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October 21, 2005



Has the President-who would presumbably know-ever discussed Ms. Plame's status?

IOW: "Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

"The dog did nothing in the night-time."

"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.


TM, you are the master of all things Plame. Bravo!


Sure, just as the press has reported on the many changes at the CIA press office following the Plame debacle.

You mean like Millerwise from Cheney's office, questioned in the investigation, being made Director of Public Affairs for the CIA?

In response to this news that, one might think, in light of the imminent danger to her foreign networks as cited above, that Wilson would act quickly, alerting his wife and the CIA.

Wrong again - Wilson played telephone tag with Novak for two day, talked to him on the 10th, assumed the CIA press office would handle it, told his wife, and moved on.

A total nonsequitur, unusual for you and presumably driven by the unreasoning hatred of Wilson. He did alert his wife, and she did alert the CIA, as you go on to note. Don't blame Wilson if the CIA dropped the ball.

As for that, we still don't know the full story. But if, as you've got Novak's editor saying, Novak has such trustworthy judgment, don't you think 1)he should not have published (that's a no-brainer); and 2)that Harlow did his job in telling Novak not to publish? Are you saying that Harlow should not have trusted Novak and should have contacted his publisher? Well, to assert that we need to know 1)whether he tried to contact any superiors of Novak (and this could mean someone other than his home newspaper, no?); 2)whether he had dealt with Novak before, and what the conventions of such dealings were, if they did (for instance, had he successfully warned Novak off of publishing covert agent's names before?) 3)Are we even sure that Huntley was not called? Does he assert that? Or is not what he says perfectly and plausibly consistent with having been contacted? maybe someone else at the paper was contacted first? Moreover, the WaPo itself says that the paper only usually complies, implying that it is always a judgment call. Maybe Huntley, for reasons that are beyond me, trusting Novak's judgment, listens to Novak and says, what the hell, let's publish anyway, despite the warning you (and perhaps us) got from the CIA?

Another thing: do we know when the second alleged compromise of Plame's identity happened? I would be really interested to know; it appears that it was before Novak's column, but it's impossible to tell how much before.

I will also note that your suggestion that the CIA was engaged in dirty tricks with the criminal referral is utterly at odds with what has up until now been the standard rightwing talking point, namely, that such referrals are completely standard and routine and in effect meaningless.

Harry Hoo

I would think at this point, the CIA (specifically the Bush haters) would hope there are no indictments for two reasons: 1) the CIA has received a small victory in that the Bush Admin has already been harmed by these allegations (fairly or unfairly) and even though indictments would have an incremental negative impact (much less if it's Libby and not Rove), 2) the CIA probably does not want this to go to trial not knowing exactly what may come out of it relating to the CIA's role and Wilson's trip.

Plus Fitz can't be too pleased with the quality of his forgetful reporter witnesses. Their "I think's" and "could be's" might work for an indictment, but beyond a reasonable doubt? And if Fitz had solid evidence outside of the reporters then why the long thought process on determining if any charges should be brought. If Fitz is still not sure after 22 months, how sure will a jury be when the case is presented? (excluding any political biases)


The real issues about outing a cover agent are 1) knowledge of the covert status and most importantly, 2) intent of blowing the cover. The questions then are:

1) If Ms. Plame's cover was so deep, and outing her identity so dangerous, why did Wilson allow her maiden name to be posted on his internet bio at the Middle East Institute in 2002 where it was available in July 2003 at the time of his Op-Ed in the NYT?

2) Given the established public nature of her maiden name documented above, why didn't Wilson think that writing an Op-ed about the CIA and her subject matter expertise in the NYT and then giving public interviews about it could plausibly increase the risk (even if it was only marginally) to her job, her cover and potentially her life?

3) Given that he was so casual about making very public statements related to his wife's field of expertise and place of employment, it would be logical for any rational observer to conclude that Wilson had a lackadaisical attitude to protecting any subjects related to her wife's job. Thus the questions are, would any rational husband in the world do anything public that would create ANY risk, even minimal risk, to his wife's job and potentially her life? Would anyone even think that a husband would be so reckless?

