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September 07, 2006

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boris

how unlikely it would be to see a covered agent's name bandied about in a memo

Which makes doing it twice in suspicious fashion look Rather fishy, sorta hinky ... oooh message from beyond ... what ... what ... plan ... dead ... ever ... dense ??? WTF ??? What can that possibly mean ?

MayBee

Armitage says he didn't come forward because "the special counsel, once he was appointed, asked me not to discuss this and I honored his request."

There were obviously plenty of people talking to reporters. He could have spoken to a reporter or asked one of the people that knew his role to talk to reporters and set the record straight.

Besides, they started out hiding this from the WH.

Bill in AZ

Armitage: "Oh I feel terrible. Every day, I think I let down the president. I let down the Secretary of State. I let down my department, my family and I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson," he says.

The Wilsons!???

But no concern about Libby, Rove, Cheney. Armitage and Powell make me want to vomit.

clarice

Well, if this post on F.R. is right, his October 1 epiphany is nonsense.

"Haven't looked for where he was on September 30th, but here is where he was from October 1 to October 8. Granted, he could have been reading his paper from his home in any one of these countries and the FBI could have interviewed him on October 2 in any one of these countries. But the question needs to be asked: why go into such specifics when they can be proven wrong. Why not just be more general and say "sometime in October". Are they being sloppy giving the facts or are they giving too many facts in order to sound plausible?

Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage will visit Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom October 1 – 8, 2003. He will be meeting with his counterparts to discuss a range of regional security and bilateral issues, including the status of U.S. assistance programs and cooperation on the Global War on Terror. In Afghanistan, Mr. Armitage will reinforce our commitment to a secure Afghanistan and support for full implementation of the Bonn Agreement, including the Constitutional Loya Jirga planned for December and elections next year as well as accelerated efforts by the U.S. and the international community to assist reconstruction efforts. While visiting Astana, Kazakhstan, Mr. Armitage will preside at the dedication of the new Embassy Branch Office.
State Department Press Release"


Toby Petzold

That's what I had heard: that Powell told Armitage to keep his "screw up" on the QT.

This is dirty. And Father Fitzmas is a total craphound.

CNJ

I don't buy that he did not think that he was the leaker to Novak until he read the second Novak piece containing "no partisan gunslinger".

When all hell broke out in mid-July'03, it never occurred to him that Novak had interviewed him and that did'nt refresh his memory about "Mrs. Wilson" ???

He should have come forward in July 2003 even before CIA referral.

Armitage is a LIAR in my book.

vnjagvet

No wonder Fitzgerald instructed Armitage not to discuss these facts with anyone. They completely gutted his case.

Its exposure would have materially modified the veracity of his pet theory of the case in the public's eye.

Having been a prosecutor, I have been sympathetic to Andy McCarthy's defense of Fitzgerald. I no longer share Andy's charity. I think, rather, that Fitz and his staff have conducted a shabby and unprofessional investigation.

clarice

A nest of rats. But back to my question. If Armitage was overseas, how could this dating be correct?

"Within hours, William Howard Taft IV, the State Department's legal adviser, notified a senior Justice official that Armitage had information relevant to the case. The next day, a team of FBI agents and Justice Prosecutors investigating the leak questioned the deputy secretary. Armitage acknowledged that he had passed along to Novak information contained in a classified State Department memo: that Wilson 's wife worked on weapons-of-mass-destruction issues at the CIA. (The memo made no reference to her undercover status.) Armitage had met with Novak in his State Department office on July 8, 2003 —just days before Novak published his first piece identifying Plame. Powell, Armitage and Taft, the only three officials at the State Department who knew the story, never breathed a word of it publicly and Armitage's role remained secret.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14533384/site/newsweek/


ed

Hmmm.

What is it about Republican presidents that they simply cannot select dependable people for the White House? Didn't it occur to anybody that perhaps it's a really frigging bad idea to put someone like Armitage, who hated the Bush administration, into such a high position in the State Dept? That perhaps someone should have taken an indepth view of just how Powell acted when he was in the Army? Did Powell act this way to his superiors when he was of moderate rank? Did Powell do his best to undercut his superiors when he disagreed with them on substantial policy issues?

No idea. But I do know that it was Powell who convinced Bush Sr. to end the Iraq campaign at exactly 100hrs because Powell was freaking out over the PR issues about the Highway of Death. It was Powell who allowed Saddam to retain and use his helicopters which he then used to great effect in stamping out the oncoming revolution.

Because of his conduct in the first Gulf War I had never considered Powell for the Presidency. But adding this to the mix. I'm not certain I'd put Powell as a letter sorter in a post office.

MayBee

As they say, it's not the crime it's the coverup.

My guess is Powell and Armitage handled this the way they did certain that Valerie was a managerial-type, and thought the investigation really would just go away.

The press and Dems got into it and turned it into the new Whitewater, and Powell and Armitage got caught with their failure to tell the President and their back-dated memo, and didn't know what to do.

Whatever the details of their story are now will be self-serving because they behaved poorly. But I don't think they started out thinking they were about to lead the President into this awful spot. I honestly think they thought they could fix it without getting caught.

Like the Brady kids gluing Carol's favorite vase back together.

Jeff

We can score a big "We told you so" about how unlikely it would be to see a covered agent's name bandied about in a memo (barring an error, as happened here.)

This sharpens a point we've talked about repeatedly before: if you got your info from the INR memo, you've got a better excuse than is you got your info on Plame in many other ways, like hearing from the Vice President of the U.S. that CIA was saying that Plame worked on the clandestine side of the CIA.

