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July 15, 2006

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Pete

The issue here is - what did Novak mean when he said repeatedly that the name was given to him?

While some may like to wordsmith the meaning of "the name", on at least one occasion then (pre-investigation) Novak said that he published the name and that the name was given to him. That removes the wiggle room of what name he was referring to.

What Novak said initially (before the investigation started) says a lot about what the truth of the matter is.

MaidMarion

If the CIA works like any other large organization which has to account for its spending, I'd bet there's an expense account on file, with an approval by the manager who signed off on the trip, and possibly that manager's manager.

If indeed CIA paid Wilson for any part of his trip, it would be instructive to find out from which CIA funding pots the money was disbursed: the clan funds or the non-clan funds.

sbw

Questions for Joe Wilson:

Why didn't you sign a security agreement with the CIA before your trip to Africa?

What other business did you transact while in Africa?

Why didn't you file a written report with the CIA after your trip to Africa?

Tell us about your close associations with John Kerry's campaign and the Democratic Party?

Which one of your friends stopped Robert Novak on the street.

Why do you leave misunderstandings caused by your diplomatic speak reverberating in the press?

Specter

The issue here is - what did Wilson mean when he said repeatedly the government, not the CIA sent him on the trip.

While some may like to wordsmith the meaning of "not the CIA", on at least one occaision the (pre-investigation) Wilson told other people about his wife's occupation at CIA. That removes the wiggle room about who leaked.

What Wilson said to others initially (before the Novak article) says a lot about what the truth of the matter is.

Lurker

"The issue here is - what did Novak mean when he said repeatedly that the name was given to him?"

Novak did clarify and correct the misinterpretations. Since he went out of his way to correct the misinterpretations, this is not considered a lie.

Specter

/parodymode

Lurker

Why are you going after Novak when you're ignoring the facts that Wilson is an outright liar?

Why are you going after Novak when Rove, Cheney, and Lewis were not the original source of the leak?

Why aren't you going after UGO?

Did Novak commit a crime?

Didn't Novak say that he doesn't think Plame is a covert agent?

Do you still believe that Plame was covert at the time of the publishing of Novak's article?

What about Aldrich Ames? Read the link below (one of the posts):

A convenient treason

How was Plame's career impacted by the "leak" if there was a leak? She worked til beginning of this year until she could get her pension.

Extraneus

If indeed CIA paid Wilson for any part of his trip, it would be instructive to find out from which CIA funding pots the money was disbursed: the clan funds or the non-clan funds.

Surely this isn't classified information, considering the fact that neither the trip itself, nor it's purpose or results, were confidential. In fact, is it even possible that he was sent by the clandestine side without a non-disclosure agreement? Sounds like a job for thesmokinggun.com.

Specter

lurker,

The problem is that Jeff and Pete are grasping at any straw in this latest humiliating chapter for the democrats. If they would just sit back and try to look at it from the big picture instead of trying to parse the minutia more would become clear.

MaidMarion

SBW,

Why didn't you file a written report with the CIA after your trip to Africa?

A source who is sent on a trip (whether pro bono or not) by the CIA never writes a report when he returns. The report is written by a CIA collector, who then publishes a report and releases it into the system.

When Wilson returned from his Niger trip and had that meeting with a few people (IIRC it was at the Wilson house attended by two CIA officers and a STATE person...the one where Valerie "excused herself") that was a debriefing session. Out of the debrief session was produced an initial intelligence report written by one of the two CIA debriefers present. It was most definitely classified.

Jane

So has anyone asked Novak who the guy who accosted him is?

cathyf

Yes, Novak has given a bit more information about him -- says that the guy was a stranger to him before the incident. But for some reason that he will not say, he will not identify the UWA (Unidentified Wilsonite Accoster).

(This case just demands a TLA generator. SAO, UGO, UWT, UWT...)

cathy :-)

Extraneus

Ok, so the report itself, prepared by the CIA after the debriefing and presumably including interpretation and analysis, was classified, but not the raw data contained therein -- that having been gleaned from Wilson's observations, which weren't protected by an NDA. That doesn't sound too preposterous, but then there's no reason to believe that Wilson would even know what was in the report -- i.e., how his observations were interpreted relative to the big picture -- and whether his comments supported or refuted whatever the CIA was after, is there? Unless his wife was in the know and told him that part, of course.

verner

"The issue here is - what did Novak mean when he said repeatedly that the name was given to him?"

Would you please stop. It's the equivalant of blogger's tourettes syndrome.

Novak has explained over and over again what happened. UGO said "Wilson's Wife" then Novak found it in Who's Who. And what difference could it possibly have made anyway. Her name was in Who's Who. And that, by the way, was Wilson's choice. It is certainly not necessary to print family info in the book unless the cited person chooses to do so.

I doubt that UGO even knew her name in any case. It's not like she was that important in the agency, or Alan Foley, the WINPAC head, would have know exactly who she was before the Novak piece came out.

And by the way. I still want to know who lied to Vanity Fair about Foley being her boss.

Jeff or Pete, andy thought on that one? In part,I think it was a way of trying to make Val look much more important than she really was.

Specter

You know I once blogged about something I know John Kerry was interested in, in fact has asked a few people about. Obviously he read my blog since it was widely disseminated. Yea right.