4) Thus, knowing this information, why would any other rational person, regardless of position, when learning about her place of employment would even think or speculate that her CIA employment was of a covert nature or that there would be any sort of risk associated with mentioning it?

More info here


Foo Bar

I don't understand this sentence about the foreign spychaser:

Might he wonder if Ms. Plame is still with the CIA?

Why the "still"? This suggests it was already known that Plame had worked for the CIA in the past. Is the assumption here that the spychaser is in possession of the names leaked by Aldrich Ames, so that the spychaser already knows she was with the CIA in '94?

Geek, Esq.

Dear lord, TM, do you ever sleep?


Why all those words for what is just a variation of the "Fitzgerald is an out of control prosecutor" talking point?

Geek, Esq.

"However, depending on the statute he cites, Fitzgerald may need to demonstrate some harm to national security."

Actual harm and reason to believe that there could be actual harm are two different things. The latter is the standard under the Espionage Act. See, e.g., the AIPAC indictments.


Kaus is wrong, methinks, both the big picture (the finger trap of Iraq) and the small one (the pathetic struggling to blame someone like Joe Wilson for our predicament) are important.

PS Thanks Tom, for all your work. It has been most entertaining and enlightening. Do you have a real job? ;)


Excellent post TM!

As PR professional and a past spokesperson for organizations in and out of government, I know how media offices work should "something bad about to be reported."

Media offices go into overdrive -- in fact it is the adrenalin of these situations that keeps PR folks interested in their jobs. They want NOTHING more than to be able to tell their bosses the next day, "Yeah, Novak wanted to name her, but I talked to him, we have a good relationship, and I waved him off that part of the story."

That is how it is supposed to work when something you care about is about to show up on the front page.

However, if it just naming some analyst, then you react as the CIA did in this case.

Jon H

Tom, how exactly would the CIA respond so that Novak wouldn't publish?

It says right there, "he warned Novak, in the *strongest terms he was permitted to use* without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed."

What more are you asking for? Why should it be the CIA's fault, and not Novak's fault?

If they denied that she was CIA, Novak could run it anyway, and she'd be outed as CIA. Wouldn't matter if Novak mentioned the CIA denial.

Once the journalist has the name, all that the CIA can really do is hope the journalist isn't a bastard.

When posed by a reporter to the CIA, the question "Is Valerie Plame CIA?" is kind of like "Have you stopped beating your wife?".


Great work, Tom. This should be in the WaPo!

Jim E.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the WashPost the only paper to not publish Novak's original Plame column? I wonder if they were warned off it. Maybe the CIA incorrectly thought that Novak's main employer is the Washington Post, contacted that one paper, and thought their job was done -- and then stood by in horror as they saw the column syndicated all over the country.

Jon H

I'm surprised there are so many people who, reading that someone did some work for the CIA, automatically assume the person's spouse also works for the CIA.

Anyone care to guess who employs Porter Goss' wife? Or George Tenet?


You error in assuming that Fitzgerald has to prove damage to National Security under the Espionage Act in order to use it.

You should review the historical use of the espionage act


In this case, Ashcroft went after a guy called Randall for leaking incriminating information about a British aristocrat linked to funny/drug money, allegedly. Read John Dean's summary.

Secondly, several judges have seen the redacted 8 pages and ruled in favor of Fitzgerald, despite their self-proclaimed reluctance rule against the reporters given first amendment/press issues. That suggests something serious happened.

Thirdly, why have we not seen someone friendly to the possible defendants leak the CIA damage assessment if it would help their cause by minimizing the consequences?

Valerie's Stapler

Why would anyone have reason to believe any harm would result from accidently outing a 'desk jockey'? Paper cut? Well, they do take forever to heal.



Not the Randall case here that I meant to reference, but the preceding Morison EA convictions...

In 1986, the Reagan Justice Department saw fit to once again attempt to invoke the 1917 Espionage Act and the general theft statute to prosecute a leak of government information. This time - for the first time in U.S. history - the government procured a conviction under both statutes.

The case arose because Samuel Morison, a civilian analyst working in Navy Department Intelligence, sent two classified satellite photos of a Soviet nuclear-powered aircraft carrier under construction to Jane's Defence Weekly, a British-based publication. (With the consent of his Navy employer, Morison worked part-time as the American editor for another Jane's publication.)