Sara (Squiggler)

This story is so bizarre at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Fitz comes out with his own CYA that the Libby prosecution was all a ruse to flush out the real conspiracy of Kerru/Wilson/Grossman/Powell.

Now tell me again why the INR memo had to be falsified as to date?

Sara (Squiggler)

Kerru = Kerry

MayBee

But doesn't it also sharpen the point that perhaps she wasn't clandestine?

Neuro-conservative

Clarice --

Accprding to the WaPo, Armitage testified to the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday Sept. 30, 2003, and was supposed to leave for his trip to Pakistan the next day.

Lexis-Nexis then provides the following, from the Press Trust of India, Oct 2, 2003:

In a sudden move, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Assistant Secretary Christina Rocca have put off their visit to Pakistan from Thursday to hold talks with President Pervez Musharraf and other officials on a host of issues, including Indo-Pak ties and resurgence of Taliban on Pakistani soil.

"They are not coming. The visit has been postponed due to scheduling issues," Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Masood Khan told PTI here.

Jeff

But doesn't it also sharpen the point that perhaps she wasn't clandestine?

Not according to Tom's parentheses, assuming we can use clandestine and covered agent interchangeably here for the moment.

clarice

Were Isikoff and Corn wrong? Lying? was Armitage? Did Armitage go in BEFORE October 1? (Fitz wasn't appointed until December 30? IIRC Comey wasn't appointed until Oct 3 and confirmed until December 9. ) Did he not go in until after the trip, was Comey already in place?

C'mon, guys, I cannot figure this out.

Jeff

Neuro-conservative

Nice find! Facts undo clarice (and FR to boot!) once again.

clarice

Thanks Neuro!

MayBee

According to Tom's parentheses?

boris

hearing from the Vice President of the U.S. that CIA was saying that Plame worked on the clandestine side of the CIA

And directed to leak it to Judy Miller ?

Lets see a quote or link from Cheney or Libby to support this fabulous speculation.

clarice

If TM is crafting a defense of Armitage we'll be waiting a long time to hear from him. And he'd better post it on asbestos.

Pass the bottle. We deserve it. Now for a pool as to when the case is dropped or Fitz canned whichever comes first.

Champagne and caviar all around (on me) and when I say all around, I mean even Jeff, that wise ass.

Jeff

mmmm.

owl

After watching this for years.....someone please explain it to me.

What do you call a hoax by a prosecutor that lets the media and every dog attack a WH for YEARS and gives a presser that SOUNDS as though he is investigating a LEAK. His presser sounded as though he was investigating who leaked Plame's name.

He wasn't. So why the big presser fraud designed to mislead the public?

Bill in AZ

err, will wine work? Owned a winery once, and kept a few thousand bottles when I sold it :)

wait! - dumb ol' redstate rednecks from AZ who are too dumb to vote democrat are s'pose to guzzle kerzz. Tell you what they always said in the wine bizness - it takes a lot of good beer to make good wine.

Still not too much in the celebrating mood when Armitage feels bad for the lying, pathetic Wilsons... and the "free speech for me, but not for thee" libs are trying to suppress the "Path to 9/11" show. I don't recall anyone trying to suppress Michael Moore's nonsensical drivel, though we did our best to refute it into the dustbin of history where it belonged.

Joe Yowsa

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/08/washington/08armitage.html?8br

"The confirmation of Mr. Armitage’s role, long the subject of news media speculation, showed that the initial leak of Ms. Wilson’s identity did not originate from the White House as part of a concerted political attack against her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had criticized the administration over the Iraq war. Rather it was divulged by a senior State Department official who was not regarded as a close political ally of Mr. Cheney or other presidential aides involved in the underlying issues in the case."

In the words of Mr TM ... oh stop.

This has been about lying Joey and the MSM liars and the NYT rag liars from the beginning.

As you can see ... the NYT rag liars are calling it quits on this one.

It doesn't look like we'll be getting a screeching rant from moonbat Gail Collins this time.

I suspect there will be no explanation ... no apology ... and no admission of the facts concerning little lying Joey.

They are leaving by the back door like cowards.

Liars and cowards.

topsecretk9

"I had never seen a covered agent's name in any memo in, I think, 28 years of government," he says.

Well, that kinda screws the Wilson's civil litigation, now doesn't it?

topsecretk9

Yowsa, why should they? Joe's the guy that turn the paper around for goodness sakes!

clarice

Well gang, TM is still straining his brains trying to write a defense for Armitage and Powell..Time to think up what's next.

Sara (Squiggler)

Let's back up a minute. Thanks to Clarice, we know that Armitage was supposed to have left for quite an extensive overseas trip. Those types of entourages and schedules are not easy to put together in the first place. Then we learn that Armitage didn't leave on the trip afterall and postponed it. This means that he completely upset all kinds of applecarts including diplomatic and travel arrangements, etc. So, there is no way that I will believe that something that became so important to cause such a major adjustment to Armitage's itinerary and schedule would then be so off hand that he would forget an entire previous conversation with Woodward and the fact that he had a big mouth to more than just Novak.

JJ

Not sure what your concern with a defense of Armitage is...?

He does come off now as a rambling head, but what else is he really guilty of?

What is very obvious is that the timeline is now very correct about how Wilson's Op/Ed started this whole fiasco.

Wilson wrote it, everyone got curious and started talking.

clarice

Why assume Fitz asked him?

JJ

In the final analysis, it may be that the only folks who blew this incredibly out of proportion were Joe Wilson and the Rove-hunting Left bloggers.

The rest of the investigation, while silly at times, seems to me pretty mundane.