Sebastian Dangerfield

Tom -- I'm coming very late to this particular party, but I thought I might clarify a few things. The "individual capacity" v. "official capacity" thing is an arcane distinction that concerns sovereign immunity. The short explanation (which really isn't much of an explanation at all, but then the long explanation doesn't make much sense, anyway, because the S. Ct.'s sovereign immunity jurisprudence is simply insane) is that using "individual capacity" simply demonstrates that this is an action for damages. You cannot seek damages against governemnt officials in their official capacities ebcause such an action is barred by sovereign immunity. Hence the legal fiction of the "individual capacity" suit.
This is not to be confused with "qualified immunity" -- which is where an awful lot of the early action is going to be in this case. Qualified immunity is another wholly made up concept that the Supreme Court invented in order to make it easier for public officials to get suits against them dismissed. Basically, the inquiry is whether or not it was "clearly established" -- at the time the alleged wrongdoer did the alleged wrong -- that the alleged wrong was unconstitutional.
I do not think that there is any absolute immunity available to anyone here.
Although it certainly is possible that a stay could be sought because fo the criminal case, the more likely scenario is this: Defendants file s motion to dismiss arguing (1) as to the federal civil rights claims, (a) there is cognizable constitutional violation here, (b) even if there was, the defendants enjoy qualified immunity; and (2) as to the DC-law invasion of privacy claim, dismissal is warranted because the one-year statute of limitations expired a long time ago. With this motion to dismiss, the defendants will move for a stay of discovery, arguing that it is sufficiently clear that the motion has merit that they should not be subjected to discovery while the motion to dismiss is pending. (Discovery is otherwise automatic, once the parties have their required initial discovery conference; if I were the Wilsons' lawyers I would make sure I had a whole bunch of discovery requests waiting to be unleashed immediately.)
My money says Bates will grant the stay and then eventually grant the motion to dismiss, at least in significant part. If any part of the complaint survives the motion to dismiss, I would expect Bates, at the defendants' behest, to place some significant limits on initial discovery.
The complaint is a nice piece of work in narrative terms, but its ultimate chances of success are between .5% and 1% (even with Professor Chemerinski on the briefs). Hell, I think there's a better than 80% chance they never get any discovery out of the defendants. The complaint is a very very nice press release, though.

maryrose

Time to play Hardball with Val and Joe;
Drop lawsuit or lose government pension. I bet that reality would make them both sit up and take notice.
In the kindest way I can I make this request
Jeff and pete: Give it a rest...

clarice

Sebastian, that is a good analysis.

cathyf
And by the way. I still want to know who lied to Vanity Fair about Foley being her boss.
Well, as long as we're scolding people for being intentionally obtuse here, I'll defend Joe and Val on this one triviality. Apparently Valerie was kind of a floating liason person (perhaps because the CIA didn't really have anything for her to do). Technically, she was an "employee" of Brewster Jennings, and the fictitious "Victor Brewster" was her "boss". In common parlance, people often refer to any of the individuals in the line above them who have the power to create work for them as their boss. So if Valerie, while technically being paid by one group, was actually working in another group, and that group's boss's boss's boss's boss was Alan Foley, then saying "Alan Foley was Plame's boss" in the loose sense is true as people commonly use "boss."

It can still be true even if Alan Foley doesn't know her from a hole in the ground. And still be true even if Foley was pissed about the "relationship."

The VF article described Foley as Plame's boss as an offhand characterization which was not their main point. (The main point was about the CIA's resistance to the authority of their duly-elected superiors, and Foley was given as an example of one such resistor.) Sort of like UGO characterizing "Wilson's wife" as a CIA WMD person...

cathy :-)

Steve

Specter-
Here's a question about your 1x5.
Do we have an indication that any of these 5 people that Wilson told have any record of it? Any notes that say "wilson told me his wife worked for the CIA', etc? Because in the abscence of that, isn't that just a game of he said/she said to the 5th power? Munchausen's word against #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5?
And without some kind of back-up, and with the reported ideological bent of some of the people that Wilson 'told', do you guys really think this is a winnable point?
IOW, what if this is how it gets played in teh media: Cliff May, who writes for a right-wing blog, says, without any proof, that Wilson told him his wife works for the CIA. Wilson denies it.

In the abscence of proof, does this attack Wilson's credibility, or look more like a right-wing-conspiracy?

It's just always funny how much like it was many life-long republicans speaking out through the SwiftVets, the couple of names I've heard mentioned as being part of that 5 all have republican ties. They may be speaking the complete truth, Wilson may have told them, but it's sure going to look like partisan agenda pushing....

topsecretk9

Interesting that Armitage, Grossman & Harlow are about the only silent players left, isn't it?

Yep.

That 1x2x6 mislead a lot of people.

Specter

Well...I don't know about proof. But I do know that especially in he said/he said, the more the merrier. I don't think that any names have been mentioned about who the five are or their proof or lack of it.

Jane

>Drop lawsuit or lose government pension.

Now that would give them a cause of action!

topsecretk9

--Because in the abscence of that, isn't that just a game of he said/she said to the 5th power? Munchausen's word against #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5? --

Yes, but I think that is alleviated by the amount of people that testify to it. One is he said, she said. Two isn't. Five, super isn't.

For most every lawsuit, the plaintiff is alleging something that 3rd parties aren't likely to have documented ...If for instance someone alleges I removed a chandelier from the home I sold them, it's unlikely a 3rd party documented this and so the more witnesses I have willing to testify they never observed a chandelier in the home the better and is weighted towards me.

I also think there is some legal terminology for this very thing.

topsecretk9

--Because in the abscence of that, isn't that just a game of he said/she said to the 5th power? Munchausen's word against #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5? --

Yes, but I think that is alleviated by the amount of people that testify to it. One is he said, she said. Two isn't. Five, super isn't.

For most every lawsuit, the plaintiff is alleging something that 3rd parties aren't likely to have documented ...If for instance someone alleges I removed a chandelier from the home I sold them, it's unlikely a 3rd party documented this and so the more witnesses I have willing to testify they never observed a chandelier in the home the better and is weighted towards me.

I also think there is some legal terminology for this very thing.