The guilty verdict sent shock waves through the news media and publishing establishment. By late 1987, when the case reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, some thirty-four major news organizations had filed amici curiae (friend of the court) briefs. They included The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, ABC, CBS, NBC, The American Society of Newspaper Editors, and The Magazine Publishers Associations, just to list a small sampling.

These media entities knew that if Morison was guilty of a crime for leaking under these statutes, then potentially they too were guilty - either under an "aiding and abetting" theory, if they printed or induced leaks from their government sources, or even under these loosely worded statutes themselves. Their briefs hammered at the point that Congress never intended either of these statutes to be used to criminally prosecute such leaks.

But the Fourth Circuit was not interested in what Congress intended to do, only what Congress had said. They found that the Espionage statute covered Morison's conduct even though it was not a classic spying case, and no information had been given to an enemy. As for the theft statute, the court reiterated that information could be a "thing of value" that could be stolen, and held - invoking the 1971 drug case precedent - that it, too, was applicable.

Morison was sentenced to two years in prison. To say that the Reagan administration received bad press for his prosecution, is an understatement. Newspeople understand that leaks are the lifeblood of Washington; that government officials leak information daily; and that the ship of state is unique in that it leaks from the top. To prosecute low-level leakers - when it's obvious high-level leakers never will face the same kind of charges - is high hypocrisy.

In 2001, just before leaving office, President Bill Clinton pardoned Morison, who had already served his sentence.

Jon H

"Why would anyone have reason to believe any harm would result from accidently outing a 'desk jockey'?"

Why would Harlow use "the strongest terms" if she was a desk jockey?

Creepy Dude

"the actual criminal referral generated by the CIA does not specifically refer to the Plame leak, but rather to 'unauthorized disclosure of unauthorized information' "

Doesn't matter. After that James Comey, Acting AG, told Fitzgerald specifically what to investigate, i.e.

"I hereby delegate to you all the authority of the Attorney General with respect to the Department’s investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee’s identity, and I direct you to exercise that authority as Special Counsel independent of the supervision or control of any officer of the Department."

I presume Fitzgerald wouldn't have gone through all this if, in fact, the disclosure was authorized.

Your suggestion that he did, as per Freaknik, is really just an attack on Fitzgerald. It must indeed be getting late in the game.


John, It is my understanding that in prior cases where the CIA learned someone was about to publish something it regarded as classified, the DCI or other high official got on the phone to the publisher and urged them to sit on or kill the story. Nothing like that happened here, Harlow's bleats were the last word. Nor did Harlow ever say to Novak that the information about Plame's employment was classified. Indeed, if it were his confirmation of her employment constituted a security breach.

Creepy Dude

P.S. If Bush really did hire a personal lawyer and submit to over an hour of questioning by a U.S. attorney delegated with investigating a non-event, which Bush could conceivably clear up with a phone call, well...there's more to that pretzel incident than we've been told.

Geek, Esq.

Also, I wouldn't rely on the Moonie Times for anything related to this case. They should be on everyone's ignore list after last year's "The Russkis took the explosives from al-Qaqaa" fiction.

Creepy Dude aptly points out that Fitzgerald is investigating the criminal aspects of leaks regarding Plame's identity. That kinda makes this whole post a non-starter.



re the Morison case

Since when is revealing sources and methods not giving information to the enemy?

Check the resolution of those satellite photos. Then note the date they were produced.

Geek, Esq.

By the way, Rove's back on the hot seat.

Yesterday, one former administration official said Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff, had discussed former diplomat Joseph Wilson and the role of his wife, Ms. Plame, with White House staffers in 2003. That buttresses the possibility that Mr. Fitzgerald is investigating charges related to leaking classified information.

The former official said Mr. Rove had these discussions after Mr. Wilson went public with claims that the Bush administration had twisted intelligence to build support for the Iraq war. Mr. Rove discussed discrediting Mr. Wilson, the former official said, adding that Mr. Rove didn't necessarily name Ms. Plame or make her a key talking point in conversations with other White House officials. Prosecutors have been told of these internal discussions.