The only fly in the ointment is that Libby said some sillies at the Grand Jury. True?

topsecretk9

So...Fitzerald is OK that Armitage actively withheld relevant information from his investigation...obstruction...Fitz is closing shop and wishing he was Forrest Gump and could run fa' fa' away...

Syl

Look, I can see how Armitage forgot even though the whole brouhaha erupted. If it was such an offhand comment as it seems to be it would be easy to forget unless something specific jogged your memory.

Libby forgot Cheney told him about Wilson's wife in June. Cheney told Libby tons of stuff every day. Even Cheney seemed to have forgotten that he knew by the time Wilson's own op-ed came out.

But Armitage did not forget Woodward because Woodward reminded him more than once. And if Armitage remembered about Novak after being jogged, he surely would wonder who else he told.

Bruce Hayden

ed

The problem I think was that Bush put Powell into State because of friendship with his family and he needed credibility in that area - gravitas, if you will. Powell fit that bill. Armitage obviously was Powell's guy. And you can expect that when you appoint someone of Powell's stature to that post, he will be able to bring in some of his own people. Not all, but some.

The Democrats don't do any better at picking their people either. Clinton seemed to pick most of his Cabinet based on race, sex, etc. balancing. Indeed, patent attorneys like me had to deal with a commissioner of Patents and Trademarks who was a copyright attorney (i.e., with no patent experience whatsoever) because he was apparently gay. Below Treasury, Defense, and maybe State, Clinton's appointees were, compartively speaking, extrodinarily weak. Remember Janet Reno? Joycelyn Elders? Ron Brown (maybe competent, but extrodinarly corrupt)?

I would stack up Bush(43)'s entire cabinet against that of any other president of the last 30 years, and I think they will come out ahead. One thing that is esp. notable is how clean his Administration has been - when the big casualty so far in 5 1/2 years is Libby.

SunnyDay

It stinks. I can believe anybody forgot anything but, Woodward says he contacted Armitage repeatedly. So he did not forget Woodward.

Sara (Squiggler)

he surely would wonder who else he told

That's my point. With his epiphany about Novak, it had to set his mind spinning and it was surely a big deal, big enough that he interupted his foreign travel schedule to deal with it all, so how could he not think back to Woodward. It isn't like Woodward was some obscure hometown paper boy, easy to forget.

clarice

Woodward is a real hero, isn't he?

topsecretk9

--With his epiphany about Novak, it had to set his mind spinning and it was surely a big deal, big enough that he interupted his foreign travel schedule to deal with it all, so how could he not think back to Woodward.--

This is pretty sad considering issues in Pakistan are slightly more important and pressing.

JM Hanes

Clarice:

"If TM is crafting a defense of Armitage we'll be waiting a long time to hear from him."

How long can it take to write, "Armitage thought he was doing what the President wanted him to do"?

Did Justice ask him not to tell the President before Fitzgerald arrived? I doubt he'd have left that hanging if they had. For that matter, did Fitzgerald ask him not to discuss the investigation, or did he specifically ask him not to tell the President? Any of which may be an explanation; none comes close to an excuse.

I could have sworn he was going to wrap up his list of those whom he had hurt with "the nation." What a shocker to hear "the Wilsons" instead. No partisan gunslinger? He even managed a couple of potshots at the White House in the course of his putative mea culpa.

Not only should Armitage have informed the White House immediately, instead of Powell & Taft, he should have tendered his resignation to the President who appointed him and at whose pleasure he served for decision, not his best pal, the Secretary of State.

MJW

Jeff: "This sharpens a point we've talked about repeatedly before: if you got your info from the INR memo, you've got a better excuse than is you got your info on Plame in many other ways, like hearing from the Vice President of the U.S. that CIA was saying that Plame worked on the clandestine side of the CIA.'

Perhaps Jeff will fill us in on what percent of the CIA's DO employees who work out of Langley are covert, since without knowing this, it's meaningless to speculate on what Libby should have concluded about Plame. (Even, for the sake of argument, accepting Fitz's version of events.)

Given that domestic intelligence is mostly the responsibility of the FBI, I can't think of many reasons why a US based CIA employee would need to be covert; and nothing Corn's said so far has provided any clue as to why Plame's managerial position required her identity to remain secret.

Tom Maguire

If TM is crafting a defense of Armitage we'll be waiting a long time to hear from him. And he'd better post it on asbestos.

Sorry, I got distracted, but yes, the "following orders" theme emerges.

JM Hanes

tops:

As a matter of fact, Pakistan test fired a "nuclear-capable missile" on Oct. 8th.

Sara (Squiggler)


Washington Post

Officials Relieved Secret Is Shared

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 7, 2006; Page A17

Employees at CIA headquarters stood transfixed at television sets yesterday in a moment one senior official called "electric" as President Bush told the nation about the agency's covert prison system -- a program once considered so secret that even Bush did not know the details.

"I know it's going to make a lot of people sleep well at night," one counterterrorism officer said of the disclosure. The feeling of relief by the very people carrying out the program was a striking indication of how deeply attitudes have changed within the government about the administration's unorthodox counterterrorism tactics and the need to shroud them in secrecy.

"Finally the burden of this program will not rest only on the shoulders of the CIA," said James Pavitt, who headed CIA covert operations when the program was put in place, with White House approval, after Sept. 11, 2001. "This was a tough world and we were asked to do some tough things," he said, adding that such efforts were always within the law.

Although it was a recent Supreme Court ruling that forced the program into legal limbo and probably pushed the president into going public, the administration had begun debating whether to suspend the CIA's so-called black sites at least a year ago. European allies as well as senior officials at the State and Justice departments and the CIA, along with a handful of lawmakers, lobbied to abandon the program for something more transparent and with more legal protections of detainees.