Specter

It also depends on how the jury views it. Remember that people are getting very tired of Joe and Val.

topsecretk9

Of course It's not scientific

http://poll.pollhost.com/aW5oaWRpbmcJMTE1Mjg5MTA3MglFRUVFRUUJMDAwMDAwCUFyaWFsCUFzc29ydGVkCTE/

clarice

I believe one of the five is General Vallely, and I'd credit him over Wilson in a flash. Gen McInerney confirmed that Wilson was on the same FNC shows and in the green room with Wilson often in that pre op ed period and while he wasn't present when Wilson told about Plame-obviouslt to burnish his own credentials in some demented way--he did say Wilson was in essence a blow hard.

clarice

I think with not a great deal of effort, Libby will find people throughout the world that Wilson was telling this to when he was trying to drum up business or burnish this thin credentials BTW.

Barney Frank

"It also depends on how the jury views it. Remember that people are getting very tired of Joe and Val."

I'll lay odds that should it get to trial none of the jury will probably even have heard of Joe and Val. shoot, most of them will probably never have heard of Cheney or Bush.

Barney Frank

Sebastian,

"I would expect Bates, at the defendants' behest....."

Careful how you use that word 'behest' when Cheney's in the equation. Don't want another conspiracy theory do we? :)

BTW, I agree with Clarice, very clear analysis. The attorneys here have convinced me this thing has less chance of surviving demurrers, summary judgements, whatever, than I first thought. But I still think if Joe and Val are actually intent on getting to trial, which is a big question, some part of it will survive.

Sue

It's just always funny how much like it was many life-long republicans speaking out through the SwiftVets, the couple of names I've heard mentioned as being part of that 5 all have republican ties. They may be speaking the complete truth, Wilson may have told them, but it's sure going to look like partisan agenda pushing....

This just really made me smile. That someone pushing Wilson would wonder about partisan pushing agenda.

topsecretk9

--I've heard mentioned as being part of that 5 all have republican ties. --

HAH, Wilson said he was a registered republican.

JM Hanes

"This just really made me smile."

I know. Sometimes you can't help pausing to admire the gymnastics before moving along.

Lurker

If the meeting was held in someone's home, how can it be...classified?

Surely, meetings covering classified information should be held at official (and officially classified-certified) sites. Not in someone's home.

Therefore, I don't believe that the meetings held at Wilson's home were classified.

Bruce Hayden

Sebastian Dangerfield

My reading of the DC code would seem to indicate that they only missed the statute of limitations (3 years) by a couple of days. They seemed to be geared towards Novak's article, but since there is no real tie between Novak's article and the alleged conspiracy in the pleadings and the bad acts alleged to have been performed by the defendants, I would suggest that they would be stuck with the last time Libby disclosed Plame's role to a reporter.

Also, I did note that the defendants were being sued as individuals, and not as government officials in order to keep the U.S. out. But the problem here is that there is a real possibility that the defendants had both legal and illegal motives. The legal one, where they were operating in their official capacities, was to rebut Wilson's article, whereas the alleged illegal motive was animus towards him.

The problem is that the rebuttal is most likely to ultimately turn out to be the primary, maybe even almost exclusive, motive behind whatever the defendants did (remember, Wilson was claiming animus long before Fitz was appointed SP). And as rebbuttal is well within their official duties, it would seem that the U.S. should be a party, and that would, of course, kill the litigation right there - both because most of the behavior would be immune, plus a failure to follow the FTCA.

I am bothered by the idea that someone could be operating well within the scope of their office, and be liable on the fringes.

Also, I would think that the determination on immunity would not be all that different from that of whether the U.S. should be able to insert itself, possibly replacing the defendants. Both really revolve around whether they were oprating within the scope of their offices.

I would be interested in any more information you might have on this subject.

topsecretk9

From Decision08:


his may be old news for some diehard Plamiacs, but it’s news to me: Novak said that a document in the possession of the Senate Intelligence Committee confirms that Valerie Plame instigated - not facilitated, but instigated - Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger.

exchange:


MR. RUSSERT: And what did the source tell you about Valerie Plame?

MR. NOVAK: What, what the source told me, I—we had talked about several things, and I, I got to the question, what I was really interested in was that Joe Wilson had been on MEET THE PRESS the previous Sunday, and I was—I thought he was quite hostile to the—to the administration. And I was curious, why would the CIA send this person, who was hostile, and who was—that didn’t have any background with the CIA, hadn’t been in Africa for a long time, why would they send him on this mission? And he said, “Well, you know, his wife suggested it. She works in the counterproliferation division of the, of, of, of the CIA.” And so that, that, I thought, was interesting. I put it in the middle of the column, didn’t leave the column with it, you read that paragraph—it was just about in the middle of the column. And, and then—I then called the CIA, and the spokesman told me that she didn’t initiate it, she facilitated it. That, that happened to be wrong, because the Senate Intelligence Committee has said that she did initiate the trip and they have a document to prove it.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, the Senate Intelligence Committee indicated that, but they did not conclude it.

MR. NOVAK: The—I believe that the, that the Republican majority concluded it.

MR. RUSSERT: The Republican majority did, but the Democrats did not.

MR. NOVAK: They didn’t, they didn’t take it up and they didn’t dissent from it, either.

MR. RUSSERT: It’s not an official conclusion, but it is in the report as an indication.

MR. NOVAK: And the, and, and there’s a, a document that, that confirms it.

Interesting, Novak is making a distinction...if there is such a document that show Valerie dreamed the idea of a fact finding trip and then suggested the sexy rock star would be the perfect french connect candidate...ohhhh.

Lurker

Someone asked a question to prove that the leftwingers still believe that Rove is guilty. Decision08's reference to Jason Leopold's comments about thos naive leftwingers is another proof.

clarice

I think you ned to go to the Roberts report I cited to Jeff last night--which shows that within 24 hours of her recommendation, the permission was obtained and that suggests that Plame and her pals were well underway on the plan to send him before Cheney said a word.

Steve

I'll give you Gen Vallely might be viewed as more credible than Wilson. Although there's also the real possibility that Wilson gets spun as the guy with the noose that stood up to Saddam, yadda yadda yadda...