Robert Luskin, an attorney for Mr. Rove, said, "The allegation is maliciously false."

A charge of leaking classified information might seem a stretch in Washington, where many believe that too much information is deemed classified -- and where, in any case, such information routinely passes among White House officials, congressional staffers and the media.

But there are some relevant earlier cases. A current investigation into the leaking of classified Pentagon information to the Israeli lobbying group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has resulted in three indictments.

For Mr. Fitzgerald, there may be advantages to such an approach. Building a case on leaking classified intelligence likely would require a lower burden of proof than proving the 1982 law was violated.

Moreover, concern about national-security leaks has grown in the intelligence community and Congress in recent years. In 2002, the Bush administration promised to make more use of civil sanctions to punish leaking

Jim E.

Chris at 10:19 (hmmm, sounds like some alternate universe bible passage) brings up an interesting point: the CIA damage assessment. Has anyone written about this? Is it assumed that the CIA did one?

Tom, how exactly would the CIA respond so that Novak wouldn't publish?
Well, the way I understand it, the usual code phrase is, said in a deliberately ingratiating voice, "Why Mr. Novak, of course you know that even if Ms. Plame were an employee here I couldn't confirm or deny it, right?"

But Hawley blew that chance when he in violation of the law already confirmed Plame's CIA employment first off. And he really blew it when he got into a factual dispute about whether Valerie had anything to do with sending Joe, because the "facts" he was arguing in favor of were wrong.

I'm more and more thinking that Fitzgerald decided 2 years ago that Plame's identity wasn't classified information, and he has been focusing on the question of whether WH and VP staffers were blabbing real classified info to reporters in their push-back against Wilson. I think if that was the focus, we would be seeing the stuff we have been seeing, right?

cathy :-)



Harlow cannot confirm CIA employment of anyone unless he checks the status. If the status is classified, Harlow cannot confirm (neither can he deny) employment.

Telling Novak that, no, she did not authorize the trip, that part's wrong, and please don't print her name, was confirmation to Novak that she was indeed CIA, of the analyst variety.

At that point, Novak was free to print and he knew it. For all Novak knew, when Harlow called him back and told him in those 'uncertain' terms not to print her name, it could have been a personal thing. He chose to ignore it.

Harlow made a mistake.

Valerie's Stapler

Jon H -

This Harlow?

"Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed."

Sounds like Harlow is saying (in the strongest terms)...don't print 'Valarie Wilson', but it's ok to print 'Wilson's wife'.


Wrong again - Wilson played telephone tag with Novak for two day, talked to him on the 10th, assumed the CIA press office would handle it, told his wife, and moved on.

A total nonsequitur, unusual for you and presumably driven by the unreasoning hatred of Wilson. He did alert his wife, and she did alert the CIA, as you go on to note. Don't blame Wilson if the CIA dropped the ball.

Well, its not a total non-sequiteur. And my hatred for Wilson has reasons!

Anyway, why did he wait two days to tell his wife, if it was so important?

I probably should have written "... then told his wife..."

Dear lord, TM, do you ever sleep?

I am blaming my current binge on cold medicine, particularly the pseudo-fed (sp?).

"Why would anyone have reason to believe any harm would result from accidently outing a 'desk jockey'?"

Why would Harlow use "the strongest terms" if she was a desk jockey?

He only used the "strongest terms" when he found out that she was more than a 'desk jockey.' Which was in a second phone call after he had already outted her as a CIA employee because Harlow just assumed she was desk jockey.

Yeah, he used the strongest terms available, but they were very weak terms because he blew his one opportunity at the beginning of the first conversation to use strong terms. Which I believe is because he didn't know she was covert until after he had already confirmed that she was CIA.

cathy :-)


Well, Valery could really, honestly, and truly, be covert. Brewster-Jennings and 'Valery Plame' are just red herrings. Her real 'secret' life and cover are still unknownst to us.

But not unknown to those to whom it matters because this whole thing went public. I'm sure Wilson screaming 'she's covert! she's covert!' would open a few eyes. No harm done, they would be opened anyway.

I actually kinda believe this.

(Yes, I can carry two conflicting scenarios in my head at the same time and not go nuts.)

Jim E.