In the past year, the CIA has studied more closely the effectiveness of harsh interrogation techniques that it and other agencies have used and concluded that some of those were worth discarding. CIA officials have eliminated some of those techniques and, within the past two months, have begun to consult for the first time with the full Senate and House intelligence committees about creating a new list of techniques.

But the rules for a new CIA prison system are still unsettled.

"Although there is no one in CIA custody today, it's our intent that the CIA detention program continue," said a senior intelligence official. "It's simply been too valuable in the war on terrorism to not allow it to move forward."

The idea, said several administration officials, is to get Congress's political buy-in to a program that is fraught with some of the most difficult questions facing the government: how a country steeped in the rule of law should treat suspected terrorists it believes have valuable information.

When it set up the program, the CIA -- at the urging of Vice President Cheney and a White House general counsel's office with an unconventional view of what constituted torture -- asserted that it needed to hide prisoners in secret locations around the world and to harshly interrogate them to extract time-sensitive information about possible terrorists attacks.

Government professionals worried about the program's effectiveness and legality. As controversy spread within Congress and around the world through media reports, some argued that the program was becoming counterproductive.

Some CIA employees refused to sit in meetings where the prisons or interrogation methods were being discussed. Others consulted lawyers.

"This program has been the subject of so much controversy and suspicion and resentment against the U.S. that on balance, it is probably desirable" to disclose and discontinue it "and get it behind us," said Paul Pillar, a former CIA officer and now a Georgetown University professor.

Administration officials said yesterday that the need for secret CIA prisons continues, but that they will seek legislation immunizing CIA employees from prosecution for anything they may have been asked to do that might now be considered illegal. At the same time, the administration will ask the intelligence committees to give it guidance to draw up a separate, shorter list of harsh techniques it might still employee under certain circumstances.

The point, said one senior official, "is to make the program more durable" and not "subject to the pendulum swings" of Congress or the president. Several officials interviewed requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the program. Others were permitted by the administration to talk to reporters but not to disclose their identities.

Part of the largest CIA covert action program since the height of the Cold War, the prison system grew to include eight countries, including several in Eastern European democracies, according to current and former intelligence officials. A senior intelligence official said yesterday that the system held nearly 100 people over the life of the program, but no more than a couple of dozen at any one time.

The prisons were made legal under U.S. law with a presidential finding allowing the agency to set them up. But they were illegal in the democratic countries in which they operated. Only a small handful of foreign intelligence officials -- and usually one or two top political leaders -- ever knew of their existence. Only CIA personnel were allowed on the sites, one of which was located on a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe. Others were once located in Thailand and Afghanistan.

A written defense of the program issued by the administration yesterday said it would be "practically impossible" to act quickly on "information from one detainee in the questioning of another" if they were all in the custody of different foreign governments. But the statement did not explain why that couldn't also have been accomplished if the detainees had been held together at Guantanamo Bay.

Prisoners were subjected to harsh interrogation techniques including feigned drowning, extreme isolation, slapping, sleep deprivation, reduced food intake, and light and sound bombardment -- sometimes in combination with each other. Human rights groups and many international legal experts have said these techniques amount to torture. The administration insists, as Bush did again yesterday, that it has never authorized or used torture.

Secret prisons became a particularly sensitive issue in Europe after The Washington Post reported on their existence in Eastern Europe in November. The European Parliament and Council of Europe both have ongoing investigations, and virtually all governments there have been forced to address the matter. Some have made thorough attempts to make sure their intelligence services never engaged in such cooperation; others have not.

European cooperation on counterterrorism is among the most productive relationships the CIA has and has resulted in the detainment of many top terrorists. European officials, too, though, have expressed deep concern that a system dependent upon such secrecy was not sustainable.

"We obviously welcome the news that they'll be closed," said one British official. "We welcome any news that ensures detainees are treated under the Geneva Conventions."

CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, who favored the administration's stance and pushed for a revision of existing policy, alerted employees about Bush's White House statement moments before it aired. Hayden advised that they watch and assured them he was working to protect the employees who handled terrorists.

"The mood? It's good," offered one intelligence officer.

Staff writers Karen DeYoung and Dafna Linzer and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

JM Hanes

Just happened on the Chris Matthews replay. First post-Armitage interview? John Kerry. When he asked, "What do you think is appropriate torture?" the gag reflex set in, and I hit the remote.

topsecretk9

--"Finally the burden of this program will not rest only on the shoulders of the CIA," said James Pavitt, who headed CIA covert operations when the program was put in place, with White House approval, after Sept. 11, 2001. "This was a tough world and we were asked to do some tough things," he said, adding that such efforts were always within the law.--

Did we not learn for sure that Pavitt WAS Plame's boss? Hmmm did the Pres. just reveal for us all a Dana Priest leaker?

topsecretk9

Loose Lips Val


Verner

So it was an error to put Plame in the memo? But how do we explain the follow up error when the info was confirmed to Novak by the CIA? As he said, he has been in the business for a long time, and has always been very pro CIA. He stated that he would have never printed info on a "covered" agent if he had been told not to--but he was not. So make that twice that the agency did not follow its own procedure for "covered" agents.

Both Novak and Armitage have been around for a long time, and both say that they'd never seen anything like that.


topsecretk9

and on my loose lip link...doesn't Thielmann factor in the INR or something at state on the leak investigation...