I just think (IMHO) that for a guy like Cliff May, a jury (if it ever gets to that point) (and it's most likely won't) is going to see Wilson, (perceived as) attacking the administrations credibility, being contradicted by a (perceived) administration backer.

I just think it woul dhelp there case if, (as Clarice says there's people who'll be coming ouyt of the woodwork saying Wilson told them) if some of those peeps are democratics or politically neutral...

topsecretk9

--that for a guy like Cliff May--

May never said Wilson told him she worked at CIA, May said a friend of his who happened to be a democrat said to May..(paraphrasing from memory) " you are being kind of hard on WIlson, you know hie wife is at CIA" -- to which May admits he viewed as a benefit to Wilson.

Sebastian Dangerfield

Barney: Much as I would love to see the case go to trial, I don't think that's ever going to happen. I think the most they can hope for is to keep some part of the complaint alive so as to get into discovery -- although they will encounter no end of difficulties there as well in terms of actually getting these miscreants to part with relevant informaiton.

To give a bit more detail, the Wilsons have a very uphill battle even to establish that they have pleaded cognizable constitutional violations. They have have invoked the "Bivens remedy" -- so named after the Supreme Court case /Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents/, which recognized as a matter off federal common law, a rigth to sue federal officials for violations of constitutional (and perhaps statutory) rights. (There is a statute permitting such actions against state officials, but no statute as to federal officials.) But the Bivens remedy has not proved to be a carte blanche for plaintiffs. The Supremes made it clear in /Bivens/ itself and in subsequent decisions that it was not opening the door to creating a private damages cause of action for every conceivable violation of the Constitution or federal statutes. The lower federal courts have been, accordingly, pretty crabbed and grudging in their extension of Bivens into different contexts.

So one of the threshold questions is going to be whether -- assumign everything in the complaint is true and assuming that it adds up to constitutional violations -- are they constituional violations actionable under Bivens. They have a tough row to hoe there, as the courts have been extremely reticent to endorse Bivens remedies in any contexts other than those marked out by the Supremes -- 4th Amendment search and seizure, 8th Amendment cruel and unusual punishment, 5th/14th Amendment discrimination. (I suppose the fact that there is precedent for recognizing a Bivens action for an equal protection violaiton is why the complaint includes a very very weak claim that the defendants' behavior worked an equal protection violation.

Beyond that, the Wilsons also will have to demonstrate that what they've alleged does amount to a violation of free speech, to due process of the law, and to equal protection, which will not necessarily be easy to do given the existing case law. But I think a very respectable First Amendment retaliation theory -- with the requisite loss of a property right, i.e., Plame's employment -- has been pleaded and should be the kind of thing that enlightened courts would recognize. Shame for them they're in U.S. court.

And if the Wilsons got past all of this – that is assuming a court agrees that the facts as pleaded add up to a constitutional violation – they would have to deal with “qualified immunity” issues. In particular, the suit will have to survive a determination whether, at the time that the leakers did their leaking, it was “clearly established” that what they were doing was in fact unconstitutional. If the courts find that it was not “clearly established” that the activity is unconstitutional, then the suit is dismissed, even if the activity was inf act unconstitutional. And the defendants not only get to raise this defense throughout the proceedings, they can also appeal any adverse determination on qualified immunity {say, at the motion-to dismiss or summary-judgment stages} immediately and repeatedly. The whole qualified immunity scheme is designed to help official defendants get these cases knocked out early or tied up in pretrial proceedings forever.

Bruce: As to the statute of limitations, I'm operating just from memory here, and not from recent research, but I recall that the DC courts treat the invasion of privacy tort as a species of defamation, and that the defamation SOL (one year) therefore applies rather than the residual catch-all SOL (three years). They've definitely blown the one year, if that's right, and their only hope aof avoiding that would be the "fraudulent conealment" allegations -- in which they allege that all the perjury and other gamesmanship prevented them from knowing the true authors of the violations. That likely won't wash because they certainly had enough information as of July 14 to know of the injury and the fact that some administration officials were responsible -- I don't think it matters that they didn't know precisely who or how or when. That's what discovery is for.

Your FTCA is an interesting one that I would have to give some thought on, not having had much experience there. I think the defendants may well make that argument. I don't think it should fly because it would really just eviscerate any private enforcement of civil rights as against federal officials. I also think that the Wilsons might encounter an even more tricky problem with their Bivens claims -- i.e., the fact that the Privacy Act looks like it might have provided an avenue for redress for the very things about which the Wilsons complain. I find the law on the Privacy Act quite muddled, but if it does apply, then you can kiss goodbye to the Bivens claims because the easiest dismissal to get in a Bivens action is one in which you show that there is an alternative means of vindicating the interests sought to be vindicated. (And there's no amending to add a Privacy Act claim; they've clearly blown the Privacy Act SOL (two years I think).

vnjagvet

Sebastian:

It is always good to see a good lawyer on the thread. I think you are right on.

Sebastian Dangerfield

(Note: Part of the ramble above is adapted from a comment I left on The Next Hurrah before the Wilsons' lawsuit was filed, mooting out various claims they might bring, in case it looks suspiciously familiar to anyone.)

Jeff

clarice

Just to remind you, your claim was

Even the SSCI said the quick decision to send Joe (24 hours) was evidence that the Cheney off hand inquiry was a pretext for sending Munchausen on his Mission.

Not only is the evidence you cite not from the SSCI report's conclusions but from Roberts' additional views which only two other Republicans signed on to. But it's not evidence for your claim! They're citing the concurrence on February 13 as evidence for their conclusion that the plan to send Wilson was suggested by his wife. There's no suggestion of the kind of conspiracy you are suggesting.

Nor does the passage you cite support what you say today, that it

shows that within 24 hours of her recommendation, the permission was obtained and that suggests that Plame and her pals were well underway on the plan to send him before Cheney said a word.

