recommended for it by his wife? Seems to me that's what started the brouhaha in the first place.

Sue

I did use the closing end tag. If it didn't work, I apologize.

Sue

Jay Dee,

You keep forgetting that Wilson leaked classified information when he was the source for the Kristoff and Pincus articles. How does he catch a pass in the leaking of classified information?

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Wilson/Plame