(but notice in the loose lips ink, the CIA analysts (who was appalled) depiction of Condi Rice...sounds eerily like the same thing Wilson said about Condi on Meet the Press -- and you know Wilson claims to know the contents of Condi's personal file)

MJW

In regard my comment about accepting Fitz's version of events for the sake of argument, I just wanted to remind everyone of Sue's most excellent theory that the "bureau" referred to in Miler's notes, and attributed to Libby, was the "Bureau of Intelligence and Research ," i.e., the INR. If so, this points the finger away from Libby, and towards someone who was aware of the meeting discussed in the memo, but misremembered on which side of the CIA-State Department liason line Ms. Plame belonged. I remain skeptical of Libby's supposed June 23 mention of Plame. (Besides the memo-mention, isn't it unusual for a CIA NOC to be meeting with people from other agencies?)

MayBee

You know what doesn't make sense? Fitzgerald telling Armitage not to talk, and then Fitzgerald in court preventing Libby from finding out Armitage's identity.

Why? Why is it so important to Fitzgerald that Armitage isn't known by Libby at all?

MayBee

Tops...that is really interesting. What are the odds both stories about the Wilsons would contain info about the CIA and the aluminum tubes????

I think you are on to something, girlfriend!

Verner

"As controversy spread within Congress and around the world through media reports, some argued that the program was becoming counterproductive."

Yes, Dana Priest-Goodfellow's media reports, with info fed to her by Valerie Plame types in the agency. And now, a very valuable program, that stopped a jet from hitting the Library Tower in LA, has bitten the dust. Good for you Dana!!! And when an American city is taken out by a dirty bomb, as the Al Qaeda operative who knows it's going to happen sips tea with his ACLU lawyer--all under the Geneva Convention, we'll know who to thank!

Sara (Squiggler)

Your defense of Armitage, TM, is that it was a Rove manipulation? Did I miss the wink? I think "foolish democratic over-reach" may turn out to be a bit of an understatement.

MJW

Here's a quote I found with a Google search:

Archive senior fellow John Prados, who edited the Archive's forthcoming documentary collection on Vietnam, gives INR more credit in his contextual introduction, calling the Bureau "the mouse that roared." Dr. Prados concludes that INR "helped hone U.S. intelligence conclusions, called attention to the poor data and inadequate intelligence collection taking place in Vietnam, saved the CIA and other agencies from going even farther out on a limb than they climbed, and … also helped limit the war by contributing to the reluctance of top officials to escalate too far."
What's potentially interesting is the reference to the INR as simply "the Bureau." I found several other similar examples. Perhaps it was just shorthand by the writers, but I'm curious to know if the INR is commonly referred to as "the bureau" within the State Department.

Jane

Can we go back to basics for a second and clear something up for me?

I'm unclear about the INR memo. I recall that it was 3 pages long, and mentioned Plame once. But I'm not clear on why it was written, by whom, to whom? And who requested it? And what's the deal with it being released twice? And what, if anything is Fitzy's reliance on it if we know.

Re: Novak's use of the term "covert operative". Didn't he say that he referred to everyone at the CIA that way? (Or maybe he was puffing up his own story.)

MayBee

Jane- he referred to her as an "operative". He never said covert, although some are insisting that must be what he meant.

Jane

That's right!

sad

Cornball on his website:

http://www.davidcorn.com/

******Now that Richard Armitage has confessed and explained his role in the Plame leak, a simple question: will Karl Rove do the same?*****

Guess someone is desperate to keep hope alive; or is that interest in his book alive?

sad

But wait!!! there's more!!! Cornball is responsible for Armitage coming forward according tohis article in the nation.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=119240

Great Banana

Sad,

Corn, the conspiracy theorist, said:

Now that Richard Armitage has confessed and explained his role in the Plame leak, a simple question: will Karl Rove do the same?

Last I knew, Rove had. He has admitted what he said to reporters. Of course, those on the left will never accept this, and instead will insist, into infinity, that Rove masterminded some plot to "out" Plame to "get" Wilson.

How "outing" Plame would be "getting" Wilson is beyond me. Unless by "get" you mean, point out that the guy was unqualified for the "mission", never should have been sent, and was only sent b/c of who his wife was.

So, telling the truth in response to lies is now "getting" someone.

- GB

MayBee

But wait!!! there's more!!! Cornball is responsible for Armitage coming forward according tohis article in the nation.

Oh Bless him. Another reporter wants to take credit for getting the "important" truth out when he waited until he had a book to sell to do it. Risen and Suskind did the same thing.

At least Dana Priest gave national security secrets away in a timely manner, and for her employer.

owl

Officials Relieved Secret Is Shared

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 7, 2006; Page A17
=======================
If this woman thinks this cleans up the word traitor, she is wrong. The same way many of us linked Kerry with that word 35 years ago, she is linked forever.

owl

ts...your loose lips link also sounds like something they brought up over and over on Hardball....it was another main talking point. They were tight with the Wilson group.

maryrose

Great Banana:
Great point and Corn fashions himself as the catalyst in this stupid story. His book sounds like a work of fiction and there is no reasonable excuse for Fitz silencing Armitage. Not when you have INNOCENT people paying high priced lawyers to undo the spin this Special Prosecutor continues to promote.

kate

This has probably been stated before, but even if Armitage was told to keep quiet by Fitzgerald, he had the months between when he found out in October and December, when Fitzgerald was appointed.

Did an investigator demand Armitage be quiet, or did Armitage just keep quiet out of self-interest. He should explain.

jerry

Well, it's hard for the the right wing to deny there are secret prisons anymore! And the Supreme Court decision discussion the Administration's treatment of these prisoners spurred closing of the prisons.

So, ironically, this seems to be an example of Ms. Priest "telling the truth in response to lies" (traitorously, in the eyes of the right wing).