Within 24 hours, the CIA was seeking concurrence from the Embassy; it doesn't say anything about permission. And not only is there not the suggestion that Plame and her pals were well underway with the plan before Cheney said a word, Roberts himself is more explicit than the report itself that the contrary is true:

Following the Vice President's review of an intelligence report regarding a possible uranium deal, he asked his briefer for the CIA's analysis of the issue. It was this request which generated Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger.

Nice try, though.

MaidMarion

Lurker,

Surely, meetings covering classified information should be held at official (and officially classified-certified) sites. Not in someone's home.

Therefore, I don't believe that the meetings held at Wilson's home were classified.

Believe what you want to believe, but sources are most typically debriefed in non-official locations: eg., their home, their office, a hotel room, a restaurant, etc. And the raw reports derived from debriefs at these locations do become classified.

Hate to burst your bubble...

Barney Frank

"Within 24 hours, the CIA was seeking concurrence from the Embassy; it doesn't say anything about permission."

IIRC, she first made an oral pitch for pal Joey to go, then a written memo. Now if those two things occured on the same day then there is no overt evidence that Wilson traveling to Niger was preplanned. If however they did not occur on the same day it would seem to be a bit of a problem for their timeline. Does anyone know what the time lapse between the two was?

Pete

You can't believe a word Novak says about the SSCI. He said in one his TV appearances that the SSCI concluded the trip was suggested by Plame. Problem is that the SSCI did not conclude it but it was in the section written by 3 very partisan Republicans, who could not even get the other 5 Republicans to endorse it. In this interview with Russert, Novak tries to make the claim again, but Russert corrects Novak. Then Novak says that the Republican majority said it. Russert does not correct him on this, but 3 out of 8 is not a majority, and Novak is wrong again.

Novak says that his first source told him in an offhand way that the wife suggested the trip. His second source simply acknowledged what Novak told him. His most knowledgeable source on this matter (Harlow) denied that the wife suggested the trip. Given this underwhelming wealth of information, Novak determined that the trip was suggested, and he even knew that the SSCI would conclude this several months later.

It is has been documented in other blogs - Novak has changed his story more times than John Kerry could say flip-flop.

clarice

From the full Committee Report:
[i] Based on information from the CIA report from the foreign service, on February 12, 2002, the DIA wrote a finished intelligence product titled Niamey signed an agreement to sell 500 tons of uranium a year to Baghdad (NMJIC [National Military Joint Intelligence Center] Executive Highlight, Vol 028-02, February l2, 2002). The product outlined the details in the DO intelligence report, namely, that Niger had agreed to deliver 500 tons of yellowcake uranium to Iraq . The piece concluded that "Iraq probably is searching abroad for natural uranium to assist in its nuclear weapons program." The product did not include any judgments about the credibility of the reporting.

( )After reading the DIA report, the Vice President asked his morning briefer for the CIA's analysis of the issue. In response, the Director of Central Intelligence's (DCI) Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) published a Senior Publish When Ready (SPWR021402-05), an intelligence assessment with limited distribution, which said, "information on the alleged uranium contract between Iraq and Niger comes exclusively from a foreign government service report that lacks crucial details, and we are working to clarify the information and to determine whether it can be corroborated." The piece discussed the details of the DO intelligence report and indicated that "some of the information in the report contradicts reporting from the U.S. Embassy in Niamey. U.S. diplomats say the French Government-led consortium that operates Niger's two uranium mines maintains complete control over uranium mining and yellowcake production." The CIA sent a separate version of the assessment to the Vice President which differed only in that it named the foreign government service **********


) Some CPD officials could not recall how the office decided to contact the former ambassador, however, interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip. The CPD reports officer told Committee staff that the former ambassador's wife "offered up his name" and a memorandum to the Deputy Chief of the CPD on February 12, 2002, from the former ambassador's wife says, "my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." This was just one day before CPD sent a cable DELETED requesting concurrence with CPD's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger and requesting any additional information from the foreign government service on their uranium reports. The former ambassador's wife told Committee staff that when CPD decided it would like to send the former ambassador to Niger, she approached her husband on behalf of the CIA and told him "there's this crazy report" on a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq. [/i]

Same Day Feb 12--

clarice

From the Roberts Report
[i]The former ambassador's wife suggested her husband for the trip to Niger in February 2002. The former ambassador had traveled previously to Niger on behalf of the CIA, also at the suggestion of his wife, to look into another matter not related to Iraq. On February 12, 2002, the former ambassador's wife sent a memorandum to a Deputy Chief of a division in the CIA's Directorate of Operations which said, "[m]y husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." This was just one day before the same Directorate of Operations division sent a cable to one of its overseas stations requesting concurrence with the division's idea to send the former ambassador to Niger. [/i]

clarice

Among the conclusions in the full SSCI report:

(U) Conclusion 13. The report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger, disseminated in March 2002, did not change any analysts' assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal, but State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) analysts believed that the report supported their assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq.

( ) PARAGRAPH DELETED

( ) PARAGRAPH DELETED

(U) Conclusion 14. The Central Intelligence Agency should have told the Vice President and other senior policymakers that it had sent someone to Niger to look into the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal and should have briefed the Vice President on the former ambassador's findings.

( ) PARAGRAPH DELETED

(U) Conclusion 15. The Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) Directorate of Operations should have taken precautions not to discuss the credibility of reporting with a potential source when it arranged a meeting with the former ambassador and Intelligence Community analysts.

Redcoat

Clarice,

Thanks for that information,from those of us who are looking to further our knowledge on the issue.

Breathlessly anticipating the encyclopedic rebuttal.

Keep splitting hairs like you are Jeff, women love bald guys.

Extraneus

MaidMarion,

Are these "raw reports derived from debriefs" typically limited to what the interviewee said, or do they contain the reporter's interpretation and analysis as well?