FitzGerald's office has recently just put a webpage devoted to the Plame case online. Hmmm, I wonder why in the world they'd do that now?


Creepydude correctly points out the specific tasking of Comey to Fitzgerald at the outset, however the next paragraph of the authorization outlines that his mandate includes perjury, obstruction, etc. for the alleged crime.

By the time Miller and Cooper went to appeal, Judge Tatel was referencing an “unanticipated shift” in the investigation.

As pointed out previously, if the original investigation was to look into who leaked Plame’ identity, with all the various permutations of that crime and then the investigation took an “unanticipated shift”, what is Fitzgerald looking at?

“Unanticipated” is one interesting word.


Jim E.,

Lord help us if that is how they operate at the CIA. I'm not a spook but I know a syndicated columnist when I see one (tip, their byline gives it away).


Jim, could you save us trouble and share the URL?

Cecil Turner

Creepy Dude aptly points out that Fitzgerald is investigating the criminal aspects of leaks regarding Plame's identity. That kinda makes this whole post a non-starter.

So starting an investigation proves a crime was committed, you just have to figure who to hang it on? Not sure I'm buying that one.

Victoria Toensing, an expert (and die-hard Republican), suggests it's dubious:

Since Plame had been living in Washington for some time when the July 2003 column was published, and was working at a desk job in Langley (a no-no for a person with a need for cover), there is a serious legal question as to whether she qualifies as "covert."
VIPS bubbas (no fans of the Admininstration) say she's wrong:
These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who “work at a desk” in the Washington, D.C. area
every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.
It's worth noting, however, that they're talking about the practical matter of cover, and at least for the legal jeopardy, we're talking about the legal definition, which doesn't necessarily match. The VIPS guys go on to say:
We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status . . .
Perhaps. Personally, I'd find the former intelligence agents who didn't form advocacy groups more persuasive. (Just as I have a bit more time for those who go on CIA missions without writing about it in the Times afterward.) But we probably won't hear from them.


Geek, name that source..my guess, Wilson's co-star in "Uncovered" is the source of that leak from a "former WH official", an "official" who left in May 2003 to join the Kerry camp as its National Security Advisor and who, therefore, has no first hand knowledge of the matter.

“Unanticipated” is one interesting word
No kidding. The "specialness" of the SP is about the conflict of interest involved in the DC federal district attorney investigating the office of his boss, the president. Even if Fitzgerald decided the first month that Plame's ID wasn't classified, he might have already come across incriminating evidence to suggest that somebody else in the WH or VP's office had been outting real classified info. And because of the conflict of interest still exists with the possible perps, you still need a special prosecutor. So maybe this hasn't been about Plame for years now.

cathy :-)



I bet, if she's really an active agent under deep cover, nobody who whispered that she was CIA in that circle of gossip, ever had a clue about that fact.

Harlow isn't the only one who didn't check her status.

Geek, Esq.

Funny, my guess is that the person ratting Rove out is either Andy Card or Ari Fleischer.

Here I go beating that dead horse, but the IIPA is not the proper area of focus here. It just ain't.

Fitzgerald will have a much easier time nailing those involved with Espionage Act charges.


From the just launched special councel's website:

Patrick J. Fitzgerald
Special Counsel

Chicago Office:
Dirksen Federal Building
219 South Dearborn Street, Fifth Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 353-5300

Washington Office:
Bond Federal Building
1400 New York Avenue, NW, Ninth Floor
Washington D.C. 20530
(202) 514-1187

Please address all correspondence to the Washington Office


planning on staying a while?


“Unanticipated” is one interesting word.

yep! let it be the Niger docs....and how Wilson knew about them


The Espionage Act doesn't fit either. Have you read it?


“Unanticipated” is one interesting word"

Who's to say that the person in the CIA who refered the matter to the Justice Department was looking to hurt the administration?

Wouldn't a special prosecutor be the best way to cut through the fog to expose any internal CIA faction that was misrepresenting facts?


TM, good roundup on Plame's status.

Last week when Ms. Miller's notes indicated that Plame Worked at WINPAC, there was immediately activity by VIPS (who were the "sources" used in the AP Correction article). I expected that.