About Wilson/Plame, disregarding the notion of fairplay (how often are spouses dragged into political fights?), there are very good reasons for very strong laws protecting CIA agents - and potential violations of these laws should be investigated.

More to come in the Plame case, no doubt.

kate

Jerry, Wilson's "spouse" wasn't dragged into it, she was a key player who sent her blabbermouth husband on a trip.

Now the rule is that children or non-politial spouses shouldn't be dragged into political fights. For instance was it John McCain who criticized Chelsea's looks and John Kerry who brought up the topic of Cheney's daughter in the debate, those instances were clearly inappropriate.

As for Plame, I'm beginning to think she was the instigator and pulling the strings.

As for secret prisons, I expected that the highest ranking Al Queda members were not kept in the local jail.

There will be more to come in the Plame case:
Fitzgerald announcing his invetigation is over;
A plea deal with Libby getting a suspended sentence.

Kevin_B

Apologies as I didn't read all the links, only the CBS one, but did the assembled media types ask any questions of Armitage or are they quoting a press release?

For instance, did they ask him who else he leaked to and when?

Can he confirm he was Woodward's source and when and what did he tell him?

If he was Woodward's source, when did he tell Fitzgerald?

Which of his pals did he send to tell the "inadvertant" red herring?

Most of the commenters on this blog could have asked him a dozen penetrating questions which our brave MSM representatives wouldn't think of or dare to ask.

Give him ten minutes alone with Clarice I say.

Florence Schmieg

Just a point about Armitage. I have read in reliable articles (in my opinion) that Armitage had really wanted to be at Defense, not State, maybe even be the top guy. When Bush named Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld refused to consider Armitage and, in fact, made very derogatory remarks about why he didn't want him. There was some bad history between them. So Powell took him into State with him. Since all of this relates back to the war, the bad blood between State and Defense might be part of why Armitage and Powell didn't tell the President. It would weaken State in his eyes and give Defense an advantage. Sad thing is that it happened anyway. Rumsfeld is still here and Powell and Armitage gone. Armitage is a weasel.

Slartibartfast

there is no reasonable excuse for Fitz silencing Armitage

...that you can think of. I can imagine that the thinking went something like this: if there was more than one leak, then the last thing you'd want those being investigated to know is that you found a leak.

I have no idea whether the above is true, but I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to discover that it was. And I don't for a minute think that there aren't other perfectly good reasons for wanting Armitage to shut up.

Remember that Fitz isn't stupid. He may not be your imagined paragon of competence, but he's not stupid to the point where he's suppress information in an investigation that certainly, certainly would come out eventually, and if he'd suppressed it for some illegitimate end or other, that'd mean the end of his career.

And, note, if Armitage kept quiet because Fitz asked him to, his silence since then takes on a whole new aspect. His silence between midsummer and October 1, though, still needs some 'splainin'.

Or so I'd hope.

maryrose

Florence:
Absolutely true. It seems like Felt and Wilson and LJ if you think you've been passed over for a job you wanted it automatically is your right to tear down the people who prevented you from getting it. This is such a sign of disloyalty and lack of trust. Such a betrayal of the person who elevated you to a position of power. Instead of being grateful they end up stabbing you in the back. I trust Rumsfield's judgment regarding Armitage. Turns out he was correct.

clarice

There won't be a plea deal. It will end with with the suit being dismissed either by Fitz , or if he fails to do so, by Gonzales after he fires him.
Fitz' directive to Armitage to keep quiet, meant that if Woodward hadn't been so insistent, there would have been no evidence in the record about the June conversation with Armitage. The directive meant that investigators probably never went thru his calendar, never asked him about other reporters and never asked other reporters--i,e, Miller and Mitchell--about conversations with him. While investigators and prosecutors like to keep things under their hats, in this case, it meant obstructing justice, didn't it?

I think Comey (see the Quattrone and Martha Stewart cases) and Fitz have taken bullying toes over the line prosecutions to new depths.


ed

Hmmmm.

@ MayBee

But I don't think they started out thinking they were about to lead the President into this awful spot. I honestly think they thought they could fix it without getting caught.

But when it blew up they didn't come clean. They continued to try and hide their *participation* in the rising scandal. In effect, regardless of what motives we all think they had, the result was as if they actually planned the whole thing!

If Powell and Armitage wanted to *intentionally* fabricate a scandal and smear Bush, Rove and the White House they couldn't have done a better job.

So I think trying to assign lesser motives to them is very suspect. Perhaps it's cynical of me. But when something like this happens it's up to those responsible to *prove* that they didn't intend for this to happen.

Pofarmer

"So, telling the truth in response to lies is now "getting" someone."

Yep, ya got it, go figure.

Who said the secret Prisons were closed? They just transferred 14 to Gitmo. Were those the last?

Thomas Morrissey

Tom Maguire

He expressed irritation over assertions in some editorials and blogs that, by his silence, he had been disloyal to the Bush administration, saying he had followed President Bush’s repeated instruction that administration officials cooperate with the Fitzgerald inquiry. “I felt like I was doing exactly what he wanted,” he said.

I guess that is Armitage's defense for not coming forward.

I think the White House meant the cooperation that Fitz was owed was more in the answering of questions, rather than keeping quiet about the fact that he was the cause of this nonsense.

I don't think withholding the truth about the situation was what they had in mind.

ed

Hmmm.

@ Jeff

I suppose this is the time to end it since I've waited until all this has been thrashed out. I believe we had a bet for $50 about Karl Rove being indicted/not indicted. It's pretty obvious now that Karl Rove isn't going anywhere near a courtroom as a defendent. He might as a witness, for either side, but not as a defendent.