Specter

Jeff...You've been slammed and dunked. LOL

Specter

OT - Bush at 44% on Rasmussen. The news seems to be boosting his numbers.

Redcoat

Specter,

Jeff...You've been slammed and dunked. LOL

Shhhh,he's typing,don't distract him.

Sue

I know they recognize inconsistencies, because if Novak, Libby, Rove, Cheney, Bush, etc. has even one little bitty inconsistency they jump all over it. They just can't or won't recognize Wilson's.

clarice

Every single thing Wilson has said is so full of inconsistencies..it will take days to go thru all of the relevant ones. Even the if, ands and buts are problematic.

jwest

Although I have nothing but respect for Clarice and the others arguing that Val sending Joe to Niger was part of some plan to discredit the administration, I must disagree.

Please God, cut my fingers off before I side with Jeff.

OK, we don’t have to go that far because Jeff won’t even admit to the obvious, proven fact that Val was the main instigator in sending Joe on the trip. But the fact that Val isn’t a mind reader is undeniable. She had no way of knowing the “16 words” would be used in any speech.

The only logical conclusion is that Val’s recommendation of Joe was a simple act of nepotism within the dregs of the CIA. Joe was an unemployed (spelled “consultant” in D.C.), ex-ambassador with no prospects of ever getting off the couch and back in “the game”. I’m sure her only thought in proposing him for the trip (that no one felt was necessary) was the hope that someone would interpret it as showing “connections” so that he could get gainful employment or a gullible client.

The couple’s criminal tendencies didn’t bubble over until Joe made a deal with the Kerry campaign. Because the trip was unpaid and unimportant, no confidentiality agreement used and no written report made, Joe was able to parlay this set of coincidences (along with a willingness to lie) into an unwritten promise of great things if he could derail the Iraq war credibility that Bush had prior to the election.

Sometimes the simplest and most obvious answer is the best.

Sue

Clarice,

But they are not recognized by the Wilsonites, or if recognized, they are not relevant.

cathyf
the Director of Central Intelligence's (DCI) Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) ... said, "...we are working to clarify the information and to determine whether it can be corroborated."
So, unless the CIA lied to the Senate and the vice president, the process of sending Joe was already started before the vice president's inquiry.

cathy :-)

Sue

jwest,

That has been my theory all along. Which explains Joe's Epic speech, distancing himself from the CIA, denial of nepotism was Wilson's first act after the news hit the wires.

JM Hanes

Jeff:

"Following the Vice President's review of an intelligence report regarding a possible uranium deal, he asked his briefer for the CIA's analysis of the issue."

And that's as robust as the connection between Wilson and Cheney's OVP ever gets.


Clarice:

I certainly believe the claim that Plame played a minimal part in setting up Wilson's excursion is spurious and that there was more than one agenda in play from the get go. But I also think that if the CIA had not been exploring ways to flesh out the intel on Iraqi uranium shopping well before the VP asked for their analysis, they sure as hell ought to have been.

JM Hanes

jwest:

Just goes to show you that, as often as not, there are more than two sides to every story. :)

clarice

Great catch ,Cathy.

Anyone who has worked in the CIA or any big govt bureaucracy knows that 24 hours is a remarkable turnaround time.

Anyone could have foreseen that this information would be carefully vetted and the agency should have pinned this stuff down months before.

I can find no other explanation that makes sense for the fast turnaround here, except that the idea was percing in the wilson-Plame noodles for a while and the question was simply pretext for the first play of the gambit.

SunnyDay

About the Israeli airplane that did not get shot down

Jerusalem Post.


SunnyDay

Oops wrong thread. :)

MaidMarion

Extraneous,

Normally, a raw report is supposed to be straight reporting of what the source tells the debriefer. The debriefer, normally a collector, has the latitude to insert "comments", especially for clarity, if he thinks this will help the reader understand what the source said. "Analyst comments" can also be added to raw reports but are usually annotated as such.

Analysts then use the collector's raw reports to produce finished/analyzed intelligence reports. In this particular case, however, it's possible CIA dispensed with the transmission of a raw report and turned the reporter's debrief into a "finished" CPD report to send over to WINPAC, who if I understand correctly, were the ones responsible for getting an answer back to the OVP.

WINPAC could have, in turn, used the CPD "finished" report to construct its own analytical response to the OVP's question. I haven't paid close attention to what the SSCI report said about all this...

cathyf

Right, jwest. Wilson's argument was always this:

The Vice President saw my report and the White House went ahead with the 16 words anyway even though my report had debunked them.

This logic requires a whole series of predicates:

1) The Vice President saw the report.

2) The written report said what Joe Wilson claimed that it said.

3) The 16 words said "bought uranium from Niger."

In reverse order:

3) Anyone who can read the 16 words knows that this is false. (And so Joe Wilson's story was already debunked. Unfortunately your average journalist cannot understand logic and is incapable of understanding when something has been proven false.)

2) Wilson had no way of knowing what the report written up by the debriefers said unless his wife violated the law and revealed classified information to him.

1) The only way that Wilson could convince the public that the vice president certainly saw the report was to convince the public that the vice president exhibited a high degree of interest. In order for the interest to be high enough to get that level of certainty, the story had to be that the CIA sent him as a reaction to the VP's high interest, not as part of their own internally-generated interest. And that the VP was lying about his level of interest. If the public knew that the CIA generated any significant amount of the interest, then they would find perfectly plausible the claim already made (by Condi Rice, among others) that this request was not special, and any information did not make it back to the VP just like lots of other not-special requests never got fulfilled for various and sundry reasons.

cathy :-)

Redcoat

j west,not arguing with you,just adding an observation to your point.

Quoth the Plame,

"there's this crazy report" on a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq.

It was obvious she sent her deadbeat husband on this mission, because he could be trusted to reach the right conclusions,and say the right things,no matter what he found,which he proceeded to do.