Reference to Harlow I wrote back in July,

"Harlow was also involved in the larger internal administration battle over who would be held responsible for Bush using the disputed charge about the Iraq-Niger connection as part of the war argument. Based on the questions they have been asked, people involved in the case believe that Fitzgerald looked into this bureaucratic fight because the effort to discredit Wilson was part of the larger campaign to distance Bush from the Niger controversy."

In other words, Harlow - who was a part of the "Tenet Group" - is "getting even". We have no idea if his unconfirmed story is true, but from what I know about how the "office" works, I doubt his story. Things don't work that way there. He didn't have to check and call back! There's a computer on his desk or nearby - punch her name in and ta-da!

Harlow is/was simply full of crap. He didn't have to hang up and go and check out Plame's status - he could have found out by the computer on his desk. Additionally I have real doubts, having worked there, that the Spokesman of the CIA didn't know Plame's status before hand. He was covering, and he knows it.


Does it have a comments section, Fitz's page?



David Walser

Lots of interesting speculation of why, if Plame were not covert, the CIA might start the process leading to a criminal investigation. The simplest explanation is that the CIA has an institutional bias in favor of protecting its covert agents. Is this bias not served by sending the message that, unless you are sure a CIA employee is NOT covert, you should assume that the employee is covert? Novak's column may simply have given the agency the chance to send this message: Be very careful when discussing anything remotely connected to the CIA. It wouldn't be the first time an agency decided to allow someone to be prosecuted more the purpose of sending a message rather than out of a genuine concern that a crime was committed.





Here’s a link to the ">http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc/index.html/"> Office of Special Counsel .


Btw, Fitz web page has been up a while.

Creepy Dude

So starting an investigation proves a crime was committed

CT-you're playing coy. The point was to defend Fitzgerald-but as TM's post seems increasingly ridiculous-answer me this:

1. Is it within President Bush's power as President to ascertain whether Plame had covert status on the date her name was published by Novak?

2. Would it behoove Bush to know whether Plame was covert/not covert before submitting to over an hour of questioning by the prosecutor on that very subject?

3. If the answer to 2 is yes-why would Bush allow the investigation to continue if she was in fact not covert?

4. If the answer to 2 is no, why the hell not?


put html after index

Geek, Esq.

"The Espionage Act doesn't fit either. Have you read it?"

Yes. Perhaps you can tell me why Fitzgerald will be unable to bring charges under it.



Maybe Fitz found classified information being leaked to the Israelis through Miller.... that is my hunch.


It's a closed system people. It's an intra-branch dispute.

Either Bush's White House is staffed with rogues or his CIA and DOJ are. Either way-the buck stops with Bush.


All U.S. Attorneys have websites. Talk about grasping at straws.


Goodness. My little conspiracy theory depended on Harlow being in cahoots with Wilson to be sure Valery got outed.

I had no idea Harlow was part of the group.



"Fitz web page has been up a while"

What's a while? Hours? Days?


Actually Mac-this website is brand new. It's not his normal U.S. attorney page.


A quick read of the brief on Fitzgerald's site shows you the direction they are going and have been going, since at least 2004. Rove and Libby should be preparing their defense.


And per Froomkin (though the Spokesman downplays it as no big deal): "if you call the number the new Web site lists for Fitzgerald's D.C. office, the phone is somewhat mysteriously answered "counterespionage section."


Please, Fitzgerald's people copped to the new launch in the WaPo:

Fitzgerald Launches Web Site

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, October 21, 2005; 1:00 PM

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has just launched his own brand-new Web site.

Could it be that he's getting ready to release some new legal documents? Like, maybe, some indictments? It's certainly not the action of an office about to fold up its tents and go home.

Fitzgerald spokesman Randall Samborn minimized the significance of the Web launch in an interview this morning.



Freak, It's been there since at least July.

Froomkin's an idiot, that the section of the DOJ that this case fell under from the beginning.


Fitzgerald argues in his brief that except for any additional investigation required by the additional testimony of Cooper & Miller, in October 2004 his investigation was "for all practical purposes, complete".



That "pesky" SSCI has a website too.

No biggie.