For my part, and I'm a little uncertain about this part, I'd prefer you donated the amount to one of the many non-profit organizations dedicated to help US soldiers in a warzone.

Rocco

According to Greg Thielmann's profile on cooperativeresearch.org

Positions that Greg Thielmann has held:

Director of the strategic, proliferation and military issues office in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Considering that INR Memo was originally written on 6/10/03, is it odd that Thielmann would be talking to the AP on 6/9/03.?

“What disturbs me deeply is what I think are the disingenuous statements made from the very top about what the intelligence did say. The area of distortion was greatest in the nuclear field.” [Associated Press, 6/9/2003]

emptywheel first alleges that Thielmann authored an INR report contained in the INR Memo titled, "Niger: Sale of Uranium to Iraq Is Unlikely."

I'm not sure if I buy their retraction?

Update: Thanks to Jeff for alerting me that Judicial Watch now has this document available (PDF). It appears the document is the same or related to the document mentioned in SSCI. It also appears that earlier reports that this was a Thielmann document are not entirely accurate: the document is described as "INR/AA" analysis, which would be the Office for Analysis of Africa, a different INR office than the one Thielmann led. (Which also means it's less likely the Iraq analyst was involved in this report.)


noah

Also note that the papers/network he gave interviews to are probably constitutionally incapable of asking the central question...was Plame covert in the legal sense required for prosecution? At the very least he could have made it clear that he doesn't know for sure.

Great Banana

Jerry,

you state:

About Wilson/Plame, disregarding the notion of fairplay (how often are spouses dragged into political fights?), there are very good reasons for very strong laws protecting CIA agents - and potential violations of these laws should be investigated.

Why don't you ask Kerry and Edwards, who I recall dragging Cheney's daughter into a political fight.

No one said potential violations of the laws should not be investigated. Here, they were investigated, and no violation of said laws was found, no indictments of Rove or Cheney, and only a very weak indictment of Libby for having a different recollection of 3 year old conversations then some reporters. But, you keep praying for Fitzmas, if that's what keeps you going.

Also,

Well, it's hard for the the right wing to deny there are secret prisons anymore! And the Supreme Court decision discussion the Administration's treatment of these prisoners spurred closing of the prisons.

So, ironically, this seems to be an example of Ms. Priest "telling the truth in response to lies" (traitorously, in the eyes of the right wing).

I have absolutely no idea what point you think you are making here. Find me a citation where the right wing, or anyone else, denied the secret prisons? And, the treatment of the prisoners did not close the prisons. In fact, according to the president's speech, those prisons are still operating and will continue to do so.

Some sense of knowing what you are talking about is often warranted.

- GB

ed

Hmmm.

I think the White House meant the cooperation that Fitz was owed was more in the answering of questions, rather than keeping quiet about the fact that he was the cause of this nonsense.

That really is the $64,000 question isn't it?

Powell and Armitage desperately wanted to be kept out of the limelight and to have no established association with this mess. And, amazingly enough, Fitz was right on board with that desire. Isn't it curious that Fitz's demand of Armitage was precisely what Armitage wanted? And not just the publicity of being outed as the one responsible but also preclusion from prosecution. Fitz even going so far as to ask the court to hide Armitage's identity!

Frankly I really what kind of deviltry was being cooked up by Powell, Armitage, Comey and Fitz. I wonder just how much Comey knew about all this before he appointed Fitz to go on his little witchhunt? Comey wasn't any great fan of the Bush administration either and had many differences, which resulted in his being replaced.

So did Powell and/or Armitage consult with Comey, a natural precaution, in order to find out what potential legal exposure there was?

Did Comey then keep Powell and Armitage's secret that they were deeply involved?

Did Comey then appoint Fitz in the knowledge that doing so would result in his *friend* getting huge amounts of publicity, and earning points with Democrats, that would help in any future run for political office?

Did Fitz already know about Armitage's role prior to Armitage coming clean because he was told by Comey?
...

Frankly this whole mess looks like one big backstab. Which might explain why the Bush White House has been so exclusive and secretive. They've literally been surrounded by enemies. Then again that's also because the Bush administration largely put them in positions to be enemies.

boris

Comey wasn't any great fan of the Bush administration either and had many differences

Was not Comey the official that had a big problem with the NSA surveillance program?

If it was he clearly has a bush-hitler BDS complex.

ed

Hmmm.

Was not Comey the official that had a big problem with the NSA surveillance program?

I believe so.

Perhaps in retrospect the biggest deficiency in the Bush administration is his unwillingness to hammer the living crap out of his enemies and his excessive loyalty to those that are inimical to him and his policies.

Well other than the fact that he is completely and utterly insane when it comes to illegal aliens.

boris

They've literally been surrounded by enemies. Then again that's also because the Bush administration largely put them in positions to be enemies

No administration can be free of the Mandarinate bureaucracy.

Republicans having political power is like the Mongols running China. The entire bureaucracy of government workers and professionals is heavily union Democrat and the fraction with BDS is probably large. For every Gary Aldrich that tattles on a Democrat administration, there's a few dozen whispering secrets about a Republican administration.

As with Katrina, Nagin and Blanco, BDS is pervasive and the afflicted will risk the lives of others to protect themselves from the dreaded W.

Well other than the fact that he is completely and utterly insane when it comes to illegal aliens.

Since the fence can't happen with the current congress, you're wasting your anger on this. If terrorist infiltration were actually your main concern rather than amnesty, it would be clear that W's policiy is better than doing nothing. You disagree, which indicates to me that terrorist infiltration is not your main concern.

topsecretk9

Posted by: Rocco | September 08, 2006 at 07:01 AM

Thanks...I thought his name popped up in this somewhere. (For some reason I thought his name was mentioned in the Niger Trip memo)

topsecretk9

MayBee....