So it was nepotism,add to that the mission was rigged,by her.

clarice

Very succinct, Cathy.
Redcoat, the last conclusion of the SSCI report I cited, said Plame was wrong to tell her husband to investigate this "crazy report". In essence she was signalling to him the results she wanted him to report back..even then the dope didn't and reported back some info that underlined the existing analysis.

Rick Ballard

I would note that Joe's report protected COGEMA. The crux of the matter is as likely to lay there as it is to lay with a VIPs plot.

Joe got comped airfare to do a cover for COGEMA that might have enhanced his nonexistant reputation for "clout" as an advisor to international firms. These two are as venal as any bit players I've ever seen and hooking up with VIPs/Kerry may have been as serendipitous as the original plot to get Joe free airfare.

The willingness to do anything for a price can lead to some pretty strange places.

cathyf

Quoth the Plame,

"there's this crazy report" on a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq.
Redcoat, I've always been of two minds on that one. If Plame is telling the truth about what she said in Feb, 2002, it's evidence of montrous gross incompetence in intelligence gathering and analysis. If you are the slightest bit competent, you keep an open mind until the intelligence comes in.

Of course there is plenty of data that shows that the CIA is monstously incompetent, but I prefer the more charitable interpretation. Which is that after the invading US troops didn't find much in the way of WMD stockpiles, and after the UN debunked the memos, Little Miss Narcissist convinced herself that she had "known it all along." For the simple and all to human reason that she likes to think of herself as being smarter than she actually is.

cathy :-)

Redcoat

Clarice,

even then the dope didn't and reported back some info that underlined the existing analysis.

That has always bothered me,maybe when she left the room at the debriefing,he went off message,or was afraid someone else would have the same information,and would call him on it.

He did eventually get back on message,which leads us to the mess we have now.

This was a set up from the beginning,which is why Wilson was so desperate to give the impression the O.V.P sent him,because exposure of a C.I.A role would result in us having the information we now have,both the nepotism,and his wife's trying to spike the story.


clarice

Well, Rick may also have a point. But the two are not mutually exclusive. Some of the VIPS--Cannistraro comes to mind in particular--made an amazing and fast volte face to the dark side and Mac has contended for some time that some agency people were involved in the OFF rake off --either for their own dime or to fund stuff for the agency off the books.

Whatever the motive(s), it was certainly not to help provide a mre accurate intel briefing.

Lurker

"Lurker,

Surely, meetings covering classified information should be held at official (and officially classified-certified) sites. Not in someone's home.

Therefore, I don't believe that the meetings held at Wilson's home were classified.

Believe what you want to believe, but sources are most typically debriefed in non-official locations: eg., their home, their office, a hotel room, a restaurant, etc. And the raw reports derived from debriefs at these locations do become classified.

Hate to burst your bubble..."

And Clarice's last post is to the point:

"Whatever the motive(s), it was certainly not to help provide a mre accurate intel briefing."

The point is that just because Joe had the meeting at his house doesn't mean that the information was classified. I don't know how anyone can conclude that this meeting was classified, especially with someone that did not sign a NDA and without security clearance.

topsecretk9

Rick writes...

--Joe got comped airfare to do a cover for COGEMA that might have enhanced his nonexistant reputation for "clout" as an advisor to international firms. --

What did Wilson require he be able to tell Nigerien's who he was working on behalf?

I always thought it was weird the CIA would agree to his conditions vs. Wilson just taking his orders.

Pete

If Plame reached that conclusion she was not alone.

The State Department memo records that 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.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/20/AR2005072002517_pf.html

Of course now we know that Cheney did overhype Iraq nukes.

Lurker

Pete, you haven't been reading Captain's Quarters for the latest on Saddam and his WMDs.

The Iraq nukes were real.

Lurker

Sigh, here we go again on the INR report.

Secret clearance is not the same as covert.

Clarice?

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

I certainly didn't mean it to be exclusive. My take on this is that there was an affinity group - let's call them the Butterknives - at the CIA and also at State. Their chances for advancement were much higher in an Algore administration than in a Bush administration and when Algore received his just reward they were very despondent. They became even more despondent after 9/11 because their chances for personal advancement had been dealt another blow AND some of them were going to be asked questions that would reveal just how incompetent they (and the Clinton administration) had been. I don't doubt for a moment that the Butterknives were muttering amongst themselves by, at the latest, October of 2001. I also don't doubt that Val was one of them but I don't think that any of them show the creative ability to instigate and follow a complex plan. They just stumble from one weak effort to another - that's why they're Butterknives.

Val got wind of questions about Niger - one way or another (think Khan) - and was ready to get hubby a free plane ticket and hotel room on whatever pretext turned up. They just keep stumbling along to the applause of a not particularly discerning audience.

topsecretk9

Along with Cathyf's reasoning above, the INR memo:

"In a February 19, 2002, meeting convened by Valerie Wilson, a CIA WMD manager, and the wife of Joe Wilson, he previewed his plans and rationale for going to Niger," the memo from the State Department intelligence chief, Carl Ford Jr., said.

so then Pete notes:

The State Department memo records that 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.

Extraneus

I think I'm finally starting to get this Wilson report business. If Wilson didn't have a security clearance, and didn't find anything secret out, how could his trip "report" be classified? The CIA report itself, putting his minimal inputs together with other intelligence and making sense of it to answer a larger question, would have been classified, but he wasn't privy to that report (unless Val was and told him more than he was authorized to know), so he couldn't have disclosed anything classified, and therefore didn't need an NDA. I assume that even a private citizen sent on an information-gathering mission by the CIA should have agreed not to disclose that simple fact, though, so maybe that's one reason he was cagey about admitting the CIA sent him.

Redcoat

Pete

already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger.,/blockquote>

O.K,then explain what Wissam al Zawahie and his "trade delegation" wanted to buy from Niger in 1999?