Creepy Dude:

Is is that simple? My understanding is that there has to be an effort to hide the identity of the agent. In other words, if her status was in transition and many people knew who she was there might be some question as to whether the CIA was really keeping her covert whatever they said the status was.

I heard Andrea Mitchell say she knew who Plame was. She did not say how she knew, but if she did one has to wonder how many other people did.

That would make a difference I would think.

If presidents could stop these things that easily I would think Clinton would have done so.

I have to say that if Plame and her husband are typical of the kind of people responsible for gathering information for the CIA in the years leading up to 9/11 and the War in Iraq it is no small wonder they were wrong on so many things.



Fitz doesn't return indictments, the GJ does.



Mac-no offense-but if I trusted the words of TM's commenters over the WAPO...hell, I could probably get posting privileges at RedState.


Terrye, where'd you hear Mitchell say that? The author of this site has been looking to pin that down for a while if I remember correctly.


Freak no offense taken,

Just stating the facts. I've been on that site two or three times since July.

Creepy Dude

"I heard Andrea Mitchell say she knew who Plame was."

You might want to check, but I think your pants are on fire.


story, recounted on an interview Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC:

Hilail Gildin writes: "Andrea Mitchell was asked, on MSNBC, whether it was generally known to news people, before the hullabaloo, that Ms. Plame worked for the CIA. She answered, somewhat reluctantly, that it was. In the light of this, I don't understand the ensuing fuss."

this was widely reported from the left and right at the time.

It was never disputed.

Jim E.

Here's the transcript from last night's Hardball. You will appreciate how Chris Matthews (and the AP reporter he's talking to) do not understand Russert's statement about his GJ appearance. Matthews calls the statement "clear cut." Hardly. Anyways, here's the relevant portion:
SOLOMON (AP reporter): We think that, from Libby's testimony, that he he told Rove that I heard it from Tim Russert. Now, Tim Russert says, I didn't even know about it when I talked to Libby.

MATTHEWS: Well, NBC News said Tim didn't pass on any information.

SOLOMON: That's right.

MATTHEWS: And that's a clearcut statement from NBC News.

Jim E.

Funny thing about MSNBC -- they have transcripts (as my previous post demonstrates). Andrea Mitchell NEVER said what she is alleged to have said. Never.

For macranger to write "it was never disputed" is a lie. Only the right-wing sites (like this one, which aired the false quotes twice) have ever reported about what Mitchell never said. Instead of relying on some Hilail Gildin, why not provide some actual evidence of Mitchell's statement?


MATTHEWS: And that's a clearcut statement from NBC News....

Now let's bow our heads at NBC News "final word"

Solomon - DNC whip.



It has been a long time ago. I can not even remember what it was on. [I feel like Rove here. I mean really after a couple of years it is hard to remember].

It was not some long conversation or anything it was a general discussion about the fact that the Wilsons were very social and a lot of people knew who they were and where Valerie worked. nothing about weapons or covert agents or anything. Just a nod and brief yeah and lets move on.

Washington is a small town, it would not be that hard for people to know.


Thanks TM, very thorough answer to a question I asked earlier today on your last post: wouldn't it be funny if all the indictments were for the cover-up of the non-crime of outing an agent who wasn't covert?

Jim E.

Why is it that only right-wing commenters on right-wing websites remember the non-existant Andrea Mitchell quote? That big ol' lib'rel media must a' scrubbed the transcripts clean. Damn the MSM!

creepy dude

Nope-now you're out of bounds Macranger. No one-despite repeated challenges-has ever produced a MSNBC transcript or anything close to it where Mitchell said that.

TM himself asked in vain for proof. It's a myth.


The Espionage Act??? Good Lord, if this can be prosecuted under that so can half the CIA for all the leaking they've done, and most of the Washington press corps for discussing those leaks.


With all due respect macranger, I don't see any independent confirmation of what Andrea Mitchell said.. everything I can find on the net points back to one single post on PowerLine... where did Hilail actually "write" this??


JimE- I know you know that statement could be reversed.

You know, the could release the relevant video (of the roundtable discussion) to clear this long-standing argument up!


Sorry, Creep, too widely reported and accepted for that.

Nice try.


Mrs. Wilson’s identity was apparently known to the White House inner circle: a senior national-security aide with responsibility for intelligence matters had worked closely with Wilson’s wife at the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation division.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3129941/site/newsweek/page/3/>Secrets and Leaks

Jim E.

It's not a long-standing argument, topsecret. It's a long-standing lie. You think the transcripts may have been doctored? I was being satirical. (Oh wait, you're the same guy who doesn't get satire...)



Something to think about.

IF indictments (which are pre-trial), I don't think that documents that would pertain to those indicted would be posted on a public website.

Mot likely.

Looks like a wash.


I hate to agree with Jim E., but I think he's right about the Mitchell thing... however.... I do recall her talking to Imus about this issue way in the beginning (simulcasted on MSNBC) and she may have made a comment similar to what the mythical quote is.... what's interesting is that it was sooo much at the beginning that I don't think most people much noticed it.... but as for someone out there having a definative recollection of this??? I doubt it.

creepy dude

I'll pay you a day of your salary if you can produce a certified transcript or video where Mitchell said it macranger. Put up or shut up.



Not everyone at CPO is covered/nor covert - the fact is that she had worked at WINPAC since the mid 90's.

Don't give me the LCJ correction either.

creepy dude

But if you can't-you pay me a day of mine. Don't worry too much.



Again, smiling, it's a fact, never disputed. She never retracted it either.

Moving on...

creepy dude

Really? Well then Bush and Rove and Libby (and their high-priced attorneys) are even stupider than I thought to never cite Mitchell in their defense.


Another point:

I think macranger is wrong on the "widely reported" thing. All you have to do is google both mitchell and gildin and you'll see everyone referencing the same unattributed report by Scott at Powerline.... that post on Powerline stands out because it is VERY unlike most web postings - it has no link to the original source (that I can find)... also, no explanation as to who the hell Hilail Gildin actually is...lol.

Anyway, here is what TM reported a few months ago from Andrea Mitchell's blog:

"One of a number of intriguing questions: During that 10-day period in July 2003, how many reporters were circulating information about Wilson's wife to administration officials? More than a few, but clearly some failed to realize how seriously the CIA would take the disclosure of a covert officer's identity. Nor, clearly, did at least two administration officials who were the sources for Novak's column."

That is getting VERY close to the mythical quote and squares with my recollection of what she said on Imus.


Why does the CIA even confirm employment status of any current employee, covert or not? (The CIA could always provide mortgage financing through a credit union designated for federal employees.) Why not have a policy which states we don't confirm employment of current employees?

Qando points out that the CIA had known the White House was making inquiries into how Wilson was assigned the trip to Niger once Kristof's article was published in early May. The CIA had ample time to decide how to shield Mrs. Wilson's employment status. (They must have known the decision originated in the very department in which Mrs. Wilson worked.)

If this case should go to trial, the CIA may pull out for fear the trial will unmask a thoroughly dysfunctional organization that not only failed to keep secrets, they failed to develop staff who could secure secrets. The question is can or will the CIA persuade Mr. and Mrs. Wilson to reconsider pursueing a civil trial.

tv guy

Yo creepy,
I am not certified, but I saw Mitchell, as a guest panelist, asked if it was known that Wilson's wife was CIA. Andrea said yes.
I don't think this matters anyway, since Fitz could have figured out whether or not that was true. I don't think he would go by a TV talk show. If he felt it was relevant, he would have checked it out.

Jim E.

Why would Andrea Mitchell "retract" a statement she never said? Fact, my ass.

If you want facts, look at transcripts of Mitchell on Hardball. You'll see her explaining why outing Plame is considered so serious. (I posted the relevant quotes this last summer on this website's comment section.) If Plame's name was such common knowledge, why would Mitchell of all people be the panelist going out of her way to emphasize the seriousness of the matter?


Why don't they flood the zone and say that every single person in America works for the CIA?

Novak: Does Freaknik work for the CIA?
Harlo: Yes.
Novak: There's no way.
Harlow: Sorry, but indeed he does.

Seems this would eliminate possible negligent disclosure and make it even tougher to figure out who really does work for them.


Yet all those "citings" where never disputed, in fact, Ed Shultz and many left wing sites took her to task for saying it.

Close enough

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