Your good idea!


clarice

I think it more than a 50% chance that Armitage talked to Miller and others as well..And yes, the mandarinate at DoJ was as at war with the WH (particularly the OVP's Addington and Libby) as DoS and the CIA were--I believe that some of the FISA program leaks originated there. (Why do you suppose NSA refused the OPR security clearances?) and some of the "torture" memo leaks.

If they were smart, they leaked by whispering it to people like Rockefeller who then leaked it to reporters.
And where do you think Andrea Mitchell got her hot tip about the CIA referral?

Like the Mongols taking over the mandarinate, Boris. You've got it. For most of the careerists, that just means mutter mutter and heel dragging, but for ace political gamesters it's a blood sport..


Armitage added insult to injury (and tipped his hand, I think) when he apologized to Powell and the Wilsons and not to Libby or the President.

Verner

Two excellent paragraphs from the WSJ that says it all:

"In all, it appears a substantial number of plots were foiled because of the CIA interrogation program. They included attacks not only in the U.S. but on targets such as a U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti and the U.S. consulate in Karachi. Mr. Bush said that information from the program played a role in the arrest of "nearly every" senior al Qaeda member in U.S. custody. These detainees have proven invaluable to our general understanding of their organization and have helped the U.S. decipher captured documents and computer records and identified voices on recorded calls.

We're glad Mr. Bush has finally made all this a matter of public record. For too long his critics have been allowed to get away with blithe assertions that the U.S. has been "torturing" detainees and that "torture doesn't work." But as we've been pointing out, there is all the difference in the world between aggressive questioning aimed at saving lives and the infliction of grievous bodily harm for the purposes of punishment or retribution--the latter being how most people understand the word "torture." Had the U.S. interrogated 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef the way it did KSM, it might have learned enough to perhaps stop future attacks. Instead, he was processed through the criminal justice system and has revealed little of intelligence value."

By the way, has anyone read Dana Priest's interview in Playboy?

ed

Hmmm.

@ boris

If terrorist infiltration were actually your main concern rather than amnesty, it would be clear that W's policiy is better than doing nothing. You disagree, which indicates to me that terrorist infiltration is not your main concern.

That has to be one of the most intellectually bankrupt arguments I've seen this week.

Soooooo. Your assertion is that if I disagree with *you* then I'm wrong.

That doesn't impress me.

You and I disagree about illegal aliens. Fine. Don't waste my time with idiot arguments.

Specter

Related Topic - AP's Matt Apuzzo in and article in the WaPo today mischaracterizes much of what Armitage had to say -see APosaurus

jwest

Can anyone explain why Fitz lied at his press conference?

Why not say “Although Mr. Libby was not the first to leak Ms. Plame’s name, Mr. Libby obstructed our investigation and made false statements”.

What could Fitz have been trying to accomplish with a statement that he knew would ultimately be proven false?

clarice

Let's see (a) presser--first to know(b) Never apparently asks about Woodward or any other reporter (c) tells him to keep quiet---------See anything odd here? I do.

owl

About Wilson/Plame, disregarding the notion of fairplay (how often are spouses dragged into political fights?), there are very good reasons for very strong laws protecting CIA agents - and potential violations of these laws should be investigated.

Is that suppose to be a joke? PLAME was sitting in the driver's seat every step of the way. Joey turned out to be the errand boy.

So, ironically, this seems to be an example of Ms. Priest "telling the truth in response to lies" (traitorously, in the eyes of the right wing).

Truth to lies? Let's hope someone, somewhere were holding these killers and applying FIRM pressure. Has nothing to do with Priest's behavior to aid the terrorists. How many lives were endangered by her scoop? If you stop another country from helping the US in a war, yep... that equals Fonda.

clarice

Very good specter..My mail box this morning is filling up with questions about "was she covert"? URGH

mark c.

David Broder says in a recent op-ed that "no one behaved well" in the whole plame affair. I say that there was one person that did behave admirably. President Bush. He demanded full cooperation from his staff, he vowed to punish anyone found guilty of wrongdoing and he offered complete support for the investigation. he did this publicly and often. Contrast that with how his predecessor behaved toward Special Prosecutors. Stonewalling, character assassination and witness tampering. Gwb is a class act and his stature grows every time a Clinton speaks.

Verner

Clarice, if she was covert, she sure wasn't acting that way. And neither was the CIA.

Specter

clarice,

Thanks. I think the APosaurus is an ideal name.

mark c.,

Hit the nail on the head.

Gabriel Sutherland

Ok, so Sir Armitage doesn't see a covert agent's name in a memo in 28 years, then the question becomes one of two options.

1) Does Armitage read classified memos?

Unlikely, but possible.

2) Why did Marc Grossman put an agents name in a memo?

Happenned, how can GROSSMAN explain it?

I'm willing to give credence to Armitage's statement that he hasn't seen a lot of agent's names in memos. From the history that I have read of intelligence memos, they rarely contain the names of agents, but specifically they refer to NOCs as their codename or as asset.

I think Grossman needs to be interviewed. Where is he now? People ought to email him with questions about the INR memo. We've known about it for so long that perhaps we need to bring together all the statements made by Grossman concerning the memo.

Gabriel Sutherland

marc c.: You raise an important question. If the President ordered everyone in service to the White House to cooperate with the investigation, why was Powell uncooperative in getting his own people at State to belly up?

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Wilson/Plame