Livestock perhaps?

Patton

"""Of course now we know that Cheney did overhype Iraq nukes.

Posted by: Pete """

Please, by all means Pete...give us a Cheney quote where you claim he was 'overhyping Iraq nukes'.


Perhaps it is this Cheney quote that you are referring:
"""There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated
the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."

Patton

Ohh, but wait Pete, I just realized, that was Cheney at all, that was Sen. Jay Rockefeller (Democrat, WV), Oct 10, 2002.

What do you supposed Rockefeller meant by that?

Do you think he was HYPING the Iraq nuclear threat? Or was he just relying on what our intelligence agencies were reporting.

How did Rockefeller get sooo duped?

Patton

Maybe Cheney was just relying on Hilliary's great expertise:

""It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.""
Sen. Hillary Clinton (Democrat, NY), Oct 10, 2002-

REMEBER PETE, ONLY CONGRESS CAN DECLARE WAR...WHICH THEY DID..AND IT WASN'T BECAUSE OF WHAT CHENEY SAID, IT IS BECAUSE IT IS WHAT THE CLINTON LED CIA SAID FOR 8 YEARS.

topsecretk9

CathyF

Sounds like even Joe Wilson knew and was preparing for his Niger trip before the Veep inquiry.

mds

tom's assessment of the partisan 'downside' of the lawsuit for the dems misunderestimates an obvious potental loser should the wilson/plame civil suit actually proceed: in the same way a libby trial will make brand names of the msm look just awful and possibly lead to 'malice' and 'reckless disregard of the truth' libel-like revelations, it's equally likely that a civil suit - should the judge take the media's role in this 'invasion of privacy' seriously - will seriously undermine the msm's ability to be taken seriously in promoting anti-bush-like agendas and storylines...

...a wilson/plame civil suit is more than likely to expose at least a couple of 'dan rather' moments in this ongoing story

clarice

Well, I slipped put for a swim and see that you all handle this nonsense perfectly well.


Rick, they may have just stumbled in it but it would never have gotten this far without help on the inside, and that's what Hoekstra chair of the House intel committee says..And, of course, when, with the help of the media, this got so far, the Bush Lied chorus was on a roll and proceeded to "whistleblowing" to Risen.

I do so hope we have a roundup at the NOT OK Langley Corral soon.

lurker

I'd like to reword "Iraq WMDs were real" to "Iraq WMD and threats were real."

MaidMarion

Lurker,

The point is that just because Joe had the meeting at his house doesn't mean that the information was classified. I don't know how anyone can conclude that this meeting was classified, especially with someone that did not sign a NDA and without security clearance.

Who said the meeting was classified?

The point I was trying to make was that the information that the debriefer took down at the meeting at Joe's house became a classified report.

If what you are saying is that it was perfectly OK for Joe to blab about the information he obtained for the CIA, then that's a different point. I don't recall whether the CIA has confirmed whether or not Joe signed an NDA or confirmed whether or not they reimbursed him. If they reimbursed him for any expense whatsoever and have no NDA in hand...then the Agency should give us taxpayers an explanation as to why.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

I don't doubt that the VIPers cabal is real. I think of them as the edge of the Butterknife. They're the ones that have to be rooted out.

I just don't think any of them are as sharp as Mark Felt was. I'll cheerfully acknowledge that the journos today are no better - and in many cases much worse - than Woodward and Bernstein.

vnjagvet

Jeff:

You have not responded to my questions on my comment at 9:14 last night.

They only take one word answers.

You have spent a lot of words trying to weasel around those facts, however.

In my experience, that is a sign of weakness.

PeterUK

The question needs to be raised,why didn't the CIA,The Heart of Darkness,Toppler of Nations,Bringer of Fear,have any information regarding the sales of Yellowcake in Niger? Surely the CPD would have held a watching brief on Niger,a major African uranium ore producing country?
That Zawahawie and Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information had both made visits to a country,which to be kind,is hardly the retirement location of first choice,should have aroused suspicion.Why did it not do so?
Either the CIA did not know what was going on,what followed being a CYA operation,or the CIA did know and what ensued is of a far more sinister nature.

PeterUK

Tops,
IIRC,somewhere in the dim and distant past,it was mentioned that Joe Was going to Niger on business.
A good question would be,"What was the nature of that business"?

MaidMarion

Extraneous,

I personally think this is why it took Joe so long to out himself (i.e., the period between his March 2003 interview with Kristof to his July 6 NYT article.)

If Joe Wilson "planned to take to Niger anyway" and paid for its entirety, then why did it take him so damn long to reveal the truth to the American public that Bush lied about the yellowcake?

I wanna know what the CIA records reflect: did they reimburse Wilson for anything?

Clarice

Exactly.
(They claimed to be unaware of the Libyan program, too, until Qaddafi saw shots of Saddam being pulled from the rabbit hole. Some observers say Libya got their materials from Iraq via Niger--that is, Iraq sold them stuff from the under UN lock and key stores they had and surreptitiously replaced the missing stuff with other yellow cake from Niger.

Now, let's suppose with all that money and corruption in the OFF program floating around and links to Cogema someone decided to simply pay off friends in the CYA...

Redcoat

Peter U.K

Gee whiz,you mean Iraq’s senior public envoy for nuclear matters during the 1980’s was up to no good when he went to Niger?

I'm shocked to find gambling going on here.

How was the C.I.A supposed to figure out that the guy who bought Yellowcake from Niger for Iraq during the 80's would go there for anything but the Sweet Mint Tea?

Rocco

Take a look at the names in this Georgetown University, Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service newsletter.

Scroll to the third picture down and look for Rita Jupe,CNN, Yaser Abushaban, Rock Creek Corporation, etc

Keep scrolling and look for Charles Merimee, Banque Paribas.

Wasn't Aburdene involved in a previous banking scandal?

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Wilson/